Every now and then I wonder why I feel compelled to write this saga, after all, a seafaring life has a repetitive familiarity about it, possibly even its own kind of routine.
No matter how exotic a life is there is always some form of repetition, perhaps a structure that underlies it. Those who feel themselves to be living in a rut, or a lifestyle that binds them in bondage to a society that has evolved into a deeply materialistic sense of normality, cry inwardly for release into the ‘other kind of life’, where folk seem so much more contented and living such worthwhile existences; following their dream, if you will. Would it make one feel better to know that this is a bit of a fantasy?
I am a sailor, for sure. Not necessarily a good one even, but a sailor nonetheless. I feel at one with the art of harnessing the wind and elements, and have the privilege to share this with generations of other seafarers stretching way back into time, as old as humanity itself. This bond thrills me to my core and I thank the Gods for it. It took a lot of courage to make that leap into the dark unknown, to sublimate that gut-wrenching fear, for not only were the elements unimpressed with my early attempts, but so were (and still are) society’s norms too. The general consensus is a requirement to ‘tow the line’, to ‘fit in’ and ‘be a responsible adult’. I’m sure you know the rest, for do you not often think: ‘if only I could break free’?
The aim of this website is to ‘demystify’ the life of a ‘live-aboard’ sailor, without spoiling the essence of what can be a truly amazing existence. It isn’t a fantasy, living on a boat; it is possible to live with dignity outside of the norms of society, although very difficult. One requires tremendous self-discipline, for slack maintenance and lack of attention to detail can have dire effects, but even that isn’t enough; one needs a degree of good fortune, too. Good fortune comes in many ways, climatic, spiritual and humanistic; however, I like to narrow it down to a duality, which in this missive will evolve into a non-duality, hopefully!
Angels and Demons…
I left and returned, and all in the same day. I knew that leaving Gävle so early was perhaps a mistake, for some reason hidden within the deeper layers of my consciousness; I was uneasy. For starters, there was almost no wind, and these days in this tide-less paradise, one can pick and choose when to sail. Gone are the days of waiting for the ebb tide (always when the weather is bad or in the early morning dark, so if seems!) and patience pays dividends. The lingering fear that my faulty electrical system would lead to a very serious situation has never been far from my thoughts, lately and the fact that I had sailed all the way from Finbo Island in the Ålands, without a resolution was just asking for trouble. The Gods will only reward one’s daring to a certain extent until a lesson needs to be taught. Fortunately mine came in the form of demons that turned out to be angels.
I arrived in the sheltered bay of Lövgrund, a small island ten miles to the northeast of Gävle, and hooked up to another Svenska Kryssarklubben buoy, with the aim of slowly heading north towards Söderhamn in short hops. At about sixteen hundred hours, a yacht arrived and politely asked me to depart, as I wasn’t a member. This is the first time that I have ever been asked this, so I complied with a mixture of resentment and guilt. The engine barely started, so after my heart had slowed down enough to leave, I decided to return to Gävle and the free moorings. Perhaps I could find an electrician to locate and repair the damage. Even the cost would be better than the possibility of losing Free on some rocky shore.
And this is where the duality becomes the non-duality, the unity, if you will. Angels and Demons are one and the same. They both have identical purpose: to help one evolve and transcend the barriers of fear, and in its sublimation, love. To know love, one must know fear and vice versa.
We’ve seen the Demons, now enter the Angels, stage right. Jussi Kahti and Roger Lundqvist.
Whilst wandering, and wondering, along the quayside I met Jussi working on his magnificent schooner and our conversation led to my electrical problems. Within half an hour he had told his friend Roger Lundqvist about my plight. No sooner had I put on the kettle than Roger arrived and over the next few days tirelessly applied his electrical know-how, locating the main cause of the starter motor’s malfunction… yes, my friend Kjell-Arne was correct, a defective solenoid and relay. However, my own hypothesis was also relevant: the battery selector was not engaging properly either, causing some serious problems including the reason why the engine would barely start, even when ‘hot-wired’ (by-passing the ignition switch).
The following day, Roger took me to a huge warehouse place called Biltema (bil in Swedish means ‘car’) where I could buy the relevant parts and it was there that I decided to raid the emergency slush fund and renew my main battery bank, now nearly ten years old; ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ as they say. The disadvantages of transporting very heavy batteries was removed by Roger’s presence and his car, and this task was completed before struggling to find them further north on return to Borka at a much more expensive price. Car parts have the advantage of being far cheaper than their marine equivalent. In my experience one can multiply the price by five for any item that has ‘marine’ in its description.
Meeting Roger and Jussi in Gävle has put the icing onto an incredible cake of summer sailing, adventuring and the sheer experience of living ‘life on the edge’ in the magnificent present moment. When I asked if I could help them in any way, they gave the same answer I would have given:
‘Pass it on’.
Of course, that’s how it works… that’s the meaning of true spirituality. The human family transcends the narrow spectrum of blood ties; it is far bigger than that. True humanity is our connection, and its cement is love.
Angels and demons…
Light and dark…
But the light always dispels the dark.
Both need each other, and in that there is true salvation.