Braam’s ‘Big Blue’ Blog
South Atlantic Ocean
Notes from the cabin – Day 32
Last night the near-full moon was peeking out between intermittent rain squalls. Two nights before she was hidden completely and I rowed Mhondoro in darkness and occasional gentle drizzle. At around 02.00 the sea picked up because of increased squalls, I was contemplating calling it a night, pulled the Nando’s oars in and stood up on now ‘bucking bronco boat’, to stretch and take a much-needed pee. Bracing up against the starboard lanyard, which, when you lean into it and slightly over the gunwale, it presses against your mid thigh as a brace. Bear in mind that our row boat has a very low shoreline (the distance from the water to the gunwale is very low; only some 300mm).
So I’m standing there, precariously balanced, with my back to the prevailing swell, when a rogue wave breaks across the deck and hurls me over the lanyard into the sea. My leash held well around my ankle (a big-wave surf leash we call a rhino chaser), but as I surfaced the boat lent into me and I cracked my head a shot on the rigger (which holds our oars over the gunwales). Wayne Robertson had heard the rather loud blaspheme as I went over and was out of the cabin in seconds. I grabbed the yellow lifeline attached to the boat and pulled myself aboard.
As Mr Murphy would have it, as I pulled myself over the lanyard; the same one I braced myself against before relieving myself, the boat rocks hard and I fall across the lanyard exactly on the spot I had cracked a rib when the boat rolled some weeks ago!
Needless to say, I’m good, save for a bump on my head, a headache and a resurfaced bruise which fortunately doesn’t hurt when I row!
Wayne was great with his speed and efficiency and it’s all put down to teamwork, a narrow escape (had there been no leash I would be long gone), and a few laughs…I say ‘few’ because it hurts like hell when I laugh!
Next morning I had a melancholic and contemplative day. Initially, sun dancing like millions of tiny mirrors on the indigo big blue. Then, the rapid roll of clouds moving low towards me and casting the light out.
I thought of my long late-night chats with my brother Marius as young children sharing a room together. I thought about Peter, his innocent young smile. And then dear Dad and my sad Mum. All gone now. The tragedy of my talented brothers lives wasted. The immense sadness I felt when my parents divorced whilst trying so hard to remain composed, in control, as the eldest of four siblings. But, out of all sorrow there can come joy. I rejoice in the love I get from my only sister, dear Judith. I look forward to having my remaining brother, Mark, understand my love for him.
I look forward to sitting under the boughs of the magnificent wild olive I planted so many years ago with my dads ashes to give nourishment to its roots. The same tree that my brothers and Mum share now. I look forward to celebrating life with my beautiful dogs under that tree once I’m home. As my dad said; ‘my boy, always remember that out of death comes life.’ And oh, am I so alive and grateful for each day of it. I celebrate the beauty of our Natural world, some of which I have grown to appreciate through loss. And so it is, that I remain committed to fighting with every ounce of my being, for our Earth.
We are pushing more west today and Rio here we come!
DOT – Do 1 Thing
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