My Dubarry Galway Boots were squeezed on. These boots are made for sailing - and these days these boots are sailing all over the world !
Meanwhile progress is brilliant. We power sail north-east, driven by a 27 to 34 knot southerly - almost Gale Force - on the western side of the Azores High. We are surfing the waves, with up to 24 knots boat speed. Keen to finish, Easter Eggs beckon, while all the time I remain on the edge. Like eggs, fragile.
I put on my Galway boots for the first time in five weeks, as I reapply the layers of protection each day moving north. Its Bad and Good.
Bad, because its getting colder, wetter and the seas are more intense as the miles are ticked off. Good, because after clearing the Azores, it's the final 1,200 mile sprint home and the fulfillment of a goal, dream and mission - and promoting the Atlantic Youth Trust.
The fascinating Azores Atlantic islands are the next big turning goal on this incredible physical journey and mental trip - as my mind escapes into reading the Greek philosopher Thales. He defined water as the first principle of the universe, and, Aristotle - who defined goals as the catalyst and driver of humanity - in what is termed teleology of purpose.
The Azores stand out as massive islands - that is if you look at all the ancient maps of the world and the Atlantic Ocean. Essentially the map-makers and ships captains, on whom they relied, exaggerated the size of the islands. They are really just small dots on a world map. This representation reflected their importance as meeting points, centers for trade, commerce, navigation, provisioning, repairs and so forth,
Strategically located, the population of some 250,000 people, are a curious mixture of several nationalities. With seven Islands in total, each with a varying climate and personality, they are one of two independent states within Portugal.
This time I shall not be stopping on the islands. However its good to have them there should repairs being needed. My last visit to St Miguel several years ago was after sailing through the tail end of a Hurricane on a voyage from Florida. I was in bits, but quickly recovered. I shall never forget the rejuvenating bliss on a tired body of the incredible volcanic natural hot water spas.
The Azores as landmarks, reflect the essence of achievement by goal setting - in the same way as the Equator and Cape Horn ranked on this voyage It's a way I survive. While it takes 200 hard grinds to furl the J2 headsail I set a goal of 50 at a time each Aristotle who described goal setting - conscious and sub- conscious - as the essence of life itself.
He called it the conception of teleology of purpose. Perhaps as a result of his preoccupation with biological studies, the philosopher was impressed by the idea that both animate and inanimate behavior is directed towards some final purpose ( telos) or GOAL.
Aristotle maintained that it was common to explain the behaviors of people, institutions and nations in terms of purpose and goals. Even sub-consciously as humans, our goal is to survive. Then a higher level, consciously set goals as individuals and communities is the driver of society. Otherwise its like being on the ocean going nowhere. We drift aimlessly. Teleology brings us to a higher level.
Like on this boat, for me, as in the wizard of Oz. it's the journey and not actually getting there that is the adventure and buzz. For this reason I will not be sure what to to when we finish in Les Sables d'Olonne - other that the goal of some physical pleasures, making love, some juicy steaks, a big Easter Egg, a good party and celebration with friends !
The other great philosopher I have been reading is Thales of Miletus. He preceded Aristotle and is said to he first natural scientist and analytical philosopher in western intellectual history. For him the entire basis of the world as we know it is water. Yes water.
The first principle of life is vapor by evaporation and solid by freezing. It's the essence of everything and two thirds of the world, at least, is covered by it. All life was supported by moisture and he postulated that water was the single casual principle behind the natural world. Without it, there is no life.
Mind you, he was a little off the mark when he reckoned the earth was flat floated on water much like a log or a ship. He even accounted for earthquakes as due to waves rocking earth! Can you imagine the life of an ancient ships captain sailing across oceans - not sure when he would reach the edge and fall off !
Thales was the first to give naturalistic explanation to the universe. His logic about water was central to this. He also concluded that the mind of the world was God in all things - a fundamental for religions as they evolved.
So between Thales and Aristotle defining society by goals and targets and water being the catalyst, perhaps we have it all figured out on this voyage ? Mind you on philosophers, my last word in today's Log must be with Socrates who born around 470 BC
" The only thing I know is that I know nothing"
Except for your Skipper, perhaps the Atlantic ocean. Even just our own northern part always seemed enormous when I first crossed it in a 16 ft dinghy. And now in the context of the oceans of the globe, its small and intimate.
My voyage around the bigger world is a bit like a Passage through life. And now your skipper is weary, keen to finish this Journey to the Edge.
And here I take words from John Boyle O'Reilly's " Passage" ( and when he uses the term 'man' he must mean in this generality both sexes!?)
The world was made when a man was born
He must taste for himself the forbidden springs
He can never take warning from old fashioned things
He must fight as a boy, he must drink as a youth
He must kiss, he must love, he must swear to the truth
And so he goes on until the world grows old.
Till his tongue has grown cautious, his heart has grown cold
Till the smile leaves his mouth, and the ring leaves his laugh
He grows formal with men and with women polite
And distrustful of both when they're out of sight
Then he eats for his palate, and drinks for his head
And loves for his pleasure, - and, 'tis time he was dead!