Day Nine – Transitions

The South Westerly Monsoon winds have carried me much father into the Pacific than expected and certainly more than is forecast for this time of year. It’s been pretty much perfect sailing conditions for days now, either reaching or running with the wind and Ahyoka gliding through the water. Everything comes to an end though, and today I find myself in the transition zone between the monsoonal winds of Asia and the trade winds of the Pacific, each fighting the other for dominance, causing wind shifts of 180 degrees and hours of calm. When there’s no wind out here the heat of the tropics has nowhere to escape to and nothing to cool it down. It becomes oppressive. Suffocating even. The air conditioning on the boat is temperamental at best and doesn’t work at all when the boat is sailing as air bubbles get caught in the water intake and the pump stalls. With Ahyoka almost stationary I knew the AC should work, but it required me to bleed the lines. A job that necessitated me moving a large amount of my stores and then spending an hour in the bilge. I emerged dripping in sweat and smeared with grime from Victoria Harbour, but the AC was working – Woohoo! What a difference this made. Lee Kwan Yu once famously said that Singapore’s development as a first world nation state wouldn’t have been possible without air conditioning. Anyone who’s spent time with me in the tropics would know that my thick ancestral Scottish blood has never truly acclimatised and that I need my AC just as much as Singapore did. I napped downstairs today in the cool, crisp and luxuriantly dry air, grateful for technology and all it enables.

As the sun slowly started its afternoon descent, I moved to the shade of the bow. My favourite spot and time of day to read. Having finished Moitessier, I’ve now shifted gears to Barbarian Days – A surfing Life, by Willian Finnegan. Reading this surrounding by waves and water seems fitting.

The afternoon light was filled with deep golden hues. There were no clouds on the horizon, so the sky was able to display the full spectrum of oranges, reds and yellows a truly great sunset imbues. As I sat there, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon came on. A beautiful track which always reminds me of Mel and our relationship. At that very moment, 50 m off the port bow I see my old pal, my spirit guide, my dolphin. This time he wasn’t alone. He brought his family with him for this encounter. The one that cemented our bond. His message was as clear as it was powerful. He seemed to say, “I see you. We see you. And we know why you came. Why you truly came. You’re safe now, my brother. Its time. It’s time to grieve.”

And he was right. It was time.

I’d been holding in my pain and my sadness for too long. It was time to accept my marriage, my beautiful, wonderful marriage to my sweetheart was over.

My tears came from somewhere deep inside. From a place I didn’t know existed. It felt as deep as the ocean I was surrounded by. As far away as the stars I gaze at each night. As expansive as the horizon that surrounds me.

I cried for a future that is lost forever.

I cried for the pain I’ve put Mel through.

I cried for losing my best friend.

I cried for not being the husband I’d hoped to be.

I cried for the way our business partnership was left.

I cried for Axel and for not being able to do enough to save him.

I cried for dreams that would never be fulfilled.

I cried for Loky and Naryth, who so desperately need a stable and secure childhood, but who are now just more divorce statistics.

I cried for the love that I’ll never get back.

But most of all I cried for Mel. Pure, kind, gorgeous, caring Mellie. Goodbye my love.

It took a long time for the darkness of the night to take hold. The sun seemed to be hanging on and giving light to the ocean, to me, for far longer than happened on previous nights. I found the warmth of the sun comforting, but I was also ready for the cool, dark night to take hold. I was sad, but I was also strong. I said goodbye to my dear friend the Sun. Thanked my Spirit Guide for reminding me why I came and sank into the cushions, allowing the dark evening shawl to be draped around my shoulders. This was why I came. To grieve, but also to grow. I sat there listening to the lessons of the sea for hours, surrendering to grief and embracing sadness.

Post Script:

I specifically didn’t enable the comments section on the blog as the internet is so full of hate and I didn’t want my journey to be polluted by trolls. However, Lachie convinced me to turn it on and promised that he’d vigilantly police any nastiness.

All is ask is your comments, like this blog, are kind, honest and from the heart.

26 Responses

  1. Time is the biggest healer of all .
    Few months and few years from now you will have a new life .
    I guarantee this sadness will pass away sooner than you can imagine . Bless you Rory

  2. Hi Rory, I’m a friend of your parents and I have been reading your blogs. They are truly inspirational and you are finding yourself as you need to day by day. I do believe the dolphin is there to guide you and to support you (which I know sounds strange) and we are praying for you and your endeavours. Stay safe and keep writing these heartwarming blogs and find yourself in the quiet spaces.
    Regards Michelle Montgomerie

  3. Dear Rory,
    I see your pain and regret for whatever you lost, in the power game of business you may have lost love ,peace ,happiness
    In this journey of solitude maybe it was for you to work your relationship,
    May you find your path , you are young and best years ahead . Love u and wish u the best . I
    Being indian solitude and for me its an impossible call .

  4. Hi Rory.
    I knew you two years ago, in Sardinia, we sailed together in the Solaris Cup 2018.
    I fly on your stories every day and I wish I had the same courage that you had.
    You have done an hard choice, but you are a man freedom.
    I’m proud sailed with you!
    Davide. Panzavolta.

  5. Greetings, Rory. Very touched by the sharing of your inner feelings and taking us on your personal journey. Your blogs are pushing some deep personal reflection and I am thankful for your commitment to share.
    Big Hugs,

  6. Rory, have been mesmerised by your blog. Can’t stop reading. I am SO Sorry to read this one. Sorry for your pain, and sorry for the sadness that ripples out from this.
    Sending you love, support and wishes for only good things for all of you going forward. Jane.

  7. Rory, you are a truly exceptional human being and I feel so privileged to be able to follow your journey from afar, reading every blog post with deep care, respect, admiration, affection & friendship. I found myself smiling when reading about the joy & fulfillment the ocean brings you and teary and emotional when you write so beautifully about grieving & healing. I would like to add a suggestion to the song previously shared; it’s an album I’ve been listening to at night, often while reading your daily adventures : ‘Sacred chants for healing’ by Snatam Kaur. May her music lift your spirit, heal your wounds & comfort your soul. Much love, Fatou

  8. Rory – I am LOVING reading about your journey. I am half terrified for you but full of admiration for you as well. Sounds like you’ve had a rough time and I hope you find strength and healing on this trip. Lots of love and God Speed. Xxx (And please keep up the writing).

  9. Dear Rory,

    with excitement I follow your daily blog post and your inspiring journey. Thank you for sharing with honesty and poetry.

    Nadine (from 4 Peaks)

  10. Hi Uncle Rory,
    Its Michelle, I hope you are doing well! I’ve been following your blog for the past few days and I’m glad to see that all is great 🙂 It’s such a fascinating journey you are on, and I cant wait to see what’s up next. Good luck!

  11. Dear Rory
    Your daily blogs are an inspiration.
    It is a privilege to be following your journey and be sharing your profoundly articulated reflections.
    As part of the family who love you, we hold you in our hearts that you will travel safe and look forward to the chance to keep offering our support to you as you continue your voyage.
    Lucia and Pete

  12. Hi Rory, words seem redundant after reading your beautiful blog. Just sending a big big hug. Enjoy your solitude but know you are not alone. Be safe.

  13. Dear Rory… I am relishing in your words and your journey, although if I’m honest it terrifies me a bit! Talk about being vulnerable and really putting yourself out there in all senses. But I’m also deeply envious in other ways. I think all of us would benefit from the type of journey you are undertaking, while I’m so sorry that a significant amount of the motivation/necessity for it came out of pain. I can definitely understand that too, though, at least in my own unique way.

    From when we first met, I’ve always considered you a special soul (and super-cool dude), and thank you deeply for being brave enough to share this experience. You have many people, myself included, accompanying you in spirit, care, and commiseration. And we’re cheering you on and sending love. Stay safe and true, friend!

    (And Lachie, I hope you’re well and thanks for convincing Rory to allow comments ;-))

  14. Hey little brother. Every morning I wake up & read your latest instalment. I think as Uncle Nick says there is some deep emotion that is part of our heritage, but also some born story telling. Your writing is beautiful & your vulnerability inspiring. I cried a lot reading this one. Tears of empathy and tears of knowing. Leunig says that crying is the soul breathing. So let your soul breathe little brother. We are here breathing with you.
    And bless you Lachie for your friendship with Rory & for convincing him about the comments xx

  15. Sending great love to you and Mel and the kids: things will be different, time and this journey will help, life has a way of working out in spite of our best attempts to fuck it all up. The important thing is to be the best you can be including the best father you can be. Take care Rory and stay safe.

  16. Dear Rory. It has been fascinating to follow your adventure in your daily blog. I am both in awe and disbelief that you are taking on this momentous and dangerous journey on your own. It is truly amazing! It was very difficult to read your post from yesterday though. It filled me with a profound sadness for you and your family and all that you are going through. I hope this journey brings you some of the healing that you are seeking. Travel safe my old friend!

  17. Hi Rory,

    Touched by your courage and feeling your pain. While we are all different, no one is without struggle. Your courage to lift the facade – as so many of us have created for ourselves – and face a new reality is truly inspirational …. Stay safe brother. Warmest from Holland!

  18. Thank you Rory for being open, for learning and letting go this openly. This is courageous. I never really start things where one is supposed to, so I had last checked in here when you put this blog up. Coming back, I decided to jump right in into Day-Ten. It was glorious, beautifully captured and my, all those rainbows. Then one sentence told me I had to reverse a little before I move onto another random day to sort of make my own reading journey of your journey. That’s how I came to Day-Nine. I wish you healing, you are a great soul! Continue finding your way. Now back to my zigzag reading of your journey. Sending you all the good energy, we all need it given the mayhem that’s this world right now. Much love!

  19. Rory, stay strong brother. The healing process has begun and we all blossom into an improved version of ourselves by shedding old skin. I was inspired by your good heart during our micro-forum sharing at Mott 32 in Hong Kong about a year ago, and I am again inspired by you here in your blog. Your courage to look deep within yourself is incredible. I am following your trip and travelling with you through your words. Stay safe and I’ll continue to sail with you in spirit.

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Rory Hunter


Entrepreneur. Chief Executive Officer, Song Saa Collective. Pioneers of sustainable development in South-East Asia. The collective includes Song Saa Resorts and Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. 2006, co-established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve, Cambodia’s first-ever marine protected area. The reserve has since expanded to 400 square kilometres and has gained the support of Monaco’s Prince Albert II. 2013, founded the Song Saa Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to preserving Koh Rong’s underwater sanctuaries, providing alternative means of livelihood for its residents and bringing much-needed healthcare and education to the region. Speaker at international conferences, including the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014. World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organisation. Former advertising executive and worked for multinational firms including Saatchi and Saatchi. Graduate, Harvard Business School; studied sustainability and resilience, Stanford University: Global Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; BEcon, Sydney University. Completed the Coast to Coast in 2015, one of the world’s toughest endurance races, set in New Zealand, in 17 hours; offshore sailor, downhill skier, long-distance runner and proud dad of two boys.