Not Much To Look At
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Not Much To Look At

Not Much To Look At

Not Much To Look At

There isn’t much to look at on this plotting sheet. There is, however, a great deal to see.

Firstly, my track is fairly constant at East by North and secondly, I crossed the International Dare Line at 0430 UTC+12 4 May at 46 57S by my reckoning.

The latter means I am back in the Western Hemisphere and with the sun now well North of the equator, it feels like home turf. Doesn’t look much different mind you, but it certainly feels much closer to home. Curiously enough, I get a Groundhog Day-ish do-over of yesterday/today if that makes sense. If that’s not enough time travel for you, my clocks now move backwards. Instead of advancing against UTC, I will be retreating. My next clock change will be to UTC-11 as upon crossing 180 degrees longitude, ship time jumped from UTC+12 to UTC-12. If only I had DeLorean…

The former rather less conspicuous aspect of what you are looking at and hopefully seeing represents almost three days of fighting tooth and nail against strong to gale force NNE and N winds and 12-15 foot seas and waves that would want me very far south of where I am. We have been beam reaching in winds gusting to 40 knots and getting hammered relentlessly by the breaking and cresting swell, opposing secondary swell, and wind waves. It has been neither comfortable, fun, or entirely safe. Safe as in spinnaker poles lashed to stanchion bases bursting their lashings and careening madly about the deck when we were struck on the port side by a breaking wave. The poles are lashed behind the bulwarks no less so the wave impact was indirect.

This is mind-numbing work and last night around 0200 local, my frustration hit an all time high. I had just returned to the cabin after getting on deck to see 36 knots on the anemometer. I needed to reel us in a bit as we were slamming to windward, falling off the building seas, and nose-diving into type troughs at 7+ knots. Too much to ask with so far yet to go. I put 4 reefs into the Solent and watched our progress for an hour or so. I had been up and down all night prior trying to keep Seaburban on her feet and moving. Satisfied, I went below cold, wet, and hungry. 10 minutes later, the wind fell light and and we were underpowered, wallowing, and once again at the mercy of the cresting waves.

It was too much.

I bellowed for Sir Salty in French over and over again. He stirred not an inch and I felt the weight of the entire circumnavigation bearing down on my shoulders. It seemed I could bear no more and the only thing on my mind was what new profanities I could hurl at Salty to rouse him and sent the lout topside to do his part. I sought inspiration in his sleeping, sightless gaze and found none.

What I did find shocked me back to reality. I found a blade of grass. More accurately, my oldest and perhaps best-friend found it. Dr. Michael Lyon spied it while we were stuck on one of the numberless 405 Freeway on ramps in Orange County California.

Doc had instantly recognized that blade as different than all the rest. It helps if you have a photographic memory to do that sort of thing. Doc does. He flung the door open and raced down the middle of the on ramp with a hundred car horns blaring at us while we held up traffic. He returned with a single blade and as we sped away and into rush-hour traffic, Doc lectured me on the anti-oxidant and cleansing properties of this particular grass that enabled it to thrive in one of the least-favourable environments on the globe for grasses- A Los Angeles Freeway. Doc took the blade back to his lab to figure if he could extract some of the properties to enhance some nutraceuticals he was planning to formulate.

If that tiny blade could thrive while trampled by traffic and suffocated by air borne poisons, what more could I endure? What more is there in my tank that I haven’t even come close to tapping? Made infinitely more capable than a blade of grass, how much more am I capable of?

I stopped my profane rant at Sir Salty and thought about Doc. What joy that blade brought to his heart. My heart swelled and tears rolled down my cheeks as I relived those moments passes some two and one half decades ago. My frustration vanished replaced by resolve. Even Sir Salty seemed relieved at the transformation.

There is all that and more on the plotting sheet. Not much too look at, but a great deal to see.

Follow my tracks in real-time:


  • BT
    Posted at 10:41h, 02 July Reply

    Bert, you are amazing! Following you progress and posts with great admiration for you courage and wishing / willing you success. You are on the downhill run now. All the best from an Aussie follower BT ( 2 degrees of separation from your Uncle Joe).

  • Sandi Lyon
    Posted at 03:20h, 06 July Reply

    That looks about right. When it’s hot out in the ocean, its foggy and wet on the Wet Coast. That means you’re on the right track, heading the right direction. Finally. Woohoo.

  • Anita Kuntz
    Posted at 00:10h, 08 July Reply

    Following you journey and am truly amazed.

  • Suzan Persons
    Posted at 15:43h, 09 July Reply

    What an amazing journey!!

  • Karin Hill
    Posted at 15:27h, 13 July Reply

    Been following you for a couple of months now. What an amazing journey! Your blog is insightful and humorous. Almost home. Safe travels!

  • MountainJack
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 July Reply

    Has to be an amazing feeling to be so near home, Bert.

    Have spent months at sea “steaming”, not sailing, gaining my sea legs with the constant motion just became second nature. Getting back to a stable platform at dockside or over on the beach left me wobbly for a day or two. Cannot imagine how you’ll feel after a year of hardly ever being stable. There is that other thing having been on your own for that long; the familiarity of constant aloneness , the feeling of approach avoidance, being forced back into humanity. Might feel as though you could just extend a little bit more and savor the experience just a little longer…naw, probably not.

    Welcome back home, Bert. You’ve completed one heck of a feat.

  • Arthur Oliver
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 July Reply

    Getting oh so close. What’s the ETA?

  • estelle C whiddon
    Posted at 02:58h, 16 July Reply

    Bert, your homecoming Saturday will be a joyous occasion! I have followed the voyage daily and hope your arrival home brings much joy.

  • Peter Jungschaffer
    Posted at 07:19h, 18 July Reply

    This has been so great. Thank you!!!

  • BT
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Bert, you are just a few hours away from home. We are cheering for your most successful journey. We are especially amazed at the sailing conditions below Australia and New Zealand, as we can have some very big polar blasts hit us at this time of the year. Cannot imagine what it was like to sail through that type of weather. Can only take of hats off to you I amazement. Hope that you make it to Oz for a visit. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished. /bt

  • Antonio Corbelletta
    Posted at 16:15h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an adventure! Well done. I have enjoyed tracking your voyage everyday just wish I would have know about it earlier, from the beginning.

  • Suzan
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 July Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhh Bert!!! You have done it!!!
    Happy Homecoming – And stay safe!!!
    It isn’t the same world that you left!!
    I’m going to miss reading your travels and your adventures!! But thrilled that you’re home (almost) safe and sound!!
    Next trip around the world, hope that you’ll stop along the way and post your photos of the locals and the ports!!

  • Raegan Elford
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 July Reply

    Soldier who has logged more sea time than this Navy sailor.
    What an incredible accomplishment (the journey vice logging more sea time than I)

  • Marianne Scott
    Posted at 18:25h, 19 July Reply

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! I guess we will have to put up a plaque commemorating your voyage on the Victoria Harbour wall.

    Hope to see you this week.

    Marianne Scott

  • Tom Cory
    Posted at 07:40h, 23 July Reply

    Congradulations Bert from Annapolis MD. A Great Adventure.

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:24h, 29 July Reply

    I don’t think that anyone that attended Estevan Junior High could have imagined that this was in the future for one of it’s students. I checked in at different legs of the journey and was fascinated every time. Congrats!

  • Marcel Neamtu
    Posted at 07:14h, 06 December Reply

    What an adventure! But i do have a comment about the structure of the blog: it’s very hard for a late reader to read your earlier posts in a timely order or something. Very annoying to scroll all the time to your earlier there anything or I can be done? Am I missing something? If yes, pardon my ignorance.
    Cheers and take care!

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