WHOI  WHOI People  

One Sailboat. Six People. 18,000 Miles

Night watches, flying fish, and more tales of a 13-month voyage

Michael
Favorite stop: Baixo Ingles, Boavista, Cape Verde Islands. “Watching the sun rise over the sand dunes.”

Memorable moment: “Emerging out of Williamsport, an old whaling station on a fjord in Newfoundland, and finding a humpback whale mother and calf in the entrance.”

Biggest gripe: “Never escaping email.”

Hannah
Favorite stop: Pelican Island, Rio Macareo, Venezuela. “Watching roosting scarlet ibis take off at dawn,
making the world’s most intense
red cloud.”

Memorable moment: “Sitting on a dock in Palmiera, Cape Verde, sharing Oreos with my sons and local children.”

Biggest gripe: “Living with five males in an aluminum can.”

Oliver
Favorite stop: Newfoundland.
“The people were so cool.”

Memorable moment: Being on watch at night. “I was by myself, with no lights, surrounded by stars and beautiful water. It was amazing.”

Biggest gripe: “Not meeting enough girls my own age.”

Sam
Favorite stop: A tie between Newfoundland and Scotland.

Memorable moment: “Making a friend in Newfoundland who invited us to watch the Stanley Cup (hockey) finals in his home.”

Biggest gripe: “Staying awake through the watches.”

Chris
Favorite stop: St. Kilda, Scotland. “Lots of cool wildlife and not many people.”

Memorable moment: “We were hiking on St. Kilda and a dive-bombing bird hit my dad.”

Biggest gripe: “When we all got really sick in Porto Santo.”

Tom
Favorite stop: Newfoundland.
“The people welcomed us into their community.”

Memorable moment: “Flying fish are very odd. We had one fly through a porthole right onto a frying pan.”

Biggest gripe: The lack of privacy and personal space on Rosita.

To learn more about the Moore family’s 13-month journey, visit
http://whale.wheelock.edu/Rosita

Final entries from the logbook of Rosita

August 4, 2001—Cape Cod Canal—The hobbit in me is so happy—home is around the corner. Like Bilbo Baggins, I feel changed by my adventures and am thankful for the wonder of it all, but there is nothing like your own soft chair, bed, and shower! As I look back at the past 14 months, it seems to fill a lifetime...The places were wonderful, but what I hate to see end is the time together. We are just an ordinary family, but we have had the gift of time. I think people usually have to survive something terrible to experience the depth of intense feeling I have just now. The love for my kids has always been huge, but now my respect and understanding is a bigger part of it. We are good friends...Now we are coming home, and who knows what will happen next? —Hannah Moore

August 8, 2001—Marion, Mass.—People have asked me what was the most special place we visited. My trite but true reply is the best place I visited was a place only a few fathers ever get to go. That place was a big chunk of time with my family, without the endless competing agendas of work, community, and other things. It is a very self-centered place, but in going there we have learned to respect and love each others’ hopes, fears, and differences.

The physical places were second to that overall gift. Of those places, the ones that stand out were largely associated with the ghosts of past sea life abundance and harvest excesses—to hear the silence and see the emptiness was a true monument to man’s greed and inability to conserve. The abandoned whaling stations in Scotland, Ireland, Azores, Cape Verde Islands, Trinidad, Bermuda, Newfoundland, and Labrador. But yet the life is there—we heard an astounding amount of sperm whales when off the continental shelves. The humpback whales are coming back. Likewise, if we can do better in the management of right whales, nature has a boundless capacity to regroup—if only we can leave her alone enough to do so.—Michael Moore

Originally published: November 1, 2004