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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' from this life into the dark blue Beyond. Physically it is a strange feeling. While in the lagoon you are still land bound, thinking of friends, people you know, bills you had to pay, books you read, phone calls you made. And then, just after the pass, you find youself in another world. You become sea bound. Everything that reminds you of land is remote and blurred. Not that you don't like those friends anymore but you suddently don't care. Your new life is on this ocean, this dark blue Beyond, with new rules and realities.

The latest last time I sailed out of Noumea's road was in October 1999. It is also the last time I sailed at all. Will I ever sail again? Was it my very last time? In any case there's always this next 'departing' coming up one of these days... leaving loved ones behind of course, but somehow looking forward to this grand departure.
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