Sunday, March 8, 2015


It’s been more than 3 years since I've updated this dispatch, and here, after 6 years of adventure, is the conclusion - for now .....

After The Philippines
We flew from Manila back to Bali, and rejoined our efforts at 3rd world comfort amidst the exotic world of the Indonesian Islands. The remainder of this year was to witness us sail over 3000 miles through the Indonesian archipelago, face a life altering disaster, and end the year back on the island of Bali.
By Jan 11th 2012, the trip would be officially over. Soon I would be standing on US soil, for the first time since Megan’s mom died in 2010.
Please, sit down, and witness the dissolution of a dream.

The Return of Reedy
If you’ve been reading this dispatch from its inception, then the name Colin Reedy might be familiar to you. He was one of the men who departed San Diego with me back in 2005. He left Barraveigh in Panama, in 2006 and in Jan of 2011, he returned to meet and sail with me in Bali on S/V Seacomber. It would be short-lived. Too much had changed. I was the captain of another man’s boat, and we both had different expectations. To complicate things further; we each had our girlfriends on board.
It’s impossible to replicate innocence. Colin and I were once a vibrant theory. We represented a commitment to adventure that was born of youth and forged through decades of actual fiascoes. If I’m honest, I think we each represented to the other Nietzsche’s ideal of a man in his element, at perfect flow with his challenge. The truth is always far short of perfection, and human frailty brought us up lacking in the title of “Ubermensch”; though it was our coveted target. Who can ever really attain it? I’ll forever love Colin Reedy for what he was to me in a given time line of self-discovery, and how he helped move my game piece across the board. I believe this dispatch is going to be a long admission of loss and sweet failure. I find no shame in that.

Back in Bali
After that friendship exploded, I worked the rock of Sisyphus that is life in Bali. The boat had a serious issue with the freezers and fridges, and I went through a parade of pretenders who lied about their expertise regarding refrigeration. On the hierarchy of mistruths, a fraudulent claim about your ability to make a small box cold is not the grand fib, but it sucks when your meats and cheeses rot due to flagrant misrepresentation. I spent an Asian fortune on dry ice trying to keep what we had barely frosty, while those hollow men conned me out of Freon money.
Seacomber was finally ready to sail the 1600 miles to Sarong where we would pick up the boss and his wife. Megan and I slipped the lines and headed to sea with our two new friends: Bruno the stinky Frenchman and Matt the Okie. These two were a constant comedy act who should be given their own cable access show.
Then it should be canceled for poor ratings, and then it should find a cult following and live in perpetuity. We made it to the Komodo islands and most systems were broken. I fixed what I could until the crew dubbed me “the pump whisperer” and then turned a shamed tail and headed the 400 miles back to Bali for some Dutch repair work. Matt and Bruno escaped, and I’ll forgive them since I want to drink with those guys again in their own countries (I did with Matt in SD. His cousin even hooked me up with lots of free Padres tickets! Yea Billy!).
Back in Bali I drafted Stefan our local boy who’s life we would change indelibly, and Jess Davies, the 7th English subject to go to sea with me. The Brits belong on boats.

The Hammer Falls
Somewhere around the north cost of Sumbawa I got the following call from my friend Eric Farber: “Hey, are you sitting down? I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First the good news: You're gonna get a brand new house.”
I waited for the punch line. He remained silent.
“Ok. Did my mom win the lottery?
“No, your house burned down.”
So that’s how I learned that my home in South Mission Beach (lovingly referred to as S’Mish – trademark pending) was no more.
Was I covered? Could I navigate this? How do I stay on this side of the planet and manage a rebuild? It was an added stress that wore on me until the house was finally rebuilt July 15th 2013 – over 1.5 years after it burned down.

The Final Cruise
We made it to Sarong. We met the boss and his wife. We sweated our butts off showing that bastard a good time and in the end he lied to me and screwed me when he had a relief captain sail the boat to Darwin Australia with all my belongings. Raja Ampat – the island chain that I took him to see is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever witnessed. Google it, click on images, cuz you’ll never go there, and you know it.
 I did get some of my things back with great thanks to Mark Haley and Liz Weirauch from S/V Scholarship fame, who sailed them all the way to Bali for me. I am so very grateful for true friends.

Back in the USA
Megan and I flew back to the US on Jan 12th 2012. We played house for a while in Tempe, AZ and then Oceanside, CA but eventually the relationship ended and that’s all I have to say about that. Pretty generous of me huh?
I rebuilt the house. I inserted myself back into American life at the beach. I made real friends, and I’ll miss them. But the transplant didn’t take. My body was rejecting my sutured status. I longed for more adventure. I can eat anything. I don’t get fat. Chili peppers don’t hurt, I still like strangers. Yes, I’m 10 years older than I was in 2005 when I left SD to sail around the world, but I still have some frontier spirit left.  I’m cautious, but I’m good with fear. We’ve made friends with each other over the years. What would I do without that dark shadow?
The sailing dream ended due to my 34 year old nemesis next door neighbor who burned both of our houses down (And he never once apologized. Can you imagine?). It was a giant waste of my life. I never wanted to spend 1.5 years choosing backsplash, or picking “comfort height toilets”, or selecting a designer light switch with dimmer (Thank you friends and family for not shooting me, cuz I think I demanded it weekly). I was once a man who braved the high seas. But I kept the fire lit.

"I have an idea"
And though it is a played out analogy, I can’t resist – the Phoenix rose from the ashes and a new dream emerged. I bought a truck, and a camper, and I stared south. I designed an adventure that would buoy my lust for freedom and force me out of this caged comfort that I had just nestled myself into. Nothing is more dangerous than a brand new house on the beach in San Diego. Mark my words. I traded a beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bath home for a 75 sq ft box on the back of an old truck. In 2 days I will break the Mexican border and head south. “West, always west”, has been replaced with “South, always south . . . .”

Yes - I've lost a dream. I've failed at more than one relationship. And I've whined loudly. But put into perspective, I've come through a growth period and I'm about to relaunch.

Part 2 of this dispatch will be sent in 1 day.

Your man on point,



Anonymous said...

Hi Bobby,
Long time reader, first time commenter. Part of my morning routine for the past few months has been to make coffee, perform one hundred squat thrusts then rest my quads by sitting down to check
The way you summarized the last few years is entertaining, honest and a little scary. You were forcibly removed from the dreams you had designed through the ineptitude of others. You showed me how to turn a bad situation into something that could be considered a bonus. I am thankful for the lesson.
We're all friggin' excited for you Bobby! And I for one am itching to see you cross those borders and return to Spanish land. Looking forward to each and every installment and especially your own take on this new adventure you have embarked on.

SoberDave said...

Go get 'em Bobby. Scares the hell out of me that you are our U.S. Ambassador... But somebody's gotta do the job. Can you put a sail on that truck rig of yours?

We'll be watching your every move. Keep posting!


Anonymous said...

Hey Neighbor - Really one time we should get to together and swap stories. We have many from 5 years in Costa Rica and all the ways not to repair an AC unit PURA VIDA Freda, Tom and the boys

Anonymous said...

Hi Bobby. I check your blog about once a year wondering how the story ends. Thank you for completing it for the readers, however abbreviated.

I look forward to the fresh journeys.

- Tom

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