Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 1: Voyage to Fatu Hiva page 18 of 109

The Storm intensified

By morning the gale had only intensified. Tumultuous seas were thundering with a vengeance. Wind wailed in lament through the rigging. Monstrous waves were breaking everywhere across the face of the ocean, and occasionally palisades of rushing spume would come crashing headlong into Suka's hull and cabin top. For hours on end I braced myself in the aft cabin passageway peering through a port, watching immense seas marching toward us, one after the other, ad infinitum. It was a fearful experience for both of us.

“There are three kinds of humans: those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.”

Had the pounding waves threatened Suka structurally I would have turned tail and run bare-poled before the wind (steering downwind). But this I was reluctant to do. If the storm was, in fact, a hurricane, (which in retrospect I now feel that it might have been) then our running downwind would have been the worst possible maneuver, for it would have driven us in a sweeping spiral toward its eye. So as a compromise I attached the emergency tiller to its rudder post beneath the aft cabin berth, and lashed it about 10 degrees a-lee. This eased the wave-bashing to at least an acceptable level.

For another twenty-four grueling hours we lay-to, experiencing the dismal palpability of the ancient seafarer Anacharsis' remark: "There are three kinds of humans: those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea."

Suddenly in the night something smashed Suka with a horrifying crack. Unlike the usual explosions of the relentlessly battering waves, this sounded urgently structural. Vaulting to our feet, I yelled for Jenny to lift a floorboard to check the bilge, while I grabbed the spotlight and charged outside. To my relief both masts were standing. The vessel's integrity above decks appeared sound. Jenny called that the bilge was staying dry. So we were not sinking. Still, something had almost certainly been fractured. We searched everywhere but found no damage.

(A week later, while leaning over the railing, I discovered the evidence: Suka's larboard trailboard, a large plank of teak, had been smashed away, and all that remained were its ragged ends. To this day we do not know what had caused this. It could have been sheer hydraulics, or maybe an impact with some floating object. But there were no marks on the boat, otherwise.)

Incredibly the next day the blow intensified further. Mountainous, mind boggling seas rolled and tossed their heinous peaks everywhere lathered in white spume. We ventured outside, and while communicating at the tops of our voices, as our clothing flogged frenetically, we wrestled with the mainsail. After lowering the boom-end into the cockpit and lashing it securely in place, we frapped the sail tightly to its spar using a dozen gaskets (lengths of stout cord). Bare poled, Suka now rode with considerably less strain, yet the tempest wailing aloft in the rigging continued to pin the vessel hard over.

Again the night was intolerable although survivable. Having endured seventy-two hours in this realm of the damned, our nerves were fraying. The ship's motion had grown so extraordinary that we could do little but brace ourselves on the cabin sole. Lying there, we could only listen to the pounding waves and to the groaning joinery. The journal quips: "If we could have somehow sold Suka for a pittance and walked away from the storm, we would have run instead."

It is said that he who would learn to pray, let him go to sea. And this is the prayer that Jenny and I later taped to the salon bulkhead:

"Then they cry unto the Lord in their troubles
and He bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so He bringeth them unto their desired haven."

-Psalm 107: 28-30

The story has 109 pages. This is page 18.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
> GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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