This Sunday, as we make our preparations to leave for France later this week, to visit the Catana factory for the first time, we are contemplating the reasons behind our goal of circumnavigating the globe under sail.
We have been asked why we set a goal of circumnavigation instead of just cruising awhile first, testing the waters. Gunter and I just stare at each other and shake our heads. We never discussed an intermediate step. It has never occurred to us. Why sail the world? Because its there!At one point during the past five yearswe dont even remember exactly when--we talked about having a goal for our retirement. This goal came to us immediately and we have never looked back. In fact, it was the only goal we even talked about! We have never questioned our decision.
had already taken many bareboat chartering vacations by the time we
set our goal. Now, we would go on to approach our free time
more seriously. We took a ten-day ocean cruising & navigation
course through John Neal, sailing a 1000-mile course as paying crew
from Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, to Pago Pago, American Samoaâ including
delightful shore breaks at Palmerston and Niue. We regarded that
trip as our basic training.
We spent over two years in the selection of the ideal cruising vessel
to suit our needs, progressing from various monohull designs to Cats,
and then to the Catana 431. Recently, Pacific Bliss
came out of the mold and by the time we see her for the first time,
she will have begun her metamorphosis from a tub of Kevlar into a real
Today, I am taking some time away from the rush of preparatory activities to examine our feelings and emotions.
We are beginning to realize that, in addition to the fun and challenges of navigation and sailing, visiting new lands, and experiencing cultures very different from ours, we will be undertaking an inner journey as well. We will be sailing the vast oceans of our inner consciousnessmuch of it unexplored, we suspect. This journal will document both journeys. Shipments to the Pacific Bliss library have included the typical array of geography books and tales of others adventures on land and sea. But they have also included The Bible, the Parallel New Testament, many works of C.S. Lewis, as well as a critique of Lewis and Schaeffer, Lessons for a New Century by Burson and Wallis, which I look forward to delving into. Gunter has added an extensive collection of philosophy books, ranging from Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to Seneca. I look forward to stimulating reading, discussions and debate on board Pacific Bliss. I also look forward to thinking, feeling, slowing down a little, and centering myself again, after the breathtaking pace of the corporate world.
So, another reason for cruisingin addition to the flip answer, Just because its thereis to learn to go with the flow, and in doing so, to change and grow internally. We will be sailing the vast oceans of our inner consciousness as well.
Another reason is to journal through the grief process. Leaving our business was for us, like giving up a child (or having a child kidnapped). Time heals all wounds, it is said. And journaling helps to put it all into perspective.
And then theres the joy of discovery. There is a whole new world out there for us, waiting to be explored. There is more out there than our own small space. Out there, beyond the seas and over the horizon, lies excitement, freshness, new people, places and culturesthe unknown. I want to sew strands of different cultures into my own character. I want to challenge my preconceptions and most cherished views, rethink my assumptions, and to become more understanding in the process. I want to know the unknown
I believe that the values of courtesy, justice, love, and honor are common throughout the world, but they can be differently handled and almost unrecognizable when one enters a foreign land. I want to learn how these fundamental human values translate themselves in the ports we visit.
The challenge of fulfilling our dream is certainly another reason to go. Being Type A personalities (which may change) we have always been goal-oriented.
To sail around the world in a Cat is a different kind of travel goal. It goes beyond mere traveling to distant lands. It carries with it mental and physical challenges, along with adventure. This fits us.
Two-thirds of our planet is covered with water. It sloshes in the
rivers and lakes. It covers the north and south poles. It falls from
the sky. It forms the foundation of the origins of life and humanity
on earth. There is no dry land until God separates the water under
the expanse from the water above it and commands that the
water under the sky be gathered into one place. Water is central
to the birthing myths of native Americans, Polynesians, Indians, Russians,
and Asians. Water is primordial. It is healing. It soothes the soul.
And finally, there is the sense of freedom the open ocean brings. In between ports, one has the freedom of being oneself, under the laws of no man, no country.
D.H. Lawrence says this aptly in this passage from Sea and Sardinia:
tell the truth there is something in the long, slow lift
One of my favorite poems is Song of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman. Ive taken the liberty of adapting a section to fit with sailing:
With my sea legs on and light-hearted
I take to the high seas
There is an expression, walking with beauty. Well be sailing the seas and walking the lands of many countries. With my new Nikon digital camera in hand, I plan to search for beauty during our adventure. The digital technology should provide me with a convenient way to share this beauty with you, our readers, through this journal.
In the end, we simply have to go. We like this poem by Frederic Lehrman:
After all, the world doesn't end when you decide what you want to do, it merely begins. This is indeed a new beginning for us.