Trusted Wisdon

Apr 08 2011

The forecast shows a pleasant fifteen knots of wind from the North backing to the South-West overnight, we have seen sustained winds over thirty-five knots. Food is off the menu, various anti-nausia medicines and bunks are sought.

What had looked like a pleasant sail and evening landfall has turned ugly, a reminder that as ever nature is in control out here, and that the wind speed predictions are only read by mariners. How things turn, from glassy seas and swimming two days ago followed by a perfect Green Flash sunset to a grey heaped ocean and cloud filled skies. We over-rely upon technology and forget trusted wisdom; a barometer has never lied, information fed from a super-computer on a far away continent can never replace that.

Easter Island is our next landfall, once home to an ancient civilisation that built the Moai before dying out. Theories to explain their disappearance vary; introduced disease, de-forestation, over-population, resource depletion, whichever theory holds true a people who achieved something amazing vanished leaving many questions unanswered, in lieu there is much to be learnt and clear parallels on a modern-day global scale.

Ever present on board are concerns over our own resources; fuel, food and water, basic necessities to survive and sustain a crew, they are all both finite and scarce. Two weeks ago off the coast of Chile with a broken water maker we were faced with returning to port, an eleventh hour repair utilising an improvised relief-valve averted this – thoughts of our vulnerability were at the fore. Similar threats globally are too often less at the fore.

As the wind now eases I am reminded that in my experience a weather forecast is always right, it is just that the timescale is often wrong – there is still hope for a pleasant landfall.