Matters of the Mind

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As a fully certified depressive, I can be quite melancholy at times. On the bad days, when I agonise about dragging myself out of bed, my view of the world can be somewhat coloured towards the negative. But then, during a bad storm at sea for example, I can stand before the mast of my sailboat hanging on for dear life whilst totally mesmerised by the beauty of the violent sea. On these occasions I think, well, things aren’t so bad after all.

You may think I’m unusually brave but I’m not. It doesn’t take that much to turn me into a quivering wreck. I make no excuses for the state of my mind, my wife Marie, an incredibly positive person, often tells me I’m a living nightmare operating at both extremes. Every day I see how someone who’s glass is always half full copes with an unstable character like me. I try and learn but I’m not good at that either. But this blog isn’t about me.

Let’s discuss bravery, who are the bravest people in the world and what drives them. To those of you who are by your very nature extremely positive and don’t wish to be concerned with such things, please leave this blog here. I’m going to ask some problematical questions about your opinions of those mentally unwell…

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Is It Possible to Simply Disappear?

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In Thailand, in a bar, I met a guy who told me he’d eaten his brother. A few moments later he passed out drunk with his head on the bar. I looked down and his dog was unconscious too, lying spreadeagled on its back with its feet half in the air.

As we left, one of the young Thai girls working the bar slipped into my seat to patiently wait for the fellow to wake up. The guy was an old sea salt, complete with obligatory wild hair and long white wizened beard, a solo sailor who’d sailed into Thailand for one common reason. Nearly all lone round-the-world sailors end up in Ao Chalong at some point, usually with their dogs. Within a few short days he’d depart on his battered sail boat with a new Thai bride and the dog would be gone. We never found out what happened to their dogs…

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The Simple Art of Catching a Fish

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Did you know a female Pink Salmon lays between 1,200 and 1,900 eggs? They incubate over winter for five to eight months and hatch early spring. The little baby pink salmon migrate to the deep ocean as soon as they emerge, feed for eighteen months, then return to the exact same creek to spawn and die at two years of age.

If we think about this a little more then we get to a thought provoking calculation. Perhaps you’re not much interested in what I’m about to tell you but please try and stay with me for just a short while. I’m going to explain the simple art of catching a fish…

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Who Owns the Wilderness?

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“Who gave you the right to plant your flag and call this land yours? You people give us nothing but misery. You call yourselves our Kings and Governors but you are only the Lords of our suffering.”

Nuuntuuq, The Yukon

Here is the extraordinary story of the Norwegian sailing yacht Berserk and the death of her brave crew in the wild Southern Ocean. A perilous voyage through two frozen lands. A shipwreck… but not for all of them a watery grave.

Judge for yourself the rights and wrongs of their infamous voyage south. Their story is one of bravery, of reckless tragedy and aftermath not often seen in our modern world of comfortable luxury travel, when explorers and discoverers are no more than glossy magazine travel writers following well worn trails. Whatever your opinion, what cannot be denied is the incredible adventure of Berserk and her crew…

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MICKEY MOUSE WOZ ‘ERE

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Sänna in Alaska

I’m not sure where I’m going with this particular blog. I could easily come across as a moaning, deep, reflective old goat whilst trying to confess a point that’s been bothering me more and more over the last few weeks. The subject of my increasingly frenzied frustration is Mickey Mouse.

Like everyone I loved Mickey when I was a kid. I watched Mickey and Minnie and I watched the others too. Many years later, the previous Mrs Ungless and I took our daughters to Mickey Mouse’s heartland in Florida and, totally overwhelmed, I booked the same trip the following year too. We had a marvellous and memorable time. I was a Disney convert and eagerly sang along with the Mickey Mouse chorus loving every minute, riding ‘It’s A Small World’ over and over again with my own adoring kids. Somewhere since then everything changed…

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Eric Two Corks

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Photo: The Mercurial Texan

Eric Two Corks, skipper of Maluhia, was adamant we should go and see the Judge. We could somehow free Horst, skipper of Awenasa, from appearing in the Kona Court. So we rode off in Eric’s car to set things straight and I imagined it rather like two cowboys riding to the Sheriff’s jail to free the condemned outlaw about to be hanged. I saw there was already a rope in the back of the car which, I figured, could be used to free the hapless Horst if things took a turn for the worst. This, I thought, was going to be fun…

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Sergio the Sailor

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Sergio Mitrotti

The banging on the hatch woke me to Sergio’s excited, heavily accented Italian voice… “Berlusconi has resigned. Fantastic News, Dave, Wake Up, Berlusconi, he’s gone.” It took me a few moments to rouse myself to the important news about Italian politics of which, of course, I had no knowledge of. I stuck my head out through the hatch, “That’s brilliant news Serge. He had it coming the bastard,” I was still in a dreamlike state…

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