www.martinnaef.ch / 1.2: Briefe > To friends and all, End of June 1997, Basel

To friends and all, End of June 1997, Basel

Dear Kathrin, dear Marianne, dear Bill,  dear Peter, dear Barb, dear C.G., dear Lois and Garry, dear ... Hello there, my good old friends! What a rod  awakening! - My dream came true ...

I went to Ford Lauterdale, I boarded the "Blue Scarab". We did set sail for Europe - but then! On day number two and three I was sea sick. I din't want to dye, but I was really tired and out of it! On day number four and five I slowly gamed back my old enthusiasm for life and sailing. On day number six and seven I got into an argument with our captain about his (as far as I was concerned rather repressive and discriminating) approach toward me as a handicapped passenger on board of his yacht: I told him, that I wanted to be treated like the others, that I felt rather restricted by the special treatment I got because of my blindness. He told me about his fear of something bad happening, about his feeling of responsability, his uneasiness with the fact, that there was a blind person on board. He also told me, that he was originally absolutly opposed to having me on board, because  the risc envolved in such an experiment seemed just too big to him ... The discussion was actually quite good, although I wouldn't call it pleasant. However, it ended abruptly when the captain - reacting to a maybe somewhat emotional comment of mine - accused me of threat of muteny and told me, that he was not willing to have me on board after the Bermudas. Thus, on day number nine, I left the boat after another  unsuccessful attempt to talk to the captain and make him change his radical decision. ... With no cash in my pockets and no friends around me my adventurous spirit started to crumble fast and, scared by the outragious prices on the Bermudas, I was suddenly ready for the air plane - the easiest way out! And easy it was indeed! On day number ten I was back in Switzerland.

This is the story of my great adventure! We survived the winds and waves of the Ocean. We survived a small storm with CD's flying accross the main cabin and everything being almost upside down for half a minute or a minute! I survived sickness, sun and rain. But we did not survive the "human factor" ... I am (of course) innocent ... but what good does it to me to know this.

At first I was  quite happy with the unexpected ending of an adventure, which turned out to be far less romantic than I had anticipated. But after the first joyful wellcomes of my friends and family back here  I began to  experience some  symptoms of shock.   My body has safely arrived in Basel, but my soul! Where is my soul. It is as if I had been forced to leave the moovy theater  in the middle of the show! I still don't understand, that I am back and that the adventure is over... It feels like the end is missing! The end? Part of the end is my attempt to get my money back, but was that the adventure I was so much looking forward to? Fighting, writing long and angry letters ... No. This was not quite what I had anticipated when I booked this trip and it is certainly not, where my soul is!

My soul - just about all of me - is still out there on the Atlantic Ocean. I am still getting use to life on board of a small boat. I am getting used to dealing with the feeling of boredom, the lack of events, which has been part of what I experienced during the seven days between Ford Lauterdale and the Bermudas. I am still learning to live in a small cabin with a lot of water, rain and sun around. I still feel the movement of the Atlantic, I am still getting used to the fact, that modern sailing includes a lot of fairly unromantic things like Diesel engens and Diesel generators, buzzing and power eating auto pilots, beeping radars and other electronic equipment ... In short: I am still trying to integrate my love  for sailing and all my romantic notions about it with the  reality of the eight days I have spent on board of the "Blue Scarab", while walking the old familiour streets of Basel, while visiting my mother on the Hasliberg in the middle of the world famous swiss mountains, while talking to my friends on the phone or discussing life issues with Pina, who is about to leave my apartment, so that I have my own space again.

After having had such a good and rich time in the States, the end of my trip looks a bit like one of these tricks life plays on us every now and then in order to remind us, that we are not in control of everything! I feel like old Icarus: All happy to be able to fly, he suddenly falls into the Ocean. Rot awakening for him, too!

O my dear old and new friends! What else is there to tell? - I had a great time on my way back to the east coste. I spent two days in Zuni Mountain, a gay community in New Mexico. Interesting country, very different from what I am used two. Very dry and hot; a high plateau; grass growing in small paches, leaving a lot a space for sandy, rocky ground. No lush meadows with the kind of bushes and trees I am used to from living in Switzerland. The people in Zuni Mountain - 5 or 6 men at present - friendly, a bit lost in the vastness of the country with is almost infinite sky and its high sun! Before Zuni Mountain I spent some last days with my friend Kathrin in San Diego, where I took the first wind surfing lesson of my life, leaving me with a good sun burn and (banal being, that I am) the greatest  satisfaction.

... Yes. This is, how far I got 4 weeks ago, when I started with this report. You get it today! - Well. At least you get it! - Greetings, Martin!