February & March 2016
Just days after The Red Thread became ours in May 2012, two women wandered past the stern of our boat at Elliott Bay Marina, slip C-62. We shouted hellos and became fast friends with Lori and Kristina, our first friends on the dock.
Lori’s sailboat, Summer Salt, was on C-dock, too, and we quickly learned about her excellent sailing chops and crab-cracking skills. She invited us to our first raft-up in Poulsbo, and helped minimize our embarrassment by hopping aboard and directing us when we dropped our anchor for the second time ever and tied up with the seven other vessels already rafted together. We’ve crewed on each other’s boats during the Seattle Downtown Sailing Series in summer, celebrated 4th of July holiday weekends together, and we lived at her condo on Alki for almost a third of our time back in the States. She’s a real gem, and we were thrilled that she wanted to join us to sail from Costa Rica to the Galápagos!
I had the pleasure of joining Neil and Jessie for their departure from continental America, a seagoing adventure entirely new to me. While I have been sailing for 32 years, I had never been out of sight of land, this was daunting! But what an adventure it was! We broke in slowly with multiple days of running provisioning errands in Golfito, Costa Rica, and some memorable stops on the Panamanian coast interacting with the locals. When departing one island location in Panama, gifts were exchanged (with all parties having very little to give in terms of material goods). Who knew that a jug of orange Crystal Light would be such a treasure to the little ones…? Then it was off on a 6-day offshore voyage that I swear could not possibly have been six whole days. The time flew and I have no idea where it went, but I added to my sailing experience nighttime passage crew watches, sunrises under sail, and a multiple-day nonstop sailing itinerary. It’s hard to describe, there is nothing like it. The winds were kind to us and we sailed nearly the whole way. After our arrival in the Galápagos I was able to spend another two weeks exploring this amazing location that definitely gives one a perspective on the impact of how geography, weather, and mankind impacts species for centuries to come. Things that struck me in particular:
- There is a LOT of current around the equator!
- Jessie is an amazing cook and has inspired me to do better on my own voyages—the process of cooking can be enjoyable when you embrace it!
- While my mind knew perfectly well it was a very long distance to land, it still seemed as though our little piece of the sea was perfectly manageable (thanks to Neptune’s generosity).
- The celebration of crossing the equator was an enjoyable time of great silliness and the art of entertaining ourselves within the confines of what I describe as our little dish in the great big ocean.
Thirty days later after embarking on The Red Thread, I found it very hard to leave! Neil and Jessie are such wonderful hosts/shipmates, I all I can say is I hope to rejoin them for more adventure at another time along their fantastic journey.