The Universe, Me, And Plan B
If asked about my religious beliefs I’ll say “I don’t have any”, if any categorisation is needed then I’ll tick the ‘Humanist’ box due simply to my resonance with their beliefs that all human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives and that our society should be based on natural human ethics. I’ll have no truck with any argument that organised religion is a power for good, in my view they all came into existence simply as control mechanisms that allowed a minority to accumulate wealth and power at the expense of the majority. Many have other beliefs, that’s fine, believe in whatever feels right for you, just don’t try and force those beliefs onto others, that’s how wars start.
Regular readers may however have noted my occasional references to ‘The Universe’. I haven’t used these references flippantly, for all the above I recognise that science is still a long long way from being able to explain how it is that the human race exists on this little blue planet in the unknown vastness of what we have named the ‘Universe’. Of all the sciences I think Quantum Physics is the one on the right track but I doubt it’ll provide any answers in my lifetime. Anyway I digress, my point is this, I do believe that there is some power out there which can affect the direction of our lives, sometimes we can tune into it, sometimes we ignore it and sometimes our thoughts and actions can influence it. I’m not talking about the so called ‘Law of Attraction’ but rather the fact that to a lesser or greater extent we get back what we give out in this lfe, Karma. Whatever you choose to call it I call that unknown power ‘The Universe’ and I do my best to tune into it and influence it in my daily life.
Well as far as heading South to Portugal was concerned I did all I could to influence events but eventually I got the message, The Universe didn’t want us to go this year.
I mentioned in my last blog post my mixed feelings about going this year, I knew we’d left it late, I knew the boat and I could have been better prepared, that’s not to say we couldn’t have done it and done it safely but nonetheless those nagging doubts grew in my head. As day after day I kept seeing gale warnings for sea areas Plymouth, Fitzroy and Biscay and day after day felt the wind blowing out of the South and West my frustration grew. I saw long range forecasts talking about ‘Northern Blocking’ a meteorological event that produces stubborn and unseasonably high pressure to the North of the UK and stubborn unseasonably low pressure to the South sucking in frequent Atlantic depressions with few gaps between, the forecasts talked of this ‘blocking’ remaining in place till December. Then, last week, there seemed to be a break, three maybe four days when the winds fell lighter and moved more from the North and West. I called Jake and he agreed that a window looked like it was opening and a few days later I made the decision… lets go for it. Later that day I spoke to Jake, I knew when he answered the phone that something was wrong, a family member was ill, he needed to be there for them but he didn’t want to let me down. I didn’t hesitate, I told him that he must stay, I went further, I didn’t want him on the boat when his head was elsewhere, I hoped that’d make it easier for him. I came off the phone deflated and rang Gail to give her the news, my excitement of earlier in the day had evaporated, it was a lonely dark miserable night aboard that night.
The following morning dawned brighter and I went for a long walk around the Carrick Roads to clear my head and get my thoughts together. My head span, Jake had said he needed another week to see how things panned out which meant that it’d be late October at best before we could leave, was that too late? Would there be another weather window? Could I get another crew? When would Gail and I be back together again? Could I do it single-handed? No, this was getting silly. I sat down and took in the stunning vista of Falmouth Bay looking out to The Manacles, just around the corner out of sight lay The Lizard and then The Atlantic, I brought to mind that for hundreds of years vessels of every description have sailed in and out of Falmouth passing those landmarks on voyages to every corner of the planet, much has changed in those centuries, but the sea, those landmarks, they’re still the same, vessels still follow that same course, they still voyage to every corner of the planet, There was no doubt in my mind that ‘Gleda’ would follow soon enough. Hundreds of years, and I was stressing about a few months. I’ve known Falmouth for most of my life, I’ve always been happy here, I’ve often dreamed of living here, I wanted Gail to share my love of the place. It’s likely that once we sail away we won’t be back for years. I closed my eyes and breathed in the fresh sea air, as I did so I felt a weight lifting, I felt in tune with The Universe as it whispered in my ear “Stay”.
I made enquiries at Falmouth Haven but all they could offer was a swinging mooring in the harbour some distance from the pontoons and facilities. This was doable but even Falmouth Harbour can be rough in an Easterly and dark choppy dinghy rides are not a fun way to commute.
This left Falmouth Marina, I wasn’t optimistic, even if they had space for a big cat, I feared the cost would be too much, but I needed to find out so on a windy day of torrential rain I caught the bus to St Mawes, the ferry to Falmouth and walked down to the marina offices. The guy on reception shook his head glumly as soon as I mentioned 38ft cat but still strolled back to the big board on the office wall that showed all the berthing slots, he studied it for a minute, looked out the window towards the slipway and then said “oh, hang on a minute, we’ve just hauled out a big motor cruiser, it usually stays in the water off season but the owner has decided he wants her out, so actually yes, we could give you a berth”. I kept my excitement under control as I asked the next question, “OK that’s good, so what’s the best you can do for a six month stay”? He pulled out the rates chart and a pad of paper and started scribbling down a few figures, the standard rate was scary but the six month deal figure looked OK, quite a bit less than we’d budgeted for Lagos Marina in fact. I asked him if he could give me a few days to decide but in my heart I knew we’d be taking it and when I spoke to Gail she agreed. A few days later I pulled ’Gleda’ out of Messack Creek, motored across a choppy Carrick Roads and down the Penryn River to the marina.
The F5 wind and torrential rain wasn’t my ideal choice of conditions for my first attempt to slot ‘Gleda’ into a marina berth and I’d have preferred not to have done it singlehanded, but I managed it without mishap and not long afterwards I was warm and dry below supping a mug of tea.
It struck me then how lucky it was that the berth had come free when it did and how pleased I was to have ‘Gleda’ safe and secure for the Winter. The following day when I went to pay the man he said “actually I quoted you the wrong price, I should have added a multihull surcharge, but I’ll honour what I quoted”. Now you may think that all this talk of ‘The Universe’ amounts to nothing more than a pile of crud, but for me these past few days have reminded me that tuning in and listening to what it’s telling you rather than trying to bend it to your will makes life far less stressful.
So that’s it, Falmouth will be our home until April next year, A new chapter has started and there’s much to be done, not least earning a few quid somehow. I have a long list of Winter jobs to do on the boat, I want to start writing again and I want to take every opportunity to get out sailing when we can, I’m not having ‘Gleda’ turned into a houseboat.
I’m looking forward to it, I know it’ll be tough when the real weather arrives but now I’m working with The Universe it’ll all work out.
I’ll be posting more regularly now so until the next time may your God go with you.