In my upcoming book, you will be privy to many of my personal journal entries that have never been published or seen by anybody except me. This is from eight years ago today when Julia sailed out under the Golden Gate for points unknown. While I may have put on airs about how confident I was, and how I knew that what I was doing was the right thing, my private journals in the book clearly show the other side… but I was determined — so I went.
Because I knew then as I know now: That life is to be lived, not dreamed about.
Excerpt from Chapter 5:
TEARS, FEARS, EXCITEMENT, AND GOOD-BYE!Yes indeed I was busy, and I was too scared and nervous to write. While I’m not a big believer in omens, I struggled with the engine problems that we were having, and I didn’t yet know that it “came with the territory.”
I was questioning (again) if I was really doing the right thing by heading out on this trip. There was 9/11 still hanging its head over us. Many said to me, “Are you crazy? You don’t want to go out there now… you should stay here and be happy sailing around this area.” But short of World War III happening, I was going.
Personal Journal December 7, 2001 We’re going. Up at 0500, and under the Gate at 0700 to catch the tail end of the outgoing tide. I cry, I sing, laugh, and jump for joy. I can’t believe it… what a flood of emotions. I am so lucky to have such a great team aboard: Bill, Ken, Patrik, and Rajat. Everybody is very excited. The dream of my lifetime is actually coming true… oh my God, I have to pee.
A mixed day of motoring, sailing, and motorsailing; motoring with the mainsail up which keeps the boat stable, and because we create our own apparent wind when we move under power, it actually boosts our speed a little. Weather is light in the afternoon but then comes up to 33 knots with 10-foot seas at night with Rajat and I on watch. I finally figure out how to secure the dinghy tightly and safely on the davits and the boat rides nicely under the watchful steerage of our autopilot, which steers better than I can in heavy seas.
First whale sighting. Sighted two large blue whales less than 100 yards off the starboard bow. Quite a breathtaking sight. And then in the afternoon dolphins everywhere, as if they were welcoming us to their world, or at least that’s how I saw it.
Bidding farewell to San Francisco was difficult. I didn’t realize that I was such an emotional person (oh c’mon Larry, who are you trying to kid?). And I have images of sailing away some 24 years earlier when I crewed on a boat across the Pacific. But then I was just one of a crew of six, had no control of where we were going, or anything onboard for that matter except what I produced out of the galley. At that young age, I just knew I wanted to go sailing and bum around for a while. All that experience really did was to whet my appetite to go again under my control. I swore that if I were to go again, I would be nice to my crew, unlike the captain I sailed under then. This time though, it’s a bit calmer, as if I’ve been somewhere before and as if I’m in control.
So long San Francisco, see ya, but not goodbye forever. Or is it? What if I am leaving forever? I don’t remember being sad in my dreams. Is it supposed to be like this? Come on Captain, get it together.