Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Choosing What Thoughts To Listen To (trying really hard to anyway)

We don't have a TV on board Anima but I have found myself obsessively reading the news online about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week. I can't believe how big this most recent disaster is and the number of people affected by it is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to the many thousands who have been affected.

The earthquake came the day after I'd stayed up late finishing Ben Elton's book 'This Other Eden' which is themed around the end of the world. The book isn't serious but there are similarities with the current frequency and devastation of natural disasters that had me fearing for the end of the world. You see, as a little girl (picture a serious 5 year old with red hair, freckles and bare feet in the Australian bush) I was terrified of the end of the world. One of my earliest memories is of watching the sky for meteorites - I would check for them daily.

So as I scrolled through yet another article detailing this most recent disaster, I realised that I was starting to get swept up in the fear. I realised I was getting swept up in it and, in an effort for reassurance, I posted on facebook (I tend to use this site a lot because I live apart from most of my family and friends) asking if this was the end? Rene's wise step-sister, Sarah (from England) was one of the people who commented on the post. She had the insight to see that it must feel like it's the end to me, because almost all of the disasters we've seen this year have been directly or indirectly close to me.
I was in the Brisbane floods in January, grew up in Toowoomba (site of the flash floods) and was here in Townsville for cyclone Yasi in February. Then the earthquake in Christchurch happened and it felt close because it was the first city I visited overseas. We travelled there years ago and were struck by the charm of the markets that were held beneath their famous church. We have dear friends living in New Zealand and luckily they were all fine. Now, most recently is Japan. My sister-in-law is Japanese (currently living in Brisbane), my sister lived there for years and we have many friends and relatives currently living there. I've travelled to Japan twice and spent a beautiful day in Sendai - the place most severely hit by the tsunami. Sarah has made me realise that there are disasters happening all of the time - it's just bad luck that I've been close to all of the disasters we've had this year. I guess I've been very fortunate to have lived so unaffected by the troubles of the world for most of my life.
Rene in Christchurch, 2005.
 If I listen to the fear, I start to question... should we still go on our planned trip to South East Asia? Isn't there volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, pirates, malaria......? What if we get killed by a tsunami while anchored somewhere in Asia? What if there are more disasters and they don't stop? What if....?

But as the flash flood in Toowoomba has taught me, safety is an illusion. No matter where I go or what I choose to do, there are risks. I just hope that the risks we're taking by sailing off into distant waters, won't be our last. 

This is how I will remember Sendai - a gorgeous bay of islands.
Sendai, December 2008
So, back to the preparations for our journey:
Rene had to fix a leak that sprung out from the fresh water pump in our bathroom (head). He ended up having to replace the pump which we've only had installed for 2 years. It's annoying when we spend so much money on boating equipment and it doesn't last. 
After solving the leak, Rene continued to work on the batteries. He completed the framework around the vertical battery and the wooden edging which will be a seat is well on it's way to being completed.
Rene perched on his half-complete battery seat.
We've both been jabbed multiple times with various vaccinations in preparation for our trip. I think we'll end up with the combined total of 10 needles. I didn't realise we needed so many!

I was given a wide selection of nautical charts from a fellow yachtie here in the marina who went on the Sail Indonesia Rally a few years ago. Now I need to embark upon a sorting mission (again) to catalogue, repair and organise these new additions to our collection. I'm very grateful for being given so many charts - a massive help (thanks Leanne from Seafarer's Gem!)

I was finally able to embark upon my massive sewing marathon of making the replacement cockpit awning. I'm not making the same mistakes I did last time. I'm being obsessive with measuring and planning. I've found that the 'she'll be right' attitude doesn't necessarily work with sewing. I wish my sewing machine was better behaved though. It has an annoying habit of sewing the under-side of the fabric very messily in a strange, wobbly way instead of in a straight, single line. This annoys me because I'm trying so hard to do a good job and the machine is making my efforts look unprofessional. The monsoonal rain is also hampering my efforts to complete this job as I need to check my progress against the cockpit to ensure that it all fits properly and can't do this if it's pouring rain (which it has been now for over 2 weeks).
Feeling slightly crazed at the mammoth sewing marathon ahead..
Annoying sewing machine - the bottom stiches are meant to be straight!
 We managed to escape the never-ending boat jobs for a few hours on the weekend to visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland. They have a massive recreation of the Pandora and we enjoyed seeing all manner of old scuba diving masks. Our friend Carden works at the museum as the coral specialist and she showed us her enormous storage room. i discovered that my favourite type of coral are the Acropora variety. In amongnst Carden's coral collection is the specimens that Rene's parents collected for her during their circumnavigation onboard their yacht, Hagar in the 90's.
One of the old-fashioned scuba diving masks on display.
Carden shows Rene a catalogue of some of the specimens his family collected for the museum.
A coral ball - it lives on the seabed and rolls around!
A gorgeos Acropora sample.
So I'm trying hard to ignore my thoughts that focus on fear about the natural disasters that have ocurred and potentially could occur. I'm practicing Ashtanga yoga daily and am grateful that in spite of the many disasters that have occured in 2011 (including health scares), all of my family and friends are still alive.

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh I'm wise - its official. Excuse me while I do a quick bop around the room.

    I love the bit where Jan and Rog find the corals. I wonder what you are going to find. I am deeply deeply jealous. Sarah