Sailing: Memories of Baltimore Aquarium Octopus

I awoke first at 3:42 a.m. with inspired thoughts in my head and dutifully left the warmth of my bed to record them. This is the time of the morning when the philosophy of TTouch comes to me in a Theta state. If I don’t write the thoughts are gone in the morning.

Before climbing back into bed I stood for some time transfixed at the peaceful scene from our third-floor balcony. In the small bay there are 20 sailboats docked – mostly sleek 17-meter sailboats chartered from Zadar from MH Charter, in case you ever want to head for this part of the world – unlike any sailing conditions we have seen in the Virgin Islands or San Juan Islands off the Oregon coast – both considered excellent sailing spots.
I was really wishing we could magically manifest one of those boats just for us to sleep in. Peeking in from the outside, the cabins are spacious and feature state-of-the-art plasma TV emanating into the darkness.

I climbed back into bed, trying to be quiet as a mouse not to awaken Roland, but three minutes later I had another Aha! And again went into the living room to make a mind map of my thoughts. About the 6th time I sprung out of bed to write, I closed the bedroom door hoping not to wake Roland, turned on my computer and journaled until 6:15 before falling asleep.

I woke up ready for a day of sailing at 8:15 a.m. Roland and I strolled in the early morning sun the 200 meters to dock where Darja and Andre had strong Slovenian (Turkish) coffee and breakfast waiting. We headed out under sail to Telascica National Park. Here we tied up to one of hundreds of buoys spread out around the bay– normally occupied during the four summer months of tourism.
However, this late in September there were only 5 other sailboats sitting peacefully in the quiet sparkling water. Andre jumped in the water – about an 18° temperature, and the rest of us lay in the warm sun. After about an hour I felt like one of our sea turtles sunning themselves in the bay in Hawaii, and I decided to swim – cold or not. We had been discussing the preference of entering cold water with a splash and a gasp, or going in inch by inch into icewater as I did in a pond in Gorky Park in Moscow 23 years ago when I became an unofficial member of the Polar Bear Club.

I decided to follow the the style of Roland and Andre and jumped in with a spash, expecting to yelp a little. However, in less than three minutes the water felt pleasantly warm. Not the 28 degrees we have in our bay in Hawaii- but nevertheless, very inviting. Roland and I swam toward the shore hoping to see some sign of marine life, but the biggest fish we saw were not more than 2 inches long. The fish have been fished out and there is apparently no breeding stock left.


 Roland and I in the Adriatic Sea. it was <em>brrrr</em> at first but then delightful.

Roland and I in the Adriatic Sea. it was brrrr at first but then delightful.



Salt Lake
We took the 2 meter long dingy ashore and walked to an inland salt lake, stopping along the way to visit with a few Sicilian donkeys who must be left over from the days when they carried grapes out of the hills. They were fairly friendly until they discovered we had nothing to eat, and wandered off. We climbed to the top of the island to enjoy the steep cliffs that are famous on that side of the island and look west across the Adriatic Sea toward Italy.

There were two very simple looking buildings that served as restaurants for the National Park. At the end of the season there were not more than 10 people in the restaurant, including us. We ordered baked fish and an appetizer of local octopus, but I skipped the octopus. Its so strange. I love all animals, and often TTouch cattle and pigs and sheep and have no problem eating beef or pork or lamb (after giving thanks for them and to them) but I do not eat octopus.

Many years ago I had the privilege of TTouching an octopus that had just been captured on the Oregon coast by a marine biologist and was headed for the Baltimore Aquarium. I was told that octopi do not live long due to stress, and I wanted to TTouch this being to see if I could have a positive effect on its life. I was told that it is easy to tell when an octopus is frightened because it changes from its grey color or reddish brown. This one had a soft body almost a foot across, and not for a moment did s/he seem to be stressed by my presence once I began TTouching is gently and slowly for about ten minutes.

I was later informed it lived longer than any octopus in the aquarium had to date. Ever since I have felt a special connection to all octopi. Actually, I think I first became intriqued by these beings during my Feldenkrais training when we were required to read a book on the human nervous system that stated that until as recently as 50 years ago, the nervous system of octopi were studied because of the similarity to the human nervous system. I am going to see if anyone from my graduate class remembers the name of that textbook.

I admit to being slightly claustrophobic so I was not looking forward to sleeping in the bow of Zarja. It’s V shape left little room for Roland’s and my legs and it was too cold to open the window above our heads. I knew it would be a long night, and it was because I spent many hours gratefully reviewing the many highlights of my last 3 trainings in Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland, as well as giving thanks for these days in Croatia. I love the feeling of rocking in a boat, and the gently voice of water lapping against the sides of our floating home. However, the water was so still and the wind so gentle, there was little motion or sound so I spent the quiet hours keeping my claustropbia at bay with a few Heart Hugs and prayers of thanksgiving that overcame the minor stress of restricted space.

© Linda Tellington-Jones

© 2008, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.

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