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Friday, July 8, 2011

A Voyage of Trust

Ship's Log Wed July 6
Lat 7 degrees 29 min S

Lon 138 degrees 52 min W

Heading for our waypoint at Lat 09 degrees 45 min S Lon 138 degrees 45 min W where we will tack and sail nm until we reach our first landfall...that of Atuona, Hiva Oa of the Marquesas Islands!

A Voyage of Trust

Two major events each illustrating the polar end of trust, in my mind, have occured quite late in this 5 week leg of our voyage that have made a profound impact on my thinking, my perspective and yes, even my life! Not to appear to be too full of navel gazing I did want to share with you some of my thoughts!

The first event happened one beautiful evening just at dusk (which does not last long here in the tropics) as Bill and I were enjoying a quiet time in the cockpit almost mezmerized by the long rolling swells that were rocking us almost to sleep. All of a sudden one of our bird friends, this one was a fairly large - 18 inch wing span- Shearwater flew very close to us following wing stroke by wind stroke to our port beam... beautiful as he flew confidently forward yet eyeing us as he kept pace. All of a sudden he headed up and as I stood up to follow his path I watched as he attempted to land on one of our mast steps near the very top of the mast. He would swoop near the mast and stall to attempt a landing then flutter to the side as the mast swung past holding my breath until I saw him safe. He did this a couple of times getting closer to his target each time then, to my horror I watched as he made a final brave effort to perch on the top step... just as the boat and hence the mast rolled wildly toward him!! I yelled out at him as I watched with heart in my throat the mast strike him very heavily on the side of his body and wing... down he went plunging into the sea just aft of our stern landing heavily in our stern wash. Both Bill and I sat paralyzed unable to help watching as he struggled to bring his damaged wing close to his body. To our great relief he was able to get his wind back, wing tucked in, take a few breaths to recover then slowly fly away close to the waves... we watched as he flew out of sight seemingly getting stronger as he went. This poor bird had so much trust in his deep belief in a steady perch staying where he trusted it to be... and a near tragedy happened.

Surely he will put this lesson in his brain when he next decides to trust a moving perch. Learning to trust with a pinch of salt can be a good thing too.

The second event was not at all dramatic and, in fact, it was something that we had been living with for at least three weeks before I noticed it .. our gimballed stove in the galley. To give you a bit of background I will explain that our stove is on gimbals which allow it to swing freely with the movement of the boat. In fact sometimes it swings so well to counteract the heeling of the boat that one finds it holding at 45 degrees or more. You can well imagine how startling this might be and what the cook who might be in the middle of, let's say, boiling a big pot of water for a nice pasta dish for dinner... might be tempted to do... uhuh ... automatic response is to steady that ol' stove and get it even right???

Luckily this cook did not grab at it but was so traumatized by it and was sure that our stove was misbehaving - I mean it is not possible that cooking pots should be swinging so wildly. I decided to create a nice little brake which would not allow the stove to swing beyond a certain point... so I loosely tied a teatowel from the stove to the steady bar in front of it. It worked... sort of (my bread came out with a huge bulge on the lee side of the loaf...funny thing that!)... and nothing spilled... then one day I forgot to tie on the towel'brake' having put a pot of stew on to cook and I headed up to the cockpit to enjoy a pre-dinner drink with the crew. As I glanced down at the stove during one particularly severe heel of the boat I watched holding my breath as the stove took off - swinging at an unbelievably steep angle... and I noticed with disbelief that the surface of the stew was level and cheerily bubbled away as though it were not almost perpendicular to me!! I could not believe it but I decided not to use the buffer teatowel when I put the water on for the pasta and... guess what??? Yup! Same thing happened - boiling pot of water, boat heels sharply and pot of boiling water happily stays even! Needless to say since that time I have not tied up our stove and I could trust to let nature do its thing.

Since those two events of the testing of trust I have noticed many events in this voyage of ours that require trust... sometimes blind trust.

Trust in our boat Terrwyn that she will not flip over when holding an almost impossible to believe point of heel or fall apart with the incredible forces of wind and waves... trust in our brave and knowledgeable co-cap Bill with the decisions he makes while on watch while I am sleeping peacefully below decks... trust that I can go out (well harnessed in with double tethers at all time) and do my turn in our daily check all around our Terrwyn... trust in the fact that even though we have seen only rolling waves (at times along with huge swells) for weeks on end that yes we will eventually come to land... trust the charts that show the location of those tiny pinpoints that apparently represent our destination... trust the Pacific Seafarers Net that they (volunteer ham radio operators all over the world) are there waiting to hear from us each evening and will take steps to inquire if we do not check in at our regular time... trust that the messages we send through Sailmail and Spot will get to the appropriate destinations... and finally trust that our family and friends have not forgotten us (thanks to our relentless BB - Blog Boy- Gord).

In trust I will now sign off (listening to Placido Domingo with the swoosh of waves in the background as a soundtrack to this voyage).

Cath - with Bill on watch in the cockpit, trusting that I won't go on too long with this little entry :-)

Now a few words from Billy:

White horses, right. We got them and had them now for seems ages, maybe a week "to windward".

She rises to the Waves and feels definitely Alive. The crew (captains) are losing a little weight (which in my case is a good thing) but gaining cute little bruises most everywhere.

Never pooh-pooh the Equitorial Current setting west, just as we do our best to eke out a few minutes of easting. But this too shall pass and we'll turn right and ride the seas to the west.

Terrwyn continues to teach and we do our best to learn her and the ocean's way. It's still infatuation with these variables but enough for now the Polynesian culture and Islands are not far away!!

Your Billy


  1. Hey Bill and Catherine,
    I'm sure the waiting and patience that the equator has demanded are another lesson being learned. Felt sorry for the bird, wonder if he will ever approach a sail boat again.
    we are haing warmer temps, but some really big wings > 100 pkh last night and tornados north of town. Stampede kicked off, and the Royal visit is over. Several of us were trapped in the underground security while they were here. Me I left the truck walked out and got picked up.
    Looking forward to your on land adventures, wonder if you'll get 'land sick' after getting used to the motion.

    Still Jealously reading,
    Bear Hugs

  2. We are reading and "watching" using the eyes of your description.

    We do miss your Spot satellite messenger location finder page. It worked well the first few weeks.

    April and Brent

  3. Found you by your call number VEOWCN on Yotreps! Saw your location - great! Your getting close to the islands! Amazing voyage!

    April and Brent