In the interest of full disclosure, I made a commitment to recording all my thoughts and feelings, whether positive or not. This morning I was feeling my age, my MS, and more. Feeling all too human, I suppose, and vulnerable, right now. I miss my wife, Glo. That is the name of my boat too. I miss my wife, Glo, very much.
However, here I am! In the shade under swaying palms on the remarkable island of Mo'orea. It would be difficult if not impossible to convey accurately the beauty of this place. The words fail, the photos cannot do it justice. And then, as though to remind me, that I do not have this place all to myself, a busload of local teens has just emptied out right here in the middle of my solitude. As I look out over our anchorage with the many shades of turquoise indicating the type of bottom, I see a small fleet of optimist sailing prams sailing back and forth. In unison, two just capsized together, and a few moments later righted themselves and continued on their way. My teenage neighbours are having quite a conversation, while farther off a volleyball game is going on. There is no loud music, no boisterous behaviour as one would encounter back in the States. Just laughter and play – it's nice.
However, a new bus of kids has just unloaded, and I think it may be time for me to move on. Jan came by to keep me company, and while we sat and talked, a young Tahitian fellow approached us and shook hands. Not a firm handshake, but a sort of Polynesian version of “gimme some skin”. It soon became clear that what he wanted, was to sell us some cocaine! We told him the only thing we were interested in buying was cold beer and Ben&Jerry's ice cream – preferably both! Unfortunately he had neither in his possession. I guess even on Mo'orea there are people for whom paradise isn't enough.
I have noticed that there is a part of me that feels regretful that I cannot share this experience on Oceans of Hope with my wife and daughters. Yet wherever I go, they are with me, an inseparable part of me. Given this, am I not in truth sharing this experience with them as well? Perhaps there are some journeys, which one can only take alone. Having MS certainly feels like that sometimes. Everyone’s experience with it is unique and different, as my wife has oft times said: “If you know ten people with MS, you know ten people with MS.” The symptoms can be as varied as the people who have them. What we share is the struggle. The struggle to cope, to make a difference, the struggle to belong. Perhaps that is where the answer lies for each of us, for all of us. Because those individual struggles that hold us apart, are not nearly as important as the universal truth that bind us together.
Report from Bosun Bertram:
Boat prep day with hull cleaning, ship shape, radio checks and bilge cleaning. We worked the first couple of hours of the day, when the sun was still not to mean to us, and now we are enjoying a peaceful lunch ashore in the shade. This afternoon we will enjoy the last hours of Mo'orea before we set sails towards Bora Bora this evening. We got about 130 nautical miles to cover, so ETA is some time tomorrow around noon - depending on the weather as always.