Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Right Turn, Marge

We left Panama three days ago, on April Fool's Day.

Rather than turning left for a fourth trip across the South Pacific (no one should be that lucky!) and a new life in Australia, we turned right and began the long trek back to Kodiak, from whence we set forth nearly a decade ago.

This is a sailing blog, not a current-events blog.

But it is apparent that we have timed our homecoming more spectacularly than most long-term sailors. That part of our journey that has us returning to the starting point, pondering the changes in ourselves and our old haunts, is bound to be caught up in the narrative of what is going on in the home country.

To whit, we don't have to wonder any more what America might look like as the wheels are coming off. Now we just have to wonder if that's the setting that we want our boys to be growing up in. Thus the left turn/right turn decision that I referenced above.

Which really wasn't much of a decision for us. We love Tasmania, and some bits of mainland Australia, but they aren't Alaska.

Alaska is that superlative which Alisa and I were both lucky enough to discover in our early twenties. It is the home where our hearts will ever dwell, and we are both ecstatic (is that the word?) at the chance of discovering it again through the eyes of these two remarkable boys of ours.

So we're sailing back to Alaska. But that doesn't mean that I am at all sanguine about the state of affairs in the home country. I've even been practicing a motto to sum up my thoughts:

Elect a pussy-grabber, regret at leisure!

Pretty good, no?

I'm concerned about all sorts of things about the current administration, and am particularly concerned about what happens when said pussy-grabber and the third-rate help he has attracted are faced with an actual crisis out there in the real world. Or, I might equally be concerned about how strong the temptation will soon be, for this group of people with such limited ability to inspect their own motives, to start a war and get everyone off their backs already.

So I've been seeing the current situation as a race between getting to a constitutional crisis and getting to a war. And I've been wondering what it means to have one of the parties in a two-party system so thoroughly co-opted by the tinfoil-hat crowd.

But...funny thing. Though my fingers obviously ran away with me just now as I started thinking and typing about what we are heading back to, out here in the wide wide eastern tropical Pacific the situation in the US seems pretty remote.

We have had almost no wind so far, and Alisa has been marveling over and over that such a vast expanse of water could be so flat.

Neither of us have been very tired, and we are keeping watch around the clock effortlessly. We play cards or chess with the boys, I have been reading the Lord of the Rings out loud, and I have hour after hour for concentrated science work, combining mindless tasks like making figures for a paper with long meditative wanderings through the thickets of ideas that will boil down into some small bolus of new knowledge that my colleagues and I can contribute to the human experiment.

And I have been reminded yet again how much I love the open ocean. There is something so wonderful about daring to make an ocean crossing in your own boat with your family for crew. The scale is sooo much greater than anything on a human scale. The solitude is so pure, and the moments of wonder and delight are so all-engrossing.

It certainly makes all the effort of the sailing life more than worth it. And it gives Alisa and me that greatest of luxury in this particular turning age of ours - the time to reflect, and the distance to step back, and a ready-made perspective of the horizon that endlessly encircles us, without the distracting concerns of quotidian life.

From this perspective, I can look at our future with anticipation, and at our present with satisfaction.

What more could anyone want?
This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

1 comment:

  1. A reader suggested that I contact you about an interview for the Interview With A Cruiser Project. I couldn't find contact information here but perhaps you could email me at and I could give you more information.

    Cheers, Livia