I had hoped to leave Vallejo for my trip north as early as a week ago. It wasn’t to be and with the eastern Pacific high showing signs that it doesn’t know that summer is here, I doubt I will leave before mid-month!
Talking with a boating friend Friday who is very attuned to the weather in Northern California, he told me that normally, this eastern Pacific high is strongest in April, when it produces the strongest Northerly winds. But it’s now June and the April high is still here.
As a weather forecaster, the shoulder of the seasons, spring becoming summer, etc. is the hardest thing to predict. Each season has its own peculiarities, as well as the type and strength of the weather produced.
One crosses the North Atlantic in July because that’s definitely summer. Low pressure areas in the North Atlantic in July are the fewest and weakest of the year. Winds are almost never above 50 knots. When I was planning my first Atlantic Crossing, that’s why our planned departure was in July. June and August are the shoulder months, August weather can quickly transition to fall. Two sailboats were abandoned off the coast of France in a May storm, a few years ago. That I found myself in the North Atlantic in late August is a story I have related a number of times. Needless to say, the weather was worse than the month before and the successive three lows that rolled over me during my last 72 hours were definitely a sign of fall type weather; summer was over.
Now, I’m waiting for spring to end. In the meantime, having gotten almost all my projects done, I am now cleaning up the small things.
My fly bridge has never looked so good. All my mild steel items, cotter pins, bolts, nuts, have been replaced with stainless steel. In the past, I used what was handy. During the last couple of months, I have spent days removing rusted fasteners or clevis pins that are ruined because they have a rusted cotter pin inside.
I also added a line of lights for the galley and added a lighted led switch that purposely stays on all the time. I figured people new to the boat, Ti and Thien in particular, would appreciate some help in finding lights and things.
Over the next days, I am reorganizing my tools once again, as well as much used electrical parts.
Here is the latest snapshot of the weather patterns and winds over the North Pacific. First picture is today, the second picture is June 11th. No point in looking at anything else.
In the meantime, here is an interesting link to the video Ti made, Ti Cooks Pig Ears. with English subtitles. Yes, another Vietnamese delicacy. Who knew they did more than Bahn Mi sandwiches and Pho !!
With the completion of Ti’s visa interview, a goal more than two years in the making, is done.
Waking up the next day, the feeling of thank god that’s done, cannot be ignored. Much like euphoria I felt waking up in Castletownbere, on the southeast coast of Ireland on the last days of August 2015, after completing my first Atlantic Passage.
Though as hard as it may be for some to understand, the Atlantic crossing was less stressful.
I understand the ocean, nature, weather and natural processes, formed by a fascination with physical science and systems engineering from as early as I can remember.
Bureaucracies on the other hand are a different matter. I’m smart, so I to think I understand them; but not smart enough. My life is full of the detritus of missed winks and nods. I’m more like the blind horse: What? You told me you (my boss, the bureaucracy) wanted an omelet. We did, but we didn’t tell you to break any eggs!
Thus, my well-found fear of bureaucracies. Now, that’s done. I can dream of the next steps.
I have a half a dozen things that must be done before Dauntless moves from her winter home in Vallejo. My goal will be to complete one a day, so that by next weekend, I’ll be ready to move my little Kadey Krogen from under the marina roof to an open slip, so that I can raise the mast and complete the rigging.
I am planning on being ready to leave Vallejo and start heading north the last week in May. Of course, the departure date will be set by the winds. I don’t mind bad weather per se, as along as the winds are from a favorable direction. That direction will be any winds with a southerly component. I’d rather have 30 knots from the south versus 10 knots from the north.
Despite my accomplishments this past year, another 2500 miles behind me, the Golden Gate in front of me, the Baja bash, Panama Canal, the Atlantic Ocean, behind me, I wonder if I did not make some big mistake.
For not the first time, I wondered about my sudden decision to flee northern Europe two years ago. I loved northern Europe. I loved Ireland. I loved the peoples and the cultures.
I lived for 4 years in Germany and still visit relatively often. The Germans certainly have some interesting attributes. Some of which I even like a lot.
In 2015, I was reminded just like 30 years ago, the different personalities the Germans are along the north coast. These are the people who have known “Auslander”, (from an outside land), for thousands of years. They are not the Germans of the much more insular interior, one meets south of Hamburg down to the Alps.
I dwell on this because stupid Google, out of the blue the other day, sends me my pictures of years ago and says, “don’t you want to post these?”
It reminded me yet again of how great the cruising was along the north coast of Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic and North Seas. The cruising is the best I’ve yet encountered, with thousands of miles of protected skärgärd cruising. With the wind blowing 20+ knots, 100 meters away, you are cruising or anchored with nary a ripple of waves.
All the peoples who inhabit the environs along the coast are sea faring folk. Much like the Celtic culture along the west coast of Europe, from Galicia in NW Spain to Scotland, The North Sea and particularly the Baltic had the Hanseatic League. From Hamburg to Tallinn, they controlled trade and influenced culture from Germany to Russia.
This seafaring culture manifests itself in boat friendly, stranger friendly ways. No matter how small the port, or how many boats are already there, they will find room for you. In the more formal marinas, like Tallinn and Cuxhaven, the American flag was being put up on the yardarm of the marina even as I checked-in. And even check-in itself was a 5-minute process, with reasonable rates, about $0.25 per foot in Holland to $1.00 per foot in Helsinki. Overall average for marina overnights ended up being less than $0.50 a foot for my 4 months in the Baltic and North Seas.
All these experiences were exactly the opposite in southern Europe, by the way. 30-minute check-ins, filing out endless forms, each time, $1.00 per foot was best price and it went up to $2.00.
I was also reminded with much regret that the $1,000 ten-day stay I had at Cabo San Lucas was the same cost of one year! in Waterford, Ireland. Sure, Waterford could not boast like Cabo of having only 7 days a year with rain, but I am sure they can boast that they have at least 7 days a year with sun.
So, all these fond memories really made me question my decision of leaving Europe in 2016. Stupid Google also reminded me of my great trip to Galicia to scope out a winter home for Dauntless the following year. Food, people and marina in A Coruna were fantastic. I could stay there for $500 per month year around. Had I stayed another year as planned, I would still have some options. I could return to the Baltic the following summer or just stay in Northern Spain and Western France. I would have also saved so much money.
Oh Regrets. What would life be without them?
Probably a hell of a lot better!
I acknowledge that 2016 was a traumatic year for me. I often wonder if unexpected life changes led me to make some hasty, irrevocable decisions? It certainly seems so to me when I think and think and think about it.
It would have been just as easy to fly between Ireland or Spain and Vietnam. I picture myself escaping the heat a humidity of Vietnam for the damp coolness of Atlantic Europe.
One key factor drove my decision to leave for the Pacific, the availability of crew. My Hawaiian nephew wanted to take a year off from school before he went to law school. He thought exploring Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean via Dauntless would be ideal. He spent almost a year with Dauntless and I.
He was indispensable. Not only as a great, hardworking, vigilant crew mate, but also as a smart, interesting companion for the boring passage between Europe and the Panama Canal. I couldn’t have come that distance without him.
Dauntless is in Vallejo, California now. I’ll return to her next week for a month of getting her in ship shape. Next spring, I’ll return and weather permitting get her up to the Pacific Northwest by June, then British Columbia and Southeast Alaska for the summer.
Ending up in one of the wonderful, little towns of Southeast Alaska. Which one, will depend on several factors, Dauntless taking second stage for now.
By next year at this time, my life will take another turn, as I gain both a First and Second Mate on Dauntless. We’ll end up staying in Southeast Alaska only a little longer than originally planned. Visa requirements for my wife-to-be and her son require us to live in the United States, so SE AK is the perfect place to settle down for a while and catch a few fish and enjoy the fantastic scenery and wildlife.
What would have happened had Dauntless still been in Europe now? I would truly have a mess on my hands. Instead of struggling with a 2500 trip, I would be looking at 10,000+ miles. Eek!!
Everything happens for a reason. Two years ago, I had no idea I’d fall in love with the love of my life, yet again (ok, I’ve had a lot of lives). Or that she would be in Vietnam or that I’d spend all my free time with her in Vietnam. Or that SE Alaska, then so far away, now so close, would be the perfect place for a variety or reasons.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
Having gotten my toothache taken care of by having a root canal the first evening I was back in Huatulco, I was finally felling pretty good. The previous 5 days were a whirlwind of: pain, getting things done in NY, flying to southern Mexico and getting back to Dauntless after 8 months.
All winter I’d been watching the weather and winds off the west coast of Mexico and California. Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and his updated Pilot Charts of the Pacific had made it clear that I would have a slog ahead, commonly known as the Baja Bash. 2,000 miles of going northwest into predominantly northwest winds of anywhere from 5 to 30 knots.
As mush as I love my Kadey Krogen, it has gotten me safe and sound through so much; I hate head seas.
But I had a plan. A pretty good one I thought. It was clear from the above references that I would have at best 25% of the time favorable winds. For every one day of good winds, I’d have three days of head winds. But as we all know, weather works in averages. I couldn’t exactly count on moving one day and then resting the next three. I could just as eiasily see 7 favorable days and a month of head winds.
Over the winter I had planned for slogging up the coast. Getting back to Dauntless the last week in April. I would spend May getting her a bit more ready. Fixing, replacing somethings that needed it and completing some projects stared long ago, but never completed as we cruised from Ireland to the Pacific Ocean in a little less than a year’s time.
This plan would have me leaving Huatulco in June as hurricane season started.
The dominate weather pattern is only disrupted by the tropical cyclone pattern of tropical depressions growing to storms and possible hurricanes. Their anti-clockwise wind pattern disrupts the dominant high-pressure system causing the NW winds off the coast. I could have days and days of winds with some southerly component.
The only downside of this plan was that should the strengthening tropical depression or storm head northeastward towards the coast, I’d have to have my hurricane holes laid out. Also, single handing on this coast is difficult, as places to stop because of weather are few and far between. For example, there is no safe hurricane hole between Huatulco and Acapulco, 250 nm or two full days away.
In the previous months, I’d also sort of put it out there that I was looking for crew. With crew and a longer weather window, we could get up the coast in some large chunks. Maybe even get to Ensenada in a 10-day passage. That would be so wonderful.
In March, I had gotten an email from Brian, who was volunteering himself and another friend, Mark, to help me get Dauntless north. The only caveat was, their free time was in early to mid- May.
I was very happy. I had not thought it wise to do this coast alone. Coastal cruising is totally different than crossing oceans. In the middle of the ocean there are no fishing boats, pangas or other stupid stuff. The large freighters you may occasionally see use AIS and keep their distance (once I upgraded to an AIS transceiver in 2014).
The only downside was the weather. In May, the winds are steady and strong from the NW. No tropical disturbances to disturb that pattern. During the entire spring the Pacific high that generates the strong easterly trade winds over Hawaii and been doing its job too well. I seldom saw weather windows of more than a couple of days and the 25% favorable time was more like 10%.
I’d also be a bit rushed to get Dauntless in the water. But I was less concerned about this, as she came out of the water with just a minor transmission leak, that had grown progressively worse over the pervious 2,000 miles. So, I decided to have the boat yard in Huatulco fix the leak. This turned out to be a $1,000 mistake. With my time frame of having to leave now to best make use of my available crew, it left no time for the yard to correct what they didn’t fix.
More and more I realize that I need to do virtually everything myself on Dauntless. I hate paying someone for a half ass job, when I know that I can just as easily to my own half assed job for free!
I also felt time pressure because Brian had crewed with me on Dauntless two years ago from Ireland to Scotland and he had had to wait several days for the boat yard in New Ross to get everything done. I didn’t want to make him wait again. And yes, I know not to let a schedule dictate actions, but no matter what, I, as skipper feel and am responsible.
The only things that had been done was the transmission seals and I had removed all the heat exchangers, as one had a pinhole leak and I wanted them all, including my spares, checked and tested.
We ended up splashing the boat right on schedule, a couple days before Brian showed up. This whole sequence left a lot to be desired on my part.
My original plan was to do a little test run of an hour to make sure all systems were Go. But once they put Dauntless in the water, the winds were strong, against the marina, in fact, the port may have been closed, but in any case, with such winds, I wanted to only tie up once, not twice. As it was I had a hard-enough time getting the boat into her slip and at one point was 90° off. I had to rig a spring line around the piling that we were pressed against and use that to turn the boat to face the slip.
No, a test run was out. I felt lucky that I got Dauntless into the slip without damage. I didn’t want to press my luck. In hindsight, this was not the best decision, but it seemed so under the current circumstances.
Once in the slip, with the engine room bilge pump alarm was going off continuously, I was reminded that I should have checked the stuffing box while still on the dolly. Water was pouring into the boat.
After the initial cursing myself for not checking before, I realized the bilge pump was keeping up, barely.
I got my chain wrench and locking pliers and within a few minutes (unlike previous times), the nut was unlocked, and I could tighten the shaft nut my hand until most of the water stopped.
So, after the two-week (for me) Tet Holiday, life is returning to normal. I was in the “country”. It wasn’t that conducive to writing blogs.
But I ate so well and the people are so incredible nice, former VC or not! It was both overwhelming and amazing, but this is a story for another time.
I think I finally have a plan to get Dauntless up the west coast, that I am comfortable with. Sometimes it seems like the plan comes together immediately, sometimes it takes a lot of time. The reality is that every plan takes a long time to gestate. Plans seem to come together immediately only when I’ve been thinking about them forever before putting pen to paper. However, in this case, I feel like I’ve been writing continuous plans since September, just to move Dauntless the 2200 miles to southern California.
2018 Option C
Hours in transit
Caleta de Campos
Cabeza Negra N
Mazatlan or Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas 312
Cabo San Lucas 312
Turtle Bay 320
Baja Calif Ensenada 340
S.B. Channel Islands (SD +50) 310
SF Bay 333
This assumes that the winds and seas are favorable only 25% of the time. E.g. it requires 74 hours (3 days) from Manzanillo to Mazatlan, so I allocate at least 12 days to get there. Now, we understand that those 25% of times of favorable winds could take place in almost any combination. One day in four is the least likely, due to the nature of the synoptic weather pattern needed to disrupt the usual northwesterly winds. It’s more likely to be in chunks of 4 days out of 3 weeks or 6 days out of 5 weeks.
This means that I must have something I am not known for, patience. Even the word makes me cringe.
And even if I have a planned stop in XXX, as long as the winds stay nice, I need to keep moving north.
The intermediate places like Acapulco, etc. are possible stops if the weather turns unfavorable or whatever.
First goal is to get Dauntless to Baja California, preferably Cabo San Lucas or perhaps Ensenada, by mid-June. The fallback plan is to get at least to Mazatlán. I have a wedding in Salt Lake City June 23rd that I’d really want to attend, however getting Dauntless north safely has to be my primary goal.
Once there, I’ll leave Dauntless for the two months in summer.
I need to re-arrange my affairs a bit and see some friends, so I’ll travel to Alaska, Seattle, San Francisco and Texas.
I also need to scout some possible locations in California for Dauntless for the winter 2018-2019. Cost and security are the primary considerations. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please email me directly. I’d appreciate the input.
I’ll then return to Vietnam for two months. I’ve accepted the fact that Trinh will not have a visa for anyplace this coming summer, so I’ll be working on 2019.
Retuning in September, I’ll spend 6 weeks getting her (Dauntless, not Trinh) to her winter haven in California.
This plan offers me safety in that I like traveling a bit off shore (as opposed to near coastal) and making the 2500 nm trip into chunks of miles and time that are doable, even if I have to do some parts alone.
I’d prefer to have some crew/help, 2 people, a couple, would be ideal, 1 or 3 would be good.
Just when I thought I had the Plan, I read a story about drug driven crime spreading to the west coast of Mexico. Manzanillo, one of my planed stops, was prominently mentioned.
Where does that leave me? Besides the obvious, afraid!
Last summer I had a detailed plan to cruise up the coast of Mexico, stopping every night, hitting all the nice spots, with only a couple overnight passages. Let’s call that plan, the Coastal Cruise Plan. This is essentially what we had done 3 years ago in the Baltic. I had even spent the last month alone, cruising from Stockholm all the way back to Ireland.
Last year, I had my nephew, Micah, with me from Ireland to Costa Rica. It’s no coincidence that when he left Dauntless in March to go to law school, I lost a lot of my ambition to continue north alone. Cruising alone for me is not fun. It’s what I do when I need to get from A to B or as I did from Stockholm to Waterford.
I am hoping that this coming summer, my girlfriend Trinh and her son, Thien, will have visas for Mexico. This is something that I must initiate this April when I return to Huatulco. If that is possible, they, with other friends who have expressed interest in joining Dauntless this summer, would make the Coastal Plan at least feasible. We would enjoy the numerous stops and towns along the coast, plus many eyes make for less stressful cruising.
A visa for the U.S. is another story and it takes forever. I’m hoping for 2019.
The Pacific coast of Mexico is not the Baltic and North Sea. The weather is not necessarily worse, but the predominant winds are from the northwest, the direction Dauntless must go. Adding to that problem, there are numerous fishing boats and nets and other boat traffic near the coast, whereas in the Baltic, there was none of that.
Lastly, safe harbors (protected from weather) on the Pacific coast of Mexico are few and far apart. North from Huatulco to Manzanillo, a distance of almost 600 miles, there are only two safe harbors. In a normal (for me) coastal cruise of 40 to 60 miles per day (6 to 9 hours), that’s 8 out of 10 nights anchored or in some port, at the mercy of the weather.
That’s a no-go.
For those of you who have read my precious comments about weather forecasts, you will know that even in the best circumstances, I don’t trust weather forecasts past three days and even at that I assume they are 50% off. That means, if the forecast is for winds from 270° at 12 knots, I plan for winds 240° to 300° at 8 to 16 knots (50% and 150% of forecast).
Therefore, to cruise an unprotected coast in any but the mildest of conditions is perilous.
I needed a plan B. The Near Coastal Plan.
In this plan, we will take what the weather gives us. If we get four good days (favorable winds and seas) we’ll cruise until the weather becomes unfavorable. This potentially means we would take chunks of distance, 3 days, 24/7 is 450 nm. Making the entire trip into 4 chunks of 500 miles each, would get the job done and reduce time spent too close to the coast.
It would be far less fun however, but probably safer in many ways and less stressful.
Then came plan C, the Ocean Plan.
But first we talk to talk about hurricanes.
Hurricane season runs from June through October, with the highest frequency, mid-July to mid-September.
I can see an advantage in avoiding the high summer. Looking at the Windyty depiction of the surface winds over the eastern Pacific today, you can see the big ass high pressure system that keeps the easterly trade winds over Hawaii (far left of picture) as well as the northwest winds over the west coast of California and Mexico. Now, one of the disruptors of these winds are hurricanes. The circulation pattern around hurricanes is far smaller than this massive high-pressure system, but a Pacific Ocean hurricane a few hundred west of Mexico, would cause southerly winds off the Mexican coast.
If it moved slowly north, maybe I could tag along??
It all depends on the situation and I’d have to figure out my escape routes, but it’s something for me to think about and plan for. It’s also significant that eastern Pacific hurricanes are weaker than Atlantic ones, with wind patterns not much stronger (if at all) than Northern Atlantic low-pressure systems in August and September (and I’ve certainly had my fun with those!).
Then the Ocean Route would entail an end around, running almost west, then curving slowly northwestward and finally northward, ending up east of Ensenada or southern California. With little winds, it would be an easy 10 to 12-day voyage, just like I did alone from the Azores to Ireland. I’d only do this though if I saw the possibility of an extended time of light winds.
Also, time of year matters in my decision making. In the scenario just mentioned above, In May or June, I’d have plenty of time to wait or make it happen. I may have different options later in the summer.
In September 2015, while waiting in Norway to cross the North Sea (I anticipated a 72-hour crossing), my weather windows were getting smaller and smaller. September is simply too late to be doing such a trip. But Sweden was so nice!
There had been strong northerly winds 25+ winds and driving rain, for days. I waited and waited. Finally, I saw a high-pressure ridge building into the North Sea from the English Channel, but this ridge of high pressure was also moving eastward. But it only gave me a two-day window for a three-day trip.
I had to take it. It meant that I left my little port of Egersund, Norway, with 35+ knot winds from the NNW and rain. If you look at my route I took to Fraserburgh Bay, Scotland, those strong winds caused that dip in my route. Even with the paravane stabilizers, it’s just easier on the boat to put the winds and resultant seas on the starboard stern quarter. After 24 hours, as the winds died, I was able to head more westerly and on the third day, to the northwest. But that little longer route also added 12 hours to the trip and the next frontal system was right on, so my last 8 hours were in the weather again.
Would a longer, better weather window has come eventually? Sure. In the winter, under very cold air and high pressure. I couldn’t wait that long.
When we decided to cruise the world or at least get away from the coast, we knew we wanted, needed a boat that that could all that and more. All the readings I did about boats and people cruising in boats all over the world, led me to Kadey Krogen.
Our little 42-foot boat was well built, extremely well designed for the worst of the worst and affordable.
Having Dauntless under my feet gives me confidence that she can handle any stupid situation I put her in.
With my new USCG Document clutched in my sweaty hand, Dauntless and I will get underway in July.
It will be three months of moving north to winter in northern Mexico. So, the trip that started in Ireland a year ago will come to a close this fall.
But I also find myself alone for the first time in a long time. Being on the ocean, cruising alone is not so bad, boring more than anything.
Coastal cruising, what we’ll be doing for the next couple years, is much more stressful. People, rocks and fishing nets are all close to shore and give you the opportunity to get into trouble.
Therefore, another set of eyes or a couple of sets becomes very helpful.
I have people coming in September and probably late August, so for now, I am looking for a couple or single(s) who would like to spend some time on Dauntless as we cruise north in Costa Rica and then the three-day passage to Mexico.
This will be a good opportunity to experience some coastal and an off-shore cruising. Email me if you think you may be interested and we can talk about more specifics.
I’m having a wonderful time in Vietnam. The longer I am here, the more comfortable I’ve become. Having a motorbike and not having killed myself yet, is a bigger accomplishment than crossing the Atlantic, twice.
But I am missing D so much too. I want to be back on the water. I promise to never complain how hot it is anymore. Even if my eyeballs are baking, I’ll repeat the desert southwest mantra, It’s a dry heat.
So, when I get back in early July, with my new Coast Guard Document clutched in my sweaty little hand, it will be all hands-on deck to get moving north.
All two, hands that is.
Having Micah on board for so many months, clearly spoiled me. I don’t even remember that person who crossed a third of the Atlantic alone. I haven’t been alone since the Stockholm to Waterford run of September 2015. That was eons ago.
The table below is my tentative cruising program. So, for example, it shows I’ll spend about three weeks in Costa Rica, with the last stop around Santa Elena before heading to Mexico.
I’ve made the difficult decision to bypass Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras. El Salvador ends up being a casualty, in that it’s too hard to stop there and avoid the other places. Some of my friends say I’m being ridiculous and too much of a gringo frady cat, but, I am a gringo frady cat.
I know and understand the ocean; people are harder.
I use sites like No onsite and Active Captain, to point out problem areas and then I avoid them. No matter how beautiful a place is, it’s simply not worth it for me, if I have to worry about the safety of my friends & crew, me for the boat.
Here is what the trip looks like so far. The stops listed are the primary overnight or multiple day stops, with there being no overnights except for those with the “P” in the second column. Other than the initial Santa Elena to Mexico, all the others are open to stopping:
Because of my delay in getting back, I am a bit more pressed for time than I would have liked, but it’s still a third less than I’ve done in the past.
I have friends joining me from mid-August until the end of September (I think J).
My July people are not answering my calls. Ummm, I think I need to find replacements.
Some people cruise to escape the responsibilities they face on land.
Most people cruise to enjoy nature and experience new sights, people, foods and cultures.
I cruise to solve problems.
In the past week, I have had a number of discussions with friends and fellow cruisers. Many ask, Richard, you are in a place, the eastern Caribbean, that most boaters would love to be. Why not stay longer; stop and smell the roses?
I ponder a bit, questioning in my mind why, what is so obvious to most, eludes me. Am I deficient? I know I am not stupid, but why do I push myself so?
Truth be told, I could go from island to island, bbq on the boat most days, eat out others, drink a few glasses of wine, maintain Dauntless, myself and the love of my life in the manner I’ve been accustomed to, even travel to Asia, Europe and the USA every year and never run of money.
I tell them I have a plan. Plans can be changed they respond. Yes, I think, I change plans all the time. But I always have a plan. When I do things without a plan, bad things happen.
No, nothing gets done without a plan. And yes, even crossing the Atlantic was being planned before we even found our little Krogen 42. It was being planned before I even knew Kadey Krogen’s existed. It’s what I thought about before drifting off to sleep on most nights.
So, the idea of having no plan, just going with the flow, is simply a life I cannot imagine. It would be easier for me to imagine living on Jupiter, the planet, not the city.
So, when I’m asked why not just do this the easy way? I have no problem answering, because it’s not in the plan.
There is one big caveat. I love sharing the joys of life, food, drink, laughs, experiences, with friends and loved ones. Not having a mate, a partner to share these experiences with this past year has put a damper on the cruising. If I had a mate who absolutely wanted to be in such in such place for a long time; I’d make it happen. Then I would modify the plan, but until than…
Now one of my really smart friends, knowing my answer, suggested why not do a boat trade. Surely there is someone in Alaska who would trade places with you. Let them live on your boat and you live on theirs’s in Alaska since that is your intended destination for this coming summer and next winter.
Now that has me stumped momentarily. But then, like a light bulb turning on, I understood the issue.
If my goal was just Alaska, then staying in the Caribbean for another year would be doable. Even trading boats or leaving Dauntless here for a year would be doable.
But from the beginning of the boat idea. From before the first Atlantic crossing, there was a plan, a goal and destination and everything that came before was a step towards that destination: S. Korea & Japan.
So, I cross oceans to get to the other side. I also do it because it is the ultimate problem solving puzzle. No phone, no help, it’s having a good plan and then adjusting the plan as need be.
It’s having to make do with what you have a not what you want.
It’s having to solve problems.
Throughout my life, in every endeavor I was involved with, I strived to make the system better ev, oftentimes to the detriment of my life or career. In hindsight, I should have done some things more delicately, but I don’t have any regrets. You fight the good fight or you may as well be the cow in the field eating grass.
So even as careers change and jobs end, I am still a problem solver. Cruising gives me the opportunity to solve problems. The best part is that they are problems of my own making.
I make mistakes and curse myself once in a while. I take a 1 hour job and make into a day or two, but at least I am cleaning up my own mess.
When that next destination comes into view, I pat myself on the back and say, Well done pig, well done.
The table below has our tentative cruising plan for the next four months. While the dates are somewhat tentative, you know me, I like sticking to the plan.
A few explanations about the below chart:
The tentative arrival date is just that, but the departure date from the previous port can be derived from the required days (4th column) minus the arrival date. E.g. Departure date from GIB (Gibraltar) is 1 day before arrival at Rabat, so the 7th of November.
2nd Column, Type, “C” = Coastal cruising, “P” = Passage, i.e. No Stops.
Crew consists om my Hawaiian nephew Micah who has travelled with Dauntless since Ireland and is a very flexible soul and I.
We have others joining us for various legs, though at this time, it looks like I still would like to have a couple or one person for the passage from the Canaries to the Caribbean. If you think you have some interest in this, please email me, sooner rather than later.
I am excited about getting this new phase underway. So much of my time, my life, my adventures have been in Europe. I’m ready for a big change. It will take a year to get to Alaska and another year to get to Northeast Asia.
Dauntless is as ready as she has ever been. Unlike coming east two years ago, all is ship shape. Spare parts are stowed and organized, fuel tank vents are moved, paravanes are rigged to run more effectively and can be easily run much deeper if need be and the two air conditioning units are even working.
Here are the current winds for the mid-Atlantic. To get an approximate idea of the Dauntless’ route, visualize a line from the bottom of Spain to NE South America. Following winds or no winds. the se are the “Trade Winds” and are pretty constant all winter.