Saturday, February 18, 2012

One more month until the Puddle Jump

We have spent most of this winter tied up to a slip in La Paz, unlike the past two seasons where we freely roamed the coast of Mexico. Partly this was to accommodate some of the land-based excursions we've already described, but the main reason was to prepare the boat for a 3000 mile passage to French Polynesia.

Last year we went to the Marquesas as crew on another boat, as a way to help us decide whether we really wanted to commit ourselves and our boat to such a long trip. Chances are good that once Southern Cross leaves the coast of North America, she will never return. We will return, of course, but to get the boat back requires too much upwind sailing for our liking, or a ride aboard a Dockwise freighter, which is way out of our budget.

Anyway, we have decided to go ahead with this plan, although many mornings we wake up and ask ourselves "just why the heck are we leaving Mexico?" It has been a wonderful experience living and sailing here, and we know we will be back, with or without a boat.

Vicki has worked hard to prepare for this trip, but she decided long ago that she doesn't need to repeat the passage itself. She will be happy to drive our truck north, then take an airplane to meet me and the boat at Nuku Hiva. I have asked a longtime friend and experienced crewman to join me, and Joseph has invited one of his good friends to become the third member of our company. Justin, a researcher at the University of Idaho, will use this experience to kick off a project called "Adventure Learning at Latitude." Using a BGAN satellite terminal, we'll upload details of our passage, photos, and our observations of the marine environment to a website for elementary and secondary students back home. I'll post a link to the website once it has launched.

Vicki and I have worked hard this winter installing new lifelines, steering cables, shade cloths, and other needed touches, and researching all the information we will need for this next phase of our voyage. All that remains are the usual routine maintenance procedures we would be doing anyway, provisioning the boat with as much food as we can pack into her, and sailing down to Los Cabos to pick up our crew.

We're still a few weeks away from this last step, mostly because I'm tied in to the academic calendar. We anticipate leaving La Paz about March 13, and shoving off from San Jose del Cabo on March 21, right after I've finished grading papers.

3 comments:

Steve and Lulu said...

So it's really going to happen. Way cool! Wishing you fair winds and flat seas all the way across. Looking forward to seeing you when you return to Mexico someday, with or without a boat. We'll be sure to follow your crossing via the new website and/or SailMail posts.

Vicki - have a pleasant and safe drive north.

Steve & Lulu

SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

Woohoo!

Unknown said...

Wow- You're really going to do it. Wishing you fair sailing and minimal worries!! Who knows- Maybe we'll be out to visit one of these days. Meanwhile we're land bound-headed to the SW for 2 months the beginning of April.