I am back in the bow of Oceans of Hope, one of the best places of all. Last time I wrote a blog from here was on the departure date the 15th of June 2014, where I joined the leg from Copenhagen to Kiel. That was back when we had Kronborg castle on our portside in the evening sun. The ocean I am now saling on is quite different; the great deep blue Pacific Ocean between Bora Bora and Samoa on the other side of the world of where I live my life.
The vessel though is still as pretty – no, even prettier, because she now emits a saffran coloured story of all the sunrises in each of us that she has contributed to. Us, her changing MS-crew, who by living together onboard are experiencing new hope, new perspectives, new dreams, all the things that a life with MS can also be. Experiencing that the inner pearl of the best in ourselves, what we are born with, is worth taking care of and using, so that it keeps its beauty and shine. Because that's how it is with pearls – they must be used!
The pearl as a symbol has generously been connected to Oceans of Hope during our anchorage at Bora Bora. It is a beautiful tale of how the Oceans of Hope project touches and engages the people we meet on our way, and also of overwhelming, warm Polynesian hospitality.
After a night of sailing from Mo’orea to Bora Bora we found a nice anchorage not far from land with good snorkeling opportunities, a little way away from the city and the rest of the anchored boats. The entrance, where the main island is surrounded by many smaller islands, reminded me of the Swedish skaergaard – ecxept from the coconut palmtrees, the turquoise waters from the reef, and a couple of other details. The plan was to stay for a couple of days to enjoy, prepare for the ocean crossing to Samoa and make some changes in the professional crew. “See you” to Mikkel and Miel, and welcome onboard to Sven and JP.
Our lovely, saffran coloured ship quickly turned some heads, and we had visitors from the nearby pearl farm. They had seen our boat, looked us up, and read about us on the website, they had even read Todd’s blog. Inspired by the project they went to us in their dinghy carrying smiles and to generous offers, because they were so eager to give: They offered us a three our sightseeing tour around the island, and afterwards they asked: “Are there any ladies onboard?” This question showed to be a very beautiful and valuable present for Oceans of Hope. Because in this there was a donation to the project in the shape of a pearl, and even a pearl that we got to dive for ourselves!
I was not just on the first leg of the circumnavigation; I have been working on the project since the beginning to help turn the idea into reality. So much the better is the experience to be back onboard and feel that the project is now a real lived reality. For that reason it was also with a humble mind and many emotions that I accepted the honour of being that “lady onboard”, who got to dive for the pearl with Mikkel and the diver from the pearl farm. A more meaningful dive I couldn’t imagine.
And it was with great excitement that we swam out, dived down and chose two strings of 6-7 oysters on each, of which we were to pick one. The thing about the pearls you touch, is that also they are the work of nature, and for that reason you don't know the quality of the pearl before it is out of its oyster. A quality that is valued from a set criteria ultimately deciding their market value, and so the size of the donation.
I was allowed to pick two oysters. The excitement was almost unbearable during the wait, and it was finally released in the shape of a fine pearl of the best quality with a golden shine – like a sunrise. A better pearl for the goddess of dawn, Oceans of Hope, I can’t imagine! It bears not just its category market value, but just as much the value of bearing our stories, the story of Oceans of Hope. The reminder of the pearl in each of us, sclerosis or not.
Report from Bosun Bertram:
54 hours at sea, and our crew can now say that this is the longest they have been at sea! We are 330 nautical miles from Bora Bora, taking our time with the miles, but steadily making progress. The winds are not quite in our favour, leaving us to motor most of the night hours, but still letting us sail in the day time. Our crew had a challenging day with sporadic seasickness from the rolling swells and little wind to keep the boat steady, but they all fought through and are doing better now. We hope for more wind tomorrow so that we can set our grand spinnaker - if not for the speed then just to stop the enthusiastic crew from bugging Kristian, "When can we set the spinnaker????"