Still Talkin’ (or “Pre-departure Anxiety”)

On yesterday’s post, I presented some facts and data about the passage we will make in about a month, leaving the West Coast of Mexico toward French Polynesia.

On this sequel, I cover how we are feeling about it.

It is a big deal to us, and feels like as big a decision as the one we took a few years ago when we sold everything (well, almost) and moved aboard Pesto. We are looking forward to it (at least 3 of us, as you will see later), are proud of our decision, feel like we are doing the right things to be as prepared as possible, and feel very confident in Pesto’s ability to take us there safely and as comfortably as it can be done for a passage of this type.

In fact, the passage is really the only thing we have in our horizon for now. It will only be after we arrive to the Marquesas that we will start thinking of what to do next. We know we will have a great time there, and plan and will explore and savor that part of the globe slowly and thoroughly. But the getting there is all that matters for us now.

And anxiety is building up, naturally, manifesting in different ways for each one of us

As for me (Alex), right after arrival to La Cruz I delve into a routine of hectic maintenance on Pesto, working heavy and long hours every day, culminating with the haul out. A few hours after Pesto went back on the water I fell ill ! Looking back, I believe that I manifested my anxiety by attacking our boat-projects list with all intensity I could. It was exhaustive, but we did make healthy advancement to the list – so, to a point, it was convenient. I am feeling more relaxed now, but everyday there seems to be more butterflies in my stomach as I watch the departure date draw nearer on the calendar.

Adriana has surrounded herself with a mystical/spiritual network, and has been exercising her fears and anxiety with them.

Raquel is probably the one who is dreading it the most, for fears of being seasick all the time. During our night passage from la Cruz to Chamela some 10 days ago, she got seasick again, and that reinforced her dreading the long passage in March.

And Paulo, well he can’t wait !

While I was writing this up, I sent each one of them a note with four questions about the passage, and here is what I got back:



– How many days do you think it will take us to get there?: “25 days 🙁

– What do you expect this passage to be?: “A nightmare and an adventure

– What are you the most afraid of?: “[afraid of] the boat to flip over

– What are you looking forward the most for the passage?: “Adventure

Adriana and I know that we will have to be very close to her, especially during the first week, which is when hopefully seasickness shall fade away as she (and all of us) acquire our sea legs. Having said that, her expectations are so low that I see a chance of her being positively surprised and hopefully take some enjoyment of it. For once, Pesto won’t flip over ! Additionally, Raquel is an achiever, and as uncomfortable as this passage may be to her, we know she will feel very proud and accomplished for being a Puddle Jumper at the end of it.




– How many days do you think it will take us to get there?: “25… exactly 25

– What do you expect this passage to be?: “Wavy and a lot of dolphin-watching for 25 straight days!

– What are you the most afraid of?: “The MEGALODON!!!!!!!!DUMDUMDUM

– What are you looking forward the most for the passage?: “25 Days of pure freedom … inside the boat.

OK, quite a different picture here. Paulo is our Chief Socialization Officer – the kid has proven to be a friend-magnet, and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes for him to make new friends as soon as we arrive to a new place. Despite that, he is someone who highly enjoys some private time as well. And, to his benefits, he has proven to be completely impervious to seasickness. Because of this, our passages tend to be sacred moments for him … long hours that he can spend in his own, while Raquel and I battle seasickness, and Adriana rotates with me on our shifts at the cockpit. Perhaps he may be off to some surprises though during this long passage, one of them being that Megalodons are extinct, and the other that Pesto School shall likely resume activities after our sea legs are well established. But there’s no need to anticipate that to him right now.




– How many days do you think it will take us to get there?: “20 days

– What do you expect this passage to be?: “I have never been isolated for such long time from main land as we will experience here. We heard from some sailors’ experience that after being so distant from land after so long, your senses get pure and that you can, for instance, smell land even before you see it. I am expecting this passage to provide us this sense of physical and emotional purification. To get clean from what we don’t want to be anymore.

Another thing we heard from a sailor friend is that you feel an amazing sense of freedom after being so detached from civilization. I like to believe I will experience that as well. So in a nutshell, cleansing and freedom!!”

– What are you the most afraid of?: “Facing some really bad weather/seas condition like the “perfect storm”. It is not a logical fear as I understand the weather conditions we will have are different from those of a perfect storm but this is the one fear that plays in the imagination.

I am also concerned of the emotional stability of the kids during the passage, particularly Raquel as she suffers from sea sickness. I do really hope above all that the kids enjoy the passage.

– What are you looking forward the most for the passage?: “I am looking forward to being completely immersed in Nature for so many days. I am expecting to experience an abundance from Earth that I have never before – receiving the energy from the sea, sky and stars. And just relax as possible as there is also going to be hard work during the crossing. My major motivation for this passage is indeed the emotional and spiritual growth out of it. I totally welcome it in this moment of my life and this is the reason that I know we are ready and we are meant to do it now. The same way we were meant 1,5 year ago to completely change the way we were living when we moved to the boat. I know we will never be and feel the same in our lives.

I have read a couple of times that what defines the success or otherwise on such a long passage is Attitude, and it seems to me that Adriana is embracing it the best way possible. Her being so stable and so much into it has been fueling my spirit and morale, and I couldn’t wish for anything better than this for the passage. I am just a tad concerned with her expectation of the duration of the passage. While technically she is right (Pesto has given us fast passages thus far, and data from other 45+ft yachts tend to support a reasonable probability for a 20-day run), the Sea always holds the cards, and there are so many variables outside of our control …



ALEX (me)

– How many days do you think it will take us to get there?: “between 25 and 30

– What do you expect this passage to be?: “Uncomfortable and maybe Boring

– What are you the most afraid of?: “something serious breaking (knock wood it wont!)

– What are you looking forward the most for the passage?: “For my seasickness to be over after days 3 or 5, so that I can get in the groove and enjoy all there is to be enjoyed of this passage

I am trying to manage my expectations down, both in terms of performance underway and the level of enjoyment. Adriana another day asked whether I wasn’t afraid of the Sea. I have a HUGE respect for it, really do. But not fear – at least not for this portion of the globe that we will be sailing, the chances of us getting truly destructive types of sea there being extremely small. On the other hand, I know we will be crossing areas affected by multiple swell (waves created by large storms passing by at higher latitudes, thousands of miles away from us). I’ve read accounts of yachts seeing swell from even three different directions at the same time. And that causes the boat to move more, hence my expectations of an uncomfortable ride. Having said that, I am hoping for, but not counting on, moments of elation like the ones Adriana described above.




One thing Adriana proposed and is being a great exercise is for us to have open conversations about our feelings regarding the passage on a regular basis. We started doing it a few days ago, and it really helps us vent our thoughts out, and rationalize them with each other.

Despite the anxiety, we are all looking forward to it (perhaps with the exception of Raquel). We all feel strong about Pesto, and things have indeed been working well aboard. Morale is high, there is still a lot to be enjoyed here in Mexico. And so the clock keeps clicking, and the weather moving to form the window which will allow us to depart. It’s not time yet. It won’t be for another month … but then, one day we will wake up and we will know it will be a different one. That day we will let our docklines go and point Pesto’s bow toward the horizon, to a new region, another hemisphere, a different language, a beautiful land far, far away from here.

10 Replies to “Still Talkin’ (or “Pre-departure Anxiety”)”

  1. Amazing preparation. I wish you guys all the best to fulfill your dreams. One question: where are the cats that I met in your home at Mexico City? Edison.

  2. I have no doubt that Pesto will carry you all safety, protecting you. I hope you all realize your individual expectations except Raquel, my hope for her is that this will open her eyes to what she can accomplish. My only regret is that we won’t be with you this year. Hugs

  3. We will miss a lot not seeing Coastal Drifter’s mast light by our side at the anchorages. But you’ve got a year. We’ll be waitin’

  4. Hi Edison, thank you so much for the kind words. As for our cats, Miucha (the small, white one) passed away one year before we left, when we were still living in Miami. Tom, the beautiful, fluffy, grey one, relocated to São Paulo just before we left, and a few months afterwards passed away as well.

  5. My guess is you’ll average 6.7 knots (however many days that comes out to). Your job out there (when not on watch) will be to SLEEP as much as possible. You’ll feel weaker thru the first week. But don’t worry Raquel, you’ll level out the second week, and get stronger and stronger thereafter. You’ll never see another blue like the deep blue sea! And when you raise the Marquesas on the horizon, you will celebrate! You’re doing everything right to make this an adventure you will love to look back upon. Good on you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  6. Jon, my friend, so good to hear back from you. Your comments always enrich this medium. I (Alex) will take your advice very seriously. And will share your message with Raquel. Personally I also think she will come out stronger, and find joy on the passage while in it. But only time will tell (and King Neptune will also play a role in it, hopefully not throwing us too much of crossed swell).
    As for average speed, up to now we have never done a passage with speeds lower than 6.5 kts, even the longer ones (7.2kts from Ensenada to Baja, 5 days and 7kts from San Carlos to La Cruz, 4 days). But these were combinations of favorable winds and engine usage. If we get the right combination of conditions, Pesto does have to potential to cover the passage under 20 days. But that, again, is on the hands of Neptune and Eolo. And I am also trying to manage external expectations, therefore the 25-30dd “official” estimate (my own, undisclosed estimate is much closer to yours).

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