Sunday, April 5, 2015

Opua: a choice of pain and decision at St. Helena; others

        Sitting at Central this morning I needed to get my iPhone which was behind me on the v-berth.  I turned to my right, but couldn’t see it with my blind right eye.  I turned to my left, but couldn’t reach it with my torn left shoulder.  I smiled and levered myself up and around 180°, a maneuver on GANNET of Olympic gymnastic quality, and able to both see and reach the iPhone, picked it up, before turning back 180°, now even more difficult with the phone in one hand.
        People ask if my shoulder is good enough to sail offshore.  I think it is, assuming it can stand the occasional unexpected shock load, and there is no way to know that until it happens.
        I have two illustrated pages of maintenance exercises, eighteen in all, given me by my physical therapist, all of which are difficult to do on GANNET and some impossible.  Three call for use of a doorway.  As you will have observed GANNET doesn’t have a doorway.  However, life aboard is pretty good maintenance in itself.  I use the arm.  I reach.  I row.  I pull.  I lift.  And I improvise my own exercises, such as doing curls with the trash bag as I carry it to the dumpster ashore.
        While I have discomfort, sometimes increasing into pain, it is pain I can live with.  What I have is a choice of pain:  the pain I have and know or the pain of surgery and six months recovery.   Something may happen to change my mind, but I am inclined to keep with the pain I know, rather than spend the last half of this year with doctors and going through physical therapy again.


        Several readers have asked about my plans.
        Assuming I don’t have surgery, I will spend two more months later this year on GANNET, probably mid-September to mid-November.
        I’ll return to GANNET in March of 2016, sail west for Australia around the beginning of May, enjoy my favorite coastal passage in the world inside The Great Barrier Reef from Cairns to Cape York for the fourth time in my fourth different boat, over to Darwin, out to Cocos, on probably to Mauritius, and be in Durban, South Africa by September or October.
        From Durban I will continue around to Cape Town, then up to Namibia, which I haven’t visited since 1988, and out to St. Helena.
        At St. Helena I will have to make a decision:  southwest to the Falklands and an attempt at Cape Horn from the east; northwest to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal.  
        Bookmakers are wisely not quoting odds.


        New Zealand went off summer time yesterday.  
        I’m glad.  It was still pitch dark at 7 a.m. before the change.
        Last evening after an earlier sunset, I stuck my head through the companionway just as the full moon was rising.
        Here is the view I saw to the west this morning.

        I shot both scenes with iPhone and Nikon AW1.  I am beginning to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the iPhone 6.  The moon rise was taken with the Nikon.  It was beyond the iPhone’s capabilities.  The moon set, though, is from the iPhone.  I like it better than the shots I got with the Nikon.
        Although the Nikon AW1 is small, the iPhone’s greatest advantage is portability.  On GANNET the Nikon’s is being waterproof.  It also has interchangeable lenses.


        On the ‘joy-in’ weekend, Tom was sailing, snorkeling and relaxing in the British Virgin Islands.  He then flew home to New England where he dug a path through the snow to his boat to start to prepare her for a May 11 launch.

        On the evening last week I mentioned I looked up at the gibbous moon, Jim wrote that he went sailing on an Arizona lake after dark, under that same moon.  He was the only one sailing on the lake, possibly the only one sailing then in the State of Arizona, and found great peace.

        In England, Bill found peace, too, yesterday sitting on his boat watching the sun set, sipping white wine, playing his guitar.  He mentions wondering about drinking alone.  Doesn’t bother me.  Solo sailors drink alone or they don’t drink at all. 
        I am following two voyages, or will be when the second resumes tomorrow.  Both are, I believe, first time offshore passages.
        I’ve mentioned Dan and Audrey on COYOTE before.  Last report they have close to 40 knots of wind and look to be about a third of the way from Mexico to the Marquesas.
        I wish both crews fine passages.

        If you read of the man rescued after 66 days at sea you probably saw photos taken by Steve Earley who is a news photographer in Norfolk, Virginia.
        Of the rescued man, I have no comment other than the story as reported raises questions in my mind.
        But Steve’s photos reminded me of what I consider one of his greatest, which I ran here some time ago.  
        It is worth viewing again.