Great Mother of Wonder

Another run of exceptional days out here in the Southern Ocean – two cold fronts in two days, our first lightning storms … not to mention a kelp attack, close encounters of the “bird” kind and an utterly amazing experience with bioluminescence.

The two back-to-back cold fronts began last Sunday night. The first one arrived in typical fashion, riding in on a northwest wind, but the second came in with a headwind that took forever to switch back over to the northwest, which was fine by me as it put the wind behind us and made the sailing easier. Once it did switch though, it brought along with it lightning and thunderstorms. I had not seen lightning in these squalls before, so it made for an interesting (and dramatic) night. Eventually both cold fronts and their stormy winds passed, leaving us with good winds for racking up some good miles.

45.35797S, 148.83321E1300 Miles to Port – 45.35797S, 148.83321E 

As I write this, I’m just passing under Tasmania at about 45.5 South Latitude and setting my cross-hairs on the southernmost tip of the South Island of New Zealand! That waypoint, at about 155 East Longitude is just about 600 miles away, but there’s still a lot of sailing as the course to Wellington travels up the South Island and then down the Cook Strait. By my estimate, there’s still over 1300 miles left to the end of Leg 2 … but isn’t that cool? I figure, since leaving Jamestown, Rhode Island on October 2nd, I’ve sailed over 15,000 miles! I’m still hoping by the 10th of February to be tied up at Chaffer’s Marina in Wellington, New Zealand, and celebrating my return to Terra Firma.

Now, when I say KELP attack, I probably should have said kelp “attach!” The other morning, just after the second cold front, I began to feel that something was slowing down the boat. That’s the sort of learned intuition one gets around boats. You sometimes sense it before you have any idea what it might be. I finally looked aft and saw a long brown object dragging off the starboard rudder. I hooked up my tether and reached over the side to grab onto it and pulled as hard as I could but got no release. This one was tenacious, but after several attempts, I was finally able to dislodge it. Here’s a picture of it.

Encrusted kelp – 42.5441046S, 134.5444664E 

For a few moments, I thought that maybe it was a piece of waste rubber, but it was obviously kelp. Upon further inspection, I found it was laced with some sort of crustaceans that were incredibly beautiful in their simplicity and in their subtle color shading. Here’s a picture of them.

42.5441046S, 134.5444664E
Something special, wouldn’t you say? –
 42.5441046S, 134.5444664E

Having never seen anything quite like it before, I could not help but marvel once again at nature’s infinitely fertile ability to manifest life forms of such diverse and inexplicable beauty. Now, I wonder if anyone can tell us more specifically what type of crustaceans these might be? (My best guesses to the questions I pose here are all down below.)

Now as to the BIRDS, for the past week or so, this very interesting group of birds has been regularly circling the boat. I’ve watched them for endless hours, entranced by their curious flight patterns. They aren’t big birds; one would probably fit in the palm of my hand. They have a white band around their mid-section, but what captures your attention is the way in which they fly. Swooping up and over waves, but getting right down to the water and then seeming to dip their right wing in the water, time and time again. Darting up and down in quick motions … it almost looked as if they had a dysfunctional wing.

Now I figured there was some sort of feeding action going on, but I couldn’t tell exactly what, even though I watched for days on end. I did start to notice that they occasionally dipped the left wing too, so maybe it was just a matter of convenience relative to their stalking food. Even after days of watching them, I find it hard to take my eyes off of them. But here’s a picture of one of them about to dip his or her wing. Anyone want to take a guess as to what kind of bird these are?

42.2220238S, 127.330546E
As close to constant companions as I get for now – 42.2220238S, 127.330546E 

So, the other morning, after the last cold front passed, I was up on the foredeck making a sail change and noticed something unusual … tiny fly-like bugs on part of the deck. I wasn’t sure where they could have come from, but after a much closer look, I realized that what I was looking at were like very tiny shrimp, but no longer than a couple of millimeters. I thought these must be what the birds are catching as they swoop and dip into the waves. How about this species … anyone have a clue what they might be?

bioluminescenseAnd as if both these creatures weren’t fantastical enough, the other night, an explosion of bioluminescence proved as spectacular as any I’ve ever seen in all my years at sea. As I typically do, I came up on deck to have a look around. It was pitch dark out and raining with some flashes of lightning off to the north. At first look I panicked … thinking I was seeing the stern light of a ship just in front of me. (In case you’re curious, I haven’t seen another ship for about four or five weeks now.)

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I realized what I was seeing. The sea was alive! Every wave top, every white cap was glowing whitish green. The wake from the boat was looking like I had a light on under the boat. The trails from the rudders looked like luminous streamers flying from a circus tent flagpole. Most amazing of all were these floating orbs, glowing bright in the water … and not just one orb, there many all around me! At one point, I counted 20 or more behind the boat and you could see them for quite a ways away… constant in their gleaming brightness.

bioluminesenceOn each side of the boat, there was this same density of bioluminescence. Quite the surrealistic event, I can assure you – sailing along at 10 knots, all alone in the black of night, thousands of miles away from anywhere, in the middle of a thunderstorm and rain … with this incredible beauty erupting all around me. I’ve been back out every night since looking for them, but nothing more so far. I suspect that night was so uniquely spectacular because of conditions that followed from the electrical storm and the super-charged air.

On reflection it strikes me that the closer you get to the ocean, the more it reveals, the more you become part of its surface life. It is truly the great mother of wonder. It surrounds us, feeds us and cleanses the earth and the air. It also provides us with pathways to anywhere in the world and along the way, never stops teaching us and showing us sights and sounds even beyond our wildest imaginings. I so wish there was a way I could photograph this bioluminescence to show you all, but perhaps it’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself. I stood there for half an hour observing it all in the pouring rain. I was both soaked and stoked when I finally went back inside again.

:: (SPOILER ALERT! As to the QUESTIONS above, I shared my observations with Tegan Mortimer, our Earthwatch ocean science colleague for the Circumnavigation, and here are our combined best guesses as to what I saw.

  • The creatures that attached to the kelp are called goose barnacles!
  • The birds look to be gray-back storm petrels.
  • The type of flying they do is something called “dynamic soaring,” which Tegan says she will soon be covering in a new science note about pelagic sea birds. (See Tegan’s previous science notes on our Citizen Science Resource Page here!)
  • Strangely enough, if the birds are in fact gray-back storm petrels, they actually concentrate on feeding on the larvae of goose barnacles, so the tiny shrimp I saw on deck were likely that, which is what the petrels were stalking the whole time.

So, if our answers are correct, then all these sightings were actually interrelated, which gives me a special feeling of gratitude to be able to plumb a little deeper into nature’s mysterious and inter-connected cycles. ::

So onward towards New Zealand! Just another 7 to 10 days and I’ll get a chance to take a break, eat some real food, reconnect with old friends, restock the chocolate and cookie supply, as well as everything else, and begin to prepare Bodacious Dream for Leg 3 of this amazing journey.

I do hope you’re enjoying following along with these updates. I also hope you’ve had a chance to share the Explorer Guides with some young people in your lives or to look them over yourselves. There’s so much more to share and explore out here. Give me a few days once I arrive in New Zealand to get some of these amazing photos and videos up for you to see and enjoy! And here’s the link to the Email List Sign-Up.

But for now, it’s back to sailing. “Roll East Young Franklin, Roll East!”

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the well-weathered) Franklin

Nature’s Music

It’s been a week of good sailing and good distances made. Doing the math, I see that we’ve tracked another 1000 miles this week, leaving Cape Town 5000 miles behind us now!

43.50603S, 137.53928EMoving along … 43.50603S, 137.53928E 

Presently we’re under the Great Australian Bight (Bay) about 940 miles from the southern tip of Tasmania and beyond that, at another 1300 miles, New Zealand. So, the good news is we’re getting there, though not as fast as I’d like. If I might whine a moment, the freeze-dried meals are wearing on me some and every time I look at the chocolate supply it looks evermore depleted! In any case, best guesses for our arrival in New Zealand are now for about the 10th of February.

The weather is starting to stir up again after giving me a week of pretty settled conditions. So it is that the good times pass too quickly and trouble never quickly enough. I’m looking at two cold fronts crossing our route very shortly; the first on Sunday evening and another on Monday evening. These look similar to the ones I dealt with in the western Indian Ocean. Typically, these fronts signal their imminent arrival the day before with a NW wind that eventually builds to 30 knots or so with some showers and rain squalls imbedded in them. As they pass, the winds switch over to the SW, which then clear out and die off. As far as our ability to use the weather to make up distance goes, it is a fairly predictable pattern of moving along quickly and then slowing down. Because I know it’s coming, the slow down can be a bit frustrating just because I’m keen on keeping steady progress towards New Zealand. As one quickly learns, patience is no less difficult a virtue to practice out here, than it is anywhere else!

The good thing about days of calmer weather is that it makes it easier to accomplish ordinary tasks like sleeping, eating, reading and writing. I’ve been able to finish a number of books. Those would be … Long Walk to Freedom (about Nelson Mandela), Losing my Virginity (about Richard Branson,) Incognito (David Eagleman on the brain,) Dreamland (David K. Randall on the science of sleep) and What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell essays.)  I’ve started a couple more that hopefully will get me through these last couple of weeks.

An interesting dilemma I have (which a lot of people are going through these days,) is whether I like the physical feel of a book in my hands or reading on a tablet like my iPad. I think I’m old-skool enough to prefer having the book in my hand, but then a wave splashes over and I think … you know, this waterproof iPad isn’t such a bad idea after all, is it? And it comes with music at the same time! But out here, that’s not such a selling point, as there’s so much of nature’s music all around me all the time.

dave_b2ct_300Speaking of nature’s music, the sounds that reach my ears are a complex symphony. Allow me to give you a little tour of the sounds around me now. As I sit below decks typing this, the constant push of water against the hull where the bow enters the water sets up a strong rhythm – a surge UP and then a flow back DOWN as the boat powers over a wave. Behind me, in the transom (the back of the boat) there’s a steady cadenza of splashing noises as the water pushes up against the transom. At first listen, you’d swear the stern hatch was open and the water was flowing into the boat, but no, just the sound of it. All along, at any time, you can hear a thud or loud SLAP as a wave comes up against the side of the hull. This throws you at first as you think you’ve hit something, but once you get used to it, you start to miss it, if this sidewinder sound doesn’t come along somewhat regularly.

Back up on deck, and outside of the resonator of the cabin, these sounds aren’t as pronounced, but up top, there’s the squeak of the gooseneck of the boom, at the point where it attaches to the mast. I’ve doused it a number of times with WD40 in the hopes of quieting its complaining cat sounds. There’s a different type of squeak coming from the point where the main sheet connects with the other end of the boom. And of course, there’s the broad billowy sounds of wind in the sails.

sail_b2ct_550Imagine the sound of it … 3.4420118N, 33.224636W (from Leg 1)

Then are the 2 Ottos … our autopilots, that have their peculiar whine as they move back and forth steering the boat. The hydro-generator that I mentioned in the previous post has the most interesting sound; like a wind-up airplane … and as the boat speeds up, the pitch gets higher, until it comes off a surf, which causes the pitch to get lower. As I said, it’s a reassuring acoustic reminder that everything is working and that the boat is moving right along.

Sounds of the Sea

(On the last leg, at one point, I realized I’d lost the sound of the hydro-generator. I went up top and found the unit had become unattached from its mount and was dangling off the back of the boat! Yikes … almost lost it there!)

Oh, and add to the sounds, the incessant flapping of the jack lines. These are the straps of nylon that I tether myself to, and while I am grateful for the added protection they provide, the sound they make can drive you a bit batty in higher winds especially when combined with the snapping of the halyards along side the mast.

All in all, it’s a crazy concert of sounds … very much like the tuning-up session before a classical orchestra starts to play. But then again, once Bodacious Dream is up and high in the water and everything is going well, then the sound grows sweeter and more like when the symphony starts to play!

winch_1.26_550Yesterday’s Light – 38.57215S, 100.361912E

Well, as I said, I’ve got a few cold fronts coming up, so I’ve got to get set for them. At this point, it’s kind of like family coming to visit; you want everything to be ready before they ring the bell.

More later, when the weather has passed.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who occasionally adds his own bouncing percussion to the concert.) 

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Conversations with the Otto-Pilot

It’s been about five days now since we exited the storm zone and in that time the weather’s been quite pleasant, which has given me a chance to catch up on sleeping, eating and general boat chores. Although I’m grateful for the nicer weather, I also wouldn’t mind if it were a bit windier.

Finally a real horizon … 41.2911478S, 113.4013266E

I’ve been working to keep a 7-knot average speed through the day, but I’d love to see it move up some. There’s heaps of different wind pockets around, which means there are parts of the day when I have only lower-speed winds to work with and then other times, they’re back kicking up to 14-16 knots. Somewhere in the course of this back and forth, I’ve taken up playing games with the winds, coaxing them … or trying to trick them somehow. How do you trick the wind, Dave? Glad you asked. It’s a routine I developed when we were in the thick of it. You see, as I got increasingly tired, various parts of the boat began to play in my periphery and to gradually take on personalities, which enabled me to carry on conversations with them.

Otto (the auto-pilot) is my primary chat partner. Otto probably knows more about me in sleep-deprived mode than anyone. Together, we often discuss the weather, the course or how the boat is doing. So sometimes, when Otto and I want more wind, I’ll put on my gear and act as if I’m going to change sails. At this point, usually, the wind decides it wants to kick up and so thwart me from changing sails. Then what happens is that the winds will build for a while, long enough for me to go off and do something else … and then once they die off again, I’ll look like I’m heading back out to change sails … at which point, they kick up again!

Dave in Foulie
Dave in full wind distracting apparel … 42.5314166S, 120.1535844E 

I don’t know whether or not I’m acquiring any special wind whispering powers, but sometimes it seems that I can accomplish the same response just by pushing a button or two on the auto-helm control panel. For whatever reasons, when I am about to push buttons to change course, the wind suddenly picks up, causing me to pull back on the buttons. Believe it or not, this kind of nonsense goes on day and night, and while I know it sounds odd, I actually think focusing in on the details of the process has made me better at anticipating just what the capricious overlords of the wind want me to do.

hydro-generator2_300All that aside, the past few days have had us sailing along at a beautiful angle to the wind, which Bo just loves. We call this kind of action “reaching,” where the wind is just behind us and a bit sideways to the boat. When Bo sails in these conditions, it’s like she’s sailing on silk. There’s little if any noise from the wake and she just seems to advance effortlessly. The only noise is from the hydro-generator (pic to the right) which makes a gentle whine that increases in pitch along with the boat speed. I’ve gotten fairly proficient at knowing how fast Bo is moving by the tune the hydro-generator is singing. It’s something that happens when you’re on your boat for a long time; you get to know every little sound and what each of them means. It’s actually quite comforting when I am resting to have that whine informing me that the boat is in tune with the elements.

Since the storm, I’ve gotten the chance to make a few additional hot meals during the day. When the storms are tossing you around, it’s hard enough to boil water for one hot meal during the cold of night, and so you spend the day grazing on candy, chocolate, crackers, cheese and snacks like that. So as the weather eases up, I’m able to blow the lunch whistle and whip up a freeze-dried meal right in the middle of the day, if I want! Today, I figured out how to make a pretty edible version of macaroni and cheese. I never much cared for mac and cheese, but I brought along a dozen pouches as emergency rations, for when everything else runs out. Not that I’m into emergency food mode yet, but I did an inventory and we could be close.

When I first tasted it, the mac and cheese was just as I suspected … well, macaroni and cheese … and once again not much to my liking. So, I starting adding a few things to make it tastier, at the same time I took away a few things. The first thing I did was to dump out about half the mac and cheese. Nobody needs to put that much fake cheese into his or her body! I got this really great pepper grinder in Cape Town, but it’s pretty zippy, so I went light on that. Next I added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. While digging around, I found a can of Cajun spice left over from last year. So, yep, I added a bunch of that to the mix, making it ready for the final special ingredient – a can of tuna fish. Now we’re talking! Add all that and you get a mac and cheese that’s not half bad. After that it was writing time on a laptop that actually stayed on my lap!

Dave Computer
Dave in Scribe Mode … 41.4244916S 115.5533564E 

Moving to the more noteworthy subject of milestones, the day before yesterday, we crossed directly south of the western edge of Australia and are now officially down under the Down Under, approximately 1250 miles from Tasmania! It’s not like I can see Australia, but I know it’s there. As I’ll likely be going under Tasmania as well, I guess I’ll have to wait for another trip to see Australia. The hope for now is that by staying below 42 degrees South, that we can find the winds to keep us going for the next several days. If I stay up north at 41 degree South, it could turn into painfully light sailing.

43.1687S, 122.3372E 43.1687S, 122.3372E 

Well, there you have it … a bit of a recap of some of the more day-to-day things that are going on with us on Bodacious Dream. Though the news isn’t very exciting, it’s also nice not to be in constant alert mode, And on another good note, one of these days, I’m expecting my KVH satellite dome to start picking up an Internet signal, which means I’ll be able to send off some photos and videos of those recent storms!

Until then, thanks for following along. And I encourage you to check out our six new Explorer Guides. They’re really unique, informative and fun too. Share them with students or family members. I learned a lot reviewing them!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream, (finally dried-out) Franklin and Otto (of few words)

And the mailing list sign up, as always, is here!

After the Deluge

Well, it’s been quite a week here on Bodacious Dream! If you recall, last Sunday, I said we passed the 3000 miles from Cape Town waypoint. Well, this Sunday, we passed the 4000-mile mark, which leaves us with something like 3200 miles before we reach Wellington, New Zealand and the completion of Leg 2 of the Circumnavigation!


As I was going back through the trip logs on the computer, I noticed that Bodacious Dream and I have logged nearly 30,000 miles together since she was launched in late 2011 in Wellington, NZ, and right where we are headed next. Amazing how the time and the miles fly by!

I’ve been onboard for every one of those miles … some in New Zealand, then after she was shipped to Charleston, SC, racing up the Atlantic Seaboard, then into the St. Lawrence Seaway and to Québec City, followed by a trip across the North Atlantic, in and around France, England and the English Channel – then down to Portugal, back across the Atlantic to Antigua in the Caribbean and back up the Atlantic Coast for the Atlantic Cup this past spring before prepping and launching the Circumnavigation which has taken us to Bermuda, Cape Town and now 4000 miles through the wild and desolate Southern Ocean. Such is the life of a vagabond sailor! At this point, both the sails and I are beginning to show some signs of wear and tear – but onward we go, into the wind – and daily grateful for the chance to do so!

In the last update, (the one before Tegan’s Science Notes) I said that we were looking for one of these now famous Southern Ocean cold fronts to pass us mid-week, and that we were setting up for a showdown with a cyclone by Friday. Our strategy at the time, was to sail with the winds of the cold front, as quickly east as possible in order to get us to a position about 95E Longitude which would put us just in front of the cyclone come Friday night.

38.57215S, 100.361912E
A lonely bird in grey seas … 38.57215S, 100.361912E

We sailed well and tapped some of the power of that cold front Tuesday, but fell into light winds on Wednesdays. Stressed at the possibility of NOT getting ahead of the cyclone, which would deliver us headwind punches (right on the nose) instead of the MUCH preferred tailwinds (from behind), I worked extra hard all day Wednesday trimming the sails, until the winds filled back in late Wednesday night.

By Thursday, the path of the cyclone had become clearer … and we could see it wasn’t going to play fair. We had expected it to move south and diminish in strength, and then hitch itself onto another passing cold front to form an even more powerful cold front, passing through our neighborhood at about 85E Longitude. As we tracked its progress though, we could see it had decided to zero in on a little sailboat called Bodacious Dream and to change its course to the southeast with the aim of crossing our path at around 99.5E Longitude. Fortunately, Bo is a quick boat and we were able to beat the cyclone to 99.5E and get ourselves to about 100E before the cyclone caught up to us and gave us the tailwinds we wanted! I know that all may sound a little abstract, like blips on a radar screen – but let me tell you, when you’re dancing all around the deck, doing everything in your power to extract a couple extra knots of speed … it’s all very real … but very fun too.

38.57215S, 100.361912E Grey and white … 38.572169S, 100.361104E

The flip side of the story is that though we got the tailwinds we wanted, we were close enough to the cyclone for those winds to be rather substantial! For the next 18 hours, Bo and I sailed through tempest winds from 35 to 50 knots and seas the size of small countries. Bo handled it with class and dignity, while I cowered down below decks waiting for something to go wrong! LOL!

There was one rather funny moment I’ll share. The winds had gotten into the 40-knot range, which was pushing Bo just too fast for safety into the waves in front of her, and so the only option I had was to go forward onto the bow and take down the small orange sail that was flying. Normally, this is an everyday job on a sailboat and done without much concern, but when the winds are gusting over 40, and the boat is flying along at 12 knots and crashing into and bouncing off of waves, it’s really quite a thrilling (and at the same time, discombobulating) experience. With all my gear on and my integrated harness and inflatable life vest, I clipped on my tether and ventured forward – bouncing and stepping across the deck like an uncoordinated booby bird doing the Charleston. Once to the bow, I tackled the flogging and soaking wet sail and pulled it down like I was wrestling a small animal. Once down, I began to tie it to the deck so it wouldn’t blow away. Just then I heard this rushing sound pushing my ears. I looked up and was eye-to-eye with a huge elephant-sized wave, which smacked me solid, drenching me in a torrent of water. I couldn’t help but let about a laugh – the totally disproportionate size advantage that ocean has over humans is inherently comical whenever ocean decides to exercise it.

Anyway, I went back to tying down the sail with I heard this “pop,” followed quickly by my automatic life vest inflating, leaving me on the foredeck with this huge tire around my neck … making it doubly difficult (and triply comical) for me to finish my task! But finish it I did, and got back below decks, deflated the life-vest, replaced it with another, all the time wishing I’d have had some video of all that! I guess it’s good to know the life vests work, though they’re only supposed to inflate when fully submerged. I guess that wave was even bigger than it looked!

38.57215S, 100.361912ELost horizons … 38.572138S, 100.361666E

Well, the storm was everything it was forecasted to be and lasted a full 24 hours. I’ve had very little sleep since it began, but fortunately, the forecast for the next three to four days is for some far more relaxed sailing, so I hope to use the time to catch up on my rest and get some warm food in me. It’s now about 18 hours since the storm passed, but I guess nobody told the waves that, because they are still burly and strong causing us to shudder and shake with each big roll. Oh well, what to do, but look to the horizon (if you can see it for the waves) and to whatever tomorrow might bring.

And, with about 500 miles to go before we are officially ‘underneath the down under’ (Australia,) I’m getting excited at the thought of hot showers, fresh food, cold beer and seeing old friends in Wellington. I’m figuring maybe 18 days. As you probably know by now, my mind can’t help but take miles, time and speed and turn them into a series of math problems.  So, let’s see … if there are 3200 miles left to Wellington, New Zealand and I am making 7.2 knots average a day, how long will it take me to get there?? Have some fun of your own folks!

Until later,

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the math challenged) Franklin

Be sure to check out our new Explorer Guides!
The mailing list sign up, as always, is here! down under down under … 41.81022S, 110.78864E

Tegan’s Science Notes #3 – Sea Turtle Rescue

Explorer GuidesMost conservation efforts around the world are focused on protecting animals and their habitats in their natural conditions. Many of our Earthwatch Institute scientists study endangered species so that we can better understand their lives, their movements and how they interact with their environment. Such scientific efforts also help to inform lawmakers who can then move to protect important areas, ban hunting or harvesting of rare species or manage existing threats to animal populations.

I am very lucky to be involved in conservation action which takes a slightly different route to protecting endangered species: rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles.

Sea Turtle Rescue
A green sea turtle getting an exam(source:

Every winter, turtles in New England run into trouble if they fail to migrate south to warmer waters. Sea turtles are superbly suited to life in the ocean, but as they are reptiles they don’t thermo-regulate. Instead they rely on the surrounding water to control their body temperature. If the temperature drops too low, the turtles can suffer from a form of hypothermia called “cold-stunning.”

Cape Cod Sea Turtle Rescue AreaWe usually associate sea turtles with warm tropical waters, but New England waters are important summer foraging areas for several varieties, including juvenile Kemp’s ridley, loggerhead, and green sea turtles. When the air temperature starts to drop, that’s a sign that the turtles need to start moving south; they’re usually long gone by October. But some turtles fail to migrate and end up incapacitated by the cold water. They float in the water unable to move and are pushed by wind and waves until they wash up on a beach. In Massachusetts, the highest concentration of these strandings occur along the beaches of Cape Cod Bay.

It’s not known why some turtles don’t head south. Some scientists believe that turtles that are spending time in shallow bays may be caught suddenly as the water can cool very quickly in these types of environments. Others think that turtles which enter Cape Cod Bay may be unable to navigate out of it as heading north to get around the tip of the cape is counter to their instincts. In any case, every year many turtles will strand on these beaches, though 2012 was a record-breaking year with over 240 turtles rescued off cold beaches.

The rescue operation starts with a team of very dedicated volunteers from Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Sanctuary, who carefully walk the beaches after every high tide whether that’s early in the morning, late at night or in bad weather. When the turtles wash ashore they are exposed to extremely cold air, so it is important to find these turtles as soon as possible. After a quick exam, the turtles are transported to the New England Aquarium Animal Health Center where veterinarians and rescue staff coax them back to life.

As the turtles slowly warm up they will be assessed for injuries, have blood drawn, have x-rays taken and be allowed to swim in shallow pools with supervision. Once they warm up, they will be moved to the big tanks to continue their recovery. Rehabilitation can take months as turtles can have injured flippers, pneumonia, eye injuries among other ailments which need medical attention. One turtle even received acupuncture!

Sea Turtle Rescue TanksTanks hold turtles until they are recovered enough to released – (

Once they are stable they may be transported to other facilities that will continue to care for the turtles until they can be released to the wild. Over 80% of the cold-stunned turtles which come to the New England Aquarium will make a full recovery and be released back into the wild. Some of these turtles will be fitted with satellite tags which will track them in their first months of freedom. This is helping scientists learn more about sea turtle navigation and movement.

Sea Turtle Rescue
Kemp’s ridley turtles being released – (

Why is this work important? The rescue team regularly rehabilitates three species of turtle: loggerheads, greens, and Kemp’s ridleys. All three of these are classified as “endangered” with decreasing populations. The Kemp’s ridley in particular is the most critically endangered species of sea turtle in the world; in the past 70 years, the population has gone from 89,000 nesting females to only around 1,000! Kemp’s ridley turtles have an interesting nesting ritual callled an “arabada” or mass nesting where the females will come on to the nesting beach all at once taking over whole sections of the beach. (See photo below.) This behavior makes them very susceptible to hunting, which has severely reduced their population. Today they are also threatened by habitat destruction, pollution and entanglement in fishing nets. There is a huge amount of conservation work being done to address these threats including fitting trawl nets with turtle exclusion devices (TEDs) and protecting nesting beaches. The work to save these turtles from certain death in Cape Cod Bay is just one part of the bigger work being done to save these species from extinction, and part of the much grander effort to preserve the diversity of life in the natural world, of which we are all a part.

Want to learn more about sea turtles?
• Follow the New England Aquarium Rescue team’s blog at to learn more about cold-stunned sea turtles.
• Visit which has lots of interesting information about sea turtles and sea turtle science.
• Take the hands-on approach and sign up for an Earthwatch expedition studying sea turtles.
• If you live in the Cape Cod or Long Island region volunteer as a beach walker or turtle transport driver.

Sea Turtle Rescue
An arabada, Spanish for “arrival” nesting event – (source:

:: Tegan’s Earlier Science Notes:
#1 – Bird Migrations
#2 – Wind and Weather
:: Citizen Science Resources Page

:: BDX Explorer Guides
– Our Watery World
– Wind and Weather
– Math
– Sea Life
– Oceanography
– Sailboat Glossary
– Mentor Guide

Do you happen to know other scientists, educators or journalists who might be interested in our Learning & Discovery agenda? If so, we’d love to make their acquaintance. We can always be reached at oceanexplorer@bodaciousdreamexpeditions.comThank you!

Email List Sign-Up … Right here!

In the Belly of the Whale

Hello again from the wild and windy Southern Indian Ocean! I’m just about through another frontal passage here, where it’s been blowing in the 35-knot range now for about 24 hours. Our weather gurus tells us the winds are supposed to diminish here at some point through the night, so we shall see what tomorrow will bring.

I’m getting a little risky here even pulling out the laptop, as everything both above and below deck is pretty wet. You would think that below decks, things would stay dry, and for the most part they do, but the water here is cold, so water on the outside of the hull condenses against the warmer moist air on the inside, made warmer by my body and breath and any boiling water I occasionally make. Also, there are the inevitable little leaks that show up around hardware that’s been bolted through the deck.

companionwayNow, onboard I have two companionway doors that lead below decks. One is closed all the time (unless the weather is nice) – but the other I keep open so that I can monitor what’s going on up top. That’s usually not a problem, but for the last couple of days, the angle of the wind has been mostly from behind me, which pushes thick spray right through the companionway door and into the boat! Each time a rain squall rolls in, I have to sit with the door just slightly cracked open to keep the spray out, but with still enough room to allow me to see what’s going on outside, all fully dressed as I am in my foul weather gear and safety harness, at-the-ready to jump out there to tend to any problems that might arise.

From down below in the belly of the boat, I have instruments that monitor course, wind, and speed. I also monitor how Otto (the auto-pilot) is doing, and can override him as is necessary. Otto makes all the corrections necessary via the computers and electro-magnetic compasses … sometimes sailing to a wind angle and at other times to a compass course. Presently, he is set to sail to a compass course which means that I must keep a constant watch to make sure the wind isn’t shifting to the wrong corner and forcing us into a gybe … which at these wind speeds is a huge mess … and dangerous. I adjust the course as necessary via button commands, but sometimes, a huge wave will push us far enough off course that Otto’s auto-correction goes too far the other way, which leaves me to to straighten out the mess.

Auto-Command Center
The Command Center

Sounds like pretty gnarly and complicated conditions, huh? Well, they are! The winds are strong enough, that they pulsate with the pressure. You can sense when the pressure is building, when the storm passes and when it begins to abate just by the rhythm of the wind gusts. When the lull between gusts lengthens in duration, the wind is likely losing pressure and may also be changing directions, which means, climbing outside to check the trim of the sails and make adjustments. Now up to about 30-35 knots, I can use the smallest portion of the mainsail that I call the “storm stub.” Above that though, depending on the direction of the boat and waves, I use it or take it all down.

38.3553S, 94.4701E38.3553S, 94.4701E About 650 miles away from being under the down under.

Now things can get pretty interesting when you first jump back on deck. The waves are generally pretty huge … so you have to stay alert and do what you need to do and get back below before some “ginormous” wave lands. Yesterday, one caught me by surprise and totally doused me. It was like I’d won the Super Bowl and the team took a bathtub-sized Gatorade cooler and poured it over me. I had to laugh at the sea’s sense of humor … as if to say… ”Hey … you hiding down below all the time … welcome up on deck!” Trust me, I don’t dare try to get back at the sea; escalating joking at that level could quickly get out of hand, and not to my advantage.

So, back to the present, we’re just about through this latest frontal passage, which has been a tough one, though not as extended as last week’s was. It sounds like tomorrow I’ll see a bit of daylight, but I’ve got to keep the pace up because at the same time, we’re trying to outrun a combination low/cold front that is developing just behind me. I passed under it today, but the center is moving south and then will head towards me. If I’m able to keep my pace up around 8 knots through tomorrow, I should remain east of it, which should hopefully shrink the time I spend hunkered down to around 6 hours. It should also give me a pretty good push for a day or so. Since the big winds, when they do arrive, are likely to be in the 40-50 knot range, I’d REALLY like to minimize the time I have spend in the ring with thugs like that! So, push on I do … looking for that patch of blue!

A Patch of BlueSometimes even a little blue is enough to make you happy.

Once we get through this next storm, we should be into better weather conditions, hopefully for the rest of the passage to New Zealand. We’ll be crossing the 90 E Longitude barrier and crossing under Australia heading for Tasmania and then New Zealand. As far as milestones go, this morning, it appears that I crossed the 4000 miles remaining marker, so I’m hoping to be in New Zealand by the end of the first week of February. Since all supplies are starting to run low, sooner would be better. Not to worry though, I have plenty of fresh water and freeze-dried food. It’s just I’m running low on chocolate, candy, fruit juice, crackers, cheese, fresh fruit and of course, cookies. So, I’ve got plenty of things to keep me from going hungry. It’s more about having fun things to look forward to, when the sun goes away and you’re always soggy and cold.

So for now…. there you have it! Be back in a couple of days after the next front goes by!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (I’m NOT going out there) Franklin

P.S. Sign up for this email list is  … right here!

Stormy Beauty

The past week has been an interesting one out here on the Southern Ocean. Six days ago we crossed the 2000 miles from Cape Town line and just yesterday we made that 3000 miles from Cape Town. Turning around and looking the other way, it’s about 4000 miles yet to New Zealand. So on we go!

Early in the week, a series of cold fronts and low-pressure systems brought prolonged heavy winds and big seas for days at a stretch. Each day was pretty much the same as the one before it … more big winds and more big seas! Bodacious Dream and I handled it well, but we sure could have used a bit of a break. Like them or not, these are the prevailing conditions at the moment, and until I get about 500 miles further east, they will likely continue.

aquamarine_south_55039.5612499S, 70.330989E 

In the meantime, getting to experience storms up close, you begin to appreciate them not only for their great strength, but also for their great beauty; the size and shape of the waves, the rhythmic intensity of the winds, the swirling curtains of rain and the constantly shifting watercolor shades of grey. I try to capture some of these elements in my photographs, but they rarely show the bracing brilliance that you feel moving through the storm-charged air. As I’ve never before been in such extreme conditions for such an extended period of time, I am finding it all just mesmerizing. (I’ve shot quite a bit of video though, and once I’m back in Internet range, I’ll begin to upload some of it for you to see.)

So, what do you do when it’s storming out? Basically, you hunker down! You keep yourself wrapped in your foul weather gear, and at the ready to kick into action to address any situation that arises. In between times, I often sit below in the companionway and watch the storm (and time) go by. Occasionally, I read a bit from one of my books, but it’s a challenge to let your mind relax and drift away when all that’s going on around you is of such pressing importance and so incessant in its demands on your attention.

Not having a new video to send you, here is a video shot in the days before arriving in Cape Town taken in the gray morning after a long night of wet and windy weather.

Dave doing some hunkering down from the end of Leg 1

One of my little tricks to stay focused is to draw up a time schedule for extended storms. On it I mark for each hour the things I need to do; charging batteries, checking for water, navigating, making notes in the log, circling the deck and double-checking my gear. When each hour has passed, I cross it off. I do this on the sidewall of the cabin down below, and I find it helps to pass the time … but more importantly, it’s my way of making sure I don’t forget something very important in the process.

In harsh weather, the simple act of preparing and eating food takes on a new level of difficulty. Boiling water in rough weather is not so easy and can even be dangerous. Fortunately, the freeze-dried packaged foods CAN be eaten with cold water … but they’re certainly a heck of a lot better with hot water! So it is that cookies, crackers, cheese, beef jerky, chocolate and candies become your go-to snacks, though I sometimes have to scold myself to not eat so much of the candy!

When the wind is building up, one of the more difficult tasks is getting the mainsail under control. This is the large sail on the mast. It has a number of what are called “reef” points that allow you to reduce the size of the sail so that there’s less of it there to catch the more bullying winds. When the winds get to 30 knots or more, I pull the mainsail down to the storm “stub,” which is just a small bit of sail material above the boom. Sometimes, I take it down all the way. This can be rather difficult because when you get to that point in the storm, the winds are pushing the sail against the mast and rigging, making for a lot of friction which requires a lot more effort to take control of the sail. I occasionally find myself hanging my entire 210 pounds from the sail and it not moving at all!

BoDream Mainsail
My old pal, the mainsail …

When that happens, I have another system I use. I go up to the mast, climb up on the boom, hook a line over a part of the sail as high up as I can reach, and then bring the line back down to a winch, and then winch down the sail. Then I do the same thing again, and again a third time until I have it all down to the boom! It’s quite the physical feat, especially when you throw in wind, rain and waves, but it’s a necessity too … so you try to do it sooner than later. That’s not always a choice though, as sometimes the wind will just show up unannounced, in which case, it becomes a super handful of a job. But the good thing is that once the sail is down and tied to the boom, the boat becomes a lot easier to control because the small sail on the bow “pulls” the boat along, like it was a trailer behind a car as opposed to what happens when the mainsail is doing the work, where it’s more like a car “pushing” the trailer.

You know, now that I think about it, there are a lot of conversations going on between me and various parts of the boat … and the one I have going with the mainsail is among the most … well, comical I suppose, because it’s a bigger beast to tame.

By the way, in the Explorer Guides that we launched this past week in our previous BDX post, there is one called “Sailboat Glossary” that shows a picture of a single-masted sailboat like BoDream and shows you the names of all the main parts. Check it out, if you like.

Sailboat Glossary
From one of our new Explorer Guides

Well, it’s getting close to dark here, and predictably, the winds are supposed to build up again tonight and then even more tomorrow, so I want to get all my gear and schedules in order so I can keep control of this here boat. I guess sleep will have to wait until another day. I do get some sleep though over the course of the day, but it’s not easy when the winds are up and storms are shaking the house.

I’ve heard a lot of you have had it rough too with the recent and fiercely cold winter storms. I sure hope it’s breaking where you are and that the temperatures are starting to climb up again.

Be back as soon as I can …

– Dave, Bodacious Dream (and the soggy) Franklin

P.S. And you can always sign up for our email list … right here!

38.4578S, 86.5598E 38.4578S, 86.5598E 

An Ocean of Learning

The last three days have been pretty rough and tumble … quite “sporting,” as those understated Brits like to say … but this is what the Southern Ocean is known for. The winds have been gusting steadily in the low 30’s and up to 40 knots, with seas the size of big buildings … but all is well and good. Bodacious Dream and I have been hanging in there without major incident and I sure have learned an awful lot in a very short time about the personality of this boat and handling her in rough weather. Tomorrow another front passes through, but supposedly not as strong as this recent one – or so we hope.

It’s interesting how latitude and longitude boundaries work down here. We avoided headwinds by pulling north of Lat 40S early in the storm, and if I can get to Lon 90E by the weekend, there will be a different weather pattern in place that won’t carry so much of the effect of the cyclones spinning down on us from up north. There’s potentially another cyclone brewing that may slide down this way by mid-next week … but the cautiously bodacious plan is for me to be well east of it by then and in a high pressure pocket that will block its effect on me. It’s all a little like a huge rolling game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

I’ll have a lot more to say on the whole amazing week once I know things have settled down. This has definitely NOT been typing weather. And as I look out the back of the boat right now, I can see a squall about 5 miles to the south, so I’m going to cut this short before the action starts up again.

35.42201S,13.264919EWe’re talking considerably bigger waves than this … 35.42201S,13.264919E 

IN THE MEANTIME, we have something important we want to share with you.

Starting this week, we are launching our new EXPLORER GUIDES for this, our fourth (and obviously biggest) Bodacious Dream Expedition. We’re starting this week with three and will have three more next week.

Explorer Guide/ Watery World
A slice from the “Our Watery World” Explorer Guide

So, what are the Explorer Guides, what do they have to do with sailing around the world and why should you care? 

Those of you who know me, know that I am passionate about learning, and about sharing what we have learned as adults with the kids that we are lucky enough to meet, (and who are lucky enough to meet us.) Almost everything of any practical value I’ve learned in my life, I acquired either by pursuing it myself or through the kindness and patience of someone else who took the time to show me and talk to me and so help bring some new understanding or skill into my life. As I see it, the time to give back is always now. The time to respond and foment a child’s natural (and gargantuan) curiosity is now!

Education DaysMatt Scharl and I in NYC for the Atlantic Cup’s Education Day

Explorer Guides are study guides and worksheets on a variety of subjects, each of which is relevant to some critical aspect of the circumnavigation that a parent, a teacher or a family member can download, print and then share and discuss with the younger people in their world. We’ve also included a MENTOR GUIDE to offer a bit of guidance in how best to use the Guides.

We’ve drafted and shared sets for each of our earlier three 2013 expeditions (Baja, the Atlantic Coast and California to Hawaii.) In the case of this expedition, because the scope of our voyage is global, it’s taken us some extra time to compile these broader focused materials. But they are coming out of the kitchen now, and fully ready to share!

The first of the Guides is all about OUR WATERY WORLD and the second, drafted with the help of our ocean scientist, Tegan Mortimer from Earthwatch, (who also curates our fantastic CITIZEN SCIENCE page) is on WIND and WEATHER. The third is a simplified SAILBOAT GLOSSARY showing and identifying the parts of a single-masted boat like BoDream.

So, check them out and see what we are up to. Next week, we’ll be launching Guides on MATH, SEA LIFE and OCEANOGRAPHY.

Wind Patterns Chart
A slice from the “Wind and Weather” Explorer Guide

We will be using these Guides as touchstones for further discussion as the voyage continues, and as we acquire and share more media. For the moment, even though we have state-of-the-art electronics on board, we only have sporadic Internet connectivity, particularly where we are now in the largely desolate Southern Ocean. But you better believe we are taking photos and shooting videos (I only need one free hand!) … and so will have a whole lot to share once we get closer to New Zealand. So, what we’re saying is that our circumnavigation, when considered as a course of learning and discovery, will only grow deeper and richer with the passage of time.

So far, we have heard from several TEACHERS who are already using our updates and the various study problems we have posed in their classrooms, and we are inspired by that news. If you know of other learning professionals who might make use of the Guides in their classroom, or as part of their alternative learning agendas … please pass the word and let us know as well.

As you review the Guides and as you discuss their contents with your younger folks, know that I am here too and at the ready to respond to any questions that you might have, and to do my best to add the dimension of my own life experience to the subjects that are expressed more abstractly in the Guides. I also invite you to send me a note anytime at oceanexplorer@ … and either I or Tegan or one of our onshore team will get back to you with the best response we can muster just as soon as we can.

In good hands
Hands across the waters (Don’t know who made this image – hopefully, they won’t mind)

One sets out on an adventure like a circumnavigation with all sorts of grand ambitions that you hope to fulfill. The reality of course is that the lion’s share of your days (and nights) are spent addressing the multitude of demanding tasks at hand. But for me, the importance of life-long learning and discovery (and especially when it concerns kids) is something that will remain a big part of my life long after I have returned back to Jamestown Harbor and the end of the voyage.

We invite you to bring your ideas and enthusiasms to our shared learning adventure. If we can be of help to you, out here on this rocking  and rolling “mobile-learning-platform,”  please let us know how, and if you think you can be of help to us in advancing this direction, let us know that too!

To all of you, from the middle of the deep blue sea….

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and (the mostly seasick) Franklin

38.993366S, 75.144650E38.993366S, 75.144650E as of 20:08:33 UTC
And if you haven’t yet, do sign up for the email list … right here!

Surfing Along Latitude 40

I trust you all had a good New Year, and are cast off now on the open seas of January. Bodacious Dream, Franklin and I had a good one, and have also been experiencing some very good sailing here the last few days.

As some of you know, I have a proclivity for mapping out waypoints. Typically, these are specific points on a nautical chart, but they can be more abstract goals as well, such as personal markers you set for yourself. Anyway, I use waypoints, so I have some gauge as to how things are progressing. When the distances you’re sailing are in the thousands of miles, you often can’t get your current position and your intended destination on the same chart, so by setting waypoints, you can give yourself a sense of accomplishment as you go along.

In the Middle of the Deep Blue Sea … 41.4829S, 59.4750E 

Today we marked off a couple of milestones. First, we passed 2000 miles sailed since leaving Cape Town on December 21st. So, now I’ve punched in my next waypoint at a point on the map that is 3000 miles from Cape Town! And also, when I zoom out on the electronic chart navigation system, I can see both where we are now AND Western Australia on one screen … which is kind of cool … not having the boat being the only thing on the screen!

So, Western Australia is about 2300 miles east of here and with any luck, in about two weeks, I should be cruising below that longitude and heading towards Tasmania … and then onto New Zealand. Now, Tasmania is about 3800 miles from here and New Zealand, currently about 5000 miles. So, there’s still a long way to go!

(Now, I’m not able to upload the new VIDEOS I’ve been shooting out here until we get closer to land … BUT I do have an earlier video that you haven’t seen and that I’m adding here because curiously enough, it was shot at an earlier milestone, when I was 2000 miles from Cape Town (as I am now) but on the Leg #1 side … as well as 5000 miles from our Jamestown, RI starting point, which is exactly as far as I am right now from our Wellington, NZ endpoint. (Lots of wind noise in this video – sorry about that, but you’re not missing much in this case.) 

2000 from Cape Town, but in the opposite direction … 

The past couple of days we’ve had some really sweet and steady winds, so I was able to keep up the speed and knock off some miles. Last night, I was able to surf off waves and so raised the speed up to 12 and 15 knots a couple of times. You can make some good miles this way, if you can keep it going. Unfortunately, by mid-morning today, the high-pressure system that follows the cold fronts pulled in … so now, I’m back to moseying along at 4 and 5 knots. But, the good thing is, I’m tracking straight east along Latitude 40 with yesterday’s total distance at over 200 miles!

It looks though like we’ve got some complicated weather coming in this week. There are a couple of low-pressure systems headed our way, and then there’s also a tropical cyclone that is presently up near Madagascar that just might spin off some energy into one of these southerly moving lows and intensify it. So, we’re hoping to make some good progress in the meantime, so we can stay in front of that storm and take advantage of its pushing winds, rather than fall behind it and have heavy wind in our face. So, I’m spending extra time trimming the sails and making sure the boat is open and moving the best she can. If all goes well, by Sunday of next weekend, we can say we’ve passed the 3000 miles from Cape Town mark, which is about half the distance to New Zealand!

sliver_moon_550This is a moment …

In the midst of all this sailing, there is always some startling beauty out here in the watery world. This photo I took of the sliver of a moon in the gold of the setting sun and one of my entourage of birds all came together just right. The beauty and balance of sea and sky, light and dark, movement and stillness all combine sometimes to give me this great feeling of peace and pleasure.

But for now, it’s back to the routine of sailing the boat, looking out for phantom ships, hoping to see whales and dolphins, making dinner, doing maintenance and eating chocolate … though I’m getting a bit worried I’ll run out of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses before the end of this leg. (Are you listening Jenny? Jenny’s my friend AND my Hershey’s contact!)

Again, thanks for following along. There will of course be more to come soon. And watch for our new Explorer Guides launching the middle of this week! The plan is to launch two of these every week for the next three weeks. This new set will be bigger and cover many more subjects than the earlier sets. They will have plenty of fun facts and provocative questions that will hopefully be of interest to learners of any age. I even learned from working on them!

So, until later …

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who recently realized that the earth is shaped the same as he is)

Gybing from Year to Year

:: Monday, December 30, 2013

Hello to you all from the messy, cold, drippy, splashy and pounding Southern Ocean!

So, for the past 36 hours, we’ve been working our way through this weird high-pressure system that while it has moved south of me has still managed to keep me locked in a kind of “counter” wind. It’s finally starting to loosen its grip and allow the winds to swing back around (moving counter-clockwise) to my left. Once that happens, then I can adjust my course back to the left and resume sailing along Latitude 40 on a more direct course towards New Zealand.

orang_sail_550The Orange and Gray … 41.309362S, 39.09651E 

During this period, I’ve mostly been hunkering down and trying to let the boat just do her thing. I have to periodically adjust things to redirect her along the best wave angle to avoid anymore pounding than necessary when she kicks up, hops over a wave and belly flops into a trough. To further complicate things, there is this current that I can see is trying to help me, but alongside of that, there is this wind that is blowing against the current, and together they combine for a very chaotic and confusing set of waves to pick our way through. It’s alternately annoying, worrisome and aggravating. It also takes a lot of mental focus to keep your head about you … and I’ll be honest and admit that more than once in the past few days, I’ve yelled out at whomever (or whatever) is doing this, to just “CUT IT OUT!” Lotta good that does of course, but still sometimes it feels good to rail against the Fates. Big waves bring out big emotions sometimes!

To cut back on howling time, and to keep me focused, I’ve got about five books I’m reading at the present. Richard Branson’s autobiography, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, a book on sleep, Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw and another one I just finished on the brain, called Incognito. When the roll of the waves makes reading too difficult, I let my mind drift off on various thought streams; houses I’ve yet to build, trips I’ve yet to take, meals I’ve yet to eat, hikes in the mountains and just about anything else that keeps my mind awake and engaged. It’s a strange multi-dimensional game sometimes, steering the boat around waves and yourself around boredom, all the while you are stuffed inside some serious foul weather gear and needing to keep your critical electronics dry inside a tiny room with two open windows!

Sippin’ the scene with a straw … 38.251451S, 24.799928E 

New Year’s Eve is the next big event onboard. Franklin, BoDream and I don’t have any plans at the moment, but I’m sure it will involve an interesting meal, maybe there’s a little Bailey’s Irish Cream left from my friend Joe Harris and I’ll pull off a song or two from the iPad to play. Unfortunately, I’ll have to sing Auld Lang Syne from memory, so I may miss some of the words … but I doubt many will complain!

Beyond that, we’re wishing each and every one of you a special coming year where your dreams become realities and your heart grows ever stronger.

So, back to it here … the winds are starting to move in my favor, and as soon as the waves change too, then we’ll be off hopefully on a couple day eastward run towards New Zealand!

:: Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back again after a couple good days of sailing. New Year’s is behind us and today is a great day out here in the Southern Ocean. The winds filled in from the North and that has allowed me to beam reach eastward all day long at a pretty strong clip.

As is typical of late, towards the end of the afternoon, the winds ease back some, which offers a nice respite at sunset. This has allowed me time to relax and enjoy the sunsets, sometimes with a piece of cheese, or an apple or (for me) a fancy cracker appetizer!

Southern Ocean Cinema … 41.329132S, 49.98871E 

Each night the sunset is something pretty special. Tonight’s was especially dramatic, and as I was taking a number of photos of the sky, one of my friendly bird entourage dropped into the photo. It’s a special treat watching these guys soar back and forth across the path I’ve cut through the water, presumably searching for food that I might have freshly stirred up.

Part of the crew at this point … 41.329783S, 49.24377E

As the sunset progressed, it became a sky full of fire and ended in one long glowing streak  against blue … pretty amazing stuff. It’s now dark and the stars are out. They hang so close to the horizon out here, I feel like I could pick them like berries off a bush. A most magnificent night it is, especially when one is sailing along at a smooth 8 knots towards lush New Zealand!

Be back soon with more … including an announcement about our all new Explorer Study Guides!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream & Franklin … (who had his first new year at sea) 

Latest Position: January 3, 2014 – 17:20:36 UTC … 41.464783S, 52.647433E