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A Day of Reflection

Quartermaster’s log day 5, 7th June 2014

Today was mainly a day of reflection and introspection.  While we didn’t get as much done today as we normally do, we both took time to look back on the process so far and to look further ahead at long term plans.

I think it was important to take a day to do this in order not only to find clarity to also to reinvigorate ourselves and prepare for what’s to come.

I thought back today to the summer vacation I spent with a friend in Adelaide, Australia when I was 16 and its implications on our journey.

Overall the trip was an exceptional one, I was able to learn about not only Australian culture but also a little bit of Polish culture as my friend’s mother was from Poland.

During the second week of my trip my friend and I drove to a fairly secluded beach and went body-boarding during the afternoon.

I had just swam out and was catching my first wave back to the beach when foul luck in the form of a rip tide sucked me down into the shallows along the sheer cliff to the west of the beach.

I found myself thrown from my board and pushed into the rocks. Before I could get my bearings, water crashed around me and I felt myself dragged across the grit-covered ocean bed.

Suddenly the world began to spin again as the waves first pulled me above water, then mercilessly threw me back into the rocks.

For what seemed like hours I rode this viscous cycle gasping down just enough precious oxygen to keep me alive until the waves pulled me briefly above water.

Finally I was able to grab the mossy growth on a large rock the ocean had savagely hurled me into and I held my breath, willing the slimey plant to hold for just a moment longer.

Then I felt it, the foamy surface of the cool salty coffin I had been trapped in sliding across my face, my arms, my back, my legs.

I could hear the next wave coming in. Nearly half of the vegetation between my clenched fingers had ripped away under the powerful tug of the sea.

I knew it was now or never. I had to do something, and in that instant I vowed to win this battle of wills between the ocean and myself.

I pushed myself to my feet and jumped, all in one swift motion, as the waves crashing against the rock I had been clinging to only moments ago.

When I finally made it back to shore my friend pointed to my foot where the rocks I had just been pummeled against left me with a little souvenir: A gash about an inch deep on the top of my left foot.

Ever since then I’ve found myself scarcely able to keep the panic at bay when I get chest deep in water.  Severe hydrophobia.  I know, I know. Why the hell would a hydrophobic want to get on a boat, right???

Well, over the last 6 years I’ve worked hard to take steps to overcome my condition.  I have managed to get into hot tubs and the shallow ends of swimming pools without panicking or reliving my terror, but of course the ocean is not like a hot tub.

Part of my personal journey during this project is going to be to fully overcome my fear and make myself into a better person for it.

Well that’s all for today, more to come tomorrow.  Enjoy today’s quote.

‘Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.’

Lawrence Durrell

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