Day 85: Clean Hull and Clean Hair, But I’d Rather Be Rowing.

The trying times continue. I have now been stuck on the same small patch of ocean for the last 5 days. I advance a bit, the current pushes me back. I push again, the current pushes me back again. Repeat ad nauseam. I could use a good stiff breeze to help get me out of here. It will arrive eventually. But I don’t yet know when.

Meanwhile, I decided that if today was not going to be a good day for miles, maybe it could be a good day in some other ways. I donned face mask and snorkel and hopped overboard to scrub barnacles.

It didn’t really need doing, in truth. The rudder had a few outcrops of goosenecks, and there was a row of them along the chine (the pointy ridge that runs the length of the boat’s bottom), but other than that the hull was miraculously barnacle-free.

I shudder to think what noxious chemicals must be in the antifoul paint that was applied in Fremantle, as there have been many more barnacles in previous years. Or maybe it is just that we brought the line of the antifoul up higher above water level. After seeing my boat in the water, Ben the boatbuilder suggested that we could do with a few extra inches of paint. So we did. Could well have been $350 extremely well spent if it means I don’t have to go overboard very often. On a calm day like today I don’t mind, but in rougher conditions I feel very vulnerable.

Having got all salty during my dip, it seemed a good time to finally wash my hair. For the first time in nearly three months. I am not really a slob. There’s just not much point in washing it out here, and it’s a bit of a hassle. But oooh, it did feel good to sluice my scalp with cool fresh water, and wash and condition using Green People‘s lavender-scented organic baby products.

As I dried out on deck afterwards, the fishy chaps put on a show for me. The water was oily-calm, so their antics were easily visible. A school of at least twenty fish flopped around near the surface, about fifty feet away. I couldn’t see what they were, only their splashes. The mahi mahi put on an even better show. They have been a bit hyperactive the last couple of days – not sure why. They jump about six feet in the air, then belly-flop back down into the water. One leap today was so impressive I actually gave him a well-deserved round of applause.

And so, as the sun sets, I bob around out here, rather hoping that a nice brisk easterly will put in an appearance (can wind “appear”?). Miles would have been nice. But failing that, a clean hull and clean hair are better than nothing.

Other Stuff:

Thanks for the feedback on the theme of community (and for the jokes!). I’m having a few thoughts myself too. It’s all percolating…

Yes, Raven, I’m aware of the transition towns. It is indeed a move in the right direction, although from what I hear even in those towns they could do with higher levels of engagement from the citizens. Do you live in a transition community?

Stephen Stewart – where on the Columbia River do you live? I spent quite a bit of time in Hood River/White Salmon back in 2006-7, and still go there when I can. An absolutely gorgeous part of the world. I even did some rowing training on the Columbia in a smaller rowboat than this one. The Pacific Northwest seems to be an exceptionally “green” part of the world. Great to hear about all the projects underway there.

Don Lindsay – happy to hear that we have seen the beginning of the end of “highway jellyfish” (what a great phrase! aka plastic bags). Thanks for the good news.

Quote for today, from Joko Beck, Zen teacher – directed at myself and my present trying circumstances: “If we have been aware of the process of our lives, including moments that we hate, and are just aware of our hating – ‘I don’t want to do it, but I’ll do it anyway’ – that very awareness is life itself. When we stay with that awareness, we don’t have that reactive feeling about it; we’re just doing it. Then for a second we begin to see, ‘Oh, this is terrible – and at the same time, it’s really quite enjoyable.’ We just keep going, preparing the ground. That’s enough.”

Sponsored Miles:
Thanks to Sylvia Wheeldon and Paul Taylor – Roz still reclaiming lost miles – another nine to go to get back to where she was a few days ago.

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