‘MAKE IT REAL’ IN OCEAN LIMBO
So I met these two girls in Sri Lanka. They told me about the ship they were on, the MIR, studying whales and dolphins off the coast of the country.
I immediately got hooked on the idea. Emailed the people in charge, didn’t let them let me go. They agreed to meet (but not take) me in a month.
I flew to Nepal for two weeks, crossed the border into the north of India for a ten-day Viepassana retreat, then flew back (ridiculous 24h flight with 4 connections) to meet them on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
After the flights and two days of bussing and hitchhiking, I got to the boat an hour late. They decided not to take me.
Well… they still spoke to me… then they took me.
They tried me out for two days. I was me – speaking my mind, berating with questions and talking back when I thought something wasn’t fair. They decided to kick me off.
I stayed up for hours writing them a letter, organizing my thoughts. We woke up, I read them the letter. They kept me.
We crossed the Bay of Bengal. It took two weeks, from Sri Lanka to Thailand. I was warned that the bay is one of roughest seas in the world. It ended up being the calmest sea ever.
I had some of the best food I’ve ever had on the boat. English breakfasts, curries, mashed potatoes, sausages, cakes and breads baked on the boat, sateed vegetables, later followed by burgers, barbecues…
Beer, rum, champagne…
A plasma TV, the best collection of books I have ever seen (my taste exactly), a piano, xylophones and drums…
But also the toughest people. The Captain and his partner – Laser and Gaie – are dynamite harmony. Direct criticism digging into your very core, along with masterful counselling.
Not everyone can take it. All but one from the previous crew left before their time was up.
Personal growth, supercharged. No pain no gain.
Social dynamics on the boat are intense. Seven people, together 24/7. Tensions, frustrations abound. Many get solved, those that don’t accumulate and if given enough time – explode.
On the voyage, there was about five days where we were visited by dolphins daily. I shared some mystical moments with them, catalyzed by this amazing book I had been integrating: ‘Mind in the Waters’ by Joan McIntyre.
Seeing land again was surreal. We anchored, then took two weeks in Thailand. One in Phuket, cleaning and fueling up, then one diving.
Our next stop was Langkawi island, Malaysia, a duty free heaven where we filled up stocks of petrol and ethanol.
The journey ended in Singapore after 5 days through the Malacca straits, one of the busiest in the ocean passageways in the world, after weeks of lonely ocean limbo.
For more info about the singular event in the couple’s life which started all of this, head on to the Biosphere website.
It’s friggin fascinating – the experiment which the couple participated in decades ago. For decades after they were preparing for an expedition to Mars – with the intention of sending an ecosystem up there. Astronaut standards are tough to keep up with.