Sunday, April 9, 2023

Hilton Head Island: another definition of epic; how; no club


(I wrote this last night, but waited until I reread it today to decide whether to post it.  Sometimes a third glass cannot be trusted.)

I try to stick to my two glass limit, but it is 8 PM here and above is my third glass.  I have already had two martinis.  You will agree that it is a small glass.  It is now filled with my favorite liquid.

I have had an indoor day and am restless.

The front that has crossed this country passed here today.  As is usual it was much less than forecast.  We are under a gale warning, but I have not seen ten knots on Skull Creek.  Rain has fallen intermittently, but not much.  As I have noted here before, in my experience meteorologists all over the world do not give their most accurate forecasts, but the most extreme possible.  Were I a meteorologist I would do the same.  Predict severe weather and it does not happen, no one will care.  Do not predict severe weather that does happen and you will get all kinds of grief. For myself I would like the most realistic forecasts, but then I do not have any social media accounts.

I watched parts of several soccer games and part of one baseball game.  Of course I listened to some Bach and read some poetry, ancient Chinese and more of Tennyson’s IDYLLS OF THE KING.  I listened to more music than Bach.  I beat my computer three games out of four at dominos.  I did my resistance band workout, which I have been neglecting and should not.  I could feel that it uses different muscles than my other workouts do.  This was a rare week when I worked out six days in row.  I take Sundays off, but have been taking Saturdays off too, which is resistance band day.

Odd that I feel more confined in this condo when I can’t go outside than I do when sailing in the infinitely smaller space of GANNET.  

I have said and perhaps written that I like this condo because it is almost like living on a boat.  But only ‘almost’.  On GANNET, even when confined to the Great Cabin during a gale, I am closer to the sea and the natural world.

I come in personal contact with our species much less than most.  I prefer contacts through reading and listening to music created by other original minds.  But sometimes I have selective personal contacts that are enlightening.

Such happened last weekend to which I have already made reference in being asked about an epic life which caused me to consider what I meant.

In subsequent emails, Win, the man who asked the question, provided a very good answer.  I quote with his permission:

‘If epic, etymologically, is a poem sung, a poem worth singing and passing along, and the root word of poem is ‘work’, then perhaps an epic life is one that is ‘a thing made or created’ with purpose.

Last weekend I was also told by a man that in talking about me to many of his friends who are lawyers, they expressed a longing to have lived my life and wondered how I had.

The simple answer is that I was born to.  

I was born in the middle of the American middle class.  This is in fact a huge step up from where most of our species have been born.  So I had opportunities that most homo sapiens never had.  But I found my own way by not accepting social norms and values, and as a sailor not accepting traditional beliefs of what is needed to sail oceans.

I have written that the only two things I think I know are that consciousness resists unconsciousness and that DNA seems to impose an imperative that it be projected blindly into the future.  So if you have passed yours on and been a good parent you have done your job.

From childhood I have thought my job was different.  I thought I was meant to live and write as I have. I knew negatively what a good parent should be and I knew I could not be a good parent and live as I needed to live.  So the family neuroses end with me.  In an end-means continuum some must be ends.

But I also have been able to be free and live as I have because I can get by on so little.

Forty years ago an English journalist wrote:  “Perhaps no one in the history of seafaring has done so much with so little as Webb Chiles.”  That was during the interval between CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE and CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE 2, and long before GANNET.

I am unexpectedly in my old age financially comfortable because of Carol’s success.

I have already written that I did not marry her for her money and that when we married I had more than she.  I never even considered money when we met.  It was lust that become love.  

The photo was taken in the Azores in 2001, seven years after we met.  I run it with Carol’s reluctant permission.

I am careful with words and some, such as ‘soul’ and ‘love’, cause me pause.  I now define ‘love’ as what I feel for Carol, though that may not be of much use to others.

But know this.  I live in this condo because Carol can afford it. I could not.  But if I had never met her and if I were now still alive I would be living at least as meaningful a life on $9,000 GANNET on the other side of the world, and I would be doing my job there as I am here.

About the time I began GANNET’s circumnavigation a minor publication ran an article with a title something like, ‘The Old Mens Circumnavigator Club’.  A reader of this journal told me about it or I would not have seen it.

The article listed three men:  a rich American who owned a custom Farr design around 52’ long; a Scandinavian who said he was going to make a non-stop solo circumnavigation of Antarctica from Australia in a very small boat, around 10’ or 11’ overall.  I don’t recall the exact details, but the numbers are close enough.  I also believe the Scandinavian said his voyage would be 30,000 miles long.  I wondered at that because the circumference of the planet at the Equator is 21,600 nautical miles and his would be a one hemisphere voyage and considerably shorter.

The rich American started twice and never got past South Africa.  As far as I know the Scandinavian never started at all.

After GANNET and I completed our circumnavigation I emailed the editor of the publication telling him there is no club.

He never responded.

1 comment:

Flick said...


FWIW, I use the Wunderground( app & web site. Not a nautical forecast, per se, it gives generally accurate (and usually under- rather than over-blown) numbers for wind.
The web site shows cloud cover and rain chance on its ten-day view, with wind (unfortunately, imho) on a separate parallel scale.
The app shows hourly rain chance, accumulation, and wind values for the coming day -- becoming progressively less reliable, of course, as one scans into the future.
For my daysailing adventures, I can at a glance see relatively dry, perhaps sunny, and reliably windy days for planning an outing. (Unfortunately I have to consult our calendar for family commitments. ;-) )
My most recent outing, another attempt at Hammersley Inlet:

FWIW, and go well.