Valentine’s Day

16 Feb

February 14, 2019/Day 133

Noon Position: 48 05S  172 54E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 5

Miles since departure: 18,181

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


No one who knows my wife, Joanna, would call her sentimental. Nor, being British, does she approve the California habit of hugging when clearly a handshake will do. She’s effusive and bubbly and extremely personable; she knows no such thing as having too many friends. But sentimentality is not her gig.

That said, on the occasion of both Figure 8 departures, Joanna has gifted me with deeply touching letters and a small collection of photos. Frankly, it has almost been worth leaving just to get such expressions of tenderness.

For the first Figure 8, I posted Jo’s letter on a bulkhead in the pilot house, where it stayed, and was often read, until the Indian Ocean knockdown, which soaked it and so much else. Its disintegration was almost as distressig as the other, far more threatening losses.

This year I got smart. I put the Figure 8 2.0 letter in a plastic bag, which I keep safe in a pilot house locker with the photos.

The photos are carefully chosen snapshots of our lives together, the trails we hike behind our house, trees in the neighborhood, Jo relaxing in the back yard, Jo having fun with her nephews, our muddy shoes after a hike in Kauai, a tree in yellow bloom we found in Hobart, a birthday card I delivered with morning coffee.

The colors I always find starteling. My world is gray–light blue, dark blue, white and gray. A sunset can be orange. A bird can be brown. These are mere accents. But happier than the shock of vibrancy are the reminders that my memories of these places and events, my memories of our lives together, are not simple invention. Those places do exist. Those happenings did occur. That woman is, in fact, there and will be there when I return.

I am grateful for that and for the reminders.

I have been sending Valentine’s Day flowers from remote places for years.

It started when MURRE (a 31-foot ketch I sailed around the Pacific in 2011 and 2012) and I were sitting out a February gale in Puerto Escondido. With a start one morning, I realized I had not made arrangements for Valentine’s day. Connectivity from the nearby village was poor, but I trekked in anyway, did a search for florists in my neighborhood, and chose a shop named Arjan Flowers, for reasons having to do with how the letter A sorts in a list.

The proprietor, a Mina Bolouri, received that day unlikely message. “My name is Randall. I’m a solo sailor writing from rural Mexico. Can you send flowers to my wife? Can this be arranged by email?”

It could.

I have used Mina ever since.

All subsequent Valentine’s Day requests have been sent from sea. Most have gone something like this message from last year: “Hi Mina. It’s Randall. I’m 1,500 miles below Africa attempting to circumnavigate Antarctica. Today we have a gale from the west. Can you send flowers to my wife?”

She could.

I’ve never met Mina. I don’t know the location of her shop. I’ve never seen one of her arrangements. Moreover, Mina has never expressed the least interest in the happenings of her nomadic client. Her responses from a Blackberry are short and efficient. She can send the flowers, and that’s that.

This year, I discovered that Mina’s email had not made the short journey from old computer to new, so many thanks to my neighbor, Mary Wildavsky, for sleuthing Mina’s contact for me.

Mina has promised to send photos of the arrangement and the shop, but today is her busy day, so these treats will have to wait.

Mina’s beautiful flower arrangement. (Sent in by Joanna)

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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