|Friendly police with a serious warning--we're in an area known for pirates, so please take their mobile number in case we're attacked.|
At some point last night, when my vertigo was at its worst,
and the boat seemed to be revolving in a clockwise fashion with distressing
speed, I tried to focus on one bow to settle the motion. It might have been the
drugs—but rather than relieving my vertigo, forcing myself to focus made me
feel like I was in the fakest-looking storm sequence ever filmed. Our boat
looked like it was in a wave tank—with waves coming every which way. Buckets of
water seemed to be hurtled at us from just off camera. Occasionally a flash of
lightning would illuminate the entire amateur scene. While it was a bit strange
to be so disconnected—the bonus was I didn’t feel even slightly concerned about
the weather. If the rough seas looked that phony, clearly things were fine.
A while back Evan and I came across and article (survey?)
about qualities every successful blue water sailor shares (I’d hunt down the
link but have limited internet—but if this rings a bell and you know the source
please post it in the comments). The results looked at cruisers who have lasted
for years on the water. It turned out sailing has less to do with finances,
perfect boats and text-book sailing skills and more to with grit, and the
ability to puzzle through complications without quitting, than most of us
imagine. In other words—the sailors who keep going are the ones who don’t give
up during the tough moments, instead they try one-more-idea.
This answer makes tons of sense to me. I have to say our
sailing friends are some of the most stubborn people I know—pile the problems
on and they’ll just keep solving them. The flip side of this is that most of
the long term sailors we know are also really cautious. They take calculated
risks and don’t worry too much about not making a destination as planned, when
planned. To borrow a little Kenny Rogers’ they know when to walk away and know when
We just ran away. Rather than being in Malaysia with decent internet we're somewhere
deep in Borneo with sketchy internet. The last
three days passed in a seasick haze, punctuated by crisis. Take Two of Get to Malaysia was
one of the worst passages we've ever had and took more consecutive grit from
Evan (who already has a medical worry at the back of his mind) than he’s needed
When we came out of the Kumai River
we knew we had an initial upwind/against current slog. But the winds were forecast
to be light so we expected we’d make more than 2 knots in seriously obnoxious
seas. But 2 knots it was (think toddler walking speed) and within a few hours I
was bright green. By the time conditions eased off, the fishing boats had also come
out to catch up for days of being harbour bound. We miscalculated which net
belonged to which boat caught a net around the prop. This meant Ev jumped into
the murky water at 3am and spent for an hour in bouncy seas working to cut us
free (at least it got him a bath so he smelled better than me...).
Our second day and night don’t seem to come with any
distinct memories. I vaguely recall Evan encouraging me to sip water and try to
eat. And I know I kept a few watches so he could get some sleep—but the upwind
sailing in rough seas pushed me into the worst seasickness I’ve ever
experienced, mostly I was in a stupor.
By the third night we thought we might be okay. Every few
hours we’d get smoother conditions—enough to get food or water. We were making
good speed under genoa alone (so many squalls came through that it was easier
to only have one sail to reef) and then the jib furling line broke in the
middle of a squall sucking Evan's hand into the winch (it's swollen but okay).
Evan pointed the boat downwind (which had the unfortunate
coincidence of being in the same place land was) and I woke Maia at 3am for the
second time. Donning our harnesses we worked together to secure the sail and
got the boat turned back on course in the nick of time. According to the
weather reports if we fixed the furler at sea our current weather window still
has just enough of an opening to get us to Malaysia.
|the calm river water was a beautiful sight-even with all the fish traps we needed to dodge|
But instead we followed a tug into a river this morning.
We’re anchored. Evan is sleeping. There will always be another weather window.
Know when to fold’em.
And…the police just pulled up. Apparently we’re anchored in an
area of known pirate activity. They’re moving us to a village we didn’t see and
giving us a cell number to call if we’re boarded. Umm, thanks?! They’re also
getting us more diesel fuel—gotta love a full-service piracy alert.