Monday, March 30, 2009, Day 8
12 noon, Pacific Daylight Savings Time
14 degrees, 57 minutes N, 121 degrees, 33 minutes W
Nautical Miles traveled: 845
"…And we went on living day by day in accordance with the abnormal conventions of the dream-world: anything can happen and whatever happens the dreamer accepts it." Roberto Balaño, By Night in Chile.
At night sometimes we turn off the running lights and sail through the dark, by the light of stars and bioluminescence. The moon was a waning sliver when we left and has just reappeared. It's nice to know it will be waxing as we travel closer and closer to our destination. On my watch I stand at the wheel and stare at the green discs of the instrument panel. At first I had to concentrate hard, now I can unconsciously nudge the wheel to keep the boat on course, and let my thoughts wander. This oversupply of thinking time takes some getting used to. It must have been the way people lived for thousands of years-long periods of repetitive activity in which the mind was unengaged.
I think about my past. I spend time in my thoughts with people I have missed recently. I think about my father's father, who grew up in Shetland and went to sea at fifteen. In 1921 he spent almost three weeks in a lifeboat with ten other men, on this sea. They eventually rowed and sailed 950 miles back to the continent, to be picked up off San Francisco. I try to imagine what it was like to be in a small open boat in the middle of this expanse, what he thought and felt. He died before I was born; I wish I could have met him.
I make plans for the future (though I try to be in the present) but this is not a journey which can be hurried even if we wanted to. We have had generally light winds, with intervals of 8-13 knots, when we can put up the blue spinnaker and make about 6-7 knots. It's not a fast way to travel, but it adds up…