Sunday, February 17, 2019

Shelter Bay Marina: waiting; a human error; part 3

        7 pm.  Tequila with a slice of lime at hand.  Eva Cassidy singing, “I know you by heart”.  Earlier I was sitting on deck listening to the 1955 Glenn Gould GOLDBERG VARIATIONS and a man walking along the dock said, “Beautiful music.”  It is.
        I did more mast lowering preparation  this morning.  Disconnecting the wires that run to the masthead tricolor and the steaming light.  ‘Steaming light’ and GANNET don’t seem to go together.  I removed the split rings from the shroud turnbuckles and tied a line between the stern corner pulpits to support the mast when it is lowered.  There isn’t anything more for me to do except wait for others to do their work.  That is what I most dislike about Panama:  my life and my boat are no longer in my control, either in the canal or trucking across.  I will be so glad when GANNET is in the Pacific Ocean with her mast up and I don’t need anything from any body and can just deal with the sea.


        It is a common human failing to postulate  personal failings into universal principles.  You can’t do something, so no one can.   This is not usually true.
        Three examples.
        I don’t read much about sailing any more and when I do, I often find younger sailors reinventing the wheel, thinking they are solving problems that I solved and wrote about decades ago.
         One of these, written by a self-styled ‘expert’ stated that you can’t row an inflatable dinghy.  
         I have rowed Avon Redstarts for forty years.  Carol learned to row a Redstart.  She might need some refresher practice, but she could again.
         Gin has become trendy.  I feel about trendy drinkers as true Christians probably feel about those who only go to church at Christmas and Easter.
      I recently read that no one drinks gin straight.  Gin is for cocktails.  At this moment I would love an ice cold martini, but in the absence of that impossibility, on GANNET I usually drink air temperature gin straight.
         A reader sent me a link to an online sailing forum in which someone wrote that Moore 24s have impossibly small interiors in which no one can move around much less live.
         I sometimes get tired of ignorance.
         It is proven that a tall, 6’1”/1.85 cm, old man can live on a Moore 24 continuously for at least seven months and live well, making ocean voyages, writing superior prose, listening to beautiful music, reading great books,  and drinking from time to time 10 year Laphroaig from a crystal glass.
        So I sip tequila—I have only a third of a bottle of Laphroaig on board and unless I find more in Panama City will save it for San Diego.  There can be no other end of voyage, end of the second part of my life, drink.  And I wait until I regain my freedom from others.
        I don’t know what my future brings, other than death, but I do know that I will never  return to Panama.  I hate—not too strong a word--my dependence on others here.
         The alternatives are the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn.
         The Northwest Passage is cold, though decreasingly so, but it is all coastal, and I am pelagic.
        Cape Horn is at the heart of my life.  But I don’t think that in anything but exceptional conditions GANNET could round it east to west.  Off the Bahamas a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t tack GANNET in less than 180º.  She just doesn’t have the weight.  10’/3 meter waves stopped her dead, and the waves off Cape Horn are often much higher.
        The other way, west to east, is possible on GANNET and would be interesting.  
        I don’t think it will happen.
        I would first have to sail to New Zealand and once there, I would certainly keep GANNET in the Bay of Islands for the two years foreign vessels are now permitted.  That would take me into my 80s.  And if the Hilton Head condo problems are ever resolved, I may become an Atlantic Ocean sailor.  Of the oceans, I think of the Pacific and the Southern as home waters, though I once wrote that the world is my home waters and I agree with the ancients that there is only Ocean.
        So I wait.
        When I was on deck earlier, two hawks were circling high overhead, light wind created ripples on the water, stars begin to appear, and a gibbous moon.
        I love being on the water.


        The image is a screen shot of a site that measures ocean passages.
        As you can see the shortest distance from Balboa, Panama, on the Pacific side of the isthmus, to San Diego is 2844 nautical miles which at 4 knots made good would take almost 30 days,  Much of the passage will be light winds and in head winds.  We will have to sail far more than 2844 miles and I doubt we will make four knots good.
        With patience we will free ourselves of others and the land and get on with it.