Page 84

27 May 2001

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 exciting(/thrilling).

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 sleeping.......

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 NOW.
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.

To Page 85

From Esbjerg, Denmark to Tahiti aboard a Junker 22