Sunday, December 16, 2018
Two weeks from tomorrow Carol and I fly to Savannah from where she will drive us in a rental car the thirty or forty miles to Hilton Head Island. For five nights we will stay in a hotel until she flies back to the Midwest, but our arrival will be the demarcation between my land life and my sea life.
I expect that 2019 will be one of the more significant years in my life.
GANNET will be forty years old in 2019, and hopefully I will complete my sixth and probably my last circumnavigation, and perhaps the second phase of my life, which began on November 2, 1974, when I pushed EGREGIOUS away from her slip at Harbor Island Marina in San Diego for my first attempt at Cape Horn, a phase I have called ‘being’. No one at that marina now would recall that distant event, although perhaps a few there would know my name.
I am at this moment feeling the distance between my life and yours. I have not lived as you and even Carol have. Many of you have talents I do not have and which I admire, but we have not lived in the same dimension. For whatever reason I have usually tried to reduce that distance. I don’t believe that since I became an adult I have cared about fitting in—as a child I did, but then I was a child—but I have expended a lot of energy reducing friction. That is one of the things I most love about being at sea: there I don’t have to compromise; I don’t have to adapt; I don’t have to get along: I can just be me. Flat out, unadulterated, uncompromised me.
I have tried to convey that experience to you in words and some photographs. I have had wonderful experiences on land with women. I value my interactions with many of you, some of whom I consider friends, whether we have met in person or not. I am pleased to have been able when speaking to bring audiences to their feet. I am pleased with some of the words I have strung together and will leave behind. But the very best of Webb Chiles has only been experienced by Webb Chiles alone at sea.
I hope it will be again next year.