There is a human tendency to assume that good times (along with sources of fossil fuel and places to dump landfill) will last forever – and recently I fell into this trap too. It’s frightening just how easy it is to start taking good times for granted, accepting them as the norm – and then get all indignant when things take a turn for the worse.

Thus it is with weather.

Until a couple of days ago, I’d enjoyed a spell of really nice conditions – light winds, calm seas, comfortable rowing. Then, just as I was foolishly extrapolating from the current rate of progress and hoping for an August arrival in Hawaii, conditions have changed and progress has slowed down dramatically.

Today has been another day of fighting hard to stand still, my disgruntlement (is that a word?) compounded by rough seas and grey skies. And also the word from my weatherguy that the trades are not trading as usual this year. There is, of course, no such thing as a “usual” year in weather terms, only historical averages – and it seems to be my luck to have drawn a below-average year in terms of favourable winds.

So, hey ho, I am reminded yet again by the unpredictable caprices of the ocean that I should be thankful for the good conditions, but to regard them always as a privilege, not a right. And that it makes no sense to hope for better winds “when I reach 130 degrees” or “when I hit the trades” – because hope is the mother of disappointment. Best just to accept what is.

An appropriate moment to recall one of my favourite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

Position at 7pm Pacific time, 0200 12th July UTC: 26 38.212’N, 128 50.379’W

[photo: a wildlife sighting at last! About 5 of these little blue crabs came aboard with my sea anchor line yesterday. All have now been returned to the ocean.]

Other stuff:

BLUE PLEDGES

Just 3 days left to make a pledge. If you’re really stuck for an idea, why not read a book (or listen to an audiobook from audible.com) to expand your environmental mind? My recommendation would be the classic “Ishmael” – a thought-provoking view of human behaviour as seen through the eyes of an outsider (a gorilla in this case), which reveals just how unsustainable is our current course.

Go to www.theblueproject.org and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button. Costs you nothing, and it helps save the oceans – and the planet! Thank you to all who have made the pledge already – and those who haven’t, please do it now! It’s all in support of the Marine Bill currently going through the UK parliament, but people of any nationality can make a pledge. After all, the oceans connect all of us!

BE COOL, BE BLUE!

Hellos to:

Anne and Pete in Jersey – I will miss you (and your buckets and sponges) when I get to Hawaii. Fancy a holiday?!

Benn Fraker – selected for the US Olympic whitewater slalom CANOE (sorry if I said kayak! I of all people should be careful to get these things right, because it bugs me when people call my boat a kayak!)

John H – already carrying out his Blue Pledge – well done! Thanks for the tips on washing in saltwater.

Well done to my cousin Diane on her 3rd placing in the Skiddaw Fell Race. We’re not doing so badly for old ‘uns, are we?!

Rochelle – Austin in Texas is now on my hit list of places I must go. The promise of a massage and a smoothie is too good to resist!

Also to Terry Scott, Antti, Gene, Currin in Dunedin, Chris in rainy UK, Slim, Greg, Rachel (thanks for the quote) and Alex.

Click here to see Day 48 of the Atlantic Crossing Make Do and Mend – where Rita describes some of Roz’s problems with oars and bad weather.

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