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Moulin Rouge: Seattle to Turkey 1988-1992


Hell Trip, before the storm, 100 miles offshore. August 1988

In 1988, we jumped off from Neah Bay on what we later called The Hell Trip. Initially, we had flat seas and little wind. Spotted a large Japanese float with a beard of gooseneck barnacles.

We hit high winds off Northern California, got slammed by a wave, and had to hand-steer with our short emergency tiller (aerobic sailing!) into Bodega Bay. Our "damage list" had about 20 items, including a hole in the mainsail, one in the hard dinghy, the staysail track pulled up from the deck, and a steering cable parted. Dave was terribly seasick. Though we sailed our boat for some years, and thought we had some experience, we now started learning! Fortunately, we had a worthy boat and a resiliant crew.

Hand steering into Bodega Bay. August '88

Leaving San Francisco, bravely back to sea. Sept '88

We recuperated and repaired 3 weeks in San Francisco, with time to see the sites and catch up with Dave's sister, living in Napa. Joel home-schooled with Calvert and quickly learned he could finish his day's work in 3 hours, and have the afternoon to explore.

Our "couple months" in Mexico turned into 15, as we made a lot of cruising friends, and enjoyed the snorkeling and diving on Baja. The sealife (and seafood) was amazing. We took some land trips and gained an appreciation for the hard-working and ingenious Mexicans who repair and reuse, rather than waste their resources.

Ballandra Bay, Isla Carmen. Summer '89

Stained glass. Dorado for dinner! Summer '89

Dorado (MahiMahi) became our favorite seafood, though we also enjoyed lobster, scallops, clams, and squid. We called slipping over the side with a speargun "going to Safeway".

Joel thought there was room aboard for a pet.

We sailed offshore from Acupulco to Isla Cocos - 14 days, with Nunga, to see iguanas and hammerheads, and do laundry in a waterfall after being chased through the surf by "ankle biters" - small sharks. Dave had to dive in 50 feet to untangle our anchor chain from coral, while a large shark circled slowly. We ate wild boar and giant grouper, and carved our boatname in the rock, then sailed to Puntarenas. At Isla Gitana, Joel wanted to adopt this sweet monkey. We took a bus into capital San Jose, got rocked by an earthquake, and rode other buses to Monteverde to ride horses along the continental divide. Costa Rica is stunningly beautiful.

At Barbara and Whitey's, Golfito, Costa Rica, we careened the boat at low tide to paint the bottom. Next day we did the other side, this time remembering to make sure the bilges were completely dry before heeling her down. Every project became a social occasion - friends come by to help paint a bottom, rebed engine mounts, rebuild an outboard, loan a needed part and give advice. This close community aspect is one of the most rewarding parts of the cruising life.

Careened for bottom painting, Costa Rica. Spring '90

Panama welcoming committee.

We spent a couple days in isolation at lovely Isla Montuosa of Panama until one night the wind shifted and we were suddenly in the reef, in breaking surf. Emergency bailout! We pulled anchor and managed to get away just far enough when the engine died, and sailed away by the skin of our teeth. High anxiety on the high seas.

By ourselves, Isla Montuosa

We journeyed up the intercoastal waterway, up into the Chesapeake where we anchored off the Capitol and Joel got to haunt the Smithsonian. We especially liked Tangier Island, caught in a time a century back in many respects. Back down the coast to Florida, Joel looked for a companion and found Opal. Opal is now (2006) 17 years old and ready for her next ocean passages.

Opal crossed the Atlantic. Her job was to find the flying fish wedged under the liferaft or dinghy before they decomposed too badly.

Joel's new shipmate, Opal, comes aboard in Florida.

By this time, Joel could stand 2 hour watches 3 times a day, giving us a lot of relief. He plotted the course, checked the wind and direction, could reef the gib, and kept watch, by sight and radar. We went a week mid-ocean seeing nothing, on the 18 day passage from Bermuda to the Azores.

Not sure who is on-watch here. Perhaps Bear-Bear is awake.

After 18 days, Faial, Horta, Azores. Whew.

We had an easy passage, except for a small mutiny when the autopilot failed and we hand-steered until Dave had it repaired. Oh, and the tear across the spinnaker that took 2 days to resew. Oh, and the fouled sheet that made Dave go overboard to untangle a line on the prop, when he was stung by the man-o-war.

We were very glad to make Horta.

Faial is a treat. It looms on the horizon as a blur of pink, that turn out to be hydrangea hedges. Lots of history as a whaling capital, and fun meeting so many boats crossing. We are grateful to Herb on Southbound II for uncannily accurate and helpful weather reports.

Dressed for Semana del Mar, Horta. August '91

At some point Joel got taller than his Dad.

Above Toulon. Winter '92

After wintering in France, we head down Italy. May '92

We wintered in Palma Majorca, Toulon and Nice. A little rental car allowed us to make a few ski and land trips, and family and friends joined us for some fun visits. In the spring we started moving again, working our way down Italy.

Dinner in a tiny medieval harbor, Greece

The Corinth Canal was a lot shorter and simpler, but more expensive than Panama! Opal made friends with all the fishermen cleaning their catch on the quays, and Joel took up bow and arrow. The Greek Islands are beautiful and full of history.

Following Odysseus around. Ithaca, May '92

The Turkish Coast is lovely - lots of secure anchorages, clear water. We are stern-tied next to Shangri-La, of Gig Harbor Washington, who we met in Monterey California, Mexico, France and Turkey. Bob had sweet-talked the Nice port captain into giving us a rare winter berth.

Stern tied to shore with Shangri-La, Turkey, August'92

Ship of the desert goes about the same pace the boat does. Turkey, June '92

Turkey was a favorite cruising ground - amazing history, and wonderful hospitality. We took land trips by comfortable bus to Istanbul and Pamukkale, and enjoyed visits from family. In late August, 14-year-old Joel decided he wanted to return to the States for high school, and built a compelling argument, so we packed him up with 200 pounds of gear and his cat and took him to a dirt airfield in Southern Turkey. Two days later he was safely home, met by Jan's family, and a week later in school. 4 years of home schooling did no apparent harm.

We loved our boat. It carried us safely through bad weather and never let us down. After 2 years on the hard in Turkey, we sold her to a German/Swiss couple and now understand she has been sold again, to an English couple. Last sighted, she was still sailing the Eastern Med.

It's hard to capture just how this voyage impacted our lives, our relationships, our self-confidence. We know it generated a need for adventure. Cruising is a challenging life, full of hardships and rewards.

I know it created unbreakable bonds within our family. And has made us restless to wander again.

Moulin Rouge sailing Turkish Coast. Sept 1992

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