It occurred to me after I had written my blog the other day, and referred to Zen Dog, that some folks may not know who I was talking about. So let me introduce my favourite role model while I am on the ocean.
Tada! Zen Dog. (Zen Dog ambles slowly on from stage left and smiles a beatific smile, bows, and moseys off to exit stage right.)
I hope you can read it okay from the photo, but in case it’s too low-res, it is a poem by Edward Monkton that says:
He knows not where he’s going
For the ocean will decide
It’s not the destination…
…It’s the glory of the ride.
Zen Dog was given to me by my friend Romy Shovelton before I rowed the Atlantic, and has been velcroed to the wall of my sleeping cabin ever since.
On days like today, when I seem to have rowed hard for little result, Zen Dog helps preserve my sanity. After all, this voyage is not about speed, it’s about quality. To quote from one of my favourite books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it’s about making good time, with the emphasis on “good” rather than “time”.
One of the joys of being out here (and I’m getting better at finding these joys all the time) is that I’m on my own timetable. By contrast with my land-based life, in which I often feel like I’m chasing my own tail in an ever-faster whirl of busy-ness, life at sea has its own pace. I find that if I try to do tasks faster than they were meant to go, they don’t go so well.
That’s also why I enjoy nostalgic books like the James Herriot series (All Creatures Great And Small etc). Seems like back then life moved at a more manageable pace. And you know what? Enough still got done.
Easy for me to say now, on Day 9. By Day 99 I might be feeling a bit differently, and by Day 149 I’d be decidedly hungry!
There are definite signs that I am making progress. As I head north and west (and, of course, as we move further into southern hemisphere winter), the sunrise is getting later, but so is the sunset. Unfortunately they’re still getting closer together, so every hour of daylight is precious. Currently sunrise is at 07.11, and sunset at 18.04. A few days ago sunrise was around 07.05, and sunset at 17.59.
Last night was a really rough one. Not much sleep was had, as waves crashed into the boat. No wonder I was feeling a bit seedy around bedtime. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get horizontal after writing my blog!
BTW, as a PS to the leaky locker story, I just wanted to put on record that I couldn’t have used the draft-seal tape on the locker where the watermaker pump used to be. It’s a different design, and the tape wouldn’t have helped. Just so you know.
I’m still working on my pirate name. It’s rather difficult to find one that doesn’t sound boastful. A radio interviewer who spoke to me while I was in Geraldton described me as “indomitable”, which I took as a great compliment. Captain Indomitable? Or Mad Roz McRower, Scourge of the High Seas?! Or, after Rico’s epic poem (bravo, Rico!) and in honour of Zen Dog, maybe I should stick with Skipper Serene?
Matt McFadyen – good to hear from you. Hope all is going well as an Aussie in California, and that you’re finding the natives friendly!
Thanks for today’s miles: Nick Perdiew, Anna Wildy, Brent Mashburn, Don Lindsay, Nate Beery, Will Hawkins, Michael Guy, Diane Freeman, Christine McNab, John Herrick.