I go solo – Graciosa!

Date: 24/03/2021
Position: Graciosa, Acores


A monk had retreated to loneliness in order to be able to dedicate his time of meditation and prayer in the seclusion of the noisy life.

Once a hiker came to his hermitage and asked him for some water. The monk went with him to the cistern to scoop the water. Thankfully, the stranger drank and asked the monk: “Please tell me what meaning do you see in your life in the silence?”

 The monk pointed with a gesture on the churned water! What do you see?” The hiker looked deep in the cistern, then lifted his head and said, nothing.” A short time later, the monk asked him again:

“Look at the water. What do you see now? “Once again the stranger looked at the water and answered,” Now I see myself!”,

Your question is answered,” the monk explained. “When the water was restless from the scoops, you could not see anything. Now the water is quiet and you recognize yourself.

Reading out that poem, we were left alone into the next 24 hours. Be quiet to find yourselves I thought. So, I did. I closed my eyes. In the first minutes, nothing special happened. I listened to the songs of birds and the rustling of dry leaves in the wind. But after a while the thoughts began to flow. I thought about the last hours, how I was feeling at that moment and what I would like to do and slowly I began to think about the secret of silence. You see your thoughts passing by like in a movie, you see concrete thoughts evolving out of your unconscious mind transforming into wisdom. You see yourself.

This night I slept well. Only once I woke up in the middle of the night and watched the deep blue sky, which was full of blinking stars. It was a special moment, for a long time I looked at the stars until I snuggled back in my sleeping bag and fell into a deep sleep until the sunbeams of the rising sun woke me up.

Even more often, I tried to take a look at my watch on my wrist, but it was missing, because we had to hand it over. After the stand of the sun, it still had to be early in the morning. 

The sun shines, gorgeous!

Smiling and full of joy I was stretching in the sun. Here I was lying – on a pretty spring meadow, in a sea of blooming yellow flowers. Around me the humming of peaceful bumblebees.

Yesterday we got up here on this beautiful part of the island. The green island, with their hills and valleys. After an hour, we finally arrived at the Caldera in Graciosa. Everything started here, with the search for a peaceful place, where we should find ourselves within the next twenty-four hours of silence. And here I was – surrounded by flowers, bumblebees and the sound of silence.

Before my eyes, the whole journey repeats itself. I think of all the beautiful experiences that I was allowed to gather. The special feeling, when we left Kiel – all was so new and everybody wasn´t really sure what to do. I remember it as if it happened yesterday. Another memory is the unexpected arrival on Helgoland, where we had to stay many days because of a storm. Today we still laugh about this.

Then we finally arrived at the Canary Islands. One of my favourite experiences there was our farming experience with Samu and Alex in La Gomera 1000 meter above sea level. We helped them on their farm and learned many interesting things about sustainable agriculture. Our next stop was Capo Verde. From time to time it was getting warmer on our way south and some of us changed their clothes to shorts and shirts.

Capo Verde was a completely new culture to us. The people there had dark skin and were much poorer than we are, we arrived in Africa! On every corner, people were asking for money. But many people had a nice attitude to handle things – no stress – that was the motto of many people. One special experience was the climbing of the Pico do Fogo! On our way down, we slided down the Volcano ashes.

After leaving the diverse islands of Capo Verde, we had a long time on sea again. I enjoyed the time on sea much. This time on sea is always special because the board community becomes much closer.

Finally, we arrived at the Azores – one of my favourite Islands, because I really love the green landscape and sailing traditions like experienced in the Atlantic gem Horta at Faial.

And here I am thinking about my journey. I got new strengths and attitudes, but I also got to know my personal weaknesses – now that I know myself much more than before the journey.

I wish this special journey would never end, but I am concluding that the worth of things is often recognizable by its end. Dreamy I close my eyes and trap in a gentle sleep until a signal ends my solo and the long-time of silence.