In the past I’ve done quite a lot of solo sailing on Illusion, starting in my first years of ownership, sailing into San Francisco’s inland waterways (1000 miles of diked paths snaking through California’s central valley), then later coastal cruising around New Zealand. But this voyage – from Nuku Hiva (in the Marquesas of French Polynesia) to Hawaii – was my first open-ocean passage alone. Usually I set an anchor each night – this was different: 15 days with no anchoring; two weeks out of reach of land. It sounds dramatic, perhaps, but in other ways it was very similar to previous sailing experiences. And as I was alone on the boat, I didn’t feel the same responsibility or concern for how the others were doing. I could make decisions solely based on my needs. If anyone was going to be sick or get injured or break something, it would be me…
As with most ocean crossings, the days were filled with sky and sea, brief radio check-ins, getting food and trying to get sleep. There are plenty of ocean-crossing sailors who describe it as boring. I wouldn’t say that, but there aren’t necessarily lots of anecdotes to come out of it! The first day proved to be the most action packed so it gives an idea of a busy day at sea:
Continue reading “Solo sailing: a day in the life”
The last ten days, while Doug has been at sea, alone, heading towards Hawaii from Nuku Hiva, have gone slowly here in Vancouver. And while it’s felt slow to me, I know time will have been even weirder for him.
The seven day passage from Tahiti was a lesson in the bendiness of time. Time off (mainly sleeping or cooking) flew by. Watches, for the most part, didn’t. A three hour stint of steering the boat under the moonlight could feel like just a few minutes one night, and never-ending another. The three minutes between banging on the floor to ask for relief and somebody’s head popping up to say they’d be there in a minute dragged ridiculously. As did the next ten minutes waiting for them to get their drink and snacks and life jacket, and get up on deck to take over. Continue reading “The Illusion Show”
What’s a pony doing on the ocean?!?!? Well, not much, as it turns out. I ordered a replacement motor for the autopilot drive through eBay (another nightmare, worthy of its own post if I ever get round to it) just before we left Tahiti. I contacted the seller in England to confirm that he could ship to French Polynesia and the shipping cost. He said it would take a week for him to order the part, then the DHL “Express” shipment (GBP 50, about US$80) would take 2-5 days.
Continue reading “DHL – The Shetland Pony Express of the South Seas”
I am still surprised by the confusion that emanates from others when I mention that we’ll be departing their island soon. Of course, they know that Illusion‘s main engine is not functional, so that helps to explain it – I tell them that we’ll sail to the next island. It is a sailboat…
Continue reading “Engineless”