Coral’s voyages 2013-2014

IMG_8741

Coral at anchor in Derrynane Harbour

On the Western Edge is an account of the ecological pilgrimage I am undertaking in my yacht Coral. It began with the lament from Thomas Berry – geologian and earth scholar – that we modern humans are only talking to ourselves, that we have broken the great conversation with the Earth of which we are a part. I set out on my first sailing pilgrimage in 2011, intent on exploring what it means to re-establish a “great conversation” with the sea and the coast. My book, Spindrift: A wilderness pilgrimage at sea, is an account of this first voyage from the south coast of England, across the Celtic Sea to Ireland, round the Blasket Islands and Skellig Rocks and back home.

As I wrote in Spindrift, on long solo sailing voyages one is disoriented from the everyday, taken for granted world, social constructions of reality fall away, allowing a more naked sense of what it is to be a human being:

“At such moments it is as if a crack in the cosmic egg opens and for a tiny moment I experience a different world that is nevertheless the same world. It is a world that is not fixed in form, but forever changing: no longer divided into separate things, but one dancing whole. These tiny moments are so easy to overlook, to see as insignificant. They are not overwhelming transformations of consciousness. But they are profoundly important in calling forth a different conversation with the world.”

This is why pilgrimages into the wild world are one response to the ecological crisis of our times. They are not, of course, a sufficient response, for we also urgently need a whole range of political, financial, technological and cultural initiatives that would change society as we know it. I think they are nevertheless a necessary response. Opening oneself to the wild world and describing what one finds with love and passion is, in this view, a political and spiritual act.

In the summer of 2013 I set out again, taking Coral right round the west coast of Ireland and across to Scotland – last year’s blog entries tell something of this journey. This summer I set out again from Dunstaffnage Marina near Oban, where Coral overwintered ashore. I was originally intending to sail round the north of Scotland and return via the Caledonian Canal through the Great Glen. But after some challenging experiences last year I have decided to be more modest. So I chose to wander about the west coast and the islands, following where wind, weather and my own inclinations took me. My voyage took me round the west coast of Mull, up to the Small Isles, to Skye, the north west Highland coast, across to Stornaway and back via the Shiant Islands.

But the question remained the same. How do we western humans develop an emotional and spiritual experience, as well as an intellectual understanding, that we are entirely part of and dependent on the natural world?

 

Spindrift: A wilderness pilgrimage at sea is published in 2014 by Vala Publishing Cooperative www.valapublishers.coop/spindrift

A short video of my travels can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOmXFMNrYGE

 

Comments

  1. Peter, I so appreciate your inviting me along on your writing journeys. It feels thrilling, even tho my own role in the adventure is so secondary and sedentary. Love, Bill T.

  2. Steve Reneaux says:

    Hi Peter, first time I’ve ‘blogged’ in my life! Just to let you know, I’m really looking forward to taking part in your magical adventure and what we’ll discover.
    Steve Reneaux

  3. Sailing helps the thinking mind take a break once in awhile and so we experience the fullness of what is. I am really looking forward to following your journey and reading about it. May you be happy and may you be safe.
    Nick Tudor

    • Thank you, Nick. Really at a waiting stage now, waiting for the weather to warm up, waiting to get Coral in the water, waiting to get going rather than think about it all! I am hoping to blog and tweet (@peterreason) while I am away. Thanks for your good wishes. P.

  4. Hi Peter,
    artist/forest/green policy contributor from the SOTG, also living in Ireland, looking forward to following your journey

  5. “We modern humans are only talking to ourselves… we have broken the great conversation with the Earth on which we live” – I had not come across that particular way of framing it. Thank you!

  6. Go well, Peter: moving through the water, powered by the air, honouring the earth with the fire of your spirit, you are at the wheel!

  7. Wish you a great journey, Peter! I am sorry your “western edge” is not a bit southern🙂 If it was, we could meet in a warmer place here in Portugal🙂 I wish you the best. I am a publisher now, but Portugal based. No doubt I would publish you if I was in the UK! RaquelCF

    • Thanks, Raquel. Of course the ‘western edge’ includes the whole seaboard of Western Europe from Shetland down to the Mediterranean. It has been a major trading route since Celtic times and even before. Sorry I am not coming your way!
      P

  8. Hi, Peter. Do you know Adam Nicholson – particularly his book http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/15/mighty-dead-why-homer-matters-adam-nicolson-review You have much in common.

    • Jeffrey, I don’t know that book, although I did read Adam Nicholson’s wonderful account of the Shiant Islands where I spent several days and have written about in my new book. Thanks for the link!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

fire in the head

25 years inspiring creative & reflective writing

Richard White

explorations in place and time

Seasonalight

light seeking

The New Citizenship Project Blog

Visit our main website at www.newcitizenship.org.uk

Desperado Philosophy

rocks, buoys and riptides

Shiny New Books

What to Read Next and Why

Tidal Cultures

Explorations of cultural and natural aspects of tidal landscapes in the UK, The Netherlands and beyond

dmanzife

Sometimes I want to write things down

Aki Schilz: Writer

Ramblings In a Teacup

Joe Minihane

Travel, technology, lifestyle

Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

dianajhale

Recent work and work in progress and anything else that interests me

westcoastings

Going wild on Scotland's west coast

qualia and other wildlife

Ecological writing between ocean and land

The Dark Mountain Project

Ecological writing between ocean and land

[div]The Great[br] Turning[/div]

Ecological writing between ocean and land

The Island Review

the online home for island lovers, writers and artists

Coming Home to Story

Notes from a journeyman writer, storyteller, and narrative consultant

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,553 other followers