Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Leap

My New Year's resolutions are shot.  I guess that is pretty typical but I had hoped that since I was on "vacation" I would finally have both the time and the will to make them happen.  Alas, that was not so, as you can see for yourself by the recent frequency, or lack there of, of my blog posts.  I have received a few emails concerned for our safety and hoping that Moments was not resting on the bottom of the ocean.  Not to worry, Moments is still afloat and looking better than ever.  Adam and I are a little worse for wear because although we are on "vacation" we have been putting in long days checking projects off the list.

When discussing this trip with some of you I may have mentioned our original plan: to cross the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands.  About the time we got to Mexico it became clear that that plan would cause us to rush, pretty much all year.  There are two main problems with rushing.  First, on a sailboat rushing is dangerous.  You cannot rush the weather and you only want to make a crossing when the weather looks great not when you hope it will be fine because you really have to get somewhere.  Second, there are many reasons that we left on this adventure but rushing was not one of them!  We grew to love Mexico, so we took it slow.  Our Spanish is better, we made many quality friendships and we were able to stop at some out of the way places rather than make big leaps down the coast.  This was a better plan for us so we moseyed down the coast very undecided about the future, content with the present, and always ready to answer "south" when asked where we were headed.  However, by the time we left Manzanillo it was becoming clear that we needed to make some tough decisions.  Were we going to keep heading south down the Central American coast and cross through the Canal into the Caribbean or did we want to make a right turn somewhere and head out far enough so we could get back to the Pacific coast of the US?

Right turn it is.  Although neither of us has been to Central America and the draw was strong, this was another plan that would result in rushing.  To be out of the Caribbean and Gulf by June, when the hurricane season starts, was just counting on too many "ifs" to go our way.  Not to mention, it is currently lighting season in Panama where there are a crazy number of strikes each year (check out this: http://geology.com/articles/lightning-map.shtml and this: http://wwlln.net/new/map/ for some cool things about lighting)  Tall, warm, metal mast + flat, cool ocean = not a good idea.  Some boats do have lighting protection systems so that all of their electronics are not fried when they are struck, but not Moments.  We probably need to get a little better with the sextant before risking the loss of our navigation electronics!

For those of you not familiar with sailing and global weather patterns.  The wind along the western cost of North America generally comes out of the north and then moves to the northeast as you get further from shore.  The swell (waves, before they hit land and become waves) also comes out of the north as it is (primarily) the result of the friction of the wind on the water.  Sailing up wind with pounding waves at your bow is not our idea of a fun or safe time.

So, with those options not looking so excellent and the Marquesas a far off (but probably unrealistic in a year) dream, we have decided to head for Hawaii!  The Hawaiian Islands are the most remote islands on the planet and to get there we will be traveling more than 3000 miles.  Think LA to NY in a sailboat.  For the last month we have been working hard making all of the necessary preparations for this long passage, which will most likely take us about 1 month.  Thank you to everyone for your support!  More to come before we depart.