Well, I wasn’t going to weigh in on this as I think it’s been done enough, but in support of my friend Charlotte and her family, I feel like I need to say something. By now, most of you guys have probably heard about the rescue of the sailing vessel Rebel Heart off the coast of Mexico. On board were Eric, Charlotte, and their two little girls. The youngest, Lyra, was ill and the family decided to call for help. The US Military came to the rescue.
I think my fellow cruisers and the boating community have done an outstanding job of supporting Charlotte and her family, while attempting to educate those who are well…uneducated in the sailing world. Anything I would write would probably just detract from the eloquent words of others.
With that said, we heard the news of the rescue only 2 weeks after having another good friend here in the Philippines lose her boat on a reef that was way off the mark and subsequently have it stripped clean by pirates that heard her distress call….they even took her cushions from what we heard. We read and heard unkind comments about that situation as well. Mostly from armchair sailors or people that have never been on the water to start with…another group of uneducated folks.
I guess I’m shocked (though I don’t know why) at the arrogance of others to comment on things they know absolutely nothing about. Andy and I feel close to both of these tragedies as we feel there are a lot of parallels to our life and I hate to think how it would feel to suddenly have an entire country weighing in their various opinions on how you chose to live your life and raise your kids. With Charlotte and Eric, well, we’re about the same age, Eric was in the Navy like Andy, we were both in the financial industry, Savannah and Rebel Heart both left from San Diego and they were following a very similar path to us, just a few years later. It could have been us (and still could).
As for our other friend, we’re here in the Philippines and get to see first hand how off the various charts are in these waters. One of our navigational programs actually says “Inaccurately surveyed area” and other smart things like “Breakers reported, unsurveyed.” Hell, the US Navy ran aground on a reef here that was 7 MILES off on the chart. One guy actually said to us (I’m not sure if he was talking about the Navy or our friend at this point) “You’re not supposed to get within 100 miles of Tubataha Reef.” Well, Mr. Non-sailing, Dingleberry, that means every single boat that sails down the east coast of Palawan is breaking the law. The only way you could conceivably follow that rule (if it even exists) is to sail through the pirate waters south of Mindanao….uh, no thanks.
All of this publicity has done some good on Savannah. We’ve always prided ourselves on being as prepared as possible, but it’s easy to become complacent about things the longer you’re out here. We’re now even more cautious as we make our plans to continue through S.E. Asia and eventually home, to the United States. We only sail in the day time here in the Philippines so as to gain as many visuals on those nasty reefs and limit our surprises as much as possible (Not to mention the thousands of fish traps, fisherman, pearl farms and seaweed farms to be avoided). We’re stocking up more than usual (I honestly didn’t think that was possible), so that we’re not dependent on pulling in somewhere for food, gas or diesel. We’re keeping in touch with friends and other cruisers around the area so we can try to have the most up to date information as possible on the various areas we’re traveling. And it may sound dramatic, but I’m keeping an eye on my kid more than usual as well, I hear the pale ones go for a fair price.
We are so blessed to have supporting families and friends and not to have to worry about constantly defending ourselves and our way of life. We’re also blessed to not have had any tragic experiences this far (knocking on wood here in the cabin) keeping us from having to defend ourselves publically. For those not so lucky, we wanted to at least speak out a bit and join the hundreds if not thousands of other folks on your side… I would hate to think that we had dreams and were so scared of failure that we never tried. And for all of those out there that think we’re crazy and irresponsible for doing this at all, much less with a kid….think twice about how and when you express your opinions (Remember that whole do unto others thing?). We’re just ordinary people doing something different. We get that you don’t understand it. We honestly don’t understand you either. That’s why life is so cool….if we were all the same, what would we have to talk about on Facebook?