The ocean is not VERY much like a box of chocolates, being considerably larger and very much wetter, but it IS like a box of chocolates in the Forrest Gump sense, i.e. you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get.
Having spent more than 365 days at sea (I’ve rather lost count of the precise number since my anniversary), I can safely say that no two days have been the same. There is an infinite number of permutations of wind speed, wind direction, current speed, current direction, wave height, wave frequency, wave steepness etc.
Every day it is a challenge to try and figure out the best way to handle the conditions so as to get the best combination of miles covered and an accurate course. There are some days when I could happily cover 50+ miles, but they would all be in the wrong direction. Not much point in that.
And other days when I claw my way seemingly inch by inch across the ocean. And very occasionally it’s just neutral, like rowing on a lake on a calm day. But that is VERY occasional. It’s happened maybe once.
I sometimes find myself resorting to the weirdest rowing techniques. Yesterday I was mostly rowing with the right oar only, kind of working against the rudder. If I rowed with both oars, the boat would swing round to a different angle to the waves and I would end up on the wrong course. Hard to explain – you would have to try it to see what I mean.
I haven’t discovered any real science to it. I wouldn’t be able to conjure up a flowchart that said, “if this and this, then do this”. It’s more a case of trying various things and seeing what works best.
And sometimes you just have to negotiate a compromise. Mother Nature is a tough negotiator, though, and usually ends up getting the best of the bargain. Often I have to go with her plan, and hope to negotiate a better deal the following day. Ultimately, though, it’s her show, and I just have to take what I’m given and do the best I can with it.
So I might have wanted the chocolate with the caramel filling, but if Mother Nature gives me the strawberry cream (yuck), then I just have to decide that strawberry cream isn’t so bad after all. In fact, come to think of it, where’s my chocolate stash….?
A glorious sunrise today. Sun in the east, rainbow in the west. Spectacular!
I hear that my visitor (albeit a rather dead one) was a needlefish, and that they can leap at speeds up to 38 mph. That could have been really painful if it had been me and not my bucket that copped it! As to how the fish got into the bucket, Patricia, who knows? It either rode in on a wave crashing over the side of my boat, or it jumped and just happened to land plumb in the bucket.
Rico – interesting that you should suggest I need a nom-de-row (or rame). My friend Mariya, who loaned me Woody the Pirate, suggested I needed a pirate name, which seems like a similar concept. Captain Courageous was a very generous suggestion. At the moment I merely aspire to be Captain Competent, but I agree that’s not very exciting. Or maybe, inspired by my Zen Dog role model, I should aim to be Captain Zen? Or Skipper Serene? Any other ideas warmly welcomed!
Jay – thanks for the beautiful quote on success by Ralph Waldo Emerson or similar. Something to aspire to indeed!
Beverly – I am MOST impressed with your 4-hour ergo marathon! Thanks for showing solidarity and sharing the joys of seat rash! 🙂 Yes, I do some stretching, although it’s not that easy on a tippy rowboat. My favourite is to stand with one foot on either side of the footwell, just in front of the hatch to my sleeping cabin. I hang onto the “rollbar” over the top of the cabin, where all the antennas etc are mounted, and do a cat stretch. It feels SOOOO good! Loved the limericks too. “Launch” and “paunch” was an inspired rhyme!
I used to call myself homeless. Now I prefer to say that I am a citizen of the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all American Mothers (the fourth Sunday of Lent Is Mother’s Day in UK). May your children be happy and successful and never give you grey hairs by rowing across oceans!
Gratitude to : Patti Lauer, Geoff Young, Kenny Runnerduck, Todd Lowe, Geoff Young, Valerie Price, Doug Grandt (for Linda) and Wolfgang Stehr.