Transcripts

The Elcie Diaries: Setting Sail Across The Pacific

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
We'll wrap things up today by hearing from a dad and a mom who are sailing around the world. In our ongoing Elcie Diaries series, we've been following Richard and Jessica Johnson as they and their kids set sail from Maryland on their catamaran Elcie. When we last caught up with the family, they were in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico. Since then they've traveled across the Caribbean and made their way through the Panama Canal. Now, comes one of the most daunting legs of their journey, crossing the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

MR. RICHARD JOHNSON

00:00:36
Hello, this is Richard on Elcie. We're sitting in Balboa, on the Pacific side of Panama. We've just come through the canal and we're getting ready to go out into the Pacific Ocean. It's about 6,000 miles before you can readily get parts and easily do repairs on the boat again. That's when you get to either New Zealand or Australia. So we're stocking up with parts besides food, water, diesel.

MR. RICHARD JOHNSON

00:01:09
So our first leg is to the Galapagos Islands, relatively short at 800 miles. And then the long leg of over 3,000 miles will take us to the eastern edge of French Polynesia.

MS. JESSICA JOHNSON

00:01:31
Here in San Cristobal there are so many sea lions, that they'll get in your dingy, they come up on to your boat, they're all over the beach. They're even walking on the street in town. There's a large male sea lion sitting on our step. Let's see if he has anything to say.

MS. JESSICA JOHNSON

00:01:52
He really doesn't want to leave.

MS. JESSICA JOHNSON

00:01:55
They're a bit aggressive sometimes.

MS. JESSICA JOHNSON

00:01:59
So we're still in San Cristobal and we're walking along a path strewn with lava rocks and it's an area called la galapageria, and we're looking for some giant tortoises.

MS. JESSICA JOHNSON

00:02:17
The tortoises are hanging out in the shadows of the trees, there's a mud hole where they can go and cool off if they need to.

JOHNSON

00:02:32
We just started the longest leg of our trip to New Zealand. We departed San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands last night. And we're heading in the direction of the Gambier Islands. Hopefully we'll make a stop there.

JOHNSON

00:03:10
Every morning and every evening we've been talking to other boats that have formed what's called a radio net. And we come up on the same channel at the same time on a single side ban radio and give position reports, and weather reports, and it's just a great exchange of information. And it's somewhat social.

JOHNSON

00:03:49
So it's been about five days since we left the Galapagos Islands. And we still have about 1,850 miles to go to our destination. On a boat, it's usually considered bad luck to write down your destination in the logbook or to even to mention it with a lot of conviction. So I'm just going to say that we are somewhere in the South Pacific and we're headed somewhere else in the South Pacific. I guess, to be honest, everyone's getting a little bit stir crazy, would like to get out and stretch our legs, and maybe have a little time away from each other. But we've kept busy with Scrabble, with cooking, planning meals, with school work, with catching and cleaning fish, and just sort of enjoying our team here, being at sea.

SHEIR

00:04:54
That was Jessica and Richard Johnson aboard their catamaran Elcie. The story was produced by "Metro Connection's" Tara Boyle. You can learn more about the Johnson's expedition and hear more stories from their adventures at sea on our website, metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

00:05:37
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Emily Berman, Jonathan Wilson and Tara Boyle, along with reporter Lauren Ober. WAMU's managing editor of news is Memo Lyons. "Metro Connection's" managing producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our editorial assistant. Our intern is Eva Harder. Lauren Landau and John Hines produce Door To Door. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production and the "Metro Connection" website.

SHEIR

00:06:04
Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts," our Door To Door theme, "No Girl," and our Location theme, "Turn Your Face," are from the album Title Tracks by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. All the music we use is listed on our website, metroconnection.org. Just click on a story and you'll find information about its accompanying song. And if you missed part of today's show, you can hear the whole thing on our website, by clicking the "This week on Metro Connection" link. You can also subscribe to our podcast there or you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher and the NPR News app.

SHEIR

00:06:35
We hope you can join us next week when we'll embrace the official start of summer with our annual feeling the heat show. We'll check out a new NASA mission that explores a most mysterious region of the sun's atmosphere. We'll heat things up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit with aluminum and bronze artists at the University of Maryland's art department. And we'll meet a D.C. teen who's feeling the heat, so to speak, as she copes with her mother's drug addiction.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1

00:07:01
I had to teach myself how to cook. I had to keep the house clean. I had to teach myself how to tie my own shoes. Like, I wanted to just hang out with her and to go places with her and her to be a good mother.

SHEIR

00:07:10
I’m Rebecca Sheir and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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