The Long Way
Posted: Sun, Jul 12, 2015
Location: Canal de Ibiza
“Take reefs in, shake them out, take them in, shake them out, live with the sea, live with the birds, live with the present, never looking beyond today, knowing that everything comes with time…”
-Bernard Moitessier, The Long Way
Later on tonight we are going to pass by the island of Ibiza. Soon after that we are going to arrive at our penultimate port of Palma, Mallorca. And then, not nearly long enough after that, we will find ourselves in Nice, France, checking our bags and boarding our flights, our adventure having ended. All this will happen in the next twelve days, yet if you spent time with the current Argo crew, you probably would not be able to guess it. Sure, there have been some bewildered exclamations of “OH MY GOD WE ONLY HAVE TWO WEEKS LEFT!!” and I myself have even participated in discussing which food will be acquired immediately upon return to home. Perhaps I am simply missing such conversations, but I have not yet heard much discussion of leaving. I have not heard much discussion of the future beyond each of our next adventures. The above quote is taken from Moitessier’s account of his solo trip sailing around the world. He sailed from England, around the world, and as he was nearing England once again, he turned and decided to continue sailing, and went halfway around again. I have found that quote to be very comforting these past few days, and it seems a good description of our current state. Put sails up, take them down, put them up, take them down, live with the sea, live with the dolphins, complain when you’re not woken up to see a pod of whales, never looking beyond today. I’m sure we have all found ourselves looking beyond today, and it is important to remember that final sentiment given to us by Moitessier – “that everything comes with time”. Sailing across an ocean came only with time. Learning to tolerate and appreciate and enjoy each person on this boat came with time. Learning to love Argo, as trying as it may have been, came with time. The end of our trip looms ahead of us like the first tip of land poking over the horizon: awesome and exhilarating, relieving and disappointing. We all see that land ahead of us here on Argo, yet to acknowledge or invite it is to soften the joy of what time we have left.
And so we sail on, keeping our ship headed towards that land and ourselves firmly in the now. We are enjoying the Med, exploring the sea that was sailed by countless heroes. The shower’s have been pleasantly warmer, despite the nasty rumor that the waters of the Med were going to be even colder than the North Atlantic. Two of the three watch teams have spotted Bioluminescent Dolphins (though our Captain, Kris, continues to insist that they do not exist), and boat traffic has never been higher. Even with the constant sighting of other vessels, I still feel as though we are in our own little world. The Argo bubble has not been popped. I am amazed and humbled every day by my fellow crew mates. We are millennials through and through. We have grown up in an age where to be disconnected is to, essentially, be outcast. With the technology that has embedded itself in our lives, we have become accustomed to a life in which it is easier to be someplace else, sometime else, than the present moment. Even though our “now” is quickly turning into a “then,” I believe we have never been happier with our present tense.
Moitessier found something in the ocean, something so real and significant that he turned away from his circumnavigation and just kept going. There are things we are all looking forward to when we once again become residents of land, yet I cannot help but wish we could simply sail on.
I shall leave you with another quote from Moitessier’s book, which is the aptest description of a sunrise watch I have yet to find.