Pre-jump jitters: Are we “really” ready?

March 2016

It’s the night before our departure for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile, one of the most remote inhabited islands on earth, and the almost complete absence of anxiety about this passage—which has characterized the past months for me—has evaporated. In the stead of my exuberance is an almost suffocating sense of fear.

Are we ready to sail over 2,000 nautical miles of open ocean?

The past two weeks have rattled us with last-minute repairs, some of which are not insignificant. The wind generator is once again braking and producing a loud BONK sound when more than an amp is being produced, and despite a full day of Neil’s undivided attention, we are not sure that it has been repaired. This will reduce our power production at sea and will be felt most heavily during the inevitable overcast days when our solar production will plummet. A bilge pump fitting broke, but thankfully we had access to a plumbing store in Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz, as we didn’t have that particular spare. Neil fixed that right up. Despite extensive research and practice, our in-boom mainsail continues to give us grief when we try to reef, though we’ve figured out a system that works well enough. Unfortunately, it requires Neil to crank it down by hand from the mast, while I manage the halyard and furling line from the cockpit. Just today we disassembled and serviced headsail furler because reefing that sail, too, has required more brute strength than it should lately. Fortunately, as it turns out, our halyard was simply too taut…whew! Of greatest concern, however, is an issue with our starter. After a few instances of our motor failing to start, we tore apart our engine’s starter motor on Isla Isabela and sanded some pitting off the contacts. By cleaning up the connections, we have hopefully resolved that issue.#Passage to Rapa Nui_Onward

We find ourselves asking…Can we trust our boat to take us safely across thousands of miles and weeks of ocean to one of the earth’s most remote islands…and then thousands of miles farther?

As my emotions intensify, my mind is running away with catastrophic thoughts. I cannot help but wonder if when we leave the shores of Isla Isabela if the soles of our feet will be experiencing the sensation of the earth below them for the last time. Has my own ambitious excitement dissuaded me from respecting the life-giving and life-taking force of the ocean? Shouldn’t I have been feeling some sort of anxiety about this passage before now?

10 thoughts on “Pre-jump jitters: Are we “really” ready?

  1. Remember it is boating. Prepare the best you can, prepare to improvise, prepare for the worst and hope for,the best and you will be fine. Being nervous makes you safer. A good healthy respect for the ocean is a good thing. 😀😎

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A little fear means that you have thought ahead and prepared as best you can. I am living vicariously through your blogs and eagerly await each one. BUT, if you had no fear, then I would be very afraid that you didn’t fully understand the endeavor you are taking. I was your neighbor in C-51 and only wish that I had met you guys more than just a couple of days before you left Seattle. I have great confidence in both of you and your abilities and am eagerly looking forward to your next blog when you reach civilization again. Fair Winds and Following Seas.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We, too, wish we could have gotten to know you better! EBM seems like a millennium ago and just yesterday at the same time! Thanks for following us. Yes, a dose of fear is a good thing. I suppose that nerves finally arriving was a good thing for me. Oddly enough, I tend to get more worked up about going on a scuba dive than doing an ocean passage. Nonsensical, but true. The experience has been worth every drop of nervous and stress, that’s for sure! Cheers! Jessie


  3. Your dreams minus your doubts equals your net worth. ( Life favors the fearless )
    People have done much more with much less. I would have to have have complete trust in my boat before a long blue water crossing. She would need to take care of her self most of the time.
    God Bless. SV SanDiego.


    • I like that calculation 😉 The wellbeing of the boat certainly takes center stage. So long as she stays afloat, we can survive. The pre-departure hiccups were anxiety-provoking, but they probably also helped ready us in both practical and emotional ways. Thanks for reading! ~Jessie


  4. Pingback: Sea serpents and engine gremlins | s/v The Red Thread

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