Monday, May 29, 2006

Getting close to the islands

05deg.55.132S 135deg.45.869W 18:55L
Another lazy day in the reality of the never ending sea, wind, swells, and sun. Sometimes it is hard to know if you really make any progress or not, you see the numbers change on the GPS, and you can feel the surging forward motion of Maiken, but the horizon and the immediate surrounding is the same. Some days you feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, same day over and over again, but it is a good day so why complain. I understood from the comments that a few is following our progress on maps and Google Earth, so I will explain a bit where most boats that visit the Marquesas are coming from. When I sailed through the Pacific Ocean on the schooner Tree of Life ten years ago, we came through the Panama Canal, visited Galapagos Islands, Easter Island, Pitcairn, Gambier Islands, and then up to the Marquesas. Most boats that come through the canal don't do that whole trip, but instead only visit Galapagos on their way to Marquesas. That trip is even longer then the sail that H�kan and I are taking, and it is also more prone to bad winds, since it is mostly around the equator. A lot of the boats from the West Coast of US and Canada, sail down to Mexico, and central America before doing the Pacific "Puddle Jump" over to French Polynesia. I decided early on that if I was to sail to French Polynesia I would do it straight from California, it is by far the best sailing angle and distance. If you look on a map over the West coast of US, Mexico, and central America, it is easy to see what I mean, for every mile you sail south along the coast you loose quarter of a mile to the east, since the coastline veers of to the east. Almost all the boats that visit the South Pacific are sailing west through the islands, this obviously because of the trade winds being SE (or even E, like we had so far). We will be in the last fleet of boats visiting, since we set out later then the boats that come from the Panama Canal. How many boats that visit the Marquesas annually, I don't really know, but 10 years ago, you kind of know most of the boats traveling west at different anchorage, since you are traveling at about the same pace. Part of the magic about cruising is really the friendships that you create along the way, in a way we are all in this endeavor together. Many of the people that I meet 10 years ago, are still popping up in articles in sailing magazines sailing around the world continuing their adventures, what a life! Today we did have a few signs that we are not the only ones out here, two Japanese long liners fishing for tuna passed us during the afternoon, it is strange to hear people talking on the VHF radio, in Japanese no less. We still see a movie every night and yesterday it was "Life as a house" with Kevin Kline, H�kan got really into the idea of building a house, so who know what might happen in the future. It is really surreal to sit inside an naturally air conditioned "theater" and then step outside into the cockpit in the pitch black and notice that you are sailing along in the middle of the ocean.

Take care,


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