The control panel - here showing the start of the Atlantic Rowing Race in La Gomera in the Canaries
The control panel – here showing the start of the Atlantic Rowing Race in La Gomera in the Canaries

Point Richmond, CA

Today I sat in Sedna’s cabin for the first time since I arrived in Antigua over a year ago, and had an eerie experience with the GPS chartplotter.

Her cabins had been sealed for insurance/security reasons during the trip across country, but to be honest, I had also been shying away from getting back into the cabin – I wasn’t sure what emotions it would evoke. But today I needed to go over the boat and produce a To Do list of things to be done before my Pacific launch in July, so I could procrastinate no longer.

I was surprised to see that the battery monitor on my control panel was turned on, and even more surprised to see that both batteries were showing a healthy charge. I had expected them to be dead after spending so long in a container, where no sunlight could reach the solar panels to power them up.

So if the batteries were working, what instruments might also have survived? I removed the plastic cover from the chartplotter and turned it on. A map of the Caribbean appeared, with a round circle showing my position when the chartplotter had last been used – my position being English Harbour on the south side of Antigua. I stared at that spot, mesmerised, thinking back to that day, 13th March 2006, when I arrived in Antigua after 103 days alone at sea. While I was lost in my memories, the GPS coordinates flashed for a couple of minutes, indicating that the chartplotter was searching for a signal to pinpoint my new position.

Suddenly Antigua was gone, and the screen instead showed my new position on the east side of San Francisco Bay. The Atlantic was consigned to history, and it was time to move on with the next chapter in Sedna’s travels…

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