Voyages of Sarah Jean II

Passage Hawaii to Vancouver - Day 12

22 July 2013
Norm
We are completely shrouded by low, dark clouds that reach down to the water. Cold and stark, the scene reminds me of a damp winter day on the west coast, a day to sit by the fire with a big mug of hot chocolate and a good book. Intensifying the feeling is a chilly west wind of 20 kts that has whipped up the sea into blackish green rollers with frothy, wind-blown crests. Yet inside our enclosure, our BUBBLE of TRANQUILITY, Beth and I remain comfortable and warm as Sarah Jean charges along through this January-like day, wing and wing, making tracks for home, her mast top scraping the ash colored sky.

Let's now turn to Joanna. I am new to writing stories, as you can probably tell. I have much to learn. But one thing I have recently discovered is that it is helpful to have a reader in mind as you write; a certain listener to whom your story, hopefully, will appeal. VISION OF JOANNA is a story for kids. In particular, it is written for little girls with big imaginations and a love of adventure.

In Rarotonga I met a precocious six year old girl named Saylor. One day, together with her family, we hiked into the jungle, over mountains and across rivers to the other side of the island. It was a long and arduous hike. I found it hard to keep up with her as she charged along the precipitous trail. At one point she fell badly after stepping on a slippery rock. Saylor wailed for a moment, I think more from dismay than anything, but quickly picked herself up and set off again at the same blistering pace. Sharp as a tack, tough as nails and cute as a button, she reminded me to never underestimate the capabilities and resilience of little people. With two older brothers to contend with, and currently in the midst of her own adventure sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to Vancouver with her family, Saylor has much in common with Joanna; in fact they could probably be the best of friends.

Saylor, this next chapter, The River, is dedicated to you. Thank you for being my special listener; for being so interested in Joanna. It makes my telling of the story much more fun knowing you care and are eagerly waiting aboard your sailboat, Long Shot II, for the next installment to see what will happen next!

VISION OF JOANNA - A Continuing Blog Adventure Set in Vanuatu

CHAPTER 6 - The River

A great white bird swooped low over the sea, skimming across the wave tops, its long wings spread wide. Suddenly changing direction it soared upwards towards the cloudless blue sky only to dive down towards the surface of the water again. Joanna rode on its back, her arms wrapped tightly around the bird's neck, her face pressed deeply into its downy feathers. She leaned into the next turn and hung on, laughing as the bird's wing tip touched the water, sending spray flying up into her face, cool and wet.

Joanna blinked. She sat upright, awakened by the droplet running down her cheek. She looked around and saw she was sitting on a bed of dried leaves below a huge banyan tree. Gnarled, broken vines dangled across the entrance of her small sleeping hollow. She looked up and watched another large droplet of rain fall towards her from the leafy canopy above. Slowly rising to her feet, Joanna struggled to get her bearings. As she held up the sharply pointed boar tusk in her hand, looked at her torn and muddy T-shirt and felt the pain of many cuts and bruises, yesterday's ordeal suddenly came back to her. The reality of being lost and alone in the jungle then hit her with a mighty blow, almost knocking her off her feet, but not quite. Joanna was far from defeated. She stooped down, picked up her knife and stepped out into the clearing.

Joanna was hungry and very thirsty. She had missed dinner last night, and had had nothing to drink since lunch yesterday. Looking beyond the clearing Joanna saw what she thought was the blurry outline of tall coconut trees. Watching and listening for the possible return of the boar, she walked cautiously across the clearing towards the grove. Soon Joanna found what she was looking for; a brown coconut that was not too old. She quickly removed the husk with a sharp stick and then whacked the middle of the coconut with her knife, going around and around several times. With a sudden crack the coconut split apart into two halves, each full of clear, sweet coconut water. She held the shells to her lips, quickly draining both. Then, using her knife she carved out the coconut meat in bite size chunks and then sat down to enjoy her breakfast.

Near the coconut grove were several pandanus trees with their long slender leaves that were ideal for weaving. Joanna had learned much from Mama and was a good weaver, her hands fast and skilled at bending the fiber into many useful items. Joanna broke a leaf off the pandanus tree, still covered in dewy rain drops, and cut it into long narrow strips using the tip of her knife like razor. Within minutes she had woven the strips into a rope-like lanyard. Reaching into her pocket she removed the boar tusk and wrapped her lanyard around and around its base so it was securely held. She then formed a loop with the remaining length of lanyard and hung the completed necklace around her neck, grinning in satisfaction with her handiwork.

She stood and looked in the direction where the wounded boar had limped away yesterday. She shouted at the top of her voice, "Can you see this you mean old boar . . . can you see what I am wearing? Let it be a warning to you. Don't chase me again! If you leave me alone, I will leave you alone!" In a quieter voice she added, "And I'm really sorry I hurt you."

She then sat down and continued her weaving; this time producing a heavy belt from which she slung Papa's carving knife like a small sword. With the tusk around her neck, the knife strapped to her side and a look of fierce determination in her eye, Joanna resembled a miniature warrior princess ready for battle. But there was no one for her to fight. Her quest was simply to find her way home.

The sky was still overcast. Joanna had no sun or shadows to steer by when she headed off into the bush. The heavy rain last night had washed away all her tracks from the day before. All she could do was set out and hope that she was walking in the right direction towards the trail and her village. She was sure Mama and Papa and her brothers would be out searching for her. Hopefully they would find each other soon, before night fell again.

After many hours of tramping through the dense undergrowth Joanna heard the urgent babble of running water. Pressing on she found a stream cascading down a small valley, the water dark and muddy, full of sticks and leaves, swollen from recent rains. Knowing intuitively that this little stream would lead her to the ocean shore where most of the island villages were located, Joanna decided to follow it. It led her down a hill and through a long valley where it flowed into a bigger river, which was also muddy and turbulent. Joanna continued along the bank of the larger river with greater and greater difficulty. The valley walls were steepening, becoming more a more like a canyon. Rocky outcroppings blocked the way here and there. Joanna was forced to hang onto roots and rocks and inch across slippery mud patches.

Gripping a large root firmly with one hand, reaching for a rock handhold with her other hand, Joanna heard a sudden snap! The root had given way! She toppled backward, cart wheeling down the steep embankment into the raging river below. As Joanna surfaced she swam frantically towards the shore, hoping to grab onto to something, anything, to pull herself out. Up ahead she could see the vague shape of a small log projecting from the bank. Kicking and pulling with all her strength she swam towards it. Breathing hard, with huge relief, she reached the log, wrapping her arms around it, clinging to it desperately as the current tried to pull her away. Then, without warning, the log was ripped from the shore, carrying Joanna into to the middle of the raging river, downstream deeper and deeper into the narrowing canyon.

Joanna looked about wildly as she held onto the slippery log, her grip weakening by the second. She searched the shore for a back eddy of calm water or something she might grasp, perhaps a fallen tree, but all she saw was a blur of brown and green as the current swept her along, holding her firmly in its chilly grip. The canyon walls had now become so steep they blocked out the sunlight. Up ahead a vertical wall of black volcanic rock rose up creating what appeared to be a dead end, blocking the path of the river. But that would be impossible! The river had to flow somewhere!

Then Joanna heard a deafening roar! She suddenly realized with horror that the river was not going around the rock wall, it was going underneath it! Up ahead she could see the turbid rushing water disappearing, pouring over the edge of a dark hole, disappearing down into the ground! She wrapped her arms and legs tightly around the log, took a deep breath and then felt sudden weightlessness as she plunged over the edge of the waterfall, falling, falling into the gaping jaws of the earth itself!

TO BE CONTINUED . . .
Comments
Vessel Name: Sarah Jean II
Vessel Make/Model: Saga 43
Hailing Port: Vancouver, BC
Crew: Norm and Beth Cooper
About: Our home is in White Rock BC. We set sail Sept. 8, 2010 for San Francisco, Mexico, the South Pacific and New Zealand. In April 2013 we will begin our voyage home through Hawaii, completing a 3 year Pacific circumnavigation.
Extra: We'd love to hear from you - send us an email at bethandnorm@gmail.com
Sarah Jean II's Photos - Main
Pruth Bay, located on Calvert Island, is an essential stop along the way. The harbour on the east side is well protected and provides access to west coast beaches by a short trail. The former fishing lodge is now a marine research centre. Visiting boaters are welcome to use their dinghy dock.
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
We enjoyed a great close reach across Queen Charlotte Sound under sunny skies. At the end of the day we anchored in Fury Cove, beautiful and secure with room for lots of boats . . . but we were alone!
3 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
This funky eco resort is located on the north side of Hurst Island. The area has some of the best diving on the BC coast.
7 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
Sointula is a remote but charming community located on Malcolm Island directly east of Port McNeil. It was established in 1901 by a group of Finnish settlers who wanted to create a utopian socialist society.
19 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We spent a couple of days exploring this historic First Nations community located on Cormorant Island near Port McNeil.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
Working our way north through Seymour Narrows and up Johnstone Strait.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
A few photos as we head up the Strait of Georgia, kicking off our 5 month trip to Alaska.
4 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We stopped in Hawaii for a rest and provisions but spent most of our time in the boat yard doing repairs. The photos are of a of a few days exploring wild and wacky Waikiki!
37 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
This was a vigorous upwind sail of 2,300 miles across the equator and the ITCZ.
22 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent our time in the tiny village of Te Tetua. Wonderful, hospitable people. An island paradise! Penrhyn is famous for the fine weaving of hats and fans that the women do, and for the golden colored pipi pearls that are found only on this atoll.
49 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent a couple of weeks here exploring by foot, scooter and snorkel.
20 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
On this passage we were joined by David as guest crew. We also ran into some heavy weather - the BIG LOW!
13 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
The Hauraki Gulf is the vast playground to the east of Auckland where there are many islands and anchorages to explore.
25 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Located about 100 miles offshore northeast of Auckland, Great Barrier is wild and remote. Breathtaking beaches, abundant wildlife and excellent hiking. We spent a couple of weeks on The Barrier.
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Kawau Island is just north of Auckland. We went to visit our friends Daniel and Michelle on s/v Evangeline. They introduced us to the famous offshore sailors Lin and Larry Pardey who live on Kawau.
21 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A place with a funny name but it has a beautiful sandy beach and stunning grassy headlands for walking. A super anchorage in south or southeast winds.
11 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
This very protected bay just south of Cape Brett is the home of an old whaling station. It provides access to the Cape Brett trail where we tramped about one day.
4 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Beutiful oddshore islands just south of Whangaroa Harbour. Clear water and good kayaking. Home of the wreck of the Rainbow Warrier.
9 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
An amazingly protected harbour north of the Bay of Islands. Great hikes with spectacular views.
10 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A few shots around the lovely town and marina at Opua, our home away from home
19 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
We stayed here a few days en route to New Zealand from Noumea. It is a beautiful tropical setting at the very south end of New Caledonia.
26 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Photos of our arrival into New Caledonia and the very modern City of Noumea, a startling contrast to Vanuatu.
47 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
This is a great anchorage. We stopped here when winds were in our face as we attempted to go south. Very pretty onshore!
10 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
A few shots of the Blue Hole, a spectacular freshwater spring near the town of Luganville.
8 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Land of black volcanic beaches, black magic, wood carving and colorful kastom mask dancing!
50 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
A wonderful anchorage providing access to several villages. We saw the most amazing kastom dancing - performed by both men AND women! Balloons were a big hit with the kids!
27 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Wearing only bits of grass and penis sheathes, thrusting spears into the air, they emerged out of the jungle stomping and chanting . . .
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
This where we helped bring a giant marlin to the villagers and where we saw some amazing traditional dancing. The next album is dedicated just to the dancing.
40 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Home of dugongs and lots of sea turtles, this is an awesome anchorage!
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
The biggest city in Vanuatu where we stopped to stock up on food at the great public market.
12 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the seldom visited anchorage where we stopped with friends to deliver much needed school supplies.
40 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
Views of the Port Resolution area including a visit to the fiery volcano!
45 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the most southerly island in Vanuatu and our point of arrival. Beautiful gardens, dugout canoes and the spectacular Mystery island are shown in this album.
36 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the great little island where we spent about a week in September, including our 29th anniversary.
30 Photos
Created 15 September 2012
Our son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, visited us for a couple of weeks. We cruised the Yasawa Island Group and had an excellent time - village visits, hikes, diving, good music & great company!
87 Photos
Created 25 August 2012
This small island was simply stunning. A beautiful village, white sandy beaches, great hiking trails and crystal clear water. This island is not to be missed!
27 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Ono Island is located in SW Fiji at the north end of Kadavu Island. It is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef. The area has some great diving!
46 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This series of photos guides you through the step by step process of spawning giant clams. We watched this in Makogai.
18 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A fascinating place with sea turtles, giant clam breeding and the ruins of a huge leper colony.
33 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Viani Bay is thye anchorage near to Rainbow Reef, one of Fiji's top dive spots. We did 4 dives here with Jack Fischer and got a few good photos.
13 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This village was one of our favorites. The friendly people are originally from Tuvalu and have brought much of their culture with them - including dugout canoes and great weaving skills.
20 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This unique island is NE of Taveuni. We visited Albert Cove and Katherine Bay.
34 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A day spent with Suzy from s/v Sidewinder climbing up to the Tavoro Waterfalls and then hiking the Lavena Coastal Trail.
29 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We really enjoyed Qamea Island. We anchored in Namata Bay and got to know the wonderful MItchell family. Meet some some of them in this album!
19 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
A few shots from our excursion to the north side including a high mountain plantation and very cool cathedral cave.
11 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We anchored here for a few days and enjoyed exploring the many islands and hidden caves by kayak.
16 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
Our visit to the charming village of Daliconi near the Bay of Islands in the Northern Lau Group
16 Photos
Created 17 June 2012
One day we took the bus from Savusavu to Labasa on the opposite side of he island. It is a big town with a large Indo Fijiin population. The market is great and the bus ride is an adventure!
23 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
This album shows our arrival port of Savusavu and an excursions to the Cousteau Dive Resort.
37 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
Our excellent passage from New Zealand to Fiji including a stop at Minerva Reef - a circular atoll in the middle of the ocean!
31 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
A few shots of our excellent passage from Tonga to NZ with Kyle Russell aboard as crew.
29 Photos
Created 31 October 2011
We visited the villages of Matamaka and Nuapapu where we went to church, had lunch with the locals and then the next day visited a school. Lots of fun and some great images!
38 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Even more shots of this great cruising area!
26 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
More of the same great sights and experiences!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
We have so many great photos of Vava'u they are divided into a few albums. This is the first. People, boats, spectacular anchorages and unexpected sights - such as grave quilts!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
Photos of the awesome underwater world of Vava'u including caves, coral, fish and some other creatures.
20 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
A beutiful atoll with a population of only 3 permanent residents awaits those who brave the narrow pass into the lagoon.
25 Photos
Created 5 August 2011
Bora Bora has lived up to its mythical reputation - a towering green volcanic peak surounded by motu islands and a beautiful blue lagoon!
21 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We had a short visit to these islans but it was long enough to enjoy a visit to the luxurious Le Tahaa Resort. Wow!
24 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We came to this small gem after an overnight passage from Moorea. Baie D'Avea was one our favorite anchorages so far, made better by very calm conditions!
43 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This is where freinds Bob & janey joined us. Spectacular bays with towering volcanic spires were the highlight of this paradise.
39 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
The exotic island of Tahiti where we celebrated Norm's birthday. Pics include the Papeete market, super yachts and sunsets over Moorea!
27 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This tiny anchorage is located on the outside of the atoll so there is no need to deal with passes or current predictions.
9 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
Crystal clear water, sharks around our boat, spectacular lagoons and a funky bar overlooking the pass made this one of our favorite stops!
30 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This album includes shots of the main village, scuba diving, arrival of the traditional Vaka boats and, of course, our daughter, Amanda, who joined us for some fun times!
29 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This was our first atoll in the Tuomotus Group. Crystal clear water, beautiful motus and quiet isolation made this stop very special.
35 Photos
Created 10 June 2011
Towering cliffs, a rugged hike, huge wterfall and the site of a Survivor TV series - Daniel's Bay has lots to see and experience!
29 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
Wow - what a great island! Excellent harbour, waterfalls, pine forests and high ranch country. Come inside the album and see!
33 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
We visited Hapatoni Bay, famous for artisans, especially carvers. We also visited Hana Moe Noa Bay and Ivaiva Bay where the beaches were white sand and the water crystal clear!
24 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
Fatu Hiva is probably the most spectacular island in the Marquesas Group. Photos include the Bay of Virgins, mountain hikes and a traditional pig roast dinner.
61 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
This was our first landfall in the Marquesas. Photos include the anchorage at Taahuku Bay and village of Atuona, along with an inland road trip across island to Puamau Bay.
84 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We had a wonderful 19 day passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Group of French Polynesia. Photos include everything from laundry day to our equator crossing.
64 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We spent a couple of weeks in February exploring the Gold Coast from Puerto Vallarta south to Manzanillo.
47 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
A few shots of the great marina at La Cruz and our explorations around the Puerto Vallarta area.
17 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
We took a panga trip up the Rio Tovara near San Blas. This is a mangrove jungle area with many birds, iguanas, turtles and even crocodiles.
18 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
This magic island is a breeding area for many species of birds including frigates and blue footed boobies. The birds have no fear of people - allowing very close encounters and amazing photos!
38 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
A collection of random photos taken at Marina El Cid and Old Mazatlan. We enjoyed the city, especially the many art studios and galleries.
38 Photos
Created 12 January 2011
A great family Christmas together sailing in the Sea of Cortez from Puerto Escondito to La Paz. Hikes, snorkeling, sea lions, wake boarding, beach cattle and more . . .
112 Photos
Created 2 January 2011
This is the bay and fishing village where we holed up during a big norther.
18 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This wonderful cruising area is located just north of La Paz. Red cliffs, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches abound!
34 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
We spent about a week in this wonderful Mexican city. It is laid back with no visile tourist industry except for the yachties like us. We liked this place!
16 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This is a wonderful anchorage on the Baja Cape between Cabo and La Paz. We spent a couple of days here snorkeling, hiking and enjoying the beach.
12 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 November 2010
A visit to the town of Two Harbors, including a great hike, followed by a visit to the bigger town of Avalon.
24 Photos
Created 14 November 2010
We anchored in Pelican Bay and did a great hike along the bluffs to Prisoners Bay. Vistas and some wildlife incliding an island fox!
31 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
Beautiful beaches, elephant seals, sand dunes and great hiking - San Miguel has it all!
29 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 13 October 2010
A few shots around the marina while we were waiting out a big blow.
9 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
A few photos a day at anchor in San Simeon including kayaking in the bay and views of the Hearst Castle verlooking the ocean.
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
Shots of Monterey, the famous aquairium and a bike ride along the 17 Mile Drive to Carmel.
46 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Photos of Santa Cruz Marina and a bike ride to the boardwalk, pier and surfer museum. We then road to the cute village of Capitola a few miles south of Santa Cruz.
17 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 24 September 2010
Angel Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. We spent the day exploring it on our folding bikes. Awesome views in all directions!
16 Photos
Created 19 September 2010
Passage from Cictora to San Francisco. Departure on Sept 6. Arrival on Sept 11. Crew were Kris & Ryan. Great first passage for Sarah Jean II.
43 Photos
Created 15 September 2010
A few photos of our boat.
2 Photos
Created 2 August 2010