I mentioned yesterday a passage from Sailing to Purgatory about the Pancake Day I experienced in an enormous storm in the Southern Ocean on my very last voyage as a sailing professional.
Joan, from Edinburgh, reminds me of another reference in the book to the odd events of that weird day at the end of the last millennium. 'You were cheered up by quite an astonishing message, weren't you,' Joan wrote.
|Lone voyager ... My brave little ship, eM, in happy, adventurous days before a corrupt prosecution stole her.|
'Go on, share that spot of romance with us on this very romantic day.'
I had broken my 'swallowing the anchor' voyage in the Madeira archipelago.
I met up with and enjoyed the company of two quite special sailors who were involved in the big cruise to distant ports, a dream that many people passionate about the sea and sails often undertake.
I became involved
Somehow, completely unintentionally, I became involved with the lady, Sofie.
When the shared feelings couldn't be hidden, I felt I should do the decent thing and leave before, well, before more serious things might happen.
I sailed off on my own, heading down towards the Doldrums, South Atlantic, Roaring Forties, and the Southern Ocean, en route for Cape Town.
A very odd send-off ceremony was held on a jetty that morning, with the boyfriend understandably hardly able to hide his enormous relief that I was going, with Sofie in rather an opposite mood.
Brilliant amateur radio by then encouraged emailing and at Sofie's prompting, we exchanged many messages.
Towards extraordinary desolation
This excerpt from Sailing to Purgatory takes up the story, as that odd expression goes ...
Another Southern Ocean tempest follows and carries us, [the yacht and her lone sailor] reluctantly, belligerently towards Valentine’s Day. I didn’t know it then, of course, but it is a day I will never forget, but much more from the deceit of agents of establishment – from fellow humans – than from ocean aggression and the extraordinary desolation.
Ignorance is bliss, we're told, and in the cabin that evening, it was a time for celebration. I sent off a batch of emails and before long many responses and greetings arrived through the ham rig. Among them came very welcome words from Sofie.
Between the lines, I read that she will almost certainly swallow the anchor, too, and join me on terra firma. A long step for her, I thought in my elated mood, but for me just a few hundred miles. It could be said that I was no better at guessing the future than, say, Hamlet.
Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.