The Voyage


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

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

Archive for January, 2009

Melbourne Day 1 — An Auspicious Beginning

Posted by: melissa

The 3:00 a.m. reveille to make our 6:10 a.m. flight out of Auckland put a fairly serious damper on the day, but we tried to make the most of it.  We arrived at the Intercontinental Rialto around 9:00 a.m. to find our room ready, and quite comfortable, so we hit the town.  The hotel is right in the thick of Melbourne in the CBD (Central Business District).  As such, we simply exited the hotel, picked a direction, and just started walking. 

Our first order of business was to purchase a cellular phone since we will be in Australia and New Zealand for the next 7 or 8 months.  So, we hit the local Vodafone branch and explained our situation:  temporary plan, cheap phone, international calls, etc.  As is usually the case here in Australia … no worries, mate.  The whole process took maybe 10 minutes.  We were surprised that no contract is required, and then that much more surprised to find no mailing address is required.   

After some window shopping and a little café society, we went to lunch at a tapas restaurant called MoVida which was absolutely fabulous … beef cheek, Wagyu beef and exotic mushrooms, croquette, anchovies, and all kinds of great dishes.  This delicious meal and a bottle of wine prompted a sluggish walk back to the hotel for a big nap.

We lounged and napped for several hours, and then got ready for our dinner with Keenan’s parents.  Who’s Keenan, and why are you going out with his parents, you ask?  Some back story is required.  Awhile back, we were investigating several visa issues regarding multiple entries and exits from Australia.  Our plan is to fly to Australia once (for our Melbourne, Perth, Indian Pacific Railroad, Adelaide, Sydney trip), sail to Australia with the boat (spending at least 4 to 5 months sailing up the east coast), and fly to and from the United States in May of 2009 for Andy’s brother’s wedding.  As such, our visa situation could be quite confusing so while we were in Los Angeles this time, we headed to the Australian Consulate to talk to them in person. 

Unfortunately, after driving all the way over to west L.A., the Australian Consulate no longer consults on immigration and visa issues.  They gave us a 1-800 number of a visa specialist in Montreal, so we sat down in the lobby to give them a call. 

As I asked a million questions and gathered the necessary information, Andy started chatting with two Australian guys from Melbourne who were hanging out in the Consulate office.  He learned that they were traveling the world, and one had lost his passport while in San Diego.  The whole situation was turning into quite the logistical nightmare.  The Consulate wanted official copies of his and his mother’s birth certificate, and of course, it was the New Year’s Day holidays in Australia.  The rest of their group had already moved on to Las Vegas, and their next several stops to South America were already in jeopardy.  They looked bummed and bewildered.  The minute I saw Andy walk over to them, I knew we would be taking them under our wing. 

So we packed up their stuff, got Keenan a new passport picture (curiously, for Australian passport purposes, you are not allowed to smile), and headed off to Los Feliz for some Yuca’s burritos.  I phoned Andy’s mom on the down-low and dropped a subtle hint that we should take care of these guys and put them up for the night.  She immediately agreed. 

We then proceeded to have a lovely evening.  Keenan and Jimmy caught up on Internet stuff, chatted on the phone with their parents, made the necessary arrangements for the delivery of Keenan’s birth certificate, etc.  In the interest of a home-cooked meal of comfort food, Astrid made a trough of baked rigatoni and chicken parmesan which was delicious.  We sat down to watch Oregon beat up on Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl, drank some beers, played with the dog, and talked about sports and life.  Very fun, indeed.  Andy and I blew up the air mattresses and tucked them in.

Andy drove them back to the Australian Consulate the next morning so they could finish up the passport reissuing process and catch their ride to Las Vegas.  We exchanged contact information, but we know from a lot of experience of meeting people around the world, promises to stay in touch don’t always materialize.  But several days later, we received emails from Jimmy’s father and both of Keenan’s parents thanking us profusely for looking after them, saying that our actions prove the kindness of humanity, and showering us with social invitations upon our arrival in Melbourne.  We really appreciated their kind words, and we wanted to meet them since we enjoyed their sons’ company so much.

And so, back to our first day in Melbourne … Keenan’s parents, John and Loretta, picked us up at the hotel at 7:00 p.m.  We went to a lovely restaurant called La Luna in the Melbourne neighborhood of Carlton, and proceeded to have a perfectly lovely evening.  Andy had the porterhouse, John had the sausage, and Loretta and I both had the sizzling pork.  And we all had plenty o’ delicious wine and laughing!  Just as we suspected, John and Loretta are super-fun and interesting people. 

But all good things must come to an end … except daytime in Melbourne during the summer evidently.  Sunset is after 9:00 p.m. and it’s completely screwing up my body clock.

A Lovely Morning of Hotel Amenities

Posted by: melissa

Unfortunately, Andy woke up this morning feeling really crappy.  He has a fever, sore throat and is super-tired since he coughed his head off all night long.  I, however, feel great.  The cricket starts at 2:15 p.m., so I decided to let Andy relax as late as possible.  Plus, we have a lot of errands to accomplish while we’re here. 

The hotel is gorgeous.  It just reopened after a massive refurbishment, and we have the reopening promotion to thank for our excellent rate.  Having most of the morning to myself, I had breakfast in the dining room, tasked the very competent Concierge with confirming our many restaurant reservations, caught up with email, and took advantage of the gym facilities, and indoor pool and jacuzzi. 

Back in 9-to-5 real life, I was a bit of gym rat … workout fanatic might be more like it.  I ran a lot, hiked, did Bikram yoga, Pilates, etc.  Now that my lifestyle is extremely transient, oftentimes strange, logistically complex, and totally ambiguous, workouts for the sake of exercise (especially gym workouts) are few and far between.

Furthermore, my priorities have changed.  I used to say the phrase, “If I didn’t work, I would definitely [insert worthwhile activity],” and the phrase “work out more” often followed.  But it’s funny how when the “if” phrase becomes reality, things pan out so differently.  I guess other things pile up to fill the time, and when the “other thing” is a boat, the pile is extremely high.  Furthermore, we are not on “Outward Bound” and we are not “weekend warriors.”  This is everyday life for us, not vacation, which makes a difference as to how we spend our time.     

A lot of our friends comment that this trip must be so healthy and outdoorsy.  The opposite is true.  What about the sailing part, you ask?  Isn’t that physically active?  No.  Absolutely not.  It’s not America’s Cup racing stuff with a crew like a well-oiled machine.  There’s no high-pressure tacking, very little grinding of winches (unless the electrics are out and then we endlessly gripe because it’s a nightmare), no dropping headsails and flying spinnakers.  On our three-week sail from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, we tacked once and tacked back once.  The rest of the time, the boat basically sailed itself in the very constant and reliable trade winds.  We sat on our asses bored to death.

The other issue has to do with the availability of stuff.  On a trip like this, you have to eat what is available to you, and sometimes the safest thing on the menu is French fries.  In my 9-to-5 life (particularly while marathon training), I would plan a lot of my meals to ensure some balance of protein to carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, liquids and electrolytes, etc.  In many places, you’re lucky to have fresh meat and you’re subsequently crazy to ask for something extra lean.  When the supply ship doesn’t come in, you’re looking at canned corned beef.  Yummy.  In many places, you’re lucky to have fresh produce.  Everyone views the islands as a paradise of plenty where fruit is plucked from the trees and a ripe banana is never more than an arm’s length away.  Nope.  Produce is seasonal in paradise just like everywhere else. 

Back to my point, the gym is a real treat and I was happy to take advantage of the facilities!