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: The Voyage to Fatu Hiva page 24 of 109

A Refreshing Swim - Mid Pacific

Suka encountered a second windless zone two days after the first one. Negotiating it required a 12-hour stint of motoring. As suggested by the brand-name inscribed boldly on its coolant reservoir, we referred to the diesel engine as "Perkins." And Perkins was beginning to run hot. We were learning that a sea-water engine cooling system is much less efficient in warmer climes. Twice the engine overheated completely. After my fussing over it, burping a few bubbles from the cooling circuit but doing nothing of real consequence, its temperature gauge needle would decline suitably - as though the machine needed occasional attention and reassurance.


A refreshing swim - mid Pacific.

Jenny suggested we allow a recess from the monotony and heat of the constant motoring, and go for a refreshing swim. After all, our accommodations came with a large pool in the back yard, one small step from the transom. So I shut down the engine and allowed the ketch to glide to a graceful halt. Tethered to a length of safety line attached to her harness, Jenny donned mask, snorkel and fins, and with gleeful abandon jumped overboard.

"See anything with big teeth down there?" I asked.

"No, nothing but a little fish under the boat." She splashed about while I stood by, gripping her line anxiously, ready to haul her to safety at the first indication of a menacing shark. Beaming, she climbed the self-steering rudder mounts, and stepped aboard exclaimed: "That was fantastic!"

Encouraging her to keep a sharp lookout, I donned my snorkeling gear and walked the plank. Compared with the water I had last swam in, this water was far less bracing. And it was just as clear. In fact, astonishingly so! And unlike Jenny's flat-glass mask, mine was ground for my eye-glasses prescription, so underwater I could see more clearly than she could. I found that my lenses also provided better depth perception. To my amusement, I found that her "little fish" was actually a dolphin swimming perhaps 150 feet below the surface.

“The wind has returned this evening, and we're cruising across glassy seas at four knots. This is fine sailing and I'll take a big dose. Suka is heading for her equatorial crossing, which according to my evening round of star shots is only thirty five miles ahead. Tomorrow the scumbags will cross the line to become shellbacks, and in lieu of celebrating with King Neptune, Jenny is planning a sumptuous dinner.”

That night King Neptune alighted on the bow pulpit, having taken the form of a red footed booby. As was the case with the masked booby, this bird showed us no fear. Subsequently, it remained aboard for several days while occasionally foraging at large.

. . .

“The crew of the little galleon was adapting well to their seafaring life, and finding it very much to their liking.”

Falling in with the South-East Trades

Sailing along blithely, Suka fell in with the south-east trades, characterized by remarkably steady force five winds blowing from the port quarter, and reasonably benign seas. Enrapt in their maritime inquisition, the crew of the little galleon was adapting well to their seafaring life, and finding it very much to their liking.


Showing the broken trail-board, damaged in the storm.

As the weeks had unfurled, we had devised ways to facilitate life aboard. Reefing the mainsail, for example, was no longer a grandiose task. By accident one afternoon, early on in the journey, the topmost mainsail batten had inadvertently slid out of its pocket and dropped into the sea. This struck me as a serious misfortune, imagining that the sail would no longer draw properly. But not only did the sail function as well as before, but I found that it could then be made and handed much easier without that troublesome batten catching on the spreaders and shrouds. So a few days later when the second slat shook free, I viewed the matter almost with equanimity. And when the sail even then performed as well, I removed a third wand myself. Suka's main boom is jumbo, and the sail's leach is but softly roached, so on all points of sail the battenless canvas drew well. And without the baneful battens, the sail could be easily dowsed and hoisted as the ketch sailed on a broad reach, or even flat before the wind. This discovery gladly heralded the last of our having to round the ketch to windward, and to put her into irons in order to reef her mainsail.


Calking deck seams.

Another pleasant week rolled by.

Jenny had cleared the forecastle berth of its voluminous sail bags and cartons of miscellany, and had carved a comfortable reading nook. This area was favorably ventilated by the open fore hatch, yet was protected from the harsh, tropical sunlight. It was an ideal nook where an off-watch crew could idle away a few pleasant hours.

Endowed with fair weather and a waxing gibbous moon, the nights became even more pleasant. As the brig penetrated deeper into the southern latitudes, more specifically now at ten degrees south, her navigator could no longer see Polaris (Kochab as it is known astronomically) nailed staunch against the northern sky. In exchange, the constellation Crux, the Southern Cross, now adorned the austral firmament. My evening celestial measurements were now of the stars Archenar and Altair. At dawn I shot Sirius: to man's eyes the brightest of all stars; and Canopus: second brightest and a primary space flight navigational star.

And assuming that my calculations were correct, we were nearing our first landfall.


Nearing Our First Landfall

Our 29th day out of San Diego, (Nov 30) at the first hint of dawn I wielded the sextant expectantly, and after working through the sight reductions I penciled the following entry into my navlog:

Heading: 244 T, 234 M.

Fix: 10.045 S, 137.227 W

56.1 miles to go.

Should sight island at noon's-run log 107, at approx 11:00 a.m.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 24.
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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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