The outside world does not exist. I’m deep in the groove, the bubble, the dreamland middle portion of my season at Summit Station. I’m eating, working, sleeping, and repeating. So, I thought I’d share a slice of my world by sharing a slice of my upcoming book, which I am editing diligently. This slice begins off-topic, but ends fittingly. Enjoy!
Me: “Where do you keep your boat, Phil?”
Me: “Brr, isn’t the water cold up there? I think I’d rather have a boat in the Caribbean, or the Mediterranean.”
Phil: “No, mate, Puget Sound and Vancouver Island are some of the best sailing in the world. There are countless islands to explore and the mountains are just stunning.”
Me: “But you can’t really go swimming.”
Phil: “Well, you can.” He said it in such a way that acknowledged the cold water. “But there are an endless number of inlets and coves and you can just get lost out there and not see a soul for days.”
Me: “Oh, nice, I hadn’t thought of that. It is beautiful up there.”
Lance: “Have you seen a lot of orcas?”
Phil: “Of course.”
Lance: “Sweet. I would love to have a sailboat. Nothing fancy, just a little one I could live on and sail around a bit.”
Phil: “Nothing stopping you.”
Lance: “I could keep it right there on the lake at Sandpoint.”
Phil: “Perfect. You can get a simple cabin sailer for cheap. Maybe a twenty-seven-footer or so would be fine.”
Me: “Have you done any ocean crossings?”
Phil: “Yes, I’ve sailed twice across the Atlantic. I haven’t done the Pacific, but I crossed the Tasman Sea from Tasmania to New Zealand.”
Me: “Wow. What’s that like?”
Phil: “Well, the Tasman lived up to its reputation!”
Me: “Hah! I bet. But what I meant was, what’s an ocean crossing like? I mean, I think sailing around the world would be awesome, but I’ve always wondered about the ocean crossing portion. It just doesn’t seem very appealing. I expect it’s pretty boring.”
Phil: “It’s no more boring than here. In fact, it’s basically the same thing as wintering.”
Lance: “Yeah, you can’t go anywhere! But instead of ice in every direction, it’s ocean.”
Phil: “Right. The details are different, but there are a lot of similarities.”
Neal: “You’re stuck with your companions for months on end.” Everyone got a laugh out of that. I guess that means no one feels stuck—yet.
Phil: “In particular, the passage of time is the same. It’s that strange way that time becomes elastic, you know? At the start, you’re settling in and getting to know your role and your companions, and thinking what did I forget? And then you get into the groove of things and time sort of stretches out so you don’t know if something happened yesterday or last week. You’re no longer on a trip—you’re just in life mode and it’s different. It’s like a weird dreamland where you’re absorbed in this little bubble and the rest of the world doesn’t exist anymore.”
Rex: “Just like here.”
Phil: “Yeah. So you’re in this groove, and in an ocean passage the only measure of time is moving this pencil dot across a big chart that’s just a huge empty space.”
I couldn’t help but picture the stars dotting our winter sky, and imagine the sun plotting its long crossing below the horizon.
Phil: “But a week out from your destination, time changes—the elasticity of it. At that point you’re starting to think about arriving and there’s this undertone of excitement: What’s the shipping going to be like in the channel? What’s the weather? What are the tides gonna be? How do we want to time our arrival?”
Lance: “What restaurant do I want to eat at first?”
Neal: “Where are my pants?”
We laughed at the suggested image of Phil sailing the seven seas in his boxer shorts. We’d probably all be doing the same. But Phil was right; sailing across the ocean sounded exactly like wintering.