It’s our second night at sea on the way to Debut, Indonesia. It’s a beautiful night, with a sky full of stars, a soft breeze, following seas. The air is still chilly enough when the sun goes down that I change into sweatpants and a hoodie, funny when we’re at 10 degrees south latitude, closer to the equator than we’ve been since the Marquesas three years ago and that was hot. There’s a near constant parade of ships in both directions but they pass at a respectful distance. I’m still on the lookout for fishing vessels which are often unlit. There’s a tiny bit of moon but it’s dark on the water and I have to stare hard on my every 15-minute horizon check to see that the way ahead is clear.
A ship that I hailed earlier on the radio to make sure he could see us has altered course and is now abeam about a mile and a half away, bound for Singapore. Jack is off watch and I hope he’s getting some sleep. It takes a few days to adjust to the sleep pattern of a passage and we both feel out of sorts at first.
This afternoon we piped a couple of podcasts out to the cockpit, then switched to music. The random shuffle of a hundred gigabytes of tunes gave us didgeridoo music by Ganga Giri as a goodbye to Oz, then a beautiful rendition of Over the Rainbow by our dear friend Mary Cassidy to make us a little homesick for the people we love.
Being at sea, being anywhere cut off from the world and stripped of the visual stimuli of modern life, always unclutters my mind. It’s meditation, a complete reboot, tabula rasa. It’s what I loved about camping, when the hours in a day are concerned only with shelter, water, fire and food. Onboard a sailboat at sea, we watch the weather, take care of the boat’s needs to keep her on course and moving well. We take care of each other too, making sure we get enough rest, stay hydrated and fed. But with no internet or TV our minds are free to wander. Sometimes I find I’ve been staring at the sea or the sky for an hour with not one thought except to look and listen. The sea is of course hypnotic and it’s easy to lose yourself in its soothing rhythm. That’s assuming it’s in a soothing mood, which it is so far tonight. The wind is steady so I’m not having to tweak the sails or the course. So far this passage reminds me of sailing from Puerto Rico to Panama, a thousand downwind miles that started us on our six on/ six off watch schedule because it was too beautiful to go to bed. It doesn’t often happen but the memory of it keeps us coming back for more.