Monday, October 19, 2015

Five Lines

That's us right now - tied into shore with five lines, a perfect cat's cradle of security to keep Galactic in place when the rigging starts moaning in the middle of the night. We're in the west arm of Seno Pia, a scenic delight of tidewater glaciers beneath the Cordillera Darwin, that range named to please any biologist with a love for the mountains who might sail through.

This place has the surprising ability to turn a strong west/northwest breeze into booming gusts from the southeast. Thus the five shorelines (we were surprised) and our warm thoughts of Phil and Julia on Illawong, veterans of the south who gave us our fifth shoreline when they chucked it all to sail back to Canada.

So we'll be here for another day or two until calm returns and we can untie without undue drama. Time continues to be our great luxury in the life afloat. I do find myself just now a bit pressed meeting various work deadlines, and Alisa has the job of listening to my regular moans about how there just isn't enough time in one life to pursue the parallel tracks of science and sailing and (if there were more time!) writing. The lament of the inadequately selective. But still, the time that we have at our disposal continues to put to shame anything we might reasonably expect from a life ashore. As in: let's go off to the fjords of Tierra del Fuego for one more month before we head to the Falklands! Can you imagine it?

Alisa on the flow of time on the boat: "Here, a week seems like a year. Back ashore, a year seemed to go by in a week."

It might not be a lot, this illusion we have built for ourselves. But it's what we've got.

Ahh, what we've got and haven't. Fertile grounds for a weather day rumination. Haven't: careers, a stable community of friends, regular visits with extended family. Have: an abundance of time with the boys (see above), friendship with quite a number of amazing people we'll never see again, intimacy with some of the more remarkable places in the world, an immediacy of things that comes from being our own guides and expert help in the task of sailing across oceans.

We could have done worse.

And, more immediately, what of those fjords of Tierra del Fuego?

In this last week-that-seemed-a-year, we've eaten more centolla then we could, relict of those will-be bygone days when king crab were still numerous in Fireland. We've watched a guanaco, that llama of the south, calmly chewing its cud by the banks of Beagle Channel. The family has aired differing opinions about exactly how close two condors flew to us as we picnicked on a mountain ridge. Was it really 15 meters and 10? We've pushed the bow through floating fields of ice thousands of years old, we've watched ice tumbling from the snout of a glacier, we've watched an avalanche sending up great clouds of snow on the mountain side. We've been in two snowstorms at sea level, and we've woken to find a caleta iced up around us. The boys stood on the bow while Peale's dolphins bowrode on their backs and leaped completely clear of the water. We've had coffee with a Norwegian cod fisherman and coffee with that miracle of the south, a centolla fisherman who could dumb down his Spanish enough to make reasonable conversation with me. I've worked on a magazine story, and another science proposal, and neglected my writing. The boys have brought vigor to every moment of every day, and Alisa and I have gotten a huge laugh out of the tired frown that she always seems to be wearing in our pictures from family hikes.

As I said. It'll do.

1 comment:

  1. I am in
    the 'for each day, I wish I had two' category.
    Enjoy slow time.
    But, we do miss you in person.