Sometimes the longer way is the quicker way. As much as I would prefer to be 400-600 miles offshore the winds to the north are very light. So I’m saying within 100-200 miles of the coast of South America to take advantage of the stronger winds and currents. I’ll head north just before the Caribbean and run parallel to the islands. Once north of the islands it’s a straight shot to Hatteras then 100 miles to the Chesapeake Bay – at least that’s the plan.
I think there has been a bit of confusion about which picture is a picture of Cape Horn. It’s my fault as I’ve never explained any pictures. A basic rule of thumb is if you see a picture of a rocky mountainous area with a lot of green or snow than that’s Alaska. If you see a rocky mountainous picture with no green and therefor mostly gray then it’s the Cape Horn area. The picture of Cape Horn is the one with waves in the foreground and a black outline which is “the rock”. It was getting dark by the time I took the picture so you can see the moon in the top right corner and the clouds have a slight purple color.
I had quite a scare last night. I woke up at 2am and right behind me was a freighter. This wasn’t like the friendly visit from the freighter awhile back that honked its horn at me. This freighter had no idea I was there. I had my mast head navigation lights on and my basketball sized radar reflector, but no one on the freighter was paying attention. I had less than sixty seconds to turn and get clear of the freighter and it passed by within feet of me. I’ve had some close calls over the years at sea but this is by far the closest I’ve ever come to being run down at night. It’s strange that I woke up as my alarm clock had 10 more minutes before it was going to ring. I’m still quite shaken up over it. It was nearly the end of me.
I once read that the luxuries of civilization only satisfy those wants which they themselves create. In some ways I can agree but I definitely miss the basic creature comforts of civilization. A hot shower or running water, fresh food, clean sheets. Just to be able to stand up and walk ten steps in any direction is something I haven’t been able to do in 275 days. It’s easy to take things for granted, I try to stay thankful. I’m thankful to have been born in a prosperous country. There is poverty in the United States but it’s nothing like the 3rd world. I’m thankful to be alive at this point in history. 100 years ago life was much harder and in 100 years this planet might be a very different place. It’s interesting to think that in the year 1800 there were only a billion people on earth. The population has doubled since 1960. The earth can only sustain so many people. I’m no Doom’s Day theorist and I have no idea what’s going to happen when the earth’s population reaches 15 or 20 billion people. Yet it doesn’t really matter whether you believe the earth is getting warmer because of man made greenhouse gases or because of a natural cycle of heating and cooling. The Artic is proof positive that for one reason or another the earth is getting warmer. 50 years ago it would have been impossible to sail a 27 foot fiber glass boat through the Northwest Passage in one season. If you look at a graph for the amount of Artic ice over the last 15 years you will see a huge decline. I’ve read many theories and I can’t say how exactly that’s going to affect us – but there is one thing I know for sure – people aren’t going to wake up one morning and say to their neighbor “Man I’m glad all that ice is gone up there”. The unfortunate thing is that environmental issues have become wrapped up in partisan politics. We need to separate politicians political agendas from environmental issues. I’m not saying “save the planet” because the plants not going anywhere. There is a finite amount of oil, lumber and fresh water, yet we use our resources as if there is no end. It seems modern man often has an over inflated sense of self entitlement.
See… this is the problem with being alone for too long, you end up thinking about everything – often over and over again. To get back to the point, I’m thankful. Even though living on a small boat at sea is tough I still eat better on a daily basis then hundreds of millions of people through out the world. Education is power; the information is out there the question is what are you going to do with it?
Matt's motivation for the trip is to show people, particularly those with disabilities, that there are no limits to what can be accomplished in life; and to raise money for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities, based in Annapolis, Md. Click here to learn more about CRAB.