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Day Twenty Four – Impermanence

In many regattas, certainly ones with multiple races, sailors are able to drop a race from their overall points score, so even if they do badly in one race, as long as they’re consistent in their other races they can still do well. The thinking being success is all about consistency, but that everyone also has bad days and that we don’t deserve to be judged by them.

Well… if I could “drop” one day from this trip, or at least a morning it would be this one.

I’m over it.

After the squalls of last night, I woke to a grey, cool dawn with black clouds on all points of the compass. To say I’m getting frustrated with this weather is an understatement. It’s not only because the squalls are so unpredictable, difficult to sail in and pose gear failure risk, but because once they’ve passed, all the wind for miles around has been sucked up by the cell so any “forecast” winds are nowhere to be seen and all that remains are inconsistent puffs that veer through 30 degrees making for very challenging sailing with constant adjustments required for any forward momentum. Sailing in these conditions is both physically and mentally draining and after the previous night’s lack of sleep, on top of weeks of sleep deprivation and all the issues my motivation levels are at their lowest of the trip this morning.

I remind myself of the principles of impermanence and my rational brain does its best to convince my more emotional side that this too shall pass, but the dark clouds I see on the horizon each day have crept into my being and a few stern words aren’t going to shake them. I just accept that this is a bad day and that its to be expected after the past 10 days or so and I get to the distraction of my chores.

While doing my regular inspections, I notice the coolant for the main engine was very low, almost empty in fact. Thankfully, I brought plenty of spare coolant and top it up to the appropriate level, but it reminds me how dependent I am on various pieces of technology out here and that they require constant care and attention if they’re going to get me all the way to Cairns. I commit to checking the engine bay twice a day to make sure the coolant levels as well as oil, fan belt and all other items are in good shape.

Try as I might to keep to an HK time zone to remain connected to the boys, for some strange reason and at different times throughout the day, all my devices from my iPhone and computer to my watch and the ship’s electronics, decided to switch to Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) or two hours ahead of HK. It certainly made practical sense as I’m now more east than Cairns and will be further east than Hobart and my parents (where they live) this time tomorrow but it would have been nice to be given a choice.

I was still feeling pretty low after lunch and looking at the weather, it seemed the squalls of the morning had sucked up all the remaining wind for the day as we were almost stationary. I put the engine on and decide to watch a movie and at least have a laugh. It turned out to be a good plan. I’d forgotten how funny Hangover 2 is and it provided the perfect distraction from the weather and the poor sailing conditions and my heart felt a good deal lighter afterwards. So much so I decided to watch Entourage the movie while eating dinner as there was now no wind at all and no way I was able to sail.

Entourage was another good choice and I felt much better than I did in the morning. I think I just went into a downward spiral thinking about the weather, lack of momentum and gear issues so pulling my head out of that unhealthy cycle was the right move.

The moon is now rising later and later each night, meaning I can enjoy the full gambit of stars in the night sky, accompanied by the sparkling phosphorescence in my bow wave as I cruise through the water before the moon arrives. There really are two-night skies out here. When the moon hasn’t risen there’s so much to see, so I lay on the deck for hours listening to music and gazing into the infinite. The ocean is completely flat by now and the boat is cruising along under motor, almost floating on a cloud it’s so smooth. It feels like I’m in outer space, floating in zero gravity, no friction, no breeze, just nothingness.

I watch the Southern Cross, which is now getting higher in the night sky as I head further south and am surprised by how much its position has changed since I first saw it about 10 days ago. My overall consistency has, it turns out, been quite good and I’m making solid progress each day, even though at times it doesn’t feel like it.

I remind myself its ok to have a bad day. 

Staring into the night, into the nothingness, I find a wonder and a joy that’s been missing for a few days now and I smile to myself, knowingly, at the impermanence of it all. 

Postscript:

@Nick Hunter

Thank you, Uncle Nick. Your words mean a great deal.

I’m so happy these posts are bringing you joy and that you’re able to join me on this journey. Isn’t it interesting how a trip whose genesis started with a desire to detach from the world and find solitude could result in feeling more connected to my family than at any time in my 44 years?

Funny how things work out.

Much Love,

Rory

@Alan Doran

Mum and Dad often speak fondly of you and Sharyn, so I certainly remember you both. I’m so thrilled you’re enjoying my posts and my wee adventure. Hope to see you at Mum and Dad’s when I get back to Australia.

@Eileen O’Farrell

I hear you about the language of sailing and that for any novice, just learning the lingo can be tall order. Hopefully these posts aren’t too jargonistic…

The mention of Gauloises brought a smile to my face. I think I’ll term these “Gauloises Moments” going forward.

@Wilso

Don’t worry brother, I’m all OK 

4 Responses

  1. Hi Rory,
    We’re following your progress with great interest and an increasing understanding of the scale of the adventure you’ve chosen to take on. Really enjoying the blog which keeps us updated with everything you’re experiencing in detail and lets us appreciate how well you’re managing the adversities – and enjoying the highs!!

    Just wanted to let you know we’re with you in Dundee and wishing you all the best and much respect…

    Cheers, Gavin & Jacqui

  2. Hey bro

    Reading your posts make me learn a lot on sailing… what an adventure it is.

    Keep pushing brother… just few more days to go.

    Hugs 🤗

  3. Rory,
    You are fast approaching another great milestone on your journey.

    I hope you have had some quality rest and that Ahyoka is performing well for you.

    My wish for you is that you can relish the moment when it comes – the incredible sense of achievement, the appreciation of returning to the Southern Hemisphere, and the comfort of all your followers cheering you on.

    Sail well, stay safe, soak up the natural world around you. 😃🐋

    Grey Scotland

  4. Rory- eagerly following your progress. The physical and mechanical challenges of ocean sailing pale in comparison to the mental fitness required to defeat those negative thoughts when they creep in. Your doing a magnificent job!
    Your blog today reminded me of a book you gave me to read 20years ago- Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I wish I could recall a salient quote for you but alas I will have to find a copy to read to the kids now.
    Godspeed

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Rory Hunter
Sailor

Bio

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.