The ocean feels immense, and safe. Deeply lovely. Reaching this place
felt like the necessary slog to a favourite high space,- be it the
undulating ridge of the Malvern hills or the Tibetan plateau, the climb
is never my favourite bit. Some might argue that our height hasn't
changed at all from yesterday to today but I argue contrary: the depth
below us has dropped beyond comprehension. It's all just a matter of
perspective and baseline. Leaving the coast of Chile, entering the
rolling mass of water, pushing on up and through the heaving waves, felt
like a climb. And the motion reminded me of weebles. How it must feel,
being a weeble.
For those of you too young or old to relate, or of a different cultural
upbringing, weebles are about the size and shape of a medium easter egg,
are made of plastic, and have a perfectly round hemi-sphere for their
lower halves. I think their top half vaguely resembled humans. They were
fun to play with in the bath because they always pointed upwards. What I
never gave them credit for, however, was the amount of side- to- side
motion they were continually responding to. Indeed, though weebles
looked like little fatties, they must have had incredible core strength.
Who needs pilates when you've got ocean, or bath, all around to work
I was washing up this afternoon, in the cockpit as usual, two buckets of
sea-water, one with soap and one for rinse, and a pile of things to
scrub. While Andy was deeply involved with developing new methods to
improve our velocity (both speed and direction), I was entirely occupied
with holding the two full buckets between my legs – a good inner thigh
workout-, the pots and pans around my circumference – good back
stretching -, and my torso somewhat vertical to the horizon- surely
great for the stomach muscles. Needless to say I wasn't too appreciative
of the physical advantages of the system, I just momentarily found
myself dreaming of a house… or a boat with a proper sink.
Then I looked up and remembered where I was and it all seemed too
ludicrous to be true. It wasn't just the three hours of big rolly waves
that were the hike here,- the whole last years, and even last week were
part of it. We were waiting in Puerto Ingles for eight days in the end,
sitting out crap weather. Two of the nights we even ran a night watch
for fear of our anchor dragging again.
To be fair, our time in Puerto Ingles was, for me, much needed. When we
arrived we were 'ready', but when we left, I actually felt ready. We
fixed things and found homes for items, learned to move around this
space and each other without going insane, and also had the great
fortune to be waiting to leave with another yacht.. conveniently owned
by a couple who not only have several years sailing experience, but have
also owned several fine restaurants in France. We ate like royalty and
have decided that if all other navigation equipment fails, we should be
able to smell our way across the Pacific, in their wake. Puerto Ingles
also offered us one more example of incredible Chilean hospitality in a
house overlooking the bay,- we left with happy memories. Yet again:
great people, terrible weather.
To my pleasant surprise, I feel much safer our here, in the big blue,
than…. anywhere we've ever been previously on Zephyrus. For sure my
confidence in the boat has grown as I've seen her respond to different
stresses (like me driving), but there's also so much less to bump into.
There's nothing to bump into. If I back the sails, we flap off in a
funny direction for a while; if the winds get too high we hove to (don't
ask, I'll hopefully never have to explain further), or throw out a sea
anchor (really don't ask about that one). Actually, I'm not going to
continue this thought, god knows what I might dream up next.
It feels safe, that's the point. It feels amazing. The weather gods have
been good to us, paid us back for waiting for the right time. Winds are
fair but not too strong; waves are big, so big they gently glide right
under us; the sun is shining, and a pair of wandering albatrosses
escorted us throughout our first day. I could stare at the sea endlessly
without getting bored and right now don't care if it takes two days or
two weeks to reach Juan Fernandez. Let the journey begin.