Day 7 :: San Francisco to Hanalei 33’35.585N/135’57.327W 1418 miles to go
I am quite sure words cannot even begin to adequately contain nor express all that is my reality right now. I am alone on my 34’ sailboat, over 800 miles offshore, surrounded by 360’ of horizon and not another soul in sight.
The 10 months of preparation and especially the 2 and a half weeks in San Francisco leading up to my departure were much more stressful and fraught with nerves that any of my actual voyage so far. I have been pleasantly surprised by the ease with which I have adapted to life aboard my wonderful Haunani. The first 2-3 days were rough and cold, yet even in those days, I found peace and contentment. I will not say that I liked the rough seas, in fact quite the opposite, but I wasn’t frightened. I was more annoyed with not being able to maneuver in the boat as I usually do. I spilled more food and water than I have in my life, and had a couple of near face plants going to the head, or from one side of the cabin to the other. My body is covered in bruises. Also, the seas were big enough that random waves would inundate my boat from bow to stern. As much as I knew this was happening, somehow I was naïve enough to leave my companionway hatch open a couple of times. I was lucky that more things didn’t get drenched. It was intense, and the cabin was like a damp sponge for a couple of days. Thankfully things dried out pretty quickly.
My days consist of a routine of performing checklist items on myself and the boat…energy management, charging batteries, checking rigging, scanning the horizon and my chart plotter for ships (I have only seen 2 faraway cargo ships so far), trying to download grib files without much success (weather/wind), eating, resting and trying to make the boat go as fast as I can in various conditions. Somehow I don’t let myself rest on land, but out here I have no problem taking naps or even just lounging and reading (I KNOW! don’t fall out of your chairs people). I felt a bit queasy the first couple of days, and also extremely lethargic. Day 5 was my first full and energetic day. I flew my spinnaker by myself for the first time that day, and was very happy about that! She was up again yesterday for a few hours. So grateful for another hurdle tackled!
I thought that sleep deprivation would be a huge issue, but I have a great routine down, and mostly feel very rested and relaxed! If conditions are appropriate and I feel safe about it, I sleep in 1-hour intervals (sometimes a little more). I wake up, check my batteries, check the chart plotter for ships, head up to the cockpit to check sails and the horizon for lights then I head back for another nap. I have safety alarms set, but I still do this every hour or so for my own peace of mind.
Two nights ago the night was the blackest I have ever seen in my life. I could not delineate between the sea and the sky, nor could I see the bow of my boat or even my sails very well. I felt like I was floating in nothingness, which was a bit disconcerting to be honest. That was probably the closest I have come to being scared this whole time. It wasn’t really fear though…just an eerie feeling. Nothing like the nerves and unknown fears leading up to pushing off the dock.
I feel oddly comfortable out here despite my lack of offshore experience. It just feels right and as if I am meant to be here. Even in the night (remember my big fears about THAT?) I feel at peace and confident. Sometimes when I really think of it, I get freaked out at how tiny I am in this vast sea. I am just a speck, and so insignificant, yet my floating world here is so significant to me and my growth. My dad calls this 360’ amphitheater the watery disk and says that it is “his place”. I love that term for some reason and am learning that it is also my place. Haunani is just as at ease as I am out here…she is a champion and is more solid than I even realized she was. She blows me away every day! As I always say, she takes good care of me.
One funny thing that keeps happening in my mind is when I have to face a hurdle or new task on the boat, I say to myself that this is what it will be like when I am on my big trip (seriously I have done it a number of times). Then, I realize: WAIT! I am on my big trip! I am actually doing this now and not talking about doing it or preparing for doing it. It feels so surreal to finally be out here fulfilling my dreamt I set out to accomplish 10 months ago.
I have so much more to say, but wanted to at least share this. More will be coming in the next week, I am sure! Please forgive formatting or typo issues, as well as the lack of photos. I am dealing with a satellite connection and have little control.