We have been on a broad reach for the last three days, with steady wind such that we haven’t had to trim the sails as we cruise at eight knots. Half way through that sentence, just as the first hints of orange light from the approaching sun started appearing in the eastern sky, I heard a weird vibration to my right. I’ve been out here long enough to know that it was a visitor, another suicidal flying fish regretting his decision to visit our boat. He flopped around as I tried to return him to the sea, not trusting me enough to cooperate. Eventually, he ran out of fight and I was able to send him overboard, hopefully still alive. Either way, it must have been a traumatic experience for him and I am grateful that I was born a human instead of a flying fish.
So far, we passed through the Pacific and are into the Indian Ocean. We sailed (or motored) over 10,000 nautical miles and visited six countries, seven if you count our start in San Diego, and many more islands within those countries. We have avoided the mosquito transmitted diseases like Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Malaria, and furthermore have avoided the hospital, except one case where my dad had a sense of malaise for a month in Fiji. We believe the culprit was bacteria that lives in coconut milk, a common ingredient in Fijian cooking. He was prescribed antibiotics and that was the end of it. Neither my dad nor I have gotten seasick, although the same cannot be said for our gusts (but we still hope you guys had fun if you’re reading this). My dad has one surgically repaired knee and his other knee was terrible art the start of the trip, but now he can bend the bad knee almost as far as new knee with no pain, a miraculous recovery. He says he hasn’t felt this good in 20 years. I am grateful for our health.
We have navigated treacherous reefs, often in the dark by nature of long passages, anchored in crowded anchorages, and been through a few storms and gales. We have not hit anything, which cannot be said of the boat when it was in the Great Lakes, never dragged anchor, and the only thing broken on the boat right now is a spring on a hinge for the breaker panel (until tomorrow when something else invariably breaks – it ended up being the alternator). More challenges await along the coast of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, but so far it appears we do in fact know what we are doing (we are just as surprised as you are). I am grateful for technology and the soundness of this incredible boat.
The blog has received over 15000 views, which is not a lot in the blogging world, but is a lot for reading my dad’s and my ramblings. I hope you continue to share our story if you think it will entertain your friends. I’m glad you interact with us on both my personal Facebook and the comment section of the blog. I regret that I cannot physically be there for birthdays, weddings (sorry Jake, I would have loved to stand next to you on your big day), and other important and unimportant events in your lives, but I appreciate you talking to me anyway despite the tricky math figuring out when we both will be awake. I am grateful for the support and continued friendship and love you share with me.
Along the lines of friendship, we have met some incredible people from all over the world. Besides the locals of the countries we have visited, we now have many friends from Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, England, Canada, Norway, Spain, and many more. I love the conversation and different perspectives you share and will keep in touch. I am grateful for these new friendships.
This trip would not be possible without my family. My mom did an incredible job planning our itinerary and I know she gets annoyed when we change it, but we only are two weeks behind. She is incredibly patient and supportive as well as a mediator between my dad and me when tensions run high. My sister Tessa contributed too, even though she probably doesn’t think she did. By taking over much of my dad’s business, she helped free him to retire. She also does a great job keeping an eye on the house, especially with the challenging weather conditions and flooding (Although if they sold the house and got a bigger boat the flooding wouldn’t be an issue…).
Finally, my dad, the key to this trip. Not many 28 year olds get an opportunity to spend an entire year with their fathers. When I told some of my friends about the trip they responded that they wished they would have had an opportunity to do something like this with their dads too. A few of them lost their dads suddenly, and I was with one when he got the news. It is critical to tell the people that are important to you that they are your people and important to you. Spend time with them because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone. Our relationship has changed a lot and we have our ups and downs, but there is nobody else I would rather share this experience with and there are many more ups than downs. On a 44 foot boat in the middle of the ocean, we literally have to trust each other with our lives. Often the boat, me and Dad all become one organism, all perfectly in sync. My dad thinks one thing, and I say it out loud. It’s the weirdest thing, but I’m grateful for all of it.
I hope some of you feel inspired to think about what you are grateful for in your life and tell someone! Life is a blessing and thinking about what you’re grateful for keeps things in perspective. No matter how bad life is at that moment, at least you are not a flying fish certain to die without my intervention. Enjoy your day :).