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Pandion
Our family adventures on the sailing vessel Pandion cruising the Pacific.
ARRIVED!
Lola
07/11/2012, Suwarrow, Cooks Islands

Distance to go: 0!! Miles traveled: 683 Hours on passage: about 96.

We dropped the hook in 40 feet of crystal clear water a couple of hours ago. OMG. Not many minutes after arrival we were greeted by Tao, a jaunty little boat from San Francisco. The water is stunning. Lots of coral, lots of reef sharks and fish right under the boat, (clearly looking for handouts) and gorgeous thickly wooded motus. We'd been here no more than half an hour when a dinghy came up with two men aboard (one from each of the two aluminum boats other than pandion on the anchorage.) they had many and more yummy loooking fishes and they invited us ashore for a beach BBQ later. OH YAY! Suwarrow is GORGEOUS. I am feeling ecstatic.

Sage is high as a kite on excitement. She super psyched about being here - she's less fond of passage that I but she's also a better sport about it than I. She got it into her head at 3 AM that she was going to make crepes as soon as we dropped the hook and got settled. Sure enough, as Lorca and I were straightening out the decks n such Sage was below making egg and cheese crepes. She did it all on her own. I went below and there she was cooking away. The galley was in utter disarray but hell, a few minutes later I had a hot delicious crepe in my hands. And she didn't burn the boat down!! She's such a great kid.

So we're here, we're excited and we have two weeks to explores this amazing place. We already know that it won't be long enough.

Underway!
LAND HO!
Lola
07/10/2012, Back In the Great Pacific!

Miles to Go: 12!! YES! Bearing: 304 True Wind: 8 to 9 knots 140 degrees over the starboard quarter Sea state: Mixed swell; 6-to feet from the E, SE and SSE LUMPY! Mindstate: Ecstatic! Exhausted. Skies: 50% Cumulus cover, sunny, warm. (finally!) Sails: Running Wing and Wing with a single reef in the main (mostly because we're too exhausted to shake out the reef)

We're almost there! Oh thank goodness. Lorca and I are exhausted. We're all somewhat malnourished from eating whatever is easy and close by. Sage looks like a slip of a thing and I'm all puffy from too much salt (packaged and canned foods) Gross. It's been a pretty easy passage but we sail short-handed with a child aboard so it can be pretty exhausting even when conditions are perfect. Our sleeping arrangements are better now - I've moved the memory foam for the forward seaberths to the pilothouse seaberths and it's way more comfortable that it was. But it's still REALLY hard to get much sleep. We fall asleep, a big wave rolls us and we roll with it which, for you non-sailors out there is like someone coming into your room every time you've just fallen into a deep sleep and picking up your bed and tilting it 45 degrees. Then, when you reach the edge of the bed they catch you with a coarse net that scrapes your nose or catches a finger. The best though is when you're body finally goes into hibernate mode because you're so damn tired that you sleep despite the bouncing bed and you wake up later with net prints all over your face and body. With all the rolling your body is constantly aware and making adjustments which means you just never, ever get meaningful rest. I got better sleep during finals week in college at Cal. In fact, I'm sure I got better sleep when Sage was wee sprout in my arms. Remember, this goes on for days and days. What's the payoff? We will arrive in a few hours to an atoll in the middle of the vast Pacific that is uninhabited save for the care-taker-ranger family who lives there only 6 months of the year to accommodate we cruising sailors. The ONLY way you can get here is by doing what we're doing. SO WORTH IT!!!

Yesterday was utterly exhausting. It rained off and on all day making things wet and sticky. We had squalls all day but we were flying making 9-11 knots. (hence the 4 day passage) I am so incredibly grateful that I've not been seasick save for the first day. I've been cooking (sort of) cleaning up and this morning I even worked the foredeck....something I never do because I get so seasick. YAY!! The last two days have been cold and rainy and everything has been damp and sticky and things were starting to smell funny, including me, I'm sure. I've been tending to the important bits with washcloth, soap and water, but after two days of sticky, wet weather, I was more than ready for a proper bath this morning. You know you've had a long few days when a seawater bucket bath is delightfully refreshing and feels luxurious. I had THREE dreads in my hair. I'm not kidding. I tried to pick them out with a comb but I don't have patience for such things so I just ripped then out. I'm glad I have curly hair - might look funny elsewise. Probably should brush it now and again. I washed, conditioned and oiled my hair - oh god I feel like a QUEEN!!! I scrubbed the hell out of my body with a nice rough wash cloth and scrubbed myself dry with a nice rough sun-dried towel. FOr you cruisers out there who are reading this - all Loreal shampoos work incredibly well in salt water as do their conditioners. We use the shampoo for body soap as well. They lather richly and rinse pretty clean. Pert plus also works great in salt water.

Last night was very stressful - we had big nasty squalls. One big squall line we managed to avoid, but just barely. At first, the wind shifted a full 60 degrees so Lorca altered course to accommodate the wind. It was dark and he had initially wanted to jibe the jib so we could stay on course, But it was poled out, raining and rough so I said, "I'm totally not excited about you working the foredeck." So we altered course but then when I looked at the radar images we were heading right into the middle of this insane looking squall line. I don't know if it was a true squall line - they can be treacherous - but the wind had clocked round 60 degrees and I thought it likely local effects of the big nasty whatever it was. On our new course we would have sailed right into the middle of the damn thing. I decided that it would be safer to furl the jib, leave the pole out, sheet the main to center and motor the hell away from the big nasty. I had Lorca help me with sails and told him to go to sleep and that I'd wake him when I needed to set the sails again. I motored for an hour or so on a course that would let the big nasty pass astern of us. I was about to wake Lorca because it looked like it was mostly passed (past?) but there was still a little hook wrapping around the stern of the boat so I decided to wait. Winds had been a little higher and quite shifty but everything had been pretty straightforward. I decided to wait till the "hook" of the squall line passed to wake Lorca. Our batteries were starting to get a little low with all of our instruments running and no sun for two whole days. We were about 800 amphours behind and our batteries were only about 70 percent charged. No biggie, we have a huge trojan battery bank, a huge solar array and we're in the tropics so I wasn't worried, per se, but I figured an extra 30 minutes of motoring would be the most prudent thing to do all things considered. I'm glad I didn't wake him. Just after I made the decision a huge gust of wind hit the boat hard and heeled us sharply to port and had I not had the lee cloth up I would have ended up getting launched across the pilothouse squashing my poor, unsuspecting, sleeping husband. I eased the main and turned down wind to lessen our apparent wind. The "hook" of the squall line (It was a hook-shaped squall line that was about 12 miles long, 2-4 miles wide, to port and the tail hooked around the stern of the boat. It looked like a crochet needle.) Was at least a mile off our stern but boy was it full of piss. With the jib down and the mail easy to handle from the pilothouse I was able to maneuver us comfortably away from the big nasty and about 45 minutes later we were clear of the thing. I woke the poor, weary huzzby and we set sails again and barreled toward our destination at a good 9-10 knots often surfing to 11 and 12 knots. Noon today is officially 4 days (96 hours) which is a great passage time. Somewhere around 1 am we lost our wind and were making only 3 knots which is normally fine but the swell had gotten big enough that the sails were slatting badly and making the entire rig shudder with each roll. I furled the jib, sheeted in the main and fired up the motor. Motoring is so slow compared to sailing. The motion is different and the fumes...ugh...the fumes. Pandion sails like the devil and after spending so much time doing 10 knots, 7 and 8 feels slow. But that's Ok, we have a good strong motor and i'm grateful for it. I woke Lorca at 3:30 AM for his watch and put myself to bed with earplugs. I woke 8 am, popped out my earplugs and heard the rush of water along the hull and there was sun (GLORIOUS SUN!) peeking through my portlights. The wind had come back in the wee hours of the morning and Lorca had gotten us undersail again.

We took down our French courtesy flag (sniff sniff ;( ) and hung our Cooks Island Flag. Our beautiful Stars and Stripes flag is flapping proudly astern and we're about to make landfall. There are boobys and terns hunting the huge schools of fish that are being driven up by the good-sized bonito. They are making quite racket squorking and growling at each other. Sage and I had a good time fantasizing about what they might be saying to each other. I'm guessing the little fish are taking refuge under the boat while being hunted by the Bonito. For the last ten miles or so the boobys and terns have been with us and my little girl has been running all around the boat getting pictures and movies of them. She's calling to me now insisting that I come to the bow to witness it all so that's my cue to sign off. More later from anchorage. 700 more miles under our keel. Another safe passage to thank the gods for.

Lola out.

Underway!
07/12/2012 | gm
Whew! Sounds exciting, and I like my exciting in the past tense.
Passage to Suwarrow Day# 4 and a FISH!
Lola
07/10/2012, Back In the Great Pacific!

Miles to Go: 212nm!! Heading: 288 True Speed: Steady at 9.5 knots surfing 11-12 knots - We are FLYING! Seas - Lumpy and building but Pandion handling it well, per usual. 8-10 feet, SSE ;S Wind: 17-22 apparent 120-170 degrees off the port quarter Sky - 100 percent cloud cover, gray, gray, everywhere gray. occasional rain Expected arrival to Suwarrow: This time tomorrow if all remains the same.

As you can see we are FLYING! I forgot to add yesterday that Lorca caught a fish the night before last. YAY! It's been awhile and the Wahoo remains elusive but Lorca landed us a very nice 25 LB ish (maybe more) Yellowfin tuna. Oh yah! It's the first time he's caught a fish with his new system. SO EASY! If you know Uncle Jared, ask him what it was like to haul in a fish while under sail. This is how it used to go:

I or Lorca usually go below to take a nap, or we're in the middle of a sail change, or one of us us making dinner....my point is that the line doesn't go BZZZZZZZZZZ! Until one or the other of us is occupied. So the line goes BZZZZZZZZZZ! I go FLYING up the campanion way stairs usually tripping on Sage who is in the middle of the pilot house jumping up and down yelling, "FISH FISH FISH!" There's almost always a stubbed toe involved. Lorca starts dealing with the helm but as I get up there I yell, "I GOT THE HELM I GOT THE HELM!!!" I throw the helm over and heave us to while Lorca fights the fish. If it's h MahiMahi we're treated to an amazing show as they fight by leaping and flying out of the water thrashing to shake the lure. If it's tuna we never see it, they like to dive some and more. I just see Lorcas biceps bulging under his way cool Marquesan tattoos which I don't mind so much. He looks super macho when he's reeling in a fish. "Husband hunt fish, wife hunt Tupperware and wasabi." He brings fish to side of boat and I grab gaff and try to gaff fish while boat is heaving and pitching. It's a long way down from a 68 foot boat to the water and Pandion doesn't even have much freeboard. If we're lucky the fish gets gaffed without bleeding all over the boat. Fish blood turns to stone in about 2 seconds when spilt on aluminum. We found this out the hard way. (EW!) We schlepp the fish on board (Lorca doesn't waste his time with small fish - always big lures, always big fish) which is nearly always challenging because Lorca fishes for the BIG fishes. Once on board we spray the gills with ETOH to anesthetize them (this is required by our daughter who will not condone the bludgeoning of a fish with a fish bat. I am in accord with my sensitive daughter) tie a rope around tail, slit the gills, toss fish back in the drink to bleed it out, wash blood off boat RIGHT AWAY, bring fish back aboard, get back underway, Lorca cleans fish, I fetch tupperwares and wasabi and soy for still warm and still twitching sashimi, and WHEW...there you have it.

But this last fish was different. Lorca rigged up a super-cool, easy system with a plastic hand reel, some low friction big line and a big lure. The line is payed out through our aft lifting tackle which is attached to our dinghy boom arm. The line runs through three blocks total in order to lead fair to our primary coffee grinder winches. The lifting boom swings through roughtly 270 degrees. Lorca pays out the line, and secures the boom arm with a large piece of velcro. If the fish hits the line, the force of the hit will swing the boom arm out alerting us to the fish. Here's how it went night before last.

Lorca below cooking because I was seasick. Lorca comes topsides after cleaning up and announces, "I believe it's Fish'O'clock! (or maybe he said Fishthirty) I was confused but watched him as he strolled aft to check the line. It had been swung 'round and when he grabbed the line he felt tension on it so he wrapped it around the port primary coffee grinder and I started reeling it the boot, or fish or whatever what at the other end. There was a lot of line out and I put the winch in third gear but it seemed for ever to haul the boot/fish/whatever in. It took almost no effort though. Seriously. I just sat there like I was at the gyn or something grinding away at the winch. I was pretty sure there was nothing on there because it was all too easy. But then Lorca was getting the gaff and I was like, "HUH! Oh crap, there's a fish!" Fish gaffed, gills sprayed n slit, fish bled, fish cleaned and now, Maguro sits in the fridge waiting to be et. It was SO EASY. No heaving to, no tripping over Sage, no stubbed toes no lost fish. Oh, and no bulging husband muscles either. Oh well.

I'm so ready to be there. Passage is not my thing. This is an easy pasasge and has been very fast the last 48 hours. If we make it in by tomorrow this time it will have been a 4 day passage. Pretty good considering our first day and a half had been so darn slow. We had been looking at the GRIBS thinking that it'd be more like 6 days. The weather has turned pretty pissy - we actually feel like we're on the California Coast now - it's rough and gray and sprinkly. The only difference is that the CA coast is much more tracherous and rough and it's CCCCCOLD. We're warm, thank goodness. The boats behind us are in my thoughts...I'm sure they're smaller creatures than Pandion and I wonder how they are faring in this messy weather.

24 more hours should put us there. Hopefully the seas will either moderate at best, or at least stay the same. I'm am so thankfully not seasick and not medicated. A little shocked but so so grateful. Even when Pandion leaps off the waves and drops into a trough I'm not feeling it much. OH THANK THE GODS! We're getting mildlu tossed about the cabin but I've either gotten used to it and can compensate or it's not nearly as bad as previous passages with that violent rolling that would literally toss one across the cabin. I think probably the latter. Oh, and I finally got some sleep! YES.

Next report will be from Suwarrow at anchor while gorging myself on Poisson Cru and Maguro Sashimi.

Underway!
Passage to Suwarrow Day #3
Lola
07/09/2012, Back In the Great Pacific!

Passage Day #3 Miles to Go: 412nm (average of 7.15 knots/hour over 20 hours. Heading: 287, True Wind: 14 to 18 apparent SSE Seastate: Mixed swell; 2-3 meters from SSEand S

Last night the wind picked up. We're making great weigh with Pandion making steady 9 knots. Often she's surfing to 10 n 11 knots. Seas are getting bigger but still quite benign. Sleepless night for me - by the time I was off watch the boat was well-heeled and sleeping wasn't an option.

At this speed and direction we'll make Suwarrow in 2 days time.

Yesterday there were two boat trying to make radio contact as we passed a very small Motu called, "Motu One." (pronounced OH-NAY) They were both performing radio checks. One boat, "RIO" we heard loud and clear but he could not hear us. He's sailing in Tandem to Suwarrow with another boat with whom we also came in radio contact. They contacted us via VHF which means they are close. Yesterday afternoon, the other boat, with whom we had a very light copy, was about 18miles behind us. Not sure where Rio is. Though, after the winds picked up last night I'm thinking we've likely left them in the dust. Unless they're big like us their waterline will limit their speed. We averaged 7.15 knots/ hour over the last 20 hours which is pretty darn good considering we spend quite a few hours making only 2-3 knots. I'm really hoping it keeps up.

I'm only mildly seasick and only when I go below and move around bunch. For this I am quite grateful.

Underway!
07/09/2012 | g'mommy
Guess it's time to google Suwarrow. Good passage. love,
Passage to Suwarrow (Suvarov)
Lola
07/08/2012, Back In the Great Pacific!

Passage Day #'s 1 & 2 Miles to go 555 (starting mileage 683) Sea state: MELLOW! (thank goodness) Wind: 6 to 8 apparent; fairly steady Speed: 5-6 knots

Yesterday I reluctantly said goodbye to French Polynesia. It was a sweet three months there and I'll miss it tremendously. But, more adventure awaits and so, here we are, on passage to Suwarrow. (formerly called Suvarov.)

Yesterday was lovely. We have a very calm sea state and light winds and with a wind angle of 140-180 over the port quarter/stern. We're making steady way, the sea is mellow enough that I'm only mildly woozy and if I lie down I'm good as gold. I'm not fond of passage - the constant motion is hell on my already challenged joints and makes sleeping nearly impossible. But, if I have to be out here to get the magic, well, this is pretty OK with me. It's rare that we've had such nice conditions so I'm trying hard to enjoy it through the feeling crappy. Always a challenge.

We got some good rain last night and were able to catch some rain - though with the roll I'm not sure how much actually made it into our tanks. Lorca and I have both decided that we'll just live in the pilothouse on passage because sleeping in the aft cabin just doesn't work for us. We've never put up lee-cloths so I end up feeling like a piece of Shake-N-Bake chicken getting rolled around in a bag. But the pilothouse settees are like sleeping on a stone slab (because my old-lady joints just won't have it) so I took the memory foam cushions from the forward cabin upper bunks and it's way more comfortable up here. Oh halleluja! Neither of us really slept but it's a little more comfortable.

We got caught by some squalls last night but they didn't have wind in them - just lots of rain which I found very strange. I saw them on radar, and, as they approached I got ready to furl sails but the wind never came. It was so odd! WIth wind light as it is we'll make slow but steady progress toward Suwarrow and at this pace it should be another 4-5 days. The winds are supposed to pick up slightly and we'll likely make about 7 knots then.

Underway!
Sage's Birthday, our last day in French Polynesia
Lola
07/07/2012, Maupiti

Yesterday was Sage's 11 birthday and our last day in French Polynesia for...who knows how long? At the end of the day she said to me, "BEST DAY EVER MOM!" I call that a successful day for sure! Sage's requests were simple: SCUBA with the Mantas in the AM, off to town for a lunch at the little resto at lunchtime and then a bike ride around the island.

Sage woke and I made her her breakfast request which was Cardamom/Raisin Rice pudding and we gave her prezzies from us and....the best part for her - a mini pinata that she busted open with her bare fists! (the kid's a beast! She does 60 pushup, 15 pullups, 65 situps, 3 minutes of other ab workout, stretching, squats and a couple of other things for PE every day - this is her daily homeschool routine that I made up for her...and she's super strong now)

It went like that, but better! We started the morning by gearing up for a dive, descended and found NO MANTAS! Argh! How dare they not be there on my daughter's birthday! Ok fine...we'll go dive near the pass. The pass proved not exciting but we saw the daily SCUBA with Mantas boat at the buoy so we headed back over there. Sage was working hard to get over her disappointment (she really REALLY wanted to hang out with the Mantas again). We got there, saw the divers' bubbles and figured the mantas has to be there. We descended and sure enough there were 5. YAY! We stayed down till Sage and Lorca were both cold and headed back to the boat.

I used up the last 2000psi of air to clean the bottom of the boat. (my Sisiphean task for the week...) The bottom paint that was slapped onto our hull before we left continues to give us much grief (Seahawk Smart Solutions) we are constantly cleaning the bottom. This round of growth was particularly impressive. There were FOOT LONG wisps of green stuff streaming gracefully form the bottom and it's really hard to get off with a brush. It looked as if swamp thing had taken up residence on the bottom of the boat. But, brilliant woman that I am I used my dough scraper (King Arthur brand!) that I use when I make sourdough to scrape off the carpet of green sea growth. It worked really, really well and removed, in sheets, the thick growth that had accumulated just this week. I really hate that paint. But, I was super happy to figure out the dough scraper thing because I cleaned the entire starboard side from waterline to keel and still had 8 psi of air left (meaning I was able to do it in half the time...) Hopefully the hull will be smooth enough for Pandion to do her thing which is sail to quickly and comfortably.

When I surfaced from cleaning the boat a Mega yacht had anchored near us. Now, normally I am not fond of Mega Yachts. They tend to be full of stuffy people that don't know how to play joyfully and the yachts are SO UGLY! This one, though was very different. We had been aboard, "Mea Culpa" in fatu Hiva which, when she was built she was the largest sport fishing boat in the world. And that boat was pretty cool. But the rest of the Mega Yachts we've seen have been pretty yucky. Anyway, we thought we saw kids aboard and then we saw someone small racing around in a cape and we thought, "There HAVE to be kids aboard." It's been really hard to find kids for Sage to play with and she's such a social kid. I was busy with stuff below (preparing for passage to Suwarrow) and Lorca and Sage went over to the MY for some kid reconnaissance. This yacht is gorgeous. She's sleek and fast and not gaudy like most yachts. She looks like she was made for speed. Lorca and Sage spoke with the captain (the crew is really nice - usually the crew send out chilly vibes, presumably to guard the privacy of their high-profile owners) and he told them that she's built of Aluminum and was built for speed and fuel economy. She'll burn 120 liters an hour at 18 knots cruising speed. She's 240 feet, light and aerodynamic. OK, maybe I'm a little impressed.

Lorca spoke with the owners as well who are young, probably our age and just mellow and cool people. There were two couples aboard with two sets of kids but they were all super little (al lunder 4) so we failed to produce a playmate for the girl. *sigh* So we told them about the Mantas and went on our way.

We went to town and met, "Johnny Coconut" for lunch. Johnny is a guy we met in Raiatea, then saw him again in Bora and now he's in Maupiti where he lives most of the year. When he's not here in French Polynesia, he is a barber in Davis. He's 71 but looks 50 and is a super sweet guy. He lunched with us and was so SO sweet. He had hand-made a birthday card for Sage (he's a pretty darn good artist) and had brought her a beautiful shell necklace. Sage was SO TOUCHED. And, of course, so was I. When people are generous and kind to your kid, it really means the world. We had a nice lunch chatting with him and feeding the local restaurant cat pieces of poisson cru and then headed off to rent bikes. We had a great ride around the island and stopped to buy a couple more regimes of bananas from the super sweet banana guy. (the bananas are as sweet as the buy!) At the top of the hill we met some folks from Palo Alto who were clearly hipsters and while they were super sweet adventurous folk, I felt so OLD around them. (hispters'll do that to you.) Though, I have to say, 2/3 of them were wearing the same sunglass as I so I guess I'm not that dorky afterall. ;) Later we found out that the Mega Yacht Owners are from Palo Alto as well! HAH! All this time there's been a dearth of Americans in French Poly (which I guess is good in a way...Americans can be so gross sometimes...) and now we meet two sets at this isolated atoll and they're both from the Bay Area. Kinda cool. Johnny bought Sage an ice cream for the store and bought me a diet coke (knowing my addiction to the bubbly artificial drink) which again, as is his style, was so sweet and thoughtful. Before we parted ways he agreed to come and sup with us for Sage birthday.

When we got back to the boat we realized a few things: It was late and Johnny would be to t he boat soon; the boat was a disaster; and, I hadn't made Sage's cake yet. The boat had been locked up all day and it was a hot day and below decks was a freaking INFERNO. I felt like we were back in the Marquesas! But, it all worked out fine, the boat stayed a mess, Lorca made his AMAZING capellini with clam sauce (it was SO good.) and my cake...well, it was interesting. Baking in a marine oven is more than challenging. I made my usual chocolate cake that has ALWAYS come out fabulously...but....we're on a boat and baking on a boat...well...I put the cake in the 9 X 13 sheet instead of the rounds thinking it would cook better. HAH! It came out looking, in profile, exactly like the Island of Maupiti. We were CRACKING up. Maupiti means, "two mountain" in Tahitian and yes, my cake had two mountains. Oh, and of course the bottom burned. Cuz that's what marine ovens to until you get them all figgered out. My butter cream was super tasty but had powdered sugar "rocks" in it. Powdered sugar, even in plastic packaging, does not do well in humidity. Sage didn't care though. She had her mamma's chocolate cake with chocolate mint icing and she was a happy girl. While all this was going on the owners of the Mega Yacht came by. Just as the were leaving I went above decks and saw them. Lorca had been telling them how much I love babies and that they ought escape before I saw the baby. They didn't escape but I didn't get to hold the baby either - the came over in a kayak....dangit. She's 10 months and still has those super fat legs that you just want to squish and nibble. Clearly breast-fed baby - the cheeks were huge. Edible! The wife of the pair kept looking super familiar to me and it finally dawned on my that she looks just like my friend Laura and then I got homesick for a little bit. I miss you Laura!! Anyway, they invited us to dinner aboard their boat but Lorca had finished the clam sauce so we agreed to go over there for drinks instead. We went for drinks, but didn't drink because we were all so full of cake and pasta that we could barely move. Johnny Coconut came with us too. We chatted while they ate dinner. Really neat, young people with very sharp and interesting minds. It was so refreshing! We've met so many old folks out here and it was so nice to be around smart, articulate young people again! But also interesting people with good minds. Ahhhhh....I love the older folks we've met out here as well, but there are a lot of them and I've had my fill....I was really needing a dose of peers. Estrellita and Cheers are still back in Bora Bora and we've not seen them since the Tuamotus and Namaste has put their boat up on the hard in Apataki to go back home to Tahoe and have their baby. John and Gail from Music are hading to Hawaii and we've seen the last of them for awhile. Anyway, my point is that it was really nice to hav a civilized chat with young interesting folk. The best part though, was that when dessert came out someone let it be known that it was Sage's birthday and one of the crew brought her a chocolate thing with a candle on in it and we sang happy birthday to her again. Remember what I said about how much it means when people are good to your kid?

When we got back to the boat Sage opened her present from Grandmommy. Sage was SO TOUCHED by them all. Super sweet, thoughtful gifts. The best one was a big box of candy full of Sage's favorites. The box, though was the best part....it has a lock and key. Hmmm....Since Lorca and I are the only others aboard...what does this mean? Totally cracked us up. She knows us too well. Sage's birthday fell on a Friday and Friday is family movie night. Sweet Johnny Coconut had brought Sage two new DVDs and while he was too tired to watch the movie with us, we three rallied and stayed up to watch one of the movies he brought. "Dunston Checks In." Super cute 80's flick. Sage loved it. I am SO GRATEFUL to Johnny Coconut and the folks on the Mega Yacht for making her birthday even better than it had already been. Sage has been so homesick and was so sad not to have her usual party which Lorca and I do up big, as you all know, every year. She misses her friends and it was sad for her to spend her birthday without them. She's such a sweet kid and she never asks for anything and I was feeling so guilty about her not spending the day with her kids. I know that sounds stupid, because, really, SCUBA with Mantas...that's pretty good and next year she can spend with her buddies just like the last many years. But how many birthdays will you get to spend SCUBAing with Mantas, lunching with a cool guy named Johnny Coconut, and desserting on a cool mega yacht? Our last day in French Polynesia was bittersweet. I am loathe to leave this place. I love these islands and their people. I love the language and the culture. But, I also have a little of the wanderlust in me and I'm excited to see new things. So I guess it's more sweet than bitter but still...

Sage wandered out of her cabin this morning looking like hell. She went to bed at 2300 and woke around 0730. She looked completely hung-over on birthday party. A sign of a good day, to be sure! The salon settee is just the other side of the wall from her cabin. (literally 4 steps awayfrom her bed.) She stumbled out of bed and collapsed on to the settee and mumbled, "I'm so tie-erd." I said, "Birthday party hangover, love?" To which she replied, "hrmble mmmble rrrmp." The next audible thing she said was about 40 minutes later and was, "I'm so tie-erd." We'll be on passage all day so maybe it's good she's tired. Put some dramamine in her mouth and let her sleep it off!

We'll not have internet (aside from SSB for weather and short emails) for a month or so (until we get to Niue) so you'll have to wait on pics....I'll try to load a few from yesterday before we take off. We leave for Suwarrow today and we should arrive in 4-6 days. The passage is 700 miles and our winds are light and on the stern so it may be a slow passage. We'll likely blog on passage if seasick meds are working and the seastate isn't so dreadful. We'll definitely try to at least do position reports so y'all don't worry. A la prochaine! Lola out...

Underway!
07/07/2012 | gmommy
I'm SO glad it was a wonderful birthday. I was with you all day, monkeyfish; you just couldn't see me. Hope your travel through the mouth of the lagoon is swift and gentle. How do we say it? Good passage to you! Looking forward to all reports. Love to all,

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