Woodside, California

Generally I attempt to maintain an attitude of Zen calm in the face of life’s ups and downs. The Atlantic taught me, among many other things, that things are rarely as good or as bad as they seem, so there is no point getting too excited about the good, or too bent out of shape about the bad.

But this last week has tested my Zen serenity to its limits. Last weekend there was a short-term financial crisis that seemed to threaten my expedition – or at least my ability to pay the satphone bill (on which my blogs, videos, and podcasts depend). On Monday the money appeared.

Mid-week it seemed that some crucial pieces of kit had gone missing. After a sleepless night they were finally unearthed in an unexpected corner of the hangar where my boat is stored.

On Friday a friend and I baked in a California heatwave as a we laboured to get various bits of electrical equipment working, including the location beacon (which sends back my position to this website), the onboard camera system (needed so I can record footage for our environmental documentary) and my stereo (needed to keep me sane!). I won’t say we “failed”, as I was quite rightly reminded by comments on a previous blog that the f-word is simply a matter of interpretation, but I can safely say that we didn’t succeed. And all other forms of assistance had dried up.

Then yesterday the cavalry arrived in the shape of Rich Crow, the helicopter engineer who worked on my boat last year. He knows the electrical system better than anybody else.

He was grumbling like mad as he crammed his frame back into my tiny cabin to investigate the problem, but he swiftly traced the likely cause to a battery that had run so low over the winter that even the bright sunshine hitting the solar panels could not bring it back from the dead.

So each and every crisis has caused its fair share of despondency, only to be resolved the next day.

Funny how help turns up just when I need it, and a timely reminder that life has a way of looking after me. So why worry? Be happy!

[photo: Rich Crow manoeuvres the Brocade outside the Hayward hangar]

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