It is 06:00. To the east a slim smiling sickle moon peeks out of a teeny window in the clouds. At this point in it’s cycle, Sirius is outshining it in a bit of sky that is not overshadowed with condensed water particle vapour. On the horizon there is a sliver of light between the cloud bank and the edge of the dark sea. Not enough to matter yet; we have moved far enough west so as to be quite east, and the sun takes it sweet time rising in this place. The wind is erratic, alternating between howling in the rig at 22 knots, and allowing the main sail to flap when it drops down below 11 knots. Our speed vacillates from 8 to 5 knots depending on the strength of the wind. The waves however, are unrelenting in their consistency. Every five to six seconds one rolls under or against the side of the boat. Mostly with a swish swish swish, sometimes with a boom, and splash. I sit in the back of the cockpit, wedged in facing the port side, back to the starbrd side, tucked securely in with four cushions and feel as though I’m in grandma’s rocking chair. If our dear friend Pi, the auto pilot needs to take a coffee break , I am in arm’s reach of the wheel. ( He is a good auto pilot most of the time, but he does have the annoying habit of going for coffee or whatever else he does on break without giving much, or sometimes, no, warning, this makes it necessary to be within reach of the wheel.) This is the first watch of this journey to the land of OZ that I’ve been able to relax and do something beside just hold Pi’s hand. I am supremely happy! This shift I am occupying myself with writing a list of books to read. For myself, one of the chief joys of sailing in fairly decent conditions is reading a good book. Well, to be absolutely truthful, reading is a chief joy anywhere. My favourite boat activity is to enjoy a smooth sail to a lovely beach, anchor off in the good holding sand, kayak ashore and share happy hour and a good book on the beach with Lars. Some one once asked me why I loved the beach so much, they said they meant, what did I DO on a beach. Oh that was easy to reply to; I like to read (and walk and collect shells and make shell gardens and listen to the music of the sea and the shore.) This makes me realise that I love the beach because it is a perfect place to “be”. Just like on a sailboat in smooth weather, this is why I am a cruiser, not a racer. For myself, sailing is a “be-ing”activity, but, for a lot of folks it is primarily a “doing” activity. Hence the remark made by one Captain, “sailing at anything less than 7 knots is boring.” Oh, that is a person for whom sailing is a doing activity. We prefer sailing at 6 to 7 knots, it gives us time to enjoy the journey at a comfortable pace. When we first began, Lars remarked that he had never had time to read for enjoyment in his working life, and that one of his goals in retirement was to spend time reading for pleasure. One of my goals was to sail in the ocean. Happily our goals mesh beautifully, and together we are both realising our aspirations. Thats the beauty of sailing. There is something for everyone, and many different ways to enjoy it. For some, it is a sport; pitting skill against elements to achieve speed to reach a given destination. For others it is meditation; a soulful connection with our vast universe in which the passage is a joy, not something to be hurried through. The great author, Ursula K. Leguin put it so succinctly, “ It is good to have an end to journey to; but in the end it is the journey that matters.” Sharing the trip with a good book just makes it that more enjoyable. It has taken an hour to write this, now it’s time to change the watch. Captain gets up and takes over, I make coffee and dish out yogurt and gerbil food and blueberries for breakfast and get on with the do-ing business of cleaning for the Border force crew.image2.