Paikea Mist's Ode to Our Shores

the wet coast, the wild coast the mighty magnificent west coast. water spills from your snowy peaks and fills my soul. may your winds push me onwards yet always bring me home.

31 October 2023
25 October 2023 | Burriana Spain
06 June 2023 | Menorca to Mallorca passage
29 May 2023 | Port Addaia, Menorca
09 June 2016
09 June 2016
07 June 2015
16 May 2015
15 April 2015 | Antikyra, Corinth Gulf, Mainland Greece
11 April 2015 | Aigina Island

Oh! The Places We Go!

31 October 2023
Its early morning and I'm cycling to the Lidl, a grocery chain here in Europe. It could be any Lidl, it's a trip I've taken by bike countless times, but this one happens to be in Burriana, Spain. I'm riding along one of the many cycle paths in Spain. The streets are pretty much deserted, and there isn't much to see except apartment buildings and orange groves. When I'm not thinking of orange farming, my mind travels.

When we decided to go offshore, other than the boat, our bikes were one of our first purchases. The bikes fold up snugly into a nice packet that fits like a jigsaw puzzle into our dinghy, with just enough extra room for the two of us and groceries, also packed in tightly. Over the years we've mastered the art of taking them on and off the boat, ferrying them to shore, assembling and dissembling, sometimes with an audience, sometimes in remote areas where our only friends were rocks, trees flowers and goats! All it really takes is a road, of sorts!

One of our first trips was a ride to visit Sally, my friend Beth's mom on Mayne Island. Mayne is a gem of an island in Southern BC Gulf Islands, and remarkably hilly. A true test of our metal, and well, the bikes too! Turns out they've withstood the test of time and taken us on some amazing journeys along the way.

Here's just a few places we've pedalled over the years:
- On our first land fall after our 18-day sail across the Pacific, we arrived in the long awaited Taahuku Bay, Hiva Oa Island, in the Marquesas. On one of our first trips off the boat, we cycled into the nearby town and came back with beautiful warm fresh baguettes, some of them somehow vanished along the way!
- In the Hai'Pai group of Tonga, we cycled across a runway. Truly we did!! This was a fully operative and bonafide runway for airplanes. The only road on the island went directly through it. We looked up, left, right and up again before crossing.
- On an island in the Tuamotus, we took the ferry across the pass to explore the other side of the volcanic ring island. Here the paved road eventually turned to coral, flattened and smoothed by water rushing over it, and years of use by bigger wheels than ours. It was truly a unique experience to see nothing but water for miles and miles on either side of us, all while riding a bike. With the tide coming in, it became a little spooky, so we turned around before adding to the adventure.
- In French Polynesia, we cycled around the entire island of Moorea- now that was so cool. We arrived upon a new cruising term: "Circumbiking"
- On Bora Bora, during a thunderous rainstorm we were sheltered by a kind family on the patio of their tiny home. Later, on the same Island we rode to the home of a famous Outirgger paddler turned coach. He was a gifted masseuse and made extra money for his kid's outrigger races across the Pacific by giving the most amazing massages.
- In any given town up and down the coast of New Zealand, my bike often served as a fully loaded transporter. Especially in places where Michael was busy working on the boat mechanics, I muscled up by cycling back and forth stockpiling endless provisions onto Paikea Mist before setting off for more remote destinations in the South Pacific.
- In Darwin, we pedalled across town from the Marina to sit with hundreds of others to watch the sun set on Sunset Beach. A communal experience.
- On the tiny island of Aigina near Athens, we took on an adventure with a more historical twist. We explored what used to be an ancient Roman road up over the crest of the island. What was left of the road was now just a suggestion, and although a mountain bike might have been more appropriate, the cycle trip provided a feeling of awe and exhilaration as we peddled over the ancient cut stone beneath us.
- On the Greek Island of Amorgos we climbed a paved road up and over a mountain pass to the other side of the long, steep island. We then connected with a small but amazing gravel trail that led down to the famous monastery which clings to the cliffs. Part way along we had to ditch the bikes and continue by foot. The entire route and destination provided breathtaking views and a fantastic workout. (Thanks to the Trail Forks App for the execution of this adventure)
- Of the literally countless coastal explorations in Turkey, I will always remember our springtime rides from the ancient ruins of Knidos where Paikea Mist often swung alone in the harbour. Here the spring flowers framed our views, as we climbed the narrow coastal road high above and enjoyed the vistas with Paikea Mist in it- always my favorite.

So there you have it. We love our folding bikes- wherever you are, there you go!

Making Lemonade out of car rental skyjackings.

25 October 2023 | Burriana Spain
Gloria | Sunny with a chance of rain
Old town Valencia "unfolds' by bike

We arrived back to Paikea Mist during a big blow, just as dusk was contemplating becoming night. As we drove our rental car up along the breakwater to the marina docks, the crashing waves were the first sign of the fun times ahead. The good news is that the inside of the port was much calmer than the outside, but a quick look down the dock told the swell story. The boats danced a mighty jig, bobbing and tugging on their mooring lines. The floating dock was a moving labyrinth, something between a roller coaster and an undulating travelator. I am pretty sure I remember something like this as a young cotton candy faced kid at the PNE in Vancouver. It was a big thrill then too.

After all this time in the Mediterranean, we continue without a proper passerelle, the ladder-like extension most folks lower from the stern to get on and off the boat in relative ease when Med tied. Instead, we lower our dinghy and clamber over it. With the dinghy still in its high position, Michael had to carefully time his leap with the almost 1 foot pulse of the dock to scramble over the top and onto the boat, all as the light was fading. Better he than me! Even with the dinghy lowered it was an athletic endeavour to pass suitcases to him and climb over the dinghy and onto the boat.

After roughly 15 hours of flying, we were ready for some quiet shut eye. The night was far from quiet. Paikea Mist's lines squeaked and squawked as the dock groaned rising up and down with the swells that spilled into the marina. Loose lines on nearby boats rapped out of time against their masts. Nevertheless, we woke to bright sunshine the next day, having slept in until mid-morning. Our jet lag was still lagging, but at least the dock had settled down a bit as the swells began to ease off. The nearby sailing school was in full tilt, with the students enjoying sailing inside the protective break waters of the port. The squeaks and squawks were still there, just singing a different tune!

Slowly, our circadian clocks adjust to life on the other side, and we use the next few days to start ticking off the necessary errands and boat jobs. The long days of summer are gone, and although the sun is still warm in the mid 20's, it doesn't come up until 8 in the morning.

Burriana is a non-touristic town along the Spanish coast north of Valencia. It is not pretty in any sense, in fact it is more utilitarian than anything, something that you can also appreciate. In the port, we watch the daily departure and arrival of the commercial fishing fleet, the incoming looking a bit like Lionel on Charlie Brown, but instead of dust there is a large swarm of seagulls. On land, there are bike paths everywhere, and its flat, so it is also easy to get back and forth on the bikes, which is how we have solely operated in the past without the rental car. Even easier to load up a car!

When we realized that our car was due back on a Sunday, we thought we'd extend it by another day or two, so that we could access the marine stores in Valencia, and maybe do a bit of sightseeing along the way. Seems we got a steal of a deal on the first three days at 98 Euros, as they wanted another 350 euros per day to extend! Talk about skyjacking the prices. YIKES! Obviously, a Sunday return was meant to be.

I began researching "things to do in Valencia on a Sunday". Turns out that despite Sunday being a day of rest here in Spain, there are plenty of options. Somewhere along the way I saw that Valencia bike tours were popular. Knowing that we'd return by train, I also discovered that we could take our own bikes back on the train for free. This offered the perfect solution for our return trip, as the Burrianna train station would be an hour plus walk back to the boat. Google said 18 minutes by bike which sounded much more fun. Win-Win.

So, with our folding bikes packed into the rental car we headed first to a local tourist attraction- the underwater river of St Josef Caves. We were there early enough for a short hike to the nearby viewpoint and still got onto the first boat down the river. While touristy, the mere fact that this underground fresh-water river is one of the longest in the world was a big enough drawing card for me. The river and caves were beautifully lit up to display the magical arches with stalactites, stalagmites and crystal-clear blue water. We found out later that you can also kayak through a different area of the underground river, which we will keep in mind for the next time.

Once the rental car was returned, we went off on our self-directed bike tour of Valencia. Much to our delight, there was a dedicated bike lane from the rental drop off location into town. As the streets became narrower and narrower old Valencia, ,with all its colours and bold beauty opened to us. We had packed a picnic lunch which we enjoyed in the center of the old town. There we sat, people watching, perched on a bench amongst the Baroque buildings and the hawk stalls.

As the day came to a close, we almost lost our minds trying to figure out how to buy a ticket for the train back to Burriana. Although we had researched the trip ahead, the purchase of tickets was not unfolding as it should. Repeatedly pressing our way through the touchscreen machines outside the station, we just could not find an option to buy a ticket on the C6 to Burriana. A quick online search came up with a message that the trip was 'no longer available'. You've got to be kidding me?

Mere minutes before the train arrived, I approached a young woman for help. "Hablo ingles?" "No, lo siento, sorry" she replied. She was about to enter the gate when I pressed on with a pretty obvious sense of urgency. "Necisitamos boletos para Burriana", and there my limited Spanish fell apart, and so I raised my hands and pointed to the machine, saying "no entiendo", and letting her know that we were totally f'd all at the same time. The ensuing exchange was part broken English and Spanish and lots of gesturing. She eventually confirmed that yes, we wanted to get to Burriana, one way ("unas solos direccion, si" I stammered, "no"(my finger waves back and forth), "regressor" she completes my sentence. She then pushed the button for a city we've never heard of. "No entiendo?" I question. "Yes", she replied, "please pay for this way, this town despues de Burriana". Ohhh, as our town is not on the list, we need to buy the ticket to the town past our destination! Phew, never thought of that! We made it onto the train with seconds to spare. Even though we had to stand holding our bikes half the way back, it all just felt like it was meant to be.

Back on the boat, we marvelled how things turn out and what a fun day we had.

Cruising speed, and the posidonia police come calling

17 June 2023 | Mallorca, Spain
Gloria Hanssmann
Anchored in the sand, Paikea Mist safely swings to the rhythm of the Med.

Paikea Mist is soaking up the hot Mediterranean sun, swinging at anchor along the rugged Mallorcan coast in the Balearics Islands of Spain.

Michael and I have also swung from passage making mode to the slower side of cruising, and we are enjoying the long days of June. We are definitely not alone.

The dance has begun! Full on summer is on its way and the beaches and anchorages are filling up. Affluent Europeans often seem to arrive on high end sleek and shiny motor boats. They appear pre-tanned, fit and very aware of how to angle their fit bodies for their photos. The .01 percenters on their large super yachts tend to stick to themselves and their luxury toys further out in the anchorage. Their mind boggling lifestyle is amusingly incongruous with the comparably dinky rental boats that pile in from nearby Palma. Amongst all of this, the chartered sailboats and other cruisers find their niche. There is a constant flow of vessels in and out that provides a variety show that is actually a bit gobsmacking. One pattern is predominant. Gorgeous women galore wear next to nothing and by 7 pm, the anchorage will be devoid of anything power, and we are left amongst our keeled kin!

Our view from PM changes from morning to evening

So here we swing with other boats, SUPS, high powered personal watercraft, and swimmers, all going this way and that. I stretch out in the cockpit reading. I am more or less relaxed yet in a state of constant alert, if there is such a thing. Out of the corner of my eye I catch something moving very close to our hull. Yikes! A large rib is drifting alongside Paikea Mist. A woman lies prone over the closest pontoon and her face appears to be in the water. There is no one driving the boat. I'm feeling a bit worried about her well-being, and then I see the large lettering on the back of her shirt indicating that she is the " Posidonia Patrol". Now I'm concerned for a completely different reason! Throughout Spain, there is careful protection of their sea grass beds. Known as posidonia, these plants are considered the lungs of the Mediterranean, and are of course natural nurseries for a variety of species. Dropping your anchor amongst the posidonia is strictly prohibited and can come with a stiff fine. We have taken care to drop the anchor in the sand, and I have snorkelled over to make sure, but the wind has changed direction since then.
The young woman in the rib pops her head up and swings the large scope out of the water. "Your anchor" she says in clear but slightly broken English "it is in the sand, but your chain, it is a little bit on the Poseidon, maybe you can pull up a little bit of chain". She pinches her thumb towards her index finger indicating the little bit part. I happily pull up enough chain to take it off the seabed. We are now quite short scoped, but there is little wind to worry about. "Thank you" she calls back, "you make my job easier!". We watch as she continues to check the anchors. We notice that most people respond positively, but that not everyone is so obliging, which is a shame. It is very clear to us that the protection of the sea grass is paying off, snorkelling we find more variety of fish here than anywhere else in the Med.

At times both pace and plans are dictated by others. We arrived to the gas dock early today to find an 80 foot power yacht that had arrived just minutes before and was filling its thirsty tanks. The friendly captain (from Tonga it turns out) estimated that it would take him about 2.5 hours to fill his tanks. We anchored off the marina (in sand) and waited. Three hours plus later the gas dock was finally free! We could see that the owner spent close to 5000 euro on the fill. Our measly amount of 250 euros, though significant to us, looked like peanuts in comparison!
Cruising isn't perfectly eco friendly but heck at least we don't burn through that kind of fuel.

Living onboard a sailboat will always present various logistical challenges ( think need to do, sometimes fun, sometimes laborious and always a unique chore as you are doing it in a new country and usually in a different language), Rolling with them is part of the lifestyle. We have determined that is is practically impossible to refill our propane tanks here, so yesterday we went off in search of easily exchangeable Spanish bottles of Campingaz.. I can guarantee that this simply is not your typical holiday activity! First, folding bikes were lugged and stowed into the dinghy and ferried to shore. Unable to take the dinghy into the buoyed swimming zone, we tied up to the steep rock ledge and threw our anchor out (into the sand) to keep the dinghy of the rocks. We transferred the bikes onto the steep rocks and lugged them along to the beach, where we assembled them and pushed them up the very steep access road. We continued on our way, pedalling up and down the hilly route which took us past beautiful resorts and villas, We had left early, so the road traffic was minimal, quiet enough to hear a variety of bird calls. Mallorca has a large number for birds, Two hardware stores and 24 km later we successfully had the gas bottle plus the appropriate fittings to connect to our existing systems on Paikea Mist. On the way back we picked up some groceries, completely filling our backpacks, putting an exclamation point on those hills!

Our folding bikes have wheeled over so many different terrains in the almost 20 years we've owned them. We wouldn't trade them for anything. Well maybe not so fast! In the touristy Puerto Soller along the north and mountainous side of Mallorca we did exactly that and opted to rent electric mountain bikes to complete a gorgeous ride from Puerto Soller high into the mountains and back. I can't begin to describe the pure delight of this ride, which also included a stop for an amazing lunch with an incredible view over the villas and orange groves of the perfectly quaint town of Fornalutz.

Riding always give you perspective of an area that you don't easily achieve from a car. I can now personally testify that the north of the island is never flat, and that over the 36 km of single track and gorgeous dirt tracks and backroads, we climbed over 3000 feet of vertical. We were so happy we chose the electric mountain bikes! Hmmmm. Maybe it's time to trade the old folding friends for some new folding electric mountain bikes!

But in the meantime, the bikes are stowed again and we are swinging on the hook again after a nice sail to our current anchorage. For the next couple of days we have reserved a mooring bouy at the nearby Isla Cabrera. The whole island is a highly protected national park, anchoring is strictly forbidden (sand or no), as are many other land or water activities that might disturb the natural setting. We look forward to exploring there.

Meanderings around Menorca

06 June 2023 | Menorca to Mallorca passage
Gloria Hanssmann
It's not like others haven't walked along this tiny secluded beach tucked inside the beautiful anchorage of Cala Pregonta, yet at the moment it is only me, and the crusty yellow sand beneath my feet.

From the beach, Paikea Mist nudges her nose ahead of a large rectangular black rock which looks likes it's been dropped from the skies; a loner amongst the carved golden limestone and smooth worn red rock that shapes this landscape. I search my visual memories of past anchorages, but can't find a clear reference from past explorations.

"I feel like we've arrived on the moon!" I call back to Michael as I watch the anchor splash into the crystal waters and gently nudge itself into the rippled sand 30 feet below.

Over the ages, the tramontana northerlies have created an utterly unique combination of tumbled carved rock and cave gardens. To us it's magical, and as Paikea Mist swings and opens up another angle on the surrounding vista, we keep pinching ourselves.

It seems we may have been magically transported into a random window of perfection: a collision of landscape, clear and exceptionally clean azure waters, soft and gentle sea breezes, along with warming and long days. And here is where we find ourselves, the two of us, and our Paikea Mist providing the platform for this slow and gentle discovery.

Three sandy beaches surround the anchorage. Two of the beaches start to see sunbathers arrive sometime late morning, yet the long sandy stretches offer plenty of room for everyone. Anyone who arrives here has earned it, having hiked at least a few kilometres to the beach. At night the beach is sometimes used by kayakers or hikers who are camping out. Despite this we find the beach spotless in the morning as we head out to explore the coast along the Cami de Cavalls, a walking path that wraps itself along the entire coast of the spectacular Menorca island.

The third beach is the one I am standing on, and is only reached by water.

Over the next few weeks, we explore the northern coast in every direction. We kayak, swim, run, hike and bike. The coastline especially invites exploration by kayak with tiny secret coves which open up from narrow entrances, unannounced sea arches and sea caves galore.

From our anchorage at Cala Pregonta we cycled to the most northern lighthouse, about 25 km return. The start of the ride included a private road (oops) which swept us down and through pastures and farm homes, and eventually to an electronic gate which thankfully opened with motion detectors and led us to a small paved public road.
With the lighthouse looming above, we climbed steadily. We were joined by others, many in cars, but also several hikers and bikers making their way to the same destination. From the lighthouse you enjoy sea vistas and can also explore an underground tunnel which leads you out to the edge of the cliffs for a peek a boo view. On the way back in order to avoid the private road, we took the Cami de Cavalls and used our folding Dahons like mountain bikes across the last 2 km to our awaiting dinghy.

Looking back on our time in Menorca, we marvel at our luck, and feel so grateful to have had this experience. When we first made passage from Tunisia we arrived in Port Mahon, which distinguishes itself as the second largest natural port in the world. Along with a couple dozen cruising boats, we anchored up in Cala Tuelera, one of the most protected gunkholes we've ever found (see illusion re interesting facts below). The virtually landlocked bay was surrounded by fortified walls which dated back to the mid 1850's but looked like they were made last year!

The crossing had been fun, with our friends Allan and Alison aboard, our watches were short and the passage fast under sail most of the way. After cool and unpredictable weather in Tunisia, the sun shone down as we dinghied to the authorities across the bay to check in. That first impression counts. Menorcans are friendly, in a relaxed way. They are neat and tidy, even the streets looked like they had been vacuumed clean! The customs office where the polite official cleared Paikea Mist back into the EU was one of the cleanest and efficient we have encountered in our travels.

We could stay here!

Yet other islands await. Today we are off to the north eastern tip of Mallorca. We are currently in that expansive moment where one door closes and another opens.

Interesting rumour/fact # 1: A local told us that Menorca is run by a handful of mafia like families who want the island to remain unchanged, and recently voted against encouraging any further tourism on the island. They want to keep Menorca just as it is for the next hundreds of years!

Interesting fact # 2: In 2004, as a result of an earthquake in Morocco, the entire bay of Mahon completely emptied of all its water. When the tidal wave returned it swept boats 1/2 km inland.

Interesting fact # 3: Remember that protected gunkhole of Cala Tuelera? On our last night anchored by the Cituedella, a Dutch sailor invited us aboard his beautiful 50' Hunter for drinks. As sailing stories unfolded, John told us that last year, near 4 am one morning in late August, he along with 30-40 other boats were hit by a 20 minute weather bomb which included heavy winds and hail. With 25 or so of the boats adrift it was a nightmare - anchor chains fouled with each other, yachtsmen yelling while doing their best to navigate the ensuing chaos . He ended up on the rocks but was able to motor off albeit with damage to his keel and rudder.

This is what I now ponder - how the exact moment you happen to be in, where you are and who you are sharing it with, serves to form and inform your perspective of and in that very moment.

Reflections on 10 years in the Med

29 May 2023 | Port Addaia, Menorca
Gloria Hanssmann
SV Paikea Mist at one of our favourite anchorages near Fethieye

It's hard to believe that 10 years ago, SV Paikea Mist and crew arrived in the Med. We came by different routes. After sailing across through the South Pacific to New Zealand, we enjoyed another round trip to Fiji and back to New Zealand before opting to continue westward through Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The next logical step would be the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean. Unfortunately the story unfolding in the area was not an inviting one. Sailboats and crew, some of which we had crossed the Pacific with were being hijacked for ransom. Families were being separated and held for months.

With this in mind, we opted to ship Paikea Mist from Thailand to Turkey. Other cruisers headed south, taking the gutsy option of sailing around the bottom of Africa.. With our careers and business partners calling us back, (our one year sojourn had already morphed into four) the southern route with its longer passages was not one we could easily entertain. Simultaneously we were also becoming first time grand parents and we wanted to be able to spend time in Vancouver with our grand-baby in waiting!

While Paikea Mist travelled atop the guarded freighter across the Red Sea, Michael and I took a trip through Vietnam and Egypt before meeting up again in Marmaris. There were several sailboats atop the freighter, all tucked in like a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Paikea Mist was wedged between a container stack and the stern of another large yacht. Off loading was a challenge, our vessel was the last to get off the boat, but eventually she splashed and we began our Mediterranean adventures.

Over the past 10 years we've spent the shoulder seasons sailing through Turkey, Greece, Italy, Montenegro,Croatia, Malta and Tunisia. You simply can't travel this slow without experiencing a cultural immersion. This is slow travel at its best, and I sometimes muse that it can almost be considered a semi-nomadic lifestyle. On the flip side, while at home we've both worked hard, and enjoy our time home with family and friends.

Over the years our travels to and from the boat has allowed additional explorations as we tagged other countries to our routes back and forth from the boat. We were fortunate to spend loads of time in Istanbul, one of my favourite cities, and meet with Michael's mom and dad on what would be his dad's last trip to Germany. We especially loved the people of Turkey and Greece, and we began to return to favourite anchorages along the Turkish coast and Greek Aegean Islands as they became more and more familiar.

Before covid, we were in the early stages of formulating a plan to leave the Med and head North to complete the big northern loop through Great Britain, the Faros, Iceland, Greenland and down the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. With the arrival of the covid pandemic, our plans stalled out with Paikea Mist still in Turkey, luckily being well cared for by the kind folks at Technical Marine in Marmaris. The minute air traffic opened we flew back and experienced Turkey through the vaccinated part of the pandemic. Here people still wore masks in crowded stores, but had largely left the pandemic behind.

Next up was the war in Ukraine. Somehow in our minds, the Med became really small when the war in Ukraine broke, and we began to seriously search out a way to bring PM home. We lined up a freighter from a port near Athens, and completed a fast passage there from Marmaris, ducking through 3 major systems in as many weeks. Once there we readied her for another trip on top of a freighter. As fate would have it, the ship home never materialized. Demand for freighter space after covid was so high that many turned around fully loaded long before reaching the eastern Med. Still chasing the freighter, we even hired crew sail her to Malta, yet still it was not to be.

When we flew out to Paikea Mist in Malta last fall, she was on the hard. I climbed the ladder and sat in her familiar cockpit. It's hard to explain how sitting in this cockpit transforms me. A mixture of contentment, hope, and excitement grips me. Sitting high above the waters of the ancient harbour of Valleta, we began again to plan our passage home, to our shores.

As we look westwards to our eventual journey out of the Med, there are new "hijackers" on the horizon. These come in the form of Orcas. Who would have thought Orcas would begin attacking and disabling sailing boats in the Straits of Gibraltar?! The attacks have steadily increased since the first was was reported in 2020, and the phenomenon is high on our radar.

The irony of possibly being disabled by the very creature and mythical story our boat is named after is not beyond me, it's both humbling and terrifying at the same time,

We will continue to monitor the situation and can only hope that either the orcas lose interest in the sport of eating rudders or that the sailing community and powers that be agree on an effective tracking system by the time we are ready to head out of the Med.

Whatever happens, the reality is ours to face. Ageing places a slowly shrinking bubble wrap around life. As surely as the clock ticks, the sailing window on our life will also naturally and gradually close. Before then, we still hope to sail Paikea Mist in our home waters of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

For now, Paikea Mist has another 18 months in the EU, and we look forward to our explorations here in the beautiful Balearic Islands of Spain.

Night watch somewhere between the northern tip of Africa and the Balearics.

23 May 2023 | Southwest med
Gloria Hanssmann
We are on our way, having left Tunisia, sailing a course to the Balearics, Spain. We are somewhere roughly south of the Italian island of Sardinia, and northwest of the northernmost tip of the African coast line. The sky is peppered with stars, the night moonless. And yes, it's a wee bit rough. With 20-25 knots of wind in our reefed main and our Genoa furled away we are moving through steeply troughed waves at over 8 knots.
Life is constant motion, adapting to it is another story, and a reflection of our resiliency and willingness to accept, distract and tackle those very aspects that shape us as we move towards that ever changing horizon.
At night the sounds a sailboat and the ocean create together while underway, is unimaginable, an endless cacophony of expected and unexpected sounds, especially notable alone on night watch. Some noises can be super annoying and repetitive, like when the small cans of soda and beer clang back and forth as the boat pitches and coasts down a wave. I stuff a couple of towels amongst the cans and this is taken care of. While the creaks and groans of the boat and her rigging might sound alarming to a landlubber, these are all valuable data points used to inform the passage-making decisions, as they tell the story of the power of the wind as it pulls the boat through the water.
We are sailing without valuable wind speed data, our mast top anemometer is spinning, however information unfortunately is not being transmitted. Through a honed sense, a combination of interpretation of the both the feel of the movement on rigging and sounds of the boat herself, we get a sense of when to reef, and when to shake out more sail. Tonight we take in the Genoa first , and later reef the main. And yet on she goes, like a sled down a windy toboggan run, making a steady and powerful run towards our destination.
I pull on my life jacket and click my harness onto the D ring on the floor of the cockpit, I'm alone on night watch and my senses are alive.The waves peak and crash up from behind us, the boat surfs, and the bow rolls and lifts into a foamy trough . Together the orchestra of wind and waves unfolds as it will, and we sail along, singing the song as if we've known this tune all all our lives.

Some interesting facts:
Michael and Gloria have been married 39 years, and have owned Paikea Mist for over half of these years. We sailed away from Vancouver across the Pacific in 2009 embarking on a slow voyage of discovery. We have sailed to over 20 countries, and always look forward to the next!

Vessel Name: Paikea Mist
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau Custom 50
Hailing Port: Vancouver, BC
Crew: Gloria Hanssmann, Michael Hanssmann
We left Vancouver for our Pacific Voyage in July 2009, spending the first summer unwinding in our beautiful cruising grounds of the Pacific Northwest, and getting reading for big adventure. Our journey has taken us down the coast of California into Mexico. [...]
Our Custom 50 Benneteau has been a comfortable and dependable cruiser. Paikea Mist is equipped with a Code Zero, full spinnaker, 140 % Genoa, Stay sail and a full battened main. Of all the sails we have used the Code Zero the most as we crossed the Pacific. The Code Zero is brought up by halyard [...]
Paikea Mist's Photos - Vancouver- summer 2013
Photos 1 to 22 of 22 | Main

Paikea Mist's Adventures

Who: Gloria Hanssmann, Michael Hanssmann
Port: Vancouver, BC
"I am acutely aware of the perfection of the moment, we are balanced between wind and water, between travelling and arriving, between closing one door and opening another" Beth Leonard, Blue Horizons