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, March 23, 2016

Reflections on the cruising life, by Cap'n Mike, March 23

One of my favorite aspects of sailing around the world is meeting wonderful new people. Amongst the anchorages, docks and villages the camaraderie and bonds you create with fellow cruisers are strong ones. Sailors are generous people with their time. Away from the rat race we slow down and have more time to devote to friends and our children. After all, traveling at 7 mph, you have a lot of time. We take joy in helping other sailors; it may be giving them a much needed spare part, driving them to the airport 3 hours away, or watching their kids while they run an important errand. These are not things we often do back home after knowing someone just a few days. Amongst cruisers, it is the norm.
One of our best decisions on this cruise was to slow down and spend 3 months in Sanlucar de Guadiana. We enrolled the kids in the local school and became a part of the community. In a village of just 267 people, you make friends quickly. The town mayor was also one of the school teachers. The kids dove head first into the Spanish immersion. I’m very proud of their effort and courage to enter a school mid-year in a completely foreign environment. They thrived and now have a good base of Spanish.
There isn’t really much to do in this little town and you would think that one would get bored very quickly, however our days consisted of a pleasant routine. We would walk the kids to school in the morning and walk back to meet them in the afternoon. In the afternoon, the kids could run around the village, meet friends and play futbol/soccer. Morning walks to the baker for some warm fresh bread passed on his wooden paddle from the brick oven. Planning dinner in the morning and walking to the tiny grocery store for fresh ingredients. Laundry drying on rigging on the sunny days and movies on DVD on the rainy days. Boat maintenance and repairs. Birthday parties for the various village and boat children. The butcher visits by truck on Saturdays and the fishmonger visits on Fridays. Walking in the hills and collecting wild asparagus and oranges. One night the villagers roasted sacks of chestnuts in the square. In the evenings, we would usually walk up to the local watering hole and get a glass of red wine for $1. A grilled pork sandwich with alioli and a beer, which I’m enjoying as I write this, was just $3.50. A whitewashed stone house in the village is for sale for around $30,000.
It is now time to leave. My least favorite aspect of sailing around the world is having to say goodbye to people whose company you and your family have really come to enjoy. It happens to us all the time. I just hope and look forward to the times we can cross wakes with some of them in the future. We dearly want to stay longer but the Caribbean hurricane season starts in June and we need to get back across the Atlantic before then. So we will sail downriver on Wednesday and then head South for Rabat, Morocco. Then the plan is to sail to the Canary Islands and down to the Cape Verde islands. At that point we will cross the Atlantic to French Guiana and sail up the Maroni River to experience the South American jungle. We will then spend the hurricane season in the region from Trinidad to Cartagena before transiting the Panama Canal for the 3rd time. Once the stormy season ends in November we can then sail up Central America to Mexico and the USA. That’s the plan for the moment at least. I may just go have a glass of wine and take a second look at that house in the village.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, March 22nd

We would like to stay in Sanlucar de Guadiana longer.  There is no denying that we have fallen in love with our home here, but we also feel like we have pushed the Schengan issue as far as we can and we need to move on.  Technically we are only allowed in Europe for 90 days without a long stay visa (which I’ve mentioned is difficult to obtain without a schooling or employment reason for an extended stay).  We’ve been flying under the radar and counting on the fact that the countries don’t all communicate well, but it will be hard to argue we haven’t exceeded our time if we are sitting in the same place for more than 90 days.  We are coming up on three months, which coincides with the end of the academic term, so we must say goodbye to classmates and friends, up anchor, dust our sails off (more accurately remove any bird nests) and head south.

When we enrolled the kids in school we weren’t sure it would work well and the results have far surpassed our highest expectations.  All three children loved their time here.  I don’t know if I’ve had all three of my children agree on anything, ever!  It seems there is always a dissenter in the bunch.  Zander had the hardest time academically, but he fully enjoyed the nightly soccer matches, he made several fantastic friends and I think he felt some pride in not giving up on something that was way, way out of his comfort zone.  The Spanish came slowest for him, in part because of his age, in part because languages just aren’t his forte and partially because his best friends were native English speakers. That said, he is very happy we stayed and he wants to pursue an exchange program in Spain when he gets into high school, so that is encouraging. Ana did fine in school, although the highlight for her was the 4 other English girls she played with daily after school.  While we were dockside she had the run of the river side of the village and fully enjoyed her newly acquired independence.  She also took advantage of the full immersion to increase her Spanish vocabulary and we are happy with the outcome.  Porter is the one that really flourished though.  He made many friends (and a few frenemies, which is pretty normal if you know Porter).  His teacher raved about him (they are now texting friends), which doesn’t always happen and the Mayor stopped us in the bar several days before after school was out and told us if we had a month and a half more he suspects Porter would be nearly fluent.  It is a bummer we don’t have a few more months for their Spanish, but I’m grateful for the amount they have learned.  And, Michael has promised to keep up semi immersion with the threat of divorce as a repercussion (which on given days probably isn’t much of a threat). If we are lucky we may find another way to supplement their Spanish in the future.....maybe a language school in Colombia is in our future!  

Lastly, saying good bye to the friends we have made here is, by far, the hardest part.  While it is wonderful to have friends around the globe, saying goodbye to friends you hope will be life time friends is always painful when they live so far away.  While we have enjoyed friendly conversation with the locals, and the kids certainly made local friends, Mike and I made, what we hope will be lasting friendships, with mostly English families.   We were lucky enough to be in Sanlucar the same time as two other English family boats; Carina of Devon and Spirit of Mystery.  Both have a fantastic crew and we certainly hope our paths will cross on some distant voyage.  There were also several English families that have made their home here after swallowing the anchor, as they say, bought farms and settled.  Bob and Kate and their family, we hope, will also be lifelong friends.  Maybe we can lure them away from Spain for an American experience one of these years! 

Last day on the dock in Sanlucar

boat kids

boat chores
Parting is bittersweet, but we are getting excited for our next adventure.  We will sail downriver, anchor at the mouth of the Guadiana and do our last provisioning on the Portugal side.  Then if the weather cooperates we hope to sail the 180 miles south to Rabat, Morocco over the weekend.  I will try to get my spot coordinated with my website so anyone that is interested can follow us.