Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blog From the Sea of Cortez 2


I was sorry to miss the chance to travel recently with our friends, Angus (you may remember him as one of our first crew members) and his brother Graeme. Graeme is a whale biologist (a whale magnet actually) and over the twelve days I was gone, the boys on Circadia managed to spot tons (literally) of whales: pygmy sperm, humpback, pilot, fin and blue (including a baby the size of a city bus).

Blue Whale (photo, Graeme Ellis)

Each day, my thoughts turn more to the next phase of our journey, the Pacific crossing to French Polynesia. I trust the boat and I trust our crew (Tavish, also an early crew member, and his twin sister Farlyn will be sailing with us). Yet, I am anxious. Recently I read an interview with a woman climber. When asked how she overcame her fear, she answered that she didn’t, she just went anyways. I guess I can accept that; I can drag my fear along with me, like a bad knee, like a lost chance, something I’ll never get over.
Brown Boobies

But I am also curious. Flying home from Honduras, the earth seemed animate from above—veins of rivers, spines of mountains. But impossible to know, except in its small and particular wrinkles: a garden, a street, a beach. I’ve always wondered how it would feel to move slowly over a whole sea, to be intimate with immensity.

But I have no idea whether these poetic sentiments will sustain me. I’m pretty sure I won’t find the lack of fresh food or bathing difficult. I can go feral with the best of them. What I’m not sure of is what will happen to time. Will the days drag by or will they melt into one another? Will I be bored? And space—will I feel trapped, or could I be “…bound in a nutshell and consider myself a king of infinite space”.

In the meantime we have had one last interlude in the Sea of Cortez, with Kim’s brother, Doug, and his two small sons.
It is a simple landscape, this hot red stone and cool turquoise water. One where a person could go to remember themselves. Or forget—burn things off, wash them away. But mainly, where you are reminded of patience—how slowly everything here grows, decomposes, erodes.
Palo Blanco

I will spend the next week in Cabo San Lucas. A week of terra firma and time with my best girls, Jude and Darcy, who are flying down from Canada, before I take off on the next leg of this journey. A week to compose myself, maybe finally do some reading on the South Pacific, around the pool.
Frankly, I’m still a little hazy on the geography of our next destination. Not the best strategy, to wade into life’s unknowns perversely unarmed with knowledge. But the truth is I think there is only so much we can do to prepare for the biggest crossings, real and metaphorical, in life. You have to wait and see what happens and when the time comes, as we say in Canada, “just give er.”


Colene said...

What a joy to read today's post and engage in thoughts about travel and states of mind. I am (my reality) looking out on a snowy day and thinking modest, homey thoughts about the poor, shivering little lettuce starts that had been destined for the garden today. In my imagination I see only rolling ocean and sky, and wonder with you about the long sail and how the mind will adapt. I am really looking forward to hearing how this adventure goes.

Narama said...

Just give er' is right! We wish you smooth seas, the perfect breezes (let me know if there is such a thing) and dry bunks! I'm imagining all the time to read through a pile of books while you are underway, there's no need for major research ahead of time is there?

We are in Alert Bay after our winter of solitude. We love this community like its home, on the eve of our own voyage it seems a bit late to find it. Currently learing and starting a blog for Narama.

Love Heidi and Stephen.

Alison Watt said...

so nice to know you will be along in spirit

thanks for your good wishes. You are both an inspiration for Kim and I. Nice to feel you've found home, even if you are on the verge of leaving it for awhile. Can't wait to follow your blog,

terry said...

I just read your latest post from the comfort of my home gazing on the daffodils trying to bloom on our hillside - just arrived two days ago after 6 weeks away - and it brought back lovely memories of our time with you and Kim. I saw a Kiskadee in Colima and didn't know what it was till I saw the picture! I'll be thinking of you over the next few weeks on your open ocean adventure...I think your fear will diminish as you are underway, like the knee pain that gets better as you exercise it! I hope, anyway. Take care, love Terry

Alison Watt said...

thanks for the vote of confidence. I have some great pictures from our sail, which I will try to get off to you before I take off. Look forward to hearing about the rest of your time in Mexico...

Julie Zickefoose said...

Now, you just be careful out there! (shaking finger at you).

Immensity is what I would be thinking about, too, and I'm eager to see how the timeflow feels out on the sea. I would guess that you will need to reset your body clock to sea time. I spent parts of two summers sketching at an osprey nest and for the first couple of days I fought boredom until my clock switched over to osprey time. Then it was endlessly fascinating. I suspect you'll adapt very well and love it.

Teddy Roosevelt said that to truly know a man you must share a tent with him. I feel so lucky to have had a chance to be your roommate in Honduras. Reading your writing is like opening a present. Keep it up, AW!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison,
Your writing and your sketching just gets better and better. The book that comes out of all this will be impressive! I think your fear is a necessary part of the adventure, and it will work for you in ways that surprise you. Just give 'er indeed!
p.s. But what's this about your "best girls" meeting you down there? Hey, some of your best girls are back here on P.I. cheering you on!

Alison Watt said...

I'd love to see those osprey drawings sometime. Or better yet, spend some time drawing together!

yes, in fact I am very lucky to have so many best girls. Missing you all.

bathmate said...

I like it !

Best site !

Realy Good !

Best work !

Nice post !

Thanks !