Lia Barrett was a Divemaster student of mine from the Caribbean days – 2007ish. She is now a world renowned underwater photographer with her own scuba diving clothing line. She invited me to her wedding a couple of months ago, and just as I was leaving back to the UK, we had a chat about being 33 and not knowing what you’re gonna be “when you grow up”. She said “well, unless you want to be a doctor or a lawyer you can pretty much figure it out on the way…”
On the same trip I met Jacque Comery, who had just finished a year managing the Australian Antarctic Division. She had also been a dive instructor for disabled kids, a heavy plant driver, and at some point around her 30s decided to become an engineer for a bit too (and yes, got the degree and everything). I think she’s sailing round the South Pacific at the moment.
The point is, these are two women I admire so much, having so many diverse achievements. And they are just figuring it out on the way.
As I start this journey, I thought I’d just figure it out on the way, too.
Well, it turns out that it does need to be mixed with a healthy dose of advice from Dad, too. The five Ps… Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (I think Dad added one of those Ps himself):
I’m going to be in Mallorca for at least a month
To work on a boat, you need something called STCW ’10, which is a qualification bolted together from 4 safety courses, including firefighting and fire prevention. That fire course is only taught by one company here, and as everyone in the sailing world is in Mallorca right now, the next availability is 14 November. I could have easily googled that and done the course in the UK, for cheaper. I haven’t found a boat yet by the way, but am going to start looking properly tomorrow.
The earliest I will get to Australia is August 2017
Aside from its vast size, here are two influential details about the Pacific:
- It is cyclone season from November to April. So, no sailing (not past the Marquesas anyway).
- It takes around 4 months to get across it from the Marquesas
The passage planning is going to get quite detailed and constantly change, so I am gonna set up a separate page about that at some point… I think I need to be leaving Panama for the Galapagos in February (you can see a wiki on the route here). Either way, May was never going to happen. I should add that if you have found your way to this blog through googling, trying to find advice on pacific passages and the like, this is not the place for you. That much should be clear by now.
It’s ALWAYS about balance
It’s almost boring how often things are all about balance. It’s always there, just before the silence at the end of an argument. It’s in the waves themselves, manifestations and compensations of those equal and opposite reactions. So it is obvious to conclude that you need to balance the “figuring it out along the way” with a dose of the 5 (or 6) Ps. I don’t think I would even be doing this if I wasn’t the type of person to figure it out on the way. But I won’t get there without the Ps. And if the road to success is paved with failure, maybe “the way” is that “proper preparation”? Nah, I’m talking crap, I should have just Googled more before I left the UK.