Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Countdown and Answers to Questions you may have pondered...

WHAT's with the new blog design?  Michael's been working on some changes, especially because the current template allows us to include a location tracker.  We hope you enjoy it.  It's still a work in progress, while we still have internet.

WHAT are all these new blogs we've linked to on the right hand side of our blog?  These are new and (some old) friends that we've made, plus one up-and-coming cruiser.  Hopefully I'll have time to write a blog or two about these friends and who they are.  It's actually pretty miraculous that we've made some new friends here in La Cruz in the last 3 weeks given how hectic and busy we've been, but that's cruising.  Cruisers seem to form a wonderful warm and inviting community. This is for better or for worse -- on our tight schedule, we've been doing perhaps a bit too much socializing.  It's hard to avoid though, and believe me, we're not complaining.

WHEN are we leaving for the South Pacific?  The optimum time to leave is during the first two weeks in April.  This allows us to take full advantage of the sailing season in between the cyclone (i.e. hurricane) seasons in the South Pacific (November to April).  So we plan to be ready around April 1 (yes, that's tomorrow), but given that it is April Fool's Day and a Friday, and given that sailors are very superstitious and won't commence a voyage on a Friday, we plan to leave on the following Tuesday, putting the departure date at Tuesday,  April 5.  All this is, of course, weather permitting.  With such a long voyage, we plan to save as much fuel as possible so do not want to turn on our motors.  This means that we'll need enough wind to take us sailing out to about 300 miles off shore, where we'll pick up the trade winds that will carry us west and south.  In addition, the Tuesday departure allows us to head to the produce warehouse, which is open on Sunday nights, to choose our 3 week supply of produce.  This gives us Monday to stow all the produce, take the boat as required to Nuevo Vallarta to the harbor master to check out of Mexico, and while we're at it we'll fill up with fuel.  We'll sleep on the hook (i.e. at anchor) on Monday night so that we can start getting our sea legs.  Then Tuesday morning, we'll be off.  The countdown is on: That's in only a few short days. It may (and does) feel as though the deadline has just been sprung on us, but we have been preparing for a while, even while we weren't sure we were going.  But then again, we are experts at getting ready in a short time - you may recall that we bought the boat, moved aboard, and got it ready in 6 weeks...

WILL we be taking crew?  We've decided not to take crew.  The decision was not taken lightly. We deliberated a long time on this one, and while another crew member could help with the night time watches, we have weighed that against the fact that we have a good crew already in the four of us.  We also took into account the fact that it's a long time to have someone on your boat, especially if it doesn't work out. It's not just the three week passage, because you'd need to let that crew off in a place where's there's enough civilization for him/her to get home - like an airport - which is likely three months into the trip.  As far as our current crew (i.e. our family), we've had the kids take day watches before, and we may add an 8-10 p.m. watch for Danielle. Plus, after a few days, you get used to the night watches.  If it were just Michael and I, we would definitely take crew.  But with the four of us on board, there's always an extra set of eyes or hands if absolutely necessary.  For example and in the worst case scenario, if someone goes overboard, we have at least two other sets of eyes to keep a watch out for the person who fell in, while someone else can still drive the boat (we have practiced man overboard drills in the past, and plan to on our way to Nuevo Vallarta before checking out).  Our kids have really grown into fine crew members, and I'm looking forward to the time together with nothing to do but school, play games, and hang out together.

WHAT's our route?  We don't know.  We think we'll follow the route known as the Coconut Milk Run, but exact places and dates can and almost positively will change.  So, tentatively, it looks like this:
April - Passage to the Marquesas
April/May - Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia)
May - Tuamotu Islands (French Polynesia)
June - Society Islands including Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea (French Polynesia)
Late June/early July - Cook Islands (Suwarrow in the north or Rangaroa in the south)
July - Nuie
Late July/early August - Tonga
Late August to late September - Fiji
Late September/ Early October -Vanuatu
October - New Caledonia
End of October - Make landfall in Bundeberg, Australia
November/December - Explore Australia

But as with all our plans, they are fluid...

-Barb in La Cruz (for only a few more days...)


  1. Barb, I have to say I read your blog as a daily reality check to see where we are at. We're still aiming for Tues as well--but plan to ride the early evening breeze out of the bay... So we'll be a few hours behind... This of course if we get our rudder back today...

  2. All sounds so exciting - except for the man overboard drill! Always looking forward to your posts...

  3. Barb and Michael,

    I love reading about your deliberate preparations for the voyage. I am excited that you've set your departure dates. T minus 4 days and counting.