segunda-feira, 30 de agosto de 2010

Saying Yes

Captains Log, Mediterranean sea, South of Spain, summer 2010

As we steam towards Ibiza, our final destination of 2010, I reflect on the last few years sailing with Mane and Rafa: We have now sailed some 8000 miles together, over 12 countries, 4 seas, countless dolphins and rainbows, both the equator and the Greenwich meridian. That’s some history. After all this time together, the more I know about my Brazilian friends, the more I like.

Travel is not always easy, but Mane and Rafa have a strong partnership through all the curves. Strong in their commitment to each other, they are brave enough to take risks, and create their own unique reality. Thiers is a dynamic yet secure Love. An inspiration… The kind I wish for myself.

Mane and Rafa have a keen sense of adventure, backed up by an un-failing positive attitude. For Mane, life is always 6 foot and perfect, (even when it isn’t). Because they believe they can do anything, they do... Just look at them go.

In this we are the same, even though I hide mine behind a sailor’s superstition, I too believe in the power of the mind, and it is the key to our friendship. Here, at the end of our second major journey together, I am reminded of our first meeting, and the immediate recognition that we were alike in these ways:

It was Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas islands. Mane and Rafa had just stepped ashore after 30 days at sea on a leaky boat with no shower and no proper bed. They looked like hell. After a shower and a shave, the difference was so striking, that I approached them and learned their story. They had had one of the worst passages I had ever heard of, with endless boat problems, a crazy captain, and inhuman conditions, but… “it was really nice” were Mane’s exact words. Always ready to look on the bright side, and learn something, I could see these were my kind of people.
At the time, I had come to the Marquesas to rescue my sister’s little boat, which had broken its anchor and washed ashore. I hoped to salvage her, and sail her 800 miles to Tahiti, where I could provide it a better home. First though, I had to build a new rudder for her, as hers had been destroyed in the shipwreck… The Marquesas is no place for major repairs of anything- most people go around on horseback, and supplies are nearly impossible to get. My chances of success looked very remote and unlikely. I had started to wonder if such an undertaking was even possible…

“No man, we can do that” Were Mane’s words… Here was a man just off a major ocean crossing, no money left, doesn’t know the place, or speak the language, has no tools, and nothing to gain from helping a stranger, and he wants to jump right in and help me build a new rudder… I tried to talk him out of it- didn’t he even want a few days to rest after his ordeal? But Rafa just rolled her eyes and sighed “don’t worry, he likes that”…

We found a backyard work-shop surrounded by mosquitoes and wild chickens to work in, bought some marine plywood, found someone willing to sell us some epoxy, and went to work. In less than a week we had the basic form of a new rudder built, and a solid new friendship was made.

Although Mane and Rafa had to leave the island before we fit the rudder to the boat, I continued with the momentum they helped me start, and went on to sail little “Laura Belle” to Tahiti as planned. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life. Id like to share here an excerpt from my log of that trip, as it is this characteristic, above all else, where I find common ground with Mane and Rafa: The ability to not only to say “we can” but to believe “we will”:


You get a lot of time to think when you are alone at sea on a small boat, with few distractions but the water rushing by, and the stars at night, standing on deck alone and insignificant on the wide ocean, naked, peeing into the full moon...

The downhill run to Papeete is a classic one, sailing right into the southern cross, It took 8 days to sail from the Marquesas to Tahiti, and in that time I experienced every emotion in the rainbow, from sheer terror, to sadness, to un-controllable mirth. I purged every dark corner of my mind, with nowhere to run from the truth, and came away cleansed, lighter, and much much stronger.

I realise now that I have shed almost all my fears. I am not afraid of dying, and I am not afraid of being alone. Actually, my life is wonderfully streamlined when I am left to my own devises. I am not afraid of being judged. I am not afraid of what I do or do not have. My idea of success is not based on money, but rather on the ability to wake up and say "yes, lets go to the waterfall today". The idea that freedom IS the end goal, and that money is just a means to that end, and that if you are not careful to make the distinction, the chasing of money can actually take away from that freedom- the means becomes the end.

By that measure, my life so far has been a smashing success, and the only thing that scares me anymore is letting this crazy, beautiful life pass me by. No matter how hard I try, I will only have a fraction of the adventures I would like to. I will only see so many sunsets, I will only surf so many perfect waves, and may only get one chance to risk everything for Love.

Saying yes becomes more urgent as we get older, yet harder and harder to say. Life thunders by, and dreams are crushed beneath the wheels of time. I find that not being afraid is a tremendous freedom in itself. I will remember to say yes, more than just 'whenever possible', for it is at these times when I am most alive.

Who said, "our greatest fear is not that we are weak, but that we are powerful beyond measure" ? That hits the nail on the head... I don’t know where this crazy, stormy, leaky boat of a life is headed, but I sure know that its beautiful out here under these stars...

The world is filled with un-tapped adventure, but it takes two to really see the benefits of saying yes -its not as much fun to go to the waterfall by yourself. Mane and Rafa have each other. While I may not yet have a life partner to share the dream, I know I have been blessed with friends like these. Friends willing to take a leap of faith, meet me at the ends of the earth, and turn these dreams into reality.

Thanks guys. Up up and away!

3 comentários:

Rafaela disse...

Yeah...we did something special together in this life, in this world..

And you are the responsible for it, because you give us the opportunity. Thank you Cam!

Now you have a home in Florianópolis, go there anytime that you want.

We are brothers and friends for ever...

Heitor disse...

Oi Mane, oi Rafa.
Heitor Frossard, de Horta. To em Ponta Delgada Procurando um skipper pra levar meu barco pras Canarias (pelo menos...) voces me indicam alguem?

Eduardo disse...

Iai primo e prima! =)
Vimos a materia de vcs na revista Claudia, muito legal.
Show de bola
Parabens e divirtam-se esse fim de trip!

Edu, Dhéri, KGo