Quitting Is Not An Option…..

Dear F&F,
June 2009 – Passage to the Marquesas

In response to my complaints about sleep deprivation and seasickness, I received this in an email from my sister Alberta: \”I think you are amazing even tolerating it at all. I probably would have quit by now.\”

I know she is not the only one thinking this. She got me to thinkin\’. These are my thoughts…

What would I do, hide in my cabin in misery for the remaining days at sea? Not do my part & create more work for the guys? No, quitting is simply not an option. Not that I would want it to be. I came on this boat ride with eyes wide open. Every trip I am hopeful that I will not be seasick, but I have the means to ward it off, so I just deal with it. After a low point on day #4, I have been more at peace despite little sleep. It is mostly a mental thing, thinking I need 8 hours. The fact is I feel fine on 4 and if I get another 1-2 hour lie down, I am really good. Playing the \”video game\” is not that fun for me, but I now know to ask for breaks which really helps. And I am getting a bit better at playing the game, so it is less frustrating. Practice makes perfect. I don\’t think we\’ll be out here long enough for me to get it down perfectly, but at least I don\’t feel like such a spaz. Both Scott & Mike have given me good pointers and I learn a lot by watching them. I also see that they don\’t always do it perfectly either, so this helps me be easier on myself.

I am pretty tough. I am an athlete. I rode a bicycle 125 miles, twice. I climbed Mount Whitney. I ran four marathons in two years. I have a high pain threshold and am known to be stoic. I am competitive with others, but mostly with myself. I want to do whatever I do the best that I can. I am an eager student and have kind teachers. I fell in love with Scott on an 18 hour boat race onboard a sailboat without a toilet. Yep, peed in a bucket. He proposed to me a year later in the fog on a 24 hour boat race.

Building our boat in France, working on it non-stop in LA for 3 years, then continuing to do major projects during our first 18 months abroad has been challenging. But we have been rewarded with all major systems functioning well during this passage (quick – knock wood!). Yes, there have been some minor annoying problems but nothing insurmountable. It is a boat. By definition it will require constant repairs, replacements and maintenance. Every time I get down with the amount of work or hardships with this lifestyle, I ponder what might I prefer to be doing? Nothing leaps to mind. I miss my friends & my family. But I can get letters from you in the middle of the ocean! I get weary of the constant motion & noise of being underway. But in a week or so we will be in a calm anchorage & have all the time we need to rest & recover. I don\’t mind cooking for us, especially now that I can count galley time as credit toward my watch shifts. It was worth the ride just to wake up to the aroma of Mike\’s freshly baked bread – twice! I only regret not buying more flour. The sea life I have described. But even the hours when there is nothing but the vast expanse of blue ocean in every direction is quite peaceful and I am content. No, more than content. I am happy to be here. Despite the computer seasick syndrome. Despite the lack of sleep. I can be an insomniac in a perfectly still, quiet house. So to get 4 hours here & there in these conditions, heck! I\’m doing great!

I am doing great, but keep in mind that I tend to write more when a bit down. It has always been my way to release my troubled mind. But rest assured that there is no place I would rather be. Scott, Mike & I are a perfect team. I never imagined a third person would be so comfortable for so long. He is pleasant and easy going. He does his part and more. We each look out for the others. Scott, who is not known for his culinary skills, one evening asked me about Mike\’s dinner. Scott & I had already eaten while Mike was still asleep. I left a note for Mike with the quesadillas in the skillet & a small container of guacamole. Just re-heat & eat. But Scott served it to him. Mike may not realize the significance of that. But I can count few times that Scott has ever served me anything, except by my direct request & detailed instructions. He did prepare me a delicious peanut butter & cream cheese sandwich yesterday.

Neither Mike nor I are very interested in listening to or talking on the two radio networks that Scott checks in with twice daily. But we are amused & supportive of Scott\’s excitement at talking to various hams around the country. He is so proud to report about our journey and progress. A long time family friend, Howard Lipstone in Brentwood, has been connecting with him every evening. All the old guys on the Maritime Mobile Network are terrific and have looked up weather info for us and are always quick to offer to make phone calls or help us in any way they can.

Forgive me if I have dwelled on the difficulties more than the good parts. I am eager to get to our new \”neighborhood\”. So many islands to discover and dive. We\’ve had encouraging reports from sailors that have been to the Marquesas, diving with manta rays. It may take us yet another week. But I am in no rush. We are all safe & enjoying the ride. Being comfortable is not a strong priority for me. I find it far more satisfying to conquer the challenges of life on the open ocean than to sit tied to the same old dock. We are gypsies. Wanderers, Explorers. We are doing it together. Out here,To the finish.

I am not a quitter. I am a crucial Member of the Team. I am First Mate – and Last Mate! I am the Goddess of the Galley. I am Mistress of the High Seas.
And Always, Cindy the Sailor (ok, sometimes the Motorer!)

Scott & Cindy