It’s Throw Back Thursday! Here is an old letter from our maiden voyage written by our dear friend Jeff, who is currrently Captaining a large ship in Spain. Jeff was one of the original dreamers that made our One World adventures possible 6 years ago.
We will have more stories coming every Thursday but until then we want to invite every one of you who has been crew or passenger onboard One World to share in the comments below a story or a memory about your experiences aboard! We might even share your story in an up coming Throw back Thursday post! Photos, audio or video are more than welcome. Thanks for reading and please like, share and follow our stories.
This story takes place about five days after we bought One World and it was the first time we ever sailed her outside of the sea trial.
Just wanted to send you an update on life on the boat. We have made our maiden voyage from Shelter Bay marina to Bocas Del Torro. There was wind, but it was coming right over her nose so we ended up motoring the whole way. On several occasions we brought the sails out and worked on running the lines and tacking into the wind. One World is a heavy girl, she displaces close to 50,000 lbs! This, along with the mass amount of rigging and her hull shape makes it difficult to run close hauled. None the less it was great to see her in action and be out on the open sea. The rigging, terms, and processes seemed daunting but as we worked the lines the lingo has been falling into place. To arrive at our destination on time we ended up motoring straight through the night taking 4 hour watches staggering them with two people up at all times. I had the 12 to 4am shift, the first two hours were spent with Rachele and the last two were spent with Captain Clay. I sat and looked at the stars, read a little on the benefits of positive thinking and watched the pitch black water sparkle with bioluminescence. The rhythmic hum of the engine is not as intrusive as I thought it would be. Of corse I would prefer to be under sail. I would also like to add that while on deck we were wearing safety harnesses and clipped into the jack line (this is to appease the mom, who worries like any mom should). When I was relieved of my shift I crawled into my berth to catch a few z’s. The boat gently and quickly rocked me to sleep.
There are a few good ways to be woken up. One is on your own time where you and you alone say ‘i’m ready to get up’. Two, when your significant other is looking for some attention and grabs you the right way. Three, when the sun is cresting over the earth and you hear the word ‘Dolphins!’ I clambered out of bed and up on deck to see a pod of dolphins swimming and playing right at the bow of the boat. Only a few feet from where we stood the dolphins rolled around one another as they easily kept pace with the boat moving at about 6 knots. They seemed to be doing this for the shear pleasure of play, and maybe to show off a little. The effortless movements and the sleek clean look of them was captivating. All crew on deck we hung from the bow sprit and rigging to be as close to the creatures as possible. They eventually got board with us and moved on. We had all just experienced a great moment
With high spirits from the morning and a strong wind (still on her nose) we ran the sails once again. This time we killed the engine and made large tacks, 150 degrees, which was not getting us in the direction we wanted but still great fun.
A side story: We had been trolling from our boat hoping to catch a fish that we could eat. Forgetting about the line when we began to set the sails and before we killed the engine the line made its way into the prop were it quickly got wrapped and tangled. We hoved two which is basically using the sails to stall the motion of the boat. I was concerned for the boat and volunteered to dive in and remedy the situation. Mind you this was in open water, not particularly rough but it was holding a current of a least 2 knots. It was something I quickly regretted doing as I found myself under the boat wrestling with the forces of the water and the boat swaying in every direction. The tiny barnacles on the boats hull that cut my hand was the icing on the cake. I came aboard learning a valuable lesson of the power of the seas and the stupidity of humans (me).
We anchored 50 miles from Bocas on the leeward side of a small island for the day and night to relax and enjoy our surroundings. The following morning we headed to Bocas Del Torro. This area of Panama is a small grouping of islands off the North West side of the country. Although small and not over developed there is still a fare amount of tourism. The girls have visited the town several times when traveling with their family. It had been five years since their last visit and they were amazed to see how much development had occurred. At the far southern peninsula the town sits on the edge of the water. The water front buildings actually sit over the water. This makes for lovely patios for restaurant patron to enjoy the service and the view. The town has all that you would want and nothing you wouldn’t (no fast-food!). As you casually walk along the road you pass local shops selling hand woven bracelets and hammocks, restaurants serving freshly caught fish and tanned surfers (or sun burnt tourists) making there way to and from the waves. Bikers, taxis, and the occasional long boarder pass as they go about their daily life in this small island community. We were approached by several cute girls on the streets promoting there particular bar and the special it will be offering that night. At first the encounter is welcome, but as the days go on and the flyers keep coming the novelty wears off. I will soon have enough flyers to hand out myself.
We have been anchored for five days only a couple hundred feet off shore and take the dinghy to a dinghy dock when we need to use anything the land has to offer. We were very generously gifted two collapsable bikes by the previous owner Todd, and were able to put them to good use promoting to all the hotels and hostels. The locals ride personalized beach cruisers complete with front baskets and rust spots. The unique design of our bikes and lack of rust stood out in the crowd, and many children smiled and pointed at our tiny tires as we combed the streets in town.
We have had great success with our marketing. There is the odd ball every once and a while, but mostly we are warmly welcomed and encouraged to put up our poster and leave a stack of cards. There are several places that seem very excited about us and One World and we hope to build a strong partnership with these like minded business owners. Sharing clients and recommending one place and service to the other.
The third day at anchor we awoke shortly after the sun and began boiling water for the coffee and preparing for the day like any other. On deck checking a few things we noticed a storm front coming in from the North East. “looks like it is going to rain” Captain Clay observes. Only a moment later the storm had moved on us in a flash. Wind and rain came in strong pushing the boat and whipping at the shade tarps. There was a moment of panic as everyone else went below deck to secure the hatches and a large gust pushed the boat out of anchor and made everything on deck fly to the port side. My arms went out grabbing anything and everything. Cups, towels, chairs, rope, bagged sails, buckets and fishing gear all lurched in an unwanted effort to find the salty depths. One Worlds excellent bulwarks were able to trap the errant items as i wrestled them under the boat. I did miss the man overboard buoy, but hey it floats. The storm came in even harder the wind was hurling rain so fast that it hurt against your bare skin. What was once a calm bay was now alive and tousling like the water in a kiddy pool full of youngsters the water splashed everywhere. As waves formed to whites caps the wind was there to blast it into bits, this created a rain mist on the surface of the water. Captain Clay had made his way back onto deck and jumped behind the helm. The Bruce anchor held fast on the bottom and One World’s anchor chain was tested by the force of the wind. The engine was turned on as a precaution if the anchor let go. As if the storm wasn’t big enough, even stronger gusts of wind and rain came in waves showing mother natures power. All on deck and me in my foully (rain coat) we stood watch and faced the adventure head on. (Well actually, we kept our backs to the wind because the rain stung the face, but you get what i mean). One of our neighboring boats added to the danger and excitement as we watched her drag several hundred feet toward several other anchored boats with no one aboard. She was off to our port side so we were in no risk of colliding but the two catamarans aft of her could have made quite the expensive pileup. Luckily enough the wayward anchor found a solid home and held fast for the rest of the storm. With the storm still ragging and the temperature low enough to make me shiver we went below to dry and wait out the rest of the storm.
After several hours the storm came to an end. The heavy rain and harsh wind had moved South leaving a light drizzle and steady wind behind. At this time Captain Clay and I decided to board the dinghy and search for our man over board buoy. As we made our way South we saw no bobbing buoy. Accepting it as a goner we started motoring back to One World. Along the way I noticed a wooden paddle floating and picked it up as a consolation for the lost buoy. The paddle is used by the locals in their tiny hand built Cyukas. These kayak shaped vessels are chiseled out from one solid trunk of a tree by the most basic of tools. Wonder what happened to the owner of the lost paddle in the fierce storm. With even more luck shortly there after i noticed the buoy off the starboard bow. With nothing lost and something gained we felt quit pleased with our dinghy outing. I am pleased to have a meaningful and useful keepsake to add to our boat.
The following day we went to the into town where we heard all the tales of the storm. Apparently the storm had been stronger than anything the locals could remember. There had been some damages to buildings and roofs but no injuries. Even though we might have heard a big fish story or two from the locals. I can be confident in saying the wind speed was more than 40 knots with gusts over 50! Even Captain Clay said he had never felt the rain sting his skin like that before.
As a mix of fun and work we decided to attend a grand opening luau for a hostel on a neighboring island. We did what one does with a movable house, and pulled anchor to set up in a new closer location. After the tedious task of washing the chain clean and free of the mud that had collected in each and every ring of the anchor chain we motored off to the party. With limited instructions on the location of the Luau we made a small detour to the exposed side of the island to see if there was a convenient place to anchor. Deciding against looking arrogant parking in front of the party we turned back to find the comfort and security of the cove on the other side of the island.
Another side story, this time of coincidence: The previous day we had a real hankering for some fresh lobster. We had met a local fisherman who, true to his word, came back with a bag full of lobster for $27 dollars! With a deal like that we asked for a return visit. He agreed and said he could return the following day. Not giving the date as much thought we realized once we were out of the harbor and on our way to the party that we would not be there to meet our fisherman. Rachele felt horrible for breaking the promise to such a nice man and was in the process of convincing us that we should return to our original anchorage when we passed a local fisherman a good mile or so from town. Too far from our ship to see his face we could only make out a full bag hoisted into the air. Captian Clay suggested we see what that man has to offer. Pulling back on the throttle we came back to the fisherman sitting low but confidently perched in his hand carved boat. To our delight we see the very man we would have missed. With small chit chat and lots of smiles we purchased the same amount of lobster for the same price, this time it included a fish! We said goodbye and parted ways much happier that the seas brought us together again and that we were able to keep our word.
The beach party went great! We had fun, ate well, and made some great contacts with owners of local hostels. People on vacation are some of the best people to be amongst. I was also able to get into the water and play in the light surf. As the party came to a close we hung around the hostel talking with the owners making plans for the future. Not overstaying our welcome we said our farewells and walked along a path through the jungle island towards our boat. With my keen sense of direction I lead the crew along a winding path with shadows and noises that tantalized the imagination. As we emerged from the thick jungle we realized we had come upon another hostel, “is that ping-pong?” Captain Clay asked with enthusiasm. That is all it took before we found ourselves with a cold beer in the left hand and a paddle in the right. Oh what fun! After several rounds of ping-pong we decided to make haste to the dinghy made easier by an offered lift from a friend and her golf cart. Our night ended with a late night lobster boil back on the boat. Yum.
Now, to take you to the present moment I find myself at the hostel Casa Verde which we have made our port of call. We use their internet and eat their dollar tacos. For the past hour Ariel and I have been entertained by and old salt named Jon Smith who, for the past 45 years he has been sailing the world only sleeping on ‘dirt’ for less than a month in all that time! He has the most basic of boats with no holes in the bottom and no electrical wiring. He is what you would call a purist and of course has never-ending stories. Entertainment for hours, days even weeks possibly.
As for general life I have been busy and entertained for as long as I please. Each day there is something to do, mostly it is fixing, cleaning, or organizing parts of the boat. The boat was designed with a work area in the engine room. Todd, the previous owner, left the work room fully stocked. Tools, nuts, screws, electrical, plumbing, spares for everything, and all other types of gadgets would keep even the seasoned handyman sleeping well. Captain Clay is a very experienced ship wright and handy with all aspects of the boat. I have found a new teacher to fill in all the gaps I missed when under the teachings of my dad. Just like I experienced with dad, even the simplest of projects always need an extra step to finish correctly. Among many things, i thank my dad for teaching me patience.
On hard land I am feeling a little ‘land sick’. It is a weird sensation that the second i get back on the water the moving in my head and body stops. On land sitting or holding still makes the wobbling stronger and if i find myself in a confined space the swaying sensation increases. There are times i could swear that the whole building is moving as if it were afloat.
Living on a boat i hope to improve my fishing skills. We have some simple tools and lures for trolling while the boat is moving. While the boat is at anchor and near a reef we also purchased fishing spears. Although not for the lazy fisherman or even the novice, Captain Clay swears it is a great way to get some delicious snapper in your skillet. Eager as I was to try my hand with spear fishing, I was quickly reminded how much there is to learn about the marine world. Not only were the fish hard to get close to but even identifying the fish was a challenge. After practicing approaching fish and preparing the spear to be shot from my hand I ended up never taking the shot. I had no guarantee that the fish would be edible and have no desire to kill something that will just go to waste. Captain Clay had no luck either and said he only saw one fish that would have tasted any good.
Thats all for now.
Jeff and One World
Some More Photos From Our First Days