Routine At Sea


Routine is a subjective concept. In our slow pace across the Philippine Sea to Palau, we are developing a “routine”, albeit a sleepy one. For the past two days, the seas have been choppy causing the boat to rock rock, roll left, roll right, rock rock. The constant motion of the boat saps our energy and all jobs are conducted as if by tortoises.

The one constant in our routine is “the watch”. Three times a day, for a two hour stretch, the designated person is on watch. The watches, distributed four days ago, follow the same order; Brian is on 12-2 am, 8-10 am, 4-6 pm; John follows at 2-4 am, 10-12 noon, and 6-8 pm; next is my shift at 4-6 am, 12-2 pm, and 8-10 pm; and Jenny has the final set 6-8 am, 2-4 pm, and 10-12 midnight. The watch requires vigilance for other vessels, rain squalls, spotting those barbarous FAD’s, dolphin sighting, and engine gage observation. While the group is not fussed about much of anything, watch is a precise and punctual moment that is scrupulously maintained. While not officially handed off in military style, the changing of the guard is nonetheless ritualized. It is our routine.

Otherwise, our day is made up of sleeping, drinking copious amounts of water, occasional eating of noodles, granola, or egg salad sandwiches, staring out at an endless sea that is never quite the same from day to day. Reading, writing emails, studying navigation systems, re-organizing the iPod song collection are less popular activities since they require looking down. Before long one is unpleasantly reminded of the constant rocking of the boat.

Due to sea conditions, we have slowed down and we do not anticipate Palau until Tuesday, our time. Everyone looks forward to something different in Palau, Jenny wants to eat out a local restaurant, Brian hopes to snorkel and see giant clams (don’t stick your finger in!), John plans to swim in Jellyfish Lake, and I want to look for Palau storyboards. Just 48 hours to go.

Cheers. Kathleen

October 30, 2011
UTC Time 06:38
Local Time 2:38 pm
Coordinates 09 11.20 N 131 33.32 E


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4 Responses to Routine At Sea

  1. Jarmes R Langworthy says:

    I am enjoying your trip vicariously. Here in Honolulu, it was Halloween at the Waikiki Yacht Club. There was a costume contest, and then a trick or treat on the docks. It was fun, but a little tame compared to your adventure. Also, UH football won in the last minute with a field goal.

    You are having the adventure of a life time, so enjoy every min.
    J Langworthy

  2. penny says:

    sounds wearing, ling. but just remember, when it comes to traveling everything is always better in retrospect. you have many exciting stops ahead; have heard great things about palau. perhaps, to while away the time and avoid looking down, you could be like j.k. rowling on a delayed train, and construct in your brain a blockbuster adventure novel…perhaps about 4 people going across the ocean in a trawler. k.m. douglas, your writing skills support this fantasy.

  3. Steve Noufer says:

    I hear Palau is very cool. Will be exciting to arrive from sea.

  4. Robert Hess says:

    Have really enjoyed hearing about the adventure. Kathleen has a beautiful way of expressing life onboard and the many challenges and rewards! You might as well start thinking of the title of the book you must write! Please keep up the ongoing narrative as we are living the adventure with you.
    ps..John, I had a nice motorcycle ride and lunch with your dad a couple of weeks ago. He is so proud of you.

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