Join Date: Oct 2004
The Excitement Trigger
By Robin Scott Johnson
Reminiscing about the voyage preparations in December for the January launch of William Bligh, a single question was posed to me again and again: Are you excited? Up until recently, and back then when I was enquired to, I had to tell the person whom I was speaking to that I was in fact NOT excited. It seemed very routine, expensive, and inevitable that I would be miserable bouncing around on the icy North Atlantic Ocean in the dead of winter, all while fighting seasickness and the cold. Still, I pursued my passion of sailing until certain devastating circumstances forced me to postpone all voyage plans until June. Well, June is almost here, and I have just about everything I need now. My debilitating lack of ability to routinely save money has not gone away, although I was able to save like mad for the last six weeks and have a tidy sum that already has covered fuel cost estimates for the Bronco, all the Boatyard work, a new dinghy, boat registrations on both the newly acquired Zodiac and yacht, additional groceries, emergencies, extra gear, and the inevitable hauling charges at the board yard in Newport News, Virginia. It sure seems like I’m coming off as a bit of a braggart, but believe me, there is nothing that I have ever worked harder for than this voyage, and the distance I have to travel to get to the s/v William Bligh makes this an extremely costly venture indeed. This week too, I finally purchased a motorized dinghy, which will be christened with the name “Fletcher.” The name was come to with the help of several message board elections among which are: Mongothetrucker.com, Cruiser.co.za, Sailfar.net, Paceship.org, and my friends on Myspace.com. This necessary purchase will give me greater latitude where I anchor and make it considerably easier to get to shore and ferry supplies back and forth.
Today I drove up to Vancouver, British Columbia and then down back into Washington, where I gazed at all of the sailboats in Lake Union, their masts lazily swinging with the Space Needle and the rest of the Seattle skyline behind them…it was easy for me to look, as traffic was moving at two miles per hour just prior to rush hour! As I watched, multiple ideas and a stead-fast realization began to culminate in my brain as I daydreamed about a couple of posters I’d seen in the Boise Stage Stop: two posters of gorgeous Moorea Island, French Polynesia; a sailboat in a turquoise blue cove, the vessel fully decked out for cruising, with the beautiful dark and lush green volcanic mountains in the close background, as it was a narrow shot. I got on the telephone with a friend of mine in Arizona who also sails and told him that for the first time ever, I was excited about the solo voyage to Bermuda, in that it would be the first step in getting my life going again in the direction I wanted it to go. Sure Bermuda will be beautiful, but it’s no South Pacific paradise, and I truly think that that is where I want to end up with this whole sailing venture. I’m more of a people-person than I used to be, so it’s not solitude I seek, but I am looking to be a part of all those pictures I used to look at in shark books when I was a little kid… beautiful coral reefs, sandy beaches, palm trees, brilliant sunshine, and natures monsters like the sharks causing me my only stress. I think I can deal with a shark, or at least avoid becoming a meal, and if not, then I doubt my regret would last very long!
Elvira Garcia and Lavapai Martin (Elvira and Lava) are near me right now. Elvira, snuggled up next to me, purring as usual, and Lava, passed out having his dream-induced spasms while laying flat on his Superscratcher. These cats will have a good time after they get over their initial sea sickness. When living in Avalon Harbour, Santa Catalina Island, Lava really enjoyed his freedom, being able to have access to the outside world via the decks. He seemed very happy with the fresh air and watching the boats, fish, and the birds. Elvira has never been sailing, although she really took a liking to the William Bligh, and looked so content as she watched me work on the sink and various electrical systems, I have no doubt that she will make a fine sailing cat. The problem with Elvira is her small size, as she is too petite for a feline life preserver. There will of course then be special emphasis on training her to use a ladder to climb back on board when she’s fallen overboard in a harbor or anchorage. I learned that Lava has zero problem climbing up a metal swim ladder on the stern of Hard Knots, so I assume that he’ll be able to manage with the removable one which I’ll be using on board the Bligh. Lava never liked being thrown overboard, but I think the trick was to push him when he wasn’t looking in my direction, this way the grudge would pass within a few minutes. Elvira isn’t as strong as Lava, in fact she is pathetically weak, so if the ladder doesn’t work then I’ll have to go the “hanging carpet” route, which I find a little unsightly in a harbour.
So yes, wow, I am excited as the big day finally approaches. It does help my mind-set being better prepared financially, and I am positive that this will be a successful voyage. Of course I will strive to keep everyone abreast of my progress. The first leg to Boston will be posted before I leave Bean Town, there will possibly be an update from Nantucket and/or Martha’s Vineyard. Then upon reaching Bermuda I’ll get online and post more video, pictures, and updates.. and let everyone know the final itinerary before setting sail to Virginia. It is my greatest hope that everyone will continue to follow the voyage and keep your collective fingers crossed for me.
Robin Scott Johnson
s/v William Bligh