It has been 10 months since we moved aboard Presence-ing. This is a very raw life, living on the water. Everything moves. There is an ever present sense of 'adventure'. It can be enlivening, or wearing. Sometimes I experience things as simply a hassle. Right now we do not have a car or our bicycles. We either walk, use an Uber or Lyft car, a rental car, or rely on the kindness of friends.
If this is such a chore, why am I here? Why do this? My need is to experience life more directly. I need to feel life more fully. I need to be challenged to be aware of my situation and respond. In this challenge I grow. I need to connect to the elements. It is humbling. I see that I am so dependent on others, those that have gone before me. I feel gratitude. I want to give back. I want to help. All these things arise spontaneously because I'm in this situation of rawness, of exposure, of discomfort, of growth.
Am I trying to prove something? A classic battle of man against nature? No. This is about respect and harmony. Working with what is given (wind, waves, sunlight, water,), adapting what I have (duct tape, imagination), and the kindness, help and gifting of others.
I know that the near disasters (hitting a piling on the ICW, the anchor rode breaking in the tornado last week) are good for me. I see what could have happened, and what did happen. The imperative to be more here, more conscious, is being pressed further and harder. The way it happens for me right now is in this environment.
When I see or talk to other sailors I identify with our shared vulnerability. We're in this together. A community. We know what we're risking. For some, we know we must. We don't have to talk about it. On the water, life, and risk, is amplified. Concentrated. Eau de life.
We've been in quiet, remote, still anchorages, traveled in fog, been through a Navy base, heavy rain, 30Kts wind, saw a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, mega-mega yachts, so many things. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yApMdc_9sLE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pix9ReExTmk
We're now at anchor about 350 miles south of Brunswick, GA and the weather is much different: often high humidity and usually tropical weather. We do feel the effects of cold fronts that pass north of us which can produce strong weather. A tornado touched down not far from us last week. It was a 'real danger' situation. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCzrHJ3bnPk . (During the first tornado we were docked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzJuw51EwiI )
I recognize my sailing experience is not deep enough to competently handle some of the waters we want to get into. I've put out the word for experienced people (maybe some readers of this letter?) to come aboard for a number of days and teach us. Real sailing with wind and main and genoa. We want to practice reefing and furling and trimming and man overboard drills and all that goes into the glory, fear and exhaustion that goes into real seafaring. For the foreseeable future, nothing requires more than maybe 10 hours of continual sailing. And it could all be done under power. But the point is to extend our range and capabilities.
I'm still working, finding ways to give back. As you know, this letter, and the videos, is part of that. I hope some are motivated to act, to participate, instead of think. Life waits so patiently for us, doesn't it?
Brian & Dr. Leigh Jacobs