Back in the Oasis of Quiet

We casted off as planned. This time we were resolved that nothing can stopped us.

The last three days were a real ordeal. From peace of a quiet bay we stepped right in the midst of a full-blown house-party. The Chinese New Year that’s nine days of national holidays, desperate traffic jams, every hotel in the favorite destinations is hopelessly over-booked, even small shrines and temples offer their meditation cells to tourists.

Why would we go back to Kaohsiung at the peak of the busiest tourist period of the whole year? Why?


We sailed out of the Xingda harbour into a well set force five winds. The tops of one to two meter waves where crumbling down and spitting spray, the sun shining as crazy and we were smiling at each other as idiots. Our Taiwanese friend A-Cheng, a.k.a. Happy Mouse, was at the helm. The goal of the day was to sail to Kaohsiung and test our windvane Caphorn downwind. So far we were neglecting this great apparatus, assuming that soon we will go for a longer test sail and learn all that is to it then.

We struggled with it for a while, because I have wrongly assumed that the tiller has to be at midships when the windvane is set. This turned out to be a silly mistake and it was pointed out by Jana who got tired of my hopeless efforts and took out the manual. Turns out, reading manuals is a good thing. Suddenly everything was so clear and we could start making fun of the limitations of our collective reason.


The windvane can handle a lot, but within certain limits. The boat has a strong tendency to come up when sailing downwind and the helmsmen counteracts this tendency by putting the tiller upwind. The same help needs to be offered to the windvane.

During few jibes we learned to set the windvane quite well. Then we could finally do nothing but start to eat. Caphorn kept the boat perfectly squared to the wind, only from time to time a wave pushed us aside, but our fateful helmsmen brought her quickly back.


Soon we arrived to Kaohsiung.

As soon as we tied to the dock, Janna‘s cockpit filled with friends. Snacks were unpacked, the garbage piled up, smiles started to wear us down, the cheek muscles started to hurt. Single mantra resonated from all directions: Xinnian kuaile! Gongxi facai! Happy New Year! May you become rich!


Originally we were planning to come back to Kaohsiung only to give a talk at the cultural center of the Buddhist humanitarian organization Tzu Chi and then go back as soon as possible. But a Swiss cruisers Kaspar and Ute on Céluann arrived the next day we left for Xingda, so we decided to stay few more days and get to know them, offer our help and find out about their cruise. Most importantly, they assured us that the area around El Nido is a true paradise. Seems like we are up for a treat!

We gave the talk at Tzu Chi on Wednesday. It went quite well. People laughed, asked questions and from the feedback we received after the talk we learned that our lifestyle is inspiring. Not that everyone would want to get a boat and set out to sea, but the minimalist lifestyle resonates with the philosophy they are trying to promote. We are really greatful to Jessica, her husband and others to give us the opportunity to visit Tzu Chi and give a talk there.

We entitled our talk “Selfish, but responsible life”. Besides amusing people by talking about all the troubles we had to go through and all the mistakes we made, the important part of the talk was naturally about the life decisions we make, values and general life philosophy. We tried to formulate clearly what our life style means in the context of humankind, the sense of life, etc., etc. That’s the heavy stuff…

We selfishly decided to live in a way that only minority can live. We are dependent on the fruit of the work done on land, on people that haven’t and most of them never will know the wonderful feeling the life at sea offers. On the other hand we try to take only a little. Our energy consumption is tiny. Our territorial claims are negligent. The refuse we leave behind is relatively small…

I guess that’s enough. In fact, our totally selfish craving for quiet, peace and peopleless surroundings, and especially the inability to satisfy that craving, was driving us crazy. We had to get out of Kaohsiung as soon as possible!

We had a windward passage ahead of us, but since we helped to arrange a canvas master Mr. Xu to come and make new canvas for Kaspar and Ute, we left around ten.

The sea was nicely billowing, the wind was fresh. Unfortunately the wind was blowing from the worst possible direction. Naturally. We tacked and enjoyed a great day till about five when we started the engine and took a shortcut against the wind so that our three guests get to their beds in reasonable time.

Now, nothing but silence is roaring in our ears. Tomorrow few friends come over and then we get back to our translation revisions. Four more days and we should be able to finish the novel we are working on right now.

Let the muse be strong with us!

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