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Monday, August 10, 2009

Goodbye Fiji! Hello 600 Miles of Ocean! Passage notes part 1

August 6, 2009, departure day. The first horn blew at 9:45 AM, time to weigh anchor and head to Vanuatu. The rally boats have begun the departure dance, sashaying here and there, circling, shouting to one another, bidding farewell to others who are not leaving and positioning to be first in line to make the jump when the whistle blows. As always emotions rise to the surface as excitement mixed with anxiety flows into a powerful adrenaline. There is no feeling to compare with leaving port and crossing an open ocean to head to a new country and a new adventure. We had minutes left on our Fiji cell phone so we used them to call family and friends. As always my Mom cried to hear our voices. She is proud of us and thinks Frank is the hero of the family. He is amazing and the more we are out here the more he amazes me and everyone else. He is still my hero too.

So everyone is ready and we hear a sad appeal from the Kiwi boat K.I.S.S. (you can guess the acronym!); they are having major engine problems. They will not be leaving with us and we feel their pain as they pull out of the rally at this 11th hour. We are second to last leaving - we are not concerned about being in the lead, just relishing these last few minutes in Malolo Lailai's beautiful anchorage. The staff of Musket Cove and some other cruisers sit in dinghies and small long-boats to mark our way out through the Pass and the intricate reef formations, waving goodbye to us all, as the 22 Rally boats begin to spread and reach finding that sweet spot of water to begin the passage. As we clear the outer reefs dolphins shoot toward our bow, swimming along and performing their water ballet almost on queue, as though this is the farewell send-off. Frank and I ran to the bow yelling, "Where is Sandy?". We think they know our boat and were looking for him.

So we have 600 miles of open water ahead of us. We will be checking in on a "sked" at 19:30 each evening on the SSB. We'll also post our position report (the link may be found on our website home page), throughout the journey as long as we are able to get transmission on the HAM. Vanuatu here we come!

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