Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Shout Out to Ben Ison and A Quote from Paul Theroux

A shout out to my friend Ben Ison Stone, who started middle school this month. Ben, I'm thinking of you and your brother Liam and hope you both have a great school year!

We are underway from Suwarrow atoll to Penrhyn atoll, our last stop in the Cook Islands before laying a course for Hawaii and back to our home country. I have been reading "The Happy Isles of Oceania" by Paul Theroux. It's a book I've been wanting to read for awhile, and I finally found a copy in a cruisers' book exchange before we left New Zealand. Although a friend from Western Samoa tells me some of the things Theroux wrote about her country aren't true---causing me to read the entire book with skepticism---some accounts do ring true from my own experience. The following passage is one of them.

A Quote from Paul Theroux:

It was in the Trobriands that I had realized that the Pacific was a universe, not a simple ocean.

I especially recalled how one day sailing back to an island we were delayed, and night fell. There were stars everywhere, above us, and reflected in the sea along with the sparkle of phosphorescence streaming from the bow wave. When I poked an oar in the ocean and stirred it, the sea glittered with twinkling sea-life. We sped onward. There were no lights on shore. It was as though we were in an old rickety rocket ship.

It was an image that afterwards often came to me when I was traveling in the Pacific, that this ocean was as vast as outer space, and being on this boat was like shooting from one star to another, the archipelagoes like galaxies, and the islands like isolated stars in an empty immensity of watery darkness, and this sailing was like going slowly from star to star, in vitreous night.
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Posted from sea via Ham Radio.

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