An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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Introduction to Sailing

The transition from life on land to life at sea is a sudden one. Having no sailing experience, and having never seen the vessel to which my life would be tied for the next 6 plus months, I really had no idea what I was getting into. There a few things I learned quickly.

The first thing I noticed, were the tight quarters. I knew the boat was 33’ long. I did not know exactly what that meant. The first night I arrived things seemed a little… well things just seemed little. The cabin (if I’m using that term correctly) has a small kitchen (stove and sink), a small table and bench seating, and in the bow of the boat there are sleeping quarters. “Quarters” is a good term because it’s about 1/4 the size of normal sleeping arrangement. Furthermore, there is no shower. However there is a toilet and while it’s not exactly roomy, it is sufficient. Still I have already begun to adjust to the space.

Then we set sail. While I was still in US waters, I might as well have been in another country. It doesn’t take long to realize just how little you know. One of my faults in life is that I’m not bilingual. I was reminded of that again as soon as those handsome sails were raised. “Hoist the main.” “Tighten the spinnaker.” “Give it a bowline.” “Pull in the sheets.” What’s funny is I’m not even sure those are right. I’ve got so much to learn and I can’t help but think Capitan Dan is wondering just what he got himself into as he says something to me and Shipmate Derek stares blankly back as though he were mute.

Third lesson-speed sailing. I need to apologize for that last post in which I dramatically stated the boat would sail at 7 miles an hour. There are times I tend to exaggerate and this was one. 7 miles is about twice our average speed when traveling from Florida to the Bahamas. We left at about 4:30 pm from Florida, sailed all night and arrived at the Bahamas 15 hours later. In case you’re wondering we covered 50 miles. Nice. That seems like a long time and it is, but it is even longer when you are standing at the tiller (I just had to ask Dan what the “thing” is you hold to steer the boat) with everyone sleeping around you and the dark sea is knocking. Meanwhile every time the bow of lifts or dips a little more than average, I am fairly certain I’m going to capsize the Capitan’s baby.

Obviously, I didn’t. We made it to the Bahamas and already have had some real “life” moments. The sunrise and sunsets at sea are amazing. I think they will be a daily inspiration. The first day we anchored just offshore an uninhabited island. We’ve been spear fishing three times and lobster grabbing once. “We” have only come back empty handed the first time… I have yet to get anything. Which is good because it gives the boys some comic relief for the evenings.

I realize now there are so many things to write about. Nearly spearing a lengthy shark, which I could only see parts of its fins out of the side of the sand bar I was swimming over. The shipwreck we anchored at, to spearfish and ended up swimming with sting rays. The dolphins jumping just inches from our boat as we sailed (at 3 miles an our) in turquoise waters. I’ll try to write more often and post smaller entries when we dock. Sorry this is a bit long. But it is the first chapter. The first of many, many more.


1 aaron C. { 12.04.07 at 1:30 pm }

“Derek nearly shot a sleeping shark thinking it was the biggest fish he had ever seen.”

I like his account more than yours :D.
Awesome pictures, I am so stoked for you guys. Pick up some Partagas Series P #2 in some south american port. I promise you they will make 15 hours at the tiller a much more full, great experience!

2 David { 12.04.07 at 1:43 pm }

Wow that nikon takes NICE photos. Love the posts. Looking forward to seeing some videos.

3 Reno { 12.06.07 at 7:35 pm }

Dang, buddy, just don’t kick one of those stingrays as you swim over them! I wouldn’t want to hear that you escaped from the Railway only to be impaled through the heart by a stingray in the Bahama’s! Sorry I didn’t get to talk with you before my vacation and your departure but I could send you some pretty cool gondola pics of my own to use in the video. I will check in on you from time to time and read the whole enchilada when I have a chance. Keep safe, take care and we miss ya.

4 ryan { 12.07.07 at 4:39 pm }

You dog you!!!

DUDE I just checked your website out and I am so dang proud of you man! What an amazing opportunity and what an amazing way to seize it!! I will be monitoring your travels closely and praying for you as well my friend. You’re in for some real life lessons and I am excited to hear about them all. Hope we can keep in touch and I am honored that you thought of me as you started your journey…go get’em man. Love you bro.

A poem…

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face
and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume,
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

— John Masefield

5 Jodi { 12.09.07 at 8:46 am }

Hey Derek,
First of all can you believe I actually figured out to find this page and I am lovin all of it. I had no idea you would be leaving again. So many things come to mind my dear, pride, envy, pride, excitement, pride, fear, pride, sadness. Did I happen to mention how proud I am of you. You continue to always amaze me. I can’t wait to tag along on your adventure. Just please please take good care of you first and foremost and then just enjoy the journey. I love you so very much and god bless you. By the way I am so PROUD of you.

6 James Patterson { 12.12.07 at 5:42 pm }

You guys are looking good. Derek, I’m glad you are with Dan. It seems that I will get more regular postings about his activities & whereabouts as a result of your company. I am in Farmington, New Mexico at the moment, not far from your hometown of Flagstaff. Take good care, have a great time & keep those postings coming.
All the best,
Jim Patterson

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