Join us aboard our mobile maritime home - the sailing vessel JACARANDA - as we travel the high seas to explore the countries, continents, and islands of the world! We invite you to vicariously experience our journey through our web site and hope you will visit us often to share in our adventures and keep in touch!
-- Chuck Houlihan & Linda Edeiken, co-captains
So the Journey Begins. . .
We cast off more than our docklines when we left our slip at Silver Gate Yacht Club on May 17, 2005. We sailed out of San Diego Bay for the first time on JACARANDA as live-aboards, leaving a comfortable and familiar land-bound way of life behind in our wake. For Chuck, it meant coming home again, to the way he lived before he chose to temporarily leave it in 1997 so that we could be together. For me, it was the beginning of a major adjustment to a new and foreign lifestyle I had only glimpsed. For both of us, it was the realization of our 7-year-old dream to go cruising.
We completed a summer shakedown cruise in the Channel Islands (California's Galapagos lying off the coast of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara), returned to San Diego in September and then left for Mexico on Dec. 7, 2005.
So the Journey Continues......
We cruised friendly Mexico for 7 years, alternating between the Pacific mainland (from Mazatlan to Zihuatenajo) and Baja California. We spent three summers in the hot but magical Sea of Cortez, cited by Jacques Cousteau as the "World's Aquarium". We had some spectacular experiences at the remote Revillagigedos Island for two winters with the giant manta rays and humpback whales and enjoyed some inland travel. Mexico has been our adopted home and we love our Mexican friends, the warmth of the people, the fabulous food, beautiful landscapes, rich cultural traditions, marine biodiversity, colorful language, and the general ease of cruising and living here. This is a place we feel connected to.
But wanderlust has a loud voice.
So we headed south in February 2013 along the coast of Mexico, down the Pacific side of Central America until we reached Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador in June. In addition to our sailing, we traveled inland all along the way and then explored Peru and Ecuador. In November 2013 we left Ecuador and sailed north to Panama where we spent a season exploring the mainland, going through the Canal as linehandlers on a friend's boat, and cruising the islands of the Las Perlas Archipelago and Western Panama. In June 2014 we returned to Ecuador, leaving Jacaranda on a mooring in order to explore more countries in fabulous South America by land and traveled to Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia. After two months visiting family in the U.S., we returned to Jacaranda in January 2015. We left mainland Ecuador (Bahia de Caraquez) in March 2015 and sailed west to the Galapagos Islands where we enjoyed this magical archipelago for five weeks (a little longer than Darwin's visit).
On May 20 we departed Isla Isabella in the Galapagos Islands and headed to the Marquesas Islands - that would be the puddle jump (poodle yoomp as they say in Mexico) to French Polynesia in the South Pacific!! This is one of the longest ocean passages a cruiser can make: 3,000+ miles!!! After 21 days at sea in an uneventful voyage we finally made landfall in the Marquesas at Tahuata Island on June 10, 2015. We did it!!! Fulfillment of a long-time dream!!!
We were in the marvelous Marquesas Islands for one whole year!! Since Linda had obtained a long-stay visa from the French Embassy in Quito, Ecuador and Chuck had entered the country using his EU (Irish) passport, we were able to explore this wonderful archipelago for one year and remain for the cyclone season instead of being bound by the usual 3 month allowance of a normal visa in French Polynesia. We were fortunate to be in Hiva Oa for the most excellent Matava'a Cultural Festival. The Marquesas stole our hearts.
Linda renewed her long-stay visa for a second year and we sailed from the Marquesas to the amazing Tuamotu Islands, the "Dangerous Isles". What a contrast! Truly an adventure of a different sort! We explored seven atolls (of the 77 that make up the archipelago) over a 6 month period, from May until November, 2016.
We arrived in Papeete, Tahiti (the Society Islands) and pulled into a marina for the first time in 5 years, with enough time to make preparations to leave Jacaranda and fly back to the U.S. for our annual Thanksgiving visit. When we returned in early December, we remained in Papeete through the rest of the cyclone season and did a lot of needed boat repairs.
So welcome to 2017 Tahitian style!!! In February we slipped away from boat projects and flew to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) for two weeks to tour this special island and attend their annual Tapati Festival. We finally managed to escape the draw of Papeete and sailed away to explore some of the other Society Islands for a few months - Mo'orea, Raiatea, Taha'a, and Huahine and welcomed the Hokulea in both Tahiti and Raiatea on their way home from their Mālama Honua worldwide voyage to Hawaii. In July we went back to Papeete to experience the famous annual Heiva Festival at its very epicenter - a cultural extravaganza!! October is part of whale season in Moorea and we had fantastic experiences swimming with the humpbacks, especially the mom-and-calf pairs. At the end of the year we left Jacaranda in Viare Marina in Moorea to do some Off The Boat (OTB) Travel for 3 months. Besides visiting family in San Diego, we also took a medical vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and were able to visit many old friends there. We flew to South Africa for New Years and spent 5 weeks on a road trip/safari. What a spectacular experience: the diversity of the country, the people and cultures, the cities, the wildlife!!!!! Oh! The animals!!!!
In 2018 we continued to explore the Society Islands, including a two week catamaran charter in May with cousins from the US. In June we had a wonderful visit with sons Joe and David, and David's fiance, Emily. We rented a bungalow on the beach in Oponohu, Moorea and had a great time showing them our "hood". In September, we returned to the Tuamotus and spent a blissful month in Tikehau where we had an amazing manta experience, getting up close and personal and seeing some rare courtship behavior. We returned to Moorea and Tahiti so Linda could fly back to the US for an annual Thanksgiving visit. When she returned we intended to spend the 2018-2019 cyclone season (Nov. - May) in the Gambier Archipelago but stayed in the central Tuamotus instead (Amanu and Hao).
We have now been in French Polynesia a long time - four years in Paradise. So far we can't seem to leave! Linda continues to renew her long-stay visa (carte sejour) and Chuck has no problem being here with his EU (Irish) passport....in fact, he can stay indefinitely. Jacaranda's 3 year time limit expired so instead of sailing to the Cook Islands to renew her for another 3 years, we imported the boat ("Papeetized" it) to French Polynesia. Now Jacaranda too can stay indefinitely.
There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
--- Douglas Everett