Sweet and Sour
22 August 2010 | En Route Niue
Fatty Goodlander wrote a piece about his mother who had raised him on a boat traveling around the world. She was 90 and hospitalized for a broken hip. His love for her is palpable. Timmy, as she called him, paralleled her life with a trip he had recently made from Galapagos to the Tuamotus. It was a great crossing and he didn't want to stop when his boat "Wild Card" arrived at Makemo, but he did because it was time. Every journey ends, but as he says, "it's the sweetness in between that makes the birds sing and the flowers bloom". As I sit here beneath a brilliant blue sky and watch the Pacific stream by en route to Niue, my appreciation for this life and what it has brought, never very far away, is re-energized. Particularly, the last 19 months of personal passage has been incredibly sweet.
Later, as dinner of red beans and rice, pork loin and salad is half finished, wind shifts so much that main has to be swapped to starboard for wing and wing to maintain course within 30 degrees of destination. During this process wind nearly dies, rain begins and a fish starts reeling out line like he wants to make Beveridge Reef by dark. Tighten drag to slow his progress and, to give the boat some way, crank engine which promptly stops. Recrank, restops. Notice cushions, AKA bedding for the evening, are getting soaked, so move them and begin closing side curtains when fish makes another run pulling rod holder horizontal. Run to grab pole as it begins to slip out, then with free hand hammer holder back into position just as line goes slack. Meanwhile, wind has veered so much that track is 90 degrees to intended course demanding that drifter be snuffed and redeployed to starboard side... or could just wait to see if wind returns to its previous direction sometime soon. Opt for that second thing, but wind keeps moving right, taking boat toward California, and so, not wanting to work foredeck in rapidly falling darkness, perform maneuver in cloud darkened twilight. As heavy rain falls, wind indeed works its way back around toward original direction and I wonder how the glow of first paragraph could go so wrong.
PS Fatty's article was in the November '09 Cruising World, page 36. Beautiful.