Sunday, May 25, 2014

And Revelation Visited Me

Eric got out of his bunk this morning and then lay motionless on the sole, showing every sign of spending the morning there. Alisa asked if he wanted to rack out with her in her bunk.

"No, mommy."

"Why not? You'll be more comfortable."


"Why not?"

"When I sleep with you I smell something bad."

The candor of a seasick four-year-old.


This is the fifth day of our passage. We nearly turned back on the second. We had as much as made the decision. Really I had come to the decision an hour earlier and was trying to talk it out with Alisa, to articulate it and thus accept it.

What else could we reasonably do? Water was accumulating in the starboard bilge. We were looking at a potentially rough passage, weeks long, with few or no boatyards at the other end. The problem had announced itself in port in the days before we left, and I had thought I had fixed it, but now it was back and I had no idea where the water was coming from. It wasn't much water, no dangerous amount, but its appearance from a source unknown signaled an uncertainty about the state of the boat that I was not willing to accept with our family crew, and the nature of the trip before us.

"I just feel like I should be able to figure it out," I said.

The whole season would change if we turned back. I might be willing to set out for the Australs/Tuamotus in late May, but I didn't think I'd be willing to try a second time in June. Where would we go this year, if we were not starting on the path to Patagonia?

"Is there any hose in there that might be leaking?" asked Alisa.

And revelation visited me. The genset. I stuffed plugs in my ears and fired up the generator and watched water spurting out of the water pump.

"Can you fix it?" asked Alisa.

"I think so. Think I've got a rebuild kit on board. But not out here."

"So we'll go back to fix it?"

"No way, we're not going back to fix that." I felt so relieved.


We've been through the shakedown period. (Except for Eric, who is chipper but still vomiting. I look at him and wonder when he'll be old enough to wish he had been born into a family that was enthusiastic about golf.) We've been through the first few days when you feel drugged and sleepy and nauseous. Over-tired and over-stressed on day two, I had a mighty session of vomiting over the side. But - victory - I've had no migraine.

And now we're in the groove. Elias has been in the groove the entire time and has been disappointed that we haven't been fishing in 25 knot winds and three meter seas. Today is almost like tradewind sailing, it's that placid and steady, except that this habitually gray ocean turns only a reluctant gun-metal blue in the sunshine, instead of the triumphant blue of the tropical Pacific.

We've been dignified by repeated close fly-bys by albatross - mostly juvenile wanderings. Eric may eventually wish he was born into a less salty family, but he is a four year old with strong opinions on the diagnostic features of royal and wandering albatross.

The weather has been kind, with just-strong-enough westerlies for most of the trip, keeping us booming along.

We expect the first front of the passage to catch us on Tuesday.


  1. Hi guys

    On seasickness: let the little guy try and put an earplug in his left ear, if he's right-handed. Or in his right when he's left-handed. This little trick miraculously helps so many people, and might help the kid as well. It worked for me.

    Have a great trip!

  2. He'll only ever thank you for making him forever a wee bit salty!!!