Quote of the Month

"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954.

“We must change our attitudes toward the ocean. We must regard it as no longer a mystery, a menace, something so vast and invulnerable that we need not concern ourselves with it … Instead we want to explore the themes of the ocean’s existence—how it moves and breathes, how it experiences dramas and seasons, how it nourishes its hosts of living things, how it harmonizes the physical and biological rhythms of the whole earth, what hurts it and what feeds it—not least of all, what are its stories.” Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997.

"It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head." Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1894.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Shakedown Sail

Andariego's new inexpensive air conditioner

Mike Wagner
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, the autumnal equinox, I went for a little shakedown sail with two marina friends, Mike and Willy. They both have sailboats moored at Isleta Marina. Mike is a live-aboard with a dog named Pebbles, and works on construction for a living. Willy has a sailboat and a place on land where he sews canvas works for sailboats and furniture upholstery. They’ve both done work in Andariego.
Mike had helped me install a small air conditioner in the main cabin hatch. We attached rope handles to move it to the dock finger using a winch. I don’t want to sail with a bulky ac over the hatch. It had not been tested. I cannot lift an ac by myself but I can move it using winches. Willy had made the ac’s canvas cover, which can be left on when the ac is on or off protecting the digital elements from direct sunlight and rain, but with screen canvas on the back to allow air flow without taking the canvas off. It works beautifully.
Willy Angleró
We sailed from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. around the bay, wherever the wind blew, without a port in mind, just sailing. The t-shirt I wore said it all: Are we there yet? Who cares? All worked well, except we found a small rip at the head of the mainsail. Willy said he could fix it. I had used sail tape previously, but obviously that is not a permanent or reliable solution.
Mike took the helm for a while as we headed toward Palomino with a gentle ESE wind. It wasn’t windy enough for his taste, but enough for me preferring cruising to racing. Willy sailed toward Icacos, as we made a big loop to head back to port. As I sailed back in, all was handled smoothly, including the re-installation of the ac using the winch. The temperature outside was in the upper 90’s but the heat index indicated 103 degrees Fahrenheit. We celebrated a well-spent afternoon with a few cold beers. It was nice to have the ac cooling the main cabin again.
Eva's t-shirt

Stars as Teachers

The Egyptian Goddess Isis is often depicted as veiled, as noted in the picture of Auguste Puttemans (1866-1927), Statue of Isis, located at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa (Wikimedia Commons). Isis is by no means the first or the last manifestation of the Mother Goddess. Her story, with Osiris and Horus, marks the passage of the sun, moon, and planets in the backdrop of stars. As most mythical stories, theirs evolved with humans’ first encounters with stars.
Primal myths are the stuff of primal astronomy – the extended metaphors our ancestors used to describe the cyclic movement of the celestial bodies; their infinity (consistency), births (appearances), deaths (disappearances), rebirths (re-appearances). When humans first looked at the stars in earnest and unveiled the adage, as above so below, they had no words to describe what they saw. Expressions of awe became syllables, and then metaphoric stories helping us to understand the lessons from our star teachers guiding us from dark (gu) to light (ru). They taught us how to connect stars to the cycle of the seasons, animal migrations, plant sprouting, climate, and spacetime. It is the story in the syllabic ancient Sanskrit mantra, sa-ta-na-ma (infinity, birth, death, rebirth). The story behind each syllable describes the passage of the Moon, Venus, the Sun, the Constellations, as well as the passage of Life on Earth.
The largest constellation, later known as Virgo, became the Great Mother (wisdom, Sophia), upholding the law (Libra), justice (Scorpio), sustenance (the Milky Way); this being only a small section of the observable ecliptic trajectory of 12 constellations, innumerable stars and the stuff of stars (planets, satellites, asteroids, life, dark matter).
            When we stopped looking at the sky for guidance to understand Mother Earth, these metaphors degenerated into religions and history (or twistory, as The Little Prince called it), blinding ourselves from what is hidden in plain sight in nature, trading harmony for disharmony. When was the last time you saw the stars? When was the last time you laid down on the ground (or a sailboat deck away from city lights) to see the passage of stars from east to west, as we move in rapid stillness from west to east? Only when we are ready to continue the natural evolution of our ancestors, from paupers to corporate giants, will we again begin to unveil Isis.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Missing You

I have been kept so busy at work lately--writing, writing, writing-- that I've missed logging in. I have sailed but missed writing my lately metaphysical 'Captain's Log' here. It is 6:00 a.m. As I prepare to go to Andariego, I am minded to write and commit to sharing sailing stories. May there be more entries in the coming months. Right now, I am also testing posting logs through my iPhone.