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I’ve spent the last three days shivering, cold, and damp.  The average temp in the boat has been hovering around a nippy 42 degrees.  It creeps up to a toasty 48 by late afternoon but soon drops back as the sun falls in the western sky.  It doesn’t matter how many layers I add, once the dampness gets into your bones its there to stay.

Falmouth cutter 22

Not a sole wants to come visit the boat when it’s this cold, and I can’t blame them. My body is shutting down; the cold is winning.  I remember when I lived in the South Pacific: if it got below 70 degrees we would all get bitchy and layer ourselves up in big thick hoodies and Ugg boots and whine about the bitter South Pacific winters.

I stare at the mouth of the harbor and it drives fear into my soul. It’s my salvation but the thought of setting out engineless, solo, with a dog, and no lifelines, in the bitter cold . . . I’m afraid.  One mistake is all it takes for disaster to strike.  I’ve done this so many times, but always in the warm summer days, or with crew, or with no dog.  The cold has taken all my strength, both mental and physical.  I feel broken, all alone, questioning everything.

The cold cabin of my boat has lost all its appeal. I want to be somewhere warm. I fantasize about selling out and heading for the sun.

Drenched and frozen to the bone, I curled up with Sterling Hayden’s Wanderer.  I think this is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read.  By page 73 I had to force myself through every word; by page 83 I quit . . . what a phony.

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.”

I’ve read this quote so many times and it has brought so many emotions,  stirred thought, made me believe it can be done.  In the book I discovered he set off in a 100′ ship full of stores and an able-bodied crew.  I would kill to have a 10k in the budget like he did. Then I did some math and realized by today’s standards he had over 75,000.00. One by one my heroes’ journeys into self-sufficiency have been proved false.  Thoreau wrote On Walden’s Pond about living in self-sufficiency but it turns out he walked into town every day, dropped his laundry with his sister and went to the bar for lunch and ales with the boys.  Even Christopher McCandless, who photographed burning all his money and wrote in his journal that he cut up all  his identification and gave away or burned all his money had a little secret.  His backpack was found containing a secret compartment with several one hundred dollar bills, his driver’s license and his social security card.

Maybe it can’t be done, maybe freedom is an illusion.  I have packed it in and retreated for the warmth and comfort of everything I despise in this world …

If it was easy all our dreams would come true.

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