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:

  1. It is cyclone season from November to April. So, no sailing (not past the Marquesas anyway).
  2. 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.

7 thoughts on “Mallorca: Figuring it out on the way…

  1. Have you looked at going the other way round (the world being approximately spherical? ) overland by bus/train to Thailand then saul. You’ll need extra jabs and malaria protection but maybe the Indian Ocean is kinder. Si will know. Or just come back and work freelance for six months or so, get neccessary qualifications etc in UK. Or just enjoy the freedom of being footloose and hang around Mallorca ?

    1. I did consider it. Regarding the Atlantic direction, I always wanted to cross the Atlantic, and the Pacific is becoming really attractive too when you look at the islands you encounter that you would never otherwise go to. Now is the optimal time to cross the Atlantic as the trade winds have turned and a lot of the yachting community are getting ready for it right now. So there’s nothing wrong with the plan, it’s just that it’s gonna take longer than expected (as mum says)! I am gonna find some work over here to tide me over – currently scouting for playing music in bars, boat work, and some remote working

  2. Hilarious ending! Ha ha! Oh well! We are always, always learning, and party of learning is relearning, making mistakes, and adjusting our methods and plans. This sounds good! Xx

  3. When you are going round the world the slow way you will always come across a season when you can’t move . You did look strangely at me when I said pack a sweater and do your research. Remember the Sea in Thailand in August. You will reach Australia midwinter then.

  4. My second day after our move into the “new” LR building going up in one of those lifts that are strapped on the outside. Me and a Marine person (MP)
    Me: “hi MP, where are you off to?”
    MP : ” Southampton, to deliver a lecture”
    Me: “well good luck with that”
    MP : “hopefully I’ll be ok, thanks to the 6Ps”
    me: “the 6P? What are they?”
    MP : Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”

    So there were always 6Ps and one should never take the Piss out of a Lloyd’s Register surveyor

  5. Hey Jack, it all sounds incredibly exciting. I am sure Ell has suggested that since you are going via Panama you might as well visit Costa Rica since it is literally a few hours drive south. As they say…. “It will all work out in the end. If not then it’s not the end!”

    1. She hasn’t suggested that… yet? At the moment I have no idea when I am going to get there but once I do perhaps we can arrange a get together?!

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