Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Faces of the Caribbean (and South America)

Captain's Log, 2-3-2015


I have recently been lonely.  It is a melancholy feeling of loneliness, even though I have a great crew on board and I am not really alone. We have completed some of our longest passages so far; Dominican Republic to Jamaica, then Jamaica to Panama. Each trip was day and night, back to back, multiple days feeling like the day before it. When we stop in port we just get to know some of the people and culture before we have to depart again. We barely connect before we have to say goodbye. That creates a loneliness in me. It is compounded by the growing distance between my family and friends, nations away. Communication out here is spotty at best, so staying in touch can often be disappointing if I can’t get through. I have had a chance to reflect on this and here is what I have come up with:

Sailing is more than a vehicle. It is a way to travel; it is a way to take your home and move it cost effectively. I always kid about the convenience that if you don’t get along with your neighbor, you can just move your home up the way a bit. Boat life is a transient way of life if that is what you desire. I have found that I enjoy the challenges and adventure of this type travel, but what I have also found is that I mostly enjoy the people along the way; the staying, connecting, learning, loving, engaging. The sailing is fun (don’t get me wrong, I am a Captain), but you may laugh... it is not why I sail. I sail for the people I get to meet, for the destinations and landing spaces to set my anchor. So in this blog I wanted to share some new “faces”, the faces of people I have had the pleasure of meeting, of connecting with even if briefly on this stage of the journey. They are the faces that break the loneliness, they are the highlights for me of this lifestyle. There are many smiling children, upside down ones, rooftop ones, basketball ones. There was Terry the Muslim, on Little Farmers island, that seeks the same good in the world that I do. The man mourning at his wife’s grave in Nassau was a touching connection. And then there was Caroline, who I got to give a beautiful “dress of Becky” to in Nagana; Nester the kind man of the Guna Yala tribe who sails the Ulu; a Congo man named “Spider” in Portobello; the boys at the store; and the list goes on.

That is why I sail. I am discovering that it takes putting yourself somewhere alone, somewhere only you can go, to understand what is paramount in life.  

My dear friend Mike Bartz thought of me and shared this quote when he read it a few days ago;
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest term.” Henry David Thoreau.  
The timing of the quote was perfect, as it very eloquently begs for introspection and conjures questions each of us should try to answer. How do we live deliberately? What is essential? What can we learn through being alone? Are we resigning ourselves or are we sucking the marrow out of life? What is life’s lowest denominator, what is really important? 

I now know that I sail to reach the anchorage and people. I am looking very much forward to staying someplace for a while, to connect and share with new faces what I have learned by simply being "alone". We leave the Caribbean Sea on Saturday, and on Sunday we will push the bows of Sea Angel into the Pacific. A new Ocean and new peoples. I will be happy to stop and stay a while when we reach Tonga. 


A boy in Luperon, Dominican Republic

Playing basketball, Island Nalunega, San Blas Panama

Beautiful! Sea Angel, Bahamas

The children of Nevel's home, Island Nalunega, San Blas

Church of San Felipe de Portobello, Panama

Girl with a Gap, Luperon, Dominican Republic

Green and Red Girls, San Blas Panama

Guna Yala Man, Coco Bandero, San Blas 

Gerald, a man mourning for his wife in Nassau

Nevel's son, Nalunega, San Blas

Nevel's younger son, Nalunega, San Blas

Pig Friend, Staniel Cay, Bahamas

Rooftop Boy, Island Wichubhaula, San Blas

Sailing Boy, Island Nalunega, San Blas

School Girls, Luperon, Dominican Republic

Sidewalk Boy, Island Nalunega, San Blas

"Spider", Portobello, Panama

Street Boys, Luperon, Dominican Republic

Sunshine! Hill atop Wardrick Wells, Bahamas

Terry, Little Farmer's Island, Bahamas

Thanksgiving Friends, Sea Angel, Great Harbor Cay, Bahamas

Traveling friends Miriam & Dave, Luperon, Dominican Republic

Upside Down, Island Nalunega, San Blas, Panama

Don't forget to read about our cause below! Sea Mercy will be at the Miami International Boat Show next week with more information as well. Thanks for following.

The Sea Angel is sailing for a cause. Sea Mercy is a benevolent program developed for disaster and critical care needs for remote islanders. Sea Mercy is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charity with a simple vision and mission to "stand in the gap" with a service delivery vessel, trained health care volunteers, support equipment, and critical care services as island nations develop their "outer island" health care infrastructure, when critical health care need opportunities are present, or when disasters occur. 

If Sea Angel's journey is valuable to you, we welcome you to consider donating on our behalf to Sea Mercy - they have several ways to get involved and are so grateful for your support. 

Sea Mercy's Corporate "We Care" Program is designed to help organizations attract and engage clients, vendors, and employees in the spirit of social responsibility and provide a wonderfully enriching partnership. There are several ways to participate with "We Care". Visit Sea Mercy's website for additional information. If you know of an organization or would like to involve yours, please share this information forward. 

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