Moving Out

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The last crew member arrived today, and we moved onto the boat. It’s great except for the mosquitoes … and unfortunately, Zika virus is alleged to be here in Fiji. As a result, I’ve been increasing the quarterly profits of the insect repellant company …

Mostly, today was gathering bits and pieces, and last-minute shopping. As a result, not much in the way of pictures. I took a couple shots of the boat, from the deck and the flybridge … from the deck it looks big.

vuda last 1But when you look down from the flybridge, you realize how small a 50’ boat can be …

vuda last 2Finally, here’s me mad matey Mike in his primordial glory, admiring his new boat …

vuda last 3For obvious reasons, he is of the opinion that my corpus delecti is woefully unadorned, so he’s made an appointment for me to visit Tu, his Maori mate and tattoo god. I do have a tattoo that I got in the Solomon Islands …

vuda last 4As a result of several hasty decisions, back in the eighties I’d ended up in the Solomon Islands north of Australia, where I got involved with people from the island of Bellona. This is a version of one of their traditional tattoos. The top fish is a “gupo” fish, which is their sacred mythical fish. The top row shows more gupo fish. The middle row is frigate birds, and the bottom row is sharks’ teeth. A Bellonese policeman who was a friend of mine gave me the tattoo using three sewing needles wrapped in thread and india ink … but obviously, it pales in the light of Mike’s tattoo. So I’m happy to meet Tu, but I’m not sure how this will all end. I’ll let you know how this part of life’s rich pageant turns out. Here’s Tu’s web page to consider in the interim.

Not much more to say. We’ll be putting to sea tomorrow, and before I go to sea, I always make it a point to thank the people who have helped me in my life. The ocean has been the death of many men, women, and children, and I am not exempt from her harsh rules. So it behooves me to be aware of that and to thank those who have helped me on my path.

So I’ll take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the good denizens of WUWT for your support. I came late to science, and I am thankful for the fact that most people were willing to ignore my lack of a formal scientific education and listen to my ideas. But the support has gone much further than that, extending to my writing on non-scientific subjects and to my life of adventure and dreams. You all have made my planet more varied, more interesting, and more fun. Thank you.

I also need to thank a couple people in particular. One is Mike, who has been my boon companion, business partner, employer, employee, fellow adventurer, and good friend for thirty years and more. Such friendships are rare, and he has my great thanks for his manifold contributions to my life.

Finally, I owe an enormous and likely unpayable debt to my gorgeous ex-fiancée, who has been my friend, my support, and my good right hand for thirty-eight years now. She has put up with me, and Mike, and all of my demented friends, and has done it with joy and laughter. She accompanied me on many of my adventures both on shore and at sea, lived with me in outrageous conditions with very few words of complaint, and has encouraged and supported me in my global wanderings when she couldn’t come along. Dear lady, I could never express my admiration for you in strong enough terms.

That’s the news from Vuda Point Marina, where all the men are swabbies, all the women are strong, and all the children are amphibious. We don’t have email capabilities on board, so you’ll next hear from me in New Caledonia. Here’s the full route we’ll be taking, all 1,700 miles of it.ice ships course

Australia on the left, New Zealand bottom right, Fiji top right, big old ocean all around … as Euell Gibbons observed, “An island is a small body of land surrounded by the need for a boat”.

I suspect you’ll hear from me soon. I’ve always believed that you won’t drown if you’re born to hang, so I’m likely OK on the ocean …

My best to everyone, I can only wish that your life turns out as blessed as mine,

w.

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41 thoughts on “Moving Out

  1. Best of luck Willis,
    I hope that you return to your gorgeous ex fiancée.
    Please do not get a sleeve or whole body tattoo! They mean something to some people but to me they are a mistake.
    Looking forward to your next episode.

    • I agree with you Peter C. Tattoos were once obtained only by sailors, and after they had too much rum, in my opinion.

      • Better check it out with the ex-f before appending additional indelible adornments, I think.

      • Well, my uncle got one as a teenager, as his grandkids did. He got his, however, after surviving a little something called “World War II”. They got theirs because they had $50 and a few hours to kill.

    • I’ve never been attracted to tattoo figuring the scars of life to be sufficient .
      But if you get one , how about a head job so Joe Bast can have even more fun presenting the skeptical case as serious to those who happily hang up on irrelevancies .

  2. She looks like a good boat, Willis, and it appears the easterlies will pick up as the low over Tahiti abates and the high over Australia strengthens. Stay safe.

  3. I can’t help but observe that Ice has two very serious reels (one forward, one aft) of what I assume to be anchor rode.
    Provisioning a vessel for a long passage is always a time-consuming and fretful chore. I’ll bet your matey Mike has done this before and has a good checklist.
    The sea gods will look after ye.

  4. When flying they say that any landing you can walk away from was a good landing. On the water, if you you return on the same boat you left on it was a good trip. Have a good trip Willis!

  5. Praying for a safe voyage for all of you, Willis. Looking forward to your next post. Take some pictures to post, especially clouds, sunrises, and sunsets.

    • My cousin went to your alma mater. He, too, always refers to it as the “boat school.”

      • Give him my best, Mr. Garrett. I am class of 1969. What class was your cousin?

  6. Willis, thank you for sharing this your current adventure! I’ve been following—in fact, looking daily—for your posts these last few years. I am posting links to your current sailing journey on my webpage for the edification of my small group of FB friends.

  7. Good Sailing, but never lose your respect for the ocean. The moment you turn your back on her, she ussally bites you in the ass.

  8. I bet the ‘insect repellent company’ is owned by Jim Beam – or a near neighbour!

  9. Tattoos? Meh. I know they’re a matter of personal preference but I’ve never liked them. If, or when, you get tired of them, you can’t simply take them off.
    And for goodness’ sake, Willis, DO take care! Look forward to your next instalment.

    • Best comment on tattooing I heard was: (Youth to 60-year-old woman): “Would you have a tattoo?” “What? Don’t be silly. What would it look like having a tattoo at my age?”

  10. The prudent navigator never relies on a single aid to navigation or navigational technic.
    I presume your celestial-derived positions will be supplemented/confirmed with GPS-derived positions. In days of yore, we practiced good old “freighter navigation” (we hail passing ships on the VHF and ask ’em for a fix).

  11. Thursday 7:30 am. Last minute chores. In an hour or two we’ll be moving to the fuel dock, then it’s clear customs and out the door.
    Best wishes to everyone,
    w.

  12. Maybe melodramatic, but sincerest good wishes to you and the crew
    God Speed Willis Eschenbach

  13. I thought you were going to end your passage at Brisbane, but from your map it looks to be more like Bundaberg (or Hervey Bay/Urangan?). Anyway safe sailing, the weather’s fine here (dammit, we need rain) so I hope you enjoy your visit.
    Ken Stewart (not the one above)

  14. From Willis’ Map it looks like he will be crashing ashore at Bargara and heading upriver for Bundaberg and the Bundaberg Rum at the Post Office Hotel Bar.

  15. I hope the Great Barrier Reef is still there by the time you make it.
    According to the media down here it’s nearly all gone…or only has a few weeks left.

  16. Bad news! I believe Willis just had a meteorite land on or near him. I was looking out to the East from Noosa Queensland and a very bright meteor entered the atmosphere heading for the horizon. Hopefully Willis was out on the deck looking skyward, he would have had an amazing show.

  17. Even though I have been inland for 7 years now- I miss the chance to sail.
    sold my little 19′ Potter just before I left Coos Bay…
    I’m jealous…
    Stay safe and fair winds…

  18. “… Come, my friends,
    ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.”
    Enjoy Willis, see you in New Caledonia.

  19. Your wanderlust reminds me of one of my favorite poems ‘Sea Fever’ by John Masefield:
    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.
    Have a nice trick.

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