Land Ho! (ish)

If you’ve been following my tracker you might have noticed how close I’m getting to Isla Guadalupe. When I woke up this morning I could see a low dark smudge on the horizon, which looked like a cloud. Although I’m still about 40 miles away, it has been grown larger and clearer all day as I’ve pushed toward it. Guadalupe is the rugged remains of two ancient volcanos, and towers high out of the water, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it become even clearer tomorrow.

As you might have guessed from the title, Guadalupe is not my destination – I need to row past it and then on for several hundred miles more to mainland Mexico. It would have been a hugely exciting place to land, but unfortunately not ideal logistically. It is still pretty awesome to see it though, and anyone who has been at sea for a long time will know what it’s like to first look on land again (even if it’s just a small island). Suddenly my horizon does not stretch out the same distance in every direction; it is not an unbroken circle all around me. My eyes can’t help but be drawn to the lumpy shape in the distance.

Guadalupe Island in the distance
Guadalupe Island in the distance

Tonight it is cloudy, but I’ve been lucky most of the last week to have clear night skies. Last time there was a run of clear skies at night, a few weeks ago, there was also the brightest moon I’ve ever seen – breathtaking in itself, but not good for stargazing. This week I’ve been rewarded at night with the most fantastic night skies. The stars reach down to the flat horizon in every direction, every single one visible and unobscured by hills, trees or houses. It’s like being upside down in a star filled pool. There are just so many of them, and the whole sky seems so much busier out here. Stars are twinkling on top of each other, shooting stars flash across the sky, and the whole sky shifts gently and the boat bobs around. I’ve caught myself with my mouth hanging open on numerous occasions, completely unaware of myself as I gaze upwards.

4 thoughts on “Land Ho! (ish)

  1. The stars sounds amazing, something you will always remember. Seeing land after so long too. I think I would just start rowing for it! You could then just lounge on the beach until you are rescued, just like that wonderfull AA Milne poem The Old Sailor.

    There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
    Who had so many things that he wanted to do
    That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
    He couldn’t because of the state he was in.

    He was shipwrecked and lived on an island for weeks,
    And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
    And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
    For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

    And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
    Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
    And he thought that to talk to he’d look for, and keep
    (If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

    Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
    With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
    (With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
    And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

    He began on the fish-hooks, and when he’d begun
    He decided he couldn’t because of the sun.
    So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
    Was to find or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

    He was making the hat with the leaves from a tree,
    When he thought, “I’m as hot as a body can be,
    And I’ve nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
    So I’ll look for a spring, and I’ll look for it FIRST.”

    Then he thought as he started, “Oh, dear and oh. dear!
    I’ll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!”
    So he made in his notebook a couple of notes:
    “I must first find some chickens,” and “No, I mean goats.”

    He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
    When he thought, “But I must have a boat for escape.
    But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
    So I’d better sit down and make needles instead.”

    He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
    That, if this were an island where savages lurked,
    Sitting safe in his hut he’d have nothing to fear,
    Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

    So he thought of his hut…and he thought of his boat,
    And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
    And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst)…
    But he NEVER could think what he ought to do first.

    And so in the end he did nothing at all,
    But basked on the shingle wrapped up in the shawl.
    And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved —
    He did nothing but basking until he was saved!



  2. We have been monitoring your position here in Bahia Asuncion in Baja Sur and thought you should be seeing Guadalupe Island any time. You should be treated to some visits from birds, sea lions and maybe sharks!

    I remember the awe of those starry night at sea on night watch which was my favorite watch. It was a great time to write songs.

    We are getting the word out about your probably landfall here and setting things in motion logistically. We so look forward to meeting you and spoiling you for awhile. You are on the “home stretch” now Elsa…hang in there.


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