There were no major mishaps today, at least while the sun was up. Just what I needed. A solid day’s sail on or above the rhumbline, so every mile I sailed got me a mile closer to Pioneer Channel. While we sailed hard on the wind, seeing my bearing remain relatively steady throughout the day gave me a sense of comfort to know that at least I was moving in the right direction. It’s difficult sailing hard on the wind though, so each mile was well earned.
My ailments are slowly healing, my thumb in particular which, while still sore and swollen is now on the right side of healing.
There’s also much less water in the bilge so I’m fairly confident it’s not a leak and rather just water that got in under trying circumstances.
As the sun set, I got a lift from the wind and sailed much higher than I had been all day, almost due east. This meant I could watch the sun set on my transom while the moon rose off my bow. With so much beauty surrounding me it was hard to know where to look but nice to be able to allow the ocean and nature to captivate me again, my worries from the previous day dissipated, at least for now.
As the light from the sun started to wane, the moon came out in all its glory (one day off full) and I sailed directly into a silvery highway that seemed to go on forever. The ocean spectacularly reflecting the light of the moon all the way to the horizon. Sailing into the moon’s reflection was a special experience and another moment from this trip I’ll try and etch into my memory, unlike the rest of the evening that followed.
I slept on deck for much of the night as the wind and the swell picked up around 9pm and as we were hard on the wind, the crashes off the back of the waves were deafening downstairs. It feels a little like you’re stuck inside a drum a giant is beating, while throwing it (and you) around on his knee. The sounds are unnatural, unsafe and unwanted. It’s when I feel least safe, downstairs in the middle of the night being thrown around like a rag doll and the boat sounding like it’s going to break any second.
I think what it must be like for prisoners of war. Having to endure long periods of torture and isolation, with none of the creature comforts I have. Laying there, I imagine the sort of tools they’d use to survive and try and apply a similar approach. I recall studying the Stockdale Paradox while at Stanford and I try and remember all the key points. From memory, it’s about retaining hope that you will get home while accepting it may take much longer than you’d like, delicately balancing optimism with realism. I do recall that while Stockdale was in prison, those who thought they’d be home before Christmas (and weren’t) were the ones who didn’t make it.
Not finding sleep on deck, in part due to the brightness of the moon I move back downstairs. I lay there in my bunk, wincing at every crash landing after going over particularly large waves and focus on practicing acceptance and gratitude. Grateful for my freedoms, my health and for being loved. Accepting of my pace and the time it’ll take (or not take) to get home and that while I’d much rather be reaching or running, sailing into the wind is simply what I need to do right now and that it all will be OK. I remind myself I’m not in a rush. This is a time to be present, to be in the moment so I sit back, watch the moon through the window and breath. Just breath.