Friday, January 9, 2009

Shiriri Saga # 80. The Last Hurrah!

Home waters.

Sept 7th.
There lies Race Rocks lighthouse and the city of Victoria stretched out ahead of us. A sports fisherman in his little motorboat, trolling his lines behind, turns in a curve and crosses right in front of us. Legally he is in the right (sort of), but so STUPID as we swerve to miss him - I`m aware that I have switched to anger in a split second. We are suddenly in a hurry to have showers and prepare for checking into our own country for a change. The flood tide and our fores`l rush us quickly forward and as usual we feel the complicated emotions that have been there at every landfall: partly relief that we have survived the voyage, partly excitement about the land we will be soon be walking around on but also a good portion of regret that we will be leaving this most primal of experiences on the great ocean. All our feelings now are powerful ones.

At the harbour entrance we drop our sails and hoist our large Canadian flag - our usual smaller one has disintegrated from sun and wind some time ago. As we motor past Fisherman`s Wharf, our daughter Elaine comes running down the gangway waving wildly. This has been a hard voyage for us, but also hard on those who could only wait and worry at home. There is so much noise: float planes taxi and rev their engines, traffic noises, the sounds of many people doing their city business. I feel assaulted and remember our last sight of land sixty-seven days ago -those islands in the evening light at Tarawa and the great timeless interlude in between.

Customs and immigration done with, we greet our family and friends and settle in for three days dockside in the Inner Harbour. We have arrived exactly three years since we departed. I step ashore and stagger a little as I feel for my land legs and find Gwyn and Elaine supporting me on either side as we walk up to the restaurant. I eat the biggest hamburger I can find. That meat tastes fantastic! I wolf it down! The next morning as I step out of the shower in the marina facilities I see myself in the mirror. Who is this very skinny ancient mariner I see? My arms and legs are pipe-stems, my ribs press hard against the skin: no wonder my girls grabbed me as I staggered ashore.

We radio Moonflight for the last time to let them know in Puget Sound that we are safely home, do the same for the Seafarer`s Net who have tracked us for so long and proceed to find that the voyage is fading back into the past already. We have become people of the present moment during the past three years and are now focused on another familiar task, adapting to a land reality. I am still way too prepped and primed for trouble though, and the let down for me will be a slow process. I`ve adapted to a wild reality and adjusting back to the niceties of Canadian society will be difficult. Partly, it just does take a while, but also I liked who I was on Shiriri; what I found out about myself and the world, and am reluctant to accept another tamer identity. Until I adapt and find new and interesting ways to express myself I will continue to go through the motions in society while still emotionally standing watch on a windswept horizon.

Shiriri motors north with the flood tide up Haro Strait , past Sidney and lies at anchor off Portland Island just across the water from our land home on Salt Spring. We have our whole family with us for the last part of our journey home. Some of us set up camp ashore where we have camped for years all through our families growing years.
The three year Pacific voyage of Shiriri.

We say "There`s no place like home!" and mean it from the bottom of our hearts. Of course what we have learned on our travels is that the whole earth is our home. It`s all a very special place!

No comments: