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Pacific Crossing – Day 6, March 25, 2014

Six days at sea. In six days I can’t possibly describe the range of emotions I have felt so far: anger, joy, sickness, exhaustion, exhilaration, wonder, awe, contentment, peace. When we were backing out of our slip in La Cruz, we four stood in the cockpit waving goodbye to friends. Cora shook her head and furled her eyebrows, sighing, “I’m going to miss Sacha.” “I’m sure he’ll miss you too, buddy. You’ll see him again.” “I’m going to miss Sacha so much. And Diego. And Michelle (Michelle Williams, if you are reading this!) I hope I see Appa out there when we are crossing the ocean too. I like them. They are my best friends.”

The kid just melts me. Today at lunch, she bit into a pickle and did the same thing, a deep, resonant sigh, and then, “I miss Sacha. And I miss Colin, too. He is my friend.” And then she perked up and grabbed her tuna melt. “But I like this trip mommy, I like it a lot.”

“Well, that’s good, because we have a long way to go still.”

Lyra is absolutely the most challenging part of the trip. And Lyra, if you are reading this someday, know that we don’t mean you were a “bad baby,” or anything of the sort. You’re a wonderfully active, happy, ingenuitive (<--is that an actual word?) child. You are vocal, and curious, and BUSY, just as you should be. WE are the nutballs who decided to set to sea with you. Trust me, we have no one else to blame for bringing a 13 month old to sea than ourselves. I keep telling myself that Bora Bora will be worth it, worth what I’m now calling ‘extreme parenting.’

Getting email messages from friends and family who have our boat email is a daily treat. Please, if you have that email, write to say hello anytime!

I wish I could go for a long walk. Why haven’t they invented shoes that would let you walk on water? Like snowshoes, but for the ocean? Could someone get on that? It has got to be doable. I’d even settle for a giant hamster ball at the moment. Bobbing around while I ran my pants off would be amazing. Oh, work out endorphins, I miss you.

This random blog post has been brought to you by a 34 year old woman floating across the ocean with her husband and two adorable kids, somewhere near 16 degrees 49.942N and 100 degrees 46.768W.

PS – Sturgeron FTW, periods FTL

Reader Comments (22)

I love the image of the giant hamster ball, maybe you could attach one to each side of the boat like paddle wheels. You would make it to Bora Bora sooner. ;) And Bora Bora will be worth it.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

I am curious. (I haven't sailed the ocean yet) on a calm day, can you swim? tied to the boat as it moseys along? Sometime on a calm day we tie an extra halyard to our son and he swims behind the boat while we slowly sail.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie


The position you gave on this post puts you about 18 miles off the coast between Zihuatenejo and Acapulco.


just keeping track. . .glad to hear all (most) is well. . .

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercap'n bob

Hi...I miss you guys as well. I have run into Appa in Mazatlan. Thay are great. I am responding to this post a little late. Sorry...Just know that if you need anything, you can count on me. Take care.

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

We are HERE and can do ANYTHING you need. We love Michelle and she also has so many ways she can help. So hard to know how to cut through all the BULLSHIT out there now and actually get to you and HELP YOU. We love you all so much. Godspeed.

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAppa Jen

Hello Charlotte and Family,

I am a follower/fan whose been reading your blog for over a year now. I live in San Francisco and have a 13 month old baby who was born 5 days apart from Lyra (Charlotte, we were on the Feb 2013 TWW due date club together). I saw your story in the local SF newspaper and just knew it was about you before they named your family. I was SO worried! There are a lot of haters out there in the media right now and I want to add my voice of support toward you and Eric. I think you are wonderful parents taking calculated risks, and sometimes these things happen, at land, at sea, it doesn't matter. Over-protective American helicopter parenting-style is all the rage these days. You clearly do not subscribe to that. Most people won't even let their kids play outside anymore. I am keeping that in mind when I hear the negativity toward your family. Boo! What DOES matter is that you protected your children 100%. This sounds like such a scary situation and you made the right choice despite the worst of luck--to call for help. From the perspective of a mother of a small baby, I can only imagine the complex feelings your family is experiencing now in this situation, under heavy scrutiny with a sick little one. There is nothing wrong with following your dreams and taking your children on the adventure of a lifetime, people!! I have personally traveled around the world (Granted I was much younger and with no children). It is a lot of work! And SO rewarding. I think it is a gift to give your children: to experience the world and the infinite possibilities of cultural difference, and gain infinite wisdom because of it. They will be true citizens of the planet, I understand the value in that. You have my support no matter what you choose next, to stay on land or embark upon the sea again. One day I hope to meet you and your family, if you ever find your way to the Bay Area, give me a ping. Best wishes for a full, robust recovery for little Lyra. Sending strength and positive regards your way for the next leg of your journey.

April 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterE Spartos

You are irresponsible parents for having placed your daughters, Lyra, 1, and Cora, 3, in a potentially hazardous situation which manifested itself. Are you both complete idiots? I don't care what kind of sailors you believe you are. Long voyages are not for kids your age. If I were the District Attorney where you live, I would prosecute you both for Child Endangerment, petition the court to take your children away from you and place them in a Foster Home until you both undergo intensive psychological therapy so you learn the meaning of responsible parting. You both disgust me both as a Father and as as a Prosecutor.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

You are very selfish and self-centered!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSassy

How irresponsible of you to endanger your children like you did. I am glad they sunk your boat now maybe you will go back to your jobs and take care of your children. A tremendous cost was had to rescue you and your children from a stupid adventure GROW UP and take parenting lessons! Give up this dream of sailing off into the sunset. You can do that when you retire AFTER you raise those children. I hope you learned a tough lesson you almost lost your most valuable possession your children!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterA grandmother

Steve has no knowledge of the cruising lifestyle. There are many, many families who cruise with children. It is not unsafe, it is not "child abuse"

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

All is well that ends well. As the National Guard said, "This is what we do. We are here to rescue people." I hope your daughter makes a full recovery. I will keep her in my prayers.
Avoid reading the negative comments.
Calm down big, bad prosecutor Steve. Who put you in charge of THEIR lives? I'd like to be a fly on the wall and grade your parenting. Hopefully you reserve your aggression for the bad guys in the court room, random emails and not your family. Oh, if only life came with a manual........

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

I can't believe the hate and vitriol being leveled toward you.

I hope your daughter gets well soon, I hope you get another boat, and I hope the next time the story ends with you and your kids posting pictures from the far away shores that you sailed to.

God speed, fair winds, and following seas...

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

So I realize that most posts here are either of concern (from friends and like minded people), or of condemnation for a host of reasons. My feelings are found somewhere in the middle. My toddler plays in the mud, gets on a backpack with us, had had his fair share of falls and scrapes, and we let him figure alot of it out. He has been to Sweden with us, and Ecuador as well. We have done things others are not comfortable with, so I understand that.

This situation does however perhaps cross a barrier it would be good to consider. In most travel, you are generally in control of your conditions, and can make arrangements should those conditions not fare well. On the high seas however, that is simply not the case. Acknowledging that, and offering your two young children a more grounded existance in their early youth is a selfless thing to do, and is shown to benefit the kids. Especially because you guys are from my home town of San Diego, I get the need to reach out and explore. But maybe a few years from now is the right angle. In fact recent events have shown that to be the case.

There is also legitimate concern with the amount of resources it takes to rescue others who put themselves knowingly in harms way. This is tricky, because only amoron would suggest you should not be saved, or receive a bill, but then again if you have the means (which you may), perhaps some community service, or form of recompensory "payment" would be in order? If nothing else it would also teach the children a valueable lesson in consequence, and you would be doing good for the community.

All in all, without knowing you, but having atoddler and a pregnant wife here in san Diego, I relate to the desire to live the lifestyle you always have, and I am glad everyone is safe. Please reserve judgement on those that say you should think twice in the future, and count the risk as double when it concerns your young children. Its really out of care for the kids.

Glad you all are safe.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

@ E Spartos -

While I tend to agree with your general sentiment (i.e. the Helicopter Parenting that seems to be the norm today), I think you're taking that a bit far in this circumstance.

It's one thing to let your kids learn the lessons that come from skinned knees, fights on the playground, losing a soccer match, etc. I agree that parents need to let go of the reins a bit and let kids learn those lessons. However, it's something entirely different to drag a 1 year old across the Pacific Ocean on a personal sail craft - arguably one of the more dangerous activities anyone could dream up.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a rock climber, double black snowboarder, skydiver, high speed cycle racer, and all around adrenaline enthusiast. But I'm an adult making an informed choice, taking risks that I've decided are worthwhile in exchange for the enjoyment I get. I don't force someone that's dependent on me, and completely incapable of even understanding what's happening, to share those risks.

@ The parents - WTF are you thinking? If you wanted to sail the world that bad, maybe you shouldn't have had kids. You're insane for thinking it's acceptable parenting to drag infants into the Pacific.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

First of, I hope your daughter recovers and I’m glad that help arrived in time. I appreciate different life styles and choices and know dangers for our children and ourselves lurk everywhere.

However, let's be honest according to your block you have had second thoughts of bringing an infant to a trip in a sail boat around the world. It's ok as a family to go on adventures but you should consider at least whether or not your children are truly equipped to handle this at this stage of their lives. It's not about being overprotective but about calling a duck a duck. This lifestyle is more for you and your husband, at best your daughters will not remember or remember only very little of this kind of trip.

So I agree, this should be a wakeup call and you should be thankful for the wonderful teams of rescuers. If this is not a time to reflect on your choices, I don’t know what. You ARE responsible for providing a safe and stable environment for your kids and thankfully we live in a place where we can do that.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSimona

When my daughters were 2 and 4 years we set out from Portland, Oregon and sailed south. We had the most amazing year cruising Mexican coastal waters. The children loved it! So many cruising families, new friends, amazing sites, lots of dolphins and whales, real experiential learning for the girls. I totally understand the cruising lifestyle and I am sure you were prepared for bumps, bruises, sniffles, coughs, and the usual sicknesses. Who could have known your daughter would get such a severe illness! You are responsible, loving parents who were giving your children an amazing educational adventure and time together as a family. I hope your daughter gets well soon. Take care.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

I so admire your adventurous spirit and your desire to show your children there is more out there. Hang in there. Not everyone thinks so poorly of you. So glad the baby is well and all will live to sail again soon.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertess

Thank goodness you are safe. Nothing else matters. Don't give up. Try again someday if you can! If our circumstances allowed I would do what you attempted to do. People have done more with less!

My wife and daughter would love to do it, but unfortunately we're not in a place in life where we can get a suitable boat for the journey. Someday though....

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNelson Abreu

God Bless you and your family. You have every right to explore this world and your children are fortunate to have parents willing to take them along for the ride. Every person who has something negative to say would never have the courage to do what you and your husband have done. Do not allow all of the terrible stories you will endure for the next several months, I'm sure, change your values, outlook, or fearlessness. Children and babies get sick...it happens. You did what any loving and caring parent would have done, sought help. My daughter was sick last week and yet I allowed her to go on her first play date; no one degraded my character as a parent.

I'm so thankful we have services in this country like the coast guard who are in place to help situations like yours. Keep your head up through the attacks and don't waiver in your beliefs.

God Bless your family!!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRosalind

A young child became seriously ill during an ocean crossing on small, yet capable, sailboat.

At the same time, the vessel apparently developed steering problems and had lost the ability to effectively communicate.

The vessel's master and parent of the young child made a wise and conscious decision to request assistance.

That's it. Those are the facts, as we know them.

When I think of the trillions of Taxpayer dollars that are spent on Wars, Foreign Aid, Welfare, Government Subsidies and Pet Pork Barrel projects to appease a select few, it doesn't bother me in the least that Government resources were used to answer the call for assistance from one of its citizens.

These children are right where they belong, with the parents who dearly Love them, not some court assigned entity.

If little Lyra hadn't become ill, probably nothing would be known of the vessel Rebel Heart and the lives of those who sailed on her.

I thank God your Country could answer your call for assistance with men and women who are there to help when help is needed. I thank God you're safe and all still together as family. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive those who have shown such visceral hatred toward you, just because of the facts of the situation you found yourself in.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRon
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