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Couple sails 'round the world in 40-foot sloop
B Y G A I L G E L D A K E R C H R I S T E N S E N ' 6 2
|Gail Geldaker Christensen '62 and her husband, Dave, celebrate on Bainbridge Island, Wash., after the completion of their seven-year voyage in August 1997.|
In 1990 my husband, Dave, and I departed from Prince William Sound, Alaska, in our 40-foot sailing sloop, Adagio, on what we thought would be a five-year adventure. It turned out to last seven years. We endured much, saw more than we could ever tell, learned more about ourselves and each other, and met some great people from all over the world both at sea and on land.
We sailed from Alaska to Portugal and back to Seattle with many stops - some long, some short. We rented a car in Portugal to visit Europe and drove to Al, Norway, to visit my family farm. We spent almost three years in the Caribbean working for The Moorings as charter skipper and chef on a 50-foot sailboat.
On the major ocean crossings over the Atlantic, our third son, Sven '91, sailed with us as we headed east. On the westward crossing, our second son, Lars, was our able mate. Our first son, Jon '86, helped us complete the journey from San Francisco to Seattle.
One of the highlights for us was Christmas in Cartagena, Columbia. We went caroling with a group of cruisers in the neighborhood. The Atlantic islands were also some of our favorite places. The Azores were gorgeous, beautiful, many shades of green, lush, pastoral and floral. The Maderias are spectacular, with walking trails that you can reach by one bus and return back to base by another. The islands are very steep and rugged with lots of green. I tried to absorb as much green as I could to call forth when we were at sea.
We had our first taste of a gale in the Gulf of Alaska. We were not prepared for it, so the cabin looked as if a giant Mix Master had been running. The most awesome storm hit us when we were in the Port of Funchal, Maderia. It was called the "storm of the century." While we were in the Caribbean, we went through three hurricanes within 10 months. Fortunately, Adagio was secured like a spider in its web between two fingers at the dock and she did not sustain any damage.
We completed an adventure of a lifetime with stories to tell for the rest of our lives. We do not regret taking this time while we were in good health to fulfill a dream. Now we are both at work. Dave is a second mate on the Spirit of Glacier Bay for Alaska Sightseeing. I am back in education on Bainbridge Island and studying to update my teaching certificate. We continue to live aboard Adagio, which has served us so well.
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