Max and I have been under sail now for three full weeks and we’re only a few days away from our destination of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas island group in French Polynesia. We have sailed in stormy weather, the doldrums and the southern trade winds.

At this point, there is little to say. We have gotten used to the slow, monotonous life aboard. Even in the balmy trade winds, the constant motion of the boat makes everything difficult. Every time it feels calm enough to set something down or to sit in a relaxed position, some 3-sigma wave gives us a big roll to put us in our place, tossing the tools across the salon or drenching the towels that have finally dried. We have gotten better at finding stable positions aboard and falling gracefully into things when we try to move about. But we really, really look forward to easing Akela into Baie Tahauku, dropping anchor, and bringing this passage to an end.

Max and I have fallen into an easy daily rhythm. At night, Max usually takes the first watch from 9-3 and I’m on from 3-9. This gives nearly a full night’s sleep. We each have gotten good at singlehanding the boat and sleeping through violent motion and noise. Things that were exciting only two weeks ago have become tiresome. Last night we went through a storm while Max was sleeping. In the driving rain and roaring wind, I harnessed up, shortened sail, and adjusted our heading as a simple matter of course. I suppose that anything would be like this. Things that seem wildly exciting and difficult can become ordinary with enough repetition.

We continue to eat well. Nearly all of our fresh provisions are gone, but we still have some eggs, potatoes, and vacuum packed meats (especially bacon!). We also have quite a supply of dry goods and canned food. Since we are paying more attention to our diet, we eat better now than we did at home.

We manage to fill the time. In addition to attending to the constant tasks required by the boat, we have been reading (with difficulty) and listening to audiobooks. We play card games (with great difficulty) and solve crossword puzzles together. We did see one boat! We came within 3 miles of a Japanese research vessel. We regularly see schools of flying fish taking flight and pods of dolphins crossing our path or playing in our bow wave. We are always “fishing”, but we should rename this activity “putting lures in the water and hoping.” We haven’t caught anything for 2 weeks. And on March 8, we crossed the equator into the Southern Hemisphere. We had a party with speeches, live music, drinking, dancing, and fireworks. (Yes, the parachute flares that expired in 1998 still work!).

I had thought of this passage as an experiment. I love sailing and traveling to new out-of-the-way places, but how would I do with a long blue water passage? In short, I think I do fine. I know that I can handle the rough stuff and endure the monotony. I wouldn’t say that I enjoy this passage, but I’m glad to say that I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

4 thoughts on “Three weeks at sea

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts. It’s exhilarating and scary to hear of your adventures yet uplifting and inspiring to hear what you are observing and learning. I wish for your safety every day but also wish for you to experience something new you can share. I mostly think of Laura and wish for her a happy peace of mind while she waits to unite with the ones she loves!!


  2. Wow, you guys are so close to the land! You have overcome the most difficult part of this passage and a different kind of advaentures will be ahead of you on the land.;)


  3. what a treat to hear the ‘happy birthday’ call from you guys. Rog was impressed and grateful. Your blog has been so interesting and exciting. What an adventure. In just a few days we will see Laura and connect with her and , vicariously, with you two. Be safe and enjoy land legs.


  4. wow what a story I could never do what you just did I bet you are looking forward to a nice hot shower be safe and have fun , make sure you take good care of tony when he gets there , ( this tonys bro in law George) so Mary is at ease


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s