Tonight I was out on the deck of my boat a couple of hours after nightfall, brushing my teeth. As I looked up at the Milky Way and around me at the dark ocean, the thought occurred to me that I could quite possibly be the most geographically remote human being on Earth – as in, the furthest distance from the next human being.
I am over a thousand miles from Perth (which, incidentally, is the most remote city on Earth), and it has been five or six weeks since I last saw a ship, or since the Sea-Me radar enhancer last blinked red to indicate the presence of radar.
There might be other solo ocean rowers out at the moment on other oceans, although it’s not Atlantic rowing season right now (that happens in the Northern Hemisphere winter, when the trade winds are at their most consistent) and I’m not aware of any solo rowers out on the Pacific. (Feel free to check out http://oceanrowing.com and let me know if I am wrong.)
There may, of course, be solo sailors at large on the oceans at the moment, but even so there are few areas of ocean as uninterrupted by islands as the southern Indian Ocean.
(Of course, this is hard for you to comment on, because you don’t know exactly where I am. Here’s a clue: if I dug from here straight through the Earth until I popped out the other side, I could be enjoying a cocktail and cigar in Cuba. Ah, if only!)
How does this extreme isolation make me feel?
First, best not to think about it too much, or it can get a bit freaky. Second, I’d rather be extremely isolated than around the wrong sort of people, for example. AK-47 toting pirates. Third, maybe just a little bit sad. Today I was listening to Corduroy Mansions: A Corduroy Mansions Novel (1) by Alexander McCall Smith, a sweet little story about the inhabitants of three London flats and their relationships with friends, families, and lovers. It describes conversations, touches, hugs, exchanges of glances – all those ways that humans communicate with each other and express empathy, friendship, love. Sure, I have my emails out here, but it’s not quite the same.
I don’t mean to make you worry, or feel sorry for me. I’m fine. I just mention this in the hope that it will make you appreciate and cherish those moments when you feel a connection to another human being, for at least a few hours after you read this blog. We are all connected, whether we are near or far, but there is something special about feeling that connection in person.
The electrical system survived the day. I still feel a flutter of trepidation every time I turn on the battery monitor to check whether the sunshine is getting to my batteries, but for now it is okay.
The weather is relatively calm after a blowy few days. Sunshine and fluffy clouds, and calm blue seas with only a few whitecaps. Not bad at all. According to the forecast, I have a few more days before the winds turn against me again, so I’m making the most of it while I can.
Martin Reader – thanks so much for letting me know about the Mike McCarthy article about the state of the oceans – and for emailing him about me. Aimee (who sends me a selection of the blog comments) gave me a summary of the IPSO report. Although I’m sad to hear that the oceans are in a worse state than previously thought, I am not surprised, having had so much exposure to presentations given by scientists intimately involved in ocean studies. I am glad to hear that the science is filtering through to the mainstream, and hope that it will lead to immediate action by all governments worldwide. There really is no time to lose.
Michael O’Hara – welcome to my blog. Thank you very much for your kind comment, and words of encouragement. It is nice to be appreciated! I can’t browse the internet from here, but have made a note to check out knoxshircore.wordpress.com on my return. As for Monty Python…. when in danger of getting too bogged down in thoughts of spirituality and religion, recollections of “Life of Brian” are a great antidote!
Pippa – please don’t be so sad about the pillow. It only has a few specks of mould – not bad at all. Many other things are faring much, much worse, so it is doing well, and is still much-beloved!
Philip Nixon – thanks for the great quote. What a good and healthy way of looking at things. You’re so right – duties can seem like privileges if only we look at them the right way!
The Raistricks – good to hear from you, Nicola! Would love to drop in the next time I am in Britain to compare salty sea stories. I stopped at the Azores when sailing from Portsmouth to the Canaries for the start of the Atlantic Rowing Race. As for the chickens, maybe you and Joan in Atlanta can trade tips, as she has also had a few teething problems with her brood. Can chickens have teething problems? Probably not, if things can be “as rare as hen’s teeth”! Anyway, you know what I mean….
And a lighthearted quote for the day, although be careful – it was when I figured this one out that I quit my job, and look how that ended…: “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in
it.” — Ellen DeGeneres
Photo: rainbow from a couple of days ago. Why do some rainbows arc low like this one, and others arc high?
Sponsored Miles: Special thanks to William Spinks and Rita Stenlund for sponsoring most of the miles that were reported two days ago as not being sponsored! Grateful thanks too to: Scott Bookman, Nicola Faith, Andrew Lueken, Nicola Tsang, Michelle Driskill-Smith, Brian Kirsch, Chris Ferreira, Wayne Batzer, Bruce Gervais, Brian Yates, Larry Grandt for recent miles covered.