Monday, January 10, 2005

Elettra: Looking at the sun

January 8, 2005, 1000
DR position 25º15.5’N 082º36.5’W

This morning during my Navigation I used the Sextant, an instrument used to calculate the degree of the sun from the horizon. I was able to look directly at the sun. It was perfectly round and trembled with fire on the surface. It was situated at 31º from the horizon. It appeared so manageable and safe but without the instrument to protect the retinas, it has the ability to blind. What adrenaline to think of how dangerously close you are to harming yourself and what genius invented such an instrument to be able to see such beauty. There is a similar instrument used for celestial navigation but this one can only be used at dawn and dusk when the horizon and the stars can both be seen.

“The past is there. If it’s not in my memory…I guess it’s not important to remember,” says Andy, the First Mate, to Prof. Pyle, about the whole Blogging ‘business,’ as I sit at the Galley table and type my Blog. But recording is just as important as living. We move through life using and then throwing away. But I find recording for others to remember and utilize our experience is a duty. It is a duty because it is what advances our species and enables each to have a head start when embarking on a journey such as this--it is like bidding ‘Bon Voyage!’ or more appropriately, it’s like writing a modern White Jacket.

During times at sea, life is limited to the bare essentials. There is no room to hang up clothes or take a bath. But it is the moments that really make this life. Moments today when we were raising the topgallant yardarm, such as when Michael was up on the main mast helping to actually place the yardarm; Anna climbing up on the rigging; mopping the Galley floors; the crew painting on deck; Lucas singing shanties at the helm; singing in ‘Bozens,’ the tool shed; Ralph cooking pancakes for breakfast; the generator shutting off and remaining in the dark for several minutes; Bearded John (another crew member) sitting on a swing-type chair off the side of the boat trying to screw a bolt into the wood; and unfortunately also having Jamie, another crew member, get hurt when the ‘strop,’ or rope strap, lost its life and flew in the side of his head, near his eye.

The sea is a copycat because it always wants to reflect everything above it, the stars, the clouds, my reflection. However it distorts all this while it sustains it. It never wants to leave anything out, unless the land takes over. It always changes; its changes are told through waves and it changes because it doesn’t want to be attached to anything but it swallows everything. It is hospitable with the fish and it attracts men of courage such are sailors and surfers, only to disintegrate or swallow them up. How many contradictions inhabit the seven seas...

Tomorrow morning we should arrive at the Tortugas around 300 or 400.
posted by Elettra