- Ruth Hakanson
Life On Board Lady Slipper
Crossing Mind Set
Cruising from Island to island is very different than a Crossing. I believe having the proper mindset, accepting exactly that what you're about to do and having all the proper pieces that fulfill you as a person in place as you venture out is absolutely imperative. Things like music, books, knowing how your body likes to stretch and exercise, and having great food choices. It's an experience in nurturing yourself while caring for the others around you. It's actually a great lesson in self-care.
Provisioning in abundance & reality (flexibility)
No one would ever go hungry on Lady Slipper! Everyone enjoyed cooking. We were beyond well provisioned. The joke was that a few of our team might have had “food scarcity” issues.
When we arrived in Bermuda, a lovely local couple offered to take us in their car to the market. We happily agreed and reprovisioned the boat for the leg to St Thomas, thinking we would leave in 2 days. However, we left in 9 days, and besides breakfast, we ate out at restaurants the entire time. Let's just say there were a lot of bags of salad tossed! Another learning experience! Yet, it’s always good to be proactive and ready!
We caught a few fish on the way. I was happy to watch, and while at the helm the line bent so I jumped into action to reel in a beautiful Mahi (caught on video by Doug).
I wasn't sure how I'd feel taking a fish's life. Having the experience taught me that I was okay with it. Especially giving him his vodka gill infusion and off to Heaven he went. Next I will attempt to learn filleting. I was proud that I stayed and observed this process as well. Blood usually makes me queasy!
Squalls and cargo ship encounters
Keeping the trip exciting was easy as we encountered many squalls which were each unique. Some got extra dark, others had higher winds, many had rain and a few had a little bit of lightning.
Whenever we got close to a cargo ship, I was happy to hop on the VHF and acknowledge sighting of their vessel. I have the philosophy that it's easier to take 30 seconds on the radio to say, “hi, I see you” than to wonder if their captain is asleep or texting. LOL!
Highlights of being out on the sea
Being surrounded in endless, stunning nature that is so vast.
Dolphins, moon rises and sets, sun rises and sets, sparkling star filled skies with shooting stars.
Dangling our Legs in water behind the boat in the middle of the ocean and observing beautiful cloud formations.
Many instances of wondering “are we the only people to have seen that even though there are so many people on this planet?” Kind of a mind-blowing thought.
Feeling really little in a big, huge planet / vast ocean, yet so very special to be the only ones experiencing that moment and seeing those views (clouds, sunsets and sunrises) We truly may have been the only ones to have seen what we did.
I absolutely love not being connected to the internet and NOT looking at my phone or computer. Emotionally For me, sailing creates space and time to go inward and to connect with the divine. I cherish the time spent embracing my inner beliefs and challenging myself to change some beliefs that no longer serve me. The simplicity of living on a boat leaves space for spending time being present with others and God. The words "perspective" and "understanding" were key to me having a fantastic experience.
Perspective and personal lessons learned
A positive attitude, kindness, and patience are essential in a small space for many days.
I now know that I don't wish to go beyond four days without a shower. Due to the conditions, we did not shower. It was tough enough to get in and out of the head without falling! I can't go beyond 5 days without washing my hair. Keeping my hair in a hat and lots of updos really helps.
It's a wonderful experience to go without makeup or a blow dryer. I went through feeling pretty “bodily” uncomfortable with how my outer world affected my inner world. I had to focus on other things and change my perspective to create inner peace. Good thing there was only one mirror…in the head, which I was in and out of quickly! Lol!
It was a learning experience finding self-space and self-care amongst three others, having been a mother and educator (nurturer). I embraced this opportunity to practice putting myself first before others, and it was quite an exercise for me. I’m thankful to have had an environment with good people that knew the healthy practice of honoring yourself.
There were many opportunities to have a healing experience and see the gift in everything. Especially when utilizing patience and giving space to another for them to see the lesson from their own reflection and not my "teaching" or "proving my point". We had much Grace on Lady Slipper sharing our appreciation for the Divine and feeling so much gratitude every day.
On being the only female of the crew
It was exceptional to be seen and treated as an absolute equal for my sailing abilities. As I look back on my experience, I feel I have gained four incredible chosen brothers and had an exceptional experience of feeling equal. Our team was about safety, sailing together while respecting, caring, and advancing all our shared sailing knowledge in order to have a safe and enjoyable journey.
Considering other crossings, I have to say there were moments that I felt a little spoiled, as if I were at a five-star resort! Everyone prepared beverages for each other, plus cooked and helped out in all ways: washing dishes, cleaning, fixing, projects (I’m a ditch bag expert now). It simply made it a fantastic experience that exceeded my expectations.