Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. Plans are to head north. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thassalotta Words

Pacific Crossing, Day 12: Big clouds, windy squalls in the night, a nice 15-20 knots of wind urging us on, water temp 80, only the occasional big swell to fling us about, and life is good on the old Sockdolager. The ITCZ has ballooned almost out to our position, but we're not in it yet. We're going to stick to our original route and not turn south too soon (we hope.)

So what's with the torrent of words lately? Danged if I know. There are a few factors, though:
1. I now have time to write.

2. There are no land-based distractions.

3. Before we left all was stress and preparation with no time to write.

4. #3 resulted in Ms Grump with pent-up verbage.

5. There is now also plenty of time to think.

6. We're doing something that's a combo of interesting spiced with moments of boredom, that has a component of mental game to it. The tiny-boat-big-ocean, holy-crap-look-where-we-are type of mental game.

I miss my writers group in Port Townsend, and especially my writing buddy. Music friends will be the subject of another post. We do keep in touch. One friend, a published poet, even sends us an original poem now and then! I cherish these friends. This blog is a combo of letters, journal, travelogue, and sausage factory for future writing projects. Writers LOVE to see each others' sausage... whew, that sounds vaguely obscene.

Some writers like to write in different settings, others at their desks in an office or studio. One day I'll have a desk and studio. But how does writing in this offshore setting compare? For one thing, it beats trooping down to a Starbuck's (sorry Steve) but then again, Starbucks employees don't come around dumping salt water in your coffee. For another, furniture on land tends to stay put. I've actually roped my right leg to the port cockpit winch so I can write while bracing against the roll. It's working, but enough of that and the leg'll get sore.

I no longer compose anything on the computer, it's back to basics: pen, notebook, margin scrawls and coffee in a wide-bottom cup. Oh, and a strap for my leg. Should I be exploring bondage themes? On my 0800 to noon watch, I get 4 hours of quiet time to write and scan the horizon every 10 minutes for ships or other things. Later, the sausage gets simultaneously typed and edited directly into the Ham radio email program on our navigation laptop. This is worth repeating: While we can send and receive text-only email at sea, the slow modems on Ham sets preclude all but essential communications, like weather faxes and the occasional email.

You may have noticed a shift in pronoun use since we left Mexico for offshore. Normally I like to write blog posts in third person, because too many "I's" feels self-indulgent and some of the humor schtick can be more easily achieved if I turn both of us into characters in a true story. But that doesn't work out here. It really, really is different. The outer stories have become sea-routines; it's the emerging inner stories that relate how a voyage like this feels, that I'm finding more compelling. I hope you are, too. Jim writes the short messages that accompany our position posts, which you can find at left.

Actually, there is an office aboard our 24-foot boat: the head! We learned this trick from Cap'n Fatty Goodlander, who admits to spending a lot of private writing time in there. Good idea at anchor! I hope some of you had the chance to meet him and his wife Carolyn at the recent sailing symposium in Port Townsend. They just completed their second circumnavigation and have not only unique points of view, but the ability to express them.

I won't promise an essay or even a short post every day, but I will promise to keep in touch at a minimum of every few days while on passage, more as Muse and weather allow. Once we reach the Marquesas (about 18-20 days from now) we'll probably sleep for a couple of days and take a break. The posting of photos will resume once we find an internet connection, which will take some sleuthing.

Sent via Ham radio

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