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, May 13, 2016

Devil's Island arrival, May 13

Ok, so we are not actually in French Guiana yet, we still have 25 miles to go, but I am being optimistic that we will arrive tonight, before midnight. We are all really looking forward to setting the hook and getting a good night sleep! Tomorrow we hope to explore the famed penal colony from the book Papillon. That is the plan anyway, and if you've read the book, you know what a plan is! The wind died yesterday and we are motoring these last few miles.

In the meant time we are sweating our butt's off. It is hot and humid and since the wind has died we don't get much relief. The seas are not as big and I try to get the boat cleaned up a little, but it is stifling hot down below and it may have to wait until we get somewhere with a breeze. The relief we get comes in tropical showers that frequent the skies. When it rains, it comes down in buckets and the kids run up on deck and stand beneath the sail covers to get doused by the cascading water that comes off the sails. It is a nice break and it also provides a much needed wash down of the boat. We've also been frequented by flying fish and they leave their scales everywhere along with a little odor. Now the boat is nice and clean. We also have been able to cool off by sitting on the swim platform and dangling legs in the water, although we've only dared to do that since the wind has died back and the seas have mellowed.

Last night we went through a phosphorescent bloom of some sort and the seas were pulsating with neon lights (at least I hope that is what it is and we didn't just go through France's nuclear disposal site). Usually you see the bio luminescence in the water disturbances of our wake or a white cap, but this was the first time I had seen it look like depth charges of exploding light. It was quite spectacular!

May 12, almost there, what did we do all day for the last two weeks?

Ever wonder what we do all day, every day?

Daily life on our Atlantic Passage:

midnight - 9am: Mike, Zander and I take turns on watch. Watch simply consists of making sure we stay on course, alerting the captain in the event of something amiss and watching for other ships. We have an autopilot, so no need to steer. We have an AIS, so most boats will cause an alarm on our boat to go off if we are on a collision course. Of course there are small boats and fishing boats that don't all have AIS, but we've been impressed by the number of vessels that do transmit.

Breakfast is late since those off watch usually sleep late.

Noon matinee: We try to keep the kids off the electronics until noon. They read, play, and we try to do a little homework during this time. At noon we usually watch a little tele and then we also get our daily ration of sweets. Favorite programs include The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie and Giligans Island. It is hard to find programs that appeal to both a 6 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. We also take a noon mileage recording and we all try to guess our mileage for the next 24 hours (pretty entertaining).

Lunch is usually self serve and we don't usually have a sit down lunch. The kids are learning to fend for themselves.

Afternoon: We listen to pod casts, play games, listen to music, and do a little more homework. We read a ton and hope that something exciting happens at some point during the day. Sometimes we pull the bosun chair out and the kids swing, sometimes we get lucky and fishing is successful, if the dolphins are playing we will spend hours watching them.

3pm : Tea time

4pm : start dinner which is usually an acrobatic feat as we juggle dishes on a surface that is in constant motion and often on fire.

Evenings : On nice evenings we will stay in the cockpit talking, and more often than not the kids will eventually wander down below to watch a movie.

Before dark: Mike usually does his usual sweep of the boat, making sure nothing is chafing, everything is stowed for the night and in general everything is in order. I usually connect the Single Side Band radio and write a few emails, pull in some weather grib files and sometime we try to contact some of the SSB nets that connect the maritime community.

8pm : Mike and I start our rotation of watches and the cycle continues.

I know it doesn't seem very difficult, and before I went cruising for the first time I envisioned huge amounts of free time to study, try elaborate recipes, learn a new language and do other crafts. I was very optimistic but the reality I learned was that in big seas it is often all you can do to keep yourself bathed, fed and rested. It is hard to explain how the constant motion tests your patience, your balance and drains your energy so completely.

It does get easier as the passage progresses and you get used to not necessarily sleep deprivation, but punctuated sleep intervals, something like having a newborn in the house. A good night sleep may be 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep. Mike on the other hand, rarely sleeps soundly. He is always alert to strange noises and changes.

It doesn't sound all that fun, but actually our days are boring punctuated by random highlights; a meteorite shower, phosphorescence, dolphins, whales, fish on the line, a beautiful sunset. Ana loves staying up on watch with the first person and watching for shooting stars. She also is the one that never seems to tire of being on the boat and isn't affected at all by the lurching of the boat under her. She hangs, climbs and uses the boat as her personal jungle gym. She also crafts like crazy and our bulkhead are covered with her masterpieces. Porter loves to spend time chatting about everything under the sun; girls, books he's read, music he likes and whatever else he is into that week (last week it was the combustion engine, this week he's interested in world war II weapons, the week before he wanted to tell me about every minute of what he did at summer camp). Sometimes it is too much, but I know one day I'll wish I could get him to open up to me again, so I try to appreciate it all, even the minutia. Zander helps Mike with chores on the boat, he reads a lot and he spends an inordinate amount of time eating. Provisioning for a teenager is a whole different thing. Mike and I have our regular chores; keeping up with boat maintenance and keeping the crew fed, entertained and the boat somewhat clean. It is not a super exciting schedule, but we do seem to fall into a rhythm and it works for us.

May 12, almost there, what did we do all day for the last two weeks?

Daily life on our Atlantic Passage:

midnight - 9am: Mike, Zander and I take turns on watch. Watch simply consists of making sure we stay on course, alerting the captain in the event of something amiss and watching for other ships. We have an autopilot, so no need to steer. We have an AIS, so most boats will cause an alarm on our boat to go off if we are on a collision course. Of course there are small boats and fishing boats that don't all have AIS, but we've been impressed by the number of vessels that do transmit.

Breakfast is late since those off watch usually sleep late.

Noon matinee: We try to keep the kids off the electronics until noon. They read, play, and we try to do a little homework during this time. At noon we usually watch a little tele and then we also get our daily ration of sweets. Favorite programs include The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie and Giligans Island. It is hard to find programs that appeal to both a 6 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. We also take a noon mileage recording and we all try to guess our mileage for the next 24 hours (pretty entertaining).

Lunch is usually self serve and we don't usually have a sit down lunch. The kids are learning to fend for themselves.

Afternoon: We listen to pod casts, play games, listen to music, and do a little more homework. We read a ton and hope that something exciting happens at some point during the day. Sometimes we pull the bosun chair out and the kids swing, sometimes we get lucky and fishing is successful, if the dolphins are playing we will spend hours watching them.

3pm : Tea time

4pm : start dinner which is usually an acrobatic feat as we juggle dishes on a surface that is in constant motion and often on fire.

Evenings : On nice evenings we will stay in the cockpit talking, and more often than not the kids will eventually wander down below to watch a movie.

Before dark: Mike usually does his usual sweep of the boat, making sure nothing is chafing, everything is stowed for the night and in general everything is in order. I usually connect the Single Side Band radio and write a few emails, pull in some weather grib files and sometime we try to contact some of the SSB nets that connect the maritime community.

8pm : Mike and I start our rotation of watches and the cycle continues.

I know it doesn't seem very difficult, and before I went cruising for the first time I envisioned huge amounts of free time to study, try elaborate recipes, learn a new language and do other crafts. I was very optimistic but the reality I learned was that in big seas it is often all you can do to keep yourself bathed, fed and rested. It is hard to explain how the constant motion tests your patience, your balance and drains your energy so completely.

It does get easier as the passage progresses and you get used to not necessarily sleep deprivation, but punctuated sleep intervals, something like having a newborn in the house. A good night sleep may be 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep. Mike on the other hand, rarely sleeps soundly. He is always alert to strange noises and changes.

It doesn't sound all that fun, but actually our days are boring punctuated by random highlights; a meteorite shower, phosphorescence, dolphins, whales, fish on the line, a beautiful sunset. Ana loves staying up on watch with the first person and watching for shooting stars. She also is the one that never seems to tire of being on the boat and isn't affected at all by the lurching of the boat under her. She hangs, climbs and uses the boat as her personal jungle gym. She also crafts like crazy and our bulkhead are covered with her masterpieces. Porter loves to spend time chatting about everything under the sun; girls, books he's read, music he likes and whatever else he is into that week (last week it was the combustion engine, this week he's interested in world war II weapons, the week before he wanted to tell me about every minute of what he did at summer camp). Sometimes it is too much, but I know one day I'll wish I could get him to open up to me again, so I try to appreciate it all, even the minutia. Zander helps Mike with chores on the boat, he reads a lot and he spends an inordinate amount of time eating. Provisioning for a teenager is a whole different thing. Mike and I have our regular chores; keeping up with boat maintenance and keeping the crew fed, entertained and the boat somewhat clean. It is not a super exciting schedule, but we do seem to fall into a rhythm and it works for us.