Grand Happenings & More FAQs

bermuda3_250What a beautiful night it was… followed today by an exciting morning on the sea! Under a lovely sunset last evening, after we finished off an amazing banquet of BBQ ribs, fresh corn on the cob and French fries, prepared by our very own Chef Pierce, we spent the night cruising in spectacular conditions with 15-20 knots of tailwinds pushing us along at a 10-knot average under a sky full of stars!

The night before, Monday was equally sweet and starry as well… but when it was over and the sun rose, we had a rather laughable morning when we discovered that the head (toilet) and holding tank were clogged and full! After seven fairly experienced mechanics made a few cautious attempts at unplugging the cranky system, it was heroic Jon Pond who finally (and carefully) stepped up and cracked the deck opening and let loose a geyser of ugly stuff! It’s a longer story than that, but one not really well-suited for recounting without some beers nearby… but let’s just say that next time you run into one of us, ask for the complete audio version.

tunaAfter our speedy night last night, sunrise this morning, found us about 130 miles out of Narragansett Bay. We were just crossing over the continental shelf when one of the fishing rods suddenly whined to life, signaling something hefty on the line! Bruce Dickinson and Dave Brayman took to the rod and pulled up a most beautiful White Marlin, probably about 3 feet long and 50 pounds. As Marlin is not a good eating fish, Bruce with great finesse, eased the hook out of the fish’s mouth and set her free. Not too much later, our luck was even better as they caught a beautiful 8-pound Yellowtail Tuna. This was the perfect size fish for a bit of morning sushi not to mention dinner tonight for the whole crew – all done with little or no waste… sustainability in its true definition.

dolphin_lgAs if that wasn’t enough action for one morning, soon we were blessed with a visit from a pod of dolphins… all swimming and cavorting… with one feller in particular who showed off with some great aerial skills.

Yay for the sea when it comes to life like that, leaving you once more humbled by the wondrous gifts it effortlessly brings forth!

Today is once again warm and beautiful and we’re sailing at a good pace that should have us into harbor just after sunset tonight. Here’s to hoping for an uneventful rest of the passage from Bermuda to Newport!

So let me return to my appointed task of answering some of those questions I am most frequently asked, that I began here in Monday’s post. Let’s start here.

:: Many folks have asked me… What was the most beautiful or memorable part of the journey?

This is rather difficult to pin down to one specific answer, so let me pick five things. Then again, depending on how long I’m given to ponder the question, those five choices will likely change. But for now…

biolumin_plankton_2001) You’ve often heard me tell of the beautiful bioluminescence I encountered at several points along the way that more than a few times left me awestruck. That certainly ranks in the top five.

2) 
Storms in the Southern Ocean, especially the cyclone that we outran elevated the raw force of that tempest to something of a spiritual level for me.

3) The first sighting of the snow-capped mountains of the South Island of New Zealand after the generous fishermen of Ocean Odyssey gave me additional fuel was inspiring.

nz_mts

4) The colors of the sunset that same night still plays on the big screen in my mind, as perhaps the most majestic of the many sublime sunsets I witnessed.

5) I don’t think I’ll get over the sense that some mysterious symphony was being played out on the wings of the sea birds as they crisscrossed back and forth behind me, sewing up the wake I’d made through their ocean.

:: Another frequently asked question is… How can you be alone for that long?

I know that many people have different levels of comfort with being alone. Some work with people all day, every day and can’t wait to get home to the quiet of their house; others don’t feel comfortable being alone for even a few hours. For me, being alone is something that I have always been comfortable with and enjoyed. I’ve worked alone on construction projects, spent time traveling or driving across county… and of course, have spent a considerable time alone sailing on either Lake Michigan or the oceans.

dave_strawhat_550

I think we all need occasional contact with other people and I’m no exception to that. I almost daily communicated through emails with friends and family and every few days, took a minute or two to make a phone call on the Iridium satellite phone. Still being alone has always come naturally for me and it has allowed me to build that contrasting view of life that allows me to better appreciate the times in my life when I’m wrapped in human company, as I am now on this brief trip.

Also, being alone gives me the chance to connect more peacefully with myself and to discover and experience without so much distraction, the various thoughts and feelings that rise up from within me. This trip certainly provided me ample opportunities for such experiences and reflections, which I hope before long to transcribe and share in longer book form.

:: I’ll finish for now, with this one… What was the scariest part of the circumnavigation?

This isn’t quite so easy question to answer either, because I think I know what most people want to hear for my answer. It’s only human nature to want to hear an amazing tale of a wild tempest that nearly takes your life. But for me that wasn’t the case. While there were indeed several amazing and ultra-challenging storms, which demanded some of the toughest heavy weather sailing I’ve encountered in my life, even during those times, I never felt scared.

Dave in Foulie

Strange as it may seem, those were the moments that I had sought out and prepared myself and Bodacious Dream to handle… and we did so with good fortune. Edgy? Very much so… and for days on end, I felt as though every sense in my body was pumping at 125 percent. Alert to every motion of the boat, every sound, even every change in the pitch of the wind, my mind and body processed huge amounts of sensory input to help me keep Bodacious Dream trimmed and sailing within the flow of an agitated ocean.

I’m sure to some all that seems like it would qualify as a recipe for scary, but remember, I was in a world I had grown fairly comfortable with and that I knew quite well. Take me out of that comfort zone and put me in some other world that I don’t know… and I can tell you a different story about being scared. Brain surgery, police and fire rescue, combat, raising kids even … would all scare me in more conventional ways, but being in the folds of the sea, while it can be very edgy, never pushed my scare button. I will admit though that I was on the edge of my seat for much of the voyage… as each moment out there is a one-of-a-kind roller coaster ride!

38.57215S, 100.361912E

Ok, well getting back to the present moment, I don’t want to miss the wonder and beauty of the last 100 miles of sailing with good friends on a friendly ocean day. Conditions on the East Coast will likely change dramatically in a couple of days as Tropical Storm “Arthur” builds and moves up the coast this weekend. It will be nice to be ashore for once, watching it instead of running from it.

- For now, DR signing off as part of the no longer odious and the very well fed crew of Bodacious IV under the stalwart leadership of Captain Tim Eades!

A Fun Jaunt & some FAQs

Greetings from onboard Bodacious IV, where at the moment, a stellar delivery crew and I are sailing on a beautiful cracked open reach at 9 knots! We’re returning Bodacious IV back to her home in Jamestown, RI post her competing in the Newport to Bermuda race last week. Our team here includes the likes of Captain Tim Eades, Jonathon Pond, Rob Plotke, Dave Brayman, Bruce Dickinson and “Chef” Pierce Johnson. It’s great fun to be with these guys again and sharing the sailing, the comradery and the gentle warm winds off Bermuda. We hope to arrive in Jamestown in a few days, in enough time to catch the July 4 fireworks over the Newport Harbor!

0800_BoIV_550
L to R … Dave, Pierce and Bruce… as Dave and Bruce fish for our dinner.

This last week before flying to Bermuda, I visited with friends over the course of making my way back home to the Midwest for a couple of days. Now while Franklin was a great listener, his conversation and range of opinions was well, limited. Fortunately, most people I meet are full of questions. Of the many questions I get asked about the circumnavigation, there seem to be a group of more common ones that I expect might be of interest to some of you as well. So, what I thought I’d do here is answer three of those frequently asked questions, and then answer three more a few days from now, in the next update. OK?

:: Most frequently, I get asked about sleep. What’s the longest time you got to sleep on the trip?

Dave's Alarm ClockAs I’ve explained before, I try to sleep in 15-minute increments. That’s the length of time it would take for another vessel that is beyond my field of vision and just over the horizon, to get to me. So, the vast majority of the time, I sleep in 15-minute intervals (with the help of my egg-timer) and in areas like the coast of Florida, I might even cut that back to 10-minute naps. I know that doesn’t seem like much time to sleep, (and it isn’t) … but you do get used to sleeping in sets of 4 to 5 of these naps with just a few moments awake in between to check the boat and horizon. In our day-to-day lives, we sleep 8 hours, so we can be up for 16 hours. I take these naps so I can be up for an hour or two during which I’m constantly looking for any opportunity to take additional naps, so that I’m most able to function if something important comes up and requires my time. I do think there were times in the deep Southern Ocean where I might have slept for as long as 45 minutes, but such periods were few and far between. I’m sure I never slept more than the 45 minutes at any one time during the entire voyage.

:: What was the longest time you went without seeing another ship?

ocean_odyssey_300The trip between Cape Town, South Africa and Wellington, New Zealand was 52 days, and I remember I saw one long tanker about three days out of Cape Town and then didn’t see another ship until I met up with the friendly fishermen of the Ocean Odyssey who lent us a hand off the South Island of New Zealand. The Southern Ocean is considered some of the most remote waters in the world and you often hear the remark, which is true, that the closest humans to us in those waters are the folks on the Space Station maybe 50 miles above our heads! From New Zealand to the Galapagos would have been the next longest time at 35 days and the last ship I saw out of New Zealand was that first night after I left NZ!

:: What’s it like to be back among so many people having been alone for so long?

dave_300Of course, coming back into Jamestown and being greeted by so many family and friends was a wonderful experience… but the hum of activities that followed and that kept me moving continuously the last couple of weeks has kept my mind from wandering much or encountering too many emotions of the sort that typically arise for people who have gone through long and challenging experiences. From adventurers who have thrown their all into achieving arduous goals to veterans of wars who have fought intensely for their comrades and their own safety, once the extraordinary conditions disappear and life returns to a more everyday pace, it sometimes happens that an energy “hole” appears… one which can sometimes suck you into some type of depression.

So far, I’ve had little time to ponder or integrate the full scope of what happened to me or what it might mean for me in the months ahead. I do know there have been times where I felt an increased sensitivity to things back on land, not yet having built up the usual calluses that help insulate you in the course of living day-to-day life. I have found myself having to manage urges to leave crowded situations, while at the same time, wanting to move closer to people and group situations. It’s pretty interesting and so far, I think I’m doing pretty well. I will stay on the lookout for interesting or challenging shifts as I move further away in time from the completion of the adventure.

So, back to the present… as we sail along listening to great music, eating Chef Pierce’s amazing cooking, telling stories and waiting for Dave and Bruce to catch us a main course for dinner tonight, I will write up another set of answers to more questions I’ve been asked. So, stay tuned for that, and I promise I will answer the one question everyone seems to ask me… “What was your scariest time out there?” But for now, I’ll leave you in suspense on that one.

From about 570 miles southeast of Newport, RI.

- Dave, among the great crew of Bodacious IV led by Captain Tim Eades

Trans-Pacific – Day #4 Excitement

Spinnaker’s up, surfing and sailing along our desired tactical course to Hawaii. Every hour or so we go over the numbers, courses, wind predictions and plot. We then work, rework and play out the routing software hoping we will find ourselves in the right place at the right time. Sailboat racing has increasingly become a hybrid mix that melds the very analog physical act of sailing the boat with the goals of a digital video navigation game. But you know what? That only adds to the fun of it all!

So far today (Monday), we’ve touched speeds in excess of 19 knots (!) – with a 12 knot average, and we’ve clicked off in excess of 270 miles! We have now less than 1250 miles to go, but as we’ve described in past updates, we can’t always sail the course as the seagull flies, and so will inevitably have to gybe several times to get to where we’re going, which may extend our total distance by as much as another 100 miles. Minimizing this extra distance by sailing the rightest and tightest course is all part of a winning strategy of sailing less distance as fast as you can versus your competitors who are trying just as hard as you are to do the very same thing! Too much fun that as well!

Chris Pike and the HAEA logoChris Pike at the helm w/ the HAEA logo on the boom!

We had some big excitement today. As we were sailing along under the spinnaker and “negotiating” among ourselves on whether or not to change to a stronger spinnaker in the heavier winds, or to keep up the faster spinnaker and risk blowing it out … all of a sudden – BANG!! … our tack line parted! The tack line is the rope that holds one corner of the spinnaker to the tip of the bowsprit at the pointed bow of the boat. As soon as that line blew, that flapping spinnaker turned into the biggest damn flag in the world!

We all jumped into action … dropping our gourmet lunches and scrambling to pull the spinnaker, rig a temporary tack line – and hoist in its place the heavier, stronger spinnaker. It took only about 10 minutes I suppose, but soon enough, we were back up to speed and racing pretty quickly. We then spent some time putting a plan together to make a proper repair, which required someone going out to the very end of the bowsprit to make a quick attachment of a block and re-rig a new, stronger tack line … all the while Bo IV kept sailing along at 12 knots! With the help of a climbing harness attached to a halyard, one of our guys worked his way to the tip of the sprit, made the repair and returned successfully. We won’t worry anyone’s family or friends by saying just who that person was. … All is fine in the life of a sailor! Peace and calm the whole day long!

Solo Ship ...

Since that incident, we’ve been flying along all day today with no issues, although we did have to make frequent adjustments to the tack line and halyards, so as to spread the wear points out across more sections of the lines.

The other less exciting news, and a bit more worrisome as well, was the appearance today of marine debris. We saw notifications of debris locations from other competitors, and started plotting those locations. (In fact, we heard that the speedy trimaran Lending Club ran into a telephone pole … but come to think of it, it was the telephone pole that ran into Lending Club, wasn’t it?)

So it was today that suddenly and out of nowhere, we spotted debris ourselves. Today’s tally: three fishing buoys, one large piece of plastic in a “T” shape, one large log about 15 feet long and one smaller narrow log about 8 feet long and 8 inches in diameter. There is much talk about marine debris, and there isn’t much that can be done about it other than doing our best as humans to prevent trash from entering the oceans in the first place. Much of this debris we understand is from the tragic tsunami in Japan, but it is still a worrisome thing for us as we move along. The good news is that for the moment, we are for now out of the identified debris field.

Pacific Currents

At the same time, as you can see in the image above … (and which is explained in more depth in our Bodacious Dream Expedition “Knowledge” Explorer Guide,) we are now fully in the strong North Equatorial currents that will take us deeper into the “convergence zone,” where we will likely see more of the debris that circulates in these now-infamous Pacific “gyres.”

So, as I write this, night is falling on Bodacious IV out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean … oh, right about here … where we hope for clearer skies soon and some of those pretty twinkling stars to steer by!

- The Crew of Bodacious IV 
(Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.)

Coordinates: +27.35445, -134.40693
Boat speed: fast, fast, fast … 12-14 knots with surges up to 16 & 17 knots
Course over the ground: 258 degrees
Dinner tonight: Ousso Buco (Man, we are well fed! AND we still have plenty of cookies!)

Trans-Pacific – The First Three Days …

The Transpac Race started for us Thursday, July 11th at 1pm PDT. We left from Point Fermin near Long Beach, CA bound for Honolulu, HI. There are 9 boats in our division (#6.) Each of the vessels is similar to our, Bodacious IV, in that they are all 50 or 52 foot Santa Cruz racers, and each like us, carries a crew of nine. Here’s our team.

The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race.
The Bodacious IV team just before the start of the race. From L to R … Christer Still, Matt Scharl, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Jim McLaren, John Ayres, Jeff Urbina, Tim Eades & Dave Rearick.

The first night, we were surrounded by the constant baying of seals … a haunting call in the dark of night, to be sure. We also had a visit from some indeterminate species of mammal. It being dark, identifying it with any accuracy was difficult for us. As our crew is mostly from the Great Lakes, none of us are too experienced with the local amalgam of sea life. Once loose in the vast Pacific, you quickly come to realize how inadequate the paltry range of categories for sea life you carry with you are, when put against the greater varieties of species that actually exist all around you out here. It’s another one of those pay attention calls that nature loves to deliver, once you put yourself out there and on the receiving end of live experience.

Cool and overcast conditions prevailed all the way to Saturday morning, when the sun broke through allowing us to shed some clothes for an amazing day of sailing at around 12 knots of boat speed and essentially down the “rhumb line” (a fixed compass position indicating the most direct route) to Hawaii. We were able to do this, because the Pacific High pressure zone had move to the north and west bringing us these great winds.

Bodacious IVSunday arrived like a gift. We set our spinnakers and went to working our way down the trade wind route to Hawaii, sailing between 14 and 20 knots … in winds coming from our starboard (right) quarter (back corner of the boat) direction. This was giving us steady speeds with a peak speed so far of 17.2 knots!

We saw our first flying fish Sunday, which tells us the water is getting warmer … AND we had a squid fly up on deck as well, during one of our sail changes, and leaving some ink stains on the deck. Ancient mariners used to navigate by such natural signs. They knew that such occurrences indicated they were changing latitudes as the temperatures of the water, smell of the sea, angle of the winds, types of fish and sea life are all somewhat specific to certain regions of the sea … not unlike how various plants and animals on land are recognizably native to particular regions.

Crew spirits are high, lots of laughs and barbs zinging back and forth. And on top of that, we are eating like kings! Dinner Sunday was a delicious Veal Moscato courtesy of Chef Pierce Johnson … our French chef friend and long-time crew member who is sitting out the race this year, but who is remembered fondly at every meal. (If you’re interested, here’s a video interview with Pierce about nutrition on boats.)

A quartet of sailorsAppraising the situation, planning the future …

We started our Sunday with the Code 0 sail up, with a staysail as well. Then we switched to the A3 spinnaker, and later to our A2. The spinnakers are those large billowy (and photogenic) sails in the front of the boat. The various sails have different sizes and shapes to use for different wind angles and strengths.

Also, for our friends at Earthwatch Institute - we’ve been keeping an eye out for debris and wildlife. Not too much to report so far, except for the beautiful and wide-open blue waters of the Pacific as far as the eye can see.

For those of you following along and working out the math problems on the Explorer Guides, you can do another calculation and take a guess at when we might arrive in Hawaii! Send us an email with your predictions.

Thanks to all for your support!

- Dave, reporting from Bodacious IV

On the Eve of the Trans-Pacific!

Bodacious IV It’s been a busy week here in Long Beach, California! The harbor has been abuzz with boats and sailors, spectators and press as we complete our preparations for Bodacious IV to compete in the 107-year old Transpac Race!

We arrived in Long Beach after having developed a problem with the mast during the trip from San Diego, which upended all our well thought-out plans and schedules. After consulting with engineers and technicians, repairs were completed this past Sunday, and since then, we’ve been working to catch up and get back on schedule.

Yesterday, Captain Tim Eades and I were joined by the rest of the Bodacious Racing Team, and we are now at full strength going into the final stretch. The proverbial “list” is now close to manageable, we’ll get in a practice sail today and be ready to rock it come our start tomorrow Thursday at 1:00 pm, PDT!

Boats in Long Beach
Bretwayda, Bodacious IV, Lending Club & The Queen Mary!

There’s an amazing group of competitors and vessels around us here, and we’re expecting some very close racing right up to the finish line. The whole race has a total of 57 boats competing in three sections with staggered start times. This is to help consolidate the finish times in Hawaii by having the faster boats give the rest of the field a head start. The first start was on Monday, and in that start was our friend and fellow Class 40 racer Hanna Jenner onboard Dorade, which is a very special boat, having won the Trans-Pac back in 1936! Another fellow Class 40 competitor, Ryan Breymeier, will be competing in the large trimaran, Lending Club. They have been upgrading their onboard systems in an attempt to set a new multi-hull record time for covering the Transpac course in less than 5 days! We’ll see how they do. We’ll also be keeping a close eye on an old friend, Phil Pollard, who is sailing on Bretwalda 3.

Bodacious Dream ExpeditionsConcurrent to the race, we have also uploaded a Trans-Pacific Expedition discovery “module” here on  BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com … this one naturally covers the Pacific Ocean and Hawaiian Islands.
Here we give you background and study guides to help you share with the kids in your world, what’s going on around our daily updates as we venture across the largest ocean on the planet, the Pacific Ocean.

In the “print-ready” Explorer Guides, you can have some fun working out the math problems and reviewing the general knowledge questions. It’s an utterly amazing part of the world we will be voyaging through, so come along and learn about it with us … in real-time!

AC Education Day in NYC
Matt and Dave field some tough questions from the inquisitors in NYC …

Speaking of sharing our experience with a younger generation; this is at the heart of what we do as sailors and humans. On this note, the good folks at the Atlantic Cup and 11th Hour Racing were kind enough to ask me to write a piece for them on the two “Education Days” we had in-between Atlantic Cup race legs. On those two days, several of us skippers had a chance to hang out and share our experiences with groups of city school kids. It was a very special experience. My post is titled, “If I knew then, what I know now …” and you can read it right HERE!

The folks at the Transpac have also done a good job enhancing the online experience for you, as well. Here are some of the various ways you can follow the action.

Transpac 2013• The Transpac Website is here
… http://transpacyc.com/
• The Yellowbrick Race Tracker is here
… http://yb.tl/transpac2013
• Their Facebook Page is here
… https://facebook.com/TranspacRace

Of course, we will (in our own inimitable way) be keeping you updated here on our Bodacious sites and on our Facebook page as well.

So, that’s about it … there’s a LOT of excitement coming up in these next couple of weeks of hard racing. We’re hoping to cover the 2250 miles in 10 days or so, after which it will be time for a few days of rest and relaxation in Hawaii before heading back into the thick of things in preparation for the circumnavigation aboard Bodacious Dream in the fall!

HAEAWe hope you’ll take time to follow us on this grand race and adventure, explore our expedition materials and also support our good friends at the Earthwatch Institute … and if you can, help out our partners at the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA) who are working hard to find a cure for all those affected by that disease. So … until the next update, all the best to you, from all of us onboard Bodacious IV!

Skipper Jeff Urbina, Captain Tim Eades, John Ayres, Chris Pike, John Hoskins, Christer Still, Jim McLaren, Matt Scharl & Dave Rearick

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Final Day)

I apologize for the delay in getting out this final daily update. Soon after arriving in San Diego at about 09:00 on Friday morning, and not long after the grey of dawn turned into a bright morning, we were swept up in a whole series of events – clearing customs, getting to our dock, cleaning up the boat, sleeping and eating, working out the logistics of getting the crew home; all of these an everyday part of boat life.

As we sailed the last 100 miles up the coast on Thursday, we kept a vigilant eye out for whales, but were probably a bit north of their playground for this time of year. The crew was lively and having fun with the anticipation of arriving at our destination. We did some shipboard chores, played music and enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere the calmer weather provided for us.

Blessed with a clear and simple sunset on our last night, we began to mark off miles to San Diego. 

As darkness spread, the increase in light rising from Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego seeped into the night sky and caused the slow disappearance of the many softer and more distant stars that simply aren’t bright enough to pierce the luminous glow that rises from our big cities.

Last Sunset

I have seen this many times now and have found this transition from the open ocean (and sparsely populated areas) into more densely populated areas, something of a passage between two worlds – the ancient one and the modern one … the entirely natural one we were born into and the world that has been entirely made and remade by us. These two aspects of our lives seemed perfectly illustrated by the harbor seals laying in the sun on the big salty red navigation marks that guided our boat into San Diego harbor.

Looking back on the week, this first test expedition was a wonderful time for all of us onboard. Our days and nights were filled with lots of laughter, friendship and excitement as we scanned the horizons in search of interesting things to share with you all.

I am a little disappointed we did not see more whales. We did see many whale spouts, but few were close enough to see in more detail. Friendly visits though from seals and dolphins and the occasional mysterious sighting of large fins in the water kept us intrigued and excited. The sea is full of such breathtaking wonders … and yet the world above the sea proved to be just as intriguing – especially that solitary visit from that friendly seagull (video)!

I’ll have more to say soon about what we learned about what lies ahead. 

One thing we know though … is that our NEXT Expedition will be aboard our dearly missed Bodacious Dream … and that will be the Atlantic Cup Race that begins May 11th, starting in Charleston, SC where we will be racing BoDream to New York City and then around to Newport, Rhode Island.

We’ve also got more things to share with you from the last week in the coming days, so  please stay tuned fort that.

For all of us on Bodacious IV, Capt. Tim Eades, Dave Hardy, Heather, Jonathon Pond, and myself, as well as all our crewmates onshore … Mark Petrakis, Rob Forney, Nancy and Rick Usrey – we thank all of you Bodacious Dreamers for being there and allowing us to share all of this with you.

Dream on … !

- Dave Rearick

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day7)

Bodacious IV landed in San Diego yesterday (Friday) morning around 9am … all safe and sound.

The final leg up the coast was great … with photos and videos of that to come. Fortunately, no crew members were lost. In fact, some of them even found themselves in a new world of fun … a little like having their own reality show … which I guess kind of applies to everyone – to some extent … at least to the extent that the days of our lives are precious and unique and that the time we spend sharing them with wonderful people are even more special. Many new and lasting friendships were made on this voyage … and if the whales decided to remain mostly out of sight … it’s not as if their presence wasn’t felt. We are excited for the next expedition.

Much to do today … and tonight calls for some serious sleep … but come Monday, we’ll have a proper media-rich update for you … with lots more to follow in the coming week.

Thank you again for following along … we all appreciated it so much!

Have yourselves a great weekend!

- Dave

Thanks!

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day6)

The heavy weather of last night subsided this morning and we got in a pretty pleasant day of sailing and making miles northward towards San Diego. “Heavy weather” is a sailor’s way of describing windy and wavy conditions. While the conditions weren’t actually stormy, we did spend a lot of time sailing in 25 to 30 knots of winds with ocean swells running as high as 3 meters (or 10 feet) … throwing thick spray into the air and water across the decks.

Day View/ Night View
Day View/ Night View

As we get closer to San Diego, excitement builds among the crew in anticipation of the end of the passage. The Bo IV crew has been such a blast to sail with – right from the very beginning … but now, as we are approaching the end, we are all doing a lot of math trying to outguess each other as to how many miles we averaged over the last five hours, or what our average speed has been for the day, or what’s been our best distance made in 24 hours and of course, how many hours left until we finish. These are all fun things sailors like to do with numbers … that also underscore the need for them to have good math skills … especially if you are ever going to win any of these guessing games with your fellow crew members!

(So, have you figured out the difference between a knot and a mile per hour? That’s one of the bonus questions on our Explorer Guide for Math, if you want to check that out.)

QUESTIONS: Alongside questions of math, we have also had quite a few questions sent to us, that center on what goes on here, onboard a ship like Bodacious IV over the course of a near weeklong voyage.

For instance, people ask “How do we sleep?” “What we do at night?” “Do we stop somewhere?” “What do we eat?” “How do we stay warm?” Well, to each of those questions, there are various answers. So, let me respond to some of them.

SLEEP: Typically, we sail all through the night without stopping. To do this, we break the night into two watches with each watch lasting three hours. After three hours, a new watch comes on and the old watch goes off to sleep for three hours. We sleep in what we call bunks or berths. These are narrow beds below decks and often at different levels, depending on the design of the boat. They are narrow, so that you don’t get tossed around in heavy weather conditions like we had the last few nights. This system works well for keeping people rested and alert when you are sailing over a longer period of days. Then there are other trips where you might stop every other night in a harbor, and so pass the time more leisurely. But even in those situations, there would still be a watch system to ensure that someone at all times is in charge of the boat and its safe operation. (You can see a few bunks in the photo below.)

Jonathan Gearing Up for Foul Weather
Jonathan gears up for foul weather

FOOD/HUNGER: Eating is determined by a number of factors – the most important of which is having food available when you are hungry. But sometimes we have to wait until both crews are ready to eat, so that we can eat simultaneous to our changing watch. We eat primarily for energy, so depending on the level of work being called for, or how hot or cold the weather is, this can change what we eat and how often. When the weather is particularly rough, we often are only able to prepare sandwiches or snack foods. We steer clear of junk food as healthier whole grain breads, meats, fruits and vegetables give us more honest nutrition boosts and just a better and more energetic overall feeling. There is a good deal of math involved here too, as we calculate the energy, the food, the people and what their needs are, as each crew member has different dietary and calorie demands.

FOOD/ TEMPERTURE: Temperature also has a big impact on our diets. When it’s cold, people need to burn extra calories to stay warm … some people of course more than others. As we had heavy dew at night and temperatures down in the 40s, it wasn’t easy to stay warm, dry and alert when your body is trying so hard to find calories to burn. So you eat more when it’s cold out, so your body can keep burning calories and staying warm doing so. Can you see how important eating properly is and how math here too plays a role in the proper food fueling of a chip’s crew? And we haven’t even talked about cooking temperatures and times, and the math involved with doing all that.

To learn more about onboard nutrition, the video below is of an interview I recorded back in Cabo San Lucas with Chef and Master Provisioner Pierce Johnson (and noted nautical gourmand Jonathan Pond.)


Onboard Nutrition w/ Pierce and Jonathan

STAYING DRY & WARM: We also wear special clothes to help keep us dry and warm. Our base layers absorb the moisture from our body so that our skin feels less damp and wet. These materials are often a type of polyester mix of fabrics that have what are called “wicking” characteristics … meaning that they capture the moisture that evaporates from our bodies through sweat and transfers them to the outer layer of the cloth thus pulling moisture away from our bodies into an outer layer where it can evaporate. On top of those base layers, we wear fleeces and on top of those, our foul weather gear. In the old days, they used to just take cotton coats and soak them in wax or oil, so they would repel water when the waves and rain splashed on you.

Dave all duded up for foul weather
Bring it on!

Modern technology has developed a range of materials that have such small holes in them that even the most microscopic part of water (when it’s in a liquid form like rain or ocean water) can’t penetrate through the holes. At the same time though, when moisture is in an evaporated (vapor) form, like the steam from a teapot or like your warm breath in icy air … that no longer liquid moisture can flow out through the holes. Water can’t get in, but vapor can get out! Pretty cool – or warm – depending on how you look at it. So, with these special clothes, we get the help we need in order to keep ourselves warm and dry in windy and wavy conditions – just like we’ve experienced the last couple of days.

SAFETY: In addition to the foul weather gear, every crew member also wears what are called Personal Flotation Device (or PFDs.) These are automatically inflating life preservers that you wear like a jacket and that have built into then a harness and tether. We clip ourselves to the tether which runs the length of the boat, and prevents us from falling off the boat in rough conditions. Concerns for safety are obviously a very important part of our daily routine on the water. Respect for the power of the ocean must always be foremost in any good sailor’s mind. (In the photo below, Tim and Jonathan model the latest in PFD and tethering fashion.)  

PFDs and Harnesses
T
im and Jonathan in their safety gear

HEADING FOR HOME: We’ll be drafting more detailed summaries not long after arriving in San Diego … but a few words before we land. Knowing what an incredible area this is for whales, we really hoped we’d have seen some whales here the last couple of days, but we haven’t. I think it may well be that they don’t like the heavy weather any more than we do … and so stay longer in the calmer climes below the surface. We did have a lovely visit today from a seagull though. He flew right up behind me and landed on the corner of the boat, just to my left. He traveled with us for a couple of hours before heading off to who knows where. We always feel these moments are special when nature comes to visit us instead of us coming to visit it. Here’s a short video of that encounter captured by Heather.


A Seagull’s Visit

As to the bigger wild life, we never say never though here in the Bodacious Dreamtime; so we will continue to keep an eye out for more whales, dolphins and other wildlife on this last part of our trip.

Again … thanks for following along.

- Dave R., Tim, Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.

Google Earth/Ocean BDX 6Time: 05:00 PST
Coordinates: 32 18.714’ N 117 07.944’ W
Boat Speed: 6.8 knots
Course: 323 degrees

BoDream Expeditions (Baja -Day5 -The Seagull)

While at the helm of Bodacious IV Thursday morning, Dave and the Bodacious Dream Expeditions crew were visited by a seagull … and Heather was there to capture it on video. It was a kind of spiritual moment for Dave. As he says … “You see I lost a great friend about 10 years back in a solo sailing race on Lake Michigan. Mike Silverthorne was a giant of a man … both in person and physical stature .. with as large a heart and hearty a laugh as anyone I ever knew. An American Indian, Mike was constantly reassuring us all with his laughter over the radio. We nicknamed him “Laughing Gull.” Since he passed, every time I am visited by a seagull either on land or at sea, I can’t help but think that Mike, with his large wingspan, is gliding through from another dimension and reaching out to me … for one more sail, one more story, one more laugh.”

BoDream Expedition (Baja – Day5)

Bodacious IV, with all crew onboard, pulled out of Turtle Bay Wednesday evening … at about 20:30 hours as the winds were dropping off from 30 knots to 20. We headed towards the east side of Cedros Island and then across the bay towards the shoreline, rounding it just about sunset.

Sunset near Punto San CarlosSunset off Cedros Island

With the exception of the “lee” of Cedros … (lee being the side opposite of the wind … or the windward side) … we have been in powerful winds for the last 24 hours. It’s what we like to call out here “cold ‘n wet” … with very little sunshine to dry things off. Sometimes being on the water is all about the water part, which makes you happy as a sunfish, when the warm light returns. And then there’s the wind – no shortage of that … and all at around 28-32 knots. And if forecasts hold, it’s looking like it just may continue this way to San Diego.

The Bo IV Crew (4 out 5, anyway)
C
apt. Tim, Jonathan, Heather & Dave …

The Bo IV crew is just great. We’ve found so much to laugh about. Captain Tim is a hoot, and he and Jonathon have a regular routine going. For those of you who followed along with my Trans-Atlantic crossing back in December, there was the night when my PFD (personal floatation device) fell off the counter above me while I was asleep on the floor, causing me to shoot up and commence mortal combat with a giant and imaginary squid monster! (Click HERE for the link to that yarn.)

Anyway, this morning while I slept, my “pals” Captain Tim and Jonathon attempted to recreate that same event and video it while they did. The devious pair used a long pole that had a sponge and lines dangling from it that Tim then hovered over my sleeping head while Jonathon manned the camera … both of them a good safe distance away from me, just in case their prank incited a mad flurry of flailing arms and swinging knives. In the end, their game was only partway effective. Nevertheless, I will sleep with one eye open the rest of the way.

Capt. Tim & Dastardly Jonathan
The Pranksters … Tim and Jonathan

We were visited by some sociable dolphins today, and I got a clip of them alongside, as well as some fun shots of water splashing up and over the boat in the heavy breezes … some nice sunsets too. We’ll get those up for viewing as soon as we can.

I know boat talk can get confusing sometimes. It was (and still is sometimes) that way for me. Just to remind you then, the starboard is the “right” side of the boat (when facing front) – so when we say starboard tack, we’re talking about the wind coming over the right side of the boat, and when we say port, the wind would be coming over the “left” side of the boat. Here’s how I remember the difference … “Green + Right + Starboard“… all with a long number of letters. “Red + Left + Port” … all with a short number of letters.

Pondering David
Can’t remember what I was thinking here … something “deep” I’m sure.

As I send this off, our coordinates are 29 41.036′ N, 115 42.783′ W tracking up the Baja coast in 25 knots of wind, on a sea full of water and a sky full of stars. We’re doing 6.5 knots of speed on a course of 283 degrees when on starboard tack and 013 degrees when on port track.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to download Google Earth and then copy/paste the current coordinates (29 41.036′ N, 115 42.783′ W) right into the search box, and it’ll swoop you right to where we are … (just like the photo below.) There are other cool things there too, that other people have put there for you to see. We’ll add our own Bodacious photos and videos too before long … once we have had a chance to dry off.

Google Earth
Google Earth/ Ocean

So there you go … and here we are … tacking back and forth left and right up the coast on our way towards San Diego.

Be back soon …

- Dave R., Tim Heather, Jonathon and Dave H.