So named because today because today is the day I begin going over the “hump” or the NW tip of Vancouver Island. I’m glad the waiting is over and I can start. This will be the last blog post for awhile. Cooling our jets in Port Hardy as Tracy will be hopping on a bus today and I’ll head out to Bull Harbour with the ebb this afternoon, which is the final jumping-off anchorage before crossing Cape Scott.
My mind is playing tricks with me; it feels as if this is more significant than it should be; I’ve been here before and sailed up the southwest coast by myself last summer. I’ve been on my own aboard for close to two weeks before and absolutely loved it.
These are the things I tell myself and yet I’m unaccountably disturbed by it. My neck is cramping up and I’m barking at my wife. I feel like I’m walking to the edge of the high diving board.
Looking inside myself, it seems a leap much larger than simply sailing into unknown waters. Over the last 18 months I’ve lived a “supposed to” life against my better judgement. This is the antithesis of that lost time.
But the greater part is crossing a perceived barrier. Like I mentioned in my last post, sailing in remote wilderness on exposed ocean alone was a wall I have not assaulted before. I’ve dreamed about it time and again, and even intended to try two years ago, but friends (likely fearing for my life!) jumped up and offered to accompany me. We were hit by hurricane force winds off Brooks Peninsula, and had a hellish time; I hate to think what it would have been like to endure alone. I think the grim memory of that frightening experience is also rattling around in my unconscious.
I’m going into it this time more experienced and a little wiser. But sailing the open ocean alone is always a risk and this is one of the greatest I’ve challenged. I know that countless people do it all the time, including this incredible woman, but I also know that countless others wouldn’t be caught dead out here, especially not alone.
We all have walls. We all set up limits that we believe we cannot cross or don’t even want to; our lives are always boundaried in many ways, which is what gives us the security to carry on in our lives. Predictability is the hallmark of security and comfort and we crave it so we can focus on what we want to achieve. It’s one of Maslow’s foundational human requirements.
There is absolutely nothing heroic in challenging our walls and limits, and there’s nothing weak or wrong in staying in our comfort place. But I believe there is a problem in our civilization where security has trumped just about everything, and too many of us walk around in a bit of a stupor. When confronted by the same old day in and day out, our minds go into a kind of hibernation; it’s the new and unique that makes the brain take note and build new synapses. It’s the difference between feedlot cattle and those summering on the open range. When you see how these two groups behave, you would be hard pressed to believe they are the same species.
I’m also challenged in this because for whatever reason I crave the new horizon, and I’ve never found a way to experience that without pushing past my life’s container.
As a sailor my horizons have always expanded, and this is one of the bigger pushes. If I enjoy this as much as I hope I will, it really expands my horizons to an almost limitless degree. And this is why it feels like such a risk, why so much is at stake. If this goes wrong, I’ve reached my limit and so much closes down.
Now this isn’t me sitting in my cockpit and ruminating about all this; it’s what is coming up, how I’m perceiving it at a deep level. Trust me, I would much prefer to go “meh” and not give a damn. But that’s not how challenges approach is; they jump out of the shadows and go BOO, and we react with our hearts and not our intellects. Else they wouldn’t be challenges. Challenges are rarely intellectual problems to be solved; in my experience they involve much deeper ideas of identity, values, and meaning. And we can’t view it externally and say “what’s the big deal?”
For some, crossing the street takes great courage. Fort others it’s pursuing advanced education, or asking someone out. Every day we witness people struggling against their walls. Right now crossing the north tip of Vancouver Island alone is my challenge and I’m irrationally scared and excited. I see they are calling for 25-35 knots from the NW for the next several days, so it’s not like I’m going to be eased into this.