To all my friends,
Three years ago today, Mindi Miller and I returned to Galveston after circumnavigating the world. New World was a bit worn for the experience and so were we. But we were also elated at having accomplished?a singular goal.
At the end of our first year I wrote:?
A boat can become a self-imposed prison cell if you aren’t careful. Think about it: There are long, internment periods, times when it is downright miserable, times when there is no one else to talk to, nothing to read, no radio to listen to – just like solitary confinement.
Yet an interesting dichotomy begins. When moving aboard, we must decide what “stuff” gets left behind and what goes. That’s the physical part. The mental side of the equation frequently gets tossed aside for “another time.” That may be fine for coastal cruising, but not for long-distance voyaging. However, few recognize the real opportunity of expanding their compact world via their imagination and mind.
I rarely find the physical aspects of compactness to bother me. Mindi, in my opinion, also has adjusted nicely. In a compact world, much smaller than many walk-in closets, how can one avoid feeling claustrophobic? The answer varies from person to person, but among the LDV sailors, it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Stories take on a form in the imagination that is rarely accomplished onshore. Listening to the radio is a dimension all by itself, this despite the fact that I may not have physically moved 3 feet in several hours. Now that’s compact, but in my mind I am free.
My world is not compact. Only my thinking is. When I avoid the reality of my inner world, I have truly become compact in my thinking, and that, my friend, is very dangerous to the psyche. LDV is more about expansion, going beyond the mental and physical horizons, than it is about miles under the keel. LDV is about dreaming, imagining what the next place will look like. It is retrospective about what was, and what was learned. Fellow sailors say they expand their compact world even in their dreams.
I have awakened from another world in my dreams. At times, the capacity and vividness of dreams at sea are totally marvelous. But I will have to write more about that later.
This was written in New Zealand.
A year later we were in another part of the world:
?Slow going up the Red Sea
The seas have been kind today as we passed three dark islands before dawn. Currently, we are well past the dangerous Hanish Islands, where it is reported boats have been shot at and that the waters surrounding the area are mined. Not exactly the kind of place we would want to be stranded or blown into.
We have motorsailed most of the day, and the wind is out of the northwest, the very direction we need to go. It is only a breeze of 12 knots, and the waves are slight, but unfortunately, when we tack toward the “west,” we are heading 230 degrees, and that is southwest.
I checked the SSB net this morning and found out that Cannibal has been in the same place for 14 days. Winds have been preventing them from leaving to begin the last stretch of 130 miles. That’s incredible, since they have a 54-foot boat. He said they have tried three times and three times been forced to retreat.
Jabal Zuquar Island was passed at 2 p.m., and it is rather beautiful. Through the binnoculars, I couldn’t see any signs of civilization, but there were fishermen out in dhows about 10 miles from the island. These dhows are very vividly painted blue, yellow and green, with mixing of white here and there. Red seems to be a highlight color, as well.
I tried an experiment this afternoon. In 10 knots of wind, I balanced the sails and let her sail herself. So far, it works better than the windvane because of the variable nature of the winds.
We are really looking forward to getting some e-mail. (Editor’s note: We had failure in two attempts to send mail to the boat, but we succeeded this morning and hope all our problems have been resolved.) I think everyone believes the “other guy” is writing us.
It will probably take a month to get up this sea. We have used 20 gallons of fuel so far and haven’t covered much ground to the northwest, so either the wind changes or dies, or we will have to tack a lot, which wastes enormous mileage made good. Of course, the alternative is to motor as needed and put in to a port and buy more diesel.
Several boats report major problems: broken transmission, rudder problems from contact with reefs, alternator malfunction. Out here, there are no repair facilities, lots of shipping, reefs, unlighted islands and weather challenges. I am watching over the motor with great care.