Reality.. Smack In The Face

My first “authentic” ocean passage began 2/18/2010 bright and early at 300 am. We pulled anchor at Rum Cay and started our 30-36 hour 3 boat flotilla south towards our destination of Mayaguana. The following is brief note regarding my experience and what I received from this trip. The Captain and I do 3 hour watches and this night when my first watch was finally over I climbed below tired, cold and exhausted, I desperately needed to sleep for my designated 3 hours. I tried to find a comfortable and safe way to sleep in the pilot berth and found myself being thrown to and fro and my mind running constantly…why did I do this, what was I thinking, this is not fun at all etc, etc, etc. I looked around the cabin at all the navigation charts, shoes and fowl weather gear that was lying all over the floor, I listened to various items crashing and banging around within the lockers and galley cabinets, the loud clatter from the sails due to sudden wind shifts. I observed the multiple bruises that cover my body as a result of being tossed around like a rag doll and my aching sore muscles from guiding the tiller through the colossal swells as well as trying to maintain as much balance as possible while ambulating around the boat. The swells were up to 10 feet in size and continued to roll at us every 6-10 seconds like a slow motion rollercoaster. The occasional rogue wave would implement a sneak strike from the blackness that left us clueless as to which bearing the next attack would come from. This went on for 20 hours. I found myself second guessing my inspiration that lead me to make this decision to bid farewell to the sanctuary of land life to a life where I find myself today surrounded by trillions of gallons of water, waves and winds. That night I sat on this wonderful, beautiful 32 foot boat that felt more like I was sitting in tumbling Maytag dryer. It would be much easier for this journey if the water was always clear turquoise blue with slow gentle swells but what I was living through at that moment I found a bit overwhelming. I realized the need to sort out these regrets and confusing thoughts that continued to race through my mind. I was sitting in the cockpit during my next late night/early morning watch when something invaded my mind insisting that I stand at the spray hood over the cockpit entrance. I verified that the light was on the autopilot to indicate that it was functioning properly as well as my current bearing and heading displayed on the chart plotter. I stood up to comply with this intense impulse that was overcoming me. In the beginning I found myself feeling a little frightened and very intimidated as I peered into the pitch blackness that surrounded me. It appeared that we were going 100 mph as we sped through the night. My knuckles were white from the pressure of holding on very tight to Mary as we rolled up and down and were tossed side to side. I all of a sudden had an epiphany…this is must be what total faith and trust is all about, I had little control, I had to trust the information that the chart plotter and radar displayed, I had to have faith in my skills and in Mary for her integrity to keep us safe. I was overcome with emotions as I finally began to understand this concept. At that split second I stepped out in faith, I released my fears and insecurities. Mary and I became one for a few moments. We glided through and over the swells at 5.6 – 7 knots into the darkness. It was an amazing experience yet some what disorienting, it felt like we were skiing down steep mountains tops, the clouds at times appearing as bridges and trees over my head, the feeling that at any moment we could lose control as we were accelerating down the hills. This new perspective gave me a sense of total freedom that I have never in my life felt. I sat down and started sorting out my feelings regarding my questioning whether I made the correct decision by going on this journey. I began listing the good times as well as the bad times that I have experienced. I changed my focus to all the wonderful experiences I have had during the past 939 nautical miles (for all the land lovers this equals 1127 statute miles) over the past 34 days. I have learned to comprehend that with every situation we find ourselves in during our lives there will be positives and there will be negatives and the tricky part is learning to discern if the positives out way the negatives or visa versa and how much are you willing to give to make it happen. Yes, I have encountered several uncomfortable moments, several bruises, many missed hours of sleep, no showers for multiple days but in the mornings when the sun is rising in the east I realize there is no comparison to the blessing and gifts I have received in return. My life has been changed forever in a positive way. After careful analysis I have come to realize that one must step out in trust and take the bad with the good in any given situation, whether in relationships, jobs, and even dream chasing. No the cruising life is not all glitz, glitter and glamour but even so I have realized that it is good for my soul!


Anonymous said...

These are the times you learn most about yourself. Many don't have the courage to put themselves in a position to discover these things. By summer, you will think this journey has changed you when in fact the only thing that will have changed is your perspective and your ability to connect with the world around you....hmmm, I guess that IS what makes us who we are.

Anonymous said...

How wonderfully true!