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IN LATITUDES

Spread; Encouraging news. William and Soon Gloege, who have been sailing up and down the Caribbean since 2000 aboard their San Francisco-based Morgan 38 'Gaia', report that alternative energy sources have made it easy for them to leave almost no carbon footprint. More next month.

of the Bridge of the Americas glowed on the other. I imagined myself flying along the divide between North and South America, free as a fallen leaf tumbling on the wind. On Monday nights the notoriously frugal cruisers gathered at an outdoor pizza place near Playita for the two pizzas for $4 special. By my third Monday in the area, I was feeling a little guilty for not having visited more with friends on neighboring boats. I wasn't being antisocial, I was just overwhelmed with things to do. Finally, I figured I'd stop at the pizza place and say 'hello' to everyone at once. I made rounds to the crews of Dolphin, Muktuk, Hoorah, Bereuvet, Ironie, and Plan B, and was introduced to some of the people behind the voices I'd been hearing on the radio. I then pulled up a chair with the crews from Seabird and Hibiscus, and ordered some pizza. While I waited, kids darted between the tables like reef fish among coral.

Then they declared all-out spit-wad warfare, and not five minutes passed before I was hit square in the forehead with a juicy gob. I had tried to maintain an adult conversation, but the kids' mischief was magnetic. I sprinted after the kid who had nailed me, pinned him down, and tickled him until he begged for mercy. Then I brushed the grass off and attempted to return to the adults at the table — but by then had made myself an even more tantalizing target. Little Ollie and his brother were professionals, so we adults had no chance. When the spitwad war had deteriorated from funny to obnoxious, I pulled my skateboard out from under my chair. "Ollie, you ever ridden one of these before?" His eyes bulged. For the rest of the night I was the ringleader for kids skateboarding an obstacle course around the block. I can't say I did much mingling with the adults, but I did save the fleet from being

bombarded by more soggy spit bullets. For the month before I reached Panama City, I had fretted about who was going to crew for me on my passage to the Marquesas. My brother had hoped to, and that would have been great, but he'd gotten engaged and was busy with work. Having already hosted so many personalities aboard Swell, I knew that a 30-day passage with the wrong person could turn a potentially amazing once-ina-lifetime experience into a month-long incarceration. My crew would have to be someone that I really knew and trusted, but I couldn't come up with any perfect candidates. Lying under the stars on the foredeck one night, it hit me like a gong. "Alone. I'll do it alone!" I rolled the idea around in my mind as though it were hard candy on my tongue. I loved the idea of being alone at sea. And if I crossed the Pacific by myself, I knew I wouldn't think twice about sailing alone again. Once I'd committed myself to the idea, I notified my parents. My dad didn't share my enthusiasm, nor did the company insuring my boat. Two weeks later, my dad sent me an email titled, "I found you crew for the crossing." 'Great,' I thought sarcastically, 'who's he gonna stick me with so he won't have to worry so much?' I opened the email and read in disbelief: "Your mother has decided to join you for the passage. She is very serious." That's all it said. My mom's as loving as any mother could be, down-to-earth, totally genuine, and as practical as toilet paper. But there isn't an adventurous bone in the woman's body! She even avoids driving on the freeway. We love and appreciate each other, of course, but our approaches toward life are direct opposites. She is cautious while I charge ahead full-tilt. She finds contentment in the simple joys of life, while I'm always seeking some adrenaline-producing stimulus. She enThe Causeway and the Panama City skyline ­— much of which, if you look closely, was built with the proceeds of drug smuggling.

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 July 2007  

The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.