Saturday, 15 May 2010

As I write this Jessica Watson

is about three and a half hours from 'home' - or landfall. She has been at sea for seven months. Although she has had all the assistance that modern technology allows, such as a GPS navigating system, a satellite 'phone and internet connection, she has not had physical contact with another human being for seven months.
It is a very long time for someone that young. Anyone who believes that Jessica is going to walk off that boat and resume a 'normal' life needs to rethink their ideas. It is going to take time for Jessica to re-adjust. Life will never be quite the same for Jessica as it will be for other people.
That little boat was her world. She has, despite all the publicity, gone without a great many things that other Australians take for granted. She has not had a shower. Any fresh food went long ago. Her drinking water was restricted. Sleep came as and when she could safely get it.
Jessica has taken responsibility for her own safety - and that also meant the safety of her boat.
At one point she had to replace the mast. How do you do that?
Her tiny boat, and it is tiny - nothing more than a little pink dot on the ocean, has been as battered as she has. It is only when you watch the short video clip you can begin to realise the enormity of her achievement.
I do not know what Jessica will remember most about this voyage. No doubt there will be specific waves, the storms that knocked her boat over more than once, those moments of sheer terror when she must have wondered, "Am I going to make it? Why am I doing this?" Will she remember the boredom, the monotony of day after day of blue-grey, steel-grey sea? Was it all a bit like an anaesthetist friend once said, "My job is 95% routine and 5% sheer terror"?
Or will there also be those moments, which she will never be able to share with anyone else, that say, "Yes, I was there. It was me. It was my boat. It was my ocean I had to cross. I was content." I hope she has many of those.

4 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

I wish her all the best in her transition. what an amazing experience to have had - I wonder what her "what's next" will be?

catdownunder said...

A book - which, no doubt, someone will ghost for her. Interviews and appearances, some speaking engagements...but she also has to finish school!
Someone said she was 'not particularly academic' but she has to be highly intelligent. Her short speech on return was composed and mature - she 'disagreed' politely with the Prime Minister who said she was 'remarkable' - said she was ordinary but determined to follow her dream. I think it was the right thing to say...it is not false modesty but a 'you can do it too' message to others.

Donna Hosie said...

I sobbed watching that incredible young woman on the news last night. What an astonishing achievement. Her parents were very brave allowing her to follow such a dangerous dream, because I'm not sure I could.

catdownunder said...

I don't know if I could either Donna but I hope I would - that I would learn from what happened to me. Her father made a, to me, remarkable comment before she set out though.."It will be very, very difficult to let her do it - but it would be more difficult not to let her do it."