28 May, 2009

mental ramblings

I haven't really been writing about anything of gravity.  I can't say I've really started sailing again in earnest.  Yes, I left the Philippines, and a few amazing things happened along the way.  Cruising the Camote Islands with Annabelle was a spectacular experience I'll cherish forever.  Great people, great walks, great food, and beautiful water.

But there has been a lot of hardship along the way.  It was really a shame that Annabelle and I couldn't get along.  We shared so many dreams but couldn't seem to get through a day without frustrating each other.  The stress was hard.

It was only a few months ago that I bought Brillig.  That isn't much time to acclimate to a new vessel and bring it up to your own specifications.  It is still an ongoing process that I am making headway, but I would love to be at a stasis point where I could wean off the work a bit.  Everyday work undone drapes over my mind like a dark pawl.

I love Brillig like I could never have loved Araby.  She is so much more boat than Araby was, and I am so excited to have her.  Such good fortune.  I am amazed by what I have seen in some of the sailors around me.  I realize just how much I have been missing by not having an engine and by sailing solo.  I don't regret it.  But there is so much more.  This Swiss couple goes everywhere, up rivers, into al sorts of uncharted waters.  This go slow; they pay attention.  They don't have problems greater than their skill to solve. 

There is another boat in Kudat now named Ventana and it is crewed by two women.  These two ladies dive in some of the craziest places, and have incredible guts.  They just came in from Tuba Taha, which, according to the younger, was one of the top two dive spots she's ever seen.  High praise.  But also it is an isolated reef in the middle of the Sulu Sea.  No protection.  You are totally vulnerable to whatever weather comes your way.  Guts.

This is where I must go as a sailor.  I have dreams, and perhaps I have been moving toward them.  But I feel I have been moving slowly.  Annabelle helped bring to light just how much I don't know.  My experience is so narrow.  I've taken risks sure, but the nature of sailing alone limits the sort of risks you can take.  I am ready for a different direction in my sailing.

On the 8th of June my friend Amy Jaye comes to sail with me.  Our plan is to sail down the east coast of Borneo and across to Sulawesi, an Indonesian island.  We'll cruise a bit of this island before heading farther south, perhaps to Bali, where we will provision properly for the Indian crossing.  I am not planning on stopping in Chagos or Cocos, but make landfall in the Seychelles, north of Madagascar.  Then I hope to finally be ready to slow done and do some good exploring.  I want to see Zanzibar, Madagascar, Kenya.  I don't know how long it will take, but I hope to actually spend some time in an area and learn something of it.

Amy Jaye is from South Africa and is keen to sail home.  So I presume we will.  But the point of the crossing for me, is to work down to the westerlies that blow in the southern latitudes.  I'm going to use them to sail back across the Indian Ocean to Tasmania, and then back to New Zealand.  This is the plan.  And has been the plan, I've just had to tweak the route a bit.


I'm feeling good.  I'm glad to be alone for a bit.  It has been a strange few months.  Tomorrow I catch a bus to Kota Kinabalu to make my way to the big mountain.   Mt Kinabalu is a 12,000 ft mountain, the biggest mountatin between the Himalayas and Irian Java.  It is large in that it does rise pretty much straight out of the water, like Mt Fuji.  So hopefully I can get up it.  Supposedly it is booked up, quite the tourist attraction.  I'm just gonna show up and see what happens.  I got my engine running sweetly today; it is high time I saw some of Malaysia, because Kudat is not it.

I am in a bloody resort.  I don't pay for it, but my anchorage is surrounded by a golf course.  I have access to a pool, bar, restaurant, wireless. . . . and there is hardly a soul around.  Disneyland.  This is Borneo.  I want to see jungle.  Although, when I'm eating lunch, monkeys do come out and play from time to time.  I didn't see much of the Philippines.  No more.  I will see some of Malaysia before my ears itch for wind.


I can't believe a year has passed since, Bird Fest, since the Old Man passed, since we sold the house, since the Mauldins took me in.  And now Happy is saying her goodbyes as my dad did.  I'm sure she will share his fortune in the coming months.

I am excited.  I have a lot to be excited for.  Though my mind is not clear.  I'm missing my motivation, my determination.  I'm fat.  I'm living a comfortable life.  I am comfortable and well fed.  I want to be cold and hungry and driven.  Is there anything more glorious than being truly driven toward some goal, some destiny that devours all other thoughts, daunts all other dreams, and becomes the unifying purpose in all action.

Have you ever seen Million Dollar Baby?

That is what this movie is all about.  She was driven with purpose.  She was simple in her needs from life.  I hold her as a goddess.  If I had half the drive that woman had I would be a satisfied man. . . in the end.  And I would be damned exhausted until I got there.

The happiness I truly want is the satisfaction of accomplishing goals.  Today I experience the satisfaction of cheap delicious food.  This is not me.  I am not old and dusty yet.  Leave some of the carnal pleasures for later.  Give me driving sleet and  Southern Gale.

Have you ever read Nietzsche? . . . "I want hobgoblins around me, for I am courageous."  Remember, "live dangerously. . . build your house on the slopes of Vesuvious. .. ' ect.   Why I find the greatest satisfaction in this sort of life I can't explain, but it is true.  I have lived a hedonist's life, I am currently.  And there is little satisfaction in it.  Yet, when I push through suffering to some end, some goal, some purpose. . . when I am driven,  then I find true happiness.

A beautiful movie, called The Fastest Indian, a Kiwi builds a super fast little motorcycle and dreams of running it on the salt flats of Utah to see just how fast she could go.  He said, "you live more in five minutes on a bike like that than most people live in a lifetime."   I think this is the truth.  A dream, fearing failure, pushing through fear, and accomplishment.  This is the real flesh of life; this is what the beating heart and blood are for.  This is real life.   Risk and reward.  I may say that it is bolder than the mystic's path.  The mystic gives his life up to peaceful contemplation.  But the risk he takes doesn't compare to that man who risks the ultimate catastrophe of failing at his dreams.  This is the greatest risk in life.

I will say though, it is an allusion.

The drive of pursuing a dream, we imagine that it is the attainment of the goal that matters.  This is false.  It is the path that is actually the most valuable part.  We don't reflect on the beauty of waking up day after day, and each day knowing  what your purpose for that day it, and looking forward to it.  The passion of day to day life spent in the pursuit of a dream is greater than the dream itself.  Well, whose to say.  I don't know that.  But I know it isn't a life wasted.  It was a life lived with passion—and that is much to be grateful for.


I have digressed. I am very near having my passion back.  A great passage is on the edge of reality.  How great.  Another ocean.  How will the experience change with crew.  Crossing the Pacific was on of those rare experiences I wouldn't trade for my fingers.  Now for something new.

What about Africa?  I know so little of the place now.  I've been so immured in the S. Pacific for so long now.  Something new.  And this time I will study.  This time I will be a bit more patient.  (If I like what I find.)  I will do the best I can.

27 May, 2009

The Electric Company


Watch me old highschool buddies ROCK. They hadn't played together in fifteen years!! This was a sort of one-night reunion show. Matt Bowers is a Rock Idol!! I bet this was fun. Sorry I missed it. Hey Matt, did you play anything off Gish??

24 May, 2009

Brillig in the pool

The Lunchtime diner. It's actually a golf club (haha) that has cheap food near the anchorage. The Pool, as we call the anchorage, is about a mile walk from town. It has a good market and even cheaper food, but if you are working on the boat and the afternoon heat starts to wear youu down, it is easy to row ashore, walk through the hotel, cross the street, and then get served a plate of garlic chicken by a waitress named Marry-Me (spelled phonetically). I have my plate served with Xtra chicken for a whopping $2.

Brillig under awnings. It is very hot here. I am trying to get her awning sorted, but none seem to fit as they should, and none of them are really what I need: water cachement. So I need to tweak some things. But there she is if you haven't seen her, though she is sort of hiding.

This is the Pool at a distance. You can see the golf course behind the boats. Brillig is second on the left. I enjoy going ashore and running the golf course in the late evenings when it cools off. There was a Hash House Run today, and I was very excited about it, and then I didn't get to go after all. Very disappointing. Hopefully next week.

19 May, 2009

My heart and thoughts are with Happy, and only with Happy.   May the following months be peaceful, spent with family, and may there be many smiles always around you.  I love you, and am with you in spirit, and have been for a long time.
Note: [Happy is the grandmother of the Mauldin Family and is someone I have admired since I met her.  She is well into her nineties and has always been incredibly strong and happy and independent.  She has recently started slowing down, and now has been diagnosed with Leukemia.]

Oh good things are in the works. . . . .oh my my my!

16 May, 2009

quick note

I'm enjoying Kudat.  Making some plans and some rather serious changes.  I'll write about them in the coming days or week.  This is a far different place from the Philippines, and I am determined to do a better job of exploring it and experiencing the best of what it offers.
Brillig may stay put where she is for a bit.  A very snug place.  Check it out on google maps / earth, whatever, at the top o this page.  It's a cool little spot.

14 May, 2009

Entering Malaysia

Hilarious trip down from Palawan.  Blown 50 the WRONG WAY right out of the gate.  We eventally got some favorible winds and did some great sailing in flat conditions.  Some great days really. . . Brillig is immensly comfortable compared with Araby.  Annabelle baked bread and we had canned butter.  Umm...  We ate nicely, played lots of guitar, watched the stars.  Good stuff mostly, but a nice mix of all sorts of weather.  Glad to be out of the Philippines for the first time in over a year.

Malaysia is strange and wonderful, very different it seems from the Philippines.  Very first world here, beer is very expensive.  This is really all I know, except the customs and immagration was the easiest I've ever experienced.  Just getting started to get things figured out here.   Hope you are all well.

04 May, 2009

Puerto Princesa

Still in Puerto Princesa.  Waiting for some weather to pass and minding other matters.  Very ready to set out for Kudat, Malaysia, though.  They day is almost here, today, tomorrow, at the latest the day after.  It is a short run, but with plenty of coral in the way to keep me occupied.
Nice big harbor in Kudat.  Don't know what happens from there actually.  But I will be glad to be away from the Philippines for the first time in over a year.  Really, I just want to be sailing.  Period.  Ge more kinks worked out of Brillig. . . .who is doing very well I should say.  I've never been more comfortable sailing.  Slow, but comfortable.