Monday, June 13, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

A year ago today I was standing on the bridge of the french fishing ship Ile de la Reunion staring out into the pitch black night, mind spinning out of control. Everything that had happened...I just couldn't believe it. I wasn't sure where the ship was taking me, but at the time it was the least of my worries.

Earlier in the day I had sent a blog home to my mom to post. It started off with a bad attempt at humor, saying "its been a crazy few days out here, the long and the short of it is, one long wave and one short, meaning a two inch stub of a mast." It wasn't funny, but at the time my choices were pretty limited, cry, or cry, or make a lame joke and pretend its funny. I went with the third option.

On board the ship of scruffy fishermen, I was left to myself mostly. Several of them spoke pretty good English, but I didn't want to talk. My mind was drifting through all the memories of my trip, my team, my boat, my family... standing there in the dark for hours, thinking back to the terror of tying myself onto a broken stanchion with my saw in hand and working on sawing away my mast hoping I didn't fall off the pitching deck.

Thinking about being below deck, I remember all the water inside, it was a wreck. My head was throbbing, a constant reminder of the night Wild Eyes rolled. I couldn't close my eyes at night because everytime I did it took me right back there and all I could feel was myself falling up the side of my boat. All I could see was black, and all I could hear was silence...

When I had been on Wild Eyes, I worked hard to control my thoughts, never let them go too far, but now I didn't care. Zoning out as I stared into the dark, my mind was so far from where I was. I think I was worrying about what the fishermen on board were thinking as they probably weren't quite sure what I was doing just standing and staring. It wasn't just the bad things I kept going back to, in fact, it was almost more so the great times. All those amazing days racing along surfing down giant swells making record speeds. Sitting on deck with Charlie my stuffed pelican, watching the sun set, icy wind hitting you in the face, feet and hands numb from the cold, but an amazing sight that I got to see almost every night.

The worst thing to think about was all those great times, they were all gone now and my trip was over, no more sunsets on Wild Eyes, no more surfing, no more world adventures. It was hard. But then again, just a day before I had sat wondering if I would be rescued... I didn't think I would be. I had come so close to death more than once during my trip.

The fact that I was rescued from the middle of nowhere... it was crazy really. Just last week, I learned about a friend of mine that I met in Rhode Island when we bought Wild Eyes. He left on a solo sail, got into a storm along the way, and no one has heard from him since... ocean sailing is a dangerous thing, but so is life. With all the prayer and expert SAR crews, I have been given something that not everyone gets, a second chance.

I could have easily died out there, just like so many others have, but I didn't. In one of the most remote places on earth I was rescued. Something through all of this that I learned, is that we all get hit by our own rogue waves in life. It's what we do with them that matters. You can take something that looks like a disaster and turn it into something great.

You may support me, you may not, but as long as I live, I know I am going to take every opportunity that comes my way, chase every dream, and do all that I can to help others follow their dreams.