Sailing the Red (a letter)

Ltr Paul 1994 blog cropWell! Here’s a window on a past life. A good friend’s father recently passed on. The father was also a friend; among his effects was a letter i sent him back in 1994, and it made its way back to me.

It’s a 9-pager, handwritten in ballpoint on scribbler pages, completed in segments while coaxing Triangle Island, my 18-foot open yawl, north through the Red Sea’s myriad hidden reefs and wild desert winds. Reading it was a trip back in time, evoking the emotions i was feeling while immersed in a dangerous solo adventure. Here are a few excerpts:

24 Mar. 1994

Dear Paul,

Coming to you from the Red Sea, west shore, at about 16½ degrees north. Triangle Island and I are amongst the islands off Massawa, Eritrea’s port city. The wind is mild, the sky full of puff-clouds, and we’re barely hanging to our desired course: north. Seems benign, yet I’m nervous as hell. Except for one low island, supposedly 5 miles ahead but still invisible, there’s nothing but open water for 150 miles ahead. Continue reading

Req. rdg. for the depressed

Ostensibly about boats and cruising, this wonderful article by Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) offers a perhaps even fresher perspective on the most pervasive plague of modern life than when it was originally published in Esquire, May 1977.

Cruising Blues and Their Cure

by Robert Pirsig

Their case was typical. After four years of hard labor their ocean-size trimaran was launched in Minneapolis at the head of Mississippi navigation. Six and one half months later they had brought it down the river and across the gulf to Florida to finish up final details. Then at last they were off to sail the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles and South America.

Only it didn’t work out that way. Within six weeks they were through. The boat was back in Florida up for sale. Continue reading