Today has been a good day. I am feeling less anxious than I have done for quite a while. Almost, but not quite, relaxed.
I woke up feeling refreshed after an enjoyable dream that I was rowing at the Olympics. I treated myself to a new pair of rowing gloves. I finally started to feel like I am gaining ground on the list of breakages and technical problems. I made some decent miles. I saw some ocean life – twice I saw a sizeable silver fish leap clear of the waves. The sun shone.
And there was some faintly reassuring news from Lee, my weatherman, too. I’m not getting my hopes up, as weather can be capricious and there is no such thing as a “typical” year, but he tells me: “Off Australia, ESE to SSE wind is expected no more than 50% of the time, but those same wind directions occur 75% of the time on the second half of the route (and the wind tends to be lighter when it isn’t from ESE to SSE).” This is good news indeed. I may possibly yet reach my destination before I have to start rationing food.
It may sound strange, but in retrospect I am glad that my crossing of the Atlantic was so incredibly tough. Worst weather on record, multiple equipment failures and breakages, injuries, nothing to occupy my mind other than my own thoughts – not to mention that it was my first ever ocean so I had much less idea what I was doing.
But at least it set a benchmark, and proved to me just what I can endure when needs must. I doubt (hope!) that I will ever do anything quite so hard ever again. The Indian Ocean is proving to be a tough customer. Progress has been slow, and technical problems have been a frequent cause of anxiety. But I would still take this over my Atlantic experience any day of the week.
The biggest difference is that now I have greater faith in my ability to cope. I may not be happy about it, and I may whine and grumble, but the Atlantic taught me that (and I hope I’m not tempting fate here) I’m tough enough to get through it. So there you go, the worst experiences in life can actually be true gifts, because afterwards everything else seems so much less hard.
Jay – thanks for the beautiful story about the whale rescued off the Farallones. Some people think that whales are more intelligent than humans. Sometimes I think that wouldn’t be difficult!
Currin – there may have been “life stirring on all sides” in the oceans of Jules Verne’s time. Now, alas, not so much. The two fish I saw today were conspicuous by being very rare sightings on this voyage. We will probably never know just how much damage we have inflicted on fish populations, until they are all gone.
But my trusty feathered friends are around, as always. Thanks to Sarah Outen for the ID on storm petrels and pintado petrels. In a mostly lifeless seascape their surfing antics are a most welcome diversion.
Akiran – I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Welcome!
Happy Birthday to Karen Morss for Sunday. You continue to be an inspiration to me – proof that we don’t have to be big or tall or male to live out our dreams. I will raise a spoonful of lemon marmalade in your honour!
Photo: Karen Morss’s Lemon Ladies Marmalade – a taste of California in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
Quote for today, which I would wholeheartedly endorse: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
(William Hutchinson Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition)
Sponsored Miles: Thanks to Ann Bean, Michael Peck, Ted Britton, John Miller. Some miles with no sponsors.