Monday, February 29, 2016

Evanston: Death Match; fickle forecast; some numbers

        The excerpt about the execution of the Kiev Dynamo soccer team I quoted from SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW caused Eric to do some research.  What he found is enlightening in several ways.  I thank him.
        In his email, Eric wrote, ‘Historical truth has probably always been oxymoronic.’  A great line.


        The forecast for the day I arrive in Opua has changed daily for the past four day from showers, to heavy rain, to no rain, to, at the moment,  some rain and some sunshine.
        While I would rather arrive aboard GANNET dry, I am in fact bullet proof this time.  I have a disposable plastic poncho which will suffice if rain is light.  If a deluge, I will have the shuttle from the airport drop me at the Cruising Club where I can don my dry suit and sea boots.
        This presupposes that a winter storm due in Chicago tonight does not cause flights to be cancelled tomorrow.


        I may have posted these or similar numbers before, but checking the journal archive, I did not find them.  I  re-measured yesterday.

NZ to Bundaberg                 1300
Bundaberg to Cape York       1100
Cape York to Darwin              700

Darwin to Cocos             2100

Cocos to Mauritius          2400
Mauritius to Durban       1600

Cocos to Durban             3800

Cape Town to Falklands         3500

Cape Town to St. Helena       1600
St. Helena to Falklands          3300           

        While the decision is not final, I am thinking of entering Australia at Bundaberg in southern Queensland, even though after doing so I may sail back outside the Great Barrier Reef to near Cairns.  From Cairns to Cape York will be day sailing inside the reef.
        When I sailed from Darwin to Bali in 2008, it was possible to stop at uninhabited Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea.  I did not then, but thought I might this year.  However, I read that the reef is also used by people smugglers.  Even if it is still permitted to stop there, I don’t know that I will.
        Having stopped in Bali last time, I had not realized that the distance from Darwin to Cocos is as great as it is. 
        From Cocos I will sail either to Mauritius or directly to South Africa.
        I visited Mauritius in 1988.  It is an interesting and pretty island, but not one that I have an overwhelming desire to see again.
        Sailing directly to South Africa would have the advantages of being ahead of the herd, which crowds South African harbors from November on,  and enable me to break the voyage to fly back and spend some time with Carol and watch the Cubs win the World Series, advantages that have to be counter balanced by the risk of running into a winter gale.
        The numbers add up to a minimum of 9,000 nautical miles, Opua to Durban.  Those are straight line distances.  GANNET will certainly sail more and have covered at least 10,000 by the time we near Cape Town.
        An email a few days ago from Hayden has caused me to be thinking about Cape Town.  He suggested that GANNET put in at Simonstown, about twenty-five miles south of the city on the east side of the Cape Peninsula.  I’ve been there by car and train, but not boat.  Cape Town is spectacularly beautiful and I’ve always been treated well at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, but the harbor is industrial and dirty and often windy.  Besides at Simonstown there is the possibility of GANNET being on a mooring rather than tied to a dock. 
        I thank Hayden for an appealing suggestion. 


       Unless you read otherwise, I am gone by this time tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Evanston: a new video; poncho

        As an exercise to learn about videos, I’ve made a short one of the author reciting the poem, ‘Ithaca, Illinois’, which he wrote almost four years ago, and uploaded it to YouTube.  I’m not sure I’m going to leave it there.  If you want to view it, you might want to do so soon.
        What I learned in the process is that I have no interest in editing videos.  I cut the first and last few seconds of this one, where I am reaching forward to start and stop the iPhone, but then restored them because I like it better this way.
        I have no commitment to video, as I do to words and, to a lesser extent, photographs; but some day when I’m on GANNET and have nothing better to do, I may give you a brief tour of the little boat.  And I may shoot some video at sea.  I have three waterproof cameras on board:  a Nikon AW1; a goPro; and an iPhone 6 in a waterproof case.


        While I don’t have much belief in weather forecasts beyond forty-eight hours, I must confess to having checked the NZ Met Service site to see what conditions might be when I arrive in Opua next Thursday NZ time, Wednesday in the U.S.  Some of you may recall that I was drenched on my last return.
        Above is the 10 day forecast for KeriKeri, the closest station to Opua, about 16 miles/25 kilometers away.  In fact, March 3 may have only showers, not a deluge.  Still you can see why New Zealand is green; and why I’m am going to Home Depot tomorrow to buy a cheap plastic poncho.  Struggling into my dry suit for a five minute row seems excessive.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Evanston: cross-training: Saul Leiter; Glenn Gould; Eduardo Galeano

        Athletes don’t just practice one set of skills.  They improve by cross-training.  
        Perhaps understandably, I don’t read much about sailing any more.  My interests have always been more varied, and one can learn much from those in other fields about self-discipline, practice, and the pursuit of excellence and beauty that is applicable to sailing oceans.  Recently I have experienced three exceptional artists:  an American photographer and painter, a Canadian pianist, and a Uruguayan writer.
        Two of you, Larry and Steve, wrote to me about Saul Leiter, a fashion and pioneering street photographer, who died in 2013 at age 89.  I thank you.
        We rented a documentary about him, IN NO GREAT HURRY:  13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter  from iTunes.  The documentary consists mostly of interviews with Leiter in his New York City apartment/studio.  IN NO GREAT HURRY is not a great film, but Leiter was an original artist, which from me is the highest possible praise, and he had some interesting things to say.
        He lived in New York for fifty years.  
        I wonder about him and Andrew Wyeth, who actually lived in two places, and others who remain in one location and study it in depth.  This is obviously not my way, unless you consider being at sea one place.  I have studied that in depth, figuratively though fortunately not yet literally.
        I find cities ugly, and have written that what beauty can be found there is an oasis.  As you will see if you google his images, Saul Leiter created oases.

        The format of breaking IN NO GREAT HURRY into brief segments reminded me of an excellent film that used the same technique, THIRTY-TWO SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD, which I saw when it was first released in 1993.  Gould died in 1982 at age fifty, a few days after suffering a stroke, and is portrayed by an actor, Colm Feore, in the film.  Francois Girard, the director said that Gould was so complex a character that he did not want to fit him in a single box or reduce him to one dimension, so he very effectively offers thirty-two impressions of him. 
        I rented the film from Amazon and watched it again two nights ago with great pleasure.

        I came to Eduardo Galeano through an Amazon daily deal discount on the Kindle edition of his SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW, which as it happens also breaks its subject into small takes, more than one hundred and fifty in this case.
        I was so taken by the writing that I googled Eduardo Galeano and learned that he was famous, having written many novels and non-fiction works over a fifty year career.  Even before I finished SOCCER, I bought Kindle editions of three of them.
        Toward the end of his life he partially repudiated his most famous work, OPEN VEINS IN LATIN AMERICA, which was published in 1971 and has sold more than a million copies.
        Eduardo Galeano died last year at age 74 of lung cancer.
        I was remembering Uruguay not long ago when  I cut the following from the Kindle edition of A SINGLE WAVE.
        We walked along the promenade in Montevideo.
        In a park in front of an apartment building in the old part of town, we saw a goat kneeling to eat grass.  A boy turned the corner from one narrow alleyway, riding a fine gray horse.  Fishermen perched on the seawall, dangling hopeful lines in the choppy water.
        We passed two couples, sitting on benches partially sheltered by the seawall.  The couples were only a few steps apart but oblivious to one another.  The first couple were young lovers.  The second, dressed all in black, were a middle-aged man and an old woman.  The woman, whom we assumed to be his mother, was quietly crying.  They seemed to have just come from a funeral.  Both couples were the same:  a man with his arms around a woman, whose face was buried against his chest:  the embraces of love and death identical.

        Three excepts from SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW:

        In 1930 Albert Camus (the future winner of the Noble Prize for Literature) was Saint Peter guarding the gate for the University of Algiers soccer team.  He had been playing goalkeeper since childhood, because in that position your shoes don’t wear out as fast.  Son of a poor home, Camus could not afford the luxury of running the fields; every night, his grandmother examined the soles of his shoes and gave him a beating if she found them worn.

        For the Nazis, too, soccer was a matter of state.  A monument in The Ukraine commemorates the players of the 1942 Dynamo Kiev team.  During the German occupation they committed the insane act of defeating Hitler’s squad in the local stadium.  Having been warned, “If you win, you die.” they started out resigned to losing, trembling with fear and hunger, but in the end they could not contain their yearning for dignity.  When the match was over all eleven were shot with their club shirts on at the edge of a cliff.

        From an interview with Domingos da Guia, a famous Brazilian fullback in the 1930’s and 40’s.
        This here ball helped me a lot.  She or her sisters, right?  It’s a family to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.  In my time on earth, she was the key.  Because without her nobody plays at all.  I started out in Bangu club’s factory.  Working, working, until I met my friend here.  And I was very happy with her.
        I’ve seen the world, traveled a lot, had many women.  Women are a pleasure too, right? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Evanston: the New Zealand to do list; from SHADOWS; early bird

        haul out:  antifoul; check rudder
        fit carbon fiber tiller
        install ProFurl Spinex gennaker furler
        polish topsides
        fit Jordan drogue, chain
        order freeze dry meals
        other provisions
        tiller pilot cover
        protein powder
        gooseneck pin
        spare tiller to rudder head bolts
        contact glue
        epoxy sticks
        anchor off Roberton Island and climb to lookout
        anchor off Russell and have lunch at Duke of

        When I haul out I would like to lower the rudder and check the shaft and bearings.  I have no reason to think there is anything wrong with them, but I’d like to see.
        Fitting the carbon fiber tiller has two parts. Making the connection to the rudder head which might require drilling new holes in the stainless steel side plates or having new ones made; and installing the tiller extension and the pin for the tiller pilot.  The tiller is re-enforced at the tiller extension point, and Gilles has given me instructions on various ways to insert the tiller pilot pin.
        I’m told that the ProFurl Spinex is sitting in a box in the Northland Rigging office.  I’ve downloaded and read the installation manual.  The furler is not kept permanently in place, but parts need to be cut to fit the boat.  I may do this while hauled out, so if I drop something it will fall on the ground and not in twenty feet of water.
        I’ll also try to polish the topsides while out of the water, or at least the part just above the waterline. 
        Inspired by Steve’s emails, I will dig out the various elements of the Jordan drogue and consider what I can leave in place while making passages, hopefully at least the bridle.  I had been planning to use the second anchor as the weight on the end, but it may ding the boat in retrieval and I may buy a length of chain instead.
        I’ll inventory what freeze dry meals are aboard when I return and buy at least a hundred more.
        I’ll have the canvas shop make a cover for the tiller pilots that will, hopefully, keep some water off them.  In the best of all possible worlds, the Pelagic will work perfectly and I won’t need the Raymarines.  But you may have noticed that contrary to Dr. Pangloss, this is not the best of all possible worlds.
        Protein powder is a useful supplement on passages, but I don’t like the way most taste.  Douglas told me about Vital Whey Natural, which blends into milk nicely.  It is not available in New Zealand, but is sold in Australia.  I’ll try to find an endurable substitute in New Zealand.
        When Bob, the rigger, did a rigging inspection he noted a little wear on the boom to mast pin and suggested I replace it with a bolt.
        Years ago a sailmaker advised me to make sail repairs at sea with contact glue instead of needle and thread.  It works and I have ever since.  Carlos recently sent me a link to Dr. Sails epoxy. I’m taking some back with me, but want contact glue in case of bigger repairs.
        Dodger is always ambivalently on the list.  I doubt one will be made in New Zealand.   Maybe South Africa.  Probably never.
        Once back on GANNET I will find more to do, but that is the list now.


        From SHADOWS, which I reread over the weekend.
        The rhythms of the open ocean are measured.  Seldom if ever does the weather change over blue water without warning.  The barometer moves; the wind increases or drops away to nothing, veers or backs; waves change size and shape; new clouds appear; perhaps a swell from an unexpected direction; and, on vessels under sail, which move with the elements rather than bludgeon through them, an experienced sailor may simply sense a change in his ship’s motion, an uneasiness, a stumbling, a loss of stride.  But near land, and most particularly on those straits and seas and channels and lakes where weather passes rapidly from land to water and back again, often there is no warning, for the rhythms of the open ocean are never established there.  Landsmen fear the open sea; sailors worry about the land.


         Included with SHADOWS are three short stores, one of which is “Sailing to Africa.”  I wrote it in December 2008.  I had forgotten that I named the boat in it GANNET.  I trust that I will not be sailing the real GANNET this year toward an Africa that is not there. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Evanston: a gale; a persistent cyclone; a fine day's run; a lot of words

        The wind is blowing a gale, whistling and howling around our building.  Gusts were 46 knots at the nearest recording buoy the last time I checked.  And the temperature is 64°F/18°C.  All the ice and snow I photographed two days ago vanished overnight.
        Our respite from winter will be brief.  Temperature Sunday will again be around freezing.


        The storm that nine days ago was briefly thought to be headed for New Zealand still lives. It is now a cyclone named Winston that has meandered around, changed direction, run over Vavau, Tonga, twice, and is now headed toward Fiji as a category 4 that may become a category 5.


        Ryan Finn reports a new best twenty-four hour run in JZERRO of 294 miles, and this with twenty year old sails and in prevent damage mode.
        JZERRO is a very impressive boat.


        This journal went online ten years ago this coming August.
        This morning I attempted to calculate how many words I have written in it.
        Taking three random years, I found that I posted an average of 147 times a year.  Checking the word count of eighteen random posts I found an average of 445 words a post.  This comes to 65,415 words a year, about the number in an average book.  Times ten is 654,150.  Adding the 145,000 words in the fifth circumnavigation passage logs and the 34,000 thus far in GANNET passage logs makes a total of 833,150 words.  However, I did not post while at sea on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA or GANNET, so subtract 70,000 words or so and call it 750,000.
        Whatever the number, it is a lot of words, and far greater than all my other writing combined.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Evanston: O.J.; CHI-RAQ; DEAD WAKE; paperless

        A TV mini-series, a movie, and a book.  All good.  I expected the book to be, but the other two come as surprises.
        The People Versus O. J. Simpson mini-series is currently running on FX.  
        I had more than enough O. J. when all this took place more than twenty years ago, even though I was out of the country then, but the good reviews the series received caused us to start watching, and once started it would be difficult to stop.  The sensational story is related without sensationalism.  There are details I did not know, and the media and public circus is well depicted.
        The final episode will air, as will the final Downton Abbey, after I am in New Zealand.  I hope to watch via Slingbox.


        CHI-RAQ is Spike Lee’s migration of Aristophanes’ LYSISTRATA to South Chicago in which women agree to withhold sex until men refrain from violence.  The violence in ancient Greece was the Peloponnesian War; in Chicago it is between black street gangs.
        The movie has of course received a lot of attention here, mostly negative.  I have seen it criticized essentially for not being a documentary, which it never claimed to be, and for not putting a halt to gun deaths, which in Chicago over the past decade or so have exceeded those of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If you google this you will get varying statistics, depending on the time frame; but since 2001, about 6,000 military have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about 7,000 people have been killed by guns in Chicago.
        This last criticism is valid.  CHI-RAQ has not put an end to gun violence in South Chicago.  I don’t think it has even slowed it.  But then neither has anything else.
        The movie has energy, some good acting, some over acting, some dialogue spoken in rhyme, an equivalent to the chorus in Greek plays, and rap music, which is not my kind of music, but appropriate. Altogether, an entertaining and clever film.
        We watched streamed from Amazon.  Free with Amazon Prime.


        DEAD WAKE, written by Erik Larsen, the author of among others, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, is about the sinking of the British passenger liner, the LUSITANIA, by a German submarine in 1915, with a loss of life of more than a thousand, some of them Americans.
        Even though you know what is going to happen, Erik Larsen manages to build suspense, following passengers, officials ashore, and the German submarine U-20, as they move toward the moment of tragedy.
        That the submarine got a shot at all came after a highly improbable combination of chance events. The U-boat sank the LUSITANIA, the biggest passenger ship in the world, with one torpedo.  60% of German torpedoes in 1915 malfunctioned.  And the ship went down in only eighteen minutes.
        The book sheds some light on the theory that the British Admiralty deliberately did not provide an escort for the LUSITANIA because some in power thought that her sinking would cause the U.S. to enter the war—it did, but not for another two years; and some light on the character of Winston Churchill.  I leave it to others to form their own opinions.
        A very readable account.


        For decades I have had a notebook at my side.  I keep my boat to do and buy list in it, circle on a calendar I print out and tape in each January the days I workout, make notes for writing and other things, and in the past jotted titles of books and music I wanted to buy. 
        My present red covered notebook is made by Levenger and sat on an end table beside my place on the sofa in the living room.  I just realized a few days ago that I no longer use it.
        I keep my boat list on my iPhone in an app, Wunderlist.  When I come across something I want to buy, I do so within a minute or two online.  I make some notes in my online journal document and others in the Notes app.  I can keep track of workouts in my laptop calendar.  And, except for times of departure and arrival and noon positions, I have long keep the ship’s log in my laptop.
        The notebook isn’t very big, but it is one less thing to carry around the world with me; so this morning it was moved from end table to honorable desk drawer retirement.


        The photo was taken yesterday, but is misleading.
        There is a dusting of snow on the ground and the temperature is just below freezing, but as Chicago winters go, this has not been a severe one, and this weekend should see highs above 50F/10C.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Evanston: two Estonians; grace in her element

        I received an email from Markus in Estonia suggesting that I might enjoy the music of his countryman, Arvo Pärt.  He is quite right.  I had three albums of Pärt’s compositions, but Markus recommended some works I did not have, and so I bought two more from iTunes.  Pärt’s music is minimalist and much of it possesses serene beauty that goes well with a fine day at sea.
        One of the albums I just bought includes a piece titled, “Hymn to a Great City.”  I wondered which city.  So I googled and found this in a program note to a performance by the LA Philharmonic, “Minimalism can be seen as the moment music re-entered the monastery.”  Perfect.
        And the monastery of the sea.
        It has been far too long.
        The world is too much with me.
        The great city, by the way, is New York.

        Markus also sent me a link to a piece about Ahto Walter, a pioneering sailor of small boats, famous in his time, of whom I had not heard.
        More than the Atlantic crossings, I am impressed by the winter passages in Northern Europe.  I can identify with cooking on a one burner stove on the cabin sole.
        This is the second time recently I have read mention of Bathurst.  The Lindberghs flew from there to Brazil as recounted in LISTEN! THE WIND.  I’m a little surprised that the author of the piece couldn’t figure out that Bathurst is now Banjul, capital of The Gambia.
        Markus adds that at age seventy Ahto sailed solo in a 36’ two masted vessel from St. Thomas to Australia, where the boat was irreparably damaged while being hauled from the water.
        I thank Markus for reminding me of Pärt and informing me of an admirable sailor.


        A friend has a daughter named Grace and recently sent me a photo of her which he noted is “Grace in her element of theaters and traffic.”   Grace is a lovely young woman and it is a charming photo.  
        I was immediately struck by what a wonderful phrase ‘grace in her element’ is.  It would make a great title for practically anything, a book, a movie, or a boat, whose very essence is grace in her element.


        Ryan Finn made it through the Panama Canal with some aggravation, but only minor damage, and is now sailing north to New Orleans.  
        Having been through the canal three times myself, once almost disastrously when a line handler on a big steel ketch to which RESURGAM was rafted lost control of his line, causing RESURGAM to come within inches of being crushed against a lock wall, I wondered how JZERRO, being a light and unusual boat, would manage.  Ryan’s post about his transit is here.
        My other two transits of the canal were uneventful, but I don’t like the canal because I don’t like having my boat and life under the control of others.
        Transiting in GANNET would present problems.  I have no place for four line handlers to sleep except on deck; no way to feed them, and less desire to do so; and would have to rent or borrow a gas outboard.  If I do go via Panama, I would be tempted to see if it were possible to haul GANNET from the water and truck her across the peninsula.


        For a few years I have been using eneloop rechargeable batteries, but an article at The Wirecutter, a site that I have found to be reliable, concludes that there are now better choices.  Their top pick:  Energizer Recharge Power Plus.


        I am enjoying LuckGrib more than I expected.
        There is a lot of interesting and potentially useful information there.
        Updating an existing GRIB takes three clicks and about that many seconds, so I have been daily updating the GRIB I used last week to track the storm once thought headed for New Zealand.  Running the time line I see that, although it is weakening as it drifts east, it is expected to reform and strengthen near Tonga later in the week into a cyclone with 100+ knot gusts.
        I also have a GRIB of the area around Chicago; but I have only to glance up and see a low gray sky, and I know it is cold.

        We need more grace.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Evanston: A SINGLE WAVE; false alarm; THE HORSE'S MOUTH; old and sexy

        The Kindle edition of A SINGLE WAVE has gone live.  I again thank all those who helped proof read.  There may still be typos we all missed, but, if so, the number is incomparably smaller than it would have been without the kindness of others.
        I have cursorily viewed the Kindle edition on an iPhone, iPad mini, and a Kindle Fire.  On the i-devices there is an inexplicable mistake in the table of contents where a ‘chapter 16’ is listed out of place and when clicked links to the beginning of the RESURGAM section.  This does not appear on the Kindle Fire.  It is inexplicable because it also does not appear in the Pages document into which I retyped the book or in the ePub version which I uploaded to Amazon.
        I enrolled the book into Amazon Select which prohibits it appearing anywhere else, specifically including being given away free on the author’s website.  The commitment is for ninety days.  If I remember, I may drop it from Amazon Select then. 
        As a marketing experiment, I set the price at $3.99 rather than $2.99 as on the other books.  I am curious to see what, if any, difference this makes, though I have no certain way to measure the effect. 
        I have no idea when I will get around to preparing a Kindle edition of RETURN TO THE SEA.


        Within an hour or so of my posting the previous entry in which I mentioned the storms heading toward New Zealand, I received an email from Craig saying that while the article in the NZ HERALD was correct when written that morning, the situation had changed and the storms were no longer expected to reach the North Island.              
        A great thing about this is that Craig emailed from his boat at anchor off Urupukapuka Island about ten miles northeast of Opua.  I could picture exactly where he was.  I’m not sure of his Internet connection.  Urupukapuka is uninhabited and there are certainly no hotspots there.  Perhaps cell phone.
        Craig attached two GRIB files to his email with instructions how to import and open them in LuckGrib, an Mac application he wrote.  He gave me a copy a few months ago.  I did and was able to watch the changed track of the storms.  It is easy to update GRIBs from within the application.  The track still looks good for New Zealand this morning.  
     This is a screenshot of LuckGrib showing the projected closest point of approach to the North Island on Monday, New Zealand time.  As you can see, the storms do not combine, and one is near Australia’s Queensland coast to the left, while the other is 500 nautical miles from New Zealand’s North Cape.

        Craig knows that I don’t much use GRIBs.  At sea I have no way to receive them and no desire to have that tether to the land.  I watch the barometer, the sky, the waves, and I feel the wind.  Once on a passage, fretting about what weather might come is overrated.  So far I’ve been able to deal with everything that has appeared, including Force 12 at least eight times. 
        But I expect I will use LuckGrib from time to time in port, particularly just before setting off on a passage.  It is easy to use, visually very attractive, and provides a lot of interesting information, even though, as we have just seen, a morning’s alarm may be false by afternoon.


        I finished reading THE HORSE’S MOUTH, and last evening we watched the movie version.  We own the DVD, but the film can be rented from iTunes and Amazon.
        While I slightly prefer the book, the film is true to its essence and a great pleasure.  Alec Guinness is perfect as Gulley Jimson.  
        As an old man Gulley Jimson strives for the epic, but is famous for his early smaller works.  He paints because he is a painter.  He paints huge murals on walls that he knows are going to be demolished.  He paints for the love of the thing itself.  You may recall Joshua Slocum using that very expression when sailing the LIBERDADE.  Perhaps I am particularly struck by this after watching the recent Super Bowl in which a good football game, worth watching for itself, was all but lost in the commercials and half-time crap.
        The biggest difference between the book of THE HORSE’S MOUTH and the film is the very last scene in each.  The book goes one way, the film quite another.  The scene in the film is totally unrealistic, but it is a joy.


        No.  The ‘old and sexy’ is not about me.  
        That truly is living against all odds.
        I thank Larry for the link.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Evanston: silence traced and flawed; five people; 200 mph; storm

        The above photograph is from Guy Dickinson’s tracing silence. I thank him for permission to use it.
        I’ve written about the site before, and upon visiting yesterday found several elements have been added since I was there last.  I’m not sure exactly what to call them, slide shows seems inadequate, any more than I know what to call the site which blends words and photographs  in a way that conveys silence, except for the sounds of wind and water, natural to the uninhabited landscapes through which Guy walks.  Uninhabited and mostly untouched by man.
        What is not said on the site is as important as the minimalist amount that is said.  I had to google to locate Alftavatn—Iceland, and Rubha Hunish—The Isle of Skye, but that doesn’t really matter.  The lack of detail and explanation moves the images beyond place and time.  They look much as they must have done a thousand years ago, and, I hope, will a thousand years from now. 
        Guy has coupled the above image with a few of my words:

                my silence
                is like glass blown by an apprentice
                flawed and cracked

                but now I have learned to form silence
                and next time I will do it right

        I wrote that more than forty years ago and unfortunately I was too optimistic.  I never have made a passage in perfect silence.  Maybe this year.  I like having goals.  And that is as good a one as playing Bach again off Cape Horn.
        I trust you understand I don’t praise Guy’s site because he has included my poem, though I am pleased to be in such good company, but because Guy enters the monastery of the land as I enter the monastery of the sea.

        Another site I visit from time to time is Mark McGuire’s, an entrepreneur I know through sailing.  I find Mark’s site interesting because it is a view into a world foreign to me, though artists are entrepreneurs, if on a very small scale.
        In his most recent entry, which I read when it was first posted but only really saw when I went back recently, Mark quotes Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  
        I have been thinking about that.  I don’t know that it is true, but it is an interesting theory.
        I spend most time with Carol, and she doesn’t bring anyone’s average down.  Next with J. S. Bach.  Neither does he.  But there really isn’t a solid third.  So I don’t know how to figure my average.  And soon the five people I spend the most time with will all be me.


        I seldom drive and I never had a love for cars, but today I came across a well written piece about what it is like to drive at 200 miles per hour.



        From the NEW ZELAND HERALD this morning I learned that two tropical storms, one in the Coral Sea, the other in the Pacific Ocean near Vanuatu, are expected to combine into one big cyclone and head directly for the north end of New Zealand’s North Island, arriving Monday New Zealand time, Sunday in the United States.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Evanston: STORM SURFERS, Gulley Jimson, stairwells, and age

        A couple of things have made me aware of my age recently.
        One is an Australian film, STORM SURFERS, which we watched a few nights ago streamed on NetFlix.
        Released in 2012 it follows Tom Carroll, who was a surfing world champion back in the 1980s, and another guy seeking big waves around Australia.  I’m not bothering with the other guy’s name.  He is a merely a not very impressive or intelligent thrill seeker.
        When the movie was being filmed, Tom Carroll was nearing fifty, the father of three daughters, and wondering about the risks he was taking and how much longer he would be able to do so.
        Several things struck me about the film.
        First, the enormous amount of equipment and money used to make it.  Ships, helicopters, jet skis, trucks, cars, cameras, and a horde of people.  These were not just a couple of guys going out to catch a few waves.
        A second was the quality of the photography.  Surfing photographers get amazing images.
        And third was a comment made only once in passing, that some younger surfers are opposed to being towed onto waves by jet skis.  I’m with them.  If you can’t catch a wave by yourself, maybe you shouldn’t catch it.
        And last, naturally, was to compare Tom Carroll nearing age fifty and myself at seventy-four.  I have thoughts, but no conclusions. 
        I had to go to the poetry page of this site to find when I wrote

                the ocean waits
                to measure or to slay me
                the ocean waits
                and I will sail

        They are dated 1978.  And I like to believe the I am still living them in 2016.
        I hope you will forgive my Immodesty, but I think I have won the game.  I’ve measured up pretty well, and now, as the song says, I’m too old to die young.
        Having pretty much finished with A SINGLE WAVE—I’m letting it sit for a few days before taking a final look—I’ve resumed reading Joyce Cary’s A HORSE’S MOUTH, which I have mentioned before as being my favorite novel about an artist.
        I read it the first time after seeing the film version starring Alec Guinness as Gulley Jimson in 1958.  I was a teenager then.  I’ve since read the novel twice more.  Always I’ve thought of Gulley Jimson as an old man, and, though vital and still creative, he is.  As I’ve just read, at the time the novel takes place Gulley Jimson is sixty-seven years old.  This is my first reading when I’m older than he and look back at his age rather than far forward.

        Yesterday I shattered my personal best for the stairwell climb, lowering it to 34 seconds from 42.  However, I took the stairs two at a time, which may be a different event.  
        Please do not dwell on the ludicrous image of an old man racing himself up five flights of stairs. 


        After the last entry, Tom wrote suggesting that I consider a bivy for GANNET.  It is a good idea, and perhaps I should have mentioned in that entry that, following Steve Earley’s example and advice, I already have one aboard, though I have never used it.
        I happened across the foil sleeping bag at Amazon while looking for something else.  Is is small, light and cheap, so I bought it.

        Ryan Finn has posted his day’s runs in his proa, JZERRO, with approximate average wind speeds and angles that interest and impress me and may interest some of you.  The boat moves.