Planning the Voyage

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1374782_10151995182929214_808623686_nIt’s quiet right now.  For the last few hours I have been sitting in the main salon of the Lost Soul and going over pilot charts, navigation charts and cruising guides.  This may be the best part of a voyage…

The planning.

In the planning stage everything is perfect.  There are no storms.  There are no rude harbor masters with their hands out.  There is just me, my charts and my dreams.

I pulled out the pilot chart for the South Pacific to reaffirm the departure date I had set in my mind.  Yes…it would work.  If we left Hawaii in early May we should enter the line islands in May, and that would give us a good month or so visiting Palmyra, Fanning and Christmas before heading south to Pango Pango to supply.

…Pango Pango to supply.  Man, it still gives me a chill.  Even though I have been there a few times; to supply in Pango Pango.  Something out of “Adventures in Paradise.”  Only now, 40 years after dreaming about it while watching it on a small black and white round screen TV, it’s a reality.

I pull out my old charts of the area.  Let’s see; where do we want to anchor?  Over here they have that big emergency buoy.  Remember when you drifted back into that during the storm of 1992?  Or was it in ‘93, on our way back from Niuitopatupo?  Yeah, that was it.

Hey, and here are the times marked for our crossing down to the Vava’u Group in Tonga.  Remember the night, with Jody and..what was her name..oh, yeah, Ali.  What a great night.  The stars were as bright as I’ve ever seen them.  Anchored in Niafu that night, I remember thinking that, if I were to die right then I would have been happy.  What a life.

And then I saw a small tattered chart sticking out from under the Samoa/Tonga charts.  Where’s this?  Oh, yeah, I remember.  We found this chart in a small shop on the island of Tinos, in Greece.  It’s so beat up and weathered.  It showed us that there was a good anchorage on the south side on Thira.  I can remember how the rain was falling as we pulled in.  That’s why the chart’s so tattered.

That was a great anchorage.  Calm, clear nights, and days spent wandering the ancient streets of

San Torini.

Sitting back I can smell the slight diesel/kerosene smell that has been a part every boat I have ever sailed.  Closing my eyes, I can imagine I am sitting at anchor in Ibiza, or outside the Hawaii Yacht Club, or stern-tied to Papeete.  Each place was paradise.  Each was better than the last.

But now I have a new adventure to plan.  New places to explore, and hopefully to have the same feelings I had in Pango Pango, Greece and Antiqua.  There is excitement in the planning, as there is in the accomplishing.

And so I break out a new chart.  This one is unmarked.  It has no times and dates showing when we crossed here.  That’s because it’s somewhere we have never been.

And isn’t that the real beauty of cruising?  That, no matter where you have been, there are always new places to voyage to.  New places to have the feeling you have reached nirvana, paradise, or whatever you want to call it.

So now I have to get down to the nitty gritty.  It starts with a one-day sail.  It always starts with a one-day sail.  And each day-sail ends, and a new day-sail begins.  Before you know it, you are sailing on the opposite side of the earth from where you started.  But each day is a new day.  Each day brings a new adventure.  The day we leave our home port will be exciting.  As we untie our docklines the day’s sail will take us out.  It may just be to an anchorage in Two Harbors, Catalina, just 24 miles away, or we might decide to sail the night through.  If we do, we’ll see dawn out at sea.  The first new day of our voyage.

Waking at an anchorage, or waking out at sea, whichever it is, I know the feeling that will be deep inside of my chest.  A mixing of excitement, anxiety and pure joy.  The excitement of discovery, the anxiety of not knowing what will befall us between this dawning and sunset, and the joy of knowing we have charted our voyage to take us to places that will change our lives.

So, hopefully, someday I will sit again like this; in the salon of the Lost Soul, smelling the smells and feeling the feelings of past voyages.  Only the next time, I will be thinking back on what occurred on this voyage, while I plan the next.

Bon Voyage!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Bob, you have a way with words that paints a beautiful picture in my minds eye. You have lived and continue to live a life of adventure and fulfillment, joy and uncertainty. Most will never know the great experiences they miss. Thank you for your lovely article.

  2. Perfect article for me. After trying for years to talk some friends into doing a bareboat charter it is finally happening. I have charts all over the floor of the dining room as we plan our first bareboat charter to the Spanish Virgin Islands. I had decided to get my own charts so I could keep them as a memento of my first real sailing adventure and it sounds like that is the right decision. We leave in 12 days, I can't wait. Will send pictures of our trip.

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