Squall rain and a whipping wind woke me at dawn as Swell yanked and yawed on her mooring. I squeezed my eyes shut and rolled over again, not ready to face the reality of the day ahead”¦ despite the less than ideal conditions, I would HAVE to leave today. I had attempted to wait for the right winds for over a week, but with just two days remaining before the filmer would arrive, I remained 120 miles to the east of where I would meet him.
The dinghy was on deck, the water tanks were full, my tools were stowed, sails ready”¦ but something inside me did NOT want to go. The sky was gray and grim and boding. The air was laden with a rainy haze. The wind was loud in my ears. I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into my bed and finish reading Thor Heyerdahl’s ‘Fatu Hiva’, get up around 9:30, sip tea, and stretch. But that wasn’t an option. I HAD to go.
“At least the wind has turned a bit northeast!?””¦ I tried to convince myself.
I reluctantly shuffled through the pre-sea motions. It all seemed so unfamiliar after not having been out of the lagoon for almost 7 months. I was rusty and nervous and not properly rested. I squeezed my soaked teabag over the tea as if that extra bit of caffeine might make me feel better.
“It’s not going to be fun, but it won’t be THAT bad”¦ you know you can do it,” I told myself. In the back of my mind there was just one thing I couldn’t get rid of”¦ LIGHTNING. It has become a sort of phobia of sorts. I am truly frightened of it, and by the forecast and the look of the day, I was convinced that I was in for an all night game of bolt ‘hide-and-seek’.
Finally nearing 8am, I could procrastinate no longer. I dropped off the mooring and plowed into the wind across the lagoon with the engine. As I finished of the last bit of lashing and stowing, a rain squall enveloped us in a watery whiteness. I couldn’t see more than 50 yards in any direction.
“This is not a good start,” I racked neurotically.
I pulled up the main, not daring to raise it above a 3rd reef and rolled out some headsail”¦ The new furler turned like butter (Thank you, Greg Palmer and Selden!), but the sheet was led wrong around a stanchion. The sail whipped violently as I scrambled to pull the squirming rope back around the post into the correct position, and tighten up the sail 100 yards from where the open sea waited ahead, writhing and churning in the mouth of the pass.
“Here we go, girl”¦” I said aloud to Swell as we left the turquoise lagoon for the infinite deep blue. The seas were short and confused after the night of squall winds. They seemed not sure which direction to move–like they were all in a panic, looking for the emergency exit. Not thirty seconds later we climbed up the first swell”¦ my stomach turned. I still had to tie the new lines for the wind vane”¦ My hands began to tremble as I finished the half hitches. I set the wind vane for our course, trimmed the headsail, scanned the horizon, and dragged my yellow pool mat below, collapsing upon it on the cabin floor. Seasick already, uhhh”¦