March 24, 2002
32º 4'N, 117º 13'W, San Diego

Leave-Taking, Farewells and Bon Voyage!     

The month of March has been frenetic and bittersweet. We would cross off items on our endless TO DO lists, only to add more the following day. Gunter and I became like robots, writing everything down and then accomplishing as much as we could in each 24-hour day, methodically going through the motions, while our emotions were someplace else. Our motions were logical, as we carefully focused on provisioning for three months and packing for eight; our first priority: making sure that Pacific Bliss had everything she needed and wouldn't let us down. Our emotions were illogical, as they swirled from fear of the unknown-facing the longest passage of our entire circumnavigation, to dreading the long separation from friends and family, to longing for the adventure and bliss that we knew we would find in the South Pacific.

But finally, it was D-Day. Markus and Sabine brought Starbucks coffee and bagels with cream cheese for our final breakfast on shore. A group of well-wishers had accumulated at Yachtfinder's dock at the Shelter Island Boatyard for a final farewell. At 9:35 AM, George, our friend from YachtFinders, untied the dock lines and cast us off, and we were off on another adventure! I continued to wave frenetically, tears filling my eyes, until we rounded the bay and our well-wishers were out of sight.

Our first thoughts along the way were how humbled we are by the fine family and friends we have. You have made our last days as landlubbers extremely enjoyable, making our leave-taking bittersweet. The parade of visitors and well wishers went on and on, beginning with a visit by the Mowers family, to numerous lunches and dinners with friends, to day sails and/or cocktails on board Pacific Bliss, followed by a bang-up, rabble-rousing South Seas Bon Voyage Party. Thank you for your gifts for deserving natives of the islands. We will put them to good use. Thank you for the food, gifts, and best wishes you sent along with us. And, most of all, thanks for "being there," for us! Words cannot express the gratitude we feel.

Following are photos of some, but certainly not all, of this month's parade of well-wishers:

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version of the photo.

Holly, Mike and Jessica Day Sailing
Holly and Trey Mowers
Lois and Mike with New Fishing Gear
Holly and Trey in Salon
Paul and Janice with Gunter, San Diego Bay
Doug and Armin Review Pacific Bliss Medical Kit
Sarah and Jeanne at the Bon Voyage Party

Captain Gunter, Freling, and Natalie

G. Paul and Richard at Tiki Bar

Gunter, Robin, and Doug
Markus and Mark
Richard, Sabine and Phyllis Living it Up
Richard, Sabine, Armin and Phyllis at Bar
Elizabeth, Wilfried, Carol and Scott
Armin Presents Champagne for End of Passage
Well-wishers board, but not for long!
Well-wishers in Salon
The Other Side of the Table
Departing Crew
Lois Underway





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