May 1, 2017
After four days in Atuona, Hiva Oa, we sailed nine miles to Hauamoenoa Bay on the island of Tahuata. We were eager for clean, relatively shark free water for the joys of swimming and snorkeling, and to clean the evidence of the passage from our hull. We picked a narrow window between squalls and anchored just as the first gusts of a black cloud rushed down the green mountain slopes framing the anchorage. The golden sand of a beach, fringed by a coconut palm grove that winds its way to the edge of the slopes, and the backdrop of steep green hills rising to the sky, make this one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Marquesas. With no river flowing into the anchorage, the water stays a crystalline turquoise, even after months of monsoonal downpour.
This rainy weather is unseasonable. With each successive squall, our nostrils fill with the rich scent of lush, wet, tropical foliage and we are called to two places at once: the visual of the lush, dramatic beauty of the Marquesas, filtered through the scent-filled memories of monsoonal downpours in Didi’s, Kishwar’s and Maya’s garden compound in Sidhbari (Dist. Kangra, India).
The squalls during our first day in Hauamoenoa Bay (April 29) were continuous until the afternoon, when Mark and Devon leapt in to begin cleaning the hull. Yesterday the sun emerged and the squalls diminished. We cleaned and scrubbed Anthea, removing the green and brown growth on her white hull and the opportunistic goose neck barnacles lining the waterline of her stern, the evidence of the passage slipping away with our effort.
While our bodies have now recovered, and our boat is mostly reclaimed from the strenuous journey, one blog post of the crossing was never written down, although it circled through my mind/heart many times on the journey. The title is, “Of Currents and Gratitude.”
On watch, during times of light wind I would marvel at the ease and speed with which Anthea slid through the water. We were being transported forward by an equatorial current bearing us westward and south, propelling our movement through troughs of waves that could have easily stalled our forward progress and slatted our sails. This current meanders through the ocean, with large patterns predictable, but the exact flow of these rivers in the sea in frequent flux. One could cross the Pacific and spend little time in the current, or even sail into a counter current for a day.
We often found ourselves within the current when we most needed it, those periods of light wind and oversized seas. During my watches in these conditions, my heart would fill with gratitude; I was suffused with the sensation that we were being transported by the thoughts, wishes, prayers and rituals of those who love us. The metaphor of being buoyed by others’ loving intentions was in this case profoundly visceral. With plenty of time to reflect and ponder during my watch, a realist voice would come to the fore and insist that favorable currents are a function of nature, guided by their own forces entirely separate from our lives, and our location within them a matter of circumstance. And then the sensation of gratitude would reply. Ultimately, I found a space beyond the logical question of whether there was any causal connection between loving intention and our location within the current which carried us. I embraced the understanding that both forces – currents and love – are real.
For those of you who hold us in your hearts as we journey across the Pacific, know that we receive your love with profound gratitude. Kim