Today rates among one of the strangest days I have experienced thus far on this incredible adventure. Today I am single handing Starship from Oyster Island to Banam Bay, Vanuatu. But first things first…
Our recent Log-Blog explained that Pam had to suddenly fly to Australia because of potentially serious symptoms she was experiencing in her right eye. I received a few updates last week that put Pam and I on the worry roller coaster. Her original diagnosis was that her eye was inflamed but no other problems were visible. Two days later she returned to the same ophthalmologist only to find that she had experienced a hemorrhage in her eye, with the possibility of a retinal tear, and a very high pressure reading of 44. The next day Pam saw an eye surgeon in Sydney (thanks to the help of our friend Tony). The specialist in Sydney confirmed the hemorrhage but operated from a sensible position of observation, after some extreme suggestions from the first eye specialist. Pam's pressure was at a normal level with the help of eye drops and the bleeding in her eye seemed to have subsided. At this point the ophthalmologist wants to closely monitor her eye and Pam has another appointment on Friday. The ophthalmologist also advised Pam that she should not continue sailing to remote locations until more information is available about her condition, therefore we have decided to return Starship to Australia for the cyclone season. This change in routing will certainly alter our plans for the remainder of this cruising season but not extend the overall length of the voyage, as we intend to continue on to South Africa after the southern hemisphere cyclone season.
With this turn of events I am now single handing the boat to Port Vila, Vanuatu. I will then either sail Starship with our good friend Tony Purkiss who is also a legally blind sailor living in Australia, or with Pam if she is given the go ahead from her ophthalmologist. In either case Pam will be able to resume the voyage next year from a location she has sailed to, thus continuing the voyage for her without a lapse in routing.
So here I sit without my friend and sailing partner for the first time since departing San Francisco. I am in radio contact with our good friends Graeme and Rebecca on LL, but Starship feels strange and lonely without Pam. The seas have been rough today with nasty wind on the nose. However, with every cloud there is the proverbial silver lining and today I caught a big juicy Mahi Mahi, only our second fish to date on Starship. Tonight I will honor Pam (aka the Fish Girl) by devouring a feast of fresh fish for her. By the way for our cynical friends out there, YES I did get a photo of the fish.
So, yet again the crew of the Blind Circumnavigation has proven to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches and we are moving forward or perhaps a little backwards with a smile on our faces. We achieved our goal of returning to the South Pacific to visit Vanuatu and New Caledonia and this experience has enriched our overall voyage greatly. I am confident that our time during cyclone season will be full of wonderful experiences. We already have an invitation to take part in the barbecue sail to Lord Howe Island and maybe a sail on a returning race boat from this year's Sydney Hobart race, and of course we get to see our many wonderful Aussie friends in the deal.
Don't you worry the Blind Circumnavigation will move forward with gusto!