Thursday, August 9, 2018

Evanston: defaults; dogs

        Carol is on the west coast on business and I have been ill today.
        I am not looking for sympathy here.  The illness is not serious.  I have become allergic to something.  I do not know what.  But every couple of weeks my nose runs like a faucet and I sneeze and cough and have trouble breathing and go through boxes of Kleenex.  I take an over the counter pill which helps.  I do not recall this happening on GANNET, so it may be something in this condo or location.  But the default for Webb Chiles is that at age 76 he feels strong and healthy.  So I now have increased empathy for those whom genetics and time and chance have not treated so kindly.
        This might be the time to say that I believe that inexplicably I was given several rare gifts genetically and all I have done is ride them the distance without screwing them up too much.
        Along those lines I must admit that I most respect those who who have body as well as artistic ability.  My friend, Tim, who did the double of running a marathon in the morning and playing the violin in an orchestra the same evening, is the perfect example. Tim didn’t do that to impress anyone.  He did it because that is what he is, just as I do what I do because that is what I am.

        Another default for me is Baroque music.
        I have five radio stations as favorites on an Apple TV app.  Radio New Zealand Concert.  BBC Radio 3.  Audiophile Baroque.  All Classical Portland KQAC.  Australian Broadcasting Classic FM.  
        Radio New Zealand is my first choice, but sometimes does not suit.  Nor do any of the others always, except for Audiophile Baroque, which I think comes from Switzerland.  It never fails me and is now playing Giovanni Battista Somis’s Sonata No. 12, which I had never heard before but like,

        When Carol is away I watch movies that I think might not interest her.  Last night I watched the movie GOLD which stars Mathew McConaughey and is better than I expected.  The story, based loosely on real events, is about a faked discovery of a gold mine and it reaffirmed my believe that true wealth is not in having more but in needing less.
        If you have been here a while you will be aware of my claim that of all of you I have had the smallest life time earnings.  Only one reader, a self-employed boat builder of great skill, suggested he might be able to compete with me as an American failure.
        At the CCA presentation dinner a woman sitting next to me asked about Carol, who was sitting on the opposite side of the table.  Knowing the crowd I was in, I told her Carol is a Harvard educated architect, and she said, “Oh, so that is how you have done this.”  I did not point out that on December 12, 1975 when I was off Cape Horn in Force 12, Carol was in high school in Charlotte, North Carolina.  And when I sailed CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, she was in college.
        Carol is a great success story.  She comes from a family that saw that all four children, two girls, two boys, got college educations, but beyond her bachelor's degrees she was on her own and she got into and paid for Harvard on her own and became a success in a male dominated profession.  
        I benefit by Carol’s earnings.  It is possible that she makes more in a year than I have in a lifetime.  It is certain that she does in two years.  But money was not of the least interest when I married her.  I in fact had at that time more than she.  I married her for the standard reasons of inextricably intertwined love and lust, and even now her income supports the way of life she wants to live, much of which I do not need or even want, except to want to be with her.

        I haven’t sneezed or had to blow my nose while writing this.  Too many variables.  Is it the concentration while writing?  Or the two martinis I drank?  Are martinis medicinal?  How great that would be.

        To deliberately change the subject, one reader asked if I had thought of sailing from Panama to Hilo, Hawaii, and completing the circumnavigation there and then shipping the little boat back to the mainland.  
        I have thought of sailing to Hilo, but it never occurred to me to ship GANNET back to California.  If I went to Hilo, I would sail from there to Seattle and then work my way down the coast to San Diego.
        However, if I do not sail from Panama to San Diego I am much more tempted to sail for the Marquesas and through the South Pacific to New Zealand, completing the circumnavigation at Neiafu, Tonga,
        Beyond those possibilities, though, there is a pleasing symmetry in completing what is probably my last circumnavigation in San Diego where I began my first.  The last thousand miles to San Diego is against wind and current and not easy.  ‘Easy’ is not my highest value. 
        I have understood my life while I have been living it better than most do theirs.  So far I have divided it in two parts:  ‘longing’ and ‘being’, the division precisely the morning of November 2, 1974, when I pushed the enginless EGREGIOUS away from her slip at Harbor Island Marina for what turned out to be my first of three attempts at Cape Horn.  There would be a pleasing symmetry if the second part of my life, ‘being’, ends where it began when I reach San Diego next year.  
        I don’t expect that many will understand or like what I call the third part of my life, but you will have to work on that if you want to continue to journey with me.  I call a spade a spade.

        Another reader asked how long it will take me to sail from Hilton Head to the Chesapeake.
        The distance from Hilton Head to Cape Henry, the southern entrance to Chesapeake Bay,  measures about 450 miles.  So without calms or headwinds, it would probably be four days. With good conditions GANNET could do it in three.  Without calms or headwinds, five would be slow.  With them it could take even longer.  
        Carol and I arrive at Hilton Head on Friday, August 31.  I'll be ready to sail by the following Monday or Tuesday.  It will all depend on the weather.
        And even if I can’t get up to the Chesapeake, unless GANNET is destroyed by a hurricane at dock, I will sometime in September go to sea, if only to sail away from the land for a few days and then sail back.
        I need to be at sea.


        The photo was taken by my friend, Michael, who visited when I was last in Hilton Head. I thank him for permission to use it.  A sea dog and a land dog, Michael's admirable Rusty, walking down the dock,