“I’m Starting off 2018 at light speed!” Well, sailing at a brisk walking pace.
Mark Twain wrote “Travel is fatal to Prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” Often I’m asked how safe traveling by yacht is. Most people ask about pirates and storms 1st. I’m happy to say in 4 years I’ve only experienced one storm and two attempted acts of piracy. I now feel just as comfortable sitting cross legged on the floor having Sevu-Sevu with Fijian chiefs, eating at Muslim restaurants, going to church in Tonga, and dancing at clubs on Bangala road as I have ever felt in the comforts of my home country. Never once have I felt my life was in danger and rarely even lock my boat. Most places I have been are very poor and unbelievably generous. My Muslim taxi driver in Fiji would always insist I come to his house for tea and food anytime I went anywhere. I learned to just allot this time to ride. In most places having white skin means wealth and people treat you accordingly. Once they see you are on a budget as well, staying longer than a few days, and happy to sit on the floor and eat with them the perception changes quickly.
With a new year comes reflection of the previous. The most amazing that happened to me in 2017 is that my friends and family bought me Tiama! I’ve experienced love and heartbreak, a few times. Visited friends and family back stateside, and even crew on a racing sailboat from Hawaii to California. The Pacific ocean still feels like home and I needed some time at sea. I was able to get 2 new legs and a lot of new prosthetic parts. I continue to have prothetists from Hawaii Orthotics and Prosthetics Enterprises and LIM Innovations really go to bat for me to keep me walking. Even my insurance company came through when a prosthetic foot company didn’t honor their warranty, even after I specifically voiced my concerns with durability and asked them about warranty replacement before buying the foot. I will write more on this later.
In 2 months I’ll start my trip across the Indian Ocean. In the mean time I have to do a 200 mile roundtrip sail to Langkawi, fly somewhere for my Indian visa, and sort out a giant pile of sailing gear currently collecting dust at my dad’s house. This is the most excited/nervous I have been for starting a passage since leaving Hawaii. I have covered a lot of miles in the last few years but not really any open ocean passages other than a delivery from Hawaii to California.
Once again I’m preparing a boat to cross an ocean. I’m really looking forward to good fishing, diving, and spending time on remote villages. This is also my 1st time starting a long solo passage in two years when I have confidence in my boat. My planned route is joining the Andaman Island yacht rally in February, Sri Lanka in March, then Maldives and Chagos. I do have a great friend doing the same route so will have a familiar face along the way. After celebrating the New Year twice in Thailand I’m ready to get moving again.