My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
Do you believe in synchronicity?”
Whether or not you believe that certain things “are meant to be”, human beings are pattern seekers and there’s a strange sort of comfort in discovering links among apparently random occurrences. Who was it who said, “there are no coincidences?”
So make of this “coincidence” what you will:
Part 1: My sailboat is called “Kuan Yin” after the Chinese bodhisattva (goddess) of compassion. She’s revered by Buddhists throughout Asia, especially by fishermen and seafarers who pray to her for a safe passage! The bodhisattva has slightly different names in different countries, for example Kwanseum Posal in Korea, Guan Im in Thailand, Quan Am in Vietnam. In Japan, she is called Kannon. She carries a vase of “holy’ water and a sprig of willow with which to annoint people.
Last year I installed the figurehead of Kuan Yin standing on a dragon on the aft mast of the boat and I admit there were times during last summer passage sailing alone down the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Gulf of St. Lawrence that Kuan Yin and I had a few conversations. And the boat and I arrived safely.
Part 2: One of the essential tools to record any journey or endeavour these days is a good digital camera. After a lot of research I chose the Canon Rebel. I’ve been amazed at the quality of the photos and the ease of use – those as I discovered even a drop of water on the model I bought causes it to malfunction.
Imagine my amazement and a wondrous sense of connection when I read that Canon’s founder, Mr. Goro Yoshida, co-founder of the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory, named the camera he invented (the first 35mm focal-plane shutter camera in Japan) the Kwanon – later anglicised to Canon – in honour of the goddess Kuan Yin.
Interestingly, Mr. Yoshida, who died in 1993, established the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory in a room of an apartment in Tokyo. There he experimented to produce several prototypes of a high-grade 35mm rangefinder camera including the “Kwanon”, however, according to the Canon Camera Museum, no such camera is thought to exist today. “Kwanon” became a phantom prototype camera – rather like the ethereaal boddhisattva.