Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 5: Westward Bound, Finally! Sailing in the Moment, Marking Time

Last night the wind started to clock around from the West to the
Northwest and today it is coming from the NNW, allowing us to sail
directly west to Hawaii. We were all getting a little tired of going
southwest and feel relieved to know that we are now truly making a
beeline for our destination. The wind has also filled in, allowing us
to travel at a rate of 6-7 knots consistently. This will greatly
improve our eta. It is bad luck to talk about what day one might
arrive, so I will leave it at that. We have traveled about 650 nautical
miles so far, and have about 2,080 to go. So far all under sail with
NO engine assistance!

As we get into our daily routines, I realize that this time is indeed
what my blog title says - it is a "passage to now." While sailing, I am
truly doing nothing but sailing. Checking the wind, adjusting the
sails, watching the water, looking at the charts. Being present. In
that sense, it is a form of meditation that works far better for me than
the traditional seated meditation - sitting in a room trying to quiet
the mind has never worked for me. Sailing does. My mind is quieter
than ever.

Until night watch. It's funny, logically I know that nothing is
happening at night that doesn't happen during the day. It is the same
ocean, the same swell and wind and current. Still, the darkness adds a
level of mystery to the passage. The sea turns from brilliant blue to
dark black. During my 11pm to 2am shift, I swear the boat creaks more,
the waves splash more loudly, the wind blows more fiercely. The same
point of sail during the day, the same angle of heeling and speed feel
more out of control than they do in bright daytime light. Everything
feels exaggerated.

So I listen to some music and temper my fears. Peeking over the side at
the wake, I see in the water splashing away from the hull the most
glorious phosphorescence lighting up the black sea with bright white and
greenish light. When I am lucky, a few dolphins come swim with the boat,
their bodies outlined with the lights of their disturbed microorganism
friends as they travel through dark water.

Two nights ago we saw the southern cross in the night sky for the first
time, a constellation that is not visible at home. We celebrated by
blasting CSN's "Southern Cross." Carmen baked brownies yesterday. We
successfully reefed our sails and maintained controlled sailing in 20-25
knots of wind. Today we sail westward. We mark our days with
meaningful events like these. We have heard of people sailing to Hawaii
on the trade winds, setting their sails and their course in California
and never having to change course for thousands of miles. I think we
are there?


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