on the horizon line - bluewater sailing mermaids, pacific crossing

On Noticing Mermaids

Posted on Posted in Reflections on Life, Sailing, The M.U.P. Files

full moon brianna randall on the horizon line blogSome people never take notice of the Earth; some have to have it pointed out to them. But most, I think, are simply uncurious. You take notice. The whole point in going on this adventure is to take notice. You will experience so many amazing things. But you don’t have to share them to enjoy them.

A few words on your Pacific crossing: There will be many times when only one of you will notice a truly remarkable thing that the other did not or could not see and your description to the other about it will do an injustice to the unique sight you’ve witnessed.  Each of you can revel in the joy alone, taking notice and appreciating the Earth without the need to share it to make it seem more real.  You two had this hammered home after the Great Baja Electronics Theft—you don’t need to record and share everything to give it reality.

on the horizon line - bluewater sailing mermaids, pacific crossingBut, notice. You will not see the same swell twice. Spindrift will not shimmer in that light in that way again. The foaming crest of a sea will be one-of-a-kind in its beauty. And you will be the only person on Earth to see it. That particular sound of wind in the rigging with the beat of the thrumming steel hull and the singing laughter in the galley will create a melody both unique and mind-blowing. And only you will hear it. The dimpled reflection of a sunset on the calm ocean (from your vantage point lying on the bowsprit), or the moon’s white path on a gently rolling seascape at 3am will be a masterpiece. One of you will be standing at the mainmast looking aft as the boat tops a large swell and for three seconds, before she drops into the trough, you’ll be the only witness in the Universe to an amazingly orderly sea- train stretching to the horizon, each top highlighted in gold.

By taking notice you do it justice and that act justifies you and your entire trip. You don’t always have to share the joy to give it meaning beyond itself.

(This will not be true about your bluewater dreams which must be shared immediately, discussed in detail, and analyzed in depth.  And if you see a mermaid, shout about it!)

Though the oceanscape you’ll travel is immense, you’re only seeing a tiny sliver of the Earth’s surface. You are in a minute bubble. Llyr’s freeboard at the main looks to be about five feet, add about a foot for the cabin roof, so if you’re standing at the mainmast your eye will be about 12 feet above sea level. Therefore, your horizon line is about 4.2 miles. Your entire world is only about eight and one half miles around—with an unfathomable deep below and an infinite universe above—all traveling west at maybe eight knots. You are not going anywhere else. But that little world will be intense. That is what makes bluewater sailing so invigorating. Intellectually, you know you’re an exceedingly tiny speck on the surface of an enormous planet, but nothing brings that home like sitting on a (steel) cork in the ocean.

With seven people in fifty feet, you have to be tolerant because the little quirks of one person may drive you nuts. But don’t forget, your quirks are making others crazy, too. Things that would never concern you on land can bring great happiness on the deep. No night sky is as bright as a clear, moonless night at sea. By Day 25, pancakes mixed with hard raisins and dorado, topped with hard chunks of apricot jam will be a culinary breakthrough that you’ll think will be the basis of an amazingly successful restaurant chain.

When on watch alone or when working in some weather, please keep your PDF/harness clipped to a hard point. And Rob, make sure Bri gets more than her share of food. We love you! Be safe. Fair winds.

NOTE FROM BRI AND ROB: Happy Birthday, Dad!  We miss you and love you, and are celebrating with you in spirit today.  We’ll give the ocean gods some love to send you blessings for a wonderful year.

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