Dear Kim and Aurora students: With modern communications by satellite telephone, I can call anyone, anywhere, anytime and talk with them, so I am not as isolated as I would have been being alone at sea in the past. And my friends back home, as well as my friends out here on the ocean, keep the emails flowing.
Regarding the fear, it is hard, especially in a big storm such as the one we had near Kerguelen Islands. That one was very difficult. My friends here Alan Roura (Swiss) and Eric Bellion (French) and I kept up a constant stream of emails, both encouraging of each other, but also being very honest and open about our fears. There was absolutely no bravado. And being with others in that difficult time, it was as though we were a team, even though we were not together on a boat.
I think that personally, something I’ve found that can help, can take the edge off the fear is music. I have some classical music that I like, and for Vendée Globe 2008, a friend gave me a CD of St. Benedictine Monk Chants. I found these very soothing, very calming, not so much that the storm didn’t matter, but that they took the edge off just a bit, and that helped.
Toward the end of Vendée Globe 2008, the weather systems in the North Atlantic pushed me closer to my home near Boston, than I was to the finish in France. It was beyond frustrating. I was tired and angry and wanted the race to be over. I’d been at sea for over 100 days and I was just done, and I tried to cry, to break the tension, to break the emotion and let it out, but I found I couldn’t, and that just added to the frustration!
But crying can be for happiness too, and my friend Alan Roura just emailed this morning saying that he was crying for happiness because today he will pass Cape Leeuwin, the 2nd of the great capes, and his dream is coming true, and he is so happy that he is crying. I think that is great.
I sing along with songs that I like, but I don’t know any pirate songs!
Question submitted by Kim’s class, Aurora Nebraska, USA