Part Two of an interview with Zachary Shane Orion Lough. Refresh your memory and enjoy Part One.
Brendan McGarry: For me, hearing about time alone, tested by the elements and embracing natural solitude, is very exciting because I see a lot of intellectual potential in it. Time to think about the natural world and philosophize while still being active in your environment. However, I’d go out on a limb and suggest that I’m the choir they speak of preaching to. Do you think it translates to those less involved in nature and adventure? For that matter, even if it didn’t, does to matter?
Zachary Shane Orion Lough: I am essentially arguing for involvement in the natural world. Any argument requires careful tact. My tact or tactic for success is giving the proper portion-size of nature in my website. SailPanache.com talks about lots of stuff other than the natural world. I have my inner monologue, the sailing, the cities and the people. I believe this spectrum of topics makes it easier for people who may be less interested in the nature or, say, sailing aspects of my website to digest it as a whole comfortably. The more they read, the more they are exposed to all topics, and eventually they will want it all. This answer might be a little heavy on marketing philosophy, but I do believe it works. Think of it as “Nature Light!”
BM: Do you have any planned end, either location or date to the sail? Do you think if you could keep this up perpetually, would you? I know you are a social animal. Does having a home, as in a place, matter to you in your goals?
ZSOL: I constantly fight with the idea of home. More specifically the feeling of the familiar. I think it’s natural to want that whether it’s a person, place or thing. Panache has become very familiar, but I desire a physical permanent home and the comfort it offers. I have felt the gravity of each port and the comforts they offer. I guess subconsciously I am looking for home, but I have limited resources and know if I want to keep this adventure going I can’t be stagnant. I have to keep moving. If I had unlimited resources, I would circumnavigate over several years and spend several months in each place. I would love to keep this going, but financially it isn’t possible.
At the moment, I have enough money to travel through the Pacific and end up in New Zealand and/or Australia. If I can work there for a bit, or find some form of sponsorship, I will definitely keep moving. The lifestyle is very rewarding, I enjoy sharing it through SailPanache.com, and I am not ready to give it up!
BM: What is your favorite place to be in the natural world?
ZSOL: Right now one place come to mind. Being in such a hot place I constantly think about snow. A pine covered forest draped in snow is what I think about on those 100 degree days. It’s silent. Smells of evergreens. It calms and cools me, even if just for a moment.
BM: Do you hate Frigatebirds?
ZSOL: Absofuckinglutely. I hate how they pester boobies and steal their food. I hate how they love to crap all over my boat. One exceptionally large frigatebird sat on my anemometer (a thing on the top of my mast to measure wind speed) and broke it. The bird just wanted a free ride, but come on. I guess I don’t hate them, but they frustrate me. As frustrating as they may be, they are impressive and very beautiful. Wingspan to weight ratio is one of the highest, making them crazy agile in the air. But I still fucking despise them.
BM: Anything special wildlife wise you’d hope to see in your journey? Anything particularly memorable you’ve already experienced?
ZSOL: For all intents and purposes, oceans are like deserts. Most of the time there is nothing to see on the macro level. Sure, give me a microscope and I could discover all sorts of cool zooplankton, but I don’t have that kind of equipment aboard Panache. I would love to see anything big or dangerous. Sharks and sailfish are high on my list. I would love to catch a Wahoo. I would love love love to see a sunfish. I’m sure I will scratch one of these things off my list by the end of my Pacific crossing.
As for memorable things I have already seen, dolphins are always a friendly visitor, but my truly memorable experience involved a dolphin fish or dorado or Mahi Mahi. On the sail down the Baja coast I caught one for food. They are delicious and definitely ramped up my fishing drive. The first day out of Acapulco I woke up and poked my head out of the cockpit. Still squinting I could see a bright yellow fin slicing back and forth through the water right off the port side. I scrambled on deck and as the reflection of the sky faded from the water it revealed a massive Mahi Mahi. This Bull Dorado was literally as big as me. My initial response was to try and catch it. Feeding out a lure behind the boat got the giant’s attention, and I realized two unfortunate things: 1. If the fish struck the lure the line wasn’t tied off to anything, and 2. if I somehow managed to get the fish in the boat, there is no way I would be able to eat it all. I was happy to see the blue and green giant lose interest quickly and continue to swim happily along.
This fish paced Panache for the better part of 3 hours. I just sat there and watched. Panache was like a pace car. Every once in a while the Dorado would jet off leaving a visible wake on the surface of the water. After a minute or so, he would calmly come back to the boat. I assume he was using Panache to scare food fish and then hunting them down. Pretty rare to see a Bull Dorado that size, and probably even more rare to have one pace your boat.
Thanks for the interview Zach. Safe travels and good adventures! I hope you’ve all enjoyed Zach’s wonderful photography and sage words. Please be sure to check out SailPanache.com and keep track of his travels!