Monthly Archives: July 2012

Adventures in Spain Pt. 2 – the Cameeo to Santiago – joy on the road (pain is weeknes leaving the body)

Image

The next morning, after breakfast and some songs Rosie left to catch a plain back to the UK and my and Garry where again alone on the boat, considering life and the future. We decided that it was time to walk to Santiago. Andy, Baha’i friend form A Coruna, had expressed interest in coming with us, so plans where made for us to start the next morning.

So maybe it would be useful to explain a little about the Camino d Santiago, we know verry little, but it seems that long ago a hermit was blissing out and he began to have a vision of a body buried and surrounded by shells. He followed some stars and with the help of some other Christian folk dug up the very body which he had seen in his vision. It seemed that one of the Apostles; St James the greater, who had set of to find the edge of the world to spread the new vision given to him by Jesus. At the time Finisterre was considered the end of the world (fin terre: end world, or there abouts), A church was built and pilgrims began to come to se these remains in such numbers that the, extension after extension had t be added. Pilgrims from UK and Ireland and the north would sail on flimsy boats, trying to avoid pirates and death, to A Coruna and then walk what became known as the English Way. So we where well placed to do this journey

(now, there is a soundtrack to go allong with this blog. listen to it HEAR (<_click) whist you read for an audio visual experience.)

Provisions and sleeping gear where packed and early in the morning we gathered at the church of Santiago in Coruna, the starting place of the English Way, for a song and a prayer and some meditation. This time trying to leave A Coruna was easier. Andy: Joyful, boyant, strong, clean, wonderful young Baha’i who lives in A Coruna with his wife and unborn child became our guide and translator. As the morning slid by the day became hotter and hotter, not a cloud was I the sky. It emerged that we had started our walk on Galicias hottest day of the year. We trod on out of town and in to the countryside with high spirits and legs eager to prove themselves. As the sun reached its zenith and the heat began to pound we found shelter by a village fountain and slumbered and played mellow sweaty tunes.

The road wound on deeper in to the beautiful countryside, al the people we passed greeted us with smiles and laughed at us for having chosen such a day to start the walk. Like mad dogs and English men we stoically, gallantly, stupidly strode onwards though the heat. Towards the end of the day having already walked 25km we began to walk up a great hill. The evening heat was still fierce as we walked up through sleepy Spanish villages, Garry’s eyes where filled with so much sweat that he had to walk with them closed, only taking a peak every few steps to check he was still on course. For me and Garry the going was tough, however, the jolly Andy strode up the hill like it was nothing.

Eventually the assent ended but there was still another 5 km to go till the next town, we had already walked 30km. We where dependant on the town because it is illegal to light fires outside unless one has permission from the land owners. And all we had to eat was lentils- no good raw. Before we got to the town, and in the late evening, just as the sun was setting, we cracked and went to a truckers café to fill up on great big slabs of tortilla. The night set in and we began to look for some place to sleep. Andy , who was not used to roughing it and with our the necessary jumpers and sleeping mats to make life happy whist sleeping in out doors decided that the mission, whilst glorious, was silly, and rang up his wife who came to collect him. it was wonderful to have spent a day with him and we where sad that he would not be with us to complete the mission. An interesting thing he said was that if bad things happen, there is no need to worry, you should only worry if you are not close to God. I think if you translate this in to non-god language it might be; shit happens, no problem. You are far from your true Self/most beautiful Self, problem. Let me know if you have better translation, I’m interested to hear

Me and Garry awoke the to the misty morning after sleeping in a field next to the road. After a breakfast of oats and nuts we set off again. Without our Spanish guide we became dependent on the some times subtle yellow arrows that are spray painted on to walls, the road and lamp posts and which direct the pilgrim to Santiago. It became coffee time and after walking through beautiful woodland we strode in to a café where in 2 pairs of fellow pilgrims and a cycle pilgrim where already enjoying the first break of there day. We sat together and shared tails of our adventures, drank delicious coffee, made music. Soon it was time to be off again and all went off  at there own pace, confident that we would meet each other again along the road.

We where sometimes lost and sometimes on the track, sometimes roasted by the sun and sometimes in the sweet shelter of the trees. The day past as gently as the miles. In the afternoon we met up again with some of the people from the café; Italians  Amando and Keeran (female keeran, is and Indian nam). We depend our relationship and strode on at a meaty pace until shelter from the sun and rest for the legs was found beneath the shade of an oak tree. We sat in mellow serenity; Garry and myself played a sweet choon and then parted. Soon we where lost, but not to lost. We found our way in to a town ad back on to the route, where provisions where bought, then we set off again to find a place to stay for the night. We got lost again, but a wonderful Spanish man recognised that we where on the wrong path and sent us in the right direction.

That night we sat in the warm evening sun beneath some pine trees, on top of a hill over looking much of the landscape we had crossed during that day. dinner was consumed. Histories where considered and we went to sleep early, happily.

The next day was greeted with an element of tension. The tradition is to reach Santiago in the morning in order to attend the special pilgrim mass in the cathedral, we still had 18km to go. We smashed some oats in us, packed up camp, strode in to the day and quickly lost the path. We doubled back on our selves, but the reassuring yellow arrows that make one know that one is on the path where no where to be seen. We guessed at a few directions and wondered around, blind and longingly. Eventually sense came to us and a map was produced. We set of again, with a knowledge of where  Santiago was in relation to ourselves. Luck or skill or the blessings of the universe where with us, for after a little while guessing at directions we stumbled upon a blessed yellow arrow spray painted on the road signifying that we where back on track. we tramped on eager not to miss the pilgrims mass, and began t meet friends that we had met on the previous day. By the time we entered the suburbs of Santiago we had become a group of seven, the Italians, two young Spanish girls, ad a super fit Spanish man.

We trod on, no time for a break and followed the path, still marked by the yellow arrows towards the centre. The Spires of the cathedral where sighted and anticipation mounted, the pace quickened. After walking 18km before coffee time and without a break we came to the great cathedral of Santiago and stood in the spacey plaza, surrounded by pilgrims, walking folk, bicyclists; all came in from different paths. There was an incedible feeling within the plaza, that of accomplishment, that of joy, of wonder.

We put bags in a hostel then got ourselves in to the cathedral for some hardcore Mass action. The cathedral was so full there where no spaces left on pews. Up at the front there was a whole krew of bishops and priests and holly folk, the catholic massive. Included in their  posse was a wonderful nun with a incredible voice, who sang along to the original stereo sound system; two great big organs that faced each other across the cathedral, with pipes protruding at all angles, decorated by golden cherubs. The mass reached a dramatic peak when, at the end of the service, to a glorious piece of music played on the massive organs, a giant incense burner suspended from a rope which reached right to the top of the cathedral was lit and then swung so vigorously by gleeful priests in red robes that it almost touched the ceiling.

After the mass we found a space in the maze of medieval streets that wind away from the cathedral to play some music. we started mellow and contemplative, then we played joyfully banging vibes which attracted some prancing Spanish youths who bought us orange juice and span around to Irish jigs and silly reggae songs. By chance, one of the headlining acts of the folk festival that I had gone to happened to pass us in the street. They are a super animated super talented, bluesy folk outfit from Japan, with harmonica, guitar, fiddle and boron, called Harmonica Cream. Once we had finished playing we roamed the streets trying to find them. Whilst looking we began to talk to a group of three wonderful soles who where walking down the street next to us. It turned out that they had walked 800km from France to Santiago, then walked past Santiago to the sea  at Finisterre and then walked the walk myself and Garry had done, but in 2 days! The group consisted of 2 brothers from California, and a sweet young woman from Canada, we searched for the Japanese folkies for a while together. They then  went to try to drop there bags off some place. The band eluded us so we returned to the Cathedral.

When one goes on pilgrimage to the Baha’i holy places there are particularly beautiful prayers written to be said at the shrines of The Bab, Baha’u’ala and Abul Baha. Because the forces of the universe had restricted us from reaching that destination,  we said the prayers at the end of our pilgrimage, in the Cathedral d’Santigo.

After a gentle session in the cathedral, we when back out in the streets and this time found the wonderful Japanese musicians, rocking out on the same street we had been, we danced, they rocked, it was a perfect relationship.

The next day, as we set off to the train station, we happened to meet the Californian brothers and the beautiful Canadian. We sat in the morning sun in the plaza together and played sweet gentle music of devotion. Joy was bubbling over. After music we went to a café to explore each others realities, to explore each others plans, it seemed we were all at a point of decision in our journey. One of the Californians had until 6 months ago been set on becoming a professional baseball player, he played 40 hours a week, but then he was freed from that destiny by injury and now, after the camino, wants to become a joyfully mellow chef. His brother dances through life and longs to learn how to make wine like the Spanish.. Bianca, the beautiful Canadian,  wonderer had reached the end of her Camino and now has difficulty finding the next path. Garry set about convincing her to go to all the places most cherished in his heart, to go to Earthing the Spirit, to go to the west cost of Scotland to work in an incredible garden there. All had been on incredible journeys and all where now facing the future with wide eyes and hearts and so as we drank coffee all barriers where down and we where able to connect openly, lovingly, heart to heart.

We left to catch the train, in a sweet sugar joy at the mornings meeting, jumped on board just as the doors where closing, and made the return journey at 160km/h, thought the green, wooded hills of Galicia.

That night we played music with a group of talented grooving rhythm and blues kids at the Casa d’ Té, we met with friends from ACoruna, we made up strange songs about flying pies, and carnivorous chickens, we drank sweet mint tea into the night and deepened friendships.

Since our return to Acoruna, we have  eventually developed our plans.  I think the reason it has taken so long is that both myself and Garry are easily contented, which is good in some respects, but maybe reduces our drive to sort things out. However now things have been set. Mast estimations have been finalised and are about to be sent to the insurance. We have visited an in credible workshop in a harbour around the corner from ACoruna where the last man knowledgeable in wooden boats works with a young apprentice, 9who for an hour each evening works on building his own boat, slowly and with great love.) It seems like the right place for the job. However, in Malta there is a gathering, a small festival of music, spirituality and joyfulness that was planned to coincide with Winnys arrival, (in an other reality, at this moment we would be sailing from Sicily to Malta). We were going to help shape the gathering and infuse it with our style of devotional and with our music. The way things have worked out it looks like I (paddy) will go there alone, carrying the flame of the pilgrimage onwards, to assist in the creation on the gathering and, with luck, to invoke the energies we have experienced during this journey. Garry has decided that whilst his heart tells him to go to Malta, his head knows that now is the time to get everything ready for the new mast. Choices are always a balance of the head, heart and belly, wisdom is to know which to give more attention to in any given situation.

It seems that eventually the remnants of the krew will part ways, that the adventure as come to the end of one stage. Garry will see that all is made well, and then join all the family in Greece, where everyone had planned to gather around the boat, and then head home to continue, life’s adventures; running Burnlaw, rearing a herd of meat cows, writing his epic… I will continue my voyage and do my best to hold within some of this adventures magic, and do my best to share it with people I meet. And, insh’ala, I will get to reach the Holy Land, to bow before the shrines of some of the most Beautiful, Magical souls in the world , to take the dreams, visions, wishes hopes wound up within this adventure and lay them in these most holy places.

The future of the winny is uncertain. If she is to be blessed with a showering of money, it is possible that a krew will sail her onwards towards Hifa. Otherwise. More mighty sailors, musicians and mystics will gather next year to continue on a different route; back to Ireland, around the west coast and to her home on the west side of Mull. Along the way communities will be filled with music, song and spirit of her and her krew.

All is a journey, a pilgrimage, the only certain destination is death, along the way we have a chance to fill the moments with such a magic that can transform the living world, and transform our inner world. If it be blessed then the Winny will continue to be a vehicle for this magic and, in her little way, bring sweetness and joy to this world.

With the deepest love,

Onwards!

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Adventures in spain pt. 1 – paddys adventure on a small bycycle, mainly conserning paddy and a bike.

So the krew, me and Gazza, assisted by Rosie (just arrived from engalnd), began to figure out what we where up to and what was going on and other thoughts. we decided that it made sense for the time being to stick to plans of walking to Santiago to find a way of completing some form of pilgrimage, going to Malta to fulfil our joyful obligations of nurturing a new festival which is to be emerged there, influenced by the successful Earthing the Spirit festival which takes place Burnlaw, birthplace to myself and home of Garry. The way motions have been going with regards to the mast we figure that there is not a chance of getting to Haifa this year. Wheather we get there next year depends on wheather, energy, musicians and finance align, otherwise something equally glorious but maybe less magnificent will happen.

In the mean time we set to finding ways to fill the days. I had hared whisperings of an incredible free folk festival on the north coast of Galicia, 100km away from A Coruna. One of our sweet Spanish friends, Alba had given us loan of her bike, a small girls mountain bike from her youth. It came to me that it would be an adventure to try to ride to the festival, given the lack of other options I decided that it would be possible to do the journey on the small bicycle, as long as I was happy t do it slowly. First thing was to get a pannier rack for the bike, so that I could carry luggage, and then get map of Galicia. A cycle gang of youngsters accompanied me about town and showed me where to get my bits an pieces. With rack attached to bike and rucksack attached to rack, with map, lentils, special cycle masala, oats, rice and cooking pot and guitar, I was ready to leave.

On a sunny early afternoon, Rosie and Garry saw me off and I was a way, striking out in to an unknown country on a tiny bike with all I needed for a few days. The first issue was trying to get out of A Coruna avoiding motorways. After riding down cycle tracks that came to dead ends, after crossing and re crossing railway tracks and asking many people for directions that I didn’t understand I managed to pass over the first bridge away from town. After a few hills and gesses at directions, my map was inadequet, I fond my way over another bridge and out into the countryside proper. The road wound onwards and upwards out of incredibly picturesque valleys on to wooded hill tops; forests of eucalyptus and pine. I had no way of telling the time but eventually I found a beautiful woodland of young nut trees and oaks, and stopped for the evening. Fire wood was collected, a blaze lit and lentils and rice bubbled away joyfully. Filled with  food and tea I walked to watch the sun set. All way gory.

The next day I set off again. I was beginning to have doubts that I would be able to get to the festival and back again for Sunday, the day Rosie was due to leave. Despite this I worked and struggled my way onwards. Sometimes cursing my stupidity for having set off on such a insufficient bicycle, some times in bliss as I passed fertile farms, wooded valleys, over hill tops. In Galicia it seems that one is ether going up a hill or down one. I was trying to get to a town called As Pontes from where I might decide to do a smaller circuit and get back to A Coruna, however my map didn’t seem to correlate with the roads I was passing. With blind faith I worked my way onwards and was rewarded by the sights of massive chimneys poking up beyond some hills. As I neared A Pontes I began to doubt weather it had a meaningful existence for me. All in view as I rode down round the hill towards it where chimneys factories and industry, But joy, behind this peeped out a small town. I stopped for a coffee and for to buy some bread. As I sat and considered my options; weather to go on to the festival or to try to find a way back home so to lessen the torment the bicycle was offering, I noticed the sign in front of me pointed to Ortugera (the town where in the festival was happening) and explained that it was only 33km away. Is seemed like some sort of deeper sign urging me to go on, or maybe it was the conformation I needed.

With renewed determination I set off for the festival, direction decided. I realised that if I sat on the bag strapped to the bike instead of the seat I was able to almost stretch my legs out when I peddled and as I worked up hill I was aided by a wind that began to blow from behind (from my behind?), encouraging me on and making progress easier. The road rose and rose, I had to take a rest every few minuets, but slowly I rose with it up to the top of the sierra, surrounded by windmills flanking the highest ridges, surrounded by wild horses and by great beauty. after the first big climb the going became easier and Ortugera moved closer and closer. With high spirits I rode the high road, full of song and wonder and then began a long and speedy decent to Ortigara and the festival.

The festival was split between the village, where there was a big stage that played folk music from 10pm till 3am flowed by samba and Galician folk bands, and the campsite which was nestled in a woodland of pine that’s spilled on to dunes which led to a beach in a bay flanked by wooded mountains. It was incredibly beautiful. I found my way to campsite and went for a swim, I was real dirty, then managed to befriend a lovely bunch of Spaniards with which to camp with. The next few days where spent playing music, playing football with fit and skilful men, dancing to poncy technical folk and some proper banging folk, teaching the Spanish about weird Indian/hippy dhal. On the last evening, I found a crowd of a thousand dancing to a powerful samba band and managed to climb up above the rifraff on to a 12foot tall statue and then jumped in to the arms of a group of gleeful Spanish men, glory.

At the festal issues emerged with the bicycle so it had to be carried  to a train and then to a bus and then back though A Coruna, to the boat were a lovely afternoon was spent ingesting cheese and tomatoes and bread and tea and chocolate, waiting for the return of Garry and Rosie. Some Baha’i friends had taken them to meet a Baha’i community in a city close to A Coruna.

hear ends part one of adventures in spain, soon will follow the concluding part of this chapter, inclooding the walk to santiago , and indndeed a conclusion to this part of the adventure.

love

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Football music and happiness in lovely LaCourna

The early eve of the Euro cup final was spent at the house of young sweet Bahai’s Nada and Andy. we gathered for musical and devotion and then where treated to a dinner of gaspatacheo soup, a selection of old pig , fish pie, goats cheese, Persian mincey rice, pastries and cake. After being sufficiently filled up, we were driven at speeds to the casa de té for the game. Oshan had dressed for the occasion in a three piece suite and a mirror ball top hat, we rounded the corner to the café where we had previously been playing music, to a crowd of friends made since our arrival, Oshan produced a large Spanish flag out of the handkerchief pocket of his blazer to rapturous applause. All sat out on the street to watch Spain mercilessly rip Italy apart, much to the glee of the Spaniards. With each goal the street danced ad sang. Eve one was joyous apart from our new kerw member; Felix: linguistics, knowledge of Spain, trumpets, jazz, man about town, who was in support of Italy. Vic was meant to be leaving early the next day on his new boat, but Joanne wife of the skipper, sent so many drinks to the skipper and Vic that they agreed to put off there departure for an other day.

 

After the game; singing, dancing, praise of Spain. We played music and the locals joined us. Hours passed ecstatically. Once we had played our songs, the street gently swelled with 2 beautiful Galician chants. We went to bed late.

 

The next day was Oshans day of departure. Many people gathered at the boat as he tried to packed his many outfits ad instruments in to an insufficient bag that was then wrapped up in a big green sack, thus resembling a body bag. Sweet Andy collected him from the marina and he was away. Oshan had been incredible at attracting people to our group, he has the ability to communicate with anyone. Apparently he just gesses what people might be saying and responds with enthusiasm.

 

Later that day one of our wonderful neighbour Arbel offered to take people to a beach on his jet ski. People where ferried in groups of 3. later Felix was given the duty of ferry man to transport the last few people across. As Felix, myself (paddy) and a kid from another boat zoomed across the bay towards the beach a smallish motor boat was slighted moving towards us waving. Felix slowed down the jet ski and realised that the hailing boat was part of Spain’s most feared police force. A torrent of Spanish ensued, after which our boat was ordered to follow there. We where led to a much bigger boat, the mother ship, were we were again cascaded with Spanish, it emerged that it was illegal to drive the jet ski next to the beach, to have more than 2 people on at a time, to be on the jet ski with out lifejackets and to drive it with out some form of a licence, which Felix did not have. We where escorted back to the marina fearful of the repercussions yet gleeful for the high drama. Back on the marina we where given many more Spanish words before the police left with out further demand.

 

 

Vick left early the next day on a beautiful Norwegian gaff rigged boat to sail to Brest. The joyful Sabena was take to the airport where she was to fly down to south of Spain to sleep a night in the airport before flying back home to island. And so the mighty krew who had taken on the great Bay of Biscay and come though scathed, yet triumphant, who came through singing in the face of great difficulty, who arrived wet and weary, and who were embraced by the fair city of A Coruna, dispended and apart from Paddy and Garry now joined by Felix, went there separate ways.

 

In the evening we went back up to the Casa de Té for another musical session. This time we went to play a mellower vibe, as supposed to the raucous sounds we had delivered previously. With trumpet flute guitar and voices we serenaded the night, praised the all glorious, praised the Sweetness. Again people gathered around and joined in, in a gentle style.

 

The next day we had a mission, to take the boat around the corner of a bay to find a welsh man called Dave or Mike or something who allegedly had built a gaff rigged boat. we took Winy out of the marina and the safety of the harbour wall into a lumpy reality. Without sails to offer steadiness the boat was thrown about viciously. Paddy for the first time on the voyage began to feel a little ill. Felix had been introducing us to the delights of Spanish cuisine, on the way over our stomachs where filled with incredible tomatoes and olive oil and cheese. Is Spain all one needs to reach god is tomato olive oil and a little salt on some bred.

 

In Arres we were greeted by a man who was nether Welsh nor called mike or Dave but an Anglo Irish man called Martin who sailed around on a beautiful wooden boat with out a motor. What glory! He was accompanied by a friend and one his krew. We  went to the local boat yard where talked to the small yet sharp Paco, who came to look at the mast and begin to develop an idea of  an estimate. He also sent our mast plans and measurements on to another place who he thought might  be able to fix one up. We all went to the boat for a few choons. Then  Winny krew went to look for some Spanish diner, which was found and consumed. After dinner we explored the town a little and the found our way to a caffe/bar with a guitar wealdling patron. He gave us drinks and we struck up a few tunes to the locals out side. There was not much reaction until the patron came out and, with great skill, smashed out the Spanish hit parade. The locals went wild.

 

After a night in the sleepy Aress we motored back to La Coruna to continue our quest for a sturdy mast. Despite our inquisitions we where not yet receiving any estimates, it a busy time for boats/a bad time to break a mast. So, we occupied our selves, fixing bits of boat, tidying, exploring A Coruna, singing a little, Felix taught us jazz and bossa nova.

One evening whilst dinner was flowing in there was a gust of wind and a splash. It quickly developed that our beloved folding bike had fallen to the ocean floor, 10 meters below! We where considering our options when our Ducth neighbour Arbel appeared saying, ‘ah, I see your bike has fallen in the water. maybe we could dive for it?” it emerged that Arbel had also scuba gear on his incredible giant gin palace. Now, Arble is an incredible man, it seems that at one point he was a professional wake boarder (doing tricks strapped on to a plank of wood whilst being pulled behind a speed bard. After that he started a business selling what he called ‘toys with wheels’, I guess this means scooters and skateboards and things, which seems to have become fairly successful as he sold out  n bought a 60 foot motor Sun Seeker, pleasure cruiser /jinn palace with beautiful lines and filed it with long boards, jet skis, there toys and even an automatic rifle (he was planning to go though the Suez canal). However he quickly realised that motor cruising is inferior and makes less sense than sailing, he called the Jin Palace ‘Never Again’ and wants to sell it at the first possible instant so that he can buy a proper boat, with sails. So, paddy and Arble got suited up in the scuba gear, dived to the bike and attached it to a rope so that it could b pulled up.

 

Felix left after a week, he was a glory to have around, an exquisite translator and a fiend on the horn. And after a couple of days of scrubbing, Rosie, Garry’s wife, paddy’s mum, arrived.

 

So, the question is, what is to become of Winnys adventure? Where will our pilgrimage lead us? We are bound up in A Coruna until estimates arrive and thing are squared with the insurance, after that it will still be a month minimum until things may be fixed but neither myself (Paddy) or Garry would put much money on everything being fixed up before the end of August, which restricts the possibility of further sailing. For the immediate future, we will walk to Santiago de Compostilla next week, and along the way sing of the unity of mankind and womankind. We have arrangements in Mata, to help them create a glorious spiritual gatherings, to infuse it with our music and devo style, after that to Greece perhaps, then we are not sure……where the spiritual wind will blow us!

We welcome suggestions.

 

So plans are made to be broken, we have done a glorious job of  that so far! Now plans are still slowly emerging, and will be built upon energy, time, resources music and  love!

Till later……..more love and more news!

 

 

  

 

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Mast break…Heart Break – Capatins Blog

Winny is sailing so gracefully, the wind light and on the beam. Paddy and Vik are on watch … suddenly, with out warning, a stern fitting gives way, the bumpkin boom springs upwards, the rigging supporting the mast breaks lose. Crack! In a flash only a 12 foot splinter of a mast  remains! The rest  is over the side. All hands are soon on deck. The decision is quickly taken to abandon the mast. The crew in exemplary manner set too. All rigging is unscrewed or cut, the mainsail and the staysail  retrieved and with one final twist of rigging screw, Winnie’s mast, bedecked with prayer flags and rigging, plunges 2000 or so fathoms towards the ocean bed. Maybe even now  it is standing erect on the sea bed, flags fluttering in deep devotion.! Has it become a  new and unexpected  spiritual way point!

The engine mercifully starts, and were off. Dry mouthed and shocked we dink tea. But this is a songline… and sing we do, lifting our spirits and enabling us to  giving thanks in the  reflection that none of us our  hurt and in terms of   our great crew and quiet weather conditions it was a pretty good place to lose a mast!  We plot a passage towards the nearest safe harbour. A Coruña, is some 100 miles to the south. We start to make that passage. Strangely, a short while later we are circled by a twin-engine plane. They contact us on the VHF and enquire after our condition. We were able to assure them that we are safe and have sufficient fuel to get us to our destination. The coast guard continued to check up on us every four hours or so. It was very comforting to know that even in the middle of a wide ocean the Spanish/French coastguards were watching out for us.

On 28 June, some 22 hours of motoring  and rolling, at approximately 3am,  we are entering La Coruña bay  and the approaching  safety of its  harbour. After tying up in the Marina Coruña we jump ashore and hug each other in relief. It was then that we notice two ladies approach. They have seen our broken mast and have empathised with our situation. They too hug us enquire after our mast and then  invited us  to join them on board a very plush Sun Seeker motor yacht. Soon, after been plied with drinks, our spirits revived, we fetched our instruments. By 4 a.m. a full musical session is in progress. We make  music with a poignant tinge. The dismasting has taken the wind out of our musical sails. To the listeners it was sweet, but to us it was sad…..!  But  What an arrival! The sun is coming up as we settle in our bunks.

That day we gradually sorted out the ship and ourselves. The shock and the realisation of the implications of what had happened and its consequential effects on our journey was beginning to dawn more deeply. Local shipwrights were contacted, and insurance people informed. We started to adjust to marina life – showers and cleaning the boat were the order of the day. By late evening we find a café to  watch the Euro 2012 clash between Italy and Germany. We sit  watching  a telly in the street

The game over, it seemed a good time to play music. We struck up an Irish jig, the response was very positive. My…. what a session developed! After a few more jigs and reels we moved on to reggae and sea shanties, Gaelic  ballads and improvised choral music. Soon the street was crowded with people watching and dancing. A group of Galician singers  happened to pass our way. Not only were they in the mood for singing, but they brought a new dimension of   enthusiasm and  musical energy to the gathering. The session grows and  maybe a 100 or so people gather around. They sang, we sang, we all sing together. The atmosphere became more and more joyful. Winny, even without mast, was now in full musical sail … and all our new Galician friends were in full musical sail with us. We played danced and sang deep into the night. By the end of the session  many new friends have been made. It was so that our first evening in La Coruña  came to an end. It was  with many joyful hugs that we baid our new friends fond farewells. The pain of our disaster had been somewhat mitigated by the  wonderful  and truly extraordinary musical session which has  brought  hearts together in joyful happiness!

We might not have arrived where we had intended but it was a pretty good place to be never the less!

So what is the learning? Our pilgrimage of song, rich and redolent in spirit, carrying the prayers and good thoughts of many friends, a voyage which had touched many people in  many places had been abruptly, rudely even, interrupted by the failure of a single inadequate eye bolt.

So what is the meaning of this catastrophe? What is the message? Is this just a bigger challenge than the many other previous challenges? Is it merely a bigger obstacle in kind, another awkward  problem to solve?  Is it the test that really gauges the depth,  purity and quality  of the  pilgrimage journey? On the other hand is it a warning sign that Winny is not fundamentally supported in this journey? Is she just  too old for such shenanigans? Is it a message that says that the energy that is wrapped up in this pilgrimage should be used in a different way? Is it a warning shot across our bow that says we have gone as far as is wise, and to further our journey is to court yet greater and more intractable problems?

The jury is still out pondering these questions.

So far the journey has been totally wonderful… full of grace, ..marvellous meetings with many  beautiful souls, many  touched hearts, wonderful school visits that link children, heart melting devotional sessions and joyful music….. one thing is for sure, prayer and enthusiasm, even if they are abundant are not,  in themselves, able to keep a mast standing!

 

 

In technical terms the link that broke, broke the mast, broke the rhythm of our journey and broke hearts was not so old. It had not drawn attention to itself. It had not been identified as something that should be analysed for stress or weakness. Yet its strength was crucial to the success of our journey, one of the million things that needed to be sound and in place for the well being of the boat. One thing is for sure: Spiritual dreams and aspirations are dependant on physical means; hence the dictum ‘Walk the spiritual path with practical feet.’  Winnie’s practical physicality, although so good in so many areas, was weak in what proved to be a small but crucial area … and hence reflect on  the disaster.

We now try and find the best way  to make a new mast. We  reflect on  the song-line pilgrimage and how it might  unfold. What  future resources, inner and outer, are going to re-shape the journey. Please God we will be guided by the best wisdom. To the best shape. For that. all prayers and inspirations are very welcome. From a  positive angle, the dismasting took place in perfect weather conditions. It has brought us to this wonderful city.  Marina Coruña is in this lovely part of Spain  and has introduced  a different dimension to our journey.. We have made new friends, found unexpected opportunities to make   music and  made contacted the Baha’i friends in the area. From that angle the flow of grace is  immense!  Who knows in which direction lies our best future? Are all directions taken in good faith of equal value?

We  seek and try and be open  to best wisdom. We await, and in waiting gain information  on  which we can make decisions. We both shape and are shaped by  events. What form will  the pilgrimage song line will take? So far all problems have been surmountable surely this one will be too. At the point of writing the only definite co-ordinates are  to walk the pilgrims path to Santiago de Compostela, embellish it with music  and then…. God knows ?… We  are surrounded by many question marks. Please God in good time we will  find those many answers. What is certain is that  at some point in the future Winny will have a very fine new mast,  beautifully  tuned rigging and stern eye bolts with steely strong strength!!!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

WINNY AND THE BISCAY CREW

The Winny voyage was long whiles planned
To sing of love and peace abroad
Garry, skipper of the mission
With Shackleton skill he lead the band

Winnefreda of Greenisle her name
Her history long and erstwhile chequered
As powder boat she fed the fleet
Then later fuelled the Irish flame

The hand picked crew were of good fettle
Who fortune favoured to come together
None could know what lay ahead
But through their faith they showed their mettle

Paddy, Skipper’s youngest stalwart
Blessed with tune and voice and rythem
Courage strong through mighty maelstrom
Evoked Galician joy in port

Victor, fisherman of old
His kind are few, sea knowledge deep
No storm could e’er perturb his spirit
Or quell the heart of one so bold

Oshian of Persian fervour bright
Infectious laughter, warm and pure
At first he thought out of his depth
Is now propelled into the light

Nigel’s cap – the ancient mariner
With gaelic songs of strength and joy
To keep the ship in running order
He came to love her kindly manner

Sabina joined this motly crew
With Irish heart and Ba’hi soul
To face the Bay of Biscay Seas
Ne’er wavered she, her faith was true

Intrepid crew found little sleep
They faced the waves and won the shore
United there they came to share
Their joy of conquest o’er the deep

 

a poem by our beloved Nigel

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized