Posted by: Zen | July 18, 2013

The Eco passage revisited.

 Zen II reflections

 It is a month ago now that we were some 250 miles off the coast of Mexico trying to make it back to land. We had hoped to reach some land base and make repairs and put the boat up for sale. The sail had proved we did not have the equipment or funding to make an Ocean crossing.  We had spent a week getting 250 miles closer to land from 500 miles off shore. It had been a unpleasant passage. Not terrifying but unpleasant and enlightening to our weak points. Mostly, the lack of a wind-vane and stronger rudder gear. More so the wind-vane.

We are blessed to be now safe in Osaka. There is some sadness in being boatless and out of some items. It does feel weird being boatless. Yet, although a discomfort to lose things they are just things, and as such with some effort and luck can be replaced. Our lives can not. Due to the blessings of compassionate gifts, some things have been replaced. As well as we did make our overall goal of arriving in Japan…alive So on some level we were successful.  We are deeply grateful to those who made it possible. _/|\_
Over the last few weeks I have read some misc posts and articles about our trip and loss. I never expected to be infamous this way. There is even an article in Latitude 38. Some of the misc sailing boards had some folks who had voiced their “expert” opinions. It must be a great thing to be born an expert or a sailing prodigies. Like Jesus born with no sex involved, nice! Still the “experts” say they did not read the whole blog or know the full story, yet never the less they spoke, critiqued from their limited perspective. I guess that is one of the benefits of being a sailing prodigy.  Whatever I suppose this is to be expected, people are like that. Some will always have some judgment to make on others. Take words the wrong way, see/hear what they want. Same as many people only listen enough to respond, not understand what one is expressing to them. 


Those people do not matter, they are only about themselves. like the couple we helped when they had trouble, but have not heard even a word of compassion for our issues. Just out for themselves, anyway I digress.
 I did what I felt was right for my family to survive. More importantly “I did”, not talk. There were times on board and afterward I felt a failure. However more than the few who had negative statements, even more had positive statements, coming down to one thing. “I did”  I did not talk about doing it, I went out and took the step, cast off the lines. It was not my skills that failed, but equipment. In my youth being a small person I looked up to Bruce Lee, I found this statement from him. True or not from him, it is still valid.
So now looking back from a safe dry place even after the lost of much, we gained. My Tai Chi coach often told me, ” there are times when you lose, you win.”
We lost things, items, but we won the understanding and gifts of true compassion from friends we had met and those we had not. This compassion went beyond, race, class, or the other BS, which in we as humans get so lost.  As well as knowing who are my true caring friends. These are the true things to value in life. We are on the road to recovery due to the compassion of these people. I have a better understanding of interdependence and compassion, not just from seeing it, hearing about it, but receiving it!
To those who were wondering, I am not giving up on sailing, just Ocean crossing, and defiantly on a tight budget! It will take a while before we can get to a place were it is possible to sail. However giving up no! Even LZ still wants to sail, though not for weeks on end.
I have read some very judgmental things said on various forums about our trip, no matter, they do not know me or my background. Even though I said, while writing in the middle of depression I am not a “Sailor”. I can and will continue to sail, but a “Sailor”, which was referring to is all about that life style, the high adventure, the man against the sea mind. I am strong enough to say a sailor, not a Sailor, small “s” not big “S”. Like saying we all are “gods” small “g” not big “G”. Having some of God’s essence make us still part of that. A drop sea water is still sea water.  If that makes sense, or matters . Maybe I am going to far off, digressing  :-)

I am still looking forward to one day sailing the inland sea, Okinawa and parts of Korea, perhaps even over to China and Taiwan to visit friends. Who knows maybe my boat will end up here in Japan on it’s own one day, stranger things have happened. Otherwise once we get reestablished I understand I can get a smaller reasonable weekend sailboat here to explore around in. I do miss being able to go out there, blend with the elements and enjoy the scenery. Sailing, like being a musician is not something one gives up, it can go on hold, but it is never abandoned until you can not physically play.

I do not want to make another attempt at a crossing. Not really, unless conditions, are better, a lot better. Meaning the boat and equipment. I do not have the fear of the Ocean or being “out there” with no real control. However having the best equipment po$$ible is important. One of the Main pieces is a dependable windvane. This was the first weak link on our passage. The rudder could not be helped. It was checked before we left. I believe though if the auto pilot had not failed the rudder would have survived. I still love sailing and want to do more. However I am not a hard core sailor seeking the big adventure. I never was that but now it is certain. Knowing ones self is part of the goals of meditation. The good and bad sides of one’s self, strengths and weakness, this is what makes one a warrior, a survivor of life. In Kyudo we work for beauty of individual expression within the limits of the eight steps of Shooting. In living we work within the limits of our strengths and weakness. However we do not have a manual on what they are, we must  take chances to find them. Meditation can help but it just one form, a formless form, we must find out our limits within form since that is were we live. To do that we have to take chances in the world of form. From this passage I learned on both levels of form and formlessness.  
Nothing has been heard of the Zenamaran, perhaps in a few months something will be. One never knows what the new tide will bring. As the religious would say, God works in wondrous ways. The flow of the Ocean flows passes Japan, would it not be too amazing to have it show up here, as the debris from the Tsunami ended up in Cal/ Oregon, like that Shrimping boat. That would be quite an ending to the “lost of Zen” story.
In closing another positive point is now I have a more interesting story to write about, rather than the same old we went here and saw this and that. Swam here and there, etc etc. We had a real adventure and most important survived. Also it did not cost the US government anything for the rescue. Just a side note for the naysayers. 
We are grateful to all, those who helped with words and funds. I do wish though that we could have made an impact on the minds of people for the need to change our, we humans way of thinking about the Oceans, the environment, our food supply and animals in our care. This is more important than if “I should or should not have been out there” if I made it or not. My sailing success or not effects a very limited group. Our Care or in this case the LACK of CARE for our environment effects everyone! What we do to the Ocean/Air we do to ourselves and all life. There is no backup planet, there is no rescue ship, there is no space EPRIB. We, the earth, the Oceans and it’s multi-life forms on this planet, this is the real Interdependence we need to come to terms with. Cut the BS about race, sailing experience, gay marriage, who this sport figure or movie person is sleeping with. Our air, food, and water supply is the real issue to our and our children’s future.
Perhaps our case of losing in sailing is another form of losing, yet winning. Maybe this will give us a chance to be heard about the real things of concern to us as earth people, not just Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Africans, Mexicans or other labels we use to divide us and keep us in the illusion of “us and them”. There is only US (earthlings), there is no duality. Our sail was only “the finger pointing to the moon”.


  1. for the record — i think the you and LZ are awesome.

    none of us know if we can or cannot do things unless we go out and try. ya’ll went out and tried — for that the two of you are an inspiration for us all.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback!

      Best regardes

  2. Zen, Rachel here from the Blue Pelican. I was sad to hear what happened, but am so glad you and LZ made it to Japan safely. We’re thinking about you here in the SF bay!! Best of luck in this new adventure.

    • Hey Red, nice to hear from you! Yeah, it is a major bummer, but we survived. Now readjusting to a boatless life. Takes sometime but we are weel, thnaks, fairwinds

  3. Very interesting perspective. My wife and I sailed from San Francisco to Key West following the 1998 Baja Ha Ha in a Gemini catamaran. We had a few issues along the way, the usual stuff, and had a great time with our catamaran and our two dogs. It was an experience that freed our minds and our approach to life.

    By the time we arrived in Key West after two years we were tired of sailing and by the time we made more money we were ready to get off the boat. I think we may be starting to miss it, but there is so much living to be done on land, and not having to pay attention to the needs of a boat frees you up so much.

    We hated over night trips and multiple nights at sea were a pain. I too realized I’m not a Sailor, rather I like to travel by boat, and these days I rather think a slow trawler is in my future rather than a sailboat. I prefer boating on calm days(and nights!).

    This is I can say: you did it, you went out and sailed away. That it didn’t go well means very little now that you are safe at your destination. I think the more time passes the more the experience will be beneficial to you as it has been to my wife and I. The worst thing is not to have tried.

    Key West, Florida.

    • Thank you for your visit and comment. I love the Gemini Cats! Cool boats. I got to do my ASA Catamaran training on one. Loved it! If i have the cash, I would go for one of those in a heartbeat. We met another owner in San Diego who was a lived aboard , also he loved his.

      It is kind of weird being boatless and do not know how the future will unfold with getting another or not. I will just have to see how things go. In a way it is easier for us here starting out with no boat. One less bill to answer :-)

      I have a friend who was readying to sail off but changed his plans somewhat after reading our adventure and has now opted to get a motorsailer and sell his sailboat and just do coastal hops.

      I will be checking out your blog.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Fair winds

  4. Zen – I hadn’t been checking blogs for a while so just saw this. I’m greatful that you and LZ are safe. The account brings tears to my eyes.
    Good also to see your perspective and that you aren’t giving up on sailing, even if you have perhaps changed your goal and learned more about what your sailing dreams really are.

    • Hi, BG, Nice to hear from you . Thanks for dropping by and the comment. Everything is a lesson, right!? Those that adapt survive. We are grateful to be able to carry on and regroup here in Japan. It is weird being boat-less after doing the boat life for so long. Even though technically we still have a boat. Just the whereabouts are unknown! :-)

      fair winds to you.


  5. Zen,So happy that you and LZ are in the form I just read through your account it is pretty incredible, the thing that comes to me is the quality of the flow of a travelers life you have been carried along and given another chance to fulfill an even greater dream. When you and LZ were getting ready to leave and also another blogger that I enjoyed I decided to stop blogging and deleted a years worth of work but tonight I decided to catch up on what was happening on the sailing blogs and found out about your mishap I have often mentioned you to my partner and wondered how you guys were doing. I believe I may have run this by you before my wife and I left good paying jobs and set out in a 15 ft canoe and spent six weeks peddling and sailing up the Hudson river in New York state, one night a large freighter came down the river we were sitting by a camp fire when all of a sudden I exclaimed ” The canoe” we jumped up and ran down to the waters edge , it was gone we each ran in different directions but it was gone , it was as if we had lost a living being we had become one with that canoe our thoughts had directed it for some time . The next day we went up to a couples house that we had met and told them what had happened and they took us in for a couple of days and let us store some things with them. We then put packs on our back and headed for the Appalachian trail . that was somewhere around 73 I just turned 71 in June I built a small greenhouse and I’m planting it here in the fall trying some alternative techniques so that we can have a longer growing season and enjoy fresh veggies for a little longer.
    Your poetry from this trip is great

    Know it is the earth that guides the tree to root
    And shows the river where to flow.

    When should you read the Tao?
    When the sirens and the shots from the 9mm’s have died down.
    And the sounds of water sprinklers have stopped hissing.
    Open your window half way and be sure the screen is intact.
    Then sit back and begin reading the sutras.

    Take care

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and revisiting. We are grateful to be able to restart , continue , carry on, with another chapter. We are preparing to move tomorrow into our new home, thanks to the compassion of family and friends. It is a blessing.

      Best wishes on your farming endeavors!

  6. For a long time I have wanted to write something but was unable. Our hearts are broken for you, and deeply wounded by your tragedy. The shock still remains within us.
    I can only pray that the Lord God will give you both a blessed new start in Japan, and that you can somehow enjoy the found memories of sailing without having to recall that aweful moment of losing your boat.
    When you have the time to reflect on your adventure, I pray that it will be of those exilerating breaths taken at the helm, steering with the wind at your back, and fresh ocean breezes. Remember seeing the schools of fish jumping high into the air, the dolphins running along side and over the bow. Try to remember how you experienced freedom from the worldly problems, a man and woman alone but yet united in adventure, and in love. Embrace each other with admiration for facing the challenge, and the courage, and wisdom to know when to say, it is finished.
    You are both wonderful people, the Lord has a plan for you. Seek him in the bible, listen to his words, Stay focued on Jesus, and he will guide you in all the right ways regarding both your new life and adventure in Japan. For wherever two or more shall gather in my name, shall I be.

    Peace my friends,


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