September 15, 2001
San Diego, California

Tribute to America
By Lois Joy                 


This is the first time since the day of terror on September 11th that I have been able to write. The surprise, shock and horror have been replaced by a veneer of sadness beneath the surface that breaks into tears at the slightest provocation. It has been a week for Americans like no other.  In the end, America has emerged more united and patriotic than ever. We the people are the government. We are all in this together.  Flags are flying everywhere.

Gunter and I can’t seem to tear each other away from the news. Neither can we tear ourselves away from each other. We have retreated to a safe haven of family and close friends. We have been nesting in the family room, mesmerized by the TV, for days.  When we cannot bear the images and the pain any longer, we take refuge on Pacific Bliss, now on the dock in Shelter Island, looking prim and polished as the warranty repairs are coming to an end.

Some are saying that the hardest thing Americans are facing is the frightening loss of control over our lives. But in our hearts, we knew that all along. The hardest thing about all this is finally accepting it.

Gunter and I faced the issue of loss of control many times during the maiden voyage of Pacific Bliss.  Right at the outset-even before we even left the Catana factory in Canet, France, we had to change schedules and delay crews from arriving until our yacht was ready to make the passage safely.  When we finally left to cross the Med, the winds and waves from a Force 10 storm forced us to take refuge in Estartit, Spain. Like bookends, Voyage 1 ended with our being out of control again--months behind our original plans--as we beat our way up the long coastlines of Central America, Mexico, and Baja.  Even hurricane Adolf, who churned 250 miles south of us when we were in Puerto Vallarta, delayed our crossing of the Sea of Cortez. We were again delayed in Cabo and in Turtle Bay, waiting for seas to calm.  By the end of the voyage, we had calmly accepted being out of control.  There are no guarantees in life. The dangers can be terrorists, pirates-or simply the raging seas.

There is a certain peace in being out of control.  It reminds one of how much there is to lose.  And how fast we can lose it.

Related Story: Papagayos, Tehuantepeckers, and the Baja Bash or We are Not in Control.

We are continuing to plan our circumnavigation, having gone 1/3 of the way around the world so far.  The next two voyages will be in the South Pacific, near relatively safe countries.  Beyond these voyages, which will take two years or so, we will face difficult decisions on whether to continue through Indonesia, Malaysia, and on through the Red Sea. Only God knows whether those areas will be safe then for yachts flying the American flag.

The quotes from Americans of all ethnic backgrounds can be found at the website These are my favorites:

“To ask why does not change what is.”

“Caution is wise.  Fear is debilitating.”

“The outpouring of love and support from nations throughout the world has tempered my rage.”

“We are challenged more than ever to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I trust that you will enjoy these photos of Pacific Bliss proudly flying our flag during Voyage 1.  

The Med, Spain
Portobello, Panama
The Pitons, St. Lucia
Punta Leone, Panama
Acapulco, Mexico
Barro Navidad, Mexico
Schroeders, San Diego Bay





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