Ocean is something you respect. Respect contains the concepts of fear, admiration and love. I learned to respect the ocean when I was on Atlantic crossing. World is full of useful guidelines, tips, knowledge and lists how to prepare yourself and your boat for that journey. After all, it is a quite a journey.
I didn’t know any of them. I’ve just had my 18th birthday, world was wide open and I heard the call of salt waters. You don’t think and plan then. You just go and learn. I asked my good friend Katri, will she join me. She said yes, and probably didn’t quite realize where she signed herself into.
We were part of small crew, sailing from Las Palmas to Martinique. Our equipments were far from high tech clothing and accessories you find these days. But there we were, hoisting sails, cooking, cleaning, pulling lines, feeling few days seasick, and telling stupid jokes.
Trade winds carried us within 20 days to the other shore of the ocean: Same amount of days as Columbus had back in the days. It was perfect. I enjoy that kind of simpleness and understanding how small you are, yet you are. And we were not alone: I could tell stories about whales and porpoises, fishing food, washing with salt water and so on. There happened quite a lot, even though it may seem on a first glance quite a monotonic voyage. I loved to hear on night watches those old school sailor stories, that first mate of our crew had in his storage. Or just watching quietly the night sky with milky way, and the most vast amount of stars I’ve ever seen. Milky way has never been so detailed as there were no light pollution spoiling the view. With me travelled Sinuhe, Egyptian. Great book to dive into in the middle of the sea.
When 56 ft schooner of ours stranded to Martinique after 2700 nautical miles, we were still swinging from side to side on a pier. We run out of all fresh food, so it felt like heaven to eat freshly picked fruits and warm, nice meal with beer. I only can imagine, what it was like back in Columbus days, when life was way harder.
What was left in my hand, after having a nice, long chat with the Atlantic ocean, was that respect. Even in then, when the swell was huge, and I was watching quite a wall behind the boat, I never panicked. I just paid the respect. When they ask me, would I go again? – Definitely.
And we never were the craziest Finns in history books for sure. Arto Kulmala & Seppo Muraja crossed the Atlantic in 1970 with 4,3m motorboat. Alive. These lads even filmed some parts of their trip, see below. Sailor man is a different type of man.