I arrived north of Ahe Island on the 25th at night(/in the evening) and then
made the decision. There were lots of wind and I was right. If I decide to go
round, I have to turn to windward(/cruise at sea) for 200 miles towards Papeete.
I had studied several books and my map and have made a route in between the
atolls. You have to remember that when they made these sea maps, they made them
with (the help of a, edit) sextant. With the GPS navigation you can now see that
the islands often are "wrongly" located compared the the position on the map, as
much as five miles!!! I took that into account(/consideration). I don't want to
go any closer to reefs or islands than absolutely necessary (I think it's a
pretty good tactic myself, he he). The most narrow ??? I had to pass, should
according to the map and various books have an opening of 16 miles. If I then
deduct two times the biggest variation - in the worst direction(s)
imaginable(/conceivable) - there still is six miles when I'm staying in the
middle that is three miles on each side in the worst case scenario.
Of course I couldn't see a thing. It was the darkest night within living memory,
but I could often hear the waves(/swell) breaking in over the reef. I went west
of the first island and east of(/around) the next. After that five miles and
then southeast around a reef. When morning came (finally), I had went 90 miles
without (any) danger(/risks).
For the first time in my career as a sailor, I had been up all night. I only
slept two hours early in the evening. Every 30 minutes I had to correct(/adjust)
my course about four knots in a westerly direction because of the current. I had
made a course line, and by taking(/making) waypoints every 30 minutes I was able
to see if I was still on course. A couple of times I had to cruise(/turn to
windward), since it was straight against the wind and I couldn't stay on course
towards the next waypoints.
After sleeping most of the day I arrived at the next reefs/islands, once again
in darkness. There hadn't been a lot of trouble. It was all about staying south
before turning west and then a couple of times more. It's actually (a bit, edit)
like driving your car blindfolded; Count to 20 then turn 90 degrees to the left,
count to 240 then swing 75 degrees to the right. Then all you can hope for is
that there is a way (through).....
I became confused at a place where there wasn't any room for confusion. On some
of the reefs and islands there were lights, buoys and lighthouses, which usually
would be a good thing, but without a (detailed, edit) map I were unable to know
from what distance they should appear and what (exactly, edit) they're marking
out. Is it a route? Or a reef? I saw some light that looked as if it moved
(around) a couple of times. I feared it was a reef so I turned more southwards.
It's hard(/difficult) navigating in pitch-darkness, light breeze and strong
current. Then you always have the feeling that the boat doesn't react to the
change(/alteration) of course. I changed (direction) several times until it
appeared to my tired brain that it was a fishing vessel, especially when he
started up a giant searchlight(/floodlight) and found me out there. I didn't
have any lights (turned) on and we were closer to each other than I had thought.
This might not be the most "professional" way of sailing, but it's damn
I put on some light and called him, "Attention Fishing Vessel - Attention
Fishing Vessel. Do you see me??". "Yeah, yeah, don't worry. Even without the
lights on I can see you. You make a nice echo on my screen. We were just talking
about what it could be out there. You're on a strange course????". I explained
my problems and he immediately suggested that I should keep a course. Then he
would guide me to a route where there wouldn't be any hazards(/risks), at least
for the first 50 miles. Lovely with a little radar help. I thanked (them, edit)
a lot for the help, turned off the light and turned in.
When I woke up late in the morning. There was only a light breeze and I now have
159 miles to Papeete. I only have to avoid two more reefs. They're in convenient
distance from each other, so they won't give me any problems. I just have to
keep an eye on how much the current puts(/sets) me towards the west.
It sure is a relaxing sailing. The speed is only 3˝ knots but the sea on the
other hand is completely level. I want to fish this afternoon. I have just eaten
the last can of sardines for breakfast/dinner. I once again found
out(/discovered) that oatmeal doesn't have a long durability at sea. There was
sort(/kind) of cobweb inside the can(/ox), even in the unopened bag, so
everything was thrown overboard. I couldn't find insects in it, but the times I
have gotten sick(/ill) from food it has always been because of the d... oatmeal.
I'm not running any further risks. I have tried feeling sick, even after sorting
out the small insects very thoroughly.
At first the wind changed(/shifted) 20 degrees and a couple of hours later 120
degrees more. That's really something. It's a good thing I wasn't
I'm still hoping to get in touch with a ship so they could e-mail Natalie abut
my expected arrival. I wouldn't ask the vessel from last night about it. I
thought that he had done enough for me and his English was a problem.
I haven't seen other ships during this trip. It constantly
astonishes(/surprises) me that there are so many ships out (t)here and so seldom
you (actually) see them. Food for thought if you're on a life raft. By he way I
have packed an emergency kit bag (25 kilogram - it's going to be pure(/absolute)
luxury on a desert island) with rockets, water, canned food, biscuits(/cookies),
smokes and all sorts of gear, just in case I have to leave the boat in a hurry.
Ohh no, it's just one of those nights where I can't go to bed. The starry sky is
so amazing. I'm not feeling tired and now I have boiled more water and have now
been drinking so much tea, bouillon(/beef tea) and coffee that I have to run the
rest of the night. You think really clearly(/Your thoughts are really clear)
when you're in the middle of a starlit, level sea and not a sound besides the
wind's gentle whisper in the sails. I'm thinking of how big(/enormous) the
universe is and how small Trojka and I are - so small a piece of the puzzle that
we wouldn't even be missed if we fell on(/to) the floor.
I thought of time. What time really is. Quantum physics tells (us) that time
doesn't exist. There only is NOW. Everything else is a mental construction. The
past is made from (the) memory and imagination, and the future is made of
planning and imagination. Everything's just mental constructions, there only is
I remember having read that Dr. Albert Einstein during one of his lectures was
asked, "How would you explain that time is relative, when it so clearly can be
measured in units and always will be the same?". And Einstein answered;
"Try sitting on a hot stove for a minute and it will feel like an hour. After
that (or maybe first) spend a minute with a beautiful(/lovely) lady and that
minute is going to feel like a second. Time is relative".
I'm just having my doubts. I believe that it's us(/the) people and our
perception (in this instance; of time) that is relative. And if time does exist
then it's(/it must be) constant. I think it's time for me to go to bed now. It's
getting(/beginning to be) too much, even for me.
I have been thinking(/speculating) a lot about whether I'm doing the right
thing. Am I done sailing? Have I seen enough? Or am I going to regret that I'm
quitting on(/when I reach) Tahiti?
A part of me wants(/would want) to continue to Tonga and after that New Zealand
or Australia to work. The other part wants to be with Natalie. I'm head over
heals in love and it's completely mutual.