Reflecting upon our freshmen sailing travel experience so far, it is amazing how quickly we seem to adapt to new living conditions and circumstances.
We set out on our journey little more than a month ago, still in full speed modus, planning to get ahead as quickly as possible and to benefit from any good weather window on our “planned” sailing route to the Canary Islands.
Very soon we learned to let go of the planning and to adjust our sails according to the ever changing weather conditions, the tides, the currents, the wind, the waves, all of these elements working either together or against each another.
You can plan to the best of your abilities, but in the end it is always these forces of nature that will or will not take you to your next destination, the next harbour and will decide on the course to follow… For eg. we had planned to sail south from Cowes to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, but the weather conditions were favourable to travel further west along the south coast of England. As a result we visited some wonderful places such as Dartmouth and Falmouth, which we would never have discovered had we gone south straight away. You miss some opportunities, you come across many other new ones 😉
Along the south coast of the UK in particular, we learned to let go of (trying to) control… It became very clear that nature’s elements are in charge at all times! You have to work with them as much as possible and even if you do, you still are at mercy of their power. As such, when we set out on our journey from Eastborn, Sovereign Harbour, to Brighton, the head wind was much stronger than predicted, taking us longer to get ahead than planned and eventually having the tides and currents fearcely work against at the end of the journey. By the time we finally arrived in the Brighton area, the draught in the marina was barely one meter, so there was no possible way for us to moor Silmaril safely. We had to wait 4 hours to have enough water for us to sail in. There was nothing else we could do than hang around, using our engine, in an unpleasant sea. After a long tiring day of sailing, 4 hours seem to last eternally, we can assure you. Even the strong cold wind and the sharpness of the motor sound became almost unbearable at some point. When we finally could get into the neighbouring harbour of Shoreham, we had to pass through a very narrow and undeep lock. The currents upon entering the lock were so rough that Silmaril got smashed against the starboard wall. Luckily there was surprisingly little damage to the boat, the sunpanel survived the crash and only our windpilot, which we call “Passe Partout” ironically enough ;-), endured some nasty bumps… We understood how rough and tough sailing can be at times. As with everything in life, you have good and bad days! ♥
So thirdly, we also learned to let go of expectations… No journey, no single sailing trip, no day is ever quite like you expect it to be. For instance, when sailing from Yarmouth to Wymouth we had an excellent sailing day with the winds and strong currents pushing us ahead at an average of 9 to 10 knots speed over ground, at peaks +11 knots, bringing us hours ahead of schedule at destination point. The next day, which was supposed to be thé most excellent sailing day of the week, was a complete bummer. Instead of the predicted N – NE, 4 to 5 at times 6 wind, the wind in open sea shifted to south and almost completely dropped. We had to motor all the way to Dartmouth. We finally managed to get to our destination at sunset, many hours later than planned, but then again we were captured by the magnificence and beauty of the sea, the sunset, the marvelous fairytale-like harbour of Darthmouth in the midst of superbe cliffs and green hills. And even more, a few hours before arrival, we were visited for the first time by a family of dolphins, playing joyfully around the boat. The cheerfulness and exaltation these adorable creatures awakened in us is simply amazing. We felt very grateful and blessed to be right there, right then for sure!
So trip by trip, we learn to let go of what the mind tells us we should or should not do, experience or should not experience, feel or shoud not feel. We get out of bed, we set out and we live through the moment, through the journey and go wherever we are intended to go instead. We had even learned to take a short break from time to time in between the sailing trips 😉
But still we were anxious to speed ahead , cross over from Falmouth to A Coruna, right along with the good weather window that had been travelling with us for some time. Against all odds and expectations, my skipper got ill and stressed-out. The elements had decided that it was high time for us to take a real, long break and brought us over to Bretagne. They have kept us here for some time now, allowing us to rest, sleep a lot, enjoy some vacation, getting used to living on a boat, adapting to living on the water at all times and in all circumstances, to sit back, enjoy and relax while we wait…
Actually, day by day, we let go of (our inner urge for) doing and are moving into a state of being, just going along at anytime with anything.
Apparantly, letting go brings to the true meaning of “Carpe Diem”…