Athanor Expedition

Our exploration of land and sea

09 September 2018 | Raiatea, French Polynesia
21 June 2018 | Mo'orea, French Polynesia
11 June 2018
20 May 2018 | Bora Bora
14 April 2018
24 April 2017 | Seattle, WA
02 October 2016 | Raiatea
02 October 2016
14 September 2016 | Papeete, Tahiti
22 August 2016 | Fakarava
26 July 2016 | Kauehi atoll
11 July 2016 | Raroia atoll - Tuomotos Islands
11 July 2016
02 June 2016 | Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands
06 May 2016 | Tahuata, Marquesas Islands
19 April 2016 | Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
10 April 2016 | 300 miles to The Marquesas Islands
03 April 2016 | Crossing the ITCZ to The Marquesas Islands
28 March 2016 | Manzanillo, Mexico to The Marquesas Islands

Boatyard John

02 October 2016
RAW HUMANITY – FORGET POLITICS. I was high above the ground on Athanor’s deck; John was on the ground prepping his boat for a fresh coat of bottom paint. Not that he could have done anything other than break my fall, I nonetheless asked him to hold the very tall ladder for me as I descended steeply fourteen feet to the ground. Rob scrubbed barnacles off the hull as I chatted with John. Over the course of the following ten minutes, our conversation – his story – epitomized the love and the utter humanity that we have felt each and every day we’ve spent in French Polynesia.

After a few minutes of typical “boat talk”, he asked where we were from. That sparked his sharing how surprised he is that U.S. politics is dominating the news worldwide. He commented that it must be hard to know what we’re going home to (the election season). He went on to share that he (a Kiwi) and his wife (French) spent an incredible two years roaming around the United States in an RV. He said with such fondness, “We were like kids! We loved every town we visited. We loved everyone we met. It was just wonderful. But the politics are atrocious!”

Mid-conversation, we were back around to talking about sailing. He shared that, when he and his wife (Annie) sailed across the Pacific, they made landfall in Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands. They fell in love with the islands. His wife told him, “When I die, I want to be buried here.” Then he delicately, quietly, slipped into one of the next few sentences that Annie died 1-1/2 years ago. I stopped him to confirm what he said. I’m not exactly sure how much time passed between their time in the Marquesas and her passing, but John shared that, following her death, he brought her ashes back to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva. He planned to spread them in the bay. Before he did, he went to visit the local priest. He talked with the mayor. They were fine with his intentions but, being very Christian, they asked him to consider burying her instead. He agreed.

Which brings me to the utter humanity we have found in the Marquesas, the Tuomotos, Tahiti, Moorea, and now Raiatea. With tears in his eyes (and mine), John shared that the community came together to celebrate Annie’s life, and to bury her. They dug one grave. John then spotted two trees on a hill, and he knew that was where he wanted to bury her. He felt terrible asking them to dig another spot, but he did, and they didn’t hesitate. The women from the church brought flowers, several people played music – and they buried her. Neither John nor Annie is Marquesan. They never lived in Nuku Hiva, let alone French Polynesia. And yet, John’s heart will always be in Nuku Hiva, a place few ever have the privilege of experiencing.


Vessel Name: Athanor
Vessel Make/Model: Metalu Jade 48
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Robert Bordner & Susan Mitchell
About: One seasoned sailor & one adventurous novice
Athanor is an aluminum ketch, designed by Sylvestre Langevin, built in France in 1978. She is 48 feet LOA, cutter-rigged, with a fin keel, skeg-hung rudder, and round bilge, displacing 33,000 lbs. The name Athanor is derived from the furnace that alchemists are reputed to have used to change [...]
Athanor's Photos - Main
Most of the images in this album correlate with the blog narrative on our time spent in Bora Bora.
45 Photos
Created 11 June 2018
A few images of our life as we prepared Athanor to set sail again!
27 Photos
Created 11 June 2018
11 Photos
Created 2 October 2016
38 Photos
Created 5 September 2016
29 Photos
Created 21 August 2016
43 Photos
Created 17 July 2016
44 Photos
Created 11 July 2016
Our time on the islands of Ua Pou and Fatu Hiva. The images follow along with the blog post. Enjoy!
33 Photos
Created 11 July 2016
A month-long exhale.
46 Photos
Created 31 May 2016
34 Photos
Created 3 May 2016
25 Photos
Created 19 April 2016
47 Photos
Created 16 March 2016
34 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
35 Photos
Created 21 February 2016
30 Photos
Created 2 February 2016
9 Photos
Created 18 January 2016
11 Photos
Created 5 January 2016
11 Photos
Created 1 November 2015
14 Photos
Created 8 September 2015