Hello and Goodbye Tahiti! This Incredible Pacific Show Must Go On!

The Now

Papeete is a recent memory and some 170 nm (300km!) astern of us already.

Papeete is a recent memory and some 170 nm (300km!) astern of us already. Not just another boring Howard ship pic!! Spot the Difference beyond The Rainbow? We are now full up with Containers ‘blocking’ my view now! These are Empty containers as I presume Tahiti ‘Just takes’ and gives ‘Nothing back’. Eventually the ‘giving containers’ have to go back to be able to give again!
Not just another boring Howard ship pic!! Spot the difference beyond the rainbow? We are now full up with containers ‘blocking’ my view now! These are empty containers as I presume Tahiti ‘Just takes’ and gives ‘Nothing back’. Eventually the ‘giving containers’ have to go back to be able to give again!

As I type this I can just see Rangiroa, as we pass less than 5 miles abeam of this the largest atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago. An oval atoll, some 70 km long, and 35 km wide, comprising of a narrow motu (Un-submerged land) that runs all the way around its perimeter encasing an ocean lake rich in marine life.

I seem to remember that there are or were permanent inhabitants on some of these atolls! It does beg the question of how close or far away from One Point Zero living they would be? Living on a remote ‘island’ in the middle of the South Pacific: What would be your thoughts on their One Point Zero status? (It is a very simple and useful case study for learning about what One Point Zero, and Ecological Sustainability really means.)

I’m sure readers would value you share ‘your facts’, experiences, and emotive rustlings on this blog? Don’t be shy now, OK!  (By the way thanks for all the comments so far, emails and Facebook messages, I’ll respond in some way here and directly as appropriate.)

Now heading directly for San Francisco, we have made a 30 degree north course change from the one we had to Tahiti. The wind is up to 30 knots, against us (which is a bit strange!) but being at 15 degrees south, it is just so nice and warm, and the Pacific has that deep purple colour out here. Compliant with the masters’ engine speed instructions, with this wind our speed has dropped from 16.5 knots down to 13 to 14 knots!  Maybe the masters in their dominance want us to experience a little less robotic experience and more immersion in Nature’s Grand Adventure!

The arrival into Papeete was so special I give it its own section below:

The Middle of the Pacific:  Romance, Happiness and Intensity!

Right now, I am almost in the middle of the South Pacific: It is 3200 nm (5800 km) to the eastern most point of Australia (near Fraser Island, Queensland) which is the Western limit of The Pacific Ocean, and we are 4000 nm (7200 km) from its eastern limit which is the western most point of South America, Punta Parinas in Ecuador. That’s a full 13000 km across of deep blue wilderness, the largest ‘desert’ in area on this planet!  This represents about 37 % of the surface of the earth at this latitude band!

Only the big Southern Ocean some has some more limitless claim: Without any east / west boundaries it completely encircles our planet, making it the most free, wildest and restless of all the oceans. Seemingly long forgone the search for paradise, utopia, or increasing happiness it is on a never ending westward journey?  Maybe the purpose of this journey void of destination or exploring its restraint is merely ‘the happiness’ of its restless intensity!

I wonder in if the Pacific in its bounded status feels secondary and in awe of the Southern Ocean’s unmatched Freedom. Maybe Freedom is our ultimate desire of as human beings. Our Shocking Success shows that maybe in pursuit of unrestrained Freedom we are increasingly breaking down Nature’s ‘obstacles’, when we should be accepting Nature’s conditional restraint! That’s what a One Point Zero world requires!

Mastery on Show:  Our Arrival into Papeete

the-bridge
The Bridge at 5am with Tahiti on the right Moorea on the left

Definitely not wanting to miss out on the experience of coming into Papeete harbour on a huge container ship, I had a wonderful restless night, and eventually at 4:30am, not able to control my excitement anymore I headed up the two floors to The Bridge.  I was just in time to hear over the radio the friendly French accent of the Papeete pilot giving his first contact instruction for the meeting position, where they wanted the access ladder down the side of the ship, and our berth orientation.

Much clearer on the Chart: That’s our ‘Road’ in between!
Much clearer on the Chart: That’s our ‘Road’ in between!

We were coming up to the channel between the large island of Tahiti, and the smaller, Tahitians weekend playground island of Moorea.  With lots of other craft and a plethora of other potential hazards around, it was time for the ‘masters’ to take their places:

Bring on The Man: Able Seaman Raghu!
Bring on The Man: Able Seaman Raghu!

Able Seaman Raghu Komara was the ‘chosen’ Helmsman, and with The Captain they were ‘The Team’ to take us to our meeting point with The Pilot. As ‘we’ anticipated the hazards, the Captain issues course change instructions, like “Zero Five Zero”. To which Raghu would immediately respond with a “Zero Five Zero, Sir” and then purposefully make adjustments on the small Playstation like control handle. Within 20 or so seconds, once he ‘had the new course’ he would call loudly back: “One Five Zero, Sir”. The ‘Sir’, seemingly having no relation to power, domination or his submissiveness: merely reflecting the seriousness of the exercise and his commitment to follow the purely functional instruction to the best of his ability.

Avoiding the Reef to the Pilot
Avoiding the Reef to the Pilot

A ‘problematic’ yacht either knowingly trying to test its place in the hierarchy or merely being ‘incompetent’ challenge our course for an extended period before the Captain after using many expletives to describe the skipper of the yacht, ordered the 2nd officer to “Give five short blasts on the horn“….  That seemed to work, although it still took a while for the yacht to take make a capitulated course change and retreat from the one-sided conflict. Everyone seemed relieved, and it was a valuable experience for the sailor in me, be able to view the world from this side of the fence!

Narrow Channel Straight Ahead!
Narrow Channel Straight Ahead!

While all this was happening, the crew was busy doing all the jobs required to have us ready for harbour entry and docking. The big electric bow thruster was commissioned and the pilot access ladder lowered and then checked on its bottom rung requirement to be precisely 1.5 m above water line.

Many course changes later and a reduction in engine speed had us doing 5 knots at the Pilot rendezvous point. The radio call soon came up: “Pilot on board”, and after about 10 minutes the Pilot burst through the Bridge station door full of warm laughter and welcoming hellos. He had a glance around seemed to belong straight away, and then pulled out a piece of paper, which he used to discuss his plan with the Captain. Then to my absolute surprise seemingly without a word exchanged on the matter, he displaced the Captain and started issuing course instructions to Raghu on the wheel. The Captain had been ‘ousted’ but seemed quite relaxed and desiring of his new ‘demotion’ to ‘observer’!

By now it was pre sunrise light and with the Cap Capricorn heading at 5knots on collision course with the island dead ahead seemingly struggling to align it’s self with the two navigation lights marking the small channel opening ahead.  I saw Michael the Pilot quickly change to a serious yet very calm demeanour. As the tolerance for error became rapidly less, and the cost of error significantly higher, the instructions to Raghu, went from being compass bearings, to rudder angles: “Ten degrees Port”, Hard Starboard, “Mid-ship” course  The tempo of new instructions also increased and the intensity of Michael’s total focus on the task at hand was obvious. As he had planned the Cap Capricorn’s apparent misalignment was perfectly by the wind and tide. With barely 25 metres to spare each side and never changing the full 237 metres passed perfectly on the centreline of the two channel marker buoys. I looked at the coral reefs on either side of the larger channel gap, and was in awe of the professionalism and precision I had just witnessed.

I recalled two years ago when I had brought Allone into the narrower, non-commercial craft, break in the reef a few miles down the coast. That day it was blowing 30 knots and the large swell striking the fringe reef had created wonderful pipeline shaped waves that surfers were clearly enjoying. Lining up for my entry, I picked a swell, and as Allone surfed through the gap in the channel parted waves, I remember looking either way and seeing down inside each tube and the surfer it had entombed. Once through the gap, the water was still idyllic, but I did wonder how ‘Michael and Raghu’ would have managed with Cap Capricorn on a day like that: Somehow I felt with Michael’s calm intensity it would have been no more different to what I had witnessed! He certainly was The Master of the day!

Cap Capricorn all secured!
Cap Capricorn all secured!

For the ‘all of me’, I was totally enthralled, and as merely a spectator of this truly amazing  3 hour show, I thanked Michael, The Captain, and Roghu for providing me this unique intimate experience.

The Pilot and The Captain (right)
The Pilot and The Captain (right)

With the help of a tug, the bow thruster, and the final bit of magic from the ‘Michael and Raghu’ team Cap Capricorn was alongside the wharf without drama. The crew got to work in securing her to the jetty, the container guys started their loading schedule, and I was able to have an informal chat with Michael. He had been a super tanker captain for many years, and now loves this challenge to ‘just do the exciting part’ without having the boredom and monotony of weeks at sea. He appeared so calm that I couldn’t help ask if he found it at all stressful? With a smile that said: “That’s the secret”, he said: “Yes, but you have to keep that inside you!” I then took the photo of him and the Captain, we shook hands and as he walked off his sweat soaked back showed what I thought: This was bloody stressful bringing our big Cap Capricorn into this small harbour, but the man loved being the Master of the Challenge!

Customs took two hours two arrive, but having seen Papeete, I was just happy to download and read the NYT and London Times. I was in no hurry to take off on my bicycle to join all the consumers across the bay! As I read more, I was shocked at what a changing and challenging week it has been out there ‘for you guys’!: The Florida shootings, UK MP shooting, Trump challenges, Democrat regroup, Brexit volatility increasing, Russians banned from Rio, but nothing about Our One Point Zero Challenge!

Customs and Immigration was a non-event, not even a passport stamp, ‘we’ were soon free to explore Papeete. This informality, then having the bicycle and all its attached freedom of being able to hit the ground running (Ha-ha!) in a convenient, yet One Point Zero way made me feel I really could get used to this ‘Ship Travel’! Being at the container depot, it was quite a ride, but an interesting one that took me past a docked cruise ship, and its entire heavy footprint, hedonistic enticements!

Tahiti and Papeete

I hope most of you weren’t expecting this to be the big story of the day?

I loved being back on Tahiti, just feeling its unique Polynesian / French culture mix charm.  I sensed from our discussions that my fellow passengers were searching for the idyllic beaches, Tahitian cocktails, ‘beautiful island girls’, crystal clear waters, vast coral reefs, teeming with brightly coloured tropical fish, etc…?  Papeete is not like that, and even Tahiti struggles to be like that…? In 2014 I cycled for a week around the main island and across the isthmus to the adjoining island, exploring all it has to offer. This to me is not anything special, the magic of French Polynesia lives in the more remote Society Islands. Tahiti is the first stop, and Papeete the commercial capital and becoming increasingly a clogged up consumption ground. A few days experiencing its French / Polynesian culture, and then it should be used as a gateway for exploring the real gems, the more remote Society islands etc. Papeete is also very expensive, and probably even more so than when I visited in 2014. I was flabbergasted then and again this time:  How do the locals afford to live? Almost everything of any significant value or in the supermarket comes from France as expected, and so one can clearly see the economics of the Parent / Child relationship from France’s side, but I can’t see how the long term fundamentals of an adult / adult relationship will work out….

Cap Capricorn with the Non Elitists! Polynesian canoes to prove we are (somewhere) in Polynesia!
Cap Capricorn with the Non Elitists! Polynesian canoes to prove we are (somewhere) in Polynesia!

Anyway, I love the Papeete local market and all its authentic offerings, and then just walking around observing and talking to people was fun!

I did get to have a swim in pretty clear water, and saw lots of coral and a few parrot fish: This all part of an illegal, unseen harbour swim not far from the channel entrance Cap Capricorn came through!

There is a strong element of French creativity, anarchism, and aesthetic beauty that pops out all over the place. Add to this the very strong Polynesian origins, and one walks around being presented with almost confused western / island fused ‘novelty’ that is unique and both emotive and thought provoking. I like that. These huge murals are almost graffiti, but appear all over the city on building that present a convenient and eye catching canvas. Here are some examples, and these are huge, as you may be able to see from the one that has a parked car in the foreground.

Graffiti Murals: My Papeete Highlight
Graffiti Murals: My Papeete Highlight

Papeete-Graffiti-Murals-c (1) Papeete-Graffiti-Murals-c (2) Papeete-Graffiti-Murals-a

I guess in these murals my passenger friends may have got some of the Tahitian exotics they expected, but presented in an unexpected media! It was quite strange seeing my first females in almost one week!  Gee are we so lucky to have the eternal mystical wonder of male and female diversity that makes for a fundamental richness in our lives!

Finally: Upcoming Attractions!!!

In the next few days I’ll be responding (holistically) to the great open and even challenging comments that have been posted. These debates are what are needed, and I don’t plan on ducking ANY issues!

I just wanted to get this Tahiti over stimulation out of the way…. ‘Same old, same old’ ocean of the next 10 days will allow for lots of focused One Point Zero stuff.

Still coming very soon is my flying journey and how I got to the No Flying decision.  (I wonder if you have reflected on your relationship over the years with flying?)

I want to talk about The Facts and how followers may see them, not believe them, reject them, etc…. Also ‘The Facts’ behind The Facts, trying to make it real, practical and tangible for all of us. I have an analogy taking shape that may ‘stir the pot’, but I hope that in in its simple, everyday life way of animating the truths will help us all get our heads around a complex issue.

There is two worthy stories from the past few days that are too long to include today. The One is entitled:   “YouTube, Exploring, and being Entertained.”  The other is entitled:  “How I deal with The Crowd Truths? By Jean Paul of Papeete.”

Just a few teasers for the week ahead, and there is no doubt that there will be whole lot more too…!

Bye for now…

The Sky at 3am this morning! Oh when it’s cloudless at night, the mystical wonder of The Milky Way in this Pacific wilderness sky, is something I NEVER take for granted! I’m sure all of you who have also witnessed it or other wilderness skies know that powerfully insignificant feeling.
The Sky at 3am this morning! Oh when it’s cloudless at night, the mystical wonder of The Milky Way in this Pacific wilderness sky, is something I NEVER take for granted! I’m sure all of you who have also witnessed it or other wilderness skies know that powerfully insignificant feeling.

 

Gaining Momentum: Tahiti, Flying, and Fun!

The Now

Cap Capricorn crosses its name sake:   Around midnight last night we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, the southern most ‘turning point’ for the sun’s north / south 12 o’ clock dead overhead journey. It’s always special for me: Yeah another human defined line, but sort of not so as Nature defines it!  That 23.3 degree line and its link to our Planet’s axis tilt, so critical for the whole balance and life as know it.

Full steam ahead. An ever changing sea and horizon as we spin past the sun!
Full steam ahead. An ever changing sea and horizon as we spin past the sun!

This crossing makes it my 9th surface crossing  and the 5th ocean crossing of the Tropic, the other four in yachts, and the land surface ones were a combination of bicycle, motorcycle and car.. There is something special travelling by surface…. And hmmm, there is something special with that high altitude view….. Will i ever see our planet from up there again????   Now that’s challenging my early day commitment!

The days are getting noticeably longer as my friends in NZ are seeing their days shorten with only a few more days for that longest night low point!

Other than moving the clock one hour forward last night, hardly another adjustment has been from the bridge!  It seems that Man has delivered a machine that completely takes in its stride Nature’s Grand Adventure. In their seeming randomness the planetary winds and currents now appear almost defeated and without purpose in this huge Pacific Ocean. Let the illusion continue…..

It’s just 340 nm to Papeete, Tahiti now. We’ll be docked for 18 hours, so it will be out with my bicycle and off to see what’s changed since June 2014!

From a pretty flat ocean flow of the past few days, within hours we will be going over another group of sea mounts. Just three this time, with the highest one rising 4000 metres from the sea floor below to be less than 300 m under us…. This one is seemingly a perfect steep conical volcano.

We should be there to meet the Pilot around sunrise tomorrow, and then I’ll watch with fascination as this huge ship is taken through the narrow 100metre wide and 12 metre deep natural channel to its berth inside the confines of Papeete’s compact natural harbour.

Masters, Mastery and Power

There are just two ‘able seamen’ on board: Raghu Komara from India, and Frenando Viray from the Philippines, both over fifty who have years of experience, and it will be up to one of them with the help of a tug to ‘drive’ the big ship into its berth. The officers almost certainly unable to do it as competently themselves, but knowing they have something other critical element to contribute will watch and critique his performance.

Planning for San Francisco. The chart of the harbour and Golden Gate Bridge. All happening on the navigation table on The Bridge.
Planning for San Francisco. The chart of the harbour and Golden Gate Bridge. All happening on the navigation table on The Bridge.

Mastery and Masters hey, who are the real Masters in this and where does the Real power lie? Oil Refineries ran the same way, but in the case of the solo adventurer this ‘Power structure’ doesn’t work. In my pursuit of intensity I have always strove to have the most mastery experience and perspectives of both masters. I sense this has helped me step up (or maybe down!!) to my solo pursuits!

Ah it’s so great to be able to reflect on the wonder of life and share with you out here:  The choices we make the ‘What’ they produce and the ‘Who’ they ‘find’?  What is life, other than a series of choices and adventures just hoping to be edging closer to mastering the understanding of what it is all about?   Ha-ha, those two hours of Fiona, just feeling playful and flippant..

Oh that reminds me:  All still going good with the plan from that last meeting with Me and Myself!

‘Useless’ facts from My Walkabouts

The Kiwi's Special Potatoes!
The Kiwi’s Special Potatoes!

1.      We have a large amount of fresh, openly sacked, New Zealand potatoes and onions on board! I wonder if it is a case of: “Shame on you Yanks, not being able to grow enough for yourselves!?” OR “Well done Kiwis for growing such special potatoes and onions that are in demand in America!

2.       It is possible to be a Captain of a ship like Cap Capricorn by the time you are 30!

3.      Twenty six year old Yangyan Liu, from China who I told you in the last blog showed me how he checks the refrigerated containers, is on board as a trainee officer, and is paid a mere USD700 a month as he works his butt off trying to prove his worthiness to be a fully commissioned 3rd Officer. With a rare, ever cheerful demeanour he is hopeful that this is his last trainee voyage, but realises that’s in his Masters’ hands.

4.     From full speed ahead to the quickest stopping:  It will take 7 minutes for the propeller to stop its forward rotation to then reverse direction and start its astern rotation!  It’s only at this point that it will start acting as a brake, and start slowing the ship down. ‘They’ couldn’t tell me exactly how long, but actually stopping is still another 10 minutes after the propeller has changed rotation. Quite a few miles would have been covered before stopping!  So don’t get in the way of one of these armoured vehicles!

I Fly, You Fly, We all Fly!  Just because the Crowd does it, does that mean it’s right?

It’s easy for ME to know why I am on this ship today, and seriously exploring the possibility of a ‘No Flying’ future:

All my life experiences to this decision to resist the wisdom of ‘The Crowd’ and go by ship are part of a rich and complex tapestry that has shaped my soul. Maybe my soul hasn’t been shaped:  Maybe the experiences were what I needed to find my way through The Crowd and back to belonging with my authentic human soul?

It’s feels like ‘a calling’: A feeling within that says this is the right thing to be doing. What I am struggling with on the ship is how to share that journey to this decision point with you in a way that’s entertaining and useful for you?   The Facts, the motives, the belief changes, etc but in your life context….

Sharing when ‘we’ all have had such different lives, experiences and I guess spiritual beliefs and human souls….? Or do we?

Maybe what’s good for my soul is good for your soul, and is good for all human souls, because that what being a full human is about? Having belonging with our soul which belongs to this planet??? All big questions, maybe simple answers and maybe I’m going where I shouldn’t…  Haha!

I sense many may have deleted my first One Point Zero e-letter the moment they saw it had a focus on Sustainability / No Flying adventure. Probably saying:  Howard’s lost it, I enjoyed his ‘real’ adventure blogs, but life is too short to worry about all this sustainability ‘crap’…”

That makes me real sad as they are probably the people I would like to ‘engage in debate’ as its’ not about sustainability it’s about us belonging together and to our Planet!

Rather than being down, I thought back to the past and the journey I have come on, and when I would have had the same reaction…?  That made me ask myself how and why I have changed, and what is it that is driving me to be seemingly going against the flow of society…?  Man that started a whole wonderful journey back to 1964 where my contact with passenger flying journey all began…..

Did you know that in the 24 hours since my last post more than 1400 passenger planes have crossed the North Atlantic, and in 1964 that number may have been one or two?

Being ‘just 59’ and youthful, some of you will be older than me, and some younger than me, hopefully some much younger than me….. I thought it would be interesting for ‘all of us’ to think back to our all very different ‘first ‘passenger aeroplane’ experiences?  Maybe someone was even born on a passenger flight or even conceived in the ‘mile high’ club, or had a mother who was/ is a commercial pilot! Move through your life from that first contact to reliving your experiences with aeroplanes and flying right up to today! I have found it quite moving for me already..!

This may help us see why we each have our unique views and beliefs on flying and the role it should or shouldn’t play in our lives today….

So there we go, while you start reflecting on your flying journey I’ll be writing mine for you to read in the next day or so!

In the meantime here are some articles and facts I have found interesting and that have shaped my thinking (I have taken the liberty and inserted ‘One Point Zero’ where I thought appropriate):

Flying in One Point Zero Context

Depending on whom you believe if you are an average person in a developed world country you are probably responsible for between 12 and 18 tonnes of Greenhouse gases a year.  (‘How to Live a Low Carbon Life’, by Chris Goodall.)

If you better understand the Global Footprint Network (www.footpintnetwork.org) measurement for ecological sustainability this translates to ‘you’ needing about 5-7 Global Hectares of Planet today.

If you are part of The Elite, and an ‘average elitist’ then your footprint would almost certainly have figures some 2 -4 times of those above!  Many celebrities and entrenched icons of the High Life in their totally unrestrained lives would even be orders of magnitude above that.

Who knows, who cares, who should….????

Whether you take recently agreed Green House gas targets for developed countries, or use the Global Footprint Network (GFN) Earth Bio capacity determination, the average ‘allowance’ for each of us 7 Billion for a One Point Zero world, works out at around 3-4 tonnes per person per annum, or on a GFN basis an individual demand of only 1.8 Global Hectares.

Either way, a massive, more than 65%, reduction is required by Ms / Mr Average Citizen Developed Nation, and clearly multiples of 100%’s for those above average! Arguing about the single digits discrepancies in methodologies would be missing the point.

Where does Flying fit in?

Many reputable sources are in agreement that the carbon footprint for passenger flying is about 1 tonne per 5000 km flown economy class. There is almost unanimous agreement that this should be increased 2-3 time to take into account the Nitrous gas or Contrail impacts that relate specifically to high altitude air travel.

This all equates to flying from say London to NYC generating 2 -6 tonnes, or needing some 1.4 to 4.0 Global Hectares. In both cases this single flight pretty much uses ‘all or a lot more’ of our individual ‘allowances’.

But that’s just one flight I’m a Frequent Flyer?

A 6 June 2015 New York Times article by Josh Barro indicates that many Frequent Flyers are now being required to clock 25 000 miles a year to have the basic Frequent Class benefits, while the elite Diamond Class members are doing more than 125 000 miles a year to meet their class minimum. This means these people are ‘responsible’ for a huge 7 up to 35 tonnes a year, or needing from 4 to 24 Global Hectares each. This translates to them needing roughly 2 to 12 planets just to accommodate their Flying footprint! The further obvious and shocking truth is that Frequent Flyer programmes are effectively incentivising our more speedy self-destruction. Maybe in a One Point Zero World there will be a Frequent Non Flyer Programme…!

I have the facts for the Real Elite, and Real Celebrities, the ones who fly in their private jets, or Mr Trump’s ecological bill, flying in that huge Boeing practically alone?  The ecological cost is ginormous, and they can’t hide behind the Sin of The Crowd, below!

Does The ‘Sin of the Crowd’, eliminate the sin of the Individual?

Now in all this there is the obvious conclusion that if Howard decides to be ‘a good boy’ and not fly, someone else will fill the plane and so although Howard becomes a good boy, One Point Zero is no closer goal as that plane still takes off and its footprint doesn’t change. Yeah this is where selfless-ness or selfish-ness comes in, and more about that in posts to come. All I want you to know here and now is that I do understand this sneaky argument of hiding behind the Sin of the Crowd!

I’ll let George Monbiot (ww.monbiot.com) give his view on this:

This huge discretionary ecological cost for of passenger flight in now broadly understood by almost everyone I meet. But it has had no impact whatever on their behaviour. When I challenge my friends about their planned weekend in Rome or their holiday in Florida, they respond with a strange, distant smile and avert their eyes. They just want to enjoy themselves. Who am I to spoil their fun? The moral dissonance is deafening.!

Howard adds:  If we all in the developed nations say it’s not for me to reduce, and the developing world develop to needing remotely what we demand / generate today I can’t help feel that Humanity as a collective and us developed nation citizens as individuals can only feel ashamed at our Success!

Excerpts from ‘How to live a Low Carbon Life’ by Chris Goodall

The growth of aviation is so clearly incompatible with a ‘One Point Zero’ goal that scientists working in this area simply cannot understand why the governments of the world are failing to hold back the growth.”

The UK’s Independent Advisor for The Sustainable Development Commission said way back in 2004:  Governments around the world have failed completely to confront the problem so far.” On the contrary they have done everything they can to encourage further growth in order to promote short term economic growth and development.”

Twelve year later that stats show…

Twelve year later the same statement still applies but the industry having averaged more than 5% pa growth over the period would be contributing a further 60% more to making Our One Point Zero Challenge more Challenging. (IATA; ICAO; Federal Aviation Administration © Statista 2015 Estimates)

Who is Flying and who is Responsible?

Excerpt from George Monbiot (www.monbeit.com) again:)

Despite the claims the companies make for the democratising effects of cheap travel, 75% of those who use budget airlines are in social classes A, B and C. People with second homes abroad take an average of six return flights a year, while people in classes D and E hardly fly at all: because they can’t afford the holidays, they are responsible for just 6% of flights. Most of the growth, the government envisages, will take place among the wealthiest 10%

Ok, well that’s been quite Fun….. Heavy Fun, but I found it Fun, and I hope you did…?

I’ll be back with my Flying Reflections in a few days…. In between a truly sustainable Tahitian bicycle excursion!

Bye!

The ever changing trailing Pacific sky from 'My porthole'
The ever changing trailing Pacific sky from ‘My porthole’

Challenging You, Me and Myself!!

The Now

We crossed the human defined 30th parallel last night, I sense Nature didn’t blink an eyelid!

The current out here, after being our quite aggressive 1 knot foe, has switched to being our gentle friend, now helping us along by about 0.5 knots. (Can the sea be our friend, or even our foe?  See what Joseph Conrad says below!)  After rain and the 20 knot winds yesterday, the rain has left clear skies as we go through a light wind patch associated with an alien localised High Pressure zone. Should be back to full on 20 knot trades tomorrow and the seas are predicted to rise from the 2m of today to around 3.5m. So we shall see….:  Just on 1100 nm to go to Tahiti!

The Extreme Adventure: A glimpse of its dark side!

As I write this post from the seeming comfort of my padded leather chair and desk, in my single porthole ‘prison cell’, I’m filled with confusion and turmoil. This is why I prepared for this new One Point Zero adventure as being the most extreme ever, and the journey of the mind has begun…..

Yesterday I sat down to write about some real One Point Zero stuff, trying to connect ‘you’ to the One Point Zero picture I have inside me. Its many scary rooms, corridors and stairways and levels, which maybe only from my perspective, make a cohesive One Point Zero edifice.

It then hit me that there may be nobody is even reading this? Compared to my previous blogs, life and my struggle on the ship vs Africa, South Pole, Siberia, etc maybe seems boring? A struggle that is seemingly from the outside is not even a struggle but a luxury cruise!  Then add, the hard to confront, Facts of One Point Zero, and its mission, and maybe I have the basis for a box office flop!

Ha-ha, being a pessimistic realist, and apprentice activist, I have plans for all scenarios, even the “Howard is the only one who reads his blog”, scenario! I realised a while back that one has to do what one loves, and the way one loves doing it, not what you think others want, otherwise’ ‘ya will fail yaself’. This is where it does get scary though….: Thanks to so many followers of my adventures in the past, I have lived ‘snugly’ for many years under the ‘Solo but Not Alone’ banner, but experiencing ‘Solo and Alone’, would be a whole new challenge…….!

Adding to of this, with the novelty of the first few days of ship life behind me, I’m now in the very familiar, yet unfamiliar, adventure capitulation zone. Capitulation is part of all the extreme adventures I have done, and is the point when one finally accepts one’s new life circumstance and moves to loving it, and finding meaning and purpose in all of its ‘Now’. Normally that would be dealing with the, non-leather chair realities of the adventure, but the unfamiliarity of this passive ‘prison cell’ capitulation is new!

Just a Sunrise on the Bridge!

This morning I was up on the bridge at first light and the chief officer was on watch, grumpy and hardly acknowledging me as I walked through the doorway into his domain. It was close to the end of his graveyard watch, and having worked shifts in oil refineries, and then had many years of solo sailing through the night, I knew how he was probably feeling.

Sunrise on the bridge Cap Capricorn
Sunrise on the bridge Cap Capricorn

Making it worse there was I seemingly an ‘insulated’ passenger, having had a full night’s sleep, and arriving just at the only special moment on his tiring watch! The moment to capture another, undeserved, stolen tourist sunrise for Facebook posting! It was a special sunrise to the point I was surprised he even took his camera out went outside and took ‘the shots’, we all do these days.

I moved to the control panel taking my shots from inside to capture the uniqueness for me, of the bridge panel and the sunset. The captain arrived, and the mood changed to one of warm friendliness as I sense he sees me as adding valued diversity to his ship life. He also had his camera and not knowing my intent said: “You should rather go outside as the windows aren’t clean and will spoil the shot!” The discussion continued to him telling me how this Pacific is a desert, ‘there is nothing out here’!

I didn’t know this, and this was my first sunrise at sea…..???!!

Man I felt a whole range of strong emotions flow inside me as I thought how many vast wilderness I had been in that were so called ‘deserts’ as he was describing? Antarctica probably being the one that caught most memory time, but then for more relevance solo ocean crossings came back vividly. How being alone facing the full intensity of Nature’s Grand adventure is so different to this ship experience.

Through no fault of his own, the captain wouldn’t know that two years ago I had experienced this big ocean desert, the largest in the world, but at the mercy of its elements in a 45ft yacht. Not that it was a particularly difficult trip, just that the intensity of being so small and vulnerable in it was so different to this….

Somehow on this huge ship one feels like all one is doing is reluctantly ‘using this desert’ to get somewhere where ‘someone else’ wants it to be. As I talk to the guys on watch there is just one goal, to get there on time for the boss’s docking schedule. At least three of the senior crew to my amazement, have shared with me they don’t even like the sea, they are scared of it!

I can see how the unpredictable moods and power of the sea, particularly the vastness of this Pacific Ocean can be the source of fearful disinterest, or maybe even a conclusion of pointless belonging with a void of any useful human context.

I truly believe that being such a huge part of our Planet’s surface, like the rest of wild Nature, the more intimately we experience it, the more we can understand it, and belong as full, deserving human inhabitants of our home. The more we understand it all, and how we fit in the more we will see the wrongs of our ways, and the easier the One Point Zero Challenge will become, because like me we’d see the change as exciting and life enhancing!

I can see the Captain loves what he does, and as I explore more I see that his love of the ocean is from some perspective that I do not fully understand? I do wonder whether he has any idea of my perspective, and as we chat I sense he is respectful but doesn’t want to go there to even try to understand. I sense for him I’m crazy taking on the risk and discomfort, he has power and a machine that can ‘take on the sea’, and never lose.

I was feeling like I was with people I should have bonded with, but in reality I was in their world and they didn’t understand the world I had experienced? On this huge ship I almost felt betrayal to Nature and myself that I had opted out for this armoured vehicle option: Rather than being intimately immersed in the Nature’s Grand Adventure?

Why was I doing this? I seemed caught in no person’s land:  I didn’t have the intensity and sense of belonging with Nature that goes with sailing, and yet I didn’t have the convenience of crossing ‘this desert’ as quickly as possible (by plane) to get to where I ‘have to go’…? The turmoil didn’t stop there and so back to the Captain:

There seems to be a huge difference in his and my relationship to Nature’s Grand Adventure: Our relative sense of insignificance, vulnerability and depth of intimacy with that Adventure. He uses a huge, sophisticated, armoured vehicle, needing many fellow humans to keep it going and ‘him and them’ protected from the forces of Nature.

I have only used simple, more fragile ones: Often not even having a vehicle, and therein I sense our different perspective on the relationships to Nature lies.

A photo of the intimacy of sailing vs the power of the 'armoured vehicle'!
A photo of the intimacy of sailing vs the power of the ‘armoured vehicle’!

Sadly, I sensed from the passionate discussion we had two nights ago, that in the years gone by he had experienced a much deeper intimacy with the Sea and Nature. I saw his face change as he became animated in bodily expression, transforming into a vibrant, intense human. I could feel his words coming from his soul and the context of this deeper bond with the sea, but one which was now just a memory. He even spoke with some sadness about the changes that have taken place.

Now on the bridge, he shared with me that these days the RPM of the engine of Cap Capricorn of which he is the Captain is set and monitored real time by the ‘Head office Captain’ sitting in Hamburg! In the pursuit of functional efficiency his freedom is fast dissolving into soul-less compliance. This is what is happening in his journey to Success.  The modern world in its ever more powerful armoured vehicles and focus on urgency, schedules, and ‘the buck’, has moved his Intimacy with Sea, to being merely a distant memory.

As I pursue my work, the challenging One Point Zero question I ask myself is:

Is this ever increasing armour and amazing logistical success journey part of the path we need to One Point Zero Success? To more and more ‘block out’ the spiritual intensity associated with Nature’s Grand Adventure, and merely use our ocean wilderness for our anthropocentric needs and functional purpose?   Maybe ‘we’ are improving a process that is fundamentally flawed? Maybe it is a process that promotes a Way of Life that increases our already too much ‘unfriendliness’ to Nature and our Planet? One that is a contributor to our One Point Zero problem: Both in its ecological footprint cost to deliver, and in its support of our unrestrained demand for convenience and novelty? With every day of increasing unfriendliness to Nature, we are losing our home and our ability to belong!

If the answer is the latter best we search for a whole new Life process that sets us on the One Point Zero course, rather than waste human innovation and genius on increasing the conflict with Nature that will result in our eventual demise.

The Ship for the 1%!

Later on in my day, while doing my perimeter walk I bump into Liu Yangyung, one of the crew from China, and his job is to check every 2 hours that the refrigeration on each refrigerated container is functioning. I ask him to show me how, and I was astounded to see most of the refrigerated containers being kept at minus 25 degrees C or thereabouts. He confirmed that it was meat and fish inside, and the deep freeze is to eliminate any chance of bacterial decay. This is an expensive and footprint heavy import / export process. I wonder who buys this meat imported meat, I then pondered?  Oh well obviously: Surely it’s only the ‘1%-ers’ who could afford flesh that is shipped across the Pacific, and kept refrigerated at minus 25 Degrees C for 20+ days. I have probably eaten it many times in the past without blinking an eyelid, maybe seeking its exoticness, having never engaged in the mindfulness step this ship trip is facilitating!

So there we go, another item to add to My One Point Zero Challenge list: No more imported meat or seafood for me!  Actually thanks to a strong influence from Fiona, we have both moved almost 100% away from farmed meat for the reasons of its huge ecological footprint of which I am sure most of you are aware, and also its anthropocentric flaw! Yeah, all challenging stuff for the ‘little boy’!

The Sea, Nature and Humans

Continuing on our relationship with Nature, but with different context, I can relate deeply to Joseph Conrad’s words:  “The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”

Conrad is seemingly humanising the sea, but I sense beyond an adversarial relationship he points to a mystical synergy between humans and Nature that ascends our human understanding of relationships. The increasing armour of mankind’s ingenuity maybe taking us further away from a spiritual restless accomplice that is linked to our Real Success?

Over the years of exploring how my Definition of Success has changed and how I moved from my anthropocentric, capitalist world void of spiritualism to a world where my very being relied on an understanding and acceptance of my place in Nature, has brought me face to face with the above seemingly flippant idealistic questions. As I have explored more and contextualised the huge shift we need to make to move toward a One Point Zero world, the paradigm shifts behind these questions are seemingly more and more like the imperatives we have to face.

From my little boy, transformed by Nature’s Grand Adventure, perspective: It is very clear that we are aiming at the wrong beacon of Success! One that is taking us further and further away from living intensely as full humans and belonging to Nature and our Planet.

The sooner we see that, and change the beacon, the sooner this amazing human innovation machine can be pointed at Real Success. When that happens, the One Point Zero goal will become an achievable reality. The challenge is for us all to see that where we are aiming is not success, but rather mass annihilation of a brainwashed or mushroomed crowd. Unfortunately the leaders of The Crowd seem so entangled in the power fame, and fortune associated with our journey to the current beacon of Success, that they won’t volunteer to lead us where we really need to be going!  It will take all of us to demand from them to step up and show us the way or either step down and fall on their swords.

Now yes, that is a very big statement with huge ramifications from a ‘little boy’!

There we go, it just started with sunrise on the bridge, and it all led to this!

Intensity Imbalance

Oh maybe some of the above is because I’m feeling seriously unbalanced with ship life at the moment, and this new capitulation is challenging me?:

‘They’ broke ‘My’ gym. ‘They’ feed me too much! ‘They’ won’t allow me to ‘sail’ the ship! ‘They’ are all males! …. Ha-ha, yeah life on a container ship! So what are you going to do about it Big Howard?

The Point of my Meeting!
The Point of my Meeting!

I went up to the bow of the ship, ‘right on the point’, sat and had a serious ‘one on one’ meeting with myself! Yeah, as those that know my claim to hold the world record for ‘Romantic Dinners for One’ would know there used to be ‘Me’ and ‘Myself’ two quite different personas that had many, many romantic dinners together until they became ONE! Well that was years ago and I thought we were ONE, but this ship or maybe the activist pulls are sort of splitting us up again! So yeah the meeting on the bow was good in finding out why, and what is needed to get us ONE again! So action:

1.      I skipped lunch today: That felt good and will become the norm now!

2.      In place of lunch I did 1 hour of mostly ‘gym-less’ exercise as the equipment is now fully U/S. So running up and down 8 flights of stairs 5 times, then out on the afterdeck for on the spot running. Then a fast walk around the ships perimeter pathway climbing all the caged ladders along the way and up to the various places they go… Then lastly into the gym for bench press and sit ups, as that is all that’s in working order. Felt soooooo much better to be out of the cell and working the body!

3.      Decided I have to be brave and just write how I feel to ‘you guys’: Whoever ‘you guys’ are, even if there isn’t a ‘you guy’!

4.      Solving the men only problem:  I decided to spend two hours tonight and every second night (ha-ha) dreaming of being with Fiona!

Now those that know my love for the 1965(?) book entitled ‘The Ulysses Factor, The Human Need to Explore’, that I have shared before, will know that it says the only way to experience something, is to experience it!: To live it, to deal with its joys, struggles, and mediums. To throw your heart and soul at it, and most of all to be naked in it! No armour or simulators, or tour guide capsules, just you and the experience alone, albeit with others around! One has to feel the full force of the experience on oneself! This is what I volunteered for an intense experience, not hedonistic pleasure or a short cut to happiness!

Well yes, that’s what I feel I am doing at the moment, and I’m trying to share it all, not just the fantasy stuff! Ah, sorry I won’t share those ‘two hours every second day’ with you, but ‘everything else’! As best I can, OK!

Will I stop flying and resort to container ship travel?  Well let me have the full Ulysses experience before I answer that! What would help my decision is if JUST two people from my ‘socio-economic’ group would also take up the challenge and commit to a future without flight! (I prepared to listen to less onerous proposals within My One Point Zero Challenge commitment to myself!) Anyway early days yet, we have almost three months to think about it and decide!)

OK, bye from out there in the deep blue yonder desert!

Mountains, Trade Winds, Ship Life and The Facts!

The Now

Well there we go, Tuesday again for, and re-living yesterday better!

As we move in a north easterly direction, about every 2.5 days we will move the clock forward by 1 hour, so losing an hour of my life! Better for mind, body and spirit than that harsh, all on arrival day, aeroplane shock!

We are cruising at 16.5 knots but showing only 15 across the ground as we are fighting an easterly current. The wind is a consistent 20 knots ESE, but with our speed its almost 35 knots on deck, so quite a blow! The swells are of moderate and consistent frequency making for a lullaby pendulum roll. This is all typical trade winds stuff we are getting into and the ambient temperature is slowly warming up in sync.

We have 1600nm to Tahiti and are just passing over a 100 x 100 nm area where there are 5 or 6 sea mountains. Mts  Seafox, Curatuck, and Burton, etc. The surrounding ocean bed is 5000-5400 metres deep and then these sea mounts rise some 3000 metres from the ocean floor with the relatively conical peaks just 2000 metres ‘under us’!

What a fascinating planet we living on, hey?!

Earth, Nature and Humans

If you are an anthropocentric you’d say: “Yes, and it’s ALL for us Humans to use.

If you are a Pantheist you’d maybe say: “Yeah, astonishing and we are just another one of its creatures living for a short time in its eternity. Never trying to dominate, always vulnerable to its grand Adventure!

Oh well, the sooner we all have a common view of our Human place and Human responsibility for our Human Survival and Success on this Planet the sooner One Point Zero will become a reachable goal. Many may not view us as having a problem because some higher power will look after us, and anyway if we only four (success from three) score and ten years on the planet, and everlasting life in ‘heaven’ is our conditional destiny, then what’s the problem, Howard????? That’s why I find Thomas Berry’s approach so great as he, decades ago, was trying to point to Our One Point Zero Challenge and changing Catholic paradigms.  An inspiring and revered activist!

I do believe the way we view the interconnectedness of Nature, Humans, and Out Planet is critical to solving the challenge we face. Here I am not pushing any religion or cult, because I don’t have one: Just a strong sense of planet / Nature belonging spiritualism! I do genuinely believe all religions and all cultures can fit under a simple all-encompassing belief of how we Humans belong to our home, and relate to the Planet and Nature all its other living members.

Ship Life Routine

Food first:  Breakfast is at 7am, Lunch is at 12, and Dinner is at 5pm!  Yeah, 3 large meals from Marian’s (sorry not Mario) kitchen, and ‘we’ the three of us passengers sit in the officers mess, with our own table. Things are very casual, the kitchen is next door, and part of its a snack kitchen where you can help yourself to tea, coffee, soups, noodles, bread, crackers, condiments, etc throughout the day. Tony Luis Salvador from India is our attentive waiter, and as is often the case in hospitality, the guys around the food appear the happiest on the ship! The food is standard balanced diet, ‘canteen type’ food, no luxuries here, and far more in quantity than I need!

From the upper deck to the bridge is eight stories high. My cabin is on the 6th level, and the dining room and kitchen are on the 1st level. Most of our movement is up and down. There is a lift that one can take if one is in a hurry or feels you have had enough exercise for the day! Most of us using it don’t seem to meet either criteria so that made me think what other criteria there could be for using the lift?:

Ha-ha, that wonderful word that us anthropocentrics invented, and one, maybe for good reason, doesn’t seem to exist in Nature: Convenience! The modern day necessity and key element of The Good Life!

Well after finding out that the rowing machine and exercise bike are not in good shape for serious use, I’ve decided to forgo the lift and the stairs will be a partial substitute. Mostly there is only one person in the lift at a time and so the generator fuel oil bill will see a reduction, while I live more intensely human, and use the time on the stairs for activist thinking time about you, this blog, and society! So other than the ‘Convenience salesman’ who loses his commission everybody wins! I know this all seems small picture stuff, but behind it is a big picture message!

My Fellow Passengers

In my two fellow passengers Tom and Eric I have found fellow adventurers and couldn’t have asked for better, easier guys to connect with. It is really great to have their younger generation perspectives. Both around 35, Tom is Australian, WA, and two months ago started a world motorcycle trip in Perth. Having ridden across Australia, he has now loaded his bike on the ship for California where he will cross the US and then on by ship again to Europe. Eric is a 6ft 9’giant American originally from Florida but left in 2014 flew to Cape Town, and started a huge surface of the planet trip. He bused it the length of Africa, by sea across to Europe, and then bus through Europe and Asia. From there he took a ship to Australia, and that’s where he picked up Cap Capricorn. Early days yet, and as we have shared a few stories, they are very interested in One Point Zero.

 Freedom

From the moment I have boarded this ship I have been pleasantly surprised by my acceptance as one of the crew and I have been free to almost do whatever I like. Beyond the obvious safety stuff, there are virtually no rules, and one is free to go anywhere on the ship. The other interesting thing is that liquor is free of duty and retail mark up so the prices are so low one questions the trick?! Anyway not that I’m drinking much, but just nice to not be part of some captive prisoner pricing that I’m sure cruise ships push to the limit.

The Ship’s Tour

Now to the tour with Singh yesterday: Well Singh is the 3rd Officer, so there is the Captain, then Chief Officer, 2nd Officer and then Singh. He is 25 years old, from India where he did his Maritime Academy training. Apparently a huge college in India, as there is a huge demand for Sea jobs, as land jobs dry up. It takes 4 years theory and 1.5 years practical to get to his position. I must say I was quite surprised at his youth and relative inexperience on paper for the position. A real lovely guy and we connected well, as he told me the trials and tribulations of the nomadic life, and nomadic relationships!

Typically the crews work 3-5 months on and then take 2-3 months off. Each time starting a new contract, and probably on a different ship. Cap Capricorn is registered in Liberia, charted by Hamburg Sud, a big container logistics operation, and then the crew work for an Israeli company that contracts to the German, Hamburg Sud. The crew of cap Capricorn come from: Poland, Romania, India, China, Croatia, and the Philippines. So this is one totally international operation. I have to say what makes me real sad, and I mean real sad is to see how many of these guys clearly hate what they do, and the life they live. I have taken on it myself to try and bond positively and in a caring way to each and every one of them. I have found that in showing them my ‘seaman’ side and my understanding of their life / work at sea struggle, have had a few warm interactions already.  I do think it is a tough life / career they have chosen.

Cap Capricorn was built in China in 2011, and it looked like virtually everything down to its critical ships engine is Chinese! Three large fuel oil generators provide power for the ship, and I was surprised to learn that about 40% of the power goes to run those refrigerated containers that are part of the freight on board. Monitoring of these fridges and their temperature control is a key crew responsibility. So just appreciate that NZ lamb and green lip Mussels you UK readers buy at M+S etc…  Enjoy the lamb while you can because as One Point Zero takes hold of you you’ll become a (virtual) vegetarian like me! (I’m sure you all know the bad footprint of farmed meat, and particularly if it isn’t from your farm around the corner!

While discussing the fascinating whole container logistics world, Singh told me that in Rotterdam now the whole container ship unloading and loading operation is done by robots, not a single crane, or container mover driven by humans. When I think back to the crane / vehicle busyness of Tauranga, and imagine Rotterdam to be significantly larger and busier, I’m forced to think how all this fits into a New One Point Zero World. The obvious answer is that there will be no or very small Rotterdam terminal because we would have all learnt to appreciate what we have in our own back yards and not need to ship stuff we demand from all around the world to satisfy our insatiable need for novelty! I know it’s not as simple as that but I somehow don’t think the solution lies in larger, busier ‘Rotterdams’. Scary thoughts hey, and more exploring there soon!

I’m getting into my work routine, and productivity is improving each day. With the rolling of the ship my keyboard error rate has shot up dramatically, but that won’t prevent me sending out some more meaty content soon. In that context I do wonder how those that have read ‘The Facts’ on this site have reacted?  Maybe you knew The Facts, maybe you don’t agree that they are Facts, I’d like to understand more…

Also, I’m very aware that many will see my ‘No fly’ stance as futile, maybe asking:

How does Howard think him stopping flying is going to help, the planes are still flying even if he isn’t, and anyway I heard ship travel has a deeper ecological foot print than air travel…?

I’m very aware of all this, but in responding I’m not sure whether my response should be in the context of followers’ acceptance of The Facts and the One Point Zero Challenge or their denial of the situation? This is my challenge and I’ll be responding as best I can to cover both possible bases.

Off to my rolling bed, and what is turning out to be a rainy late afternoon here!

Bye

 

A Stolen last Terra firma Post! Lots of pics and more….!

Still in port here at Tauranga!

My first siting of Cap Capricorn. Docking yesterday afternoon in Tauranga
My first siting of Cap Capricorn. Docking yesterday afternoon in Tauranga

If I was flying this would be a very serious delay, but in my unknown of container ship travel, I’m realising this is the plan! Just like air travel ‘delays’, ‘they’ put me up in a hotel overnight!:  Hotel Cap Capricorn!

My 'luxury' room? Prison Cell?, Office? Place of Solitude? Maybe all of those...???
My ‘luxury’ room? Prison Cell?, Office? Place of Solitude? Maybe all of those…???

I slept in my next 20 day bed…..ate the food, met the quite a few of the ‘boys’ I’ll be hopefully be getting to know soon.  (No ‘girls’ on this boat, and I know Fiona likes that….!!  That makes me wonder if / how many ships do have female crew?  That’s interesting hey?)

Here is Mario, our all important Chef! He is from Romania.

Always good to have a happy smiling chef!
Always good to have a happy smiling chef!

While skirting around ‘sexist issues’ under the Trumped by Nature banner, I did wonder how ‘our friend’ Mr Trump would manage 20 days to California on Cap Capricorn, and all its simplicity, virtual hardship, and virtual imprisonment? The Captain not at all interested in his ‘importance’ and asking him to address him as “Captain”!  Wealth, Fame and Power gets one nowhere here, this is a working ship, and these guys know who they are, where they are going, and what they have to do on this ship. I sense they probably wonder why the hell ‘we’ passengers would want to pay to join their work world?

The all important for Howard, gym! Hmmm, we shall see how that works!
The all important for Howard, gym! Hmmm, we shall see how that works!

I have never stated in my blogs what many have asked me, but is hopefully the obvious:

I’m here as a paid passenger here, not as working crew, you can’t do that anymore: OH&S!  I’m just as a working activist! Ha-ha, already I can see that my office, this ship, and of The Pacific Ocean, will be the source of many challenging, inspiring and ‘problem solving’ blogs!  (More about the ship, its commercial terms, cruise liner options, ecological footprint issues, my motives, etc in the ‘At sea blogs… ‘I find this is all fascinating stuff, and hope you will too….)

Yip, it's an international, working ship! No fancy cruise ship, smorgasbord here!
Yip, it’s an international, working ship! No fancy cruise ship, smorgasbord here!

Just like this morning’s range of breakfast condiments: The crew of 21 are from all origins, and I look forward to getting to know them individually.

The Container Ship ‘Playground’ 

The next view from the Container Terminal Gate Security Camera Screen!
The next view from the Container Terminal Gate Security Camera Screen!

Like most of us I have seen container terminals from afar, or maybe even peering through security fences, but I have to say I have been blown away by being on Cap Capricorn, inside a surprisingly busy Tauranga Container Terminal: Witnessing from close quarters another set of mankind’s awesome success in action. The speed, precision, and obvious big picture planning at work, as I would imagine over a hundred containers get off loaded and then driven off to the waiting road transport.

Hmmm, fully loaded on arrival, I hope my room has a view of more than containers!
Hmmm, fully loaded on arrival, I hope my room has a view of more than containers!

When I arrived Cap Capricorn’s stern section was chock a block with stacked containers as the picture shows.

First view form my only 'Cell' porthole!
First view form my only ‘Cell’ porthole!

In fact they were so high, my view from the porthole of my seventh storey ‘cell’ was compromised. Six hours later all those containers have gone…!  It seems like the ship will be leaving with quite a bit of spare freight capacity.

The stern section is empty but from the bridge forward to the bow they are stacked high!
The stern section is empty but from the bridge forward to the bow they are stacked high!

Cap Capricorn came from Australia, and is heading to the USA:  One reads about  trade deficits, and I wonder if this is evidence that the ‘Kiwis’ are dependent on the ‘Aussies’, and the ‘Yanks’ don’t really need much from the Kiwis! Many of the containers remaining on board for the USA are refrigerated, some with seafood brand names, so I sense its seafood, and lamb and then I wonder how many containers of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Manuka Honey there are…..?

Anyway, there we go a bit about from world:….. A little distraction from your more serious One Point Zero ‘library’ reading!!

A little more sorting out of my office and then in just a few days I will be adding to ‘the library’.

The adventure has already brought up a creative idea for maybe improving our experience together: I’m thinking that many of you out there may want to contribute you thoughts and ideas on how we solve Our One Point Zero Challenge. Ie not just comments to this blog but your own ‘papers’ too?

Maybe it would be good if the site has the ability for you to send them in and ‘we’ post them in the appropriate place in the One Point Zero ‘Library’ to enrich and diversify its experience?

 

Let’s think about it, and once you start seeing what I put into the library over the next weeks we can better assess. But feel free to let me know what you think..?

‘We’ throw off the mooring lines and head for the big blue Pacific in 1 hour now:

Bye for now…..!

 

Call from the Ship: I have to leave you now…!

Time waits for nobody hey! 

I’ll be leaving terra firma in hours now: Just had a call from the shipping agent:  The Cap Capricorn arriving from Sydney, will be docking at 14h00 and I’m to meet at the container terminal gate at 15h30 for customs Immigration stuff, before boarding.  So sorry no pics as the ship ain’t here yet!  No idea how much cargo it will take on here, and what departure time is…. Life as a voluntary prisoner hey….!

I’d imagine ‘you all’ have lots of questions about this container ship travel, and I’ll try and anticipate and answer them in the first few blogs.

I just stocked up on a few, 20 day snacks, bought 8 different nationality newspapers on Kindle, and sending this last blog with good internet. It will be as remote as a wilderness sailing, cycling, skiing trip, but with lots more infrastructure ‘comforts’.  ‘Nice’ to not have to power as a scarce resource like it normally is when I’m alone sailing, cycling or whatever.  I have no doubt that Scarcity and its twin: ‘Restraint’, will be one subject coming out of the blogs from the ship!

So with real excitement flowing, soon I’ll l be meeting and checking out my new home for the next 20 days. Hmm quite a scary thought, but not so really. Prisons are supposed to be the place of biggest freedom, if one is just able to capitulate once!  Hah, this ship will be far from a prison, and the solitude, and seeming restriction on so many fronts is the freedom I love!

Actually compared to the ‘cosiness’ of Allone, I’m worried it will be too large, impersonal, and I’ll get lost! Being on the wide open, ever changing, Pacific Ocean, day after day, will be like heaven for me!

Anyway it will take me a few days to settle in, and this should give you a chance to ‘check out all the stuff’ on this One Point Zero website. It’s all for free; there is no sales pitch for things to buy, or behind the scenes beneficiaries who will benefit from your browsing.

See it as your One Point Zero library and every few days reading and thinking spot, ‘with others but on your own’.   Thinking about stuff that everyday life doesn’t give you time to do or political / belonging correct-ness steers you away from.

The library will be expanding each week. Besides this adventure / travel type blog, every few days there will be new, deep One Point Zero content added to the Menus Subjects, and you’ll be directed to it through this blog.

In its uniqueness it is a combination of Fun and Serious stuff, and I make no apologies for that….  It is designed for reading and engaging one’s mind, rather than just being a quick, look, see, get entertained, and move on site….. Yes, there could be more pics in the content, but at the same time it’s the thoughts, views, and ideas content that is going to make this site what it can be… It will develop and transform as the journey progresses

If your soul wants to respond, make a comment on the blog, or send me an email at: lifeaseriesofadventures@gmail.com

No judgements will be made, just your courage and participation valued and respected.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back within a few days with the first blog from the ship, and share my new home, and work office for 20 days!

Watch out for it here on One Point Zero

Also I’d appreciate it if you tell as many of your friends about the site, so we can expand the diversity of thought and influence, and get a richer result.

If you haven’t already, read the launch story here    You can subscribe there for my future e-letters which I’ll send it maybe monthly, bi-monthly or whenever he journey ‘needs’ one…

Bye for now…!

More about the fears…..from the heart!

There is one huge big difference between the North Pole, etc  and this One Point Zero mission:

In those adventures I was going to be alone, taking on the challenges of Nature’s Most Grand Adventure, in the pristine wild wilderness all on my own. ‘You’ the blog follower came along as an observer and supporter, and my goal was well defined, supported by all, and the route to be taken is virtually known. This is so different:

Both ‘Trumped by Nature’ and the broader One Point Zero adventure are more personal for each one of us, as we have to make a personal stance on the goals / issues. They are Society issues, effecting each one of US. (Even “Sorry, No interest in this” is a stance!) Yet One Point Zero’s goal needs ‘all’ of us to want the same thing to enable us to achieve it. Is that a futile, or impossible goal???

I understand the significance of this challenge but therein lies the huge adventure risk, and fears that churn around within!

A set of fears much greater than the one’s of the Solo adventurer, who only had only ‘Nature’s Grand Adventure’, and himself, to deal in achieving ‘His Goal’.

One Point Zero is an ‘Our goal’ situation, and yet the goal hasn’t been openly discussed, let alone agreed!

These fears within me today, having just gone public with One Point Zero, and now 6 hours from stepping on the ship are about:

Maybe unconsidered rejection, passive aggression and ‘confrontational’ reactions. Fears of wrong judgements being made on my assumed, beliefs, values and motives, with respect to this project.  A fear of the loneliness associated with maybe being ostracised as a radical outsider in my socio-economic group.

A fear of my maybe wrong decision: To passionately pursuing an unpopular, and/or unappreciated activist cause.

The fear that because I have been on a twelve year, radical ‘solo walkabout’, nobody understands my unique transformation from Capitalist to Explorer to Activist. Nobody can see the value of the resultant ‘unique’ perspectives in helping Mankind’s One Point Zero Challenge….

I’ve read a lot about it, but now I’m starting to experience the dilemma of an Activist, and it’s time to once again be courageous in my alone-ness:

The specifics are all new and real fears, within a total new landscape for me, but it feels right, what I have to do, and I’m using my experience of an adventurer to take on the challenge with that mind-set.

For me, Life is about growing and becoming bigger as a person, and I truly do feel that overcoming these fears, by working through the challenges and unknowns as they come up is where my personal growth lies.

I understand ‘life risk’: The huge decision in 2004 and its totally unknown path is valuable experience, and helping me enormously deal with the fears I layout above and feel today. The fear of taking on the huge unknown and the possibility of life ‘failure’…: It’s easy to just stay in the known groove, with no risk, but I need to be living intensely, experience the full range of our human emotions. Also dealing with the ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ because it’s not about succeeding or failing it’s about the journey to what one believes in. Following lies or other people’s definitions of success, maybe be comfortable with the crowd, but is not living authentically and intensely for me.

In sharing my fears, I’m not asking for you to feel sorry for me, give me special treatment, etc, that’s not me, and that’s not going to work:  I’m sharing with you to show you my starting point in all its authenticity as this may help us with this adventure and all its unknowns as we set out together….  Starting with this level of openness we will have a wonderful and rewarding time.

And finally: You may have noticed that I use the word intensely a lot!  Well in Nature all I see is creatures living intensely, not striving for just then happiness side of intensity…. Nature’s Grand Adventure taught me that, and more about all this from the ship!

Pre-adventure Wobblies…..the Mind Games

As I prepare for what could be the ‘rest of my life’ (?) journey as a One Point Zero Activist, I went back to 2010 and my Pre- expedition feeling on my North Pole expedition. The feelings of fear and excitement are so similar, and surprisingly to the same intensity, but the basis are so different:

My blog post back then:

IMG_1055Probably, in anticipation of our departure this morning, I had a fairly restless night, and woke up a bit lonely…that sort of ‘alone-ness’ that I have experienced before, and which is the necessary reality of mentally preparing myself for the hard ‘solo’ personal struggle ahead. While there is lots of emotional support from many (Thanks!) this ‘alone-ness’ is about being physically alone, socially isolated from normal ‘luxuries’, and me being 100% responsible for getting my mind and body to the Pole without help and harm. I found my mind drifting back to some of my previous solo adventures, dwelling on both the very high and the very low spots, and how I rose to the adversities.

Mixedupmast 005adjI even skimmed through my ‘past adventure’ photos and gradually the ‘fear’ transformed into huge excitement and confidence. While the cold of the Arctic and the pulling of a sled are new challenges, I quickly locked on to the ‘strength of mind’ I have built up across many first time, and difficult situations with the diversity of solo cycling, sailing and sea kayaking adventures I have done.

When I looked at it like that, This Arctic challenge is now not totally new and scary, but rather a more extreme version of a well know path for me. That simple twist, removes the fear, and taps into my spirit of adventure and the desire to extend my already honed skills and competencies…… This may however be the most demanding adventure yet! I thanked my ‘lucky stars’ for having the privilege to be able to immerse myself in this experience.

In this world where I am currently ‘playing’, I am intrigued by the discussions that go around whether Everest is more difficult than the North Pole, and what is bigger better, harder, etc…? As a solo sailor, and solo adventurer, I am alone in these circles. Few know the world of the ocean sailor, and even less the perspective of the solo adventurer, these are expedition team people, and mainly mountaineers / serious polar adventurers.

Almost without exception all the people I have met since embarking on this polar diversion, openly state they would “never go solo”, nor see the attraction of solo pursuits. I do understand and respect their perspective, but inside me I know that somehow the solo adventurer is the purist of them all!

After listening to these discussions about which is the hardest, biggest etc, I just can’t wait to put this North Pole team expedition experience into context of my my solo world, and be able to have my measurement scale….

In some ways I feel sad that I have been sucked up into this senseless ranking and in my view ego driven debate. I hope that knowing my own truth will give me the freedom to remain peacefully quiet in the presence of these discussions. ….”

Believe it or not:  This One Point Zero Activist journey is feeling many times more scary, but these past adventures have built inside me courage and determination to stay on the path where the Truths lie…..  

You can read about my Past Adventures here 

‘Trumped By Nature’ The Adventure Begins……

‘Trumped by Nature’ kicks off, but I am still in ‘Work Mind’….

(To learn what the adventure is about, click here.)

My Last South Island Sunset! Never seen one like that....: A single cloud, exactly were the sun set
My Last South Island Sunset! Never seen one like that….

On the day ‘Hillary’ clinched he California Primary, I said goodbye to Nelson, Allone (my yacht and home), my girlfriend Fiona, and set off on ‘Trumped by Nature, alone! I still had some One Point Zero, infrastructure work to do!

IMG_0817
Allone my Home, Golden Bay, New Zealand

I loaded myself and my bicycle onto a bus with destination Tauranga, North Island New Zealand!  There isn’t yet a bridge across the Cook Strait, so it was then ferry to an overnight stop in a very wet and blustery Wellington, before continuing with the bus up to Tauranga.

If I had taken the plane it would have taken me less than an hour and a half! If I had done the ‘real sustainable thing’, cycle and ferry it would have been over a week…. Opening the choices further to The Ultimate Sustainable thing’ I could have sailed Allone to Auckland and then bicycled the short distance to Tauranga. That would have taken a week!  Choices, choices, choices…. For many these aren’t real options, flying is the quickest and easiest….!  Yes, I have been tested already??? But after all I have nothing more to do, than sit on a bus…. Ha-ha, if my life was as simple as that….??!!

Fortunately with Wi-Fi, and all the comforts of Kiwi bus and ferry travel these days, I had a wonderful travelling office that enabled me to ‘pump out’ the raft of tasks in launching the One Point Zero website and e-letter. In addition to the delights of a travelling office, I could also take a break from work and take in the intensity of a very wild windy, Cook Strait, and the very pleasant kiwi landscape as I moved toward my Cap Capricorn, container ship destiny!

 

My time in Wellington was not about restaurants, night clubs, and shows! That’s The Good Life!  I was working most of the time…!  Ha-ha, fun work though!   Yeah, the adventure boy is also now a web ‘designer’, content creator and manager, e-letter publisher, and One Point Zero, researcher, thinker, and also One Point Zero, debater in person! This is the new life as a self-funded Activist!

In this context:  As I challenge paradigms, I sense a scary (for me) part of the move to a One Point Zero life maybe being able to have a meaningful  life, without needing to ‘go much further’ than one’s mind!  Moving into the physical is where our ecological footprint mostly starts growing!

So bring on the virtual world in my open air, solar lit bedroom!  Couch potatoes are in fashion! No TV’s allowed though!  Taking that to the limit, (well not quite the absolute limit!!) the smallest footprint we have each day is while we are asleep, fully ‘stimulated’ in our dream world!  Ha-ha now there are some shattering thoughts hey!!   Maybe that is Zero Point Zero life…Ha-ha!!!

All, ‘not too serious’ Fun, and back to my work so as ‘Not to be Trumped by Nature!’:

Thanks to Charlie and Melissa Evans at Sunroom, Nelson I almost feel qualified now to do the web stuff!  Melissa will be helping with the blogs from the ship, as like many of my past expeditions, I’ll be restricted to limited Sat phone links back to you guys in normal Society!

Fiona, my girlfriend in Nelson is part of my ‘other support’! That emotional type that we all know we need in our lives, and I know I am more ‘demanding’ of when I’m heading out ‘alone’ …! It was hard justifying to her, and maybe even more to myself, my need to take the slow travel choices rather than more time together.

Anyway this is just a pointer to the future inevitable: A download about relationships in the context of adventures will probably be published from the middle of the Pacific on one of the voyages!

From lover support to Luggage:  Travel by container ship is very cool in having zero constraints on  baggage number /size / weight, no X-Ray checks, no liquid hand luggage issues, and with just an estimated ‘day of departure’, I’m working on,  I’ not sure that it is more, or less stress than flying!!

Even with those no limits, I’m packed like I would be for a typical Howard, ‘reasonably remote’, bicycle / kayak adventure. With my canoe and bicycle sectors, that’s what lies ahead, but more importantly: Simplicity and Self Sufficiency is ME, and also I don’t own much more!

I can’t wait to just cycle off the ship in Long Leach California, through the port, and then continue riding to San Diego!  No idea of the roads to take, no iPhone to provide the robotic navigator, no clue how many days the 180 kms will take, or where I’ll be staying overnight? But living intensely I will be, as I find my way to my sister’s place, after turning down her very non sustainable offer to drive up to LA to pick me up!!! ….

To me that’s the fun way, and I have no doubt the journey will produce some interesting characters, places and experiences!  After all finding the unusual, or reporting unusually on the usual is my passion and my new activist work! I even think I’ll be doing some formal, informal surveys to help me understand the state of the nation with regard to One Point Zero awareness.

So there we go, this is ‘all’ the infrastructural stuff now done with, and as I sit here writing this first post, the excitement builds as I feel it is the ‘last one’: The ‘last one’ before I disconnect from ‘normal life’  and can really can start immersing myself in the unfolding of what promises to be a uniquely amazing adventure.

I look forward to once again telling the stories as they happen, so that as you read you feel like you are here feeling it all with me. The downloading on One Point Zero issues as my mind is set off by the adventure experiences. Then the sharing: Your comments and reactions to what you read, how you feel, and what you believe is right for YOU. The sharing of our personal challenges and paradigm shifts in moving to a One Point Zero way of thinking.

This is all where the fun and what ‘Trumped by Nature’ is about!  Let’s go and Do It Now!

PS:  There is a huge amount of building emotion going on inside me at the moment, and I’ll share a bit of that in the next post.