Greetings from onboard Bodacious IV, where at the moment, a stellar delivery crew and I are sailing on a beautiful cracked open reach at 9 knots! We’re returning Bodacious IV back to her home in Jamestown, RI post her competing in the Newport to Bermuda race last week. Our team here includes the likes of Captain Tim Eades, Jonathon Pond, Rob Plotke, Dave Brayman, Bruce Dickinson and “Chef” Pierce Johnson. It’s great fun to be with these guys again and sharing the sailing, the comradery and the gentle warm winds off Bermuda. We hope to arrive in Jamestown in a few days, in enough time to catch the July 4 fireworks over the Newport Harbor!
This last week before flying to Bermuda, I visited with friends over the course of making my way back home to the Midwest for a couple of days. Now while Franklin was a great listener, his conversation and range of opinions was well, limited. Fortunately, most people I meet are full of questions. Of the many questions I get asked about the circumnavigation, there seem to be a group of more common ones that I expect might be of interest to some of you as well. So, what I thought I’d do here is answer three of those frequently asked questions, and then answer three more a few days from now, in the next update. OK?
:: Most frequently, I get asked about sleep. What’s the longest time you got to sleep on the trip?
As I’ve explained before, I try to sleep in 15-minute increments. That’s the length of time it would take for another vessel that is beyond my field of vision and just over the horizon, to get to me. So, the vast majority of the time, I sleep in 15-minute intervals (with the help of my egg-timer) and in areas like the coast of Florida, I might even cut that back to 10-minute naps. I know that doesn’t seem like much time to sleep, (and it isn’t) … but you do get used to sleeping in sets of 4 to 5 of these naps with just a few moments awake in between to check the boat and horizon. In our day-to-day lives, we sleep 8 hours, so we can be up for 16 hours. I take these naps so I can be up for an hour or two during which I’m constantly looking for any opportunity to take additional naps, so that I’m most able to function if something important comes up and requires my time. I do think there were times in the deep Southern Ocean where I might have slept for as long as 45 minutes, but such periods were few and far between. I’m sure I never slept more than the 45 minutes at any one time during the entire voyage.
:: What was the longest time you went without seeing another ship?
The trip between Cape Town, South Africa and Wellington, New Zealand was 52 days, and I remember I saw one long tanker about three days out of Cape Town and then didn’t see another ship until I met up with the friendly fishermen of the Ocean Odyssey who lent us a hand off the South Island of New Zealand. The Southern Ocean is considered some of the most remote waters in the world and you often hear the remark, which is true, that the closest humans to us in those waters are the folks on the Space Station maybe 50 miles above our heads! From New Zealand to the Galapagos would have been the next longest time at 35 days and the last ship I saw out of New Zealand was that first night after I left NZ!
:: What’s it like to be back among so many people having been alone for so long?
Of course, coming back into Jamestown and being greeted by so many family and friends was a wonderful experience… but the hum of activities that followed and that kept me moving continuously the last couple of weeks has kept my mind from wandering much or encountering too many emotions of the sort that typically arise for people who have gone through long and challenging experiences. From adventurers who have thrown their all into achieving arduous goals to veterans of wars who have fought intensely for their comrades and their own safety, once the extraordinary conditions disappear and life returns to a more everyday pace, it sometimes happens that an energy “hole” appears… one which can sometimes suck you into some type of depression.
So far, I’ve had little time to ponder or integrate the full scope of what happened to me or what it might mean for me in the months ahead. I do know there have been times where I felt an increased sensitivity to things back on land, not yet having built up the usual calluses that help insulate you in the course of living day-to-day life. I have found myself having to manage urges to leave crowded situations, while at the same time, wanting to move closer to people and group situations. It’s pretty interesting and so far, I think I’m doing pretty well. I will stay on the lookout for interesting or challenging shifts as I move further away in time from the completion of the adventure.
So, back to the present… as we sail along listening to great music, eating Chef Pierce’s amazing cooking, telling stories and waiting for Dave and Bruce to catch us a main course for dinner tonight, I will write up another set of answers to more questions I’ve been asked. So, stay tuned for that, and I promise I will answer the one question everyone seems to ask me… “What was your scariest time out there?” But for now, I’ll leave you in suspense on that one.
From about 570 miles southeast of Newport, RI.
– Dave, among the great crew of Bodacious IV led by Captain Tim Eades