Watercolors judemann.com
The Second Atlantic Crossing - 2001

Yes, I was nervous. I now had anxiety attacks sleeping and waking of a type and variety not to be imagined. But I knew my captain and life partner of 30 years, and if he had trouble speaking only he and I could tell, and he was strong and focussed. Suffering from seasickness and reluctant to go on deck off shore, I nonetheless knew I could and would handle our small boat if he became unable to do so.

Too many repairs crowded the docket and so our departure was late. This combined with Gulf Stream antics, which led us to forego a return to Bermuda, and to take the direct northern route, skimming along under the southern edge of the Gulf Stream until a large whirl pool swept us up to the top of it and then deposited us back down. We keep a chart of our progress, and the GPS makes it easier to understand the concept of the roadway carrying you off in one direction when you appear to be aimed in another.

19 uneventful days after leaving Block Island, we returned to the lovely island of Flores. We were somewhat disinclined to make close friends, although a few people broke the ice of my exhaustion and Peter's reluctance to make his situation known. I was at once determined to overcome inertia and take a stab at the landscape which had eluded my first attempts seven years ago.

Hauled Whaling Boat
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Hauled Skiffs, Old Harbor
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This landscape matched my mental state. The walls, seawalls, homes streets and roadbeds are made up of chipped black volcanic rock. The sky is overcast, which relieves the effects of the mid-Atlantic summer sun, but which combined effect hardly leads to sparkling and light hearted works.

Abandoned Stone House
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End of the Road
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Homes which are plastered often have bright trim,

Steep Hill
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 White House with Yellow Trim
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but many more are mortared or dry-stacked, and the impression is somber.

The people are warm and friendly, but there is a strong undercurrent of melancholy, despite the festas and flowers, and it made for an interesting reentry into the world after months of isolating stress and anxiety.

By September we were in mainland Portugal again, and there is little need to remind anyone with a tv that mid-September brought pain and agony to all Americans. I was in such a state that it barely registered, even though we watched it on CNN as it happened, and then for a subsequent four days and nights. My own world had shrunk to something that reminded me of watching a subtitled film - although you watch and take in the moving picture, the script always commands your attention as it floats on the screen. My script read "brain tumor brain tumor brain tumor". And as close as we are, I can't pretend to know how Peter felt. His script read the same as mine, but the import had to be more profound.


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