Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Opua: six months in a crawl space; a serious mistake; absurd; boring
Two weeks from now I will be 7,096 nautical miles from here, bearing 057° True. I have a waypoint at our condo and read the distance in iNavX. I will have lived aboard GANNET continuously for six months. I’m getting pretty good at it and better all the time.
While I don’t like heights, I often think that my sailing has much in common with some mountain climbers and I enjoy reading books about climbing. I just finished a good one, SOLO FACES, a novel by James Salter. It is well written and I liked it well enough to download another of his novels, A SPORT AND A PASTIME, which apparently is about a love affair not mountain climbing, but Mr. Salter makes the mistake of calling mountains ‘malevolent’ and ‘treacherous’. He also uses the word ‘conquer’. If you’ve been around here any length of time you know what I think of that.
We don’t conquer, we transit. Mountains can’t be treacherous because they have never given any reason for trust that could be betrayed. They aren’t malevolent. The ocean is not cruel or angry. They are insentient, simply there, and the universe destroys us with eternal indifference as byproducts of its own unknowable harmonies.
I know I’m repeating myself. Saying once again what I wrote almost forty years ago in STORM PASSAGE. But it seems to me a critical distinction, and I’ll keep on until people get it right.
Why would a solo sailor have two dinghies? Perhaps he dreams of catamarans.
Rain which was supposed to fall stayed offshore and today is sunny and pleasant. After applying more Deks Olje to the floorboards, the companionway partial bulkhead, and the tiller—none to the bilge this time—I rowed to the far dock near the dinghy rack, dragged the old Avon down to the water, inflated and scrubbed it, scabbed the little fiberglass dinghy as well and locked it up again, then towed the old Avon back to GANNET where we will see how long it remains inflated. If it is still firm tomorrow, I may deflate the new Avon and use the old one for the remainder of my time here as well as the final row ashore.
Many years ago the woman who was then a part of my life and I flew through Hong Kong on our way from Singapore to California to see my grandmother. One evening in Hong Kong we went to have a drink at a bar at the top of a tower seventy or eighty stories high. The night view over the lights of the harbor was spectacular. I asked the young man who served us if he still noticed it, and he said that he didn’t. It had become common place.
Repetition is boring, but being on the water, being here in Opua, never becomes common place to me. I am aware of it, how much I love it, unceasingly. And so you risk being bored because I am going to mention that wonder from time to time.
I’m also going to post sunset photos, though I try to resist.
These two were taken consecutively the other evening.