Day #4 of passage from Vanuatu to Marshall Islands LTY time: 17:15 (Marshall Islands time = UTC +12)
Location: 475nm NNE of Luganville, Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
Distance to go Majuro: about 950nm
Position: 08 26.649 S, 169 02.606 E (you can cut & past this into Google Earth to see on map)
SOG: 4.5 kts (SOG = Speed over Ground)
COG: 020 degrees (COG = Course over Ground)
Wind: 5-10 SE
Seas/Swell: 1m @ 6 seconds SE
Weather: Sunny and clear skies with large fluffy clouds surrounding all horizons.
Air temp: 90 F 32C
Sea temp: 95.5 F 35.3 C
Barometer: 1017nm SAILING in the SUBLIME SYNTAX of the SOUNDS of MOTHER NATURE and OTHER GREAT MUSICIANS I continue to enjoy the way everything just flows together on these longer passages and I hope that my humble attempts to share with you some of what this experiences feels like don't vitiate the wonder of Mother Nature’s beauty for you. As you have gathered by now I’m deeply in love with Mother Nature in all her majestic and amazing forms. While I’ve always lived in awe of her, this has continued to grow over the years and I can now see that it has been on an exponential curve and I passed that “hockey stick” inflection point several years ago and have been on a rocket ride upwards ever since. What I’m struck by today her mastery of syntax if I may call it that. I realize that the normal use of this word is that syntax is for language and the arrangement of words and phrases to create well formed sentences. We use language to capture our thoughts and ideas and share them with others. I strikes me that Mother Nature speaks a language of her own, a language of such beauty that I’m often left struggling to breathe as she takes my breath away or I just forget to breath as I’m too busy being overwhelmed with the awemazing things she shows me. Or as I found while snorkeling in Fiji that I would keep forgetting to come up for air as I was so enthralled by becoming one with her underwater world. So as I think of this as a “language” that speaks very loudly and clearly and melodically to me, I’m struck by just how great the syntax is in how incredibly well Mother Nature arranges her “words and phrases” to create such well formed “sentences” in this cosmic book I’m so wondrously floating within. Sound is a very big part of all this for me and sometimes I’m completely enthralled by nothing but Mother Nature’s own symphonies of sound. I’m immersed in these out here on the open ocean as sailing is creates an expansive repertoire of sounds from the purely natural ones of the wind and the water and then those which are augmented by the movement of the hull through the seas, the whistles and whines of the wind through the rigging, the slithering of sails, the whirr of a fishing line going out and the whipping of my Canadian flag on the dinghy davits. Even my more “man made” sounds of the rhythmic ratcheting of winches, the groaning of lines as a gust of wind on the sails pulls them ever tighter all seem to add themselves in as more instruments in the orchestra. Even the whirr and thrumming of my hydraulic autopilot blends in beautifully to create the quotidian sonatas I’m immersed within. As wonderful as these sounds are I also LOVE the music of mere humans and am sometimes moved to layer this overtop of Mother Nature’s sounds. One of the many jobs I accomplished in the big refit on Learnativity this past year is mounting the pair of good sized Klipsch speakers up in the cockpit and an amp for my phone/tablet/laptop stores of music and I got to finally try it out in style this morning. Oh my!!! It borders on the orgasmic to have my cockpit and my whole mind and body filled with SUCH great sound and do these great musical artists proud. I’m never sure how to answer the question “What kind of music do you like or listen to?” other than to say “the great kind”. I don’t mean to be flip or arrogant with such an answer, it is just that I don’t know how else to describe the eclectic range of music I listen to. Music is a form of art to me and one of the many means by which I surround myself with beauty. As with beauty and art I think most of us find that we can’t describe it or define it or categorize it, but we absolutely know when we see or hear it. Actually I’ve always thought that we FEEL music more than we “hear” it and I never cease to be amazed by how music, a bunch of sonic waves in the air, can stir such deep and diverse emotions and feelings within us. I’m no less enthralled by the way great poetry or prose can do so as well, or great art. And so it was this morning, just after enjoying the silent dawning of a new day out here in the South Pacific, that I decided to cue up some tunes on the turntable (carefully gimbal mounted to keep everything in the groove of course!) and listen to some great tunes as I sailed through the morning sun. So there I sat, sailing again today in Mother Natures “Birds in a Nest” (see yesterday’s post) listening in awe of (to name but a few) Jimmy Smith’s mastery of the Hammond B3 organ, Miles Davis’ trumpet, BB King’s Lucille (guitar), Pat Metheny’s synthesizer, and vocals from the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Christina Aguilera and Lucinda Williams. Talk about emotional overload! I only seem to know how to swim (or at least tread water) in the deep end of the pools of life and this is but one of the many ways I do so. I know not why I have been vouchsafed with such a rich and full life of perpetual awemazement and nor do I need to. I am fully occupied with being amazed, appreciative and in wonder of my experiences and the task of learning from them such that, as Doug Engelhard so succinctly put it, I am “getting better at getting better” every day. For those of you who like to track the conditions at sea and join me vicariously on this adventure, the weather continues to be excellent for sailing and life in general. Once again the skies were clear and blue above with large billowing clouds on the horizon behind me and a bit less so ahead. The winds continue to drop gradually and have been down below 5 knots a few times this afternoon but mostly running from about 8 to 12 knots. They turned a bit northerly mid-morning but are now back to being out of the SE which is just perfect for my route to the NNE. I put the spinnaker up again just after noon as the winds dropped below ten knots and it is still up now, though I’m about to go take it down as the sun sets. I don’t quite trust the weather in this area to stay consistent and will play it a bit safer to douse the spinnaker and put up the genoa so that I don’t get caught by a sudden increase of wind that can often happen as a storm cell moves by. While I’m getting better at getting better at taking the spinnaker up and down, it is not quite so much fun to find myself up on the foredeck at 2am (all the “exciting” parts of sailing seem to happen at 2am for some reason?!) trying to get all that nylon into the sock and stuffed down the hatch before the wind gusts up too much. Last night was just perfect sailing to enjoy my dinner (oven roasted chicken, potatoes, garlic and onions) as the wind dropped down so the boat was nice and level to eat by. To top it all off, a very full Mr. Moon put on a spectacular prestidigitation as he rose up out of the eastern sky all puffed up to appear deceivingly humongous and that burnt amber “harvest moon” colour which fanned out across the seas like oil as the light made its way to my dinner table. I don’t have wine with dinner when I’m sailing so I couldn’t toast but I did give him and Mother Nature a tip of my hat and a very big thank you! Right now I have a spinnaker calling my name rather loudly so I’m off to attend to that and enjoy the sunset as it lights up the western sky with its own light show for me. Good night all.