Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ocean Passages

Hello All,
I thought I would take the time to write about ocean passages. I know I write about them on a day by day basis but they lack reflection, looking back on the passage as a whole. I look at it like a score board, one day you get behind just to make it all back up the next. In the end it all seems to average out. This passage was an exception because of my mechanical failure which, quiet literally changed the coarse of my trip. There has been only one other time this has happened. I had to skip a Cook Islands atoll so I could get to Samoa to fix my RADAR pole. This stuff happens so you just have to shape your trip around it. That's what makes this way of traveling so interesting. I say interesting now but when I am out there dealing with it I have a few different words to describe "Interesting".

Having all of the different people on my boat I will say that this way of traveling is not for everyone. 48 hours into the Guam to Japan crossing Stephen looked at me on a nice sailing day and said, I think I know what its like to be in prison now. I have never looked at it like that but i can see what he is saying. Days, weeks or a month without seeing any one but each other, only 32 feet of living area, no sign of life at all not even a bird. When you do finally see fish jumping or dolphins swimming and birds flying around it is a very exciting moment. Stephen was a big help on the passage but he did tell me this would be his last. You just never know if you will like it till you do it. I myself am not a big passage fan but it seems to agree with me just fine. I would say it would be easier to beam the boat to the next port but then you would miss out on the excitement of seeing land on the horizon and the feeling of accomplishment that it took to make that happen. I always use the old Alaska saying, "You would never appreciate spring in Alaska unless you spent a whole winter there".

Everything that you do on a passage is a challenge, making meals, doing repairs and even trying to sleep. I have never been so busy trying to hold on in my life. Your always holding on, I should have arms like Poppy. You work muscles that you never knew you had. I always lose weight on passages, not from lack of eating but because your body is never at rest, which burns calories. I should patent this and advertise, lose 20 pounds in a month guaranteed. Outside of the down falls I have just mentioned you will never see the stars at night like you can on a passage. My Ipod has an app for finding all of the stars and myself and my crew have spent hours at night finding all of the constellations, planets and stars you would usually never see. Making passages gives you allot of time the think also, maybe to much time.

I actually keep very busy between studying weather forecasts to figuring out sail arrangements to conditions, keeping up with log entries, speed and coarse corrections. Keeping track of where you are and where you are going. Even with modern navigation equipment you are always making sure that you are heading the right direction. It is a big ocean out there and just a few degrees off and you can miss an Island the size of Japan at a thousand miles out.

I mentioned before about sail arrangements, this passage was a big exception for that because once we got out of the NE trades the wind was irregular coming with gusts. I was under sailed 60 percent of the time because of the 40 percent gusts. It would hold at a steady 15 knots and then out of know where it would blow 25 knots for a few minutes just to return to 15 knots. Having canvas up for the 60 percent 15 would have your mast in the water at 25 so after making 20 plus sail changes in a 12 hour period i just settled for being on the safe side.

In conclusion I would say that if it was easy everyone would be doing it and that being said 80 percent of the time it is easy. it is the 20 percent that could be left out. A friend I used to work with said it best, "It is a fine life if you don't weaken"

I will leave you now with my fine rambling on Ocean Passages.


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