S/V Adventure

Follow the O'Neil family, sailing in their Catalina 42, on their 2-year sabbatical to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, and Central America, Galapagos, the South Pacific, and New Zealand.

08 June 2012 | Home
05 June 2012 | 100 miles to the Farallons!
02 June 2012 | 475 miles off the coast
31 May 2012 | 579 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 694 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 800 miles to go
29 May 2012 | 915 miles off California
28 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
27 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
26 May 2012 | Halfway between Hawaii and SF
24 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
23 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
22 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
21 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
20 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific
18 September 2011 | Home
07 September 2011 | Crossing the southern tip of the big island
05 September 2011 | Pacific

Travelling to town

03 February 2008 | El Salvador
Welcome friends! Thanks first for all the wonderful comments. We all really appreciate your humor and encouragement. It makes our day. And now for our story...

We arrived at 8:45 waiting for the bus to take us to town. We were in what I like to call (for all of you Magnum p.i. fans) "The Robin Master's estate." This is Marina Barillas and it's a 30 acre compound complete with restaurant, boat yard, pool, and airstrip. (I haven't seen a red Ferrari though.) The place is beautiful and we must be here at the slow season because it's virtually empty.

The mini-bus arrived with our driver Francisco. Francisco is a young guy and looks like he once played a professional sport. He looks all muscle and has a warm and friendly smile. As we sat down on the bus Arthur, a South African, Canadian, who's lived here for 2 years, gave us instructions.

"Oh! You probably don't want to sit there. That's where the guy with the gun sits," he said matter-of-factly.
"Guy with a gun?" Kathy asked concerned.
"Oh! There's nothing to worry about. A lot of these guys are ex-guerrillas from the war. Since they already had guns, they made them security guards. Now they have jobs."

The bus pulled ahead and stopped. A young guy with a shot gun from Terminator 2 got in and sat down. He also had a side arm in case he ran out of shots. He sat in the front of the bus. I anxiously sat down and tried to keep my mouth shut. I imagined the following conversation:

"So, Amigo! What kind of firepower you got there? Is that a 13 gauge? Yep! Good weapon. Good weapon..."
[Security guard ignores me. Shows slight irritability and begins tapping on the base of the weapon.]
"...So... You ever kill a man with that thing? Betcha could kill a lot of men with a 13 gauge like that. Good weapon. Me?... I like to use my bare hands, but if I was going to own a 13 gauge, I'd get one like that."

Coming back to reality, I decided that I "might" annoy the guy and sat a couple of rows back. Kathy sat directly behind him and, seeing my discomfort with the situation, decided to take it to the next level.

"Hey! Take my picture!" I shook my head no and looked to the ground. Kathy was having none of that though. "Come on!" her voice got louder. "Take it!" I was afraid of causing a commotion. I pictured him turning around with the gun pointed towards us screaming, "QUITE! Don't make me come back there!" I took a quick picture.

"How'd it come out?" Kathy asked. Her head was cut off in the picture. The bus bounced at the wrong time.
"It's good."
"Let me see."
"No, it's good."
"Let me see." Her voice was stern and I knew I'd better give her the camera. After two more tries I got a picture she was happy with.

The bus pulled up to "The Rabbit" - a Walmart-owned grocery store. Our security guard exited the bus first. He looked left; then right; then signaled us that it was okay for us to exit the bus. I wasn't sure if I should exit the bus doing a full body roll or not, so I decided to let Kathy and the kids go first.

We exited the bus and were immediately surrounded by utter confusion. There were so many people around. I looked around and our guard had quickly deserted us. Kathy was walking across the street. I stood there in defiance - who is the leader anyway?
Everyone started following Kathy across the street. I took a deep breath and started following the brood.

We made it across the street and into utter mayhem; we were at the open market. There were vendors galore and everyone was trying to sell us something at once. Ladies were using sticks with shreds of plastic on the end to keep the flies off of the fish, chicken, and beef. Vegetable carts, and fruit carts passed by us. Bootlegged American videos were every 100 feet. Everyone had a deal just for us. I tried looking at the ground and soon lost Kathy and the group. I started having flashbacks of being 5 years old and being lost at Disneyland. I desperately looked around noticing that my eyes were welling up. I had to be brave. I was a big boy now.

I saw Kathy appear out of the corner of my eye and quickly ran through the sea of vendors. I'm not ashamed to admit that I decided it was best to hold hands. I just didn't tell her why. I looked at her and smiled. I wasn't lost anymore. We walked through the hordes of vendors for 30 minutes. I was exhausted and tired of saying, "No Gracias" when I saw it - there it was in all its glory: Wendy's!

"I'm going there!" I said with all the authority I could muster.
"Dad! Were not hungry," Tara said with attitude, "I want internet." I ignored her and kept walking. It was something familiar. I'd be safe in there. Safe...

Once I entered Wendy's I took a deep breath. I could smell grease. I was on my own turf. I ordered a #2 (Double cheeseburger and fries) and sat down. The place was empty and clean. There was American pop music playing. The TV was on and playing an American sitcom. I felt as if I was Superman and regaining my strength from the sun. I absorbed all of the Americana I could to regain my confidence over the next 30 minutes.

"Okay," I said now that I was back to full confidence, "I've got a plan..." It was brilliant: we would split up. Tara and I made a break for the internet café. Kathy and Casey made a dash for the supermarket. After an hour we all made it back in the safe confines of the bus with our protector. He looked at me with his eyes and said, "Come with me if you want to live." I quickly jumped on the bus. I was all giddy. I'd gotten some culture (shock) and some Wendy's all in one day and now we were going home...
Vessel Name: Adventure
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42
Hailing Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA
Crew: The O'Neil Family
About: Sean (Captain and Line Man) Kathy (Helmswoman and Cook) Tara - 12 years old at trip start, Casey - 11 years old at trip start (Crew and Students)
Extra: We're on a three-year sabbatical from the daily grind to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, Central America and the South Pacific and stopping at New Zealand.

S/V Adventure

Who: The O'Neil Family
Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA