Continuing my retrospective on Stage 2 of the Pacific, there are a few special moments that will live on in my memory long after my calluses have peeled off and my suntan/burn has faded. Share these with me as we bask in the afterglow of my voyage…
1. Spectacular departure from Hawaii, escorted out of the Ala Wai Harbor at sunset by a flotilla of outrigger canoes, sailboats, motor launches, and a solitary stand-up paddler. A moment to treasure forever. With a special mention to the crew of the Blue Lady who came out after dark for a final farewell. They would be the last human beings I would see for the next 104 days.
2. Crossing the Equator, featuring a countdown on Twitter, paying homage to King Neptune (or at least his very capable deputy, Squishy the Dolphin), and opening up my goodie bag to discover a mini bottle of bubbly. Then getting slightly tiddly and rambling on at length to my video camera about how great life is – until the battery went flat and saved me from embarrassing myself further.
3. Realizing that I was going to be able to make it to Tarawa under my own steam, when a long-awaited southeasterly wind arrived at precisely the right moment to help me past Maiana and into the home strait.
4. Nicole jumping overboard from the boat carrying my welcoming committee, and swimming over to Brocade to deliver my long-awaited cold beer. Now that’s what I call dedication!
5. The amazing warmth of the reception in Tarawa. Three hundred or so people on the dock, all smiling, and the dancers performing a traditional dance of welcome. Especially after so long of being alone, the emotion was almost overwhelming.
6. The little magical moments in the ocean wilderness that made every day special, the entertainments that Mother Nature provides to entertain the solitary seafarer – sunrises, sunsets, the light of the moon, and the always awe-inspiring spectacle of a canopy of stars and the Milky Way.
And deserving of a special section all on its own, my favorite Rozling moments, of which there are really too many to mention. What a great bunch of people you are! The impression I got from the ocean was that a disparate assortment of individuals evolved over the summer into a thriving community. It was fantastic to witness. You know that feeling you get when you introduce two friends who both know you but don’t know each other – and they really hit it off and you can just sit back and enjoy their newfound friendship? Well, that’s how I felt, but on a bigger scale. It was like a whole party-ful of people, arriving as strangers but soon finding common ground and the conversation flowing. The whole became greater than the sum of the parts. I hesitate to pick out individuals, but If I had to select a couple of laugh-out-loud moments from Roz’s Regulars…
– Richard in Austin, TX, for the alternative lyrics to the Village People classic YMCA – entitled ITCZ
– UncaDoug and his Bimini Bobbity Boobity Moon!
I hesitate even more to try and list the names of the stalwarts of the Rozling community, in case I miss somebody out and offend them for evermore. I apologize unreservedly in advance if I don’t name you here, but I think we’d all agree that special mentions should go to: UncaDoug, Richard in Austin, Karen Morss, Laurey Masterson, Sindy Davis, Joan in Atlanta, Naomi in NY, Greg from Conway Kayaking Company, John Kay… and, of course, the inimitable Texino.
To these and to each and every person who has visited my blog this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am honoured to count you as my friends!
[photo: Luxuriating in the feel of an ice cold bottle of water just after I arrived on land.]