New Perspectives, Whales, Flying Fish, and Breakfast in Papeete

The Now

Sorry guys, the porthole is no more! I’m looking ahead now and so now the bow is where it all happens!

View from the bow, with the wee Bridge 'miles away'
View from the bow, with the wee Bridge ‘miles away’
From The Bridge the Bow is 'somewhere past that container' horizon'
From The Bridge the Bow is ‘somewhere past that container’ horizon’

We will be crossing The Tropic of Cancer later in the day, just 5 days after the directly overhead, midday Sun ‘was there’. Then the next day ‘turning’ to start its six month journey south to Capricorn and passing us out here a few days ago!

Looking ahead can often create expectation and surprises for me, so the change from a looking back Porthole perspective to a looking forward Bow perspective, came with hope and excitement! I was well rewarded, and this Now part of the blog may reflect some of this more future orientation!

Firstly I saw my first man made whale. Yeah, way ahead of my projections and well on the way to making that new planet man has already made a whale: Here is the evidence, right out here in the Pacific:

The Human made Whale
The Human made Whale

Yeah leaning out through the one of the huge bow line fairleads I managed to get this shot of the bulb that sticks out ahead of the visible bow of Cap Capricorn. Like a whale on a lead it leads the way underwater reducing the bow wave and improving the fuel consumption.

Putting my camera away and I went back to hanging out of the fairlead hole and visualising it was just me and the ocean: Revitalising my bonding with Nature and its vastness and intensity out here. I slowly forgot the ship ‘behind me’ and took the fullness of the desert ahead all in.

As I looked more and more I saw more and felt and more and more. Soon a flying fish launched out the water some 30m below me, seemingly alarmed by the approaching human whale. The reason why flying fish fly, is to escape their underwater chasing prey, and with 4500 to 5000 m of water underneath and for as far as one can see across the desert there is much for predator fish to want to hang around here. So it must have only been the whale!

Yesterday I saw my first ocean bird life for this trip, and being far off I couldn’t be certain, but I was convinced they were two albatross. That familiar never ending glide as they soar on the swell updrafts, and the disproportionately longer, double jointed wings.  Smaller than the southern ones, their size did match the northern hemisphere ones that nest in remoter Hawaii and which I’d seen last year. Always special to see the magical albatross and wonder at the intensity of their seemingly lonesome lives. How their Nature capabilities are so different from my human ones and yet how we both seek lives that use all our creature capability to enable us to rise to the intensity call of Nature’s Grand Adventure.

As I got lost in my ship-less connection, my soul took me back to deeper connection where rather than being ‘entertained’ from a 30m grandstand seat high grandstand seat I had intimate physical ‘experiences’ with flying fish, ocean birds, whales and dolphins: Life as a solo sailor and living intimately with sea came back creating deep emotions within.

Maybe in One Point Zero I’m starting to experience another form of intimate relationship with Nature, maybe it’s all part of the whole intimate relationship, just the ‘Next step’?  All I know is I must not stop living my full human intensity, like the albatross was intensely living its full albatross-ness!

One Point Zero does seem like ‘the next step’ connection with Nature, and this ship experience can definitely be part of the future, I’m busy working it all out. This is My One Point Zero Challenge. As I deal with its challenge to keep this full human-ness intensity living, while staying on track for My One Point Zero others may find some clues for where they and society ‘have to go’ if One Point Zero is to be an achievable goal.

Back to the present now! We had another ‘quiet-ish’ few hours yesterday as the engine needed to be shut down to repair the other cylinder injector gaskets. As expected it was just time before all needed replacing and that has now been accomplished and its ‘full speed’ ahead…  75 rpm, and 16 knots! Just on 1000nm to go, and Wednesday midday San Francisco time!

Next up below is one of ‘The ones’ I have been promising you. Its a breakfast so pull up a seat and enjoy it…

Breakfast is Ready!
Breakfast is Ready!

YouTube, Entertainment and Exploring

(Note:  ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Explorer’ (ing) are used with specific and different intent though out this Post)

A Special Breakfast Aboard

This post has been motivated by a breakfast just over a week ago that I enjoyed with my fellow passenger Tom. It has his permission in my sharing as that is also part of this post’s value. Cap Capricorn had just been tied at the Papeete Container Terminal, and I’d just had the four hours of amazing ‘entertainment’ watching the crew and pilot bring this big ship into the small harbour with the professional precision I described in my post last week. I was on a high having been ‘intimately’ involved in the whole process, and sitting on my own at breakfast. I’m an explorer and this is what I hoped this ship experience would be all about.  I was reflecting on all that had happened, what I’d learnt, and how lucky I was to have been part of what I’d just experienced.

Tom arrived looking like he had just woken up and with a hangdog look on his face. I presumed he had slept through the whole spectacle I’d witnessed but I just wrote that off to different things interesting different people and we greeted as the kindred spirits we have become:  Today it was to be respect to our Aussie kinship with each giving a “G’day Mate”, and then moving to the safe niceties of the day, as if nothing special had happened since we last ate together.

Tom was born fifty miles from where I grew up in South Africa but the family moved to Australia when he was four: So although he is a ‘pukka Aussie boy’, I feel some kindred bond with his African roots.

In the silence that followed our greeting I mused:   I sense Tom is a guy who values intensity over happiness, and yet why had he missed ‘this event’?

In the week on the ship, we had developed a very open and sharing relationship and he seemed to really value the adventure stories and the underlying exploring I shared with him. He is on his first big adventure, the motorcycling is ‘the thing’ and I keep reminding him:  “Tom, remember it’s not a motorcycle adventure mate, it’s a life changing exploration you are on and the motorcycle is just the ‘soul-less machine’ for enabling the important part to happen!

He doesn’t quite get it yet, and probably thinks I’m a bit too philosophical, intense and reflective. I know I’m all of those, and really happy with that and have said to him: “It’s about exploring mate: Who you are, why you here, and how you fit in to yourself, society and this planet?! When I set out I never knew it would be about all that but I did know I was going to Explore. Like I see you now, I thought it was simple ‘Motorcycle Freedom’ I was exploring: To feel the Freedom that comes with the endless wind of travel on my face, but it has turned out to be a spiritual, life changing and ‘Complex Freedom’.

Being thirty three and having just motorcycled across Australia to get to the ship, and now setting off for a grand world-wide motorcycle adventure, I say to him: “You are lucky mate, you are getting to start Your Great Work quite a few years before I did. Make sure you don’t give up when it gets a bit lonely and go back to the easy life, before that full work is done. If you are open to the exploring I’m talking about you’ll be surprised what happens to you and how your relationship with your motorcycle will change!

In the context of this frankness and openness of our relationship, back to our breakfast,  breaking the brief silence and shaking his head, Tom can’t help share with me his total disgust in himself and explain his guilt:

He’d set his alarm for 4 am to wake up and experience our arrival into Papeete. He had woken, got up did the final checks on the Gopro that he had been telling me for days he was setting up. Then with it pitch dark outside and him feeling tired he decided he’d just have a bit more sleep! He woke up just twenty minutes ago and missed the whole ‘show’. He was openly very angry and disappointed with himself, and I saw it written all over him.

It wasn’t time to tell him what he’d missed, so I went for a high risk, hopefully supportive option:  “So Tom, did you get the Gopro footage?

He perked up: “Yeah I think so, just had a quick look and it looks all OK. Four hours of interval footage that captures us coming in and docking from the bow.”  It was more a relieved reply than one of passion and conviction that he had achieved something of high quality and value that he really wanted.

I tried to help him connect to a more passionate conviction. “Hey Tom, that should be special for you? I can see from the last few days this was your top priority, so good you got that done, mate!

Almost ignoring my support and going back to his disappointed demeanour he asked: “So did you get up and watch it all?

I hesitated as I thought about what maybe he ‘wanted to hear and what maybe he ‘needed to hear’?  Given our very open ‘old guy’ / ‘young guy’ relationship I decided on the ‘need to hear’ route, genuinely thinking that would be Tom’s, ‘want to hear’, one too?

I told him my whole amazing four hour experience, and while he genuinely wanted to hear it all, he got even angrier with himself for sleeping through. I’d read it right: Here WAS an explorer, he was open enough to show me both his passion to really want to explore ‘properly’, and his utter disgust with himself that he had missed it. I’d experienced this confused priorities before myself and consoled him by saying: “Tom you did what you prioritised mate, I listened to you over the past few days, and your priority was the GoPro!”  Purposely choosing ‘entertainment’ context I added: “You got the result you ‘wanted’ your Main Show, but it seemed like that consumed you to the point that you missed what I believe for me was the real ‘Main Show’.”

He knew he’d got it wrong, but here was a guy just starting his exploring and wanting to learn, and so at the risk of increasing his pain, but also speeding up his learning I said: “Tom, be honest now, how often will you ever look at the Gopro footage in the next 10 years?” I could see he valued this learning moment, and gave me the honest answer that motivated me to write this whole post:  “Aaah, I’ll just stick it up on Facebook and YouTube for my friends to watch, and probably never look at it again!

Creating an exploring moment for me, I thought to myself:  What is the point of a video anyway they will never get what I’m experiencing, and sharing just a video, devalues my experience in their eyes, they see the video footage as all there was, and so nobody really gets anything of true value out of it. It’s for superficial entertainment of others, and maybe to impress them, but Tom wasn’t that sort of guy. Tom isn’t a YouTube sort of guy, but he’d got sucked in like so many others I meet?  So many people seem to be posting on YouTube etc, what am I missing? I concluded: This world wants quick and ever increasing instant novelty not deep, meaningful and long lasting exploration. That stressed me, and I wanted to explore WHY, but I was chatting to Tom for now, and we were exploring something together.

I said: “Tom, my ‘Gopro footage’ is in me forever, and it has very little to do with what the images the lens saw, but all to do with what I experienced and felt, mate. The full sensory connection, and then interpreted by my soul. This was a very intense exploration I went through, I felt the dynamics of each of the crew, I felt the cool sweat off the Pilot‘s back, I felt the sense of team, the struggles of the individuals, the trust, the relief.”  Tom listened with real interest.

Strangely too, Tom,  I felt my own angst of feeling, part of it, but not part of it: Because in some way maybe I was just a GoPro myself, or maybe I was just having entertainment? I was just an observer. I was experiencing a ‘watching’ exploring experience, I wasn’t the experience, but in intensely ‘watching ’, and being right there on the bridge, and on the ship I was having the best ‘virtual experience’ I could have.” I paused before concluding:

So I made the very most of the exploring it offered: Focusing on all its rich dynamic, never getting distracted thinking about how I would show others what I was seeing. This was an opportunity for me to learn. Not to learn to dock a ship, or program the GoPro, but rather a chance to learn about life! If I did that well, and added my life experience to this life experience I’d become a bigger person, and as a byproduct, the sharing like I do on my Blog becomes richer and more valuable than some Gopro, gee whizz, amazing use of technology, footage!” He nodded his half bowed head, seemingly in acknowledgement that the point was well taken, and would never be needed again.

I tapped him lovingly on the shoulder and said: “Mate, thanks for opening yourself up like this and allowing me to have a huge exploring and learning experience at breakfast here, I appreciate that a lot! Your open-ness to confront unexpected truths without fear of ridicule will stand you in good stead as you switch to explore more and more!

Without thought, he responded:  “Mate, thank you! You have made me really wake up to what the priorities are and why I’m here, our exchange has been amazing!

Tom I really think many others could benefit from what we have just explored, and if you are I agreement I’d like to share it with my readers?

Go for it mate!

So there we go, and there it is!

Back in my ‘cell’, and Bye, as I look back from its Porthole!

Sunset from The Porthole
Sunset from The Porthole

1 thought on “New Perspectives, Whales, Flying Fish, and Breakfast in Papeete”

  1. I enjoyed you mixing personal experiences with material regarding environment.
    What you had to say about the albatross was great. Is not our “anthropocenic age” depriving many animals to experience intensity with nature, with all the noise we create, with our omnipresence everywhere?

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