the journey

Pacific Crossing March 24-April 15

The Pacific Ocean is BIG! How big you may ask? To give it some scope, our friend Bob, from S/V Sisuitl, shared these facts: every continent on Earth can fit inside the Pacific and still leave room to squeeze in another South America. One of its island nations, Kiribati, has a border to border distance equal to crossing the Atlantic Ocean. If Papeete, in French Polynesia, was overlayed on Paris, the Marquesas would be in Sweden and the Austral Islands would be in Romania.

Passage Distance: 2824 Nautical Miles
Passage Time: 22 Days
Most miles travelled in a day over ground: 185 miles
Least miles travelled in a day over ground: 88 miles
Fuel Used: 64 gallons
Boat Issues (All minor): engine coolant system, engine charging system, sail battons, boomvang, line chafe, minor autopilot malfunctions
Number of Rain Squalls: 14 squalls
Stongest Wind: 19 knots
Number of freshwater showers taken: 3 each
Fresh food that lasted until Marquesas: half cabbage, dozen eggs, 2 grannysmith apples, 1 carrot, 12 limes, 10 potatos, 7 onions, 3 beets
Number of fish caught: 1 Mahi Mahi
Number of flying fish found on deck: Over 100
Number of times we were visited by dolphins: 8 different days
Number of books read: Nicole=5 Gar=3
Number of hours studying French: 0

(To read the Latitude 38 article about the Puddle Jump passage click here. The figures are all wrong for boat data on engine hours, worst and best 24 hr. runs, but still fun to read)


The following are excerpts from Nicole's Journal:

March 23, 2007 Punta Mita Anchorage

I'm not sure if it was the bananas, that it was Friday or that I was on board but things didn't go as planned. Sailors have many superstitions. The first mistake I made was to provision 18 bananas and hang them in a hammock on the port side of the boat over our sea berth. Immediately after lifting anchor, they seemed to have worked themselves free, loosening the shock cord keeping them from smashing themselves against the side of the boat. Before I knew it they were mush. Time for banana bread.

Every sailor knows its bad luck to leave on a Friday. Officially, we left on Wednesday, we checked out of Mexico, left the marina and came 15 miles south to Punta Mita anchorage. The plan was to leave on Thursday but the weather was unfavorable and we had plenty of organizing to do, so we waited.

Today, Friday, the winds were perfect, 15 or more knots out of the N/NE, expected to continue through early next week. After a blessing, lots of intention, and to be honest a little hesitation on my end we left, or tried to leave.

Not more than 15 minutes after turning southwest, the batten came loose from the fitting and more detrimental, the engine overheated. Also, the wind generator wasn't working. "Well, it looks like you got your wish," Gar said with a sneer as we turned back toward Punta Mita. We both believe in the power of manifestation and I a bit in superstitions. We left on a Friday.

I was in some sense relieved to be sailing back to Punta Mita engineless with my husband angry at my powers of manifestation and the reality of needing to fix things again. I'm not sure if it's always hard for me to move on or if its just the long passages, but part of me hates to leave. Today was no different and I wanted it to be.

After temporarily dropping anchor to make repairs, I climbed up to the boom and sat, straddling her while the boat rolled, trying to decide the best way to keep the batten in the pocket while Gar tried to fix the engine again. It was after I had unsuccessfully been trying to put a needle through four layers of sailcloth without any good ideas about how to fix the batten that I felt useless.

Maybe seamen were right to believe the old superstition that women on ships are bad luck. I had to remind myself that I had chosen this life and need to choose the superstitions that make sense to me. It was then, I remembered another superstition, that women are good luck on ships when they are naked.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we're off for the South Pacific. The bananas are staying and so am I. Perhaps I shall be naked.

March 25, Day 2

The first days of a passage are always challenging for me. I not only struggle to move through the nausea, tiredness, and general apathy but also struggle finding balance with my relationship. My home once flat is now constantly moving and I try to balance using more than 2 body parts at a time like a foot and a hand or two feet. Mostly, I cheat and add a hip or my scrawny butt.

Initially, Gar and I are both on edge. We haven't found our rhythm, Gar is medicated and we are both sleep deprived. Also, I know he feels the weight of it all.

We have a new issue, a squeak in the steering. Taking off the wheel, moving at six knots to check the gears was a bad idea and very scary. Enough grease, not the problem, screw her back up. After a wave in the cockpit, all was quiet except for a squeak in the vang, the wind in the rigging and the sea streaming past our hull.

The pineapple express has brought clouds and a cool freshness we haven’t had in weeks.

March 26, Day 3

Today is one of those beautiful days where the sea stretches until it reaches the horizon with a sapphire blue face and the ocean's gentle breath. The swell is 3 feet and cumulus clouds float lazily above the horizon. The wind is fresh and it is wonderful to see the sun again. Thank you.

Unfortunate things about today are little ones… Things keep falling out of the cabinets like powdered sugar. Thankfully, it had already hardened into little balls. I already have swamp ass, itchy red bumps. I need to air it out.

A juvenile booby has hitched a ride on our bow pulpit and is somehow enjoying the ride despite of the constant rolling of the boat and the snapping of the jib. We are almost to the NE trades. Gar says we’re here but I'm not so sure.

New sail plan. Reefed main sail, poled out jib almost all the way out. The chafe has decreased, the windvane is my hero and the boomvang has quieted. Hope all stays strong.

I am feeling a bit more like me again. I love this day, sailing at 6.3-6.5 knots, out in the ocean with nothing around but beautiful blue from here into beyond. Today, I love this. I hope our passage stays gentle and kind or at least breaks me in slowly. We are lucky right now.

I am grateful for love, adventure, comfort, a dry butt, a new bird friend, and the gentle caress of the wind- also, our fabulous boat.

2000 hours

Gar has a date with Jim, of the boat Cardea, on the radio and I lie in my rolly polly sleeping nest listening to their conversation and the cracking of the boomvang. I hope it makes it to the Marquesas. It sounds terrible down here. I will send it some love.

March 27, Day 4

It's one of those days I don't really feel like we are in the middle of the ocean. It is hot but we still have a slight breeze and the color of the water hasn't changed although our booby friend left. The clouds are building again and it feels like a lazy day. We've got 6 knots of wind, not enough for the Monitor so the autopilot is on sucking juice and beeping intermittently, warning us of an anchor alarm. Hope this is the only issue.

We are hundreds of miles from land and there are many birds feeding to the SE. Dolphins came while I was making soup. They are so beautiful and strong.

I like today. I feel like I am home. Gar and I are finding our balance together again. It is in many ways a blissful day. I am well rested and want of nothing except for maybe a shower and for my rash to go away. Blowing at nine knots, the wind is delicious; we are both salty and hot, like our boat.

There is something so peaceful about sailing in light winds. It is a lazy relaxed feeling of slowly moving forward as the boat is lifted by the swell and water is gently pushed past the hull, hissing in whispers.

March 28, Day 5

This morning I fell in love with this life. Connected to this incredible ocean by a bobbing boat, my heart and my being. With a tangerine sunrise came a fresh breeze, sweeping away the maddening monotony of the night, moving at 2.3 knots/hr. An hour later, and the ocean glowed sapphire again and I was left staring into the depths of the stunning sea. These are the deepest parts of the ocean illuminated with sunlight, constantly reminding me of its beauty.

By 8 am flying fish seemed to be gliding above the waves in all directions while masked boobies hunted them with shocking precision. They swoop down, just above the crests of the waves and snatch them while still flying above the surface. Their skill is well noted as 8 out of 10 times, they successfully snagged a snack. Flying above the water with flying fish still in their beaks they glided, swooped and swallowed their way back into the hunt.

I'm not sure if the dolphins at our bow and flanks were chasing tuna that might have scared up the flying fish. But the Pan-Tropical Spotted Dolphins stayed at least 20 minutes, shy and graceful. It was our first time to see these beautiful creatures.

I have found my rhythm with this life, at least today, in this moment.

March 29, Day 6

Waiting for sunrise, I am reminded of the vastness of the sea. Surrounded by water and sky I feel very small, especially as the inky black sea stretched to the dark grey sky and out to a heavy blanket of clouds to the west.

The seas have built to 6-8 feet and the surface, once brilliant has dulled to a dark midnight, textured with wind lines and chop. The cresting seas' lips glow with brilliant turquoise. Otherwise, today is grey.

The squeak has returned to our steering and every now and then when we turn to port I think I hear a clunk. This unnerves me, as steering is essential. Our Monitor and steering are working flawlessly together and require no effort on my part other than to will the wind in another direction, at least allowing us to go south instead of only west.

My nerves have been on edge since yesterday. Mostly because Gar can't seem to diagnose the battery problem we're having. They just keep dropping. In my mind, I have prepared for little power and have prioritized the foods that need to be eaten first. Hopefully a new alternator will help.

Meanwhile, the boat has been rolly and uncomfortable since dark and the cracking and squeaking of the boomvang resonates through the mast and down into the salon. I hope our strong girl can hold up.

I am working on keeping it together. To be ok with just being a sailor, that is what I am right now. It’s all I can do right now. I need to remember to let go and trust. When I do, my stomach settles down, I relax and am a bit more free.

Seeing seabirds and dolphins out here makes me stronger. They are so resilient and well adapted. Just saw a small tern fly by.

Mach 30, Day 7

Today is a hard day. We are both tired. The boat is rolly but she seems happy. Two blocks are squeaking; I need to grease them. We are really on the ocean. I can see layers of swell, tipped with white caps running from the horizon. The thick layer of clouds has burned off and left puffy cumulus floating above me now.

I feel tiny but strong finding my place with the 8-10 feet of swell. A sailor, JM, once told me, that the swell is the ocean breathing. This makes sense to me so I work on breathing with this great ocean and rolling with our boat, without resistance.

The swell greets us mostly on our starboard quarter, slapping her gently. She responds, twisting to port and heading up again. The monitor is still steering; he is our third crew. For this I am grateful.

The wind is picking up to 15 knots and the swell is rising with it. The ocean is big and strong and vast. This is mellow for the NE trades.

1800 hrs

Grey, grey day. I think both of our energy is a bit drained. The wind has gotten inside of me. My throat is a bit sore and my insides are unsettled. The swell has picked up quite a bit and I feel small.

Gar too is having one of those days. He is exhausted, tough on himself and sad. It is beautiful to see him vulnerable. Perhaps, steel grey days on the ocean show us our own reflections better than when they are clear.

We are in a big ocean and I feel vulnerable and insignificant, yet utterly beautiful and essential to my own tiny world. The wind pauses for an instant and I catch my breath.

April 1, Day 9

Venus rises as soon as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. She hangs in the west like a constant companion. Steering south along Orion's belt with a full moon over my left shoulder, I am perfectly content.

It's nights like these I can be a sailor forever. The moon is my lantern and my friend. Illuminating the surface of the sea, exposing a deep periwinkle sky, I am grateful for her presence. The wind is gentle, a warm soft breeze, pushing us slowly south. The swell has turned with the wind and has been at our stern for most of the night. Water rushes past the hull whispering as the wake stretches longer behind us. The sails fill and collapse as we are lifted in the swell. The monitor is holding a steady course, always an able crew. For this, I am grateful.

Three hours have passed since I began my watch in a groggy slumber. As quickly as the weight of my eyes lifted, it is returning again as I know I will be leaving my watch soon to reenter my cocoon for renewal of sleep and dreams.

She is rocking again, perhaps I shall think of it as a womb. Lovely night.

April 2, Day 10

Yesterday's highlights:
Fresh water showers in the cockpit, air-drying, clean hair and salt free skin, an offering to Neptune.

What a luxury! I so appreciate being able to be fresh and have clean fresh cold water to wash with. Also, we changed our sheets and Gar cooked. Lucky me.

April 3, Day 11

I wish I could talk to the fish. This morning there were 24 flying fish dead on deck. They ranged in size from less than one inch, young and translucent to over 6 inches long and all were very dead. Who is calling them on board and why this mass suicide? I have heard the small ones are good eating if you just pull off the wings. For now, I'll believe someone else's word.

It's day 11, really two weeks since land for us. I am starting to go a bit crazy. The boat has been rolly polly all day and there hasn't been enough wind to keep the sails full. They are constantly flogging, snapping back and forth and they fill and backwind. The boom is at it again and making a clicking sound. Not as bad as before. The autopilot is possessed and takes over on a whim. This flogging is terrible. Perhaps the rolling is worse. We won't turn on the engine until we are going less than two knots, who knows how many days of this we will have.

Trying to reheat dinner and make a simple salad was a painful task. I dodged cabbage canon balls and sliding knives. Nothing would stay where I put it, even on the nonskid. We were just rolling too much. Stirring with one hand, counter balancing with my foot, hand on cabbage. Nothing spilled today. It is exhausting to be constantly moving irregularly.

Our first squall came out of the southeast. Dark clouds rolled quickly across the surface of the sea, sending ahead of them a brisk wind of 15 knots and cooler temperatures. This was a relief as the air had been humidly hanging on everything. The clouds sprinkled a few drops and we waited. Then the ocean flattened and a curtain of rain swept across the surface, drenching us and giving our boat her first deep clean, removing the salt from her crevices. Simply beautiful.

April 4, Day 12

Squalls can surprise me like monsters in the dark. They creep up on us from as many as two sides depending upon the moment. This morning the moon set at 05:42 and I was left with a canvas of dark grey light at best. The sea continued to rise and fall beneath us but what I could not see was the convention, gathering moisture in bands of clouds to the NE and SW of us. Turning on the radar, I was surprised to see yellow masses coming towards us quickly. I peered into the darkness behind us trying to identify our pursuer. I could only see darkness. Scurrying down stairs, I closed both hatches, suffocating Gar in a sticky hot cabin. Waiting for the winds to switch, I held my breath, hoping not to have to reef a second time.

The sky lightened just slightly as dawn approached and I could barely make out the dark mass heading for us. It gathered speed as it surrounded us, flattening the seas with strong winds and a thick curtain of rain. A half an hour later, we were all clean including me.

April 6, Day 14

We have made it to the International Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) at last. The ITCZ is known for its unpredictable weather and for the dreaded doldrums. Ships also have referred to this region as the 'horse latitudes' where horses were thrown overboard in attempts to lighten boats' weight so they could hopefully go faster and find the SE trade winds. The ITCZ often has wind with rain and lightning from different directions and sometimes with cross currents. This is often a stressful region for sailors and one for which we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.

For us, conditions are not scary or fierce or even unpredictable. We have seen a few lighting storms but none too close. We’re at a close reach and the swell is coming towards us. It’s cloudy and blue grey here. Ahead of us are patches of sky poking through stratus. I hope this is a good sign. I feel excited and blessed and even a bit surprised. I can’t believe we are actually here on this part of our journey.

It feels like we are in the final stretch, as hopefully we will arrive in the Marquesas within a week. I can't believe we have been on the ocean for so long. Part of me loves it, the vast expanses, the challenges and surprises, like the acrobatic dolphins today. Part of me still fears it a bit but mostly, I love it. Respect is what I feel. I am so lucky.

April 7, Day 15

It is a bit surreal to know this long passage will be over before I know it. I will miss parts of it. The nights especially, the starry ones and the black ones where all I can see is our wake twinkling behind us and the lightning flashes of creatures beneath us. I will miss the few great days of sailing with our sails full and the boat flying. I will miss dolphins and knowing I am in the biggest wilderness in the world. And I will miss the simplicity of it all.

In the same instant, I can't wait to smell the earth again. Walk forever up hills, eat as much fresh fruit as I want without rationing it, take showers a little more often and sleep through the night with my husband, waking rested, and of course to do something new.

April 8, Day 16

Lovely! Today has been beautiful! Warm breeze, picking up to 7 knots for smooth sailing at 5 plus knots. Everything is a brilliant crisp shade of blue. Small cumulus clouds float across the sky like a cartoon strip while the boat gently moves across the ocean, leaving behind a gurgling wake.

Today is the kind of day I love sailing, we are relaxed but moving at a reasonable speed. The air is warm but the cockpit is shady where I hand steer our craft towards the equator while everything around me is somehow brilliant.

Tonight is no different. The wind is fresh, pushing out the warmth of the day and revealing an endless sea of stars. The clouds have flown away and I can see layers of stars in the sky tonight and Venus is glowing. Water bubbles past our hull and the sky is reflected on the surface of the sea tonight. There are stars everywhere swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

0600 April 9

I am getting closer to mutiny each time I am awakened for my 0500-0800 watch. I long to sleep an entire night without interruption from dreams of being on watch or the reality of it. Tonight I slowly tug myself out of the arms of sleep as I watch stars winking at me in the sky. The engine is on and I am assaulted by that sickening smell of diesel-at least it is working. Part of me wants to ration what fuel we have left; yet we agreed if we dropped below 4 knots we would motor until we reached the equator. The wind is at 4.5 knots and with the engine we are slowly moving towards the equator.

April 9, Day 17

Tonight the bioluminescent stars swirl past us in the sea as we slowly make our way SW to land. Clouds have smothered the stars in the sky again and it is almost impossible to discern where the sea stops and the sky begins.

Thankfully, the wind has freshened and we are now moving at 4 knots or more. Today was delightful in so many ways. Once we reached the equator, we accepted our fate in the doldrums. Slowly we bobbed on the surface of this great expanse of ocean as we made our way southwest.

At the equator, we celebrated our initiation from pollywogs to shellbacks by offering Neptune a gift of rum, (Gar said I gave him too much, not wanting to offended Neptune, I offered him more). With excitement and a bit of hesitation we both jumped in and out of the ocean. There's something so powerful about being alone in the big blue. It makes me feel so vulnerable, especially after seeing a friend's photo of an oceanic white tipped shark not meters from his boat. This shark is the shark most responsible for human deaths as they stalk carnage, shipwrecks and plane crashes. Yet sadly, they like most sharks are threatened from the shark fin trade and bi-catch from longlines.

We continued our celebration by showering, me staying naked until late into the afternoon, trying, of course to please the Gods. We ate a cold orange, had a Mexican feast and Gar baked brownies. Also we read cards family and friends had written months ago. Thank you for your support, humor, and thoughts. We are blessed!

It feels like such an accomplishment to have come so far. It's been 20 days on the boat and 17 since we started the passage. We have about 705 miles left until the Marquesas and we've gone 2,156 miles.

April 10, Day 18

Hard day. The sails have been flogging all morning. It's hot and loud and the sails are beating themselves up. I can't help them unless I put them away, not an option, move forward.

We drag ourselves around the cockpit chasing the shade. We are human salt licks and seem to be loosing more water than we can consume. The only relief we can find is by not moving more than we have to and savoring the cold apple with lime juice we share every day when the heat finally gets to be too much.

April 11, Day 19

Everyone knows it is hot at the equator but nothing has prepared me for how hot it really is. The sun was hidden just slightly by a thin veil of cumulus clouds that continued to build all morning. In the early hours this seemed lucky, as the sun is so much less intense. As the day continued, however, the reality was very different. The clouds were heavy with moisture and they trap the heat. Slowly a sticky slick of sweat and sea salt formed over layers of sunscreen that was impossible to ignore.

The southeast trade winds are all but non-existent. Our boat speed has dropped to 0.0 and the sails flog impatiently, seemingly in an attempt to fan herself or with the plan to completely irritate us both to the point of inspiring movement again but with the iron horse.

The heat is stifling and I slowly wilt throughout the day, struggling to drink water that is so flat it too sticks to my mouth and throat as I swallow. Chasing the shade, Gar and I move around the cockpit slowly, trying to hide every piece of us from the brilliantly strong sun and suffocating heat, anything left exposed feels burned. Without wind, the only relief is found with as little movement as possible other than to raise the squirt bottle to mist ourselves, cooling slowly as the water quickly evaporates.

Ah, the life of the equator, now I just need someone to fan me, feed me coconuts and sushi, Ha!

April 12, Day 20

I awakened at 11:30 to "Nic, I need your help, I got a fish on." My mind jolted itself awake and I scrambled into the cockpit to put on gloves and pray for a tuna. Of course, it was a Mahi. This one we kept, a small fry, no mate and a perfect amount of fish, no waste. As the fish died, it quickly changed from brilliant blue and yellow to an iridescent ashen grey, I sent it love and so much gratitude.

The reason we caught a fish is because we are finally in the SE trades. We’ve got 10-12 knots of wind and we are flying. We are reefed and the boat speed is 6.2-6.8 and our SOG is a knot or more faster as we are still in the South Equatorial current. We shall make landfall on Sunday.

14:35 Dolphins again, the first in about a week or so. Thirty or more of them were jumping and spinning just feet from the boat, so sleek and graceful. They have the power to inspire and bring joy to me in an instant. I am in love with them.

April 13, Day 21

I can't take it anymore. The boat lurches unpredictably and limes roll back and forth across the counter taunting me, while a cabbage, once big enough to take me out is now only the size of a softball as it flies off the starboard counter and onto the floor. My feet are splayed wide, balancing me as the boat rolls yet there is a thin layer of something slimy on the floor. Perhaps it is the layers of salt and sweat that has become part of me or maybe it is a bit of residual milk that spilled for the third time yesterday.

I have now mastered chopping onions and carrots while unable to focus on anything other than keeping my balance. Keep your fingers out of the way. Once I didn’t and made the mistake my mom was worried I would make. I didn't peel my fingers back while slicing an onion on a broad reach in confused seas. I got away with 2 deep cuts on my first two fingers.

Tonight it's about balance. Coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce (don't want that to shatter on the floor), brown sugar, tofu, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, and limes. One is rolling around the sink and the other two are safe in a small bowl. The boat lifts and rolls. I brace my legs; hold onto the fish sauce and gentle rock the pan so the contents don’t end up dripping behind the stove like the smoothie I made two months ago. Yes, our stove gimbals but the severity of the rolls would mean the curry would certainly be lost if the stove was left to move on its own.

I groan as I spoon rice into our two awaiting bowls as the boat slams to port, threatening to dump the curry. I escape into the cockpit, with the knowledge we will make landfall in the morning and I will not have to cook on passage for weeks.

05:13 local time

It is surreal to be navigating under a thick blanket of clouds as my senses are filled with the essence of land. The pungent odor of earth floats on a light breeze from the islands while a mango crescent moon rises, smiling. Lightning illuminates the dark outline of Hiva Oa, intermittently while I listen for the sounds of swell breaking against land. The sails fill and collapse with familiarity and the wind is whistling through the boom, a sad sounding ballad for a happy day.

All of my senses are a bit overwhelmed. I don't know what to think or feel but proud, surprised, grateful, and a bit sad it is over all at once. Exhaustion pulls at my eyelids but I want to see land in the light.

At 07:00 local time, I pull myself out of a deep sleep. Scrambling on deck, I am struck not only by the dramatic ridges and cliffs but by the color green. The mountains are carpeted in green, glowing in every shade one could imagine. They are textured ranging from what looks like soft grasses to the sharp edges of coconut palms. I'm not sure if it is that I haven't seen any color in nature but blue and grey for weeks or if it is that these islands are so lush they glow with life. I think it is both.

Another piece of magic… dolphins greet us at 07:45 and escort us to the mouth of Atuona Bay in Hiva Oa. We are so blessed. Dropping anchor at 08:00 local time we have made it to land after 22 days and 3 hours.

Gar's Entry:

The fuzzy forms of a solid mass begin to take shape in my black and white world. I look on the radar screen, and sure enough the sweeping arc of energy shows something of substance in our little piece of the sea. It is hard to believe that our passage across the Pacific has almost come to an end, but it has been 22 days and we are ready to touch the Earth again.

As the first light begins to breathe its luminescence on my smiling eyes, I begin to make out the island's contours and textures only 10 miles away. The smell of land is strong, like fermenting wood tannin, intense and pungent.

Nicole is sleeping, having just completed her final 3 hour watch of our passage, and I am alone soaking up the reality of our first sunrise on our new world. The sun begins poking its glowing ember over the horizon and the true magnificence of this island begins to unfold. The land is volcanic, defined by steep and sharp ridges and valleys that rise thousands of feet and often drop nearly vertical into the dark blue sea. The vibrant green carpet of vegetation clings to each rock, an omnipresent lushness of life that contrasts sharply from the red and black shades of solid rock.

An hour goes by as we head along the southern coast of Hiva Oa, towards our final destination of Atuona Bay. I stand captivated by the beauty of this place, feeling ever grateful and appreciative of our safe crossing as well as the gift of this island that we have been sailing towards for the last 2800 miles across the ocean.

I hear a familiar sound and look to starboard to see a friendly face. We have been greeted, once again, by a pod of dolphins. This time there are 7 bottlenose flippered-friends. They are in jovial spirits and enjoy surfing our bow-wake as we motor-sail down the coast at 5-6 knots. I wake Nicole and we both can't stop smiling, so happy to be exactly where we are with the best greeters we could ask for! In another hour we will be pulling into the anchorage, and it all seems so surreal, did we really just sail here?

As I reflect back on our passage, the days and nights all seem to just flow into each other, with little blips of reminders of the beauty, frustration, connection, and exhaustion that permeated our moments…Nicole's scream as the flying fish hit her in the head in the middle of the night. The corkscrewing movement of our boat sailing down the 6-10 foot swells hitting us from different angles where we could never get comfortable and cooking was a full-body workout. The night watches where the moon would rise out of the dark horizon and hours later light up the whole sky with it's brilliance. Taking sun sights with our sextant for the first time and getting within 3 miles of our actual position. Witnessing my body adjust to the reality of being at sea for so long and sleeping for only 3 hour increments every night. Celebrating our equator crossing with smiles, a swim, and some cards from family. The relentless heat and the humidity as I tried to rest in the cabin laying in a pool of my own sweat. The taste of a delicious granny-smith apple dripping with lime juice or a moist and refreshing jicama eaten in the cockpit as the sun beat down from overhead. And, oh, the Sea, the vast and intense and humbling Ocean with all of its moods and forms that I stared at every day for hours and hours observing and beholding its beauty.

All these moments and so many more made up the journey that I had the privilege of sharing with Nicole, my amazing wife. To have the opportunity to share such an experience with the one you love is rare and I am so appreciative of our experience together. Realizing what we just did sometimes seems so non-chalant, and at other times seems so profound and bold. I am just extremely thankful that we have arrived with our health, our boat intact, and our spirits high, as we begin to explore the new worlds that await us in the Polynesian lands.