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What we are learning on this adventure

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Thoughts from Pat

This trip gives us all something that we rarely have in life time, Time to think and time to reflect, time to listen and time to discuss. So much of life is spent running that we never take time because there is too much to do, we have to be some where we have to get something done, I can’t stop now. More on this in a different blog.

We also are having the opportunity to face our own fears. A voyage like this in a very small boat in a very large ocean with lots of electrical and mechanical issues gives cause for much thought. When you spend days out at sea with no sight of land, fears arise in our hearts some spoken many silent. We are facing icebergs that are gianormous some as large as city blocks! We have been next to some icebergs hundreds of feet high and where only 10% is above water the actual size is beyond our imagination. We have ventured into thick ice where if in the wrong place it could crush this tiny boat, we have been in places where there was ice thick and seemingly impassable for as far as binoculars could see to the horizon! Even the most experienced among us have doubts. As there was one system failure after the other everyone at some moment doubted the wisdom of continuing on. We were forced to face our fears.

Four people living in a very small space also brings out lots of dynamics. We are all different and think differently. Really facing our fears where we have few alternatives is very rare, in most of our lives we have lots of options and we are insulated from the worst of our fears. If you are reading this internet blog, you like me are already unique to most people in the world. In my world I rarely am forced to face my fears like I have been on this voyage. I belong to a men’s community where weekly we gather to share, give insight and occasionally poke each other in the places where our fears reside, where others can see our “stuff” in a way in which we are either we can’t see or are unwilling to see and we are in denial. Even there in an atmosphere of trust and transparency we rarely encounter the kind of moments we face here. Here aboard the Geraldine we don’t have the luxury of sticking our heads in the sand, decisions have to be made that have potential life or death implications. What is the right choice? Do we pursue the dream or do we seek safety and security? At what risk do we proceed? What else can go wrong? These and many more questions face us constantly. The safety of the crew is of utmost importance so it is always of paramount priority in all decisions. We pray always for the wisdom to take the wise action, but also to fulfill the mission. Balancing those two requires all of us to face our fears. God has been faithful to his promise which is the banner of the blog. “He will be with us and watch over us everywhere we go.” Can we really believe that? He has shown us many signs to encourage us. We have seen His faithfulness. He has shown us rainbows in the air, pillars of fire on the horizon, friends along the way who have been divine appointments. We are trusting Him and His faithfulness and we are trusting Him to continue to shelter us in His hand as we turn North, or as Walt said “South to Alaska.”

Safe Water

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Thoughts from Pat

If you have been following the web site you know we have had lots of problems with our machine that manufactures safe water out of salt water. It has broken down three times and is untrustworthy. We went 280 miles out of our path to Iqaluit because the safe water unit split an end cap for the second time drenching the engine compartment again with salt water, especially on the number 2 main engine alternator and many of the electronics parts. This led to cascading electrical problems with failed charging circuits, drained batteries and the failure of the main engine starter when it stuck and got burned up when trying to start with low batteries. We repaired the safe water unit with parts that Charlotte got sent up to us. While we were on our way back out to sea from Iqaluit the unit broke again! We were now again through the ice field and headed north through Baffin Bay and didn’t want to turn back and determined to go ahead to Pond Inlet and have parts sent there. In the mean time we had about 90 gallons for 4 people for a week until we could get more water. So we went on water rationing for the second time. We decided we could only use one gallon per person per day including cooking and washing dishes and personal hygiene. We all went 5 days without a real shower, Shane took a shower on the back deck with ice cold salt water, burr! Walt, Kip and I took sponge baths with left-over dish water with bleach in it. We all were very careful with water consumption. In the six days at sea running 24 hours a day in rotating shifts we used about 40 gallons of water. We had trillions of gallons of water all around us and we couldn’t drink it. We were very careful and we used 1.6 gallons a day per person and that was with little or no fresh water showering!

This made me think deeply about the Safe Water devices that CityTeam is doing field trials with in Sierra Leone and in Ethiopia. You may not know but consuming unsafe water is the greatest cause of death around the world. Over 5000 children a day die of consuming the only water that is available to them. There is water available in most of those places but often it is contaminated water and makes those who drink it sick and the young and elderly often die from water borne diseases. This is a problem that is solvable with the availability of safe water and training in the basics of community sanitation practices. CityTeam is working with a scientist and inventor who designed an extraordinary Safe Water device which kills 99.9999% of pathogens in water using only a truck battery which can be recharged using solar panels. It is very simple and effective. The two safe water units cost about the same price, only the one on the boat because it is reverse osmosis requires a lot of power and has expensive consumables. The one on the boat provides in theory enough water for a small boat. The units CityTeam is installing provide enough safe water for 2000 people a day, a small village and have no consumables. They purify 2000 liters per hour which is 526 gallons an hour. The unit on the boat is 16 gallons per hour. CityTeam has purchased the first 10 units for the initial field trials and is testing them in real life situations in rural villages in Africa. I have been to all of those villages and have listened to the people and they know the water makes them sick and they know the water is killing their children. Our calculations are to provide 1-2 gallons per person per day. I must admit I really didn’t know what that really meant as I lived in such abundance I never had to ration myself to one gallon per day. When I flushed the toilet I used more safe water in one minute than 3-4 billion people had available to them in a day! Friends let me tell you one gallon a day is not very much water! I could not do it! Yet to hundreds of millions of people they have no other viable option except to drink bad water and watch their children die before their very eyes! I spoke to one woman a very articulate intelligent and passionate woman, she said, “Of course we know that this water from the river is bad for us and causes our children to die, but we drink it because we have no other alternative!” I have now experienced only in an extremely small way what billions of people must suffer through and most of them have NO safe water. We can and we should do something about that! To find out more go to and see how you can help save the lives of thousands even millions of children in Africa and Asia.

First Day for Second Shift

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

We were so excited this morning we could hardly sleep! We pulled out at 6:40 this morning and it was an absolutely beautiful day all day long and this land-lubber didn’t get sick! Skipper Walt had suspected that he had something tangled in the prop so the low man on the Totum pole Shane put on his wet-suit and went in the water. He found this wrapped around the prop and shaft. He cut it loose and the boat ran so much better, Shane is the Hero for the day! We docked the night in Port aux Choix it is a great place for exploring. A 1/2 gallon of milk is $5.00, more expensive than diesel fuel! For our first day it was grand. I’ll let Shane add his comments. Thanks for your prayers, we have many more days ahead of us.

“Its a great feeling jumping into unknown waters and swimming underneath to take a look at “something” that could be wrong. Its nice and bright on the surface but underneath it gets real dark in a hurry!! Its amazing how fast it will take your breath away, and with a 15′ beam its a bit of a swim.”


I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15