The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.

Our favorite sailing quote:

"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Made it to Cayo Vivorillo, April 9

We made it to Honduras!

We are currently anchored snuggly behind a reef, next to small island that is the only other thing in the sea for as far as we can see. We sailed two nights under a full moon to get here and it feels so good to be on solid ground. For our first 24 hours we were still beating to weather, but fortunately we had an almost two knot current with us, so although it was hard, it was fast and we were all comforted by the fact that we would get to our destination quickly. By now the kids have become immune to getting seasick and they find their favorite places to hang out. Into our second day we rounded a reef and were able to angle about 45 degrees more to the west and our beating to weather became a run off the stern quarter and that made all the difference in the world. It was smooth and dare I say, enjoyable. The first time I've said that since we've entered the Atlantic.

When the sailing is comfortable so many other things can be appreciated. Before the moon rises the stars are brilliant and looking for shooting stars has become one of Ana's favorite things to do when her brothers start to drift off to sleep. She stays awake with the person on watch and it becomes her special time. She chats up a storm and I think she really enjoys that quiet time when everyone else is asleep. She can recognize a few of the constellations and last night noticed that the southern cross was very low on the horizon. We are officially leaving the Southern skies when we can no longer see that iconic constellation.

We sailed through several squalls, something we didn't experience in the Pacific. The clear skies almost immediately become dark, the winds pick up and within a few minutes the skies open and all of a sudden we are racing through a small storm. But almost as soon as it starts it ends and things calm back down. We have had the most consistent winds here in the Caribbean, about 15 knots from the East for the last 9 days. It is so different from the West Coast with its light variable winds that change directions with the warming of the land and often the non existent winds that we experienced for most of our run down Mexico and Central America. Last night we had the first squall that actually sucked all the wind away. We were sailing with the normal winds, a squall hit us, we got drenched, we had 10 minutes of racing along at 8 or 9 knots, trying to reef our sails as quickly as possible, and then all of a sudden it was still. The wind completely dropped off and it was a very eerie calm. Even when there is nothing else out here, the ocean never fails to show us how dramatic it can be.

We spent the day exploring the isolated small island, only a couple of hundred meters long, swimming and snorkeling and we ended the night with a huge bonfire on the beach. There is not another boat for miles and miles, and the low lying island barely rises above the horizon. It feels like we are anchored on the edge of the earth with the waves breaking on the reef to protects us. On the other side of the reef are large rollers, but we are nestled only 100 meters away in relatively calm water.

Tomorrow we will make the 150 mile run to the more populated Bay Islands of Honduras. We look forward to some diving and lots of snorkeling. The water here in the Atlantic is amazingly clear and we are loving it!

Vivorillo Reef

Heading to Colombia, April 6, 2015

We had a fantastic short stay in the Chagres River, but boy did we pay for that with our next crossing. There are times when I wonder why there aren't more people doing what we are doing, and then we have a hard day and I realize that most everyone is much smarter than us! The canal zone to San Andres, a Colombian island off the Nicaraguan coast, kicked our butts! I think we all agreed, by mutual decision, to sell the boat at the next port during that short trip. Never was it dangerous, I've mentioned, our boat loves sailing to weather, but it is so hard on the crew. For about 36 hours we lived at a 30 degree slant, which wouldn't have been too bad if we weren't pitching forward and back as well. No one read, no one watched a movie, we just hunkered down in the most comfortable place we could find and held on. But, hard passages are like childbirth, and it is amazing how a tropical island, like a cute little baby, can make you forget all the "discomfort" you so recently experienced. We arrived near the small Colombian island at about 2am. We had a nice moon, but we decided to anchor outside of the channel and wait until morning to enter the reef strewn harbor. We awoke to the most amazing shades of blue in water color. I could throw out a hundred adjectives and still not capture how the water looked; scintillating, brilliant, dazzling, shimmering, a cobalt blue in the deeper water, surrounded by a lighter emerald shade in the shallows. As beautiful as it looked, it was also somewhat ominous as we looked around and counted 4 or 5 wrecks in sight.

San Andres was our second choice, we were trying to reach Providencia, 40 miles to the Northeast. Unfortunately the wind kept coming from just that direction and we ended up in San Andres, described as the busier big sister to Providencia. The latter sounded so much more tranquil and our speed, but surprisingly, we really loved San Andres. It is a bustling little island community that has kept its charm, while welcoming thousands of tourists. San Andres is Colombia's version of Hawaii for us West Coasters (although definitely on a smaller scale). The hotels are small beach front hotels, the restaurants are all locally owned and the town seems to run normally despite the tourists. There were few souvenir shops, locals were friendly and the marina was something out of Captain Ron's Adventures. I wouldn't call it quaint, but it was practical and we enjoyed it. We rented the oldest golf cart on the island, grannies were passing us by on their mopeds, the parking brake was stripped so we carried several large rocks to brake the tires and there wasn't a functional horn, light or turn signal on the cart. That said, we had a blast. There were some off road cars that you could rent for 4 times what we paid and we joked that ours wasn't even an "on" road car, but we will have some incredible memories of touring the island in the Fred Flintstone mobile. We packed our snorkeling gear in and stopped everywhere that looked like good water. We stopped for a beer at a Rastafarian bar (yes, we looked whiter than usual, but it was such a relaxed atmosphere) on the side of the road and relaxed while the kids played in the shallow surf and sand. I asked Michael if he knew much about the whole Rastafarian culture (my knowledge doesn't go beyond dreadlocks and Bob Marley), and not surprisingly he knew the origins, along with the entire history. Without going into the details, there is a connection between Jamaica, the focal point for Rastafarianism in the new world, and these Colombian islands. San Andres is an old British possession, but the English brought slaves with them from Jamaica. Today descendants of the latter group comprise most of the inhabitants of San Andres. Most locals speak English, Creole and Spanish, although they no longer teach English in the schools and the smaller kids don't speak it at all. While I have not been to Jamaica, it definitely had a Jamaican vibe and I don?t think the kids knuckle bumped more people in their lives. There is something wonderful about visiting an area with a culture this is extremely relaxed and accepting. It may have something to do withe pervasive marajana smoked, but it was a fun, safe place to visit and we love it!

On the way out of the country and after we officially checked out, we anchored at a small island just out of the main channel. We had hoped to spend the night, spend Easter morning and all its festivities (someone forgot the plastic eggs and so we left anything round we could find on the boat for the bunny to hide; golf balls, ornaments, limes, etc), we were also going to explore a few wrecks and go diving before we headed out in the late evening for Honduras. The boys were begging to explore a tanker that had been stuck on a reef about a mile out and had been for about 10 years. They motored over and Mike climbed up the side to see how safe it was. As he was hurrying across the deck to tell the boys it didn't look too safe, he fell through the rusted out deck. Fortunately, only to his thigh, but he did get several nasty gashes. One on his shin was particularly deep, almost to the bone, and we brought him to the hospital. A dozen stitches later, a prescription for antibiotics and the deal of a century at $70, we left the emergency room committing to stay for another day or so to make sure his leg didn't get infected. Our first trip casualty, and we felt pretty fortunate to be close to a hospital, although I secretly wanted to dig out my skin stapling set or suture set. He looks to be healing well and we plan to set sail tonight towards Honduras, 200 nm away.