Passing Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras!!!
15 June 2016 | 35 00'N:75 05'W, Another wild few days ahead... deja vu.
There was no warning¬... the day touting varying winds from the SE to SW, the sails trimmed in and let back out over and over to keep us moving as fast as we could, the engine called upon when we weren¬'t moving fast enough. I was making breakfast when Bob went up on deck responding to a sound¬... next thing I heard him furling in the mainsail, the jib already furled as it had become occluded by the mainsail, the winds nearly dead astern. Rain had just begun to fall in the light winds, when suddenly water began moving horizontal across the water, across the cockpit. A squall passed over us...we saw 62kts on the wind instrument¬... winds screaming... lasting a half hour of steady 40-55kts. Wild. Calypso lost her US flag, pole, and the fitting on the deck. The winds pulled the screws right out of the deck. Yow!! As we listened to the weather forecast on the VHF afterwards, it reported ¬'squalls, winds maxing 30kts¬', to which we nearly simultaneously added, ¬"more like to 60kts¬".
But the wind did die down behind it...filling in from E to ESE. We set sails again, making 8+kts but the forecast suggests the winds are to diminish before they build again. We are 25nm from the latitude of Diamond Shoals off the Outer Banks of NC on the Mighty SV_Calypso.
This weather scenario is interestingly developing similar to the one when I was coming up. A storm was approaching as I was rounding Hatteras, supposed to give me S SSW winds but they didn't shift...they blew out of the ENE to ESE... against the stream current, giving huge confused seas, but making for a fast passage. Then that one 'cell' came off the Del Mar peninsula when I got off Ocean City, gusting 40-50kts, producing that one huge rogue wave that humbled me; a magnificent rainbow to follow to ease my emotions; but it put me on edge. I still had another front coming according to the forecast. Lucky for me, it didn¬'t materialize.
Then the wind died on me. It took me 5 days to do 200nm to get to Bristol¬... of course it allowed Bob to catch up with me and was perfect timing¬... just requiring patience and the ¬'knowing¬' that it was my last days on the sea alone; days to enjoy in the bliss of the light conditions.
So we will see what happens here. It is to develop as it was supposed to for me, with the storm center north of us but we advance NE fast enough that the storm center is south of us by morning, giving us strong NE ENE winds. We will continue on a NE course to give us some room until these winds come. If we can get north of Ocean City by tomorrow evening, we will miss the gale force NE winds to follow, extending south from the latitude of Ocean City¬... As we continue north it should lighten up enough that, given we do have this wonderful Iron Genny, we can motor/motor sail close enough to the wind to get either to NYC to go through the Sound...or, less likely, we will be able to make enough easting to get to Montauk. But you never know. It may lay down. We are trying to make it to the SSCA Essex Ct Gam¬...18-20th.
We are quite sure we are going to need fuel to motor the last day and a half. We are sailing as much as we can, but we still have to make the miles fast...we have to get north of the stronger ENE winds. Needing to get fuel may make the NYC route necessary.
All is good on board; though the genny is losing the suncover, a huge 5ft section flying as a telltale off the leech... Poor Calypso. But we will make it up to her. Bob has sacrificially invested so much helping me with Inspired Sanity¬'s preparations and the endless emails and details while I was away. Calypso has been hanging on, fending for herself, waiting for me to return and for life to come back around to the summer season living aboard. Bob and I have promised Calypso lots of refit promises we must keep this summer.
Both Bob and I managed to have great ¬'reads¬' aboard for this trip. After weeks of my writing about the book I had read by David McCullough, ¬"Pathway Between the Seas¬", finally it would be Bob¬'s turn to journey into the 1800¬'s to the first conceptions of the Panama Canal, the passionate French Vision to open the way between the two vast Oceans. As the French visionary is undone by political corruption, the subsequent visionary debate on where the US would take up the challenge to breach the two oceans, finally landed on the location the French had begun. It was not because the route across Panama was the pathway determined to be the best by the US researchers, but because the French, Phillip De¬'lesser, took up the French passion from his father to complete the original vision and convinced the US to take over the dig at Panama, abandoning the US first choice location in Nicaragua. In the end, it was the rumblings of earthquakes that created the final blow that eliminated the N icaraguan canal option; it was fate indeed. I have had to hold my tongue so as not to go ahead of Bob in his reading this nearly 700 page book.
Bonnie Blue had given me the book, ¬'Wild¬', by Cheryl Strayed, before leaving on my world sail. It is a woman¬'s journey to emotional healing while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a 3 month trek. Bonnie recommended as much as an example of a writing style, as for the content. I found it very well written and it did spur on a new way of looking at organizing the details, the emotional aspects, and overall adventure of my journey.
But I had forgotten about a book Bonnie had given me earlier which somehow made it onto Calypso, probably early last season. I was glancing at the bookshelf, when the red spine of a book caught my eye. ¬'I had to row¬...¬' and I couldn¬'t see the rest of the name with the shelf fiddle in the way. I thought it was a different favorite book, ¬'First I had to Row a Little Boat¬'¬... but it wasn¬'t it. Once I saw the full name, I was intrigued enough to pull it out and consider reading it; ¬'I Had to Row Across the Ocean, A Woman¬'s Solo Odyssey¬' by Tori Murden McClure. I had a vague memory of Bonnie giving it to me.
It was an epic story to read, very well written, and offering another example of a writing approach to penning the story of a healing journey; an adventure; a lifelong vision coming full circle. Like ¬'Wild¬', the trek encompassed 3-4 months though the story that unfolds tells her personal accounts that lead up to how she took up rowing, why, as well as the incredible telling of her ¬'Row Across the Ocean¬'. I won¬'t tell you any more hoping that many of you will find a copy to buy and read. Tori tells an incredible story; her mind-blowing experience in Hurricane Danielle aboard her 23¬' row boat, American Pearl; the capacity she had gained in her life to get through it, and then to go beyond the venture to allowing it all to change her. A must read!!
Of much interest to me was that Tori had also studied the works of Joseph Campbell who brought to life the hero¬'s journey as told in mythology. He creates an incredible roadmap to life¬'s overall patterns of journeying and growth toward self-fulfillment in the human paradigm, this pattern being the foundation of all storytelling. I was introduced to Campbell¬'s teaching through ¬"The Writer¬'s Journey¬", by Chris Vogler, which I am using to develop my own storyline. One of the characteristics of Tori¬'s book, is the obvious depth of her own background in literature, sharing many quotes seeming verbatim, from a connection to the authors that seems ethereal.
Bob and I stayed at Bonnie¬'s house one night, after the welcome home party. I found another book on the counter there, the title ringing so true to me, ¬'Blue Mind¬'. I read the extended title, ¬"The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do¬". I called Bonnie to ask if I could borrow it to read during this sail north¬...she was happy to have me take it along. I have to say, that I got distracted by Tori¬'s book which I found midst reading ¬'Blue Mind¬', so I haven¬'t finished it yet, but I will. This book fills in some of the research based gaps in my own study regarding the overall effect of being alone midst the ocean, the most powerful energy source on the earth for 10 months. Though my journey was not entirely solace by any means, I was out there in the oceans energy aboard Inspired Sanity alone. We will see how the rest of the book follows. So far, we are on similar pathways but f rom a different perspective.
Days offshore always seem to pass so quickly, and this trip is not unusual. Last night was the first cloudless starry vision of the whole celestial sphere, the stars so concentrated that areas looked nearly cloud-covered, the constellations giving way to a pixelated background of the lesser stars vying for attention; this view so pristine, only seen from a place such as we are; alone offshore, far from the lights of humanities making. It has been a refreshment as I took my place on the deck with my morning tea to connect as consciously as the quiet rolling would allow to the intrinsic life energy that was surrounding me, shared by all of you who, too, are focusing your energy to hear, to listen, to be changed and directed by this purely sustainable and loving life form¬...
Keepin On, Sailin On, Caring¬... I am always learning more about what it means to ¬'care¬'¬... the passion, the emotion, the actions that allow us to become a part of the whole of Life¬'s conscious energy in the universe, no longer enslaved to the whims of the egoic self, only focused on meeting the base needs of existence¬... to living midst the vertical flow of life that moves through life-giving forces, taking us along for the ride. It isn¬'t easy, but it ¬... IS¬... Inspired Sanity.
Tori begins her story with this quote from Helen Keller ¬- Let Us Have Faith Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature¬... Nor do the children of men, as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than out-right exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
Fairest of Winds and the Love of the Oceans Only Gratitude Donna