It’s not just about getting there…
I love the anticipation of the journey.
Planning an adventure as almost as exciting as setting out on one. The research can be stimulating. I have nearly 100 books on ocean voyaging stacked in an unorganized pile. They are dog-eared, highlighted, and on some I have even committed the cardinal sin of folding a corner to mark the page (it seems like there is never a bookmark around when you need it.)
But planning an ocean adventure is more than just research about where to go and when, based on winds, currents, and weather. Planning can be a visceral experience. Herman Melville’s classic Typee has nothing to do with ocean passaging but it has everything to do with the anticipation of one.
Melville’s protagonist, a ship’s deserter named Tommo, has settled into an uneasy life among the Polynesians on the island of Nuka Hiva. He fears that he may be eaten by cannibals. But instead, Tommo becomes a part of the native culture. He falls in love with Fayaway who represents the ultimate state of beauty and innocence found on this South Pacific island. They are together in a canoe when Fayaway is struck by a “happy idea.”
She removes her clothing, a long white robe of tappa, “and spreading it out like a sail, stood erect with upraised arms in the head of the canoe.”
With Fayaway’s naked body as a mast and her lovely arms as a boom, she uses her dress as a spinnaker and sails with Tommo safely to shore.
Now, can somebody please throw a bucket of cold water over my head?