Sunday, July 19, 2015

Official Gateway to the Northwest Passage

Today, while sitting in church, I got a message from Martin that Aventura was officially sailing through the Bering Strait and had crossed the Arctic Circle.  Two big accomplishments and marking the beginning of the Northwest Passage.

Here you can see on the ship's radar that Aventura is officially sailing past the Arctic Circle.  (photo Cred:
Once they passed the Arctic Circle, Jimmy Cornell makes a point of giving something special to the crew to make the moment memorable.  In this instance, each crew member got a giant-sized Hershey bar.  Not too shabby.
I am lucky this time around because Martin purchased a nifty gadget that enables him to bounce text messages off the nearest satellite.  It's like having him home.  I text him, he actually texts me right back (if he isn't working a line or his fingers aren't too cold).  Usually my text is, "Call me."  Which he is also able to do since he brought our satellite phone.  This all helps soften the blow that he'll be gone for the next few months while I manage things back home.  Which isn't a big deal since I've done this rodeo before.  However, I really enjoy being able to sync up with Martin and get updates from him.  In fact, he called me later today and I could tell he was cold since his words were a little more pronounced than usual.  He laughed because he said that he was freezing!  So glad that I passed on this adventure because he sounded COLD!

Looks like Aventura will arrive in Point Barrow on Wednesday where Martin will have a little more access to emails and internet  (Always a luxury when sailing).  I'll continue to keep you updated on this adventure.

Fair winds and smooth seas, Martin.


(photo cred:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Next Adventure: The Northwest Passage

Well, I bet you have been wondering what was next on Martin's bucket list?  I think that we have kept you wondering long enough.

On Saturday, July 11, Martin took off to Alaska to board Aventura, and set sail through the Northwest Passage.  The Northwest Passage is a route that goes through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways that connect the Pacific and Atlantic ocean.
Different routes through the Northwest Passage
Martin arrived in Dutch Harbor, Alaska being greeted by the crew of Aventura.  This trip will be a little different since Martin will not be sailing on AMARA.  AMARA is not equipped to brave the climate or break up the ice with her hulls.  Boats that sail the Northwest Passage are specifically designed with large, heavy steel hulls that are able to cut through the ice as they make way through the Passage.  AMARA remains in Panama waiting for us to make up our minds where we are going to take her next.  We left her there to wait out hurricane season.

This trip, it will be Aventura that will be hopefully getting Martin to his stopping point in Greenland.  If all goes well (fingers crossed) Aventura and crew should arrive in Greenland somewhere around the first part of September.

While in Dutch Harbor, and getting Aventura provisioned and ready to set sail, Martin was tasked with the assignment of attaching Aventura's, Blue Planet numbered flag to the lifelines.  Of which, he promptly dropped into the arctic waters.  Luckily, last minute, Martin had decided to bring his dry suit, which he promptly put to use as he had to go in to the freezing waters and fish around the bottom for the flag.  With luck on his side (at least for this adventure) he was able to find the flag.
Martin enjoying a quick dip in the harbor in
Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
On Wednesday, Martin and the rest of the crew set sail to Point Barrow (which will take around 10 days).  This will put them just past the arctic circle and well on their way through the Bering Straight.
Aventura's route through the Northwest Passage
(photo courtesy of
I will continue to update the blog through this passage.  Be sure to check back to get updates about Martin's progress.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I have done a terrible job lately of updating the blog.  So much has happened.  So much to tell.

First, Martin had a wonderful trip to Antarctica.   So many beautiful photos.  I'll make sure to go back and post some so you can see that this is a trip that many should not miss out on, namely me.  I'm a little bummed after seeing all the beautiful pictures that I didn't go, but I didn't, and that's that.

Currently, Martin is in St. Martin.  He is aboard AMARA with plans to have left last week.  Alas, they are waiting on a boat part that was scheduled to arrive last Tuesday, yet it's now the following Monday and still no part.  I just called FedEx and they said there was a weather delay and that the boat part is supposed to be on the next flight out tonight.  Fingers crossed.

Since the part didn't arrive on time, John B. who sailed with Martin from Australia to Grenada had to go home.  John B. had waited over a week and nothing looked like it was going to happen.  So, he went back to Salt Lake City.  Martin didn't blame him, at least he still has two more crew members, Garry and Dale.  THANK HEAVENS!!  If that part doesn't come tomorrow though there may be a mutiny, so let's hope pray that it does!

Now that AMARA has sat around the dock longer than expected, we had to cancel our plans to have Martin and crew meet us in the Bahamas with Martin's brother, John, and his family along with Martin's mom, Charlotte.  Well, since the part has yet to arrive, so we had to scratch those plans and Martin is now trying to figure out where to sail AMARA to get her out of St. Martin before hurricane season.  I am completely sad about missing this trip.  I was so looking forward to seeing the family and relaxing in the Bahamas.

Martin can now either head towards the states or back over to Grenada then maybe over to Panama.  It's all still up in the air and will be decided once AMARA is ready for sail.  Hopefully, tomorrow.

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Martin wrote a post last week that I thought I should post.  It's always fun to get the lowdown in his words…

"Today was a great day!  The long lost part for the AMARA rigging has finally been located in the UK, and should be here sometime the middle of next week.  Garry, Dale and I fixed a bunch of things on the boat.  My brother John visited the Raymarine Headquarters and, because he is now best friends with the guy in the warranty department, John managed to not only get us a brand new Automatic Identification System, he even managed to get a new speaker for our VHF radio.

This evening we hosted a party on AMARA for the local church congregation to say goodbye to Elder and Sister Thomson a missionary couple that is going home on Tuesday.  See photos.  And then to top off the evening, we had a beach bonfire party were we met a bunch of new friends and I was asked to say a few words about our adventures.

LDS ward (congregation) fireside hosted by AMARA and crew
Saying Goodbye to the Thompsons
The only challenging part of today is the amount of sugar currently in my system from eating too much cake and cookies.…  ;)"
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I'll make sure to keep everyone updated on what AMARA plans to do once this blasted part arrives.

Martin and crew went to church yesterday and were able to take a photo of the entire LDS ward/branch (congregation).  It has grown since we were here 2 years ago.  Amazing! 
The St. Martin LDS ward yesterday at church.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heading Home from Antarctica

Everyday my morning routine is getting on my computer and tracking where Martin is on the boat in Antarctica using the online tracking system provided by the boat.  It is so fun to follow it and know where he is.
From looking at the photo above, you can follow the dotted lines seeing that the boat left Ushuaia, Argentina, sailing across the Southern Ocean, eventually reaching Antarctica.  I love modern technology. LOVE it!

Often while talking with Martin on the phone he will comment about seeing whales breaching right in front of the boat.  Amazing!

Once they reached Antarctica, he was able to go on a few expeditions looking at wildlife and hiking around.  He told me that he has seen so many emperor penguins that he is a little "penguined out".  Ha!

Now, from looking at the map, you can see that the boat is on it's way home back to Ushuaia.  They should be reaching landfall by Feb. 1, which hopefully happens because he is scheduled to fly home on the 2nd!

So glad that Martin was able to have this experience.  I can't wait to see all the photos that he was able to take capturing such a remarkable part of the world.  I'll be sure to share them once he is home.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sailing Around the World? Check!

Arriving in St. Martin on January 7, 2015!
It's hard to believe that after a little less than two years ago, we have reached our goal... TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD!

It was an amazing feeling to be arriving in St. Martin (where we left from in March 2013) knowing that Martin was able to achieve his dream by sailing around the world.  I have to pinch myself just thinking about this whole experience.  If you haven't guessed by now, when Martin sets a goal, he meets it!

It's not to say that it hasn't been a little tough along the way, especially for Martin. He has been going full speed ever since he got back on AMARA in March of last year in Australia.  We knew that it couldn't be another year to keep sailing because we have other projects in the works and we needed to be back in 2015.

So, here we are... DONE!  It's a strange feeling knowing that after all this hard work and long days sailing, we're done.  Well, kind of.  Martin isn't actually done.  In fact, once we arrived in St. Martin, Lily and I left for home to Utah and Martin headed to Argentina to board a tall ship and join a sailing expedition that was sailing to Antarctica.  I don't know how he does it and where he finds the energy?  I'll talk more about his experience in Antarctica in another post.  For now, let's focus on the remaining days of our trip through the Caribbean, eventually arriving in St. Martin...

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Lily and I joined Martin in Grenada where he, David and John had sailed from Brazil arriving in Grenada on Christmas day.  (That's a lot of sailing!)

The first thing, once we arrived in Grenada, was to go to a hotel where Martin and Lily got in some swimming, while I got to do some lounging by the pool.

Next, we went and did some snorkeling and saw the underwater statues just off the coast of Grenada.
Martin is like a fish now.  He would dive down and
 just swim around without coming up for air. 
I, of course, instructed Martin to swim down and snap a photo of
me quickly as was able.  As soon as he did, I would

 swim as fast as I could up to the surface.
Again, me holding on so that I didn't
float right back up to the top!
It was also fun to just drive around on AMARA's tender and check out Grenada.
We even had time to go to the local Mormon church and pay the congregation a visit. 
This is always a lot of fun for us.
After visiting Grenada for a few days, we left for the Grenadine Islands, first stopping in Mustique.  All I can say about Mustique is that it is an absolutely beautiful island!  Mick Jagger, Shania Twain, Tommy Hilfiger, as well as, the Royals all own homes on this beautiful island.  It is very exclusive but be prepared to spend some money if you go, but so fun.  After Mustique, we headed for the Grenadine Islands.  

Our sweet girl enjoying the sun while we were visiting Tobago Cays.  So fun!
Lily and Martin taking a much needed respite on the island of Nevis.
If you ever get a chance to visit the Grenadines, I say go for it!  Each island was beautiful and pristine.  But because we had to be in St. Martin by the first of the year, we didn't have much time to visit each island for more than a day.  I have some great photos but I forgot to pull them off of the card of the camera that Martin took to Antarctica.  So, I will for sure do another post so that you can see some of the beauty of the islands.

We travelled from St. Vincent, to Union Island then on to Martinique, up to Dominica and past Guadalupe and over to St. Kitts and Nevis (Beautiful).  It was some of the roughest sailing that I have experienced.  It was supposed to be all down wind, but the sea has a funny way about not working with you at times when the wind shifts.  Martin and David did some amazing sailing during those long days and I am in awe of how they were able to muscle through it to get us safely into the harbor of St. Martin.  What a feat!

It was such a weird, wild and intoxicating feeling to reach the bay right outside of St. Martin.  We had to wait a bit for the bridge to open before we could enter the harbor.  We lined up behind the other boats and I wanted to scream out to everyone and say, "Hey, we just sailed around the world!  Can you believe this?"  Instead, I kept my head about me and Martin and I just kept high-fiving and hugging each other.  I have to admit, I really teared up because I was just so proud of Martin and this accomplishment.  It really was so hard in spite of his love for sailing.  Me putting a timeline on his effort probably didn't help matters, but he DID it!  HE DID IT!

Once we arrived to St. Martin and found a place to tie her up, we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned up AMARA getting her ready for another sail to the Bahamas.  More on that later...
Goodbye, AMARA until we see you again in April.
Enjoy the rest in St. Martin.  You've been good to us.
Lily on the flight home from St. Martin to Utah.
She was one tuckered gal but such a trooper.
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Meanwhile... Martin can be found on this tall ship on his way to Antarctica.

Martin called the other day (actually, he brought his handheld satellite phone, so we talk everyday.  So convenient!).  Anyway, he is loving his time on this ship.  He is crewing from the coast of Argentina (starting from Ushuaia) over to Antarctica. He has already crawled out on to the bowsprit and even climbed up the rigging all the way up to the top of the mast.  While at the top, he was able to furl the royal sail and then went out on to the yardarm.  (A little too brave for my liking.)
To give you an idea of what a yardarm is.  Martin crawled
out to the edge much like this guy in this vintage photo.
Martin said that he is thoroughly enjoying this expedition and loves that he is able to have the same experience as sailors had over 100 years ago.  

More on his adventures along with photos once he gets home at the beginning of February.  I am so glad that he is having the time of his life, but so anxious to have him home soon.

Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, we are going to just bask in what Martin was able to accomplish.