Thanks Ben, but no coffee cups. Yet
We did have a old whiskey barrel aboard for fresh water storage.
Our coffee had an interesting flavor thanks to it..
With the frost and possible snow coming to Whidbey, it is time to head to the South Pacific
aboard the Christian Rose
It didn't take long to be tossed around a little, time to acquire sea legs in hurry.
There were moments, when standing alone in the darkness, only the only muted light
was the compass powered by a car battery. angry sea rolling by only few feet away, I was
wondering, what am I doing here ??? But your buddies sleeping below decks depend on you
standing the watch, steering the boat towards distant goal, so no goofing off ! The rainy
nights were the most difficult, for there was no protection from the elements and looking
at the compass was hard on eyes after while. And it was important to stay on course, for getting
broadside to the swell was not a good prospect, and resetting the square sails would require
the entire crew....
However. when the weather is nice, what a beauty. No noise of engine, no smell of fumes,
just the wind and swooshing of following seas passing under the hull. And steering
at night is easier too, just pick a star, line it up with the mast or piece of rigging and
only check the compass time to time, when star moves, pick up new one ...
But it is the days of smooth sailing which are the real joy. Great company and open horizon
full of promise...
Of course, there is always something needs to be fixed, we were having problems with the
steering cable breaking strands as it went through pulleys under the main mast. We had a backup
rigged to a tiller, but that was very inconvenient. Our original plan was to sail all the way to Majuro
Atoll in the Marshall Islands, but since there is a tiny chunk of land with civilization along the way.
We decided to try our luck there. Johnston Atoll, depository of chemical weapons, off limits to
private yachts. We figured, if nothing else, we could use the leeward side of the island to anchor
and use the calm waters to make some better repairs to our steering system. What we found at
Johnston Atoll was unexpected. Wonderful people who not only took us in, but helped us with
materials, supplies and treated us like royalty and not a quartet of raggedy sailors.
These two flat, low laying islands ( 17 feet elevation ) have some interesting history. Among other
things, twelve thermonuclear warheads were exploded in all, one of which failed when the missile
failed to launch and scattered plutonium debris over the island. Agent Orange, dioxins, sarin nerve
gas, PCBs, PAHs and whatever else deadly enough was stored there too. ( all this I read off Wikipedia).
They didn't tell us any of this, just gave us gas masks in pack which contained different stuff,
and told us which one to inject of we see this color or that color cloud coming our way.
Thankfully, we did not need to use any of that stuff and all we experienced on Johnston Atoll
was unbelievable hospitality.
PS Now the Johnston Atoll is clear of all the chemical weapons, in 2003 the legal jurisdiction
was transferred from American military to US Fish and Wildlife Service, all the structures removed
and the runway closed. If we sailed in today, we would not get a cold beer there as
we did back in 1974