February 25, 2002
San Diego, California
On to the South Pacific in Search of Adventure and Bliss!

By Lois Joy.

It is less than one month until D-Day, our departure for the Marquesas and ports beyond. Our days are filled with anticipation and the frenetic pace of carrying out seemingly endless TO DO lists; our nights are filled with dreams of new adventures and moments of bliss in the South Pacific. Soon the day will come when we will bid adieu to family and friends and be on our way again, on to Voyage Two of our circumnavigation of the world. Gunter and I put 10,000 miles on our new 43-foot catamaran, Pacific Bliss, during Voyage One, taking her from France to San Diego in her eight-month maiden voyage.

We learned that, as Pat Conroy so aptly put it, … "once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers…the mind can never break off from the journey." Somehow, that journey became a part of us, and Pacific Bliss became our trusted friend. We brought back with us a vision of a wider world, a new understanding of the highs and lows of cruising, and rib-tickling memories of the cruisers and characters we met along the way.

We have been landlubbers now since June, and we long to be back out there. Cruising is a somewhat altered state of consciousness I cannot find words to describe. Watching the Winter Olympics this week, I sense that it must be what athletes feel. I long to be transported out of myself again, to another dimension of time and space-back in our cocoon underneath the stars, back where the past merges with the present and time grows insignificant. I am filled with "wander-thirst" again. I am off to meet new people, to understand new cultures. And, after losing both parents during my sojourn on land, I find that I also need time to delve into my own soul. As D. H. Lawrence put it: "That is the place to get to-nowhere. One wants to wander away from the world's somewheres, into our own nowhere."

As we sail on past the cold coast of Baja California into the tropics, and across the equator, I want to shed some of the "skin" I have been forced to grow since I wrote the Journal article Re-Entry last June. My layers never thickened to the point they were before we departed on Voyage 1, and I don't think they ever will, but it is time to let some of these scales necessary for life on land to drop away. George Day wrote about this:
"As the miles bubble under the keel, sailors seem to shed skins one after another until the scales so necessary for living in crowded cities and towns drop away, leaving just the human creature all but naked under the stars. For most, once those scales are gone, they never grow back quite as thick and hard as they once were."

And so, shedding our skins all the way, we're off to sail the vast Pacific, our vessel's namesake. It's a very big-mostly empty, ocean out there. Did you know that all the land masses of the world can fit into the Pacific Ocean? Fifteen times the size of the U.S., the Pacific stretches from 0.00º N to 160.00ºW and covers 155,557 million square kilometers, 28% of the global surface. Like a huge inverted mountain, this awesome ocean reaches a depth of 10,924 meters (35,827 feet) in the Mariana Trench (near Guam).

Based on distance and time, crossing from San Diego to the Marquesas will put our celebrated Atlantic Crossing to shame: Flying her spinnaker most of the way-day and night--Pacific Bliss took only 12 days, l hour, and 20 minutes to cross the Atlantic from Santa Antao, Cape Verde to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. That's 2080 miles at an average of 173 miles per day. San Diego, California to Hiva Oa is 2835 nautical miles, without deviating course to avoid bad weather and take advantage of favorable winds. Based on our Atlantic Crossing record, that would be 16.4 days, but we don't expect that to happen; we will need to reach the trades, then navigate the doldrums, before heading for the islands. An average of 150 miles per day-right on course--could get us there in 19 days. Follow our day-by-day progress by clicking on Crossing Log; we'll attempt to update it regularly via our new Iridium Satellite phone.

No promises, but yes there is at least one internet café in the remote Marquesas! Click on that story below. We'll do our best to help you, our readers, continue to sail along with us.

Trials and Tribulations of the Third-World Internet
Visit the San Diego to Marquesas Crossing Log






Log and Journal