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Showing posts from August, 2010

181. Weigh anchor and set sails (3)

South of Norfolk and heading for Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island of New Zealand we came across a field of jellyfish. I say 'field' for lack of a better word. We were sailing through it, left right and center. When I sailed about the same course 2 years later they were still there! If anyone needs jellyfish for any purpose of medical research, for instance, they might still be there as far as I know. We were also visited by a weird big shark who hung around the hull for 2 days. Later on from various books I figured it was a whale shark. And last, when the weather started getting moving, we were visited by an albatros.

On board life was happy, gently flirting, efficient at driving the boat and culturally interesting. The old captain had a great sense of humor. His job was to keep the radio contact going and reporting to base in NZ. He never interfered with our jobs. But what he said was law. When we (me in particular) wanted to land on Norfolk he said no and that was …

180. WEIGH ANCHOR AND SET SAILS (2)

Dreaming of sailing again, yes, and making plans to find a crew position on a cruising sailboat, I've joined a number of sailing forums on the world wide web. On 'cruisersforum' you find all sorts of conversations between sailors in various parts of the world. It is not so diversified actually. They are mostly english speaking men. I tiptoed in one conversation the other day about a sailing plan from Cairns on the eastern coast of Australia to Auckland in New Zealand. Here's my observation:
Hi, The tradewinds are not that regular any more. I wouldn't sail that distance in a straight line anyway. Nothing is a straight line on the ocean as you know.
I sailed Noumea-Bundaberg once, Noumea-Auckland once, Noumea-Opua once.
If you could sail from Cairns to Noumea
... yes but not at this time of year. Anyway from New Caledonia you don't even have to tack once! From Noumea to Lord Howe the south easterlies push you to the west of Lord Howe and then the south westerlies pu…

173. Departing

To comment on a post called Last Time written by one of the blogging sailors I follow, I want to write about the idea I have of dying. In my mind it is connected with the experience we have throughout life of leaving. Departure, embarkment, setting sails. As a crew member on a sailboat I derive a special joy of casting the last line off and jumping on board last. Don't know why. I love departing!

Leaving, to me, is a special step forward to a known or unknown destination. What excites me probably is the discovery it promises: new lands, new people, new climate, new food, new everything.

Like coming out of your mother's womb. Like sailing out of any harbor's road. Especially out of Noumea's road. The island of New Caledonia, off the Australian Queensland coast by 800 nautical miles, has a reef belt. To leave with a sailboat you have to sail out of the lagoon through a narrow pass in the reef out into the dark blue Pacific ocean. Like getting born. Like 'departing&#…