Nights at the helm


I absolutely love sailing at night. In the open sea more so than near unknown coast or islands. Then I’m just nervous we,re going to go aground or hit a fisherman. 

Night time on the open sea is indescribable. I will do my best, but really it’s best to experience it! First of all, it’s really quiet. On our charters, the passengers are asleep or at least inside. When CC isn’t at the helm, he is resting so I don’t hear any orders or corrections from him. I feel totally relaxed and alone. It’s like nothing exists but me, the sailboat and the rolling waves. 

Now, look up. Imagine a black canvas sprinkled with all different sizes of glitter. On a clear night, this goes as far as the eye can see. Pick up your binoculars and you will see even more glitter of even smaller and less shiny pieces. When the moon comes up, it changes the brilliance of the stars, but they are still there. 

If you think that sounds great, look down. Wow! Do you see that?? The glitter in the water glows in the dark! The times the engine is on to recharge the batteries, there is a trail of tiny little plankton rolling around in the disturbed water. The wake on either side of the boat lights up even more plankton of all different sizes and strengths. I can spend hours watching it. My mind wanders to what more is below the surface that I can’t see. Nature is truly the most real magic that we are given. 

After spending an hour observing this beauty of nature (and of course watching the compass and checking for other boats), my mind is in a totally different state. I am here. Alone. Totally one with nature. I can hear the wind singing through the rigging and mast. I feel it kissing my skin as it passes by. I watch how it shapes the sails so we can move without power. Just pure wind. I notice the permanent upturn of the corners of my mouth as I experience this bliss.

I think so clearly. These judgments or worries that I normally have in day to day life don’t exist anymore. There is no fight in my mind, no debates, just total clarity. 

In this mind state, I again look up and I see how the stars are a metaphor for life. There are billions of stars of all different sizes shining in their own beautiful way. Much like the billions of people in the world of all different sizes, colours and personalities. How maybe if the stars could view us as we view them, we would shine in the same way. Sometimes relationships we have are like shooting stars, brief, beautiful and rare to find. Others are like the planets. They are bright, strong and always there even if we can’t see them. 

All of the stars make the beauty of the night, just like a range of personalities, beliefs and cultures make the spice of life. 

Focus back to the sea. In rough seas, those waves can appear intimidating. Almost as if the waves are going to crash over the boat and pull us under. I observe them come from a distance, anticipating to get wet. However, when they come, they simply roll under the boat, lift us up and then set us back down again as though nothing happened. Nothing happens other than a fun mini rollercoaster ride. That ‘worry’ was for nothing. 

Think about life. How many times do we worry about something scary we see coming? Whether it’s a job interview, a move or a relationship ending. It happens and usually it isn’t as scary as we anticipated. This of course depends on your mind frame as well. Just like how I steer impacts how the boat rides the wave. Sometimes when the waves are coming from the bow, I get it wrong and I get a shower and am left wet and shivering. It isn’t so bad. I am left shivering for a while and then I dry off and it’s ok. Just like in life. Sometimes we get knocked down and are left in shock, but it always calms down at some point. Have faith and life truly does balance itself out. 

It all seems so simple when I am here and in this mind state. The thing is, it is. Life wasn’t really made to be complicated. We do that ourselves. I’ve learned to ride the waves. I used to fear and then fight them. Guess what, they are going to happen! We can’t control them. All we can do is control how we ride them. Being prepared and riding them calmly is what works best for me. 

Sometimes there are big waves that knock me over, but I can always remember this mind state. I may be wet now, but with time I will dry off and everything will be ok again as if nothing ever happened. 


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