Aldabra left San Diego at 09:30 on Thursday, April 14. Onboard with me were Marshall Peabody and Pat Crosthwaite. We had intended to leave the day before, but the weather wasn’t quite right. And on Thursday we had intended to leave really early, but the night before we discovered a needed repair. So, on Thursday morning, we were at San Diego Marine Exchange when they opened and bought some plumbing parts. Marshall and Pat installed the parts, and we were off.
What mixed feelings of anticipation, freedom, exhilaration and caution. On one hand, everything seemed fine, so I could just absorb each moment and go about the business of sailing and navigation. But on the other hand, I kept wondering what was to go wrong and what we would do about it.
A few thoughts about preparation. The effect on me of the Covid pandemic was that I felt in limbo (like many other people) for a long time, and wasn’t motivated to get a good start on readying the boat, especially if another Covid surge were to dash any hopes of actually taking off. So I never really did a full bow-to-stern inspection, as I should have. For example, both joker valves in the heads should have been replaced. Instead, we had to address one the night before departure and one underway.
Similar story for a lot of other smaller issues on the boat. Fortunately, Marshall arrived more than a week in advance of departure and stayed on the boat. He is very observant and identified all kinds of little issues that he could and did address. There were also things that I had put off until Marshall arrived because I needed a second pair of hands. Marshall also addressed those with ease. He got a new bolt made for the gooseneck, installed an independent hour meter for the engine, changed the fuel filters, installed a portable 12-volt freezer, figured out the reefing system and helped me put fabric guard on the canvas.
I’m not saying I was totally slacking off on preparation. Although It’s hard to prepare for a Pacific crossing by oneself, I worked at it most days after I completed all the paperwork to enter French Polynesia. (After all that effort, I was committed.) I fixed little things, reorganized or purged what was on the boat, added some new things, did an inventory, and cooked (or recruited family members to cook) meals that could be frozen.
In the final couple of days before departure, Marshall and I ran around San Diego getting fuel, final provisions and parts. So it was somewhat of a relief to get underway, putting all those shore-side chores behind us so we could begin a whole new set of chores.