Southern Cross

Southern Cross constellationThere are moments in life when a song can make you feel so much better. While I was going through crazy times in life in 2009 to prepare for our departure from the US to start our circumnavigation, I spent a lot of time driving back and forth to the boat in Wilmington from Raleigh, North Carolina. One of my favorite songs is “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Young, and Nash which I would play sometimes as I drove back and forth.

It’s a song about long distance love, but that’s not what I hear. It’s also a song about a sailor who sails around the world. It has magical phrases about what its like to be sailing. What’s more the words are truly the words a sailor would say and captures feelings of being on the sea. Here’s an example from the beginning:

    Sailing a reach
    Before a followin’ sea.
    She was makin’ for the trades
    On the outside,
    And the downhill run
    To Papeete.
    Off the wind on this heading
    Lie the Marquesas.
    We got eighty feet of the waterline.
    Nicely making way.

I remember my joy when we finally sailed into the Marquesas and later visited Papeete. I played this song in tribute during those times with great joy and happiness.

The Southern Cross is a constellation only visible from the more southern latitudes of our planet. Too far north (like most of the United States) and you can’t see it. One of the biggest privileges of being on a sailboat at night is the opportunity to see the starry skies far away from city lights in all their glory.

    When you see the Southern Cross
    For the first time
    You understand now
    Why you came this way

Seeing the Southern Cross is a special thing for those of us who were born in the northern hemisphere. And, each time I see the constellation I re-capture the moment I first saw these stars from my boat while at sea and how that fused with this song I had heard for years before it happened. I greatly look forward to the day when we complete our circumnavigation – a day which I plan to play this song loudly many times. It will be a very emotional and joyous time I hope.

We are preparing to move Tahina from Malaysia over to Singapore on Friday. My surgery is scheduled about a week later. But, the hospital has not been communicating with my insurance provider and I still do not have the approvals for the insurance to pay for the surgery. I’m very worried that the surgery will have to be delayed. We are paying 2.5 times more money for the slip in Singapore. Plus, if my surgery is delayed for too long it could jeopardize our trip across the Indian Ocean late this year because my eye will need several months to recuperate from the surgery. This could delay our trip by an entire year! I’m very stressed by all this, as well as the impending surgery.

So, I go back to listening to this song. A song which is once again helping me deal with the stress by reminding me of the joy of sailing around the world.

    You understand now
    Why you came this way
    ‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from
    Is so small.
    But it’s as big as the promise
    The promise of a comin’ day.
    So I’m sailing for tomorrow

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One Response to Southern Cross

  1. Lara Ortiz says:

    Frank, I know what you mean here. I don’t think I’ll ever hear that song again without recalling dinners on Tahina while you blasted this song, and night on watch during my first Pacific crossing. There’s something magical about it.

    I’m glad to hear your eye surgery went so well. We’re looking forward to hearing how everything progresses from here. We expect to leave Auckland late July, Aug 1 at the latest, for Southeast Asia. If you’re still in the area, it would be great to catch up with you and Karen.

    Jason is finishing his RYA Yachtmaster Ocean this weekend, ready to be a 200-ton unrestricted skipper as of next week. Exciting times for us. We can’t wait to get back on the water…

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