Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sunday: Planes and Boats, here and there...

I wake up with a sore head and a still-snotty nose. The rain is crashing down outside, the gutters have fallen off my very old Kalk Bay house and the water, free of such restrictions, cause a joyful racket outside. It's very wet. But farm-girl that I am, I have been taught never, ever to curse the rain.
I pack wetsuit, fins, mask and flip-flops, it's hot in Durban so I won't need much, and I'm only going for 48 hrs anyway, simple... The best of plans made in the best of ways, always fail, I learn again and again and today again. See, for a change, I'm not running late, and with time left to spare I stop at the pharmacy to get nose-spray, on the doping list at freediving comps, but absolutely essential for my job tomorrow. Teaching the cast of Blue Crush 2 to be comfortable in the water. I won't be of much use if I can't dive with them, I reason, as I pay the exorbitant price for the unhealthy spray I plan to inflict on my nose.Please hurry, I tell the girl at the pharmacy counter, I'm on my way to the airport, making my problem her problem as she hurries to sort my change out. I dash out into the rain, into my beloved Toyota twin-cab bakkie, turn the key... and nothing. No no no no noooooo... most reliable of cars, this can't be happening!
She's dead. My light blue reliable steed sputters and gives up. Please Adam, help! Sure, he's around the corner and we dash to the airport. On time. Check in. Bag too big. Oversize drop-off. Do you have a computer in there? Safety check. Hurry to gate A7. Long cue. Wait wait wait, the flight is delayed from Joburg, so so is ours. Board. Cram into my seat. Middle seat, close my eyes, and breathe. What a rush! Take-off and my sinuses wail in pain. Flying with mucus, never a good thing.
And I realise. I don't really like this. This traveling, the rush, the deadline, the mad dash to the check-in counter.They say the world has gotten smaller, with flights being so accessible and the world just around the corner. All this efficiency, making the trip from A to B quick and possible. We complain of long trans-atlantic flights, a full 14 hrs plus!

And suddenly I remember.

The wind against my face, the lazy flapping of the sails. The days stretching into weeks. The quick-jump flight from the Azores home to Sweden we turned into a 17 day passage on a 38 foot ketch with a man we didn't know. No auto-pilot, no windvein, no real long distance sailing experience. The start of the end of a long relationship, time on board a yacht makes or breaks love.
And I miss it. I will swop this cramped seat for my 8-12 watch. 8 hrs a day each, keeping watch, steering north. Watching the sun set alone on deck, the moon rise, the stars come out and then the eerie 'pfooooohhh' in the distance as a whale breathes. Stop counting the days, Hanli, the way-points and the wind-speeds. You are here, only here, only now. You cannot control the wind and the storm that is bearing down on us.

Maybe I need to remind myself of that voice here in my cramped seat on this hated plane. Stop rushing. Stop being in the next moment, the arrival, the pick-up, the plans and tomorrow. Live the journey. Even if the journey has been reduced to a bumpy cramped two hour flight.


  1. Oh NO! What a mission but good for you bringing yourself back to "NOW" and living in the moment.

    I think it's important though to remember those spiritual moments and dream of life in a less chaotic is what can keep up moving forward through the chaos to get to the other side to experience those spiritual moments once again.

  2. That's a really beautiful photo.