Sunday, March 1, 2020
San Diego: one year and ashes
Not a typical San Diego day. Overcast with a small craft advisory and a chilling wind. Chilling by San Diego standards, not Chicago’s. Now at 6 PM online radar shows bands of rain spinning offshore and moving toward us. I have not left the Great Cabin all day, although I did occasionally stand in the companionway. I listened to music, read UNBROKEN, partially a survival story adrift in an inflatable in the Pacific Ocean—I can relate—and talked to Carol on the phone.
We are now in March. It has been almost a year since I completed the last circumnavigation. I have learned that after a difficult voyage or the loss of a significant love, I need a year.
When I completed my first circumnavigation, I had sailed more than 40,000 hard miles in less than two years, including the first two failed attempts at Cape Horn. I was newly in love with Suzanne and it was a year before I started to consider what I might do next which led in another year to the CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE voyage
After the end of a long relationship or a marriage, it has always taken at least a year before I was ready for another. Some exceptional women came along in those intervals, but it was too soon.
I have always thought that: “Fine. But what have you done recently?” is valid. My sixth circumnavigation has given me an acceptable response for a while, but is wearing thin. I am looking forward to HIlton Head, where I may be content daysailing and anchoring with alligators. But my mind has started to reach beyond those local waters. There are lands to which I have not sailed and could: Newfoundland; Greenland; Iceland; Scotland; Ireland. I am not saying I will, but absurdly I am not yet used up and I might.
If I keep my health I might sometime in this new decade make even a more radical voyage. That of course is the unknown variable. We are all eventually self-solving problems.
I have a shipmate of sorts. The cremated ashes of my friend Louise. I will cast them into the ocean sometime next week as she wished. I have learned that you need a permit to do this which seems odd for what could be more sterile than cremated ashes? Thanks to John, her executor, I have the permit. I would do so without it without a second thought.
If I die on land Carol knows that I too want to be cremated and disposed of in the water. If I die at sea that is another self-solving problem. A lot are.
At one time I asked that she dispose of my ashes in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, but that is not necessary. The ancient Greeks were right. There is only Ocean. One body of water covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. We may make artificial divisions, but the water does not. Our condo development in Hilton Head has it own pier extending into Skull Creek. Not for boats, but with a platform at the end for people to sit surrounded by water. Carol will only have to walk out there. I would prefer she do so on an outgoing tide.
I read today online about cremation. What we call ashes are really pulverized bone and possibly residue from the container in which the body was cremated, if one was used. Cardboard is common. Remains usually weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. Louise was a petit woman. Her shipping weight was less than 7 pounds.
I don’t know when I will go out. Tuesday at the earliest. I will make a video for those who cared about Louise and can’t be there. I know what I will say. I even know what music I will play. It is an unusual choice, but I believe perfect for Louise.