Somebody’s Gotta Do It!

Somebody’s Gotta Do It!

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I am ‘on watch’. The sky is light overcast, the winds are perfect 20knots off our stern, the seas are 1-3 feet with a gentle lull-a-by sway and the autopilot keeps a steady course of 240 degrees. Life is good.

This is the 9th day of our 10 day journey from Honolulu to the Marshall Islands. And the only word that comes to mind as I look back on these 9 days is..perfect. Perfect passage, perfect people, perfect boat, perfect weather.

Sharry just finished baking homemade carrot bread for dessert while David and Don reeled in the perfect size Mahi Mahi about an hour ago. We consciously waited to catch the fish around 2:00 because anything caught before that would be considered old fish..and who wants to eat old fish for dinner? Oh yea, the other word that keeps popping up is SPOILED.

For years, David has asked me about us doing ocean crossings. My constant and unwavering answer has always been, “Nothing goes to weather like a 747…I will meet you there”.

That is until Don and Sharry Stabbert invited us to accompany them on this passage to Majuro. This leg is just one of many on their journey to Japan and then back again to Honolulu over the course of the next 12 months. Since David had already traveled with them from San Francisco to Honolulu, he knew exactly what to expect. In fact, when he returned to Seattle after that first leg, and described what the voyage had been like, I find myself silently lamenting that I hadn’t taken advantage of that opportunity. Alas, when the question was raised about us possibly doing the Majuro leg, I was on the computer booking our tickets before David finished asking me. I wasn’t going to let this one get away!

So here I am in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 1500 nm from Hawaii, 2500 nm north of New Zealand and 4500 nm from Seattle standing watch on the MV Starr. The MV Starr, by the way, is a 75 ft Northern Marine vessel which is incredibly safe, sturdy, well loved and meticulously maintained by Don and Sharry for the last ten years. This is a luxury yacht. She’s quiet, beautifully balanced by stabilizers, spacious, air-conditioned, and has everything and more in the way of comforts. Some of these comforts include state of arts electronics such as 5 computers, 2 radars, 2 sat phones and one tiny little engine.

Anyway, back to our ‘duties.’ We all stand shifts of 3 hours on, 9 hours off. So we end up with the same hours but different times of day. Initially, I thought that getting up before 3:00am would wreck havoc on my biological rhythm, but to my delight it hasn’t. Typically, I start my watch off with a latte from the Nexpresso machine along with 2 chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (made by Brook Stabbert). I head up to the dimly lighted wheel house to relieve David who is usually singing with his I-Phone ear plugs on totally out of tune to Jimmy Buffet.

I get logged in, say good night to David and plug into my favorite CD audio disk on the computer, Sea of Thunder. This 15 disc audio book is a culmination of post WWII testimony from both the American and Japanese sides. Normally, war sagas do not intrigue me, but these stories are somehow different. One, I am here in the middle of the Pacific headed for the Marshall Islands where some the battle raged. Two, my Dad who was a Lieutenant in the Navy flew off of the air carrier HORNET somewhere here in the Pacific during the war. As a child he used to tell us bedtime stories of the experiences he encountered while flying ‘avengers’ on and off air carriers in this very region. Somehow as I listen to these true accounts, I am back there with him in spirit.

The day after tomorrow we anchor in Majuro. Our journey’s end will be greeted by two smiling faces we all look forward to seeing, MA and Brian O’Neill. They have already arrived in Majuro on their boat Shibui and will be waiting to share all their experiences with us along with their hopes for the upcoming passages.

A day later, David and I will continue on our journey but in the other direction … back toward civilization. Seattle rain, sailboats that need tending, coaching calls that need to be made and bills that need to be paid. I think it’s called Reality Ranch.

Meanwhile, Don, Sharry, MA and Brian will continue on their voyages having experiences most of us can only dream of… The good news is through the blogs and infrequent calls home we will be able to live vicariously through them as they explore the unexplored. After all, somebody’s gotta do it.

Dave and Mary on watch
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