Doldrums Passage


We left the Lahina anchorage bound for Micronisia on ‘Stone Witch’, a two thousand mile passge. There were eight of us aboard, somewhat of a motley crew with a range of ages, sailing experience and backgrounds. We were happy to leave Maui when local authorities began taking on unwarranted interest in us, after a blow out anchorage party with Bob Bitchin and his crew from the ‘Lost Soul’.  We cleared out under sail, (our only form of propulsion) headed west on a light breeze. Our spirits were high as we looked forward to a down wind ride through the tropics. The wind continued light for a few days and then stopped! At first it was fun swimming, keeping an eye out for sharks, but soon many came to enjoy the shade from our hull. We were a bit of an attraction for sea birds, dolphin, turtles, fish and jellyfish. Yet, we had plenty of food, drink, caught fish, practiced celestial navigation and read books. In the evening we got together over a good dinner, told stories and watched the night fall, it was magical! Of course we had a watch 24-7 even though there was no traffic and no way to get out of the way without wind. Fact is, we saw no other vessel during the entire  passage. What I enjoyed was to be on the deck alone looking over the horizon seeing only the Ocean and sky filled with stars, planets and moon, experiencing no disconnect between us all, traveling the universe together.

Soon  the days began to drag on and we wondered if our supplies would last, there was no place to stop for 2,000 miles. But, after five days the trades began to blow light at first and building to the perfect trades 15 – 20 knots . With top sail, course, all fore and aft sails set on a broad reach we making almost two hundred miles a day. Life Was Good! We had a date line crossing party with costumes and silly stuff,  enjoyed by all. We reached the atoll island of Majuro capital of the Marshal Islands at dusk after a 17 day passage. Having only sail power we waited till dawn to make our way into the channel, all went well and we anchored off the town to clear customs. While it was great to arrive at our destination safely, the magic of  our ocean passage was over and we joined the chaotic but interesting land.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts



Current Magazine

Powered by  NauticEd