Author: barolfe

Weekly Updates

Prepping Tarka for Departure

Tarka is finally back in the water after over 2 months sitting in the boatyard. My original plan was to be high and dry no longer than 4 weeks. However, my extended stay in the states, bad weather, and setback after setback once I returned, really took a toll. Quite literally, in fact, as every day I was on the hard I was paying $0.45/foot. Yet another example of why it’s nice to have a small boat.

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Resource (In)dependence

Probably more than anything else, living on a boat has illustrated to me just how luxuriously we live in the US. Resources there are seemingly plentiful, and we sometimes use them as if they were infinite. On Tarka, resources are extremely limited, and careful thought must be given to their use.

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Weekly Updates

Let’s talk about ocean crossings

Unfortunately, I spent most of this week holed up in my boat under a fan fighting one of the least pleasant illnesses I’ve experienced in my life. Trying to ride out a high fever in a boat where the ambient temperature inside is 96 degrees doesn’t make it much better. After a number of sleepless nights, and no relenting of the fever, I decided it was probably an infection and went to see a doctor. The antibiotics he prescribed seemed to have done the trick, and I now, obviously, feel well enough to write a new update. Here on the hard, I could afford to lie in one spot all day, but what would I do if I got sick at sea, with responsibilities that demanded my attention?

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Weekly Updates

This is why I sailed south

This week, the second most powerful hurricane (by sustained wind speed) ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin hit Barbuda, St. Martin, and Anguilla. St. Martin is close to my heart, as it’s where Tarka and I started our voyage. I know the place well, and unfortunately, know many people there. Most of these people live on boats and had already, or were able to sail out of the path before Irma arrived. However, I still have friends that I have not heard from, but I have heard second hand that they are OK. But after seeing videos of the destruction, I’m unsure if the island will ever truly recover. In addition to 90% of buildings being destroyed, entire forests have been removed from the island, and there’s little doubt that the reefs have been decimated.

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Weekly Updates

Attempting to reconnect…

“Captain!” I heard a voice call from behind. I reflexively turned around, only to see a man in black slacks, a white shirt with fancy shoulder epaulets, and shiny metal wings. The barista at the airport café was of course shouting to the airline pilot, and not this dirty-looking sailor in desperate need of a haircut. I had become so accustomed to taxi drivers, food vendors, and others shouting, “captain” at me – deservingly or not – that I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when I turned around.

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Weekly Updates

It’s a hard life

The time had come: Tarka was coming out the water. The sails had already been brought down, lines coiled and hung, and the forever-drying laundry stowed below. With the help of Michael, Meagan and Michelle to handle lines, I maneuvered Tarka over to the marina dock. From there, the dock crew took over pulling Tarka onto a very large trailer while two divers made sure she was secured on the hydraulic cradle. The tractor then pulled Tarka effortlessly out of the water, and out of her element.

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Weekly Updates

Life on the hook

This week’s blog, and the ones to follow in the coming weeks, are likely to be shorter than previous ones. The adventure has slowed as Tarka and I wait out hurricane season and do work on the boat in preparation for the upcoming trip to Panama and from there, the crossing of the South Pacific. Though there will still be much to share, the day-to-day activities are becoming more of a social nature, and when I’m being responsible, more of a boat-maintenance nature.

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