Takin’ off my Jitterpants
Swell was ready–dinghy on deck, gear stashed and stowed. My leafy companions—basil, aloe, mint, lemongrass, and sage plants were wedged securely around the cabin. The night was almost eerily calm. The Milky Way exploded across the sky from behind the silhouette of the island. Swell heaved slightly against the dock where I had come to top off the water tanks just before sunset. Everything seemed right, and yet, the pit in my stomach felt the size of a grapefruit. I’d spent the better part of the day in preparation, riddled with anxiety. I knew this feeling well. It was always there before a big passage, especially an upwind passage. It was the blessing and curse of voyaging alone—I could always change my mind. I had talked myself out of leaving all day long…the surf was up, and the wind was down…every reason to stay and get shacked! But I’d surfed everyday for 3 weeks and it looked like the winds would be light for 3 or 4 days–a RARE window of time to move east against the trades.
I had to go, I needed to be out there…
Two young guys sat drinking beers on the dock.
“You’re alone??!” They asked.
“Oui.” I replied, and led them through an abbreviated version of my, ‘I sail alone, but don’t worry, I’m careful’ speech…
They helped me untie the lines, all the while telling me how ridiculous it was to go alone, and where was my husband, and why did I want to go anywhere?
The older guy looked me in the eye as he passed me the final dock line. “It hurts me to see you go alone, it breaks my heart…” He said in French. I couldn’t tell him that was scared too. That it had been so long since I did passage like this, that I’d lost my confidence…but that would only have made it worse.
“Don’t feel sad!” I replied. “Let it give you courage! Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. See you in a few months!” And with that I pulled Swell away from the dock and motored slowly toward the pass in the dark…I knew there was only one way through the fear—Go. Go with prudence. Go with care. But GO, I must…
MaggieApril 27, 2011
krissyApril 28, 2011
good morning Liz and Swell!
been following along for a while now and so many times i want to write but my life pulls me away, so for all the times i didn’t say it before and all the times i will want to say it again…
Thank you so very much Lizzy, for sharing your amazing journey, for writing so beautifully, for posting the snapshots of your adventure, and for sometimes saying what i feel tho my life is so very very different from yours.
yes indeed “Go with care. But go…”
much aloha ~
SeanApril 28, 2011
This is why I’ve read your story for so long. You rock and inspire.
Chris BartlettApril 28, 2011
Joseph G MullettJuly 25, 2011
Wish you the best of Luck and Safety on your next path on your adventurous life. Have fun!