Voyages of Sarah Jean II

Passage Hawaii to Vancouver - Day 18

28 July 2013
Norm
A SHORT ODE TO THE WIND

Sailing, sailing Over the ocean blue. The wind is back! The wind is back! We are a happy crew!

***

Yes folks, the wind is back. It looks like it will stay with us for the next few days, taking us pretty well all the way to Ucluelet. Our planned arrival there on July 31 now looks virtually assured!

In the South Pacific, Joanna has been taken hostage by the ill-tempered and pot bellied Chief Watson who plans to hold her until Papa pays a ransom of three pigs, wealth he does not possess. Joanna is determined to escape and make her way back to her own village, keeping her identity a secret!

Unlike a book, with a blog story it is hard for you, the reader, to know how far along you are in the adventure. Well, we're getting there. After today's installment there will be just two more chapters. The story will end when we make landfall.

VISION OF JOANNA - A Continuing Blog Adventure Set in Vanuatu

Chapter 9 - Lost at Sea

Walking slowly away from the clearing and the Cave of Stars, both Joanna and Michael were silent. Joanna was seething. Chief Watson was being so unfair. She had broken his taboos by accident. It was not her fault. Michael was sullen; annoyed that his uncle had assigned him the task of escorting the little girl back to the village, and disappointed he would miss seeing a rarely performed ROM dance. They trudged onward, each unhappy, lost in their own thoughts,

Joanna was still trying to figure out how she could escape. She thought a conversation with Michael might lead to some ideas.

"How old are you?" Joanna asked.

Michael replied, "I am sixteen years now. My birthday was last month."

Joanna queried him again, "Then I guess you don't go to school anymore. What do you do all day?"

Michael thought about this for a few minutes, now more interested in making conversation. "I do what most of the village men do; I fish and work on the family plantation - looking after the yams and the cassava. Sometimes I hunt with my uncle. In the evening I am old enough now to sit with the other men and drink kava and listen to stories. It is expected for me to be there but I would rather be working on my new canoe. My old one is no good anymore"

"You have more than one canoe?" Joanna asked, surprised.

"Yes, I have a small one that I made when I was twelve years old. It is much too small for me now. I'm building a new, much bigger one; a big canoe for a big man."

Joanna thought Michael sounded very proud of his new canoe. She should go and see it. Her interest in his canoe might change their relationship; from him acting as her guard to seeing her as a friend; someone who might help her. As she was thinking about how to do this, Michael asked her a question. He was apparently enjoying the conversation.

Pointing to the knife Joanna was still wearing on her woven belt he said, "That's quite a knife you have there - for such little girl. Where did you get it?" There was a touch of envy in his voice.

Joanna replied proudly, "My papa gave it to me so I can learn to carve. He is the greatest carver in our village, perhaps in all of Ambrym!" She stopped and bit her tongue, realizing she had probably said too much about Papa's identity.

Michael seemed not to notice. "I would like to be a great carver some day." he said. "There are no carvers in my village anymore since Old Solomon died. Perhaps that knife was meant to find me." He slowly reached forward towards the knife.

Joanna placed her hand on the handle protectively and said, "Perhaps it was, but perhaps not. Papa told me that carving is either in your blood or it's not." Then she asked, "Have you ever carved anything? If you have, then you would know if it is in your blood."

Michael relied excitedly, "My new canoe! I have carved my new canoe from the heart of a breadfruit tree. Many people have told me it is the most beautiful canoe ever made in our village!"

A vague escape plan was forming in Joanna's mind. She said, "Let's go and see it then. It must be very special!" And so, as they approached the village, they left the main trail and followed a small path to the water's edge where they found Michael's work site and his new dugout canoe, long and sleek, sitting high on a bed of wood chips, as if on display. Joanna moved forward and ran her hand along the smoothly planed hull, admiring the craftsmanship. Her time in Papa's carving shed had taught her an appreciation for such things. But what really caught her eye was the small canoe languishing in the bushes nearby. It looked light enough for her to drag to the beach, and small enough for her to paddle. Joanna had never actually paddled a canoe on her own, but how hard could it be?

Leaving the work site, Joanna and Michael followed a path along the shore to Chief Watson's village. As they walked past a maze of huts, children stopped and stared, eyes wide and mouths hanging open. They had never seen a little girl, in fact any girl, wearing a knife and a boar's tusk, her face covered in black war paint. Along the way Joanna made note of special landmarks; a big hut, a bush with bright flowers, a garden lined with giant clam shells.

Joanna was placed in a small shed behind Chief Watson's hut where she was told she must remain. The Chief's wife, Marie, brought her food and water but was not sure if she should treat the little girl as a special guest or as her husband's prisoner. In the end she just stayed away from Joanna. Michael brought his sleeping mat out from the house and laid it across the doorway of the shed. He would stay there until tomorrow when Uncle Chief Watson returned.

Darkness had settled over the village. It was now the dead of night. Joanna could hear Michael snoring softly outside her door. She could not sleep. Her escape plan had now been finalized. It was time to start! Quiet as a mouse, Joanna used the tip of her knife to slowly cut away at the base of the woven pandanus wall, opposite the doorway from where Michael was lying. It was slow going. But, after an hour, she had cut a small hole through the wall that she was sure was big enough to wriggle through. Then Joanna lay down and waited, watching the night sky through the slits in the wall, waiting for dawn.

With the first trace of light Joanna set out. Leaving the tiny jail shed behind, she slid through the shadows of the village, following her landmarks towards the beach and Michael's work site. Reaching it undetected, she dragged the small canoe out of the bushes and towards the beach. There were several paddles leaning against a tree. She grabbed the smallest, tossing it the canoe. At the last minute Joanna thought about food. Her stomach growled. She gathered up several coconuts, added them to the canoe and then dragged it into the sea. There was a big swell running. Surf broke heavily along the shore, almost swamping the tiny craft. Finally free of the breaking waves, Joanna pulled herself into the canoe and began paddling madly for open water. Occasionally she looked behind her. Thankfully the beach was empty.

Her navigation plan was simple. She knew her village was on the west side of Ambrym and she was on the east side. By following the shore northward and then westward, with the trade winds behind her, eventually she would come to her own village. She would stay close to the shore. Although her long distance vision was poor, the outline of the shoreline was easy for her to see. As she neared her village Joanna knew she would recognize the familiar landmarks of home.

As she paddled out to sea, Joanna was surprised to see a half coconut shell float by between the canoe hull and the outrigger. While she did not really believe in magic and messenger coconuts, just to be on the safe side, she reached down and scooped the half shell out of the sea and into the canoe.

As the sun rose higher in the sky Joanna found herself skimming across an emerald sea, the wind at her back. She was pleased with herself; her clever escape and her skillful handling of the tiny canoe. Paddling was much easier than she had thought. However, with growing concern Joanna watched as the waves began to build, occasionally slopping over the gunnels and into the canoe. Sometimes the canoe would race down the back of a wave. At first it was fun, but then it became frightening as the canoe careened out of control.

As the day wore on, the skies darkened, turning grey and ominous. The wind was blowing much harder now, whipping the sea into frothy whitecaps. Joanna tried desperately to paddle towards the shore but the wind and waves were much more powerful than she was, carrying her further and further out to seas until she could barely see land it all. Suddenly a mighty wave, much bigger than the others, picked up Joanna's canoe and flung it forward out of control! Joanna dug her tiny paddle into the wave, trying to steer the canoe, trying to keep it from turning sideways and capsizing. As she pulled on the paddle it snapped in two, unable to take the force of the wave! Joanna watched the blade drift away and disappear amongst the angry waves. The canoe was filling with water! Grabbing the coconut half shell she bailed and bailed, battling to keep the canoe afloat!

As darkness fell the storm abated. Exhausted, Joanna lay down in the bottom of the canoe, salt water sloshing around her. Her paddle was gone, as were her drinking coconuts. She had lost sight of land hours ago. The skies slowly cleared. Joanna watched as the stars, real stars this time, appeared one by one in the night sky until it was ablaze with tiny blue lights. As she looked up towards the heavens, she saw her familiar blue halos that formed a delicate lacework of interwoven circles, stretching from horizon to horizon.

Joanna picked out a bright blue halo that was directly overhead and sobbed, "Papa, if that's you up there; please help me! I want to come home!"

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