To ship one Quackers pickup truck to Honolulu: $975
To ship one customised Brocade boat trailer: $1481
Well, not farms exactly. More like a farewell to forests, but the pun didn't work quite so well that way....
This evening I went for a walk in wonderful Wunderlich Park, just along the road from the cottage where I temporarily live. I find that increasingly I look around and notice all the good things about life on dry land - trees, mountains, birdsong. And running water, coffee shops, people. I see them with a fresh sense of awe and appreciation, knowing that soon (weather permitting) I will be in a world where they are a dim and distant memory.
It may seem strange that I choose to spend so much time on the ocean, when it is most definitely not my natural element. I find it hard to believe that anybody finds the ocean a congenial place to be - to me it is wet (duh!), uncomfortable, and apart from the sky it lacks a decent view. But I got an email this morning from Gordie Nash, one of my weather gurus. He is off at a sailing competition. He wrote: "I'm in the high Sierra Mountain range with lots of pine trees, not my favorite view."
Personally, I cannot think of any view I would love more. Mountains, trees, huge vistas - perfect. So obviously, some people like oceans, some like mountains.
So why do I choose to go to sea if I don't like it?
At the time when I decided to take on a big adventure - and wanted to do it solo - I knew enough about mountains to know that I shouldn't go there alone. But I didn't know enough about oceans to know that I shouldn't go THERE alone. Ignorance can be bliss.
By the time I did find out enough about oceans it was too late. I was already irrevocably committed - and after slogging my way across 3000 miles of ocean, taking 103 days from the Canaries to Antigua, I knew just plenty and was more than qualified to take on my second ocean.
There is a lot to be said for blind leaps of faith. It's amazing what you can handle once you put yourself in a situation where you have no choice - as entrepreneurs and new parents probably know. If you knew at the start how hard it was going to be, you probably wouldn't do it. But once you have done it, you're really glad that you did.
Responses to comments (sorry, but now getting too numerous to answer in comment form):
Greg - leaving from further south would not be a good idea. This morning I had a very good chat with Mick Bird, the only other rower to tackle this same route, and he advises that San Francisco is the furthest south I should embark, as I will be swept sharply south by wind and currents. See Erden Eruc's trajectory...
Ally - Monty the teddy bear was on loan from a school in Portsmouth, and has now been safely returned to his friends.
Roger - I'll be looking out for a frantic swimmer carrying take-out.
Ellen - volleyball, basketball, baseball - it's all the same to a dumb foreignish kind of non-sports person!! Whatever he is, Wilson is my New Best Friend. I'm not racist.
George - bummer! I just checked your GBRIB website, and see that the RIB is kaput, on day one of your challenge. At least you know where you are with oars - and they're cheaper to fix... May I quote you (in the hope you will do the same for me one day): "I can feel the hand of history being removed from our shoulders."
Sharon - Squishie the Dolphin is also safely installed onboard, and will be introduced in due course. I also have Quackers the Duck (to remind my of my truck), my five-ducks-in-a-row (Huey, Louis, Dewey, Gooey and Pooey - see previous blog) and a small sea turtle with a wobbly head. My boat is starting to look like Life of Pi... even before Neil's electric pink pig has arrived.
I have all my ducks in a row - see the five little plastic ducks arrayed above the hatch inside my cabin. I transferred them yesterday from Quackers the truck to Brocade the boat.
This might sound cutesy, but in fact the ducks are an important visual reminder of all the hard work that I have put into getting to this stage of readiness. When I am out on the ocean and finding it tough going, I can look at them and know that I owe it to myself to see it through.
07 Aug 2007, Brocade, Hayward, California
[This is a test blog, written on board Brocade and transmitted to my website via satellite phone.]
While I sit and wait for the weather to come round to my point of view, I am tweaking and fine-tuning my preparations. I thought I was already ready, but it's amazing what extra bits and pieces I keep finding to do - another sea trial, another media interview, another page for my website, another dry run with my technology - 'dry run' being the operative term here. It's easy to do physiological tests, psychological questionnaires, blogs, video editing and photographs while I am sitting in the relative comfort of a nice dry hangar in Hayward. It will be considerably harder from a pitching, rolling boat, especially in the first couple of days when I will probably be battling seasickness.
My boat, Brocade, is now looking beautifully ready. Everything is stowed where it should be; spare fuses, batteries and bulbs are attached conveniently in little boxes fixed to Velcro patches, and Wilson has arrived on board. I was very touched when Rich, my long-suffering engineer, presented him to me last Friday.
In case you haven't seen the movie Castaway, starring Tom Hanks, Wilson the basketball becomes his best buddy in the absence of anybody else. One of the saddest moments of the film is when Wilson disappears out of sight across the waves. Hopefully my Wilson, signed by various wellwishers, will be spared the same fate. He is securely bolted to my rollbar, alongside various antennae and cameras and other essentials.
Wilson and I may be the best of friends by the time I reach Hawaii. This is worrying.
[photo: introducing Wilson]