Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sailing sailing

S/V Aspen – April, 2010 – Log #36
Position: 04 degrees 18.0' S 108 degrees 20.0' W
Pacific Ocean

Just think of the giants of history that have crossed this mighty
Pacific Ocean: Magellan, Cook, Darwin and Heyerdahl among many others.
To sail upon the same waters as them is awe inspiring to say the least.
Edmund Leo, Maria's dad, did exactly the same thing over 60 years ago
when he was in the Navy and fought in the war. We are also following in
his footsteps.

Aspen is now in one of the most remote regions on earth. There is no
shipping traffic that comes this way and only airliners can fly high
above our heads without stopping. Getting help out here is not possible
unless you happen to find another sailboat near you. However, we are
with the Blue Water Rally and we are traveling with a group of 29 other

Why, you might ask? Safety is the reason that immediately comes to
mind. In our case, we have had 2 boats turn back from this crossing
already with engine failures. Another boat has lost their autopilot. At
least 2 other boats have generator problems and cannot charge their
batteries efficiently. Another boat has lost their SSB radio and cannot
transmit any longer. But the most immediate problem is a medical one
with one of the boats. The captain has developed kidney stones!

Immediately a call went out for assistance. The boats nearest them
changed course and arrived near the boat with the medical problem within
two hours. Luckily there is a midwife onboard the rescue boat and she
was transferred onto the other boat to help. Then the radio sprung to
life with information from the medical people in the Rally. Right now
another Rally boat is sailing back to lend the assistance of their spare
crew member to get onboard and help out.

As you can see, things can get pretty serious very quickly out here. And
we were just worried about running out of rum!

The Southern Cross has disappeared among the clouds that have covered
the sky for the past 7 days. But the good news is that we have covered
more than a third of our distance to the Marquesas! Lucky for us, we
have modern day navigation equipment called GPS. We can pinpoint our
exact location at any time of the day or night. The mariners of old had
to rely on the sun and stars for their position. But if you cannot see
the sun or the stars you are out of luck!

Aspen's engine is humming now and both sails are crashing and banging
through the still air. The torrential rain has sucked all of our wind
away! I guess we are nice and clean with all this fresh water cascading
down upon us.

We will keep you posted about the rescue effort as things progress.

Sail on sail on Aspen...

Steve and Maria

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