On August 19th 2015 we tried to sail west, the day before Luxsea turned 4 months old. We had both mostly recovered from a terrible stomach virus (the whole island was sick) and we made up our minds to get going. Elizabeth prepared food and cleaned and prepped the boat. I checked us out and provisioned and did a hundred small things required for a 500 nm international passage.
We said goodbye to Teiva and Jessica and sailed off into the sunset. Seas were on the beam and with the 20 knot wind we were doing 7 knots on course. Our spirits and confidence were very high.
4 hours later we were in the aft cabin. In bed with Lux, not sleeping but very tired. I can’t remember being more tired. I’d had a cold the last couple days, runny nose etc but I figured I was alright for a passage. The day had been long and exhausting before we set sail. Elizabeth confided in me that her stomach was still a bit funny. Not a good start to a long crossing.
We had to alter course to go around Maupiti which brought us 60 degrees to the wind. The boat heeled and bucked on the waves for awhile. We looked at each other and started to discuss if this was such a good idea.
Elizabeth was holding Lux down to keep her from sliding off the bed. I was so tired the thought of even checking into the Cooks, Tonga, and Fiji sounded horrible. Not to mention the passages, anchoring, provisioning etc.
I brought up the idea of turning around, the conversation went something like this,
“Maybe we should turn around. Do you want to turn around?”
She replied, “I don’t know, do I have to decide?”
I asked, “Are you doing this for me? You don’t have to”
“No, I want to do this but… I’m so worried about Luxsea.”
“Me too. The stress and worry is exhausting.”
She told me, “I don’t know what we should do. I’m ok either way.”
“well, I’m going to turn the boat around and head back… unless you tell me not to.”
“I’m not going to stop you.”
So I jibed us around, a tough job single handed under full sail at night. I felt instantly better.
All stress was relieved. The constant question of should we be doing this vanished from my mind. I knew immediately I had made the right decision. The 4 hour sail back had a violent motion on the boat, it could have been a depressing, drawn out feeling of failure but to me it felt like success. I was happy to know for certain that I was doing what was best for my family. I had not felt that since we had left our house many months back. We made anchorage just after midnight and slept.
In the morning I realized that I was still pretty sick. Lots of congestion and coughing. Elizabeth too was still ill. We were very glad we turned back when we did.
To Luxsea’s credit she didn’t really complain. She was into it as always, even when it got really rough and she was half out of her crib she slept like it was nothing. In the end, sailing with a baby, the baby could take it but we could not. The stress of worrying about all the things that could go wrong ruined us. It was never like that before we had Lux, but sailing with a baby on a week long passage, in the middle of the pacific is far too risky for us to accept. I will never let Luxsea forget that she could take more than we could.
Our conclusion, it was not worth the risk. I will risk my life for adventure. I will risk my wife’s life too. But not Luxsea. Not for anything. She is irreplaceable and too valuable. Elizabeth and I found our limit. It’s a very high limit but we found it.