Sunday, July 30, 2017

Marathon: Iceland; the whale's path

        Zane writes from Auckland that it is unusually cold there 3ºC/37F and in Opua it is 2º/35.6F.  Sounds good to me.
        While my sixth circumnavigation still has 5,000 miles to go, I have thought what I might do after, time and chance permitting, I complete it.  Guy Dickinson recently walked across part of Iceland.  I checked the weather and found that Reykjavik’s summers are similar to Opua’s usual winters:  lows about 10C/50F and highs about 15C/59F.  Right now it is 62F in Reykjavik.  It is 96F/35.5C in GANNET’s cabin.  A voyage to Iceland is increasingly attractive.
        A west breeze is reaching GANNET today.  A Calfamo MiniMax fan is on constantly when I am below deck.  It is presently blowing on me at Central.  I take it forward to the v-berth at night.  Depending on the speed setting, four D cell batteries last more than 100 hours.  I keep an ample supply on hand.  Without a fan, life in the Great Cabin would be intolerable.
        I am not wearing my Apple watch or my hearing aids.  Both would almost instantly be gummed up with sweat.
        You may wonder how I would get GANNET to Iceland from San Diego.
        It is increasingly likely that GANNET will become an east coast boat.  It would be easier and considerably less expensive for me just to leave her here; but I started in San Diego and unless I can’t get across Panama, I’ll end there and have the little boat towed back.


        I have managed to get the two new solar panels installed and wired.  
        Today I filled with epoxy the holes left in the deck by the defunct Aurinco panels, sanded the areas covered by the last two panels that I removed yesterday, and used my Dremel tool to cut the end off a bolt that almost invariably sliced me whenever I crawled aft on the port pipe berth.
        Tomorrow I’ll paint the deck where the Aurinco panels used to be.
        Two more charge booster/controllers are due to be delivered on Tuesday.  After they arrive, I’ll crawl aft and wire each of the stern mounted Solbian panels individually.  
        Each of the Solbian panels is rated at 50 watts, so GANNET now has nominally 200 watts of solar charging, far in excess of her needs.  
        I have heard from Zach at North Sails that my new sails will probably not be delivered until August 14.  I have paid for this slip through August 16.  
        I’ve rented a bicycle for two weeks.  
        Marathon is about five miles long and two blocks wide.  Marathon Marina, where I am staying, is at the far west end of Marathon.  A few restaurants and a West Marine store are within a mile, but the supermarket and most shops are almost three miles away.
        I pedaled to the supermarket and Home Depot yesterday.  I  bought a sandwich for lunch and a salad for dinner, but I don’t have much appetite in this heat and only ate the sandwich.  
        I am drinking about a gallon/4 liters of liquid a day.


        I love the whale’s path, the long waves, the wind flecking the world with blown spray, the dip of a ship’s prow into a swelling sea and the explosion of white and the splatter of saltwater on sail and timbers, and the green heart of a great sea rolling behind the ship, rearing up, threatening, the broken crest curling, and then the stern lifts to the surge and the hull lunges forward and the sea seethes along the strakes as the wave roars past.  I love the birds skimming the gray water, the wind as friend and as enemy, the oars lifting and falling.  I love the sea.  I have lived long and I know the turbulence of life, the cares that weigh a man’s soul and the sorrows that turn the hair white and the heart heavy, but all those are lifted along the whale’s path.  Only at sea is a man truly free.

        —from THE PAGAN LORD, the seventh of The Last Kingdom novels by Bernard Cornwall