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  The book is here!
Submitted by judy on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 02:26

It's been almost three years since my amazing adventures at sea ended, and I'm happy to announce that I've finally completed my book...

A Year That Counted has been (self)published! All of my sailing blogs and hundreds of my favorite photos have been turned into a cool coffee table book.

I created the book because I wanted to have the ultimate souvenir of my experience. The 8.5" x 11" full-color hardcover book is $50. If you'd like A Year That Counted for your bookshelf, please email me at nodalito@yahoo.com and I'd be happy to share a copy of my book with you.

Thanks again for all your wonderful support and interest in my adventure!

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  Entry #27: A Year That Counted
Submitted by judy on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 22:20

The last entry in the Urios Visitors Logbook:

Judy Lin
Urios Around Crew

December 29, 2003: English Harbor, Antigua
17 degrees, 00 minutes North; 61 degrees, 45 minutes West
November 20, 2004: Noumea, New Caledonia
22 degrees, 16 minutes South; 166 degrees, 26 minutes East

10,087 miles of the Ultimate Progressive Sailing Adventure

Mark Twain said: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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  Entry #26: The Grand Terre Finale
Submitted by judy on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 00:03

After miles and miles of sailing and always having miles and miles to go, the passage to New Caledonia would be my last ocean voyage on Urios. I would have been revelling in the significance of it all except that our passage started off so painfully that I was down and out with seasickness and couldn’t think about anything at all! We banged into 25 knots of constant wind and lots of big waves and swell. Everything was wet, salty, hot and uncomfortable. It was too bumpy to use the stove and we gave up on fishing because catching a fish would mean actually having to deal with it – so it was crackers and cold canned food for days. It’d been a fun downwind tradewind go of it most of the way here so I guess the ocean was just reminding us that we were sailing on an OCEAN after all! I think it was the first time I was happy that we weren’t heading to New Zealand because going 40 degrees further southeast into the wind would have been unbearable… We had a long five days at sea to travel 630 miles, and suddenly everything was the last of something. Even though I was happy for my last night watch and our last meal of Zwan, knowing it would also be the last time navigating through a pass or the last time taking the helm of Urios or the last time seeing the stars under this night sky was sad beyond words.

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  Entry #25: Random Thoughts about Sailing
Submitted by judy on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 22:39

Sun. At first you indulge in it. Blazing hot sunny weather every day. But it’s too much, really too much. Sometimes it’s so hot that you can’t even step in the cockpit for burning the soles of your feet or touch anything metal because it’s scorching. And then, when there’s no cloud cover, the sun and heat are utterly oppressive and there is no escape. After a year I’ve seen firsthand what the sun can do - it burns the color out of fabric, metal and fibreglass, and turns wood into gray dust. Imagine what it does to your skin. Smother on 60+ sunscreen, wear a hat, and hide!

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  Entry #24: Fiji Fiji Fiji Boulou Boulou Boulou
Submitted by judy on Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 21:58

Fiji was where it all started for me in September of last year. What a pleasant surprise to have unexpectedly found myself back here again 13 months later. A full circle…

Our sail from Wallis started off painfully as we sailed upwind head into waves and wind. It was bumpy, wet and uncomfortable and 15,000 miles at sea still doesn’t make you immune to seasickness! A loud ZING on the fishing line easily made us forget about all that for awhile… We couldn’t see what was at the end of the line, but the force on the line and the fight to reel it in definitely sparked my imagination. I couldn’t believe my eyes when a large green fin sailed out of the water followed by a huge body of a fish. We’d just landed a five-foot dorado (mahi mahi)! It was huge and bright green, blue and yellow and I still couldn’t believe that this enormous fish was actually flopping around in OUR cockpit. I’d just about given up on fishing altogether but it seems that Urios fishing luck had changed! We couldn’t even begin to make a dent in what was enough delicious fish for 20 people, but had a wonderful ceviche lunch and yummy fish curry for dinner as our reward! Excitement of the day, highlight of the trip. Our arrival into Fiji ended up being beautifully calm and sunny with dolphins greeting us as we passed Welangilala reef and sailed through Nanuku Passage to begin making our way through the maze of Fiji’s eastern islands.

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  Entry #23: Great Expectations
Submitted by judy on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 23:31

The greatest thing about knowing nothing at all about a place is that the lack of any expectation, high or low, really lets you take it all in for what it is to you. In the best of cases you’re totally pleasantly surprised. That’s Samoa for me.

Papa Joane’s prediction of “new wind coming” was right on, and we had a fairly quick 500-mile jaunt to Samoa from Suvarov. We were taking the alignment marks into Apia Harbor at 94 degrees True just as day broke. I love it when wind and sea and timing all comes together perfectly...

Samoa’s Upolu island is big. After being on relatively tiny islands it was now unusual to be in a place that you couldn’t bike around in a day. But it was great to be somewhere with sightseeing options outside of the tropical scenery right outside your door (companionway, to be technically correct). We rented a car one day and just started driving, no plan and just a map in hand. The scenery was the same in terms of what how you’d describe an island – lush foliage, palm trees, coral reef, blue lagoons, fruit trees, etc. – but it looked and felt different from the other islands we’d been to so far. Samoa was rustic and remote and laidback in the best of ways. Hikes to hidden lakes in the middle of nowhere and many stretches of road with only tiny village shops selling the bare necessities. Restaurants were unheard of because tourists are rare! As such, we didn’t plan our day very well in terms of eating, but happily settled for a lunch of bottled Cokes and packets of cheese curls under a palm tree. It was idyllic to see kids in matching school uniforms walking home from school against a backdrop of palm trees, mountains and straw huts. And, every once in a while we’d pass a typical Samoan bus – very similar to the ones in Panama - which are crazy fun vehicles playing loud Reggae music, decorated in feathers and sequins, painted in colorful graffiti, and packed to the gills with locals. The Samoans still live by strong tradition, everything still revolves around family and community and roles are important. It was the first place where I've had to be particularly aware of what I wore so as not to offend, donning skirts and dresses rather than shorts or even pants, and making sure to cover up the shoulders. Not easy to do when it's 100 degrees and 100% humidity out! The fale is a traditional Samoan structure with thatched coconut palm rooftops and no sides that is the nucleus of the family and the village. Large extended families often live together in a single fale all under one roof where during the day it’s a large living room and at night each family member gets a spot on the floor to sleep. It’s the epitome of communal living but not much by the way of privacy! It was quite a sight to see all the fales set against a lush mountainside with pigs and children running in the yards or else the ones on the beach built up on stilts in the sand. It was such a pleasure to see how proud the Samoans are of their land. You can tell by the way that they take care of their land, are careful with garbage, and tend to the flora. I have never seen such beautiful use of volcanic rock and tropical flowers that produce gardens and landscaping that is unfortunately not typical at all on most islands.

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  Entry #22: An Island to Oneself
Submitted by judy on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 23:07

With the last red buoy that passed the boat, we officially said our goodbye to French Polynesia. We’d had a great time in this part of the world and fully enjoyed its beauty, people, food and culture. I’ll miss it, but as always is the case in cruising life, there are always new places, experiences and memories to exchange for the old ones. It’ll be weird not hear my favorite jingles on Radio Polynesia every day or not to be having nems and Cokes at Snack Rotui for lunch, but we're ready for the next thing on the horizon.

It felt great to be blue water sailing again! After months of living the anchored life though, you really have to get used to sailing again – the maneuvers, the rhythm, the daily life things you do at sea. Even with more than 8,000 sea miles under my belt, I have to admit that it took a little bit of time (and a couple of seasickness pills!) to get my sea legs back. Sailing for two on a long passage was new for us as we’d always been three to seven people on board. I have never been more acutely more aware that each of us matters! Not only was safety and harnesses even more crucial, but I was also now an integral part of every sail maneuver, from putting up an unwieldy spinnaker pole on a rolling boat to changing sails on deck in the pouring rain. Plus, dividing 24 hours by two makes for longer nights and a lot less sleep. Good thing it would only be 700 miles until our next landfall because I think the skipper always gets the short end of the stick, especially with a crew (me) who needs her sleep!

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  Entry #21: Tahiti et Ses Iles
Submitted by judy on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 22:50

The islands of Tahiti are the places that honeymooners dream about – overwater bungalows and couples on scooters abound. It’s interesting how you get used to all the strange island names so quickly – Raiatea or Huahine become as natural to say as Chicago or San Francisco. It was a quick overnight sail to Tahiti and I was happy to actually see the outline of towering mountains from miles away. The Marquesas are pretty much “big islands with no reef,” the Tuamotus are “no islands at all and only reef,” and now here in the Society Islands we were in a combination of “big islands surrounded by reef”… Not only are there blue water lagoons, coral reef and the challenge of sailing through passes, but you also have big island mountains to climb. The best of both worlds!

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  Entry #20: There’s Motu Life
Submitted by judy on Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 23:08

We sailed southwest from Fatu Hiva and headed to the Tuamotu Islands, a chain of French Polynesian atolls (tiny reef islands with a lagoon in the middle) where most islands are uninhabited and the tallest thing on the island is a coconut tree. The Tuamotus are known for being dangerous sailing because of their size and lack of altitude (we wouldn’t even see the island until we were practically on top of it), the strong currents and waves that govern the passes in and out of the lagoons, and for their exposure to the wind and waves. This was a navigational and sailing challenge for even the best of sailors! We’d timed our departure to arrive at Manihi during the daylight hours and catch the tide at the right time to enter the pass, but because of the unexpected strong winds we sailed too fast and arrived in the middle of the night. We couldn’t see a thing in the dark and big waves were cresting all around us and on the shore. There was no way we could land safely. Even Plan B – Ahe, the next island 15 miles along – was ruled out because the timing was still wrong and the wind and waves were still too big. We just had to keep on going. Bummer. The best laid plans always manage to go awry when it comes to sailing... somehow our quick overnight 90-mile hop to Manihi ended up being a long bumpy 600-mile sail to Rangiroa.

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  Entry #19: Tikis and Tiare
Submitted by judy on Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 23:02

The Marquesas are the quintessential exotic land far far away. There are maybe a few hundred people on each island, one or two villages, and the requisite church. There’s just one shop and lots of fruit trees. There are ancient petroglyphs, tiki carvings, incredibly tattoed people, and waterfalls streaming through valleys. There are children all around, saying “bon jour” as you pass, and dogs and chickens roaming the streets. Half of the population in French Polynesia is under the age of 15. I guess that when people are well-fed, happy, Catholic, and have lots of time on their hands, they naturally just procreate.

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