Monday, June 5, 2017

Stop and Think

What sailors really think about - the weather. In this case, the weather between Hawai'i and "home".
It doesn't look uncomplicated!
After a visit back to the mainland US to catch up with our families, we are now very happily ensconced once again on the mothership.

One more big ole jump across the blue marble and we expect to be back "home" to Kodiak, that delightfully real commercial fishing town that our boys know not at all and that we know only through ten years of selective memory retention.

(How "delightfully real" is Kodiak as a commercial fishing port? I just looked at the numbers. For 2014, the weight of landings in Kodiak was 35 times the weight of landings for the entire nation of Australia.)

That arrival back at our starting point remains firmly abstract to me. I'll believe it when I see the green hills of Kodiak off our bow.

What's not so abstract is the way that we are engaging with the future that we hope to build for ourselves there.

For me, that means the endless quest for the scientist's Beast Glatisant, or "research funding", and the resulting fascination with the Beast's fewmets, or Requests for Proposals, Proposal Reviews, and Panel Decisions. (Yes, I have recently read The Once and Future King to my boys.)

And for both Alisa and me, that means another attempted act of transference, as we look to work that magic trick of bringing a dream to life. In this case, it is that long-standing dream of ours that goes something like this: "Hey, we're two marine biologists who have a boat of our own. Surely there is a worthwhile research project out there that we are uniquely suited to pursue?"

No mean feat, bringing a dream to life. Especially when that dream requires outside funding. But, given our track record in the living-the-dream department, I wouldn't bet against us. We're focusing the dream idea on the northern Bering and southern Chukchi Seas in the Alaskan Arctic. Stay tuned.

But as our entanglements with land life grow, I can feel the capacity for thought and reflection, one of the treasures of the sailing life, slipping away from us.

Any transition from a ten-year sailing trip back to a more settled existence is bound to entail some pretty big jumps in perspective and moments of cognitive dissonance.

But we have the unique "good fortune" of looking to plug back into our far corner of the US just as that country is going through a time that most politely might be described as "uniquely interesting". On top of the normal personal transition ahead of us, there are larger historical questions at play, some of them existential, that are so difficult to answer in the flash of the moment. (Mad props to you, George Orwell, for so often correctly calling the big historical questions of your time.)

As that transition gets closer, I only hope we keep some of that big-horizon perspective that comes to people who sail the world in their own boats.
School daze - Eric takes a spelling test, Elias yawns.
After 10 years on the Pacific Seafarers' ham net, we finally met longtime net control and former  yachtie Randy, KH6RC. And, incredibly kindly, he gave Elias all of his old pelagic trolling lures and a rod and reel. Very happy kid there.
The latest issue of Cruising World.
The Galactics love national parks! And, like all true westerners, we love public lands in general. It's those people Back East (Wyoming, thinking of you!) who want to lock them up in private ownership.

Kilauea Iki. This was a lake of lava in 1959. We visited on a drizzly cold morning and saw exactly one other party of tourists on the whole four mile walk.


  1. What about getting in touch with Matt Rutherford about the ins and outs of using your own boat as a paid research platform? It's what he's been doing. Herb at CW could introduce you. Michael