Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our First Humpback Whale

Captain's Blog 

At Sea, July 21st, 2014

Our first Humpback whale

Karen and I have been sailing now 9 days, having left Bora Bora in French Polynesia on the 11th with a brief rest stop at Maupiaa.  We have traveled now about 1,000 miles in a mixed bag of conditions, most of which has been absolutely beautiful.  The last two days the ocean has been almost glass calm, very little swell, and just ripples on the water from a gentle breeze.  We have motor sailed to keep the speed up hoping to arrive in Niue tomorrow by midday.  Niue is one of the world's physically smallest countries.  We hope to stop there and spend a day catching up on rest and a few provisions, then move on to Tonga, a 2 day sail.

Today was very special, as a matter of fact, it was AWESOME! We had both just walked up to the trampolines on the front of the boat to sit in the sun for a while.  The ocean was calm.  As I gazed off to the right of the boat a humpback whale breached about 75 feet away.  It took our breath away.   We sat there in complete awe and excitement not believing what we had just seen.  It was HUGE!  I guessed it to be 1 and a half times the size of the boat, perhaps a granddaddy at 45 to 50 feet long.   As we sat there it breached again, about the same distance and direction off the starboard side.  Five minutes later our hearts jumped into our throats as it apparently swam directly under the boat and then breached right in front of us.  We were almost looking right down in its blowhole as it took a breath.  It felt like that if he lifted his tail it would have picked up the front of the boat.  About 15 minutes later he did a lazy breach about 200 feet away, laid on the surface, and then disappeared as mysteriously as he had come.   WOW.  It is exciting to know that it is calving season in Tonga now for the Humpback, and we hope to frequently share the breathtaking experience with the volunteers aboard.

As we now approach Tonga we look forward to beginning work there.  We look forward to new relationships, friends, and sharing this beautiful and unique experience with the volunteers who are willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Thanks for staying with us! 


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Not Lost at Sea

Captain's Blog 7/11/2015

Back in January I had met a new friend in Jamaica.  David Hartman, who is single handing his boat Ahahata ,and was on the same path as us.  On our first meeting I asked him what his sailing plans were.  He said simply, “to get lost in the south pacific.”   I have met him at several places along our journey, and as I often reflect on his statement I thought it was well overdue to write a blog so my friends didn’t think Sea Angel followed in his wake! This last month has been full of change and new lessons for me personally and I apologize for not being on top of the Sea Angel blog and the Facebook posts.   

I think this blog shall be about being at the cusp of change, seeing the destination on the horizon, arriving.  It is also about the blessings and lessons learned on the way.  Sea Angel has now been nine months at sea.   From the beginning, Tonga has been our destination, our calling, our goal.  We are now staged in Bora Bora for the final sail across to Tonga, most likely departing here on Saturday the 11th  or Sunday the 12th, and arriving about the 21st or 22nd.    This month I was sorry to see Rick and Terri Jo Rogge as well as Weston depart as Sea Angel crew from Tahiti.  Wes was the Sea Angel face book guru throughout the trip and I miss his attention to that. I am indebted to them all, including the friends that have helped bring the boat this far earlier in the journey.  Thank you to all who have dedicated their time and hearts to this cause.  

Going for a Swim
 A very special person to me, Karen, has arrived here in Tahiti and will be part of Sea Angel in all it does throughout this season in Tonga.  Her goal is very much like mine.  To be able to do something worthwhile, to give back, to participate in other people’s lives in a meaningful way.  It is also to grow, to learn, to listen, and to make room for God to work His will in our lives.  Sometimes I wonder who will be the greatest beneficiary in this..   God I pray first, then it is up to Him who receives blessings, the Tonga people in need, or us.  As Karen and I approach the work ahead we also need to look behind.  This last month especially, the blessings have come in wonderful ways.  We became welcomed guests at a wonderful church in Papette and made good friends who we will always cherish.   At a church on the island of Huahine Iti we were invited to be with the pastor and give and receive wishes to parishioners as they departed the service.  People in town whom we asked directions from chased us down and gave us gifts as we departed.  We have met fellow Christian sailors, all of whom are inspiration in their unique life journeys.  We have appreciated the Tahitian culture in dance, drums, kindness, and a wonderful sense of cultural pride.   We have been grateful to God for all these beautiful blessings.  But too, we have made the stark personal realization that if one believes in the works of God, they must also by definition, believe in real works of Satan.  That was an easy one to avoid for most of my life.  Preachers don’t talk much about that.  We don’t like to think about it.  Both Karen and I, have come to believe Satan does exist and he can be just as active as God is in blessings, in his own perverse ways.  Suffice it to say as one pushes closer to God, I think Satan pushes back, sometimes hard.   

We are very much looking forward to arriving in Tonga in less than two weeks.  We need to get our feet on the ground there, make contact with the Ministry of Health, prepare and clean the boat, get the lay of the land, and get ready for our first rotation on August 10th.    

A Promise at Sea

Arriving in Cook's Bay, Moorea

Captain Karen

Isle off Tahaa

Karen and Mel


Our friends and Church worship team
Palm on Tahaa

Papeete Market

Sunset over Moorea

Another beautiful sunset over Moorea
Sea Angel is sailing for a cause. the boat is traveling to the South Pacific to become a FHCC (Floating Health Care Clinic) for Sea Mercy. Sea Mercy's most recent efforts include emergency relief for those affected by Cyclone Pam on the island of Vanuatu. Please consider getting involved or donating to Sea Mercy, or simply share our cause with your friends and family. Thank you for being with us on this journey!