Sunday, July 23, 2006


On Saturday I was invited by wonderfully generous friends to accompany them on an afternoon sail of the Privateer Lynx, an 1812 era reproduction of a sailing privateer used for historical education.
I helped raise the sails and coil lines. I loved the experience, and would love to take longer voyages with them the next time they are in Hawai'i. They do longer, inter-island sails (the Kawaihae to Lahaina sail is sold out), and you can even go with them back to the mainland West Coast.
Although I enjoy the maritime history of the 16th and 17th centuries more: Spice Islands! Venice! Evil Portuguese raiders! British East India Company! Curry! This privateer and her crew may just pull me into War-Of-1812 era history. We also couldn't resist talking like pirates a bit. Gar!
I love being offshore on a boat. The land is hazy and colorful in the distance, and I try to recognize the once-familiar landscape from the flip-side. We could tell the hotels and the stretch of beaches, but we are used to standing on the shore and looking out. The world flips on a boat, and you stand in the ocean and look at where you have been, knowing that it all looks strange and wrong and tiny. Looking the other way is blue: Blue below, blue above, blue as far as the horizon... My mother said that people in Hawaii are of two kinds: The kind that feels confined by the ocean (they get rock-fever and need to leave) and those that are freed by it. I love the ocean, the possibility of it all. I know that, far from the blue desert that some see, the water is teeming with life, is, in fact, the reason we are able to survive clinging to our little continental rocks. I would love to spend time on a sailing vessel like the Lynx, far from the sight of land, with nothing but ocean and sky, and the small, efficient provisions of a tidy boat. Sometimes we need such drastic changes of perspectives to remind us of our lonliness and peril, to make us thankful for the embrace of land, family, and the familiar.

No comments: