Day 147

from mail.gmn-usa.com   Tue, 31 Jul 2007 07:31:19 +0000 (GMT)

The wind blew yesterday after midday; waves rose high and first pulled with them streaks of white foam, and then covered themselves entirely with it. It was difficult to take in air while turning my face to the wind. The waves would break piece by piece, it was difficult to define their height, they had to be at least 10 meters, but there were even greater ones. I took off all rags, Luka placed herself badly, side to wave, so I pulled the reefed marching foresail and chose it on windward. The bow moved a little from the wind, but too little ... To drifting backstay in these conditions Luka would be made only by drift-anchor, but it was not so bad. Luka bowed low, but we were taking on water only sporadically. Wacek in such conditions is prohibited to go out on deck, and even though he loves to be where I am, he probably had not forgotten the last storm, because on command he stayed and only watched what I was doing through the windows of the steering room. Suddenly I noticed a fin, like a dolphin’s, but considerably greater ... It appeared quickly, I only caught it for a second out of the corner of my eye. I went inside to get my camera and when I returned to deck, I saw it again. It was certainly not a dolphin, it could be a very big shark ... I was looking about with hope, that something will appear under the lens of the camera, but I only saw the outline of a 6-8-meter long creature moving through almost perpendicular wall of the water of running up waves. I noticed that it had a white abdomen, so it had to be a great white and it probably wasn’t alone, they’re family creatures and the remainder of the family probably circled about the yacht. Right away I remembered this book I once read, a report of a family cruising the Pacific, on a great wooden yacht. One night the great whites hit the bottom of the yacht, mistaking it for a whale and the yacht drowned in the course of a few minutes. The great whites are sometimes called "homicide whales,"  they usually feed on fish, which they smartly back into narrow sandbanks and stun with the strong bump of their tail, they also love to eat seals and sea lions. When however they don’t have access to their favorite food, they take to whales. The great whites have very bulky skulls at the front. It happens that driven to despair by famine they attack a whale, speeding up and hitting it like a battering ram. The bottom of the yacht floating noiselessly on waves and its outline, when one looks at it from the bottom, resembles a sleeping whale. I can easily imagine the devastating effect that such a tragic mistake would have in our case. I jumped to the engine room, with lightning speed I unblocked the block, I returned to the steering room and started the engine. I put it on high revolutions for a moment, then returned to low forward. The great whites apparently got my message, because they disappeared...I still had the signaling pistols for dessert for them, but the sound of turning engine was apparently enough. Today the wind weakened a little, as before we drift in the direction from where we came.  


Day 146

from mail.gmn-usa.com  Mon, 30 Jul 2007 07:03:57 +0000 (UTC)

At night it blew a little, in this moment it approaches seven and it blows at us straight in the eyes. We come on reefed mizzen-mast and marching foresail, but we’re actually moving back in the direction of Madagascar. I don’t want to go to the south, because there, on 30*S width, the wind is still stronger. So we’re heading to Madagascar with the hope that soon the wind will change to south-eastern and it will let us turn west. In the computer world in Luka nothing has changed, we wait for answers from Navichart and perhaps from a specialist of hardware, who knows the reason that this red blinking light comes on, instead of the nice green after pressing the turn on button of the computer. After midday the wind is supposed to be stronger, I will have to attach some things stronger ...


Day 145

from mail.gmn-usa.com   Sun, 29 Jul 2007 08:16:39 +0000 (GMT)

The navigational computer went on strike without warning, refused to collaborate and doesnt want to turn on. It is a Compaq EVO, on the left side of connector, after turning on; usually a green light was blinking. Now after turning on the green light stays on for only on 2 seconds, and then it changes to red and blinks. The computer doesnt want to budge. After talking with Beata, we came to the conclusion that this can be the battery, CPU, power supply, or anything else. I exchanged the inner charger from the reserve computer (I took two identical) but even with a good charger it blinks in red and does nothing. A puzzle for a specialist ... In the reserve computer the navigational program wont install, we will wait until Monday and Beata will call Navichart in Germany and ask them why CD with their program wont install in the new computer. Tomorrow I will try to copy the whole CD onto a hard disc, maybe then the installation will budge. I wonder if the changing current on yacht is to blame. Generator gives 135 V, inverter 95-100V. I wonder if the lower or higher charge is better for the computer...For now we have weather fax and e-mail, I have to wait for the rest. Today's position 08: 05UT this 29*21S and 48*45E, there is no wind, we are turning around in a circle


Day 144

from mail.gmn-usa.com  Sat, 28 Jul 2007 10:10:16 +0000 (UTC)


The second computer in this cruise broke already, in both cases the charging was to blame. There is still one, and if this one will revolt the reports and the current position on map will end.


Day 143

Fri Jul 27 04:51:53 2007 UTC - 28 45.93 S - 46 54.35 E
I keep worrying about the autopilot; I do have hope that it is nothing serious. It turned on about 3 times at night, the wind blew meanwhile, and there was a rather high wave. After each turn off of the autopilot pump Luka placed itself bajdewind, obliquely in direction of wind, it of course threw me off the bunk. Every time it happened I put a headlight on, I took off the casing of the autopilot computer and I moved the cables running from the pick up of the bend of helm...Today, before I will decide to exchange it, I will clean the junctions thoroughly. The hardware is only 6 months old, and points of junctions are coated with silver, so it is difficult to accept that it's their fault, but maybe
I'm wrong. We will sail, we will see. Wacek put a mine yesterday beside the stairs; I stepped in it with all my speed. When I realized what I stepped in, anger flared up in me, Wacek, seeing this hid under the table in mesa and pretended not to know anything about it. After a moment, when I already washed my leg and cleaned the floor, my anger passed. It is not like Wacek could go out to the garden, or bark at the door. It was night, the wind whistled, waves fell on deck..., I will leave him alone. We will train him again on dry land.


Day 142

Thu Jul 26 04:52:41 2007 UTC - 28 21.81 S - 48 13.30 E

Since yesterday the weather has been gorgeous, all day and part of the night we sailed under a marching foresail exhibited on butterfly, at night the wind turned a little to the north, and the marching foresail flew on lee, but it was stopped by contra-shot. It woke me up in the morning, I wondered whether to go on deck and free it from contra-shot, but the higher part of the sail worked well, nothing was tearing, nothing was rubbing, so I pretended that all is in order and I returned to the bunk. Today I let it fly on lee and harmony returned to deck. I started having troubles with the autopilot, it shows a message that it does not receive a signal from the sensor of the helm bend and it switches to the position of waiting, switching off the pump. I disconnected the sensor arm and moved it energetically. We will see if this will help, if not, then I will install the reserve sensor which luckily I took with me.
 


Day 141

Wed Jul 25 04:33:43 2007 UTC - 27 59.78 S - 49 14.87 E

The wind came back, it is ideal today. It blows from full backstay and 15 knots fits like a glove to today's mood of the crew. Yesterday we begin operations of evicting illegal tenants that host on the yacht's sides, above water line. I got the tools ready, I attached a scraper to an aluminum solid flat iron and I bent it a little. The scraper works without reproach, but the work itself is not pleasant. In spite of now having a long scraper, it is necessary to lean out very much over Luka's side, in order to attack the little rotten shells at the right angle, the storm railing pushes into my abdomen, and Luka's incessant motion makes the unpleasant work all the more difficult. Yesterday I scraped almost half of the left side, today it rocks us more, so the remainder will have to wait for a gentler tune of Mother Ocean. I wonder how quickly the shells will grow back; they grow in a stretchy 1-2cm strip along the ship's side. If they grew on some stone or the coast in port, one could say that they are pretty... Here they look like a disease on Luka's "skin". Today Wacek topped himself. There is a little of my fault in this, I should have put him out on deck earlier. I got up from my bunk and in a moment of tenderness I picked him up I hugged him, and then Wacek unceremoniously peed on me...Furiously I chucked him on deck and it took him a moment before he took on himself bit of guilt. I definitely decided never to hug Wacek again at the start of day...


Day 140

Tue Jul 24 05:53:24 2007 UTC - 28 4.35 S - 50 5.06 E

Something puffed from the north east, but there is as much of this, as is hardly enough, to keep the beak on course. Again a calm night, and again I dreamed something, but this time I do not remember the details. Yesterday I finished the job with backstays; they will be tightened by a waist assembled with reserve blocs. When I searched for the blocs I found the safety belt with the stopper that did not let me fall in the bay at Rodriguez Island. Immediately I felt the feeling of relief and happiness that embraced me back then, when after the dramatic end of the climb, I sat in the steering room with a glass of whisky in my stomach and a bottle in my trembling hands, I felt very strongly that I was alive. I will never forget the feeling of relief and happiness just as I will never forget the fall when I did not fall. It seems that to feel deep happiness you first need to feel great despair . It is almost as if it is the same scenery, only changing twitching and color changes from icy despair into the fireworks of happiness... This splendid feeling which filled me then, attracts me now as if a drug. I would like to come back to it, butI know that I would have to fall again first ... I will be satisfied with just the whiskey then:-)


Day 138 and  139

 

Mon Jul 23 04:39:59 2007 UTC - 27 52.41 S - 50 30.67 E

 

(date and position at the moment of e-mail)

Monday

Silence afloat, wind died, left its widow, also already dead - wave. After some hours it weakened and for the first time from leaving the port in Ensenada we slept without straining of muscles at each inclination. It turned out that yesterday's dead whale meant that the wind would die, and the seal waiting beside him could have been a great mainsail, trashing about the deck for weeks which in the end I decided to fold and put away. I could not fold it completely, it is too great to fold it on deck, so I pulled it through manhole to the fore cabin and I put it comfortably in the high bunk. In the evening Janek called. We moved the date of our rendez-vous by about two weeks; monsoon already finished and was replaced by his changeable winds, the road to the tip of Africa lengthens...


Sunday

Wind turned again, it blows now from north west, we come almost sharply to it. At the wind of 18 knots this is a very convenient course, Luka rocks delicately along its own axis, we could have a bag race on deck today. In the evening I poured a little from -the happily found among the rice - bottle, the waves smoothed over and I could swear that a star was blinking at me, charming me. I dreamed then that I had the intention to go overboard, it was quiet, there was a dead whale at ship's side, and beside it the seal was hiding, then I saw the positional lights of some ship ... I wonder what this can mean for me. I have no doubts, that dreams are the manner through which our unconscious, or if someone prefers the soul, tries to communicate with us, and using symbols taken from the subconscious, it warns or it informs about coming events. It also tells us if we are on the right road and warns about the consequences of our decisions... that much I know, but I still don't know what my soul was trying to tell me. It seems that it was warning me of something, so we will be very careful in the near future..
.


Day 137

Sat Jul 21 06:35:51 2007 UTC - 27 39.26 S - 51 24.83 E

In the morning the wind turned into north eastern. I noticed this when I woke up and did not hear the short noises of the autopilot pump. Not completely severing the ties with Beata's beautifully scented hair that I was dreaming of just a moment ago, I got up banging a little about the kitchen and the wall of engine room I entered the steering room. I saw that Luka, as if tired of the continuous sail made a turn through stern and placed herself in a drift and with contempt for the wind, exhibited the foresail on windward and a bit of full-blown mainsail. Before the autopilot "understood", that it can't keep up this course and turned off the pump, it bent the helm on lee and now Luka rocked mildly, moving slowly to the south west. It was 5 am, I still missed the drowsy smell of Beata, it gets light here only about 9 am, and because the only effect of the whole alarm was a difference in course of about 20 degrees to the south, and that we slowed down, I decided to leave Luka in position which she chose and went back to my bunk. I also came to the conclusion that starting tomorrow I have to cause the sun to come up earlier, 9 am is too late:-) We could speed up the revolutions of the earth, but this would bring a lot of problems, especially from those always complaining that 24 hours lasts only 24 hours. In this situation the best thing to do would be to set the clock back one hour, especially since time is actually a relative concept


Day 136

Fri Jul 20 05:19:52 2007 UTC - 27 1.63 S - 52 22.67 E

Yesterday we made a little update in the electric system. Luka from birth supplies her tools in the 24 Volt systems. This is a profitable arrangement for the electric system, the problem however is that the remainder of world, chiefly the one which produces yacht electronics, does not share this opinion and almost all electronics acts exclusively on 12V. Because of this Luka's electric system possesses a converter which changes the 24V current to 12V. The converter also acts as a charger and charges the 12V accumulator which powers the generator. The big converter even if it is not overloaded, uses 0.3Amp, so yesterday I installed into the system another little converter which we took with us just in case .. ... I connected to it the tools I use the most; GPS with the little plotter and the compass light. Now I turn on the GPS whenever I want, without the impression that I waste energy and I do not turn off the compass light at night.


Day 135

Thu Jul 19 05:35:19 2007 UTC - 26 23.07 S - 53 24.11 E

The wind keeps playing symphonies that are ravishing with their intensities all night. It blows in the flutes of mast, of halyards, of stays and alto clarinets of the wind generators, it penetrates the inside of the yacht with basses and unites with the tuned low today violin of Mother Ocean. Moreover it rocks unmercifully, it is altogether impossible to sleep, so we are reading "Good" by Waldemar Lysiak and waiting for the sun


Day 134

Wed Jul 18 07:29:38 2007 UTC - 25 58.51 S - 54 13.49 E

We are sailing with the same course as yesterday; we were sailing that course also the day before yesterday and the day before that. The Monsoon probably blows the same since the end of the glacial era and the sun rises in the east the same, and then it disappears as if it died, but the next day it appears young again. Sometimes it looks different, red, or pale, hardly visible over bulky sheepskin of clouds ... Every day it regenerates for us afresh, although it never really dies - "What was - is now, what is now - will be.. .. "Someone asked me in connection with the passing of my brother, whether I believe in reincarnation. The answer is of course yes. No one can understand any of the Divine dichotomy, if in beginning one will not ally them, like a chain with the "links" of reincarnation . How can one explain God's indifference to pain and human wrong, especially of the innocent who do not yet deserve "punishment" ... How does one explain, without understanding the laws of reincarnation, that the Omnipotent God called to life a degenerate, who grabs, violates for weeks, and then tortures a three year old girl ... It can't be explained. Because if He is our loving father, then He had to love this degenerate more than that child ... Only when we will begin to see God through the prism of laws and rules, which He created, and when we will comprehend the presence in our life of cause and consequence, and reincarnation which follows from them, we have a chance to breathe deeper and recapture peace. Not a bad example of reincarnation in activity, although not ideal, would be the dream which divides us from the future day. Let's imagine that the end of day is the decline of life, and the morning is a renewed birth and that tomorrow we will meet the consequences of decisions made today. In this manner one can see the connection of today's events with decisions made yesterday; for example yesterday I was talking bad about a colleague at work, today this colleague talked to the boss about me.. Each word, each act and each thought is a beginning which will appear in our life tomorrow, day after tomorrow or during the year. This is likewise to what the Buddhists call "karma". It is the sum and the epicenter of rulings and experiences of our preceding life (lives) which so manipulates the present that our micro-world can get back the balance, which was upset in the preceding life (lives). And so we can experience being the violator, if in the preceding life were violated or inverse, or we can be very rich if previously we were very poor. This "very" may be an exaggeration, shaking of equilibrium which sooner or later has to come back to it's place. One "very" has to end with an opposite "very", "very many of something" now , can only be balanced with "very little of something" later . Therefore the Buddhists call on us to give up our desires, because those are precisely what direct us to the upsetting of the balance "very" . There are however people, I know one, who will not give up their passion in life, even if it will be necessary to pay for it later ...Following Jesus' position that " ..you know the tree after its fruits", it turns out that acceptance of reincarnation brings forth great fruit in our lives. We don't have to live in fear of salvation, because even if this time we don't deserve it, then we will have another chance, and the next, and many after that. It is enough to live and act best as we can and break free from the choking sense of guilt ... Reincarnation also causes, that when we look at people, it doesn't matter who it is; whether it will be Rockefeller, Tom Cruise, the homeless under the bridge, or an alcoholic, we feel the intense truth, that we are all equal, and that only in this life we have another road to take, different types of experiences to gather, we know also that with each new life we will enter more aware and wiser. It is this, I think, what Jesus meant when he said "we are all equal in the eyes of God". When the "night" passes by the one who experienced humiliation will humiliate another, an atheist will become a priest, and the one who with contempt avoided the begging poor drunkard, now himself will experienced contempt. "This which you do onto another, you do onto yourself..." Amen


Day 133

Tue Jul 17 05:11:04 2007 UTC - 24 51.98 S - 55 36.42 E

At night I reefed up the sail, only a handkerchief was left , I must still have one reef in between ... But in these circumstances such mizzen-mast is better than none. Luka after this manipulation stopped rocking, calmed down, and my dreams also smoothed over when I fell asleep. As before it is not necessary to load the battery with diesel, perhaps I will grow fond of the whistling aircrafts on stern. The one on the stands as first, when the batteries are loaded, and stopped by the current regulator. They also should stop automatically when the wind reaches 40 knots, or a stronger one might apparently rip off their wings ... In the cupboard between rice, I found a two liter "Johny" with apparently done on order original etiquette of Johnny Walker "For my dear Tomek favorable winds - Beata." My intelligent wife's knowledge of masculine nature created this great, under the circumstances surprise, I have to drink to that ... Thank you my love. Women don't buy your men socks or ties, this is a sin of ignorance.


Day 132

Mon Jul 16 12:18:39 2007 UTC - 24 4.74 S - 56 38.42 E

In the morning the wind weakened a little, but all night we ploughed through the sea, Luka without pardon was cutting through great south-western waves, some put up resistance, they fell with splashes onto the deck and threw us up like a ball. I couldn't wait for sunrise, the eastern part of the sky was covered by bulky and black clouds, and when the sun at last cut through this black sheepskin, it was red like wine. An old kashub would probably know what such ruby ascent of sun will bring ...For two days now I don't turn on the diesel generator, it is not necessary since we are sailing with the wind. Now the wind generators maintain full batteries, it is enough for the autopilot, electronics and even inverter and 20-inch television ... Yesterday we watched movies for half the day. I write that we were watching, because Wacek always sits down beside me and it looks like he is watching too, sometimes he growls at something, then goes to sleep, then again sits and watches. Dogs supposedly see the television screen differently. I wonder how ...


Day 131

Sun Jul 15 04:21:52 2007 UTC - 23 22.73 S - 58 32.81 E

For almost twenty-four hours the crock rocked us, the wind disappeared somewhere, a few unattached things fell, I was wondering whether to pick them up, maybe they should stay where they fell, at least they wont fall down again. In the morning the wind revived, it blows in the neighborhood of 18 knots from south west (WSW). We are sailing sharply to the wind on the bit of mainsail, marching foresail and mizzen-mast. It jerks a little like a car on a field road, but the wave came back to life and we do not bow anymore to the deep sea. Luka sloped lightly and we float now long ways to the yacht's axis ...Wacek had to have a bad dream last night, because when I brought him to the wheelhouse and sat down in order to check course and so on, Wacek instead of jumping out onto the deck as usual, looked me deep in the eyes and started peeing. I looked at the growing pool and wondered where it was coming from. It took me a few seconds to realize that he was peeing... I yelled : WACEK!. Wacek opened his eyes wide, trembled and as if he only now realized he made the stain, bent his tail under and escaped onto the deck. Complete lack of good manners.


Day 130

Sat Jul 14 04:28:42 2007 UTC - 23 56.49 S - 58 25.32 E

The wind died at night, the dead wave rocks us with a strange zeal. It is actually hardly visible, but it throws Luka from side to side, as if it wanted us to understand - "now I rule here .. ". It looks like a nice, sunny day, good day for getting rid of unwanted tenants; white sea shells stuck 40cm thick like a belt, just above the water line. Wacek of course will honestly help, he always zealously participates in jobs on deck and he will stubbornly stick his nose wherever he can, he has to smell everything. He wont let let any metal part alone, but in a specific manner he is drawn to metal nuts which he notoriously picks, even though he got reprimanded a few times for this . One day I worked at a roller on beak, I took it apart, and two nuts and bolts I attentively put in the corner near the anchor lift, paying attention so that they would not fall over ships side. After a certain time satisfied from the repair I reached for the nuts, but they were not there. My temperature started to rise, I started to call myself with epithets of type stupid and idiot, how could you leave them so carelessly. Especially since these were special nuts with fine-pitch- thread which I don't have anymore on board. I was getting angrier by the minute and then I looked at Wacek. He stared at me with his mouth half open, as if he was keeping something in there when he heard my elevated voice he ran away to the stern.. Using my sweetest voice, I promised that nothing will happen to him, if he only will return the nuts. I went to get his favorite leather bone, but he altogether ignored it. He would run to the right whenever I went left. In the end taken to the limit I screamed bloody murder, Wacek came to the conclusion that it's not a trifle, he spit out the nuts and escaped to the wheelhouse. He jumped on his bed under the manual pump, as far in as he could and pretended to yawn. He knew that I could not touch him there, we settled this as his safe place. Of course I entered the wheelhouse after him, but happy from the retrieval of the nuts, I only threatened the thief. I laughed with this, so it did not make an impression on him, because in moments heagain was on beak, and circled like a vulture, but this time the nuts were already safely tightened ..


Day 129

Fri Jul 13 03:23:06 2007 UTC - 23 53.93 S - 59 5.42 E

(July thirteenth)
The weather does not change, it is still warm, we sail with course 245*. The weather map continuously shows a low, which it looks like occupies neighborhoods between Madagascar and the end of Africa. It runs around the neighborhood and blows 30-40 knots, usually in the direction from which we sail ... It is living in the center of our way, it is necessary to avoid it a little. If nothing changes in the meantime, then in this situation we decided to near at -+300 miles to the south end of Madagascar, and then at a similar distance near the coast of Africa and further down the coast. On this route it must be quiet, and we will use up more time which we have at least 2 months in excess.


Day 128

Thu Jul 12 07:59:00 2007 UTC - 23 26.13 S - 60 22.53 E

( July twelfth)
The wind got stronger, it blows high seven, we are going with a sharp backstay, sometimes it turns a little and makes a half. We are sailing on a marching foresail, I tried to put up a reefed mizzen-mast, but almost immediately the beak pushes to the wind, I would have to exhibit another bit of mainsail, but thank God this is not a race. To mizzen-mast is missing one reef. The first turns it too little, and the second leaves a handkerchief that is only good to weather the storm, or on anchorage. The warmth slowly leaves us, at night I put on a sweat suit, in a little while it will be cold altogether, but at least we will not be without food, we have much grub, and if by some hideous chance famine looked me in the eyes, I still have Wacek:-) Who said that dogs had to live 15 years ... Hehe. For exp. Wacek a'la Luka, or rotisserie Wacek ... It is good that Wacek cannot read this, he probably would not bark at me for the rest of the cruise...


Day 127

Wed Jul 11 05:17:12 2007 UTC - 22 36.05 S - 61 52.42 E

(July eleventh)
Instead of backstay cables, today I was fixing out the handle on the kettle with whistle. The kettle was not whistling, and many times the water boiled out almost completely, before I remembered about the planned tea. Now it whistles like a locomotive. We use up less gas. The wind calmed down a little, but every once in a while rainy squalls reach us, we are sailing south west, in direction of beer ... I wonder if we will be able to meet
with Janek. Right now the wind blows pretty well there, but I believe that Mother Ocean will look on us graciously.


Day 126

Tue Jul 10 07:12:59 2007 UTC - 22 0.68 S - 62 21.35 E

(July tenth)
Today I feel ok, not counting that everything hurts. But my usual happiness in life returned. The possible climbing of the mast scares me so very much, that I decided to exchange the grotto and marching sail. They were actually still ok, they showed here and there delicate signs of usage, but after my latest experiences which I do not want to repeat, it was enough. The mizzen-mast fold, which I did not use from the beginning looks like new. When I was done with the folds, I attached new safety cables with a half-inch cable. What remained was to "earn" the endings of new backstays, but this is for tomorrow...


Day 125

Mon Jul 09 05:34:36 2007 UTC - 20 20.08 S - 62 44.22 E

Today is my birthday, thanks to all who remembered. I feel like I was ground through a meat grinder. Everything hurts without exception. I sprained tendons in both elbows and palms, they hurt with the least motion, likewise is the bruised and injured remainder. But nothing besides that happened, I'm alive and in one piece. I should be grateful to God that he let me experience "collapse" but didn't let me fall. I got to know the end of my endurance, I touched the end of my limit, I felt the moment, that for most, if they also felt it means the end of the fight, the end of life, but here I am sitting at the table in my sheltered mesa, writing about it. We can also look at this differently: I have to have a good Guardian Angel! Maybe he had an impact on the sailor in Port San Luis, who on a certain day, came up to me and gave me this stopper for the line, saying "maybe you can use one day".. and use it I did ...Yesterday I was not able to sign a paper given to me from a motor boat by a port clerk. They waited at the ship's side when I came down from the boom, one of them gave me the paper on a support to sign, I held the paper but I could not grasp the pen in my fingers. They looked at me awhile attentively and one commented-" it looks like you had a difficult climb"
Oh, I had ...
I told them that in an hour I was going out to sea, I entered the mesa, found a bottle buried under the table, I dragged myself with it to an arm-chair in the wheelhouse and took a gulp. In a few moments I felt how the whisky melts the knot of horror still grasping my insides. I swore a few times and holding the bottle with two hands, so that I would not drop it from my shaking fingers, I took another swig ... When half of the bottle was gone I came to the conclusion, that if I don't put it away, I will not leave today, and there was no way that I was spending another night among these reefs. I started the engine, I went to the beak, to the anchor lift and I stood on the connector. The lift was slippery, towing the yacht under strong wind, finally it stopped. I returned to the wheelhouse, put it in forward, it helped for a moment, the lift again budged, however I had to still go and add revs of the engine. Luka tore out from the reef. I pulled the anchor under fore basket, tightened it safely and returned to the steering room and to the bottle. In the evening we were already far from the island, the wind pushing us from it. I left on deck only the marching sail and I fell into the sleeping-berth like a dying horse.
 


Day 124

Sun Jul 08 06:34:28 2007 UTC - 19 39.86 S - 63 25.39 E

 


 

I got up before dawn worried by the rocking wave, drinking tea I downloaded the weather, it showed for the next few days the wind of 20+ knots. I had no intention to stay and wait for the mercy of the wind between these reefs. The unpleasant feeling was made even worse by the wreck of a great motor yacht dying out on reef, 300m away. The wave was coming up 25 degrees on the left from the line of the wind, so Luka placed itself at an angle to it. I put the mizzen-mast on first reef and I stuffed it contra shot almost completely to the wind. It helped; the wind now was pushing the stern and after some minutes Luka moved almost beak to wave. The rocking sideways lessened, now we rocked from front to back along the yacht's axis Everything moved as before, but if chief Baranowski, as well as other solitary sailors climbed on masts on full sea, then I should also be able to, especially since we are a little protected. Besides, I had the sense to put little steps on the mast for such an occasion. I got to work, I got the stainless steel cables ready, which from now on will be backstays, broad safety girdle with a stopper and a boatswain's seat with brief, bulky cable. I also took shackles, and two connectors - the type that are like lengthened links of chain twisted in the center,- sprat dodges and pliers. I put on the girdle tightly and connected the cable with the stopper, then I "put on" the boatswain's seat. I stretched the grotto tightly, stuck the stopper on it, entered onto the boom and started to climb the small steps made of thin, stainless rod, prominent only so much as to give support to half of the shoe's sole.

With each step up the rocking became more unpleasant. I climbed to the first mast platform, stopped and rested. My hands, tightened on the thin metal rods on the jerking mast were already beginning to hurt. After a moment I stood up carefully and I started up again. The motions of the mast became still more arduous. What on the deck is rocking, up here brutally tears from the mast. With some trouble I got to the second platform and I clasped the mast with both arms like a much missed mistress, I stopped for a while and rested. Then carefully I reached with one hand for the cable connected to the boatswain's seat, and in the rhythm of the motion of the mast, I put the cable around the mast above the second platform, then slowly I pulled its end through the ear of the seat and I tied a knot with one hand. I had it at the chest level so it was under control. Still keeping my legs on the steps, I shifted a little weight onto the seat, then a little more, in the end I sat down and now I used my legs to keep me near the mast. I still had two cables attached to the safety belt, I put them around the mast, now I could let go one hand at a time and let them rest, and then hold on with one hand and work with the other. Attached strongly with three cables, I constituted now a part of the mast, I moved along with it, making figure 8s, I looked at the small, from this altitude, deck, at the same time I was looking at the mast and wondering where to attach the backstays. Lazy Jack fastenings proved strong enough to attach to them backstay cables, but gaps in them were too little and the shackles which I have brought did not want to go through them. I will fasten them there when we will stand in a smooth like a table port. Presently I had to make do; I had two 50cm bits of nib, saved from friction by a bulky, tightened knot and ended by nooses with thimble. After many combinations and attempts which took an hour and a half, of untwisting and renewed stranding of different arrangements, it turned out best under the circumstances to connect two cables together with a twisted link and connect that with a second link attached to the stay handle which, on this altitude, started at the front of the mast. The steel cable now embraced the mast under the stay handle, and its ends went out through the handles of the platform on both sides of the mast, to which I screwed on the backstays with the shackles. I was so concentrated that I wouldn't drop anything, that I did not notice a great cloud coming and visible now before the beak a wall of rain. It hit when I tightened the last shackles. The wind suddenly reached 30 knots and whipped me with the rain. I clasped the mast as strongly as I could and hid my face behind it. Rain beat on me, the wind screamed, Luka started to rock, the mast would move for a few meters at a time, and shook as if it decided to free itself of me. Even though I was solidly attached, I did not dare let go, my arms trembled from overwork. After about thirty minutes the squall started to die down. Luka again placed its beak to wave, although now the wave was far greater. When I thought about going down, I came to the conclusion that I'm better off in this boatswain's seat ... But I could not stay here forever. I sat there for some time still, looking down and in a certain moment I decided - I'm going down!
I would rather not describe the next events, recalling them still generates unpleasant emotions. But what would these reports be worth , if I avoided the truth ...Slowly I started to unattach the cables which so far bound me with the mast, I had to hold on with one hand while doing this, then I supported my legs on the rungs of the mast and untied the knot holding the boatswain's seat. Now I wasn't tied to anything anymore. After a few steps down and an incessant fight not to fall off, we encountered a greater wave and the mast went first far to the right, then to the left, I felt that my fingers, clutching the slippery rungs, even with all my determination, are opening and I am not able to control them any longer. After 2 hours of almost continuous grasping, my hands were not able to withstand the violent jerks and almost 150kg of weight.

I felt that in a second I will let go of the handle, I was embraced by panic. I cried out, NO! I can't let go. I was pushed to the left side of the mast, I felt on my back a stay that started over my head, somehow I moved my head so I rested my neck and back on it. I was now on the left side of the mast supported only by one leg on a little rung, I leant back on the stay and with both hands I held onto the mast. I felt, that my weakening arms still grasp the mast, only because I relieved them a little leaning on the stay. I told myself - rest, let your arms rest ...
Actually, they couldn't rest much - I still had to hold on really tightly not to fall off. After a moment the mast lessened its motion, I thought that if I don't go down now and quickly reach the first platform, then I won't be able to hold on any longer anyway. . I felt panic tightening my throat, but I pushed it away. I tightened my arms around the mast, , I put my right leg on the other side of mast searching for the right rung, found it and made one step down, in this moment the mast jerked suddenly, I clasped it again as strongly as I could, but felt that I'm losing control over my arms.. I felt helplessness, I felt despair, I felt the end of my limit, I felt that I lost the fight ... I fell off ... Only then I realized that I was fastened, The stopper stopped my fall and I hung on the grotto. The safety belt tightened around me and I felt like I almost couldn't breathe. I was swung like a pendulum to the other side of the mast. I caught the stay and I clasped it tightly. I almost couldn't breathe, the belt was so tight around me that it was hard to take in air. I felt that once again panic embraced me, I cried out DON'T panic! I started to look around to find some support for my legs and found it. I leant my leg on the screwed to the mast casing of deck light. I supported myself on it a little, so much that the pressure from the belt lessened, which let me breathe deeper. I released the stay and again I clasped the mast, I breathed in shallow, black butterflies before my eyes started to disappear. I breathed as deep as I was able, I was afraid that I would lose consciousness. I stood there on the light casing a good few minutes, then I came to a little and I supported the other leg on a rung on mast ... Now, carefully I tried to lessen the tension on the stopper. After a few tries I was successful and I moved the stopper a little down, four rungs below me the lower platform awaited me. Finally I got there. I stood there for a long time and I breathed in deep, then slowly I sat down. I sat there embracing the mast I do not know how long ... Freed from the pressure of the belt my lungs sounded hard like blacksmith's sacks ...I was in no mood to go down, I was fine where I was. Slowly I started to regain some strength in my hands. My left arm after the break of the elbow, was never the same (I can't completely straighten it or bent it and it's weaker) now with trouble I was making a fist.. .. I sat there probably for a while yet but I saw the Coast Guard heading our way, it stopped rocking for a moment, so I got myself together and slowly went down. I felt relief and happiness when I stood up on boom ...


Day 123

Sat Jul 07 03:27:25 2007 UTC - 20 5.44 S - 63 59.41 E

We entered this little bay in the evening, I informed the local Coast Guard that we were there right away. I answered the typical questions by radio- we don't have weapons or narcotics, I gave the official my information, including my passport number and Luka's registration. I informed him that we have no intention of coming into the port or leave the yacht. I also said that we have a small rigging emergency but tomorrow before noon we are leaving. The bay, which actually is a half circle in the middle of vast reefs, is located on the northern part of the island Rodriguez and is not at all as sheltered as I had hoped. The eastern part of the island does not shelter it from the wind and only the vast reefs break the ocean waves. However, it lets in the tops of waves, which are strengthened by the strong at the moment monsoon that pushes them into the bay. Before nightfall, we found the best location under these circumstances, near the eastern edge of the reefs. I threw the anchor down 20 m, it caught almost at once. Because of the interference that the island produces the direction of the wind did not agree with the direction of the waves, between the axis of wind and waves was about 25 degrees difference. I spent the night in the steering room, sometimes it rocked well. Every time that a motion woke me I glanced at the computer screen, to make sure that the strong (25 knots) wind won't push us into the reefs (the alarm should go off). I was also worried about tomorrow's climb. It is supposed to be calm but the wind screamed in the masts and every so often it rocked us. I blocked the bad thoughts and went to sleep.
 


Day 121

Thu Jul 05 03:53:13 2007 UTC - 21 6.10 S - 65 40.57 E
The wind turned and it blows almost from the south now. We are sailing with a sharp half-wind, it is a convenient course for Luka. The yacht turned a little to the right and in the moment when I put up the mizzen-mast, the autopilot pump hushed, it revives now once a minute with a brief bzzzzz. The mizzen-mast from half up, splendidly balances the yacht. In English, they call this the steering sail, and this is right, many sailors after a spiteful wave damaged their steering, made do with the mizzen-mast to balance the yacht so that they could keep course . Chay Blyth lost his auto-steering almost at the beginning of his unusual cruise , and in spite of that British Steel happily circled the world and brought Chay home and with a bigger stomach than when he left.


Day 119

Wed Jul 04 07:27:18 2007 UTC - 20 49.91 S - 66 15.67 E
(third July)
The stay with the roller is tensed, today the deck caresses are left; tighten the cotters, pull backstays which Luka has fastened as permanent, near the mast, regulate the other two stays and to check the rest of the rigging. The arrangement of the stays is like the law of ideal gas, if you change one element, you also change the rest. And if you add to that the possibility of new elements appearing, it would also be a good example, showing in activity the universal law of "cause and consequence" . In general it is difficult to perceive the direct relativity of this fundamental law, because of the time dividing cause from effect. Time hides from us the connection of consequences with their causes, and therefore we keep making the same errors. I figured out that I make the same mistakes 5-7 times, this is my personal limit. It's true that each time the circumstances had a little "different color" , but in the end it was always about the same thing. In general for the fifth, or seventh time, when I already caused someone pain speaking by softly entering whisky which brought a hole in my consciousness - I told myself "never again". But only when I touch my limit, I remember and avoid the causes leading up to it. I also discovered that it is favorable to think about the motive before making a decision. If it's fear then definitely the cause we brought to life, will give birth to something that sooner or later, will turn out to be an unwanted little monster. The only thing that you can then
really do, is to as gently as possible, get rid of this something from your life, promise yourself " never again" , and start over .. Before I sailed out I made a decision made of fears, that I will not make it to Cape Horn in time and I sailed out too early. It seemed to me at the time that it's better to slow down on the way than be late. Now we are good two months too early and again I come to the conclusion "never again"  I wont listen to weak-minded whispers of fear. Generally making such balanced decision demands an intuition mixed with courage, or at least experience .. Fearing that we will be too late to Cape Horn I caused us to be too early, and spring there is more crazy than autumn. Well, from now on all my decisions will direct me to the "center" - not too late and not too early, not too much and not too little, not too strong and not too light, until the next "never again" ... A certain wise "sailor" said once "Truth of all lies somewhere in the middle."


Day 117 i 118

Tue Jul 03 04:08:11 2007 UTC - 20 23.53 S - 67 13.58 E

 

 

Tue Jul 03 04: 08: 11 2007 UTC - 20 23.53 S - 67 13.58 E
(July first and second)
Second July.
Yesterday I was walking around on deck, I  thought about how to stretch the stay with roller painlessly, I found some cables, looked at the turn-buckles and stay handles. Then I sat down in the steering room and the remainder of day I spent listening to the speculations surrounding the Plato tale about the existence of Atlantis, and suddenly I wanted beers ... Once it was on boat, I went there again and like a beggar I searched the recesses of fore cabin in the hope that there was some left. Of course I didn not find any. And I wanted it so much .. I imagined the hiss of the open can and the first bitter swallow ... But there isnt anymore ... There has not been any for a long time now, it is not the first time that I searched all possible places. I returned to the steering room, I put the ipod"s tiny receivers in my ears and I listened to the book. After a few moments it got dark, I went down to the kitchen - to put on water for coffee. I turned on the LED light, and then I heard something rolling under my legs in the rhythm of Luka's motion. I reached for it and in the dusk I saw that it was a can of beer ....
I stood with it in my hand as if spell-bound, I could not believe it.... If it was in the fore cabin, I would think that I missed it and it fell on the floor, but then it would have to fly over the half-a-meter high threshold of fore cabin, run through the closed door, noiselessly roll to the other end of yacht and end up exactly where I stood, on the empty floor of the kitchen ...

 Thank you brother.

First July.
Mirus probably already found his atoll and has no worries, as for us yesterday the handle fastening the turn-buckle of shroud to the shroud suspension broke. While still in California a specialist worked on this. I told him twice, before the work and after, to decompress places which he welded. With the face of a super specialist, almost offended by my question he requested $250, and fastening broke with the first strong wind. Somehow I lost trust in specialists. Actually I dont trust any of them, and I was prepared for something like this. We have on the yacht a few stainless, bulky screws that end with a round hold. They are 5/8 inch wide and if the rod from which it was made did not have a structural "fuckup" , the screw will withhold a few times greater load than the shroud will provide. We are still waiting for more secure weather in order to stretch the shroud of the main mast. I think that I know how to do it without going up on the mast, I only need a few hours on a dry beak. In this moment some local storms come over us.