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Observations placeholder

Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way - Good Hope



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way

Night. There is not much moon, but it is high, and the whole night is lit up, so clear is the air. No cirrus, still no cirrus.

A burning mug between my hands. I drink the fish soup in little swallows, and the soup becomes blood and warmth within me. Radio Cape Town, which I had not been able to get for the last four days, forecasts no gales on the coasts of South Africa. I knew it: the sea, the sky, the albatrosses, the missing cirrus had already told me. But it is nice to hear it confirmed by that friendly voice.

I like the Cape Town announcer. When he warns of a gale, you can feel the worry in his voice; he gives the warning twice, then repeats it at the end of the forecasts. He is not just talking to hear himself talk, lulling himself with the sound of his own voice. He is communicating with people at sea, and one feels he gives us all he has to give. He brings humanity to his work.

As the westerly gales announced by Cape Town are linked with lows moving from west to east observed in the South Atlantic, I know I can count on at least two more days of good weather, even if a gale reached South Africa tomorrow undetected (Joshua is already 430 miles east of Cape Agulhas).

I don't like ceremonies. . .but I really feel like having that champagne ! I drink it very, very slowly, and finish the whole bottle in little sips. The fish soup practically boils in my veins. I am terrifically happy. I feel so happy, so much at peace with the entire universe, that I am laughing and laughing as I go on deck for a perfectly normal urge after all that liquid.

 But there, I behold a scene so amazing as not to be believed.

There was this guy standing aft; yes, that's right, a guy. He looked happy as could be, and he laughingly said (I repeat word for word)

 'Hey there, Good Hope, since your arms so long, it must be mighty handy to scratch your ass, eh ?'

It was cause for concern, but he vanished without my seeing him go, while I was picking my way aft to shut him up. I threw the empty bottle overboard, and went below. Just then, I saw the Southern Cross to port, Joshua having swung around little by little in the flat calm, unnoticed. So the other guy blasphemed with his back to Good Hope. Nothing serious, thank God !

The stars are twinkling very brightly up there in the night.

When I was a kid, an old Indochinese fisherman explained to me why the stars twinkle, and why they twinkle very strongly when the wind is going to come back. But I can't tell that story tonight, I'm too sleepy.

The source of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps