July 11, 2019 – Port Camargue, France. In answer to some emails, we are not yet sailing. The boat is still being finished, but we should take possession in about 1.5 weeks!!! The boat looks fantastic and we are busy, Busy, BUSY! Aside from managing our biotech business, there is lots to do to get everything ready for the big day: insurance, registration of boat, EPIRB, VHF, communication software, navigation systems etc. Pierre is busy programming to integrate Tesla batteries into our electrical systems. That must be done after delivery.
Getting ready to go long-distance sailing is a lot of preparation – I’ll try to write a blog on that later. For those that are interested, there is lots on information on the Atlantic Race for Cruisers (ARC) web site. https://www.worldcruising.com/arc/event.aspx. BioTrek is enrolled in the ARC .
While doing all of the organizing work and still running our businesses, we keep telling ourselves why we love long-distance sailing. We thought about the 1.5 years we took off sailing 14 years ago, and all the places that we said we would return to again. We always said to ourselves that doing it fast was great – we now know the places where we want to return to spend more time when we retire on a boat. We loved the South Pacific and the short video hereo shows some pictures with the friends and family that joined us. (The same video link is at the end of the blog)
Nov 2004-Fall 2006: Our last around -the- world was completed really fast – we did it in a year and a half with the Blue Water Rally (BWR) 2005-2006. The Blue Water Rally was a group of about 25 boats that started in Europe and crossed the Atlantic together. We planned to join the BWR in Antigua, leaving late after hurricane Wilma that hit Fort Lauderdale in early November. Therefore, we sailed directly to Antigua by going offshore from Florida, with only one stop in Turks and Caicos. My strongest memory of that sail was strong winds, big waves, against the current, and upwind. A good shakedown for the boat! Once we arrived, we enjoyed sailing to the French Islands, including St Martin and Guadeloupe, with Christmas in Les Saintes and a pot-luck party aboard BioTrek. We invited all the boats in the anchorage flying the BWR flag. After short hops around the Caribbean, our route was directly across the Caribbean Sea to Panama and then through Panama canal. We spent a month in Panama, and loved it so much we returned many times since then. From Panama we traveled across the Pacific, stopping in Galapagos and then Marquesa’s where family and friends joined until the Tuamotos. We then travelled through French Society Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuato, then straight to Palau, across the equator again to the North Pacific. After a long stop in Palau we travelled to the Philippines to meet up with my parents in Cebu. They traveled with us to Palawan, returing to Cebu to continue their volunteer work. Next from Palawan was Borneo (fabulous!), Singapore, Thailand, then across the Indian Ocean with stops in Sri Lanka and Maldives before the Red Sea and brief stops in Djibouti and Egypt. After exiting the Suez Canal, the weather was terrible and we diverted to Israel and spend two weeks at Ashkalon before crossing the Med to Europe.
Pirates and Red Sea: Other sailors often ask about the Red Sea. Weren’t you worried about pirates? Yes, which is why we did it in convoy, as part of the Blue Water Rally. It was uneventful for us, except for sand, sand storms, and more sand. Sand everywhere! The Blue Water Rally no longer exists. A few years after our rally, one boat diverted from the Rally towards Somalia, leading to a pirate event, deaths and bankruptcy of the BWR see https://www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/blue-water-rally-at-an-end-6318. In preparation for writing blogs and posting videos during our upcoming adventure, I am learning video software. The video below is a picture summary of places we loved in the South Pacific. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM7jXaemasw