After downscaling my comms to messages and phonecalls in and out of the satphone this last week of cabin time, it was a joy to catch up on emails and messages of support yesterday when our long-lost friend the sun came back to play and allowed me to charge the batteries. I even did some happy tears reading the emails and comments – thanks folks.
One of the comments was a quote by Conrad and seemed to fit the amalgam of my moods quite perfectly:
‘Nothing is more enticing, disenchanting and enslaving than a life at sea’ J. Conrad
Anyone listening to my phonecasts and reading my Tweets this last eight days will have seen how tough I found it at times, weather bound and cloud covered both physically and metaphorically, being pushed backwards and unable to row. I know I have talked about the demons many times before and how they have a habit of appearing in these backwards, cabin-bound moments and how I greet them each time and tame them into silence once more. It would be weird for them not to show up and start chattering really – looking at the numbers it is a massive distance still to run and our days and progress are continually being eroded by contrary weather. So, what can we do? Well, there’s only one thing to do: keep making the most of the opportunities to row, and rest and eat; do everything in our power to hold ground in said contrary winds and keep singing and dancing and delighting in the ridiculous and the beautiful. There are no guaranteed passages in a rowing boat on this ocean, and if I am to be granted a safe one to landfall, the stars need to be aligned and luck on our side.
Yesterday was one of those days of simple beauty and brilliance and I reminded myself just how lucky I am to be out here. The forecast wasn’t hopeful but, happily, the forecast isn’t always right, given our friend the weather’s propensity for fickleness. Instead of an anchor day as had been prophesied, the wind was a gentle S and all day, dropping to nothing by the evening and leaving us with silky seas and a sublime sunset which set fire to the water. I rowed all day and washed and cooked food…it was wonderful. I watched the moon set in the morning and the sun set in the evening as a giant moon rose on the opposite horizon. I then rowed on under its silvery light and the tented blue of a star-studded night, so bright that I could read by it on deck. This morning I have seen the sunrise and moonset again – a reminder that all things go full circle and everything happens in it’s time, on nature’s terms.
I am just hoping that nature sees fit to let me in on her terms for a passage to Canada this year. And if not, then I have a stories and memories enough to fill my mind forever – I love this ocean life and all it throws at me and offers me, and I feel so damned lucky to be out here in all its dynamism and wildness. The chance to confront demons and further my bid to ‘know thyself’ is priceless too. The ocean always gives me time, space and circumstances to further awareness – of life, the universe and everything, including the inner workings of my mind and soul.
Meanwhile, we are on the anchor for at least a couple of days and can but hope that we get some westerlies again soon so that we can crack out some useful miles.
In other news, I am going to start manually pumping some water to top up supplies during clouded times where the solar panels become meaningless. Inspite of earlier pledges not to eat my fishy pals, I have become keen to try and catch a fish or two. Yesterday’s efforts went unrewarded but I shall keep trying.
All salty best,
Sarah & Happy Socks x
PS: Buffs will be sent out shortly to everyone who has donated £20 since Day 100. Still chance to get yours – just donate £20 here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SarahOuten
Replies to comments:
Sarah: For more sunfish pics check out my last written blog ‘My neighbours are wild and I love it’. They are weird and wonderful beasts. Thanks for the Conrad quote.
Susan Scott-Ker: Still grinning out loud and ginning where appropriate. Will call soon.
Linda, Cambridge: Lots and lots of ships out here. I have noticed some 30 named ones on my plotter – and they need to be within 15 miles or so to show up.
Richard Harris: Boat is certainly getting lighter as I consume food, but I will probably add extra water ballast later on to counter that effect. Too light and she will roll more easily. At the moment, the contrary winds are the biggest factor in determining progress.
Team Tony: I chuckled reading that! Hope you have someone to sing to you on watch.
Judy Burdett: I’ve read 20 books so far – everything from Crime and Punishment through Winnie the Pooh, Sophie’s Choice, East of Eden, Great Expectations, Tom Brown’s School Days, everything by Jane Austen to books on fishing and some by my adventure-touring contemporaries and sporting greats. Currently reading Wives and Daughters. The only one that didn’t enjoy but still got a lot out of was Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.
Deborah Powell: Ahoy Buckingham Road! Happy new term J