21 September, 2005

I cannot for the life of me imagine why someone would hang from a flimsy piece of wood on the top of a boat in the middle of an ocean. But that's what people do.

A look out at the clear skies and endless water as we draw ever closer to our destination.

One of the Kiribati workers prepares to engage in another death defying task.

We still appear to have all the cargo.

This is the motorized lifeboat we'd all have to pile into should something go wrong with the ship.

A close-up look at a couple of the cargo containers. You would not believe how many of these things exist.

21 September, 2005

Day 68. Even though the show didn't start until 2:00 pm thanks to our eastward progress, it still felt like morning to me since I had stayed up really late last night. I'll be so happy to be doing radio back at a normal time in the evening.

This week's "Off The Hook" was a complete disaster from my end. If I had to judge the satellite phone based on its performance today, there is no way I would ever recommend it to anybody. Clear blue skies in all directions and I couldn't hold a signal or hear what anybody was saying for more than a few minutes at a time max. It was pathetic.

I've used this thing on the Atlantic Ocean and within the borders of several countries during this voyage. But if it can't handle the middle of the Pacific Ocean, of what earthly good is Iridium? And when you consider I had to pay around $1.50 a minute for that absolute crap, this is definitely not something I would ever suggest anyone do, at least not in that part of the world. I suppose there's always the chance that my equipment became defective for that period of time or there was some kind of satellite fluke at precisely that moment. Whatever the reason, I spent a lot of time preparing for a show that I couldn't participate in which is pretty damn frustrating. I'm sure the show itself didn't sound bad especially if you just cut whatever was left of my voice out of the equation.

So that was a great way to start the day. Afterwards it was more of the same kinds of activities I've been involved in over the past week. I'm slowly becoming used to the various faces I see here and I think it's working the other way too. I'm sure I'll be sad when this all ends in a couple of days but right now all I can think of is the moment when we spot California on the horizon. I was hoping that might come today but when I went up to the bridge to check on our progress, we were still about 1000 miles out. So hopefully tomorrow.

I walked around a bit outside during the day since the weather was pretty clear. There were a few Kiribati crew working on various projects like painting and cleaning. It would be really great to have one of them in our film speaking their language. We figured out today that this boat is carrying well over .01 percent of their entire population and we only have 11 of them on board. I can only imagine what it must be like to come from a relatively isolated place like that and travel all around the world. I can't even begin to imagine what people from America must seem like to them. But what I know is that the Kiribati here on this freighter have been quite warm and friendly. I only wonder when I'll next get the chance to see someone from there.

Ben and I kept ourselves amused playing ping pong, throwing darts, and watching videos. I'm really glad I had someone to talk to and hang out with during this leg of the voyage. No doubt I would have survived just fine on my own but it definitely adds something to be able to compare experiences and have conversations that go somewhat beyond the superficial. This didn't turn out to be the loneliest part of the trip after all although it certainly was the most confining. But humans are adaptable and we can simply adjust our metabolism to handle more than a week in a relatively small space with not much to do. I'm sure there's a breaking point and I probably would have found it if I had remained here a bit longer. I may still since there are a couple more days to go before we actually arrive. But the overall mood of calmness and competency that prevails here does a great deal to keep things not only bearable but enjoyable. It really is very comfortable in this little building on this big boat and the whole experience does provide a form of therapy as it's a bit of sanctuary from everywhere else.

Still, I have to wonder if this ocean will ever end.