Thursday, 28 June 2007

Setting the Record Straight

I feel in all honesty I have to put the record straight regarding my so-called bravery. A number of you have made very flattering comments and it's time you all knew what a Big Girl's Blouse I actually am.

There was nothing brave about sailing the Atlantic. Once I was on board and setting sail for Britain, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was trapped! Believe me I thought and thought how I could extracate myself from the situation but even my fertile imagination could come up with no practical means of escape. The nearest I got to a plan was to fall down the companionway (stairs - for the landlubbers) break a leg and then insist on air-sea rescue. I dismissed this as soon as I came up with the scheme, as (a) I didn't want to do it, (b) it would hurt and (c) it costs a small fortune to call out a helicopter. I did think about faking an illness but still (a) and (c) applies.

And ... there was always the plank.

This was the plank I would have been made to walk along if I misbehaved in any way. Peter had to walk along it the night he was keel hauled, and I don't think I could have faced it as stoically as he did. Yes, he was a bit pale and worried looking, but all in all he behaved admirably, going off the side with Anglo Saxon determination on his face, pulled out the other side, maybe retching a bit, but not complaining at all in a typically British way. It was bad enough the night Roger tied me to the mast and flogged me for forgetting to put sugar in his coffee, but no way was I going to be made to walk that plank. Anyway, I had it in mind to use it as a diving board once we got back to Wales.

True bravery comes in the form of Ellen MacArthur.

I know I have wittered on about her tears on the video, but Bloody Hell, what a woman. All my wingeing was really just a cover up for the fact that I would never have the guts to do anything like that myself. Yes, I don't mind rowing solo especially if it is in the safety of a gentle Mediterranean marina, and I have even rowed a 'tired and emotional' Peter back to the boat in the dead of night, but sailing single handed ... never. Not even on Budworth Lake!

Plotting my escape did help pass the time. Another thing I used to do was to try to work out how many hours left of the voyage. Say we will be away 10 days multiply by 24 = 240. We have been out to sea for 48 hours which means ... err .. 8 from 0 is 2 carry 1, 5 from 4 is 9 carry 1, 1 from 2 is 1 so that means ... err .. err .. 192 hours left to go. Oh shit.

I had even optimistically bought a bottle of nail varnish to 'do' my nails, but fat chance. With 20 ft waves, and rogue waves that crashed over the cockpit drenching all who sat there, no way, unless I wanted to get it all over my arms and legs as well.

When we finally sailed into Pwllheli Dave suggested carrying flares a la Ellen but Roger just looked meaningfully at the plank and Dave shut up.

When we got safely moored in Pwllheli harbour, Peter and I jumped ship and fled. Roger had the cat'n'nine'tails out and we heard him muttering about thumb screws. (see Simon's blog on Spanish Inquisition). We caught a train that travelled down the Welsh coast. It was the prettiest line I had ever been on and much more pleasant than being thrown about in rough seas and high winds. Also they had relatively clean 'comfort facilities'. Such a change from that smelly cupboard.

I still don't regret doing the trip. It was all worth while because of the dolphins

and the shearwaters


Barbara said...

Yes, you were brave. You were brave to get on the boat in the first place.
I too am such a fan of Ellen MacArthur. Read her books, watchedher D.V.D.'s and saw her twice sail up the Thames after her Vendee Globe solo trip. Maybe sometime I willpost a photo.
Thanks for continuing to visit me.

Maalie said...

That's a very good sighting of White-sided Dolphin, they are usually a lot further north than that, you should send the record into the Sea Mammal Research Unit. Excellent piccie of the Cory's Shearwater, they obviously came very close.


lorenzothellama said...

Actually it is a piccy of an Atlantic White Sided Dophin, so there! Yes, the old Cory came very close.

Tina said...

You are a riot. THe pictures of the dolphins were wonderful!

Stacy said...

The fact that you had it together enough to take pictures of dolphins and birds shows more bravery than I could have mustered. My husband takes me along on his adventures...I drag along and then bask in the memories afterward. He's the adventurous one. He wants to do the Alaskan King Crab thing. Water, water everywhere would make me crazy, I'm afraid!

You're still brave.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, I still think you were very brave. YOU made the decision to do this trip in the first place and YOU carried that decision through....Never in a million years would I have even considered it---at any age----And I LOVE the water! The "deprivation bathroom" alone would have kept me from saying "yes!" right off the bat. still get my vote for very very brave!

Stacy said...

It's that show, "World's Most Dangerous Catch" on Discovery Chanel. My husband swears he could do that and would love to do it just once. He's got this thing for handling extreme weather. He can do it. I can't. :)

Craver Vii said...

Bravery, schmavery! I still enjoyed the adventure!

Ju's little sister said...

You're the most darling person I've ever met!

Secret - Plumpy isn't brave either. He's scared of other cats.


Plumpy said...

I AM NOT!!!!

(hmmm, I've got smenita too...first time I've ever seen the same v. word!)

simon said...

well lorenzo- could have been worse..

Maalie could have been "driving" ahahahahahahaah!

Ex-Shammickite said...

Well, I think you were brave too. My husband had a sailboat, 33' Cheoy Lee. He sailed it on Lake Ontario, and I hated every moment when the water was rough. And that's absolutely nothing like the N Atlantic. You're brave just to even think about stepping on a boat that is going out onto the ocean. I would have cried all the way. As you can tell, I'm definitely NOT brave.

Merisi said...

The more you try to set the record straight, the braver you look to me. :-) And your pictures are gorgeous, I hope you show us some more, please.

Raelha said...

Nonsense, anyone who got on that boat knowing where it was going was brave. I don't know anyone who's done anything in the same league. I think the bravest thing I've ever done is hoping over the wall at Glastonbury in 2000 - with a security guard and mild-mannered Alsation looking on. (The dog just sat there and watched as the guard helped to heave me over the fence.) So there!

Ooh, and I love the last two photos.

Kalyan said...

some very beautifully captured shots...& you are really brave indeed!

lorenzothellama said...

Purlease ... I am NOT brave at all. I got conned into going in the first place!
It's very nice of all of you to keep boosing my morale, but I know the truth, she says darkly!!

Poor Plumpy. We don't mind if you are a scaredy-cat like our scaredy-cat!

Ming_the_Merciless said...

My brother and his family just came back from an Alaskan cruise. My mom asked me if I wanted to go with her next ewww for more reason that I care to list.

But one of them is I AM NOT GETTING MYSELF STUCK IN A BOAT for a week. :-)


somepinkflowers said...

give it up...
Brave means ***not Cowardly***

your disclaimer here
demonstrates your Modesty,
now you have added Modesty
to your Bravery...


madretz said...

Dear Llama,
It is a pleasure meeting you! I'm thrilled that you stopped by my blog because it led me to yours and I was in nearly in tears laughing over your post. And I've only just begun to read. Your photos are fantastic, too. I'll be back! I know I'd like to read about your exciting adventures.

PS: I suspect you're joking about a 'scab picker', but then again, we've just met so I don't know your subtle sense of humor yet...sooo a scab is that dried bloody remnant on your skin left after a wound or cut. So a scab picker is a person (moi) who picks that scab off till it bleeds again, over and over, till a horrid scar is left. Now that you know, you're probably so grossed out and you'll never return to my blog again. But remember, you asked. ;-)

Jonah said...

So, just how big is that blouse of yours?

lorenzothellama said...

Dear Jonah,
Pretty damn big!

Penless Thoughts said...

Lorenzo - your comment about the Lords Supper painting - no I have not seen the original and doubt that I will ever have the opportunity. I would LOVE to---I can only imagine the beauty of it.

Mebsmommy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Wow! You're photos are fabulous and the stories even more so. You say a needle and thread scare you, but woah......what you do is much more daring!!!!! I'm enjoying reading about all of your adventures.

Martin Stickland said...

Gosh! You are so modest my little soldier... sorry, I mean little sailor.

So the old seas legs are firmly rooted in the garden now? Oh well, I will not stop you, get on with the digging now!

have a great week!

Ju's little sister said...

Generally accepted definition of bravery: "Carrying on despite being filled with fear"

So you were miserable.
So you wanted to get off and go home.
So you wanted to cry and end it all.
So you were afraid.

Bravery is keeping your mind active in the face of boredom.
Bravery is thinking up funny things to fight the depression.
Bravery is not losing your mind or your will to live (or fight or think) just because you are afraid.

It is not shameful to be afraid, and everyone here can see that despite your fear, you continued to give. YOU might not think you were giving your ALL, or your BEST, but you didn't give up - not entirely, or you WOULD have called the helicopter, you WOULD have jumped ship, or broken down and REFUSED to do anything for yourself.
You might not think you were VERY brave, but most TRULY brave people don't think so either.


Plumpy said...

I don't usually agree with Mum. But she's right. Just like when I follow Mum as she chases the tabby out of the house, even though I'm still scared.

It's not very brave, but it's a little bit brave.

Raelha said...

Well said Plumpy!

Seattle Boy said...

You can come on my ship and show me your blouse any time.

Martin Stickland said...


I went to the word blog and left a long message about the meaning of Jargonell (something about a kid leaving his tooth in a jar under his pillow and then the devil taking it in exchange for his soul and the boy saying to his Mum "Jar gone Ell' but then I deleted it because I thought it would not be everyones 'cup of tea'!

Oh well!