It started at 3:00am with the loud hiss of the camping stove waking me from my morning stupor as Koji was making his lunch, rice. I’m a ramen kind of guy so I started boiling the hard noodles next to Koji in our cramped makeshift kitchen. It was dark and very quiet except for the occasional gust of south wind blowing through the trees. There was still hesitation in Koji’s eyes. He didn’t like how the weather was turning out, he didn’t like that there were still gusts of wind when the forecast predicted a morning free of wind. As our food finished boiling we ate in silence, listening to the wind howl. As I slurp my ramen, my mind runs around the idea that this is our last chance to get to Korea, to justify the past year of training and losing my job, to realize my dreams. This is our last shot.
As the time approaches 5:00am I phone the Korean Coast Guard and tell them we are going to wait a little longer for the wind to subside. I begin to pace back and forth, uneasy about what the future holds. I become fixated on the small orange flag, attached to the back of our kayak, flapping in the wind. It reminds me of the challenges we faced to get here and the obstacles that were a part of every step of this journey . I walk over and indignantly grab the flag, pulling it down to the position it would be if there were no wind, saying “this is where you should be.”
Its now 5:30am and I walk over to Koji, he’s looking around; at the clouds, water, and trees blowing in the wind. Every minute or so I see him take out his phone to refresh the Tsushima/Busan weather forecast. He breaks his concentration, looks at me and says “Okay, lets go.”