A NEW PAGE
June 27, 2017
Since I have tried and failed to write a complete blog post in over a year, I have decided to try something different: create a whole new page. While I have not been writing for the blog, I have done a boatload (I’m not going to stop using that word) of writing for school, for reflection, and for fun. I put a lot of work into those stories and essays that I’ve written over the years, but it occurred to me the no one is going to read them except myself and my English teacher. Unless I do something about it, that is. So this is me doing something about it. This particular page will be for journal entries that I have made since the beginning of our trip (five years!). I will try to arrange it so that you have to scroll down to read the older ones while the newer ones will be on top, but we’ll see how it goes. (I’m not a computer person. It’s a miracle I managed to figure out how to create this page without any help.) The dates that you will see will be the dates I wrote the entries, not the dates I posted them. I will also try to keep the same format I wrote them in, spelling errors and all, so brackets will include additional notes that I am making at this time. Assuming that I have been successful, I will stop distracting you now so that you can basically look inside my head. Is that kind of creepy?
Entry #31 (personal journal)
Some of my first few entries were about death, and this one will be too. Nikolai died a few days ago, and I just found out now. Thanks to Nikolai, I discovered I smile when I break people’s hearts, and now I know I smile when they die too. It’s not because I’m happy, but because I don’t know what to think. I haven’t seen him in four years–since he was fifteen and I was thirteen. He would’ve been nineteen now. At first I felt nothing, and I was ashamed of not feeling the need to cry. Well, I’m crying now because now I remember everything. I remember first meeting Nikolai on his fifteenth birthday in Fatu Hiva. We had just finished the Pacific Crossing and were experiencing French Polynesia for the first time. There was a huge soccer match with cruisers and locals, and it started raining, turning the field to mud. Everyone kept slipping, and Nikolai kept sliding into me. He fell down so many times and got completely covered in mud. I remember crabs and curry flying across Voyageur in Daniel’s Bay, Nuku Hiva as they fled from Nikolai’s hammer. I remember the two of us yelling at the cold of the water after the hike to the waterfall and then us swimming to the waterfall together. I remember videoing him in Oua Pou as he attempted to do a backflip off the pier and failed miserably at it. His famous line from that evening was, “Don’t kill the bubbles! Don’t you dare!” We took many trips on that island, and I felt like he was always at the center of them. The source of the adventure. I remember taking a picture of him on the trip to the pass in Kauehi when everyone rode on our boat. Surrounded by kids, he looks directly at the camera with this expression of, “Help me.” I have a lot of pictures of Nikolai. He’s just so goofy and fun that it’s hard not to take them. I remember dinner on his boat at that same atoll. He taught Colin and I how to eat with flatbread. I still use that technique he showed me. Later it became revealed that I knew that he had a crush on me. I was twelve and had never dealt with something like that before, so I broke his heart with a smile on my face. Things became awkward after that. I remember walking side-by-side on a hike, sharing a piece of coconut. I remember him becoming another victim of the deadly football we nicknamed the “Missile.” I remember just how terrible he was at badminton. I remember him attempting to give some of the other kids violin lessons and there being this awful sound like a herd of singing cats. I remember all this because, even though I never truly got to know him in the short time we traveled together, Nikolai was there for some of the most important experiences of my life.
That tells you something about the bond this lifestyle forges between cruising kids. Nikolai is a part of so many amazing memories–a part of this great big perfect picture. And now that he’s gone, those memories and that picture feel shattered. Life can be unkind and unfair, more so to some people than others. I never kept in touch with him after we parted ways in Tonga. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people, but there’s always this thought that that’s okay because if the friendship is strong enough, then you’ll see them again down the road. ALWAYS stay in touch with your friends. If you don’t, then how will you know if they need you? Whenever I part ways with someone, I never know when I am going to see them again, but it never occurred to me to consider that I might never see them again. Tell your friends you love them. Even if you don’t use words, make sure they know it. And make every minute with them count. I didn’t do that with Nikolai, and I wonder if that would’ve made a difference in the end. I hope that when he remembered me, he remembered me as more than the girl who broke his heart. I hope he remembers me as a friend. Nikolai would never have truly known just how much he has shaped my life, but I hope that somehow he does now.
I wish you peace and happiness and love, Nikolai, and that you are finally with the people you have lost over the years. May the ocean always be with you. Aloha, my friend.
Entry #30 (personal journal)
It’s been several months since my last entry. I don’t know if it’s because of the life back on the move or because of the constant presence of Internet. Either way, I haven’t been writing like I should. I haven’t even worked on “Young Blood” in a while, though I think I can easily pick back up where I left off (in more ways than one). [I have absolutely no idea what I meant by that.] I started a more light-hearted (for now) RWBY fanfiction (DSRT), so I plan to switch my focus based on my mood. RWBY has been a good thing in my life. Colin and I don’t fight when we talk about it, and it takes my attention away from more stressful things. We’re in California now, visiting family and preparing for the SAT. It’s been fun seeing Aunt Kris again. I haven’t seen her in years. Hannah flew in a couple weeks ago, which was fun. We saw Macha a few weeks before that, which was really cool. Gotta love ex-cruisers. And gotta love cruisers. We joined up with Monkey Fist again, though they went on ahead to Mexico a few days ago. Paul taught Colin some new tricks and songs for guitar. They also told us about a venue that’s right on the water where you can pull your dinghy up close enough to see a concert for free. We all went to see Ingrid Michaelson. For my first concert, it was awesome. I don’t think I realized what an amazing singer she is until now. I recognized maybe five or six of her songs, including “Be OK” and “Girls Chase Boys.” She was great with the audience (even if she had a cold), and she even addressed the “boat people,” who she made clear to that she knew we weren’t paying. She also let the “boat people” sing part of one of her songs (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”). I was too shy to join in, but it was still special. At the end, she and the rest of her band did “I’m Too Sexy,” which was hilarious [oh my gosh, the dabbing]. It was a great night.
For Halloween, we toured a Taylor guitar factory (also for free). I took almost nothing in, but it was still an interesting experience. The workers all clearly love their job and are extremely dedicated to it. The company practically started from nothing, and it had a rocky start. Now it has won a reward for corporate excellence with regards to its strides towards sustainability, though it’s ironic that it gives out little plastic water bottles. I have a lot of respect for the company, as well as its robots and ping pong tables. I also got to ride on a train for the first time, though we had a little trouble with the tickets and I felt dirty afterwards. By some miracle I was still able to make severed finger sugar cookies [I love showing people that picture] and red hot chocolate, but I certainly crashed at the end of the day.
Good news is, I finally finished my courses from last year (except for Algebra), even if it was on a sour note with my Health and Nutrition teacher. My two AP courses, English Language and Environ Science have proved to be difficult and stressful, but less so now because of the upcoming SAT. That’s not to say they aren’t enjoyable. Environ Science is my favorite. I definitely think I’m on the right career path. Tensions are high because of stress for the SAT this Saturday. No school Friday, but I’ll be spending it preparing. I’ll be glad when the test is over, whether I’m ready or not. It’s just a practice run, and better to get it over with now so I don’t have to worry about it later. Aunt Kris said junior year is hardest. The hammer of adulthood hurts.
That’s about everything that happened recently. I probably forgot a few things, but I can write those down if they come back to me. I’ll record a few details about the previous months later because it’s 10:35 and I’m too tired to think anymore. Goodnight. [Yeah, later as in it is now 2017 and I am in Panama and just now thinking that it might be a good idea to make another entry. We’ll see if it actually happens.]
Entry #29 (personal journal)
It is still cold, wet, and rainy. Now I’m beginning to mind. The constant dampness is driving me crazy. I hope the rain clears up tomorrow so we can have hamburgers. A request has been put in for cinnamon buns, and Colin’s in charge of my cake. Now I’m beginning to get excited. I hope he does a good job. Oh, chocolate ice cream… Sometimes I think my family knows me better than I know myself. I can’t believe I’m almost sixteen…and I still don’t know how to drive. Ironic, all things considering.
Entry #28 (personal journal)
Okay then. I failed to write more than two entries in my log. Time to catch up.
This passage was a good one. Not overly exciting or interesting, just good. The only day I really felt seasick was day 10, and that was because my friend doesn’t like rough seas. At one point, there were millions of jellyfish-type creatures related to the Portuguese man-of-war. By-the-wind-sailors they’re called. They’re a beautiful indigo color and their sails catch the light at sunset. I don’t think there was a day we didn’t see birds. There was always at least one albatross. Amazing being thousands of miles away from land. We saw whales on a few days. I think they’re Sei or something similar. I’m pretty sure they were too big to be minke and too small to be fin, but I’m no expert. We surprisingly saw seals as well. More than half the passage was spent in fog and under gray clouds. It was a miracle if a patch of blue sky showed or a beam of sunshine got through. The fog got so thick you could barely see half a mile. A big tanker loomed nearly invisible a mile away, like a big dark ghost ship. I spent most of my time playing KOTOR and watching TV shows and movies, but I did some reading and writing. I got some English done, but not much. I’m really stressed about schoolwork right now, but I won’t talk about that. What’s new, right? Ugh.
We’ve been in Alaska about a month. This has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The spikey mountains are of the darkest green with tops capped with pure white snow. The waters are shades of green, blue, and brown that I’ve never seen before. It’s much colder than I’m used to though. I can see my breath on occasion. When we first came into Sitka, we were greeted by whales, puffins, jellyfish, otters, eagles, sea lions, and huge ravens. We went for a walk to see the totem poles. Since then we have been moving nonstop. There have been humpbacks, orcas, and seals–porpoises too. We stopped at an abandoned mining village and saw four grizzlies (one was a female with two cubs). Now we have seen ten bears collectively (8 grizzly, 2 black). I found an old safe dial.
Grandma Jen flew in. It’s been fun. (Before she got here, Colin and Dad caught a 55 pound halibut.) We went hiking near Mendenhall glacier. There was a big waterfall (Nugget Falls), and Grandma and Mom saw a porcupine. Dad and Grandma saw a black bear. We sailed up to where there were icebergs in the water. The air was so much colder (and the water) and a weird fog surrounded the ice. The ice ranged from pure white to dirty brown to electric blue to clear. We spotted different shapes in them–table, bird, dragon, crab, pegasus, etc. We got too close to one in the dinghy. A big chunk fell off and nearly flipped Uhani Kai, drenching them in the process. Lesson learned. The next day, we took the boat up Tracey Arm. With mountains (occasionally broken by valleys) and waterfalls on both sides, we froze beneath our foul weather gear while dodging hundreds of growlers and bergie bits. You could see the tracks in the smooth mountain walls where the glacier carved out its history. The giant wall of blue, white, and brown ice towered over us, but the valley behind it indicated it used to be bigger. Every once in a while, it would rumble and creak angrily. Small chunks would fall off and, after a delay, thunder would sound. One huge piece broke and crashed into the water. It was like multiple lightning strikes extremely close. Later, after moving on, we saw a moose and Colin caught a salmon. Two days ago there were a bunch of whales feeding. You could hear every rasping breath they took. They were jumping and slapping their tails, sounding like fireworks. Others were blowing bubbles and coming up with their mouths wide before turning on their sides. It was amazing.
Now we’re holed up in Meyer’s Chuck, possibly for my birthday. It’s cold and rainy, but I don’t really mind. I’m sad about losing my tan though. I have no clue what my birthday’s going to be like, but I don’t have high expectations. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A float plane just landed next to us. I can’t tell if he flipped us the bird or not. Anyway, we have to move.
I’ve been thinking about what I call accidental characters. Funk, Ms. Amber, Dusty, Kai–they weren’t intentional; they just kind of happened. Now they’re vital to the story. Funk is an interesting one. He started as a spur of the moment decision to try and give Joy a backstory. Then I realized he could be involved in the party scene instead of some unnamed kid. But then he would need to have some sort of relationship with Ruvel, so I added that. But if he knew Ruvel, then he would have either a direct or indirect relationship with Angel. I made that connection as well. With all this, I realized he needed a motivation–reasons for caring for Joy and Ruvel, for running away, for doing the things he does. That brought in the story of his father and younger sister. This also spawned a relationship with Father McCauley. And then you have how Joy got caught up in and is affected by all this. She has some more pain in her past to deal with, and her conflict with Funk indirectly breeds conflict with Angel, moving the story along and changing the girls’ relationship. Isn’t it amazing how interwoven everything is? Adding these new characters was like adding ink to cold water. At first it’s only a small spot, but then it spreads out on its own in ways you could’ve never imagined. It’s gonna be hell to edit.
Entry #27 (passage log)
Lat: 28* 52′ N; Long: 159* 49′ W
COG: 000 T; SOG: 6.5 K
A little bit of gray on the horizon. Mostly blue sky with lots of clouds. We might have stern showers today. I definitely need a shower. […] Colin said my hair looks like I spent three days swimming at sea. I thanked him for that. Saw a large brown bird. At first I thought it was an albatross, but when it landed in the water its shape was more that of a booby’s. I don’t know what it was. Fishing lines are out today. We haven’t caught anything. My dad talked to the Iron Lady from Honolulu last night. They mistook us for another fishing vessel. My mom also saw what she was pretty sure was an illegal fishing boat the other night. If there are fishermen, then there must be fish, right? My back is starting to hurt more. I need to figure something out. This is getting uncomfortable.
Thinking about this as a 20 day passage, today we are 1/5 of the way through the trip. Tomorrow should make it 1/4. That helps make it seem shorter. This is a long one…
I want to do some writing–work on my story, but I haven’t dared try. This right here is mindless, but actually doing something that requires careful and serious thought is different. I’m afraid it will make me feel bad. Won’t know till I try. Maybe I can work on some smaller things or do some prewriting to help me overcome my writer’s block. I think I’m just stalling though. I can’t continue the big thing unless I actually work on it. I don’t want to let this story die. I will finish it. Hopefully soon. Yeah, right…
Entry #26 (passage log)
Lat: 26* 20.44 N; Long: 159* 48.59 W
COG: 000 T; SOG: 7.0 K
So I haven’t written since the Pacific Crossing… Let’s try this again.
About 48 hours ago, the Full Monty left Hawaii for Alaska. We had to leave twice. The autopilot wasn’t calibrated the first time, so we had to go back to Kauai and reanchor. After a few hours we left again. The first two days were a little bumpy. There was a lot of slamming and water in the cockpit. Day 2 had a particularly big wave go from starboard to port over our deck.
Today is much nicer. It’s actually sunny, the waves are more gentle, and we’re moving along at a nice speed. I’ve been feeling good so far. I took some seasickness medicine the first day, but that was it. A passage has never started like this before. I hope that’s a good sign. There [were] some dolphins and frigates that told us farewell. I trust them.
I’m in the cockpit right now. The wind is cold, but not quite cold enough for a jacket. We’re still taking a few waves on the starboard side. I got hit with some spray. I’ll stay sitting on the port side.
We’re supposed to be documenting the trash we see for a researcher at HPU. I think that’s cool, especially since I think it would be a great place to go to college. My mom has seen two pieces. I haven’t seen any while I’ve been out here. Though, I have been looking at my journal. I have a spare piece of paper on me, just in case.
Boat life is taking some getting used to again. I have to relearn how to walk. Today is a bit easier. My back was sore this morning. A bouncy bunk is not good for a side sleeper. The water pump’s been acting up. Dad says it’s probably overheating. We have to keep it turned off until we need to use it. My head has a bit of a smell to it. I hope it’s just the water in the pipes combined with the enclosed area. A leak would be bad. It’s getting hot in my cabin. I think I might be glad when it cools off. I’ll probably regret that later. There’s a bunch of salt in the cockpit and on deck. The stuff on my hatch over my bed casts weird patterns on my legs. I’ve been watching a lot of movies and NCIS. Been laying around a lot. I told myself I would think about doing schoolwork after three days. It’s gonna be hard to get motivated. I might bring out my word search book later.
I think I’ll head inside. It’s hard to focus on writing, and my hand’s cramping from trying to hold the pen still. I’m getting salt on my glasses, and my hair’s gonna be a pain to brush. I’ll have to brush it tonight.
Isn’t it interesting how you can be hundreds of miles from land and still see birds?
Entry #25 (personal journal)
It’s been a few months since I’ve written. A lot has happened. We’re getting ready to leave for Alaska in a few hours. I’m excited, nervous, and sad to leave. It’s going to be a long trip. I’ll switch over to my log when we’re underway. I’m kind of speed writing now. I’ll try to record everything that has happened.
We met a boat we briefly ran into in Tahiti called Lady Carolina. There are two boys on board–Joel (11) and Kyle (16). We hung out with them for a bit on Oahu and they’ve been with us in Kauai. We should see them again somewhere in the Northwest. It’s been fun. Kyle’s birthday was two days ago. We had a surprise party with cake and ice cream.
I spent my last day at the Humane Society with Hannah. We hung out with two dogs, Mika (pitbull mix) and Wrinkles (shar pei mix). I helped get a cat named Kit Kat adopted by a family that had just lost one of their cats. Afterwards Hannah and I got sodas and sweets from the bakery across the street. It was a good day.
We said goodbye to everyone. I’m gonna miss Hannah. […] We talked on the phone the other day. Looks like this friendship is a good one.
We sailed to Kauai. Once I got over my nerves in the beginning it wasn’t too bad. It’s really beautiful here with rugged mountains and waterfalls. We’ve had beach days, gone swimming and boogie boarding, and got in the water at one waterfall. We even took the boat out for the day to go down the coast. So beautiful. Colin’s gone surfing everyday. We’ve gotten back together with the Witchmans. We even went to their house for dinner. Man, I’ve missed the cruising life.
Random details: I got to help fill out a sick animal report for a dog. I’ve finished Chemistry. I have one unit of Nutrition and Spanish left, which I will complete in Alaska. We’ve had movie nights with Joel and Kyle. I’m looking forward to watching new movies and TV shows underway. I’m really gonna miss Hawaii.
Entry #24 (personal journal)
Right, so I fell asleep before I could finish writing what I wanted to, and I spent all of after school yesterday in a tattoo parlor. Mom was supposed to get hers Sunday, but they called yesterday to ask if she wanted to do it earlier. It was kind of cool being in the shop. It was semi-traditional. I had fun looking at the portfolios and trying to identify the Polynesian symbols. Mom’s tattoo turned out really pretty. It didn’t sound like it hurt that much. Now I want one even more.
[…] We ate the Passover meal with [the Kurosus] that [Sunday]. It was the first Jewish celebration I ever participated in. I was a little uncomfortable, afraid to do the wrong thing. […] It was interesting to learn the customs and traditions–not that it was very traditional. I did enjoy it though. I got some video of Colin and Hannah playing with Tali. I love that dog.
Entry #23 (personal journal)
A lot of time has passed since I last wrote. I don’t even know where to start. We’re leaving in a few weeks. The stress is wearing on me [Wow, I say that a lot. Now I just need to say that I’m tired.]. I sent my resignation email to the Humane Society. The car will most likely be sold today. We’ve switched to a six day school week, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t sleep well anymore. I barely have any energy [There it is! I tend to write when I’m stressed or tired, if you haven’t figured that out.]. I just wish I could push a button to make time stop, so I can crawl in a hole until I’m ready to face the world again. I hate this…not exactly waiting, but this sense of in between. I want to leave just so it will disappear. (The car didn’t sell, I just heard.)
I’ve gotten back into reading again (Kelley Armstrong is awesome), but I’ve fallen out of writing. I still want to finish my story, and I’m still into the story though. I just wrote myself into a place I wasn’t expecting to go, and now I need to figure out what fits where [That kind of sounds like life]. Not writer’s block, just writer’s stall. I probably need a good kick in the butt to get started, or a least just work it out on paper. That might be best.
We’re having an early birthday celebration for Colin today. I made donuts, and there will be cheesecake tonight. I don’t even want to talk about weekend productivity. I’ve been trying out Alan Wake. Creepy game. I don’t like Wake. My two favorite characters are the sheriff and the radio host. I really, really hope nothing happens to them, especially the sheriff. It’s nice when games have a good female character. I probably wouldn’t have like Murdered: Soul Suspect as much if Joy wasn’t in it. I don’t like how video games make a girl have to abandon her gender if she wants to enjoy it. I mean, come on! It’s okay for girls to play as guy characters, but it’s criminal for guys to play as girl characters? Seriously, where’s the equality?
Slightly stemming from that point, I’ve been thinking about sexuality. [Insert questions about if it is possible to truly know your sexuality from a young age] Earlier, I would have never thought it possible, but the world is changing. I liked a point Ashley Johnson [actress that plays Patterson in Blind Spot and VA for Ellie in The Last of Us and the teenage Gwen Tennyson in Ben 10] made in an interview. She said it shouldn’t matter. All that matters is that you find a person you share a special connection with, that you share a special bond with, that provides you with something no one else can. I like that.
I had to stop for dinner and cheesecake. [I then fell asleep minutes later and didn’t write any more]
Entry #22 (personal journal)
Mom’s back. Mark’s gone. Doug is here, but will leave tonight. I’m very stressed, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t even feel like writing about it. Probably because I would end up writing a book. Finale of Idol begins tonight. Dalton got eliminated. Down to Trent and La’Porsha. I feel Trent will win [Called it!]. La’Porsha’s the better singer though. It doesn’t really matter to me. They’ve been my Top 2 for a while now.
I’ve been working on developing Angel and Joy’s relationship. I like to think of my story as a love story but not a romance. I guess that could simply be called a story of friendship, but that doesn’t seem right. It’s certainly no ordinary friendship. Right now, I’m working on what I call a rough-around-the-edges moment. The name comes from Father McCauley telling Iris that Joy would not be the easiest to get along with and that she was “a little rough around the edges.” The moment is awkward and personal, an excellent way to develop a relationship. I need to rewrite many of the earlier scenes. I need to make Joy rougher, less hospitable towards Angel, but still kind and likeable. I need to make Angel more cautious, more uncertain and awkward in conversation, but still determined and well aware of her goals [I just realized how much that sounds like someone I know. Can you guess who?] Putting the two girls together should create a briar and rose situation, with Joy being the briar and Angel being the rose. To quote “Barbara Allen,” the rose will grow ’round the briar.
The awkwardness I’ve put in the dialog has made me realize something. I know one of the reasons I like the control so much. I am awkward in conversation. I feel I have no control or it gets turned around on me. When I write, I hold all the power. I can make the conversations go any way I want them to go. Real life will never be entirely like that, but I hope I become more comfortable in the future.
Entry #21 (personal journal)
Mom left yesterday to go take care of the farm while Grandma recovers from surgery. […] She’s going to be gone for two weeks.
I went crazy deep while talking to Emma today. I hope I didn’t make her feel awkward. I just don’t have another teen to connect with [That was actually not entirely true at the time]. She seemed patient at least, and her responses were good. It’s just hard being stuck in two worlds. I want to stay in one, but I can’t completely let go of the other. I know who I am, but the world makes it hard to be who I am. I don’t know where I belong. I don’t mind being alone, but it would be nice to less lonely if you know what I mean. Emma seemed to get what I was talking about. She reminded me that a lot of teens struggle with finding a place to belong. She reminded me that I am more normal than I thought. In the fact that I don’t belong, I do belong. I am a teenager, and I am proud of it.
Entry #20 (personal journal)
My mom’s cousins Merle and Glenda left Tuesday. I enjoyed their visit. We took the boat out twice, hiked to the Manoa Falls (Manoa trickle), went to Kailua Beach and Island Snow, and went to Pearl Harbor. It was fun. They were fun.
Entry #19 (personal journal)
Colin and Hannah are going to practice for their performance for the fundraiser. […] Hannah made some comment (I forget exactly what it was) about me being friends with her or not being normal or something. I responded, “I don’t make friends with normal people.” She then said, “Exactly! I have met Sueno. I know what they’re like.” [If any of the Falardeau’s are reading this, I love you guys!] I could tell she was pleased. All my friends are rude and/or crazy, but they’re good people. That’s all that matters. [Unnamed friend] constantly remarks about how loud mouthed, obnoxious, and overly opinionated she is. I was like, “Yep, those are the kind of people I hang out with.” It makes for fun and interesting conversation.
Entry #18 (personal journal)
I have come to a conclusion. No one hates a writer’s work more than the writer herself. No one is more proud of the writer’s work than that very same writer–with the possible exception of her family. Ha! I can’t write straight today! [In response to having to cross out and add words in the entry]
Entry #17 (personal journal)
I love the power I have when I write. Through writing, I can create worlds, creatures, and characters that I alone can control. I choose what they say or do or what happens to them. It makes a nice escape from this stressful or uncertain world. […] But I need to stay in touch with reality. The real world’s not that bad a place, and it won’t be there forever. I should enjoy life when I can. My stories will always be waiting. The opportunities that surround me…not so much.
On the other hand, I have little control over my stories. I just kind of make a beginning, a middle, and an end, point my characters in the direction they need to go, and let them go. They head in the right direction, but they choose their own paths. I tend to find myself as surprised at what happens next as they do. Before I know it, I’m inside their heads. This morning, when I was writing a scene between [Angel] and Joy, I made Joy notice that [Angel] didn’t want to be pitied by her. Suddenly, her thoughts seemed to go off on their own as she compared pity to hate. It’s weird how that happens. Even though I know how it all ends, I can’t help but eagerly await what happens next, because I have no clue. That tells you something about what is important in a story–and life too for that matter. Though our goal in sailing was always New Zealand, I found the journey to the goal much more enjoyable. I hope life will continue to be like that.
Entry #16 (personal journal)
If I had to describe what it was like to make the transition from land kid to cruising kid, then I would say it was like being hit with a hammer. Repeatedly. Everything was so limited, almost one sided. Then I got hit with this great big hammer […]. Suddenly everything was different. And I would barely have enough time to adjust to a new view before the hammer hit me again. I didn’t mold quickly either. It was a slow process. And the end results? There are no end results. There is only now, one step in the process. I don’t know when, but after my last few moldings, things have begun to take shape. I see things differently. The world is bigger; the people are more interesting. There are more sides to the world, more than I believed possible, and many of them are dark. But now, the longer I look at it, it is also beautiful–imperfect and far from finished, but beautiful.
So I trudge along. The hammer still continues to strike me at moments, when things are new or uncertain. It will continue to pound me for the rest of my life, for that hammer is the change that comes with new experiences–both good and bad. And I never want it to stop. Without change, life would be too boring. Wouldn’t you agree?
Entry #15 (personal journal)
The Panthers lost the Super Bowl yesterday. The Broncos destroyed them. Oh well. I never liked football much anyway.
[…] I need to get out of the city. I’ll kind of miss it though, Honolulu. It can be beautiful if you look closely. Kind of like me!
Entry #14 (personal journal)
“You gotta learn how to deal with life,” is what my mom said, referring to me being afraid to call the Humane Society. It was a very ironic statement after what had just happened. My mom and dad fished an injured pigeon out of the harbor. It had a broken wing. I helped my mom clean it off, and it drank some water. It was moving more and opened both eyes after the cleaning. There was hope for it to live. Strangely enough, the bird appeared to have accepted its death. I called the HHS (apparently sounding more confident than I felt) and they told me we could bring it in. I felt we were doing a good deed. With the bird wrapped in an old t-shirt in a box, it was warm as we drove to the Society. The bird had closed its eyes again. I thought it could live. I don’t know what I was thinking. “What’s in the box?” one of two women asked. My mom told them. The other smiled sweetly. “Ah, I’ll take it. You can go now,” she said. My mom told her what we had done and how it was getting stronger. The woman’s smile faded. “We’re going to euthanize it,” was all she said. She didn’t even look at the bird. “It was for the best,” my mom had said in the car later. She sounded like she was trying to convince herself more than me. Population control. The most humane option for it. It was still a life. Humans are overpopulated too. We’re just too strong for the other animals to save themselves by controlling us. I don’t think the bird was surprised by what happened, but I still feel I let it down. We could have taken care of it ourselves. How much trouble is a life worth? For giving it over to death, I gained experience making a phone call… Need I say more? I get the feeling there is no answer to the questions going through my mind. They will probably never be answered in my lifetime. They might never be answered at all.
No more sadness for today. The Super Bowl is on. I’m going to join my family.
A QUICK NOTE
June 28, 2017
You will discover that I will be switching back and forth between my passage log and my personal journal. For obvious reasons parts of the journal will be edited out, but I have decided to leave a lot of my thoughts in. I realized that there is no reason to hide my opinions, and if people disagree with me, then that’s fine. I still wish to show you how I have grown as a teenager in the cruising life. I wish my questions to inspire your questions and my thoughts to inspire your thoughts. I hope that you will see how this life has shaped me and will consider how this life has or might shape you. (Additional note: the journal also contains many of my notes on writing, so it will show you how I think as a writer as well. This is for anyone who is curious or can relate.)
Entry #13 (passage log)
Saturday/5-4-13/7:09 P.M./07* 31′ S, 117* 37′ W
Wind has died down these past few days. Now that I’m doing school again I don’t feel like writing in my log much. Plus it’s hard to get myself to write when I’m relaxing with my DS or NOOK in hand. Let’s see what I’ve neglected to record:
On Wednesday we lost sight and VHF contact with Calico Jack as predicted. Surprisingly, however, my mom was able to speak with the monohaul Interlude over the VHF. We had a kids’ trivia session with Sueno and Flour Girl over the ham [SSB]. Flour Girl’s question for the game was “What is the main indgredient in crème brulee?” Sadly I did not get the answer. Sueno had several interesting questions. On one David gave us 4 inventions and had us put them in order from older to most recent. I got it right by ordering it writing, jeans, TV, nuclear bomb. I even impressed my mom by asking David if he was saying writing with a w, as in whiskey, or lighting with an l, as in lema. He also had a question that no one could answer: If 2 x 3 = 10 and 6 x 5 = 66, what does 9 x 7 = ? To get 10 you add 2 and 3 and then multiply the sum by 2. To get 66 you add 6 and 5 and multiply the sum by 6. To get the answer of 9 x 7 you add 9 and 7 and multiply the sum by 9. 9 x 7 = 144. I managed to stump him back by asking “How can you tell one manta ray from another?” (though Natalie ended up shooting him a look because she knew the answer) and “I have 50 wolves and 40 ate chickens. How many didn’t?” (Say it aloud and it’s extremely confusing.) It was a fun day. Though, before the trivia, Flour Girl nervously told us about a vessel with Chinese writing on it that was coming a little close to them. It eventually came within a 1/4 mile. Luckily it moved on.
Around 11 P.M. on Thursday, we reached halfway distance-wise. We actually had a little wind that day. There were 5 flying fish on deck in the morning. Later, we caught the smallest mahi I have ever seen. My mom got out the camera and the mahi became the first picture so far on this trip. I said to my mom when she noticed this, “Well there’s really nothing to take a picture of. It’s just water, water everywhere.” That was day 10.
On Friday we celebrated reaching halfway with m+m cookies and no school. We caught a small mahi for dinner and ran the water maker. On that day nerves were beginning to show. I was snapping at everyone and Colin seemed determined to push all my buttons. No matter how many times I threatened him, though, he knew I wouldn’t hurt him, and even if I did he would just go running off to mommy and I’d get in trouble. That thought ticked me off even more. I ended up chasing him out of the galley while we were doing the dishes together. Finally, everyone had a talk and Colin agreed to *try* and hold his tongue, while I agreed to try and act less like a teenager. My dad just *had* to put that to the test, though, when I was relaxing in my cabin by calling out in a high voice, “Justine, sweetheart, it’s time to come to dinner!” I’ve never liked being called things like “honey” and “sweetheart.”
Now moving on to today. Let’s see… The spinnaker is up. My mom got some laundry done. I got through the rest of yesterday’s schoolwork and all of today’s schoolwork. I went absolutely stircrazy and couldn’t sit still and then started freaking out about falling behind in school and how I felt I wasn’t learning enough at the places we’ve been to (all of which was completely unnecessary). The next thing I knew I was talking to my mom about how cruising has made me think about possibly being a marine biologist when I grow up and how I could use the blog to rally people to help preserve the marine environment. After that talk and a bath I was good to go. I still am having a hard time sitting still, however. I would like to write a little more, but I’ve written so much already and I’m tired. So Justine signing off for now.
Entry #12 (passage log)
Tuesday/4-30-13/7:50 P.M./06* 19′ S, 109* 07′ W
Today has definitely been a better day. My cold is not as bad and I did 3 topics in school. We are still catching small mahi. They’re way too small to keep and seem to keep getting smaller. We must be passing over an area where young mahi spend the first part of their lives, for there’s plenty of flying fish for them to eat.
We could actually see Calico Jack’s sails! My mom was able to talk to them over the V.H.F. and they came in clearly. Later she relayed their position to the other boats on the Beagle (Darwin’s boat) net. It’s nice having another boat close to us, being in the middle of the ocean for 21 days can get lonely. It’s funny how Calico Jack left the Galapagos 2 days before us and now we’re passing them. We won’t be able to see them any more by morning. Too bad, I liked seeing them.
In about 2 days we’ll reach the halfway point! It’s so exciting. We’ve already been sailing for longer than we’ve sailed before on a passage. If it’s not too bumpy when we reach halfway we’ll bake M&M cookies. Can’t wait! We’ve already had vanilla pudding with bananas in it today.
Our bodies are definitely used to the rocking now. This has to be the easiest one so far (knock on wood). The Pacific seems to be a lot gentler than the Atlantic (knock on wood again).
The wind is not as strong today and we had a *brief* shower.
Entry #11 (passage log)
Monday/4-29-13/6:42 P.M./05* 52′ S, 106* 47′ W
We have been underway for a week now. My cold is still driving me crazy and we still haven’t done any school. I don’t feel like writing much. Today we passed the 1/3 mark. 2/3 of the way to go…oh boy. The time went back 1 hour when we reached 105* W. With so many boats at different time zones, the net times are starting to get confusing. We caught a mahi. We let it go, though. I’ve never seen one so small.
Colin and I played with Bakugan until dinner. Dinner consisted of chicken, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a tortilla.
We’re on course and the wind is still blowing strong. It rained a bit some time earlier.
Entry #10 (passage log)
Sunday/4-28-13/8:12 P.M./05* 24′ S, 104* 48′ W
Woke up at 2:00 A.M. Never fell back asleep. Luckily I had enough energy to survive the day, but have been in a no-nonsense attitude the whole entire time. My cold hasn’t been helping my mood either. My sore throat is gone, but my nose is driving me crazy. I don’t know which is worse: going without medicine, in which my nose is stuffy, or going with medicine, in which my nose is runny.
There were lots of squid and flying fish on deck this morning. My dad was lucky enough to be on watch when a big squid jumped on board. There has been some debate on the actual size of the cephalopod; in which I can’t help but attempt to prove Colin wrong (pointless I know, but it’s fun).
UFOs, a UFT, and SFF! My family has spotted several UFOs (unidentified floated objects) in the water. They said the objects looked like some sort of sponges cut into squares. We have also seen a UFT (unidentified floating turtle). It was just drifting along. What was strange was that this turtle appeared to have a hunchback. We were discussing what turtles eat. I know they eat jellyfish and seaweed, but we haven’t really seen either of those around here. Maybe the turtle was headed to the Galapagos… As for the SFF (super flying fish), there seem to be a lot more of them today.
The wind has been good to us today.
Entry #9 (passage log)
Saturday/4-27-13/8:08 P.M./04* 46′ S, 102* 25′ W
I’m extremely tired. My cold isn’t getting any better, if not worse. When will this sickness end? I still don’t have a fever, though (knock on wood). We were supposed to do school today, but we took baths instead. Colin got a haircut. We had banana pancakes for dinner. We have so many bananas it’s not even funny. We’re going to be tired of bananas by the end of this crossing. Flour Girl and Sueno [I don’t know how to use symbols in this program!] were talking over the ham [SSB] about how Pete [Saliander] seems to catch a lot of fish. It’s true: No one knows how he does it, but Pete catches fish as if by magic. It is just amazing.
I read some mythology earlier. I really liked the wine god (don’t ask me to spell his name). He seemed more forgiving than other gods. He appeared to give chances when the other gods would just slay who ever opposed them on sight. The book [by Edith Hamilton] described him as joyful at some times and vicious at others. The book said he represented both the positive and negative effects of wine on the drinker, but I think he also represents the good and bad in a person. Sort of like yin and yang…
The wind is stronger tonight.
Entry #8 (passage log)
Friday/4-26-13/8:24 P.M./03* 58′ S, 100* 19′ W
We’ve been underway for four days now. It has been another inactive day. My sore throat has been getting worse, so I’m just waiting for a fever now. The wind has been light today, though my mom says we might be able to make it in 18 days [I’m laughing at that right now]. It’s too early to tell anything though. We shared some jokes with Arthur (Morning Glory) over email. When he sent a particularly cruel one about a baby seal walking into a club we sent back a few that begin like: What do you call a dog with no legs? or What do you call a woman with one leg?
I read an interesting story just before dinner (dinner consisted of mahi, rice, and broccoli). It was a story about a unicorn and a girl [this story can be found in the book Horse Tales]. In the story there is a young girl named Rhiannon. Now Rhiannon lives in a village under the control of a cruel lord. Rhiannon’s father, wrongly accused, is in prison and her mother is forced to work in the lord’s castle. Every morning Rhiannon would go into the forest to pick truffles, but, one day, she also found a little white foal with a small horn on its head. For the few days, whenever Rhiannon would go truffle picking, the foal would show her where to dig. Once her basket was full, the little unicorn would lay its head on her lap and listen to her sing. In time, word got out to the cruel lord that there was a unicorn in the woods, so the lord decided to hunt it. The lord forced Rhiannon to go into the wood to lure the unicorn out. As usual, when the girl went into the forest the unicorn came to her and put its head in her lap. This time, instead of singing, Rhiannon warned the foal of the cruel lord just as he jumped out, spear in hand. The unicorn, with Rhiannon on its back, fled deeper into the forest with the lord, on his own mount, in pursuit. Meanwhile, back at the village, the villagers heard some strange noises coming from the forest, including “a voice like the snarl of trumpets, a man’s shout, and a crash.” After that, silence. When the villagers went into the wood to investigate they found the lord’s body under a tree, “pierced through from side to side” and his horse wandering nearby. When Rhiannon finally came back, she only spoke four words about her experience, and she said these words to her parents, who were freed. The words were: unicorns have parents too.
When looking out at the full moon the mind can often drift to strange things. Like the spelling of eidelweiss for example. At least I think that’s how you spell it… [No, it is not how you spell it]
Entry #7 (passage log)
Thursday/4-25-13/4:34 P.M./ 02* 51′ S, 097* 31′ W
Today’s been a good one. Feeling well except for the fact that I have a sore throat. Must be catching Colin’s cold…great. I’m a little bored. Been thinking scientifically. When I woke up with my sore throat, I realized it must be from drainage. Then I started thinking of how drainage, or mucus, is one of the body’s first lines of defense against sickness. The mucus traps the things that make you sick, and then you expel the germs by coughing, sneezing, or incinerating them in your stomach. After that, I started watching the waves and thinking: you determine the speed of a wave by multiplying its wavelength by its frequency. How do you figure out the distance a wave has traveled? You multiply its speed by what? You find distance by multiplying the speed of a wave by the time it took the wave to travel.
We caught two mahi. Had fish tacos for lunch. That’s a lot better than lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a tortilla. Mom made banana bread for dessert. Hope we have more days like these, but nothing can guaranty that.
Entry #6 (passage log)
Wednesday/4-24-13/7:27 P.M./01* 53′ S, 095* 02′ W
Just ate dinner. Tired. Can’t think of much to write. Kept getting wet. Made the mistake of opening the hatch above my bed in cabin. It was like someone kept dumping buckets of water on me. I saved the majority of my bed by absorbing half the water. Watched some flying fish today. There were a couple, along with some squid, dead on deck this morning. Saw a red footed boobie. Later in the day the weather is cool. My toes keep getting cold. The ocean was an odd shade of sapphire blue earlier. Can’t remember if I’ve seen it like that before. It’s disorienting watching the sea in constant motion, in contrast to the perfectly still sky…
Hmmm… Right now I’m thinking of the movie Avatar. In it they talked about how keeping a log would keep you sane. That’s good because this is going to be a long trip.
Entry #5 (passage log)
Tuesday/4-23-13/5:20 P.M./01* 18′ S, 091* 52′ W
Began Pacific Crossing today. Left Galapagos at around 9 A.M. to the sound of Pete blowing his boat horn and practically everyone in the anchorage were waving to us. [Unnamed person] had talked about [unnamed person’s] stubborn attitude of a surgeon and how it doesn’t set a very good example for the U.S. [the two people mentioned here actually get along well, so no offense was meant] Maybe that’s why the United States doesn’t have a very good reputation in other countries. Doctors, who get paid more, are generally the ones who can afford to cruise to different nations and demonstrate their personalities…no offense to Grandpa H [note: my opinions have changed since then]. Not much has happened today. I spent the first little while doing nothing, it is the first day of being underway after all. I’ve been slowly getting better throughout the day. I started out laying down. Then I listened to music (Surfs Up). After that, I tried watching the season finale of Season 5 of Star Wars the Clone Wars (I still feel sad at the end). I eventually felt well enough to try reading the new Warriors book I bought last night. I read halfway through it before my NOOK died. After watching the cute little storm petrols run on water for a bit, I came inside to write in my log. My mom said we have to write in our logs everyday, even if it’s just one sentence. Though, it’s a little hard to write when Colin keeps disturbing you. Good thing he stopped when I threatened to give him a mustash with my pen. Dinner is ready, so Justine signing off for now.
Entry #4 (passage log)
It’s official, we are now underway to Jamaica. It turns out Good Trade was going to head in What If’s direction. So now it will be awhile before we find another kid boat. That other kid boat will most likely be Tribe, waiting for us in the San Blas. […] Anyway, we left for Jamaica yesterday but I was feeling to seasick to do much. We lost sight of land a long time ago, so it’s a little hard to write right now. Pretty much the only things that we’ve done today are lose two Mahi and play a sea creature word game. My vocabulary of sea creatures has doubled since we came to the Bahamas. Oh! a bird just attempted to land on our boat. That’s the first bird I’ve seen in a while, unless you count flying fish. I just remembered, my dad and Colin think they saw a False Killer Whale earlier today. Cool, huh? If only I’d seen it… Hmmm… maybe when I began writing I should have started with our position. Right now we are at 21* 12′ N, 74* 07′ W [I can’t type a degree symbol for some reason, so I am substituting asterisks].
Entry #3 (passage log)
Ok, I know I said I wanted to try to continue to write every day, but that’s hard. So far we’ve traveled as far north as Acadia, Maine and, after having been briefly hauled out at Jarrett Bay again, are now in George Town, Bahamas. At the moment I am sitting in my bed and it is 10:00 PM. Tomorrow we leave for Jamaca. We have just had a farewell dessert potluck with SVs What If, Good Trade, and Eye Candy. Derek, a 12 year old boy on What If, we met in Maryland. Colin and I have become good friends with him. Kyler is also a 12 year boy and he lives on Good Trade. We met him somewhere down here. I think he’s Ok, but Colin and Kyler are still working out their differences (or maybe similarities). Anyway, back to the potluck. The adults stayed in the cockpit and chatted while the four of us kids sat in the salon and watched a movie. We all had a great time, until it was time to say goodbye. Now this goodbye wasn’t like with Tribe or Morning Glory. It wasn’t like “oh we’re going the same way you are. We’ll catch up.” Sure I think we’ll be buddy boating with Good Trade for awhile, but What If is heading off to the eastern Caribean (not where we’re going). Back to the goodbye. It was sad. Everyone was hugging and shaking hands. People were saying, “We’ll see you again, though it could be years.” Kyler actually hugged me, I waved goodbye to Derek, got a hug from Derek’s mom, and shook hands with Dean (Derek’s dad). The sadness was visable through all the smiles. I was not ready to leave.
I thought of the poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. I thought of how we must move onward. Though, had someone blunder’d? Could all of this be a mistake, putting our friendships in jeapordy like this? It is not mine to question why. We must move on and continue our dream. We must do and hope our friendship doesn’t die.
Like one of my favorite songs said:
Good friends are hard to find,
harder to leave,
and impossible to forget.
Justine signing off for now.
Entry #2 (passage log)
Today is the eve before our splash. The Full Monty has been painted and waxed, which means there isn’t much left to do on the hard. I actually heard the engine run today! This is so exciting!
I helped out some today by organizing hose clamps. Yep, that’s about it…
Here’s a list of things I want to do when we splash:
- throw old toothbrush away
- buy SWTCW season 3
- continue to write in my journal every day
…and so on.
Entry #1 (passage log)
It was a long and hard day. It took hours to get three anchors up. We had to tie fenders to two of them. We ran a ground once and we almost ran into the marss. At one point the anchor without a fender got tangled and it was so sallow daddy climbed down the front of the boat and walked to the anchor. While they were pulling the anchors up I was in my room relaxing. When I came back up to the deck we were moving. Me and Colin went up to the seats on the bow to wave at people and feel the waves from other boats. We liked going through the swing bridge and the draw bridge. It was fun.