The Voyage


Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

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Bali, Indonesia

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The Voyage of Spectacle

Archive for April, 2008

Next Stop — Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Posted by: melissa

After a rather acrimonious wrap up in the Galapagos, we pulled up the stern and bow anchors and headed off to cross big blue about 1:00 p.m. two days ago.  I must say that it’s a weird feeling to leave harbor (and in this case, a very rustic harbor) knowing that there’s no land for 3000 miles.  I kept saying, “I can’t believe we’re leaving right now for a 3-week passage.”  Most of our closest friends and family know that we’ve been anxious to get this leg of our journey out the way, so as weird as it is to go to sea for a minimum of 3 weeks, I’m still eager to get to the South Pacific.

Day 2 presented some really sublime sailing … calm seas, consistent wind, sunny skies, temperate weather.  At dawn, I was enjoying my morning coffee after just taking over watch from Andy when a huge pod of dolphins crossed the bow.  There must have been a thousand of them leaping and bounding.  It was a wonderful beginning to a nice day.

After watching scads of flying fish scurrying about all day long, we felt pretty confident that predators lie below us.  One flying fish actually flew onto the boat, ricocheted off the boom, and flew into the cockpit giving us all quite a start.  Later in the day, I thought I saw another pod of dolphins swimming alongside the boat this time.  I peeked over to watch them swim, and then began to wonder why they weren’t surfacing at all.  Upon closer review, I realized that they were not dolphins at all, but yellow fin tuna.  Huge massive 4-feet long yellow fin tuna … at least 10 of them. 

Andy put lines out immediately, but he only succeeded in losing one lure to an unseen leviathan and having another fish (a sizeable wahoo) break free just as we were trying to land it.  So far, it’s Fish 2, Andy 0.

A Truly Eventful Day

Posted by: melissa

Experienced sailors call the Pacific crossing “the milk run” because it’s notoriously easy, calm, and mundane (touch wood).  Well, today has been anything but mundane!

First of all, we had a bad night.  After the fishing disappointment, some weather and swell started up that was markedly un-Pacific.  Ian spent his watch dodging about 6 squalls that kept causing the wind to change.  Andy’s watch was also extremely rough with erratic rolling swells that we couldn’t quite manage to consistently take on the quarter (which is much more comfortable than square on the beam).  Andy also fashioned a truly fantastic boom lashing solution which secures the previously squeaking and moaning boom totally still.  Even with the constant noise diminished, everyone still slept badly.

Even so, watches must go on!  Later, Ian spotted something off the portside bow about three-quarters of a mile away, and said, “whale.”  I looked out and sure enough, a huge gray-colored whale was swimming and spouting along.  Although we were awed, whales in this part of the ocean can be aggressive, so first and foremost, we tracked its course, and changed our own heading to steer quite clear.  (Ironically, Ian was reading “In the Heart of the Sea” at the time).  I then woke Andy, and grabbed the camera.  The shot is a bit Loch Ness-like in its blurriness so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  From the color and size and angled spout, we’re sure that it was a sperm whale.

Later, we were just about to dig in to Ian’s spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.  Ian looked forward, his eyes got really big, and he said an expletive.  I think Andy can take it from here….