Pacific Ocean Reflections

It is only with a calendar that I am reminded it has been nearly six months since my departure from Key West aboard Flying Fish. My reality now is that I have lost track of time. On the ocean, under the sun and stars, I don’t know the date or even the day of the week. This is not as frivolous or irresponsible as it might seem. It is simply a new way of living. Complete and present. It is a privilege and I am grateful.


The passage of time becomes less defined on a transoceanic passage

The 4,000 miles and 24 days from Panama to Fatu Hiva, Polynesia were never counted individually. Each day blended into the next in a smooth transition determined by the celestial cycle. The sun would rise and it would set, the moon would wax and it would wane. There was none of the drama of scheduling and itineraries that can sometimes be all consuming in land-bound life. When the wind shifted we adjusted our sails.


Lilly wrangles the spinnaker aboard Flying Fish on the downhill run to Fatu Hiva

I sailed with my daughter Lilly. The passage was pure tradewind sailing. The wind blew from the east and Flying Fish sailed west. After five days we passed the Galapagos to starboard. The islands have become an expensive cruise ship destination that discourages unguided visits aboard sailboats. Flying Fish continued on toward Polynesia. We confronted none of the tumultuous seas and violent storms that Flying Fish will certainly encounter later during her circumnavigation. For these 4,000 miles and 24 days Lilly and I were given the gift of tranquility at sea.


Crossing the Equator, becalmed, nearly 1,000 miles from land

Sailing with Lilly was a gift. She understands the rhythm of the wind and ocean, and their resulting dynamics on the performance of a sailboat. She is strong and determined. But there was a wide gulf of 31 years between father and daughter aboard Flying Fish, and it was exacerbated by the fact that Lilly and I live on opposites sides of the earth. The relationship between the two of us occasionally chafed like a rope against a sail: Her Dad was hard of hearing, he couldn’t see clearly, he was cognitively slow and responsively sluggish. For Lilly it was like sailing with the Old Man and the Sea–Come on already, pull the fish in and let’s go home! Still, Lilly had my back on this passage. She kept me onboard the sailboat. She made beautiful, creative meals every night. She outlined a program of exercise and yoga for us. She even tried to teach me French. I will miss the time that Lilly and I spent together crossing the Pacific Ocean.

Eye to eye. This Pacific Sailfish was far too beautiful to kill for supper

There is a wealth of riches that come from moving slowly. The feeling of wind on the back of your neck is a caress. Stars are crystalline. When a porpoise surfaces close to the boat on a calm night it is possible, literally, to breathe in the scent of her exhale. Landfall came too quickly for me at the end of this passage. It was like awakening from a good dream. But, awakening from a good dream and finding yourself in French Polynesia… that is a very fortunate reality.


Sailing the tradewinds and looking for land 

NOTE: One the many wonderful things that take becoming accustom to at sea and in French Polynesia is the disconnect from Internet, email, and social media. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and encouragement from those of you who follow the voyage of Flying Fish. Please understand that my lack of communication and response to your comments and correspondence does not reflect any lack of gratitude. Thank you for being here with me.

Track the passage of Flying Fish here:

14 thoughts on “Pacific Ocean Reflections

  1. What a magical combination of time, place, and companion. How very special to spend such time with Lily, your daughter. A dream I have imagined with my Alexa, over and over in my head. Your writing is so beautiful and thought provoking. The depth of the oceans hardly compare to that of your soul. But I knew that the moment we met in Key West. I’m taking my Alexa to Havana in 2 weeks. Just her and I, for a journey of our own. Hopefully a creative, inspiring walk through such a fabulous place, where time doesn’t really matter, and the beautiful people of Cuba are just like those dolphins that come by at night to see you. Thank you Jeffrey. For who you are and what you are. For everywhere you’ve been and everywhere you might be heading. Always an inspiration for me. So happy we met and I so look forward to the next time. Eddie G.

    Ps. I want to place an order for the first 25 copies of the book of your magical journey. All my friends need to read it.


  2. Jeffrey, your thoughts and words mesmerize me, and remind me of the gift of gratitude. I love the honesty and love you share with Lilly. I am sure you, Ginny, and Lilly had a happy reunion. I look forward to your next shared thoughts. I shall keep you in my heart, and encourage your adventurous spirit. Safe travels, my friend.


  3. We are very happy to read news from you!
    Love the photos too. Capturing beautiful Lily, Mermaid
    like is especially fun.
    Nancy Bender


  4. Jeffery, you are the best writer who can bring tears to the eyes of the readers. Emotional and very heartfelt. You paint a beautiful picture and you take even better photograph. That photo of Lilly holding onto the rudder is the #1 sailing photo of all times. You are living a dream that we all dream and i thank you for sharing it all.
    Perfection has been reached. Thank you!


  5. Hey!

    Just wanted to let you know nothing came through on your email. Not sure if it is just me. I really enjoy following your adventures. Hope all is well.

    Vicki Reik PHS

    Sent from my iPad



  6. I feel like I am with you on the Flying Fish. Your words are exquisite and beautiful and capture your experience like the wind and the ocean around you.


  7. Jeffery, You don’t know me but my friend Marilyn Shames forwarded this to me as my husband and I live aboard our sailboat and have made our life on the sea for decades. I usually don’t read other sailor’s blogs but totally enjoyed your writing style as well as the emotional honesty In describing your passage. I must say, I was taken by your mention of releasing the sailfish. We keep tossing back Mahi as we hate to watch that living opal turn to grey. All of our cruising friends consider this totally aberrant behavior so I was touched to see your reluctance as well. Thank you for a good read. I look forward to the next post. Fair Winds and following seas.


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