Second star on the right and straight on ’till morning
I’m lying in bed, but I’m not falling asleep. I know I should; it’s the last full uninterrupted night of sleep I’m going to get for a good long time. But my brain is buzzing.
Do we have plenty of water? Did I forget to download anything important? Did I buy enough onions? I should set up an away message on my email in the morning. We still need to deflate the paddleboards and strap down the diesel jerry cans and do the dishes and check the engine oil and….
The last-minute details march around my brain in mayhem like a Carnival festival in the streets of Panama City. They hide the real thoughts, the ones that are actually keeping my body from relaxing tonight. A month is a long time without a full night’s sleep or internet access or stable solid ground. Will I be miserable? Are we prepared? Will Halcyon do her part? Will the weather be good? What are we going to break? How will I combat the boredom? Will it be fun?
Crossing the Pacific Ocean by sailboat, so we can slowly cruise the islands of the south pacific, has been a dream of mine for a long time. I don’t know how long, but let’s call it a decade. We’ve planned for it, fantasized about it, read about it, argued over it, researched it, and thought about it a lot. It always felt like a long way off. Something we would do “someday.” Even the last few months, up to our necks in boat projects and provisioning and weather-watching, it felt far away.
And now it’s tomorrow. Not someday, not next year, not 20 tomorrows away. Just tomorrow. In only a few hours, we are going to start the engine, shake off the mooring ball lines, hoist the main, and sail away. Into the sunset. Into the great unknown. Across the ocean.
The passage is about 4,000 nautical miles from Panama (which is due south of Virginia and in the eastern time zone) to The Gambier Islands (second start to the right, and straight on ‘till morning). We will sail south first and cross the equator, to get out of the soft fickle winds of Panama and into the steady trade winds. From there, it’s mostly west with a little bit of south until land rises from the sea. You can follow us on our tracker – it’s on the “map” tab. I’ll update it daily with our location and conditions.
So, wish us luck, or fair winds, or god speed, or broken legs, or whatever it is you wish people. We’re off on an adventure.