Fear of sailing
25 March 2012 | Pacific ocean
I'm not alone in being frightened by sailing. Im told lots of people have a fear of sailing. Alex, owner of Alwoplast which built Hekla tells the story of the wife of one of his former clients being terrified to even step foot on their new Atlantic 57. He said on board she trembled and shook. But now after having survived an ocean crossing and sailing with her husband, they haven't been off the boat. They have been sailing for two years straight, and she loves it. I love many things about sailing; the way wind fills the sails and powers us smoothly along, the feel of wind blowing against my face, being in the warm sun on some days and the overcast days on others, being in nature, being a little floating home in a big natural world, feeling small and big at the same time. Still there are things that are not as comfortable for me; this is a complicated machine of which I have a lot to learn, what if something happens to Jeff? What do I do?, I am not a natural mechanic preferring to move with simpler technology: bikes or kayaks or none: walking, sailing is complicated, you have to pay attention most of the time to weather, wind, water, other boats, your own sailing vessel, your mind should not wander as mine often does. But it's the other fear that I really grapple with. A fear that at times grips me, irrationally and fiercely. I am afraid of water, of deep bodies of water. Sometimes when we are kayaking and I look down into the murky depths below me, my breath gets sucked out. I see fantastic erie monsters of seaweed and mussel coated rocks with evil intentions. I see a faint outline of a fish or sea lion swim by and my mind conjures scenarios in which I fall in and get eaten alive, bite by bite. I talk myself down by breathing deeply and slowly and describing what I see. Fear begets fear, so I try not to let it get ahold of me. Still unexpectedly it can surface and have it's way with me. Jeff behind me in the kayak leans left suddenly. We are in no real danger of tipping, but it starts the fear hounds howling in my mind. I say a few curse words under my breath. Very few people in my life know that from my early twenties on I have had a haunting and reoccurring nightmare. It goes like this; I am somewhere near water, on a dock or by the side of a lake with Kati as a toddler, or my sister as a young child. Sometimes I am with one of my nephews when they were young. We are playing and having a great time. Then the child falls into the water. Of course I follow. I am in water, murky water. I can't see much beyond my hand. I can't see or feel the child. I am waving my arms around in panic, holding my breath, trying to figure out where they could be. When I can not hold my breath any longer I surface, alone and awake in a sweat. Perhaps because of these dreams, I would never have chosen sailing as a way of life. So here comes Life in all her wisdom and says, "Would you like to go traveling all around the world with a really great guy"? "Of course I would!", I eagerly reply. "Oh, by the way, it's sailing around the world", she adds. "_ _ _ _", I say all capital letters. Well I could sit at home and live in my safe, comfortable, and perfectly suited to me world, or I could accept the invitation to adventure and any growth that may come of it no matter how terrified I may be. And adventure is that. it is accepting whatever and wherever you happen to find yourself, rain or shine, a town with provisions or one without, a gray socked in day or one so full of sun your eyes water, being scared to death or being breathless at the wonder of it all. To this is, I say, "Yes"!