Today I was thinking about one moment offshore.
I cannot remember what day it was. All of the days run together in my memory. I do know that it was on our 38-day passage from Costa Rica to Hawaii somewhere in the endless blue of the Pacific. The nearest land was more than one-thousand miles over the horizon to the east. It was nearly noon and all of the kids and my wife were sound asleep in their berths below. The wind was blowing from the south east off the starboard quarter at only six to eight knots. The seas were that impossible blue that can only be found on a sunny day far from land, the very color that gives “bluewater sailing” its moniker. There were no whitecaps that were not made from the boats own wake. It was almost calm and the boat was moving gently at only around three or four knots with all sails set.
I sat on the low side of the cockpit, leaning against the splash guards. The gentle wind was blowing right off the jib, being funneled through the gap between it and the main sail and right into my face. The boat was on a gentle heel to port and I could look right down into the water as it passed by the boat. For once I had no music playing and because everyone else was sound asleep below the only sounds were the soft rush of water along the hull and the rustle of the wind in the sails.
At that moment, as if on cue, two little dolphins swam to the surface almost close enough to touch. I could hear them breathe through their blowholes and even hear their squeaks from underwater as they rushed past me on their way to the bow where they would play with their namesake “Wandering Dolphin” for a little while before heading back to what ever it is dolphins do out there all day long.
I remember thinking at that moment,
“This is why people go to sea. This is the very dream so many people have back home in their cubicles at work. At this moment I am living the dream of so many dreamers who long to leave it all behind and see what I am seeing right now. I am actually experiencing the offshore ideal that has drawn sailors to the ocean since the very first moment a sail was raised on a mast above a deck.”
I decided right then to take a mental picture and vowed to remember it when I was sitting in a marina on a chilly day with heaters running and the creak of a dockline pulling the boat from the dock. Then I picked up my iPad and snapped the two seemingly boring pictures above. I hope that moment inspires you to dream.