This video was taken last year on Christmas Eve. Craig and I had been at sea 27 days. You wouldn’t know by watching how beaten down we were..27 days of mostly bad weather, high seas and near death experiences .  But on this day (Christmas Eve), the sun came out and the seas calmed. I celebrated by decorating the boat. We were almost out of food and water. We had lost massive weight and were sleep deprived (evident by my slip up in the video). Our sails were torn and our fuel nearly gone.  We were days away from calling the coast guard and about 800 miles from land. Extremely discouraged,  Craig had just apologized for not getting us home for Christmas. He was sorry he did not have  a Christmas gift for me. I replied that the best gift was life and that the only gift I wanted from him today was the gift of ‘joy’. Would he put on a smile and laugh with me? He agreed to try. I suggested we make a video to show our grandkids one day . I wrote a Christmas poem reenacting our predicament and we read it together . Then we stuffed each other’s stockings with items that represented what we wish we had . The next  morning I pretended Santa game. Craig gave me an empty water bottle, and an empty massage oil bottle. I gave him a torn page from my cookbook (of a turkey) and a map of the USA ! I read a ‘letter’ from Santa encouraging us to hang in there and thanking us for the good deeds done on islands in the past .   We had two glorious days of sunny weather before things turned from bad to worse (you’ll have to read my blog to get those details)! On THIS day, Christmas Day 2016,  we focused on the true meaning of Christmas and how lucky we were to be alive and to be with each other. It was a Christmas we will never forget.  I share it with you in hopes that if you find yourself in less then perfect conditions this Christmas ,  you too can pause and find  joy in your life . See the good things that money can not buy.  This Christmas, remember that the  best gift does not come wrapped in a pretty box. It’s the person sitting next to  you. If you are alone,  it is our God in heaven who gave you life.  Don’t waste a minute if it. Have a very Merry Christmas! PS We’ve been on the move since returning to the USA and I’ve laxed at blogging! I’ll try to do better in the future! Iam working on a novel about our 2016 Pacific Ocean crossing ! I’ll keep you posted ! Hugs! Carol 

Second Stop Memory Lane: Tuamotus Islands.. Favorite memories here: -Swimming with sharks in “Blue Lagoon” -Bike ride around the island -Church with the locals -Anchoring in front of beautiful Kia Ora Resort (great bar with glass floor!) on the island of Rangiroa -Our first “pass” entry…wow! – Great snorkeling and diving -Pearl Farm Tour…dropping that pearl in the rocks! Oops! -hanging with cruising friends :)

First Stop Memory Lane..Marquesas , The Garden Islands

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Exploring Daniel’s Bay
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Plants know how to grow out of rocks here
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Ask the locals where the path to this waterfall is (but don’t forget your mosquito repellent)!
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Alive!
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Walking through coconut and papaya trees to a path that went ‘up’
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And out of no where came this handsome cowboy!

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We started our South Pacific journey here…3 years later, we ended it here
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This is the view “from our room” (aka WindCutter anchored)
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Hiking in the warm rain (NO mosquitos!)
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Friends from “Lady Carolina” got down and dirty with me! We had to turn around when the river flooded (3-1 voted to turn around…guess who wanted to go on?)

 

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WindCutter’s symbol (Taken from Hebrews 4:12)
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Beautiful carved stones
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Beautiful birds
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Beautiful views
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These guys aren’t so beautiful, but they live here too
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My beautiful husband
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Crazy flowers!
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A short hike and you find these ancient sacrifice stones
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I felt very small next to this tree in the forest
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The people here take very good care of their landscape
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Believe it or not, this is a path!
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Look what I found on a rock in the forest!
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God is alive and well in the Marquesas Islands
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View from the top
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The music is amazing!
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Don’t be afraid to rent a car in Nuka Hiva but be ready to drive through this…
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The dancing is incredible!
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Brilliant colors
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Rich soil
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WindCutter’s anchorage
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Postcard material
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Can you see WHY I call this “the garden island”?
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No cars on this side of the island…but we found a road
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You will get wet!
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He’s nicer than he looks lol!
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Take a back pack for the fruit you will gather!
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Don’t forget to collect ‘polpamouse’! You won’t find it anywhere else in the South Pacific ( it’s delicious)!!! The bananas are also good…the  sweetest we’ve ever had!
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The anchorage at Daniel’s Bay is secluded and small. Not many boats here!
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Take green bananas on your boat. They will ripen along the way!
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Kayak around the bay! Good snorkeling over by the rocks (lobsters too)
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A silver moon,  and a quiet anchorage..it doesn’t get much better!

 

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Sunrise is my favorite part of the day…it means we get to do it again!

Next time:  Memory Lane continues to  Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Island chain!

Time to Reset

 

It’s been five months since we left the South Pacific and three months since we returned to the United States.
Life has resumed it’s rumble. Busy people, hurried lives, mindless madness among blacktop hustle and booming businesses.
WindCutter is settled behind a popular restaurant where young and old gather to gaze at her luxury and dream of places far away. Sometimes people venture onto the dock, and take a Duffy ride on the bay . Intoxicated, they whoop and wallop at life’s grand adventure as they ride up and down the busy water way that reflects Southern California’s finest homes and restaurants.
I can not see the sun set beyond the buildings nor catch the sunrise. Our port windows are closed to keep the noise out and our hatches are locked for safety.
We are detailing, replacing, refurbishing, and refitting WindCutter to her past majesty and the task is grueling. When I get completely frustrated, I comfort myself by looking through pictures, and videos of better times. I miss island hopping.
I haven’t blogged because my attitude has been so poor, and quite frankly, I am not sure what to blog about. I keep waiting for the culture shock to abate but it’s a slow process (I should have some cheese with my whine)!
But I promised to update you and so I will.
How are we doing? Where are we going?
We are healthy, sometimes happy (especially when we reunite with friends and family), and working hard on WindCutter!
But the adjustment is grueling. Neither of us is doing very well with it but at least we are keeping up now and walking, talking, eating and living a little faster. Craig is back to “not being able to sit still long”, and Carol has relearned how to dress up and be “on time”…

Life is full of twists and turns and sudden
change in directions. I’ve always known this. Nothing on earth lasts forever and nothing stays the same. It’s okay to look to the horizon and anticipate what is to come. It’s also okay to cherish the moments of pure joy that life throws at you once in a while.

But when you make an “extreme change”, it can take a while to ‘reset’..
Sailing is an extreme example of “redirection” and it took a few weeks to adjust to a life that lacked constants. After awhile, it became ordinary, even wonderful to “go with the flow”.
Who would have thought returning would be so hard? Our melancholy dispositions must be the result of culture shock and a sudden change in altitude (and city attitude!)
Even so, our future plans are up in the air.
Missing a ‘carefree lifestyle’ isn’t enough to make both of us want to go back.

He wants to sell WindCutter and buy farm land in Oregon.
She wants to fix her up and keep sailing.

We will come to an agreement and life will go on!

If we sell WindCutter, this blog will stop (I refuse to write a “road trip blog” like so many x-sailors do).
But I might write a book instead (about our travels)?
Regardless, I refuse to regret, but I also refuse to
forget!

So, the next few blogs will consist of pictures, and videos of our fantastic journey across the South Pacific.
Maybe some of you will see a place you want to visit?
I have so many fond memories and pictures to share with you! I hope they inspire you to travel and explore!

I know with time, we will find new “wows” to replace the old ones.
In the meantime, wander with me back to the places (and people) that will forever be in my memory as the most magical on earth!

Carol Fleetwood

A few notes to follow up on my last blog: “Long Way Home” 

  1. We no longer regret leaving Fiji when we did (long Way Home blog). What we experienced was bad, but the force five hurricane (Winston) now hitting Fiji and the “safe haven” we were anchored in (savu savu)  is much worse. Winston is the largest hurricane on record in Fiji (winds 180 mph!)  Our thoughts and prayers go out for all our sailing friends still there. They are excellent,  experienced sailors tucked into  “hurricane safe holds ” for the  cyclone season. Unfortunately,  El Niño is ignoring those safe havens.
  2. The link below was filmed exactly where we would have been anchored had we stayed (It was the last spot left in Savu Savu and I begged Craig to take it …thankfully he over- rule me!) 
  3. I guess the only truly “Safe sailors are  the “armchair sailors” who never go anywhere. Weather  can never absolutely be predicted especially if you venture into the open sea!  God Bless you friends in Fiji …