I dream a lot when I am at sea – something to do with the constant rocking, and my sleep being occasionally interrupted by a particularly large wave slamming into the side of the boat. Most of the dreams – as on dry land – are random rehashes of recent experiences and memories, but once in a while there’s a different kind of dream – exceptionally vivid, that seems to bear more significance. A couple of nights ago I had one of these dreams.
I was on a beautiful beach with a group of friends, and we decided to go swimming. We dived down under the waves into an amazing underwater world. There were sea urchins and fishes and all manner of marine creatures, each one a myriad of colours and textures and incredibly gorgeous in its own way. I was wearing no scuba gear or snorkel, but was able to breathe easily and simply look around me and marvel at all the natural beauty.
It was a bit crowded underwater, with lots of swimmers, but I assumed that this was just because we were close to the beach, and that it would thin out as we swam further.
But then we reached a sign, saying “No Through Road” and we were funneled upwards, out of the water, to a staircase that led up into a depressing shopping mall. We had to sit on a jetty just outside the mall to wait for a ferry to take us back to the beach. Some of the people were eating fish (!) while they waited, and appeared to see nothing wrong with this scenario, but I was disappointed and appalled. It seemed that my amazing diving experience had been nothing more than the marine equivalent of a Disney ride, and that most of these people were oblivious as to the connection between what we had just seen underwater, and what they were now eating.
When I woke up, the memory of the dream was still unusually strong, and I had the feeling that the dream was a reminder of what my message is and why I am here. After having struggled through the last few days, with disappointing mileages and uncomfortable conditions, it was just what I needed to remotivate me.
It reminded me of a thought I had when I was invited on a safari in Tanzania 18 months ago. The safari, although we saw some wonderful things, also made me very sad. It made me wonder when the world changed from being a few human habitations surrounded by wilderness, to being a few bubbles of preserved wilderness surrounded by human habitations.
I do hope that we never end up in a situation where the oceans are as dominated and exploited by humans as the land, and where a few isolated marine sanctuaries are the only places where ocean life survives. But I fear that unless we take action, and soon, we are heading that way.
Position at 2130 26th July Pacific Time, 0430 27th July UTC: 24 19.863’N, 137 09.350’W.
[Photo: barnacles on the Brocade. They are not as bad as they look – this is just a narrow band of barnacles along the waterline. Covered by the water in this shot is the start of the antifoul paint that coats the bottom of my hull, which is still as smooth as a baby’s bottom!]
Conditions today have been rather more rower-friendly. For the last few days it has been like rowing through treacle, to the extent that I even checked the rudder to make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up a stray fishing net or other bit of flotsam. Each stroke felt like a weightlifting exercise. But today was considerably better, and my rate of progress has gone back to more like “normal” in the trade winds.
Thanks from both me and Mum for all the great comments – especially in response to Mum’s blog.. She is doing a great job and I’m very proud of her!
Glad that people are enjoying the podcasts. I also really enjoy my thrice-weekly chats with Leo. He is always so cheery and positive that even when I am having a lousy day our phone calls cheer me up. Thanks, Leo, and also to all the people who download the podcasts or tune in to watch them live on TwitTV.
Click here to view Day 63 of the Atlantic Crossing February 1 2006 Day 63: Life on Mars. Roz selects some favourite adventurers.
Do take a look at http://losfarallones.blogspot.com/ describing their encounter with Roz at the beginning of her Pacific row.