03 May Not Much To Look At
Not Much To Look At
There isn’t much to look at on this plotting sheet. There is, however, a great deal to see.
Firstly, my track is fairly constant at East by North and secondly, I crossed the International Dare Line at 0430 UTC+12 4 May at 46 57S by my reckoning.
The latter means I am back in the Western Hemisphere and with the sun now well North of the equator, it feels like home turf. Doesn’t look much different mind you, but it certainly feels much closer to home. Curiously enough, I get a Groundhog Day-ish do-over of yesterday/today if that makes sense. If that’s not enough time travel for you, my clocks now move backwards. Instead of advancing against UTC, I will be retreating. My next clock change will be to UTC-11 as upon crossing 180 degrees longitude, ship time jumped from UTC+12 to UTC-12. If only I had DeLorean…
The former rather less conspicuous aspect of what you are looking at and hopefully seeing represents almost three days of fighting tooth and nail against strong to gale force NNE and N winds and 12-15 foot seas and waves that would want me very far south of where I am. We have been beam reaching in winds gusting to 40 knots and getting hammered relentlessly by the breaking and cresting swell, opposing secondary swell, and wind waves. It has been neither comfortable, fun, or entirely safe. Safe as in spinnaker poles lashed to stanchion bases bursting their lashings and careening madly about the deck when we were struck on the port side by a breaking wave. The poles are lashed behind the bulwarks no less so the wave impact was indirect.
This is mind-numbing work and last night around 0200 local, my frustration hit an all time high. I had just returned to the cabin after getting on deck to see 36 knots on the anemometer. I needed to reel us in a bit as we were slamming to windward, falling off the building seas, and nose-diving into type troughs at 7+ knots. Too much to ask with so far yet to go. I put 4 reefs into the Solent and watched our progress for an hour or so. I had been up and down all night prior trying to keep Seaburban on her feet and moving. Satisfied, I went below cold, wet, and hungry. 10 minutes later, the wind fell light and and we were underpowered, wallowing, and once again at the mercy of the cresting waves.
It was too much.
I bellowed for Sir Salty in French over and over again. He stirred not an inch and I felt the weight of the entire circumnavigation bearing down on my shoulders. It seemed I could bear no more and the only thing on my mind was what new profanities I could hurl at Salty to rouse him and sent the lout topside to do his part. I sought inspiration in his sleeping, sightless gaze and found none.
What I did find shocked me back to reality. I found a blade of grass. More accurately, my oldest and perhaps best-friend found it. Dr. Michael Lyon spied it while we were stuck on one of the numberless 405 Freeway on ramps in Orange County California.
Doc had instantly recognized that blade as different than all the rest. It helps if you have a photographic memory to do that sort of thing. Doc does. He flung the door open and raced down the middle of the on ramp with a hundred car horns blaring at us while we held up traffic. He returned with a single blade and as we sped away and into rush-hour traffic, Doc lectured me on the anti-oxidant and cleansing properties of this particular grass that enabled it to thrive in one of the least-favourable environments on the globe for grasses- A Los Angeles Freeway. Doc took the blade back to his lab to figure if he could extract some of the properties to enhance some nutraceuticals he was planning to formulate.
If that tiny blade could thrive while trampled by traffic and suffocated by air borne poisons, what more could I endure? What more is there in my tank that I haven’t even come close to tapping? Made infinitely more capable than a blade of grass, how much more am I capable of?
I stopped my profane rant at Sir Salty and thought about Doc. What joy that blade brought to his heart. My heart swelled and tears rolled down my cheeks as I relived those moments passes some two and one half decades ago. My frustration vanished replaced by resolve. Even Sir Salty seemed relieved at the transformation.
There is all that and more on the plotting sheet. Not much too look at, but a great deal to see.
Follow my tracks in real-time: