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 3: Tahiti and the Societies

page 39 of 109

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“There's a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.”

- Richard Hovery

A passage of patience
and a bevy of ravaging cyclones

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No wind

Six Days Without Wind

The breeze had been but a land effect, for the farther from land we traveled, the more the precious zephyr diminished. Well off-shore we found no wind whatsoever; not so much as a whisper. But at least the erstwhile breeze had suggested better conditions to come, and because the disturbed weather had waylaid us in the Marquesas for two additional months beyond our planned itinerary, we were now more than eager to move on.

Marquesan fuel reserves had been critically low, and Suka's tanks were now nearly so. Nevertheless, I figured that should the wind remain on holiday, we had only enough propellant to see us across the 430 mile gap to the Tuamotus. So rather than turn back to await genuine wind, we started the engine and chugged slowly ahead.

“We lived two lives: an enervating, fiery one by day, and a blissful, heavenly one by night.”

The ensuing five days of oppressive dead-calms proved far more trying than any we had experienced in the doldrums. We lived two lives: an enervating, fiery one by day, and a blissful, heavenly one by night.

Each morning, as that monstrous solar orb peaked over the horizon and began hurling its fiery lances, we would reluctantly start the engine and begin motoring ahead. The sea was mirror flat, so the intense radiation seared us as much from below as it did from above. Moreover, the absence of any wind, and the high humidity, only intensified the oven-like conditions. By mid forenoon Suka's decks were so hot that we could not step on them barefoot. This heat conducted belowdecks, where the engine was helping roast the cabin.

We could do little but lie torpid in the cockpit beneath the small awning. Drifting like the Kon Tiki, the ship sat motionless upon oily seas, her sails hanging flaccid. But at least a 1-1/2 knot current carried us thankfully in a favorable direction.

At dusk the tormenting sun would slowly, almost reluctantly slip below the planar horizon. As the stars began showing themselves I would compile the evening round of celestial navigation shots, then I would go below, spread my work on the salon table, and reduce the data in order to calculate our position. The seas were so calm that a pencil lying on the table would remain perfectly still. Work finished, I would join Jenny in the cockpit, and together we would revel in the coolness of eventide, where Suka stood so oddly still that we felt as if we were moored in a protected marina.

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No wind

Passage of Patience

Why did we not motor during the night? Because the nights were so unspeakably glorious that we dared not taint them. The stars Sirius, Canopus and Archenar dominated the heavens. Accompanying these were the Pleiades and the beauty Capella. And in all its effulgence the Milky Way scintillated the heavens in a grand sweep that met with the Megallanic clouds. The Big Dipper hung low in the northern sky, and in the wee hours of the night, before the rising of the waning moon, the Southern Cross climbed over the horizon. Bathing in the quietude of the sea, I reflected on a Robert Service poem:

“The Wanderlust has blest me;
in a ragged blanket curled,
I've watched the gulf of Heaven foam with stars;
I've walked with eyes wide open
to the wonder of the world,
I've seen God's flood of glory burst its bars.
I've seen the gold a-blinding
in the riffles of the sky,
Till I fancied me a bloated plutocrat;
But I'm freedom's happy bond-slave,
and I will be till I die,
And I've got to thank the Wanderlust for that."”

- Robert Service

The sixth day brought distant clouds, and that afternoon a thunderstorm passed overhead and blasted us with its cold, cloud-dumped winds. Gleefully we made sail, but too much. Over-canvassed, Suka heeled far over and sped away. Then after reefing the canvas we enjoyed an exhilarating sail across almost millpond-flat seas. An hour later the air was calm again, and mercifully cooler.

“Our "Passage of Patience" as Jenny termed it, was now one of engendered hope.”

We wondered if the doldrums could have dipped this far south, for the conditions were strongly suggestive. But the period of calm ended with finality later that afternoon, when a steady wind sprung to life and whisked us on our exuberant way. It felt wonderful to be moving again; our "Passage of Patience" as Jenny termed it, was now one of engendered hope.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 39.
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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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