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






Friday, September 30, 2016

itching to go....Bonaire or bust! September 30th

After a month in Grenada we have become soft. We've forgotten how the sea should dictates your movement out here and how there is no such thing as planning. Mike reminds me that the most dangerous item on a cruising boat is a calendar, and while I know he is right, I am now the one itching to move. The storm has passed and from our little protected bay I want to get out there and start making some progress towards our destination (Trinidad was a detour). Matthew was a fairly mild storm as it passed about 150 miles north of us, but it is expected to only intensify. Two days past us it is a Category 2 storm and there is currently 90 knots of wind north of the eye with 30 foot seas and only getting bigger and stronger. The question is, how long will it take for those seas to dissipate? We will be following in the wake of the storm, but how much wake is tolerable? Turns out I am not very good at waiting and being patient!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waiting out tropical storm Matthew, September 29

The weather is predicted to be mild where we are currently holed up. We've set the boat with an anchor and then tied ourselves into the mangroves with two large lines. The wind is not expected to get very strong here, so it is probably overkill. In the meantime there is lots of rain. We've opened our deck hatches and we have endless water. There are another dozen boats here that have also sailed down from Grenada and the kids boats are having fun. Serendipitously we tied the boat up next to a rope swing, so the kids are waiting out the storm, practicing their Tarzan swings into the water.
Today we celebrate 3rd birthday afloat. On his wish list was a battery charger for his underwater camera, a new band for his spear gun and an underwater watch that records dive times and depths. I guess this life suits him!

Now it is a waiting game to see if the seas will settle before we head to Bonaire.

We get weather information, but nothing on the news, so hopefully Matthew doesn't do too much damage up the island chain.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Night watch, September 27

Once again, I have the night to myself. We are sailing to Trinidad, avoiding the tropical storm that has been predicted to hit just north of Grenada. There are currently two other sail boats sailing within a mile of us and another 10 or so that are somewhere beyond the horizon. We are running south with a our small fleet, attempting to be as cautious as possible. Trinidad is out of our way by about 80 miles, but hopefully we can head toward Bonaire at the end of the week and the detour will only add another 20 miles. 4 days and 100 miles in total, not a huge price to pay for a little extra added safety.
The phosphorescence is amazing tonight, the glowing, cresting white caps look like ships in the night and I feel as if I'm amongst a flotilla. The moon is almost nonexistent, but the stars are glorious. After a month at anchor with island lights and noise it is a welcome homecoming to be back at sea. Our little home makes steady progress towards our destination, the kids are all nestled safely in the aft cabin and all is well aboard Pelagic.

Night watch, September 27

Once again, I have the night to myself. We are sailing to Trinidad, avoiding the tropical storm that has been predicted to hit just north of Grenada. There are currently two other sail boats sailing within a mile of us and another 10 or so that are somewhere beyond the horizon. We are running south with a our small fleet, attempting to be as cautious as possible. Trinidad is out of our way by about 80 miles, but hopefully we can head toward Bonaire at the end of the week and the detour will only add another 20 miles. 4 days and 100 miles in total, not a huge price to pay for a little extra added safety.
The phosphorescence is amazing tonight, the glowing, cresting white caps look like ships in the night and I feel as if I'm amongst a flotilla. The moon is almost nonexistent, but the stars are glorious. After a month at anchor with island lights and noise it is a welcome homecoming to be back at sea. Our little home makes steady progress towards our destination, the kids are all nestled safely in the aft cabin and all is well aboard Pelagic.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sailing 101, again! Weather routing. September 24



Porters Anniversary gift to us.  He knows Mike and I are fruit bats and he asked a local if he could pick star fruit off one of their trees.  

Just a slight incline to this hash course!

Hashers



Zander reminds us daily, that when we pass the one month mark in any given anchorage, we are no longer “cruisers”, but liveaboards!  While we have not renewed our cruising permit (we have a 30 day permit), we are coming up on one month in Grenada.  We had plans to leave Grenada on Monday (tomorrow).  I say plans, past tense, because we have gotten so used to the constant easterly winds we expected that they would continue through the week without thinking too much about weather routing. Silly hurricanes have a way of disrupting that regular pattern!  There is a pressure wave that was just generated off of Cape Verde that some weather routers are predicting will develop into a big storm and blow fairly close to us.  At the moment we are not worried about our relatively safe hurricane hole here in Grenada, but we aren’t sure we want to be out at sea experiencing the waves a severe storm to the north can produce.  Additionally, a large storm would cause the wind to back and our constant Easterlies would become contrary winds, not a sailors dream.  We will keep an eye on the weather and have the boat ready, in the event that we feel the need to run south to Trinidad, or quite possibly the storm will track further north than currently predicted and we can leave as planned.  Either way, we are back to sailing 101, where plans are written in sand at the high water mark, and you simply have to wait until the weather cooperates.


On a more personal note, Michael and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary today.  I bicker, whinge and moan on a regular basis, but I am truly grateful I was on the Discoverer 18 years ago, sailing between Tahiti and Easter Island, and able to meet this crazy man that has so immensely changed my life for the better.  There is nothing like cramming yourselves and three others on a 42 foot boat and sailing around the world to test your patience, resolve and affection.  We test the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” philosophy on a daily basis, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am a lucky gal!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Crossroads, September 18



We find ourselves at another crossroads, deciding how best to get home.  We have two options.  Option number 1 is to head towards the canal for an early November transit.  From there we would retrace our steps north past central America and Mexico and eventually into Southern California.  Unfortunately a large portion of this 5K mile route is against the predominant winds, so we would be waiting for weather windows and motoring quite a bit.  On the positive side, we loved cruising Mexico and we can revisit some favorite spots and hopefully find some new ones. Option 2 lets us spend a little more time in the Caribbean and transit the canal in December.  From the canal we could visit the Galapagos and sail to the Marquesas and Tuamotus before sailing north to Hawaii and then on to the Pacific Northwest.  It is probably the best sailing route home, although it is 8K miles of mostly blue water sailing.  Due to the sailing season it would mean getting the boat back a few months later and the little kids and I flying home from either Tahiti or Hawaii. This option leaves Mike and Zander to sail alone at least one of the last big passages. Cons include big sea miles in open ocean and separating the family. Pros include visiting arguably some of the best cruising grounds in the world.  The French Society Island will always be on our bucket list, but you never know if we will get back out here.  What to do?


Mini Olympics on the beach, September 15

master of ceremonies organizing his crew

Porter organized a mini Olympics yesterday on the beach.  This was to check off a public speaking skill on his homeschooling list. He put quite a bit of time into it and I think a good time was had by all. Events included climbing palm trees, breath holding (free diving skills) and the obligatory running and swimming events.  


Breath holding

triathlon




the crew



Monday, September 12, 2016

Still in Grenada, September 11






We are still in Grenada, starting to plan our way west, but not doing it with any rapid speed.  The kids are really enjoying their time here, socializing with someone other than a parental unit.  Porter and Ana have no shortage of kids their ages to hang out with, but Zander is finally finding some like minded teenagers.  Beyond just hanging out, he has been sailing almost every day and several times has been invited to go diving for lobsters.  He loves the free diving aspect, although he hasn't actually perfected the "catching" of the lobsters yet! We are currently tied up in a marina and we are justifying it by having a few more tasks to do on the boat.  Mike is doing some work on the wind vane that hangs off our stern and it is certainly easier to work on, on the dock.  Zander and I switched out the anchor chain.  We have 300 feet of anchor chain and the half that is usually in the water is starting to get rusty.  Chains can be re-galvanized, but we haven't found a place to do it.  Maybe Columbia.  In the meantime, since the 150 feet we rarely use is in almost perfect condition, Z and I pulled the whole thing out on the dock, switched it up and labeled  the chain in increments of 30 feet.   Mike has also been working on our solar panels since they have been working only intermitantly. Mostly though, we are enjoying the pool, the access to Hobie cats, the wifi on the boat, as well the camaraderie that comes with being part of a small group (potluck dinners on the dock and instant friends at the pool).  The marina is quite small and we only planned to be here for a few days, but since they have a weekly deal we felt like it made financial sense to get the best rate!  Anyway, we are indulging ourselves a little, but we will be back at Prickly Bay on Tuesday with the other hundred or so boats waiting our the hurricane season.

The big news for the kids is we bought a "new to us" Tinker.  A Tinker is an inflatable dinghy (the only one we had on our first trip), it rows well and also has a rig for sailing.  So far the sailing hasn't been great, but Z has plans to try to improve the design a little.  In the meant time we have put our 2.5 HP (even with this small of an outboard the kids can get it to plane with just one or two people)  outboard on the tinker and the kids have their own ride and we have a spare dinghy.



Friday, September 2, 2016

Grenada, reflections on a week of leisure, September 1

Our first hash
Part of the course was half a kilometer down a river

Just slightly different from other runs.....!

Oh, I can see how people get stuck here!  Boats come for the hurricane season and have a hard time leaving.  The cruising community is a tight one and we are getting sucked into the folds of local clubs, meetings, cocktail hours and play groups.  So far we have done a few organized hikes, Zander and I participated in our very first hash (hike/run through the jungle following a trail of shredded paper.....more info to come on a future blog), we’ve had countless play dates on the beach, sailed Hobie cats, enjoyed numerous cocktail hours and most impressively Ana has been taking swimming lessons from the Grenada Olympic coach!   We’ve caught up with friends also hiding from the hurricanes and made countless new ones.  Porter, our socialite, is in heaven.  There seem to be a glutton of 11 year old boys in Grenada this season and they meet on the beach most afternoons, after they are all released from boat schooling. They play, wrestle, climb trees, swim and do whatever else 11 year old boys like to do.  Generally, there is at least one crying, one bleeding and one accusing another of bullying, but miraculously, they all show up the next day and the cycle continues.  If only adults could fight and make up so easily!  The other kids are also enjoying the multitude of kids in the nearby anchorages. Mike is itching to head west, but we continue to find things for him to work on and keep him here.  For example, today someone pumped the fuel bulb on the outboard so many times the fuel back flowed into the oil pan, displacing all the oil with gasoline.  The four of us are putting forth a valiant effort to keep him occupied and never bored!  It doesn’t matter what boat you have, there are always things to do to keep your boat floating.  We have an older boat, but friends with newer boats still have constant headaches.  Bigger and newer boats just have more bells and whistles and systems to break!

I’m not sure why, but the homeschooling is going really well and I hope I don’t jinx it by putting it on paper.  Ana has started first grade so we’ve amped up her schedule and she is rising to the occasion.  Porter is officially in his first year of middle school and all of a sudden is showing some interest in actually learning the material I put before him.  Imagine that! Zander starts 8th grade and is taking most of his subjects seriously.  As for me, I’m mostly enjoying the subject content that I am essentially re-learning; history of the middle ages, physical science, algebra, Spanish and economics. 

At some point we will have to start to think about our next move, heading west to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), but for the moment we are really enjoying the slow island pace here in Grenada.

We've sailed 20K miles and yet what do they want to do when we get to an anchorage?