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The healthy part of myself - Blog by Marie

OoH Apr 21, 2015, by Marie Stjernholm in Yacht

How strange that my part of the circumnavigation is coming to and end. A slice of the Pacific has been conquered nautical mile by nautical mile, approximately 1300 of them all in all from Tahiti to US Samoa.

I feel as though the journey has only just begun. The journey that has been redeemed when we have sailed under spinnaker on the ocean so blue, so deep, so infinite.
For me it is important that Oceans of Hope is a sailing yacht and my mood has been dampened by longer stretches of anchorage and sailing with the engine on. For it is the sailing which creates the connection with nature and the cooperation on board and thus a rewarding way of being together resulting in common and personal victories. Yes, we hoisted that spinnaker together! We each have our own place in the process.

Because we have travelled the long leg from Bora Bora to US Samoa without stopping, the spinnaker has had a special role when there has been wind enough from the right direction. It has been the sail that has demanded cooperation of us, setting it in the morning and taking it down in the evening.

Once, many years ago, before the sclerosis, I wore an ear to ear grin while hoisting the spinnaker. On this boat the gear is in its own weight class and therefore it feels a lot like starting over. It makes the pain of not being able to remember and not having the same strength as I did back then easier to bear.

That’s not the way it is with everything here. Actually, the first few days I was sad to feel loss of function since the last time. I’ve even been seasick for the first time in my life! That I could handle with a seasick plaster and taking better care of myself.

The heat is quite another matter, it melts the brain into an unstructured mass much like a pack of butter. Sadly, it has a great impact on my language skills, including the English language, which we share on board. A frustrating barrier to our interaction, which I value so dearly and which in many ways is central to our journey.

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Still, the sclerosis takes up surprisingly little space. For in spite of various symptoms, the experience of strength and ability to handle life, the faith in it and in myself is utterly unchallenged as soon as I’m at sea and sailing under spinnaker. Maybe there isn’t room for doubt? Sailing Sclerosis has always been about the healthy part of myself and there is still plenty of that left.

Some of the things I’ve enjoyed the most besides being together, cultural encounters and my favourite spot at the helm, are the night shifts, swimming freely, snorkelling in the deep blue and occupying myself with repairing our flag, which has now sailed halfway around the globe.

The night watches… The firmament filled with stars, the mind full of peace. Time and space for conversations of a particular profundity. The rig squeaks soundly in the dark while we’re bobbing gently across the Pacific. The night wind has its own gentleness here and what a sound when the bow quietly pushes wave after wave aside moving forward towards a new morning…

Tonight is the farewell dinner. We are Beth, Todd, Kevin, Maria, Jan, Bertram, Kristian, Sven and J.P., who have managed to fit in naturally after signing on along the way, and myself. A crew with a calm and easy harmony, stalwartness, a sense of humor, warmth and thoughtfulness. Ahead of us is also the proud but wistful handing over of our lovely boat to the new MS crew.

When we have anchored, I’ve been swimming around the boat and taken in her size, colour and beautiful lines: taken in the big white letters on the freeboard one by one and beamed with pride at the sight: OCEANS OF HOPE.

Thank you for now, dear friends, and Godspeed!

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