Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Blog, Reflecting | 0 comments


That’s all the pirate talk ye be gettin’ outta me, ye scurvy dogs! Wait… wow, that’s hard to break out of. Avast! Let’s be tryin’ that again!

Ahem, sheesh. So if you couldn’t guess already, we’re out to sea and I’m loving every minute. This is actually my ninth voyage with the Africa Mercy, and it will be the second time I cross the equator (which is how you become a “shellback” in maritime terms, but I’ll post more about that on my website next week). What’s more unique is crossing at 0.00, 0.00 – the equator and prime meridian simultaneously. I’m hoping we see the dashed lines this time, unlike the blank gap we hit between the lines on our last trip.

My buddy Brian suggested we do a man overboard drill when we pass so we could sail through all four quadrants when we get there.

We’ve already seen sea turtles, whales (the best guess I heard was sperm whales), flying fish, dolphins, and orcas! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen orcas in the wild, and it was exciting even if my camera couldn’t capture them at the distance (iPhone lenses have their limitations, as it turns out).

But there’s something forcefully melancholy about being at sea, and it isn’t just Harmattan that makes me say that.


Perhaps melancholy isn’t the right word, but it certainly puts you in a deeply pensive mood. Standing on the bow, watching the waves pass by. With nothing on the horizon save the horizon itself, you start to feel like there’s nothing else in the world save for you and your little boat. The depth of the water is staggering to think about. The hostility of the environment is masked by the safety of the ship. And when you boil it all down, it’s just you and the salt and the spray – it’s hypnotic.

The sheer magnitude of creation is hard to grasp at times. Flying for 13 hours to cross the globe doesn’t give you a sense of scale. Watching an endless amount of ocean pass by for 13 days does.



Even the waves are built upon waves of which I’m sure they are unaware. You see little chops crop up on top of bigger ones, but then you broaden your focus and realize that there are massive waves rolling under those. Waves so big that the only way you catch them is through the subtlety of their shade. They’re faster than the ship, and they roll on under the smaller waves without ever disturbing them.

Life is built upon the backs of so many larger things. We never really know what it is that’s going on beneath or beyond us. All too often we’re caught up in our own little mini-wave of an existence, and we forget that there are grander schemes afoot. It’s one of those grander schemes that I hope I’m embarking on with this move to the Congo. Let’s just hope that we bring a measure of joy and healing to some people who are praying for a larger wave to break on their shore.

Just a couple of extra notes:

  • We’ll be featured on 60 Minutes again this Sunday (August 4th), so be sure to tune in for that if you haven’t seen it already.
  • You can follow along with the sail (or voyage) on Twitter and Instagram (and to a limited extent, Facebook) with the hashtag #SailWithUs
  • Don’t forget to join my newsletter for monthly updates and recaps!