So on a beautiful, warm summer’s morning, two old ladies finally put to sea.
There was barely a breath of wind as ‘Free’ motored gently into Enånger Fjord leaving the little village of Borka shimmering in her wake. I was sad to say goodbye to this tiny piece of paradise, where I have been made so welcome throughout all of the little trials and tribulations associated with running an old sail boat. Sure, there is a piece of my heart that will always be Borka, with her humble, kind folk.
In the past week or so, I have made friends with an Irish traveller family who are working in Sweden, mainly with roof replacement. What a lovely family they are; so alive, vibrant and optimistic. The children: Paddy, Joe and James, were very keen to have a look around Free and wished me luck, as did Eva who has made me feel especially welcome; and will undoubtedly be a friend for life. Once again, I felt the pull of past life experience. It was if we have always known each other; just like last year as I sailed up the Swedish Coast.
Today I decided to stop early, as my friends James and Tara don’t arrive in Sundsvall until late Friday afternoon. As usual, I am forever trying to save money and managed to locate a Svenska Kryssarklubben buoy off the Island of Kuggören, just to the north east of Hudiksvall. These buoys are available to members and prove useful sanctuary, as they will not drag like an anchor, thus permitting a peaceful evening’s sleep. They are usually positioned in delightful settings too, an added bonus.
I am hoping for my wind soon, something with a little south in it. This is so important in my quest to save money. Polly is a good engine, but she is large and thirsty. Last year was a blessing with the prevailing Sou’westerlies, conducive to sailing progress everywhere except the Kalmarsund between Öland and the mainland, where constant northerlies produced a tough week of island hopping and sailing too close to windward, an act that Free really doesn’t like. The next few days will see me trying to outsmart the strange coastal winds here, which tickle and tease. There is only so much a sailor can do to harness the wind.
In the past month, I have found myself questioning the purpose of what I am doing…
Is it a waste of time? Would it be better to be employed in something more ‘productive’? I wondered if folk would consider this life as eternal hippydom, never being able to settle down into the mainstream. And yet my meditations, in the peace of Borka, far away from distraction of global insanity, have dissolved this latent guilt, sublimating it into a major realisation; that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. A place in the universal jigsaw puzzle remains unclear; but is that necessarily a bad thing?
My conclusion is that this sailing life is a spiritual practice of sorts, a path of mindfulness involving the surrendering to and embracing of ‘what is’. Sometimes when one enters the silence, all is revealed and problems fall away or become miraculously solved. Angelic entities appear from all quarters, right enough. Let me qualify it even more: everyone’s life is a spiritual practice, whether we like it or not. True happiness is achieved by present moment awareness and eliminating the excessive mental baggage of past and future, the domains of fear and heartbreak…
And so, as the sun begins its westerly descent, the sound of Swedish children’s laughter reaches me across the water. A carefully cooked lentil curry plus a peaceful night’s sleep await me.
Can life really be any better?