Yesterday I cried because I couldn’t find a bag of cous cous for breakfast. That’s how tough a day it was, everything seeming to explode (metaphorically, don’t worry – boat still intact) and make tiny things huge. Having been focused for a day of good mileage with useful winds (finally, W wind) it was very demoralizing to be screeched back by negative currents when I rested and not making the direction I wanted even when rowing. It felt pretty futile to say the least. I hadn’t slept well for a few nights and was exhausted, emotionally and physically. Wanting to sleep at day’s end, I noticed a tanker drifting towards me at three miles away. I spent the next three hours pulling for all I was worth in the fog and rain to try and avoid it. United Hope, she was called. I spoke to the Captain but didn’t ask why she was drifting. Satisfied we wouldn’t collide for now I went to bed at midnight and slept sporadically, being woken by my AIS alarm regularly as we danced with United Hope.
Ironic name given my current situation of touring this locale in so many circles. Yesterday making it out of here under my own steam felt impossible and rather hopeless. I also had to acknowledge that it is quite likely I won’t get my rudder delivery out here – I don’t think I had left enough headspace for that one. So far attempts to find a Deliverer have not proven fruitful. All these various things thrown together and Chimpy going wild and upset, along with various bits of trivial news from the outside world set me up for perhaps my lowest day in a long time. This morning I woke up after four hours fitful sleep and crazy dreams of leaving my boat in the ocean by mistake to go to a tea party where I then discovered I had forgotten how to interact with people. .. I was still exhausted but had to row another sprint session past Old Tanker Features as fab rose. I still neglected to ask why they were drifting. I assume due to a timing issue and needing to slow down a bit. The thing that really galled was that United Hope drifted in exactly the direction I would have loved to drift. Instead, inspite of my best efforts I have again struggled to make the direction I want to.
Needless to say, the last 36 hrs haven’t been my favourite of recent times. However they haven’t been the worst in my life so that’s something. I also find the bag of cous cous that had made me cry in its absence yesterday.
Most of the time I can deal with the loops and frustrations and rubbish weather and use my Aleut hands to let it go or my sense of humour to mock myself or Good Things About Today to make me forget the not so good. But from time to time, especially being solo and having no one to share with in the immediacy of the stress, or help out with rowing or sharing Looking After Rower and Boat Tasks the pressure will build and explode and certain things need a bit more talking/ranting/crying to put aside and release.
Right now things feel better than this time yesterday evening and I haven’t cried for a few hours, so I think we’re on the up. And I seem to be drifting in a useful direction while I type. That makes me smile. A lot.
Back to the oars now to give it some teddy, to use a phrase of my wee brother Matt. It is imagining friends and family on the oars with me that has helped keep me going these last 36 hours. My university pair partner Roostie was subjected to a particularly long piece in the bow seat as I screamed ‘Let’s take it up two! Push for ten…GOOOOOOO NOW!’ My pals Dave and Dan were imagined to be swimming along infront, along with Justine in a kayak and various others around about or onboard. Try it sometime if you’re struggling to carry on. Imagine all your friends and family in a peloton around you – pushing, pulling, surging on. The power of make believe got me out here and I dare say it is going to b grr me home too.
Until next time Sarah x
P.S Thanks for all suggestions on steering etc. I am using my ‘ rudder ‘ as a skeg at the side of the boat to help tracking. Drogues for steering require speed which I don’t have… If I ever get following seas with no current a line trailed from the stern may be my friend.