Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alrighty Then, Off To Portugal.

Sorry to leave you with such a short last post. But I just posted three...geez, relax. 

I leave tomorrow for Flores. The trip should be around 2 weeks. And then free internet! Whoo!

Anywho, I hope everyone is doing great. The past two days have been pretty much the same. Oatmeal/coffee/chores/beach/sunset in the cockpit/sleep. You know, the tough kinda life. 

But seriously, I'm gonna stink when I get into Portugal. But I hear they have good cheese!

I have to go catch a bus, I'm late already! I will talk to you all again in two weeks!

The Johnson

It's My Effin Birfday Dawg

Day 5, June 14th, and My 23rd Birthday.

I didn't remember until 11 am that it was my birthday! 23 years old and still kickin. Man. When I was in the graveyard of that old church yesterday, I saw so many headstones that we for dudes 20/21 and whatever...Bummer. I'm probably way cooler than they were anyways.

So, this morning we fixed the outboard harness, for lifting the motors, we fixed the dodgers (rain cover) for the midship hatch...Dude, I sound like a sailor...wierd. So, our other outboard was giving us some trouble, so this dudes Patrick, from Maine, came over to help us. This guy is awesome. He left Maine when he was 24 sailed all around for 5 years! Crazy. He even lived in Senegal, Africa for a year rebuilding houses. And he did all of it in this sick boat, it's totally wooden, modeled after the old whalers from Nantucket. Anyways, cool guy.

Fixing the outboard. (Patrick, left, Shirish, right)

Another Patrick, from the boat next door (from Portsmouth, UK)came over this morning. I've been watching him the past few days, trying to catch fish. Well today, he finally caught one! As he looked over at me and gave me a victory fist pump, I returned it with a thumbs up and an ear to ear grin. Well, afterwards, he dinghied over to Juno and gave me a bag full of bait! Let the fishing begin!

Besides that, it has been a rough day. I flooded the dinghy engine and cast off before I had started it, so I had to row back to Juno against a 15 knot wind...and Shirish was in the dinghy with me. -2 Sailor Creds (just because I had to row). I dumped out the ratchet set, -1 Sailor Cred, and just really felt clumsy all day, I hope it wears off. I ate a big dinner, so maybe that will help.

New total would be : 7 Sailor Creds...but it's my birthday. Haha. Still got 10 Creds baby.

I've been a little homesick today. It's actually 6:30 pm right now, and I'm going to call home in 30 minutes. So hopefully they'll pick up. I think that will help. Ive just been missing everyone I love today. And above others...Asher and Lucy. I've been thinking of them saying “Ben Johnson!”, or “What's up Ben?”, or “Ben I love you.” Gah, anyways. (Sloan, or Les, give them both a big old hug from me.

Well, I'm done. Time for a birthday “Dark and Stormy”, a book, and bed. Adios.

Baby wipes do not substitute showers.

Day 4, June 13th

A happy Sailor Man.

This morning started like every other morning so far, weather report...coffee...oatmeal.

Chore time: The outboard on the dinghy broke yesterday, and it was my job to fix it. A little intimidated, I began taking apart the carburetor, I cleaned it and stuck it back in, then fixed the broken pull cord, re-assembled and placed back on the dinghy. First pull people...Gimme some of that!

So since then, I have come up with a sort of “Sailor's Cred” gauge. I was at 0 when I started, but after all the chores and lingo, and no major screw ups, I was at 5 Sailor Creds. Now, after the outboard repair, I'm giving myself 5 more points.

That means 10 Sailor Creds!!! Whoa!

Anyways, Sailor Creds will continue to be added up daily. Stay posted.

I am starting to realize the different personalities on this boat. Shirish is not confrontational, he's a thinker, very calm, and very mature...totally my opposite, haha. (That's why I have to do things, such as mooning passing cruise ships, when he's not around) When we try and do repairs together, he likes to step back and look at things for awhile, then act...where I am like “Let's just get the freaking thing off/taken apart/unscrewed/etc.!”

So, after the outboard repair, we went into St George to pick up our new crew member, Caroline!

Caroline is an absolutely wonderful British woman. Because of her “Britishness”, she was quickly in my good graces...not that it really matters. After lunch on Juno, me and Caroline went into St George together, because neither of us had been around town much. We had some great conversation, saw all the gardens and parks, checked out this old school church, basically touristy stuff, and then had a drink at the White Horse. She has sailed quite a bit, like 3 years in the Mediterrenean.

Next, I went back to Juno, Caroline went home (she's meeting us Tuesday). I played some Risk with the boys...and got absolutely destroyed. Crap.

Now I'm just sitting in the cockpit, reading, writing, and I started making a video (Turd threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't). It's difficult getting back into using a camera, but good. It's a great sunset tonight, check it out.

PS. The reason there aren't as many pictures is because internet access here is $6 for a ½ hour, and it takes forever to load a picture!

Bermuda Day 3

Bermuda Day 3, June 12th

“...Waves inside the reef, 1 foot, waves outside the reef, 2-4 feet...” I hear the familiar accent, a mix of Scottish, British, and Carribean that make up the Bermudian accent, and open my eyes. These words have become my new alarm clock. And trust me, it's a lot better than “BLALJSLH, BLAHSGHI, BLAHIUAGDKSN!!!”

I slept so good last night, until the massive rain storm at 12:30am...Let's just say that I now know what “Batten down the hatches!” means.

This morning consisted of coffee, oatmeal, and preparing for mornings chores/repairs. I find myself volunteering for dishes a lot, only because it's the only thing I know for sure how to do. It kinda sucks, but I think it's appreciated, and I like that.

After, Shirish and I set about the boat making repairs such as: Fixing the wind vane mount, rerouting some plumbing, replacing the bimini, cleaning the bilge, and pumping up the dinghy. Even little repairs like this help me get to know the boat that much better. And it feels really great to finally get my hands dirty!

After chores/repairs, we loaded up the dinghy and headed to Tobacco Bay. It's this sweet bay, almost all the way enclosed by rocks. I snorkeled a bit, saw some sweet a fish (Parrot Fish, Grouper, some others), I got to water solo rock climb a bit, immediately followed by some cliff jumping/back flipping.

Tobacco Bay (and the family)

Afterwards, we all went into St George's and I decided to play my “alone time card” (kind of like the race card, but for alone time). I parted ways with the family, found some cheap internet ($6 for ½ hour), and surfed the web for a bit.

It was nice having some alone time, much needed. Went back to the boat afterwards and got to shower in the rain!!! I felt like a kid again, and my hair got a much needed cleaning.

After a great meal and a “Dark and Stormy”, I prepared for bed, donned my Ipod, applied some Gold Bond, and am now relaxing in a very windy cockpit...

I really like it here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bermuda Day 2

Bermuda Day 2 – June 11th.

Before I start, You need to know that there is a parrot sitting right beside me, squawking like crazy. Freaking Bermuda.

Check this out:

Bermuda Shorts....Yeaaaaaaa

Well, I found the sun...it's in Bermuda. Luckily for me, I followed my mom's advice and wore lots of sun screen, or “sun cream” as it is known here. But no lie, that water I talked about seeing on the flight in...I swam in that crap today. So beautiful. The beaches here are incredible...Coral, Fish, Sun, awesome times. I'll get a picture of Tobacco Bay on here next time.

So we went on a tour of the island. I bought a Ferry/Bus pass for $12 and off we were. We started in Hamilton, the metropolis of Bermuda. (Basically only two towns in Bermuda, Hamilton and St. George, St. George is way chiller and way cheaper) We walked around a bit, saw the cool Naval Museum that had goats in it....random...and got to watch people blow glass. It sounds weak, but it was awesome! After Hamilton, we went to a Marine Supply store, and then went to the beach. Then came home. We drove all over the island, saw what we wanted to, it was great.

And now, after all day on buses, ferries, and feet, I am sitting in the cockpit of the boat, enjoying the cloudiness and the sea breeze. It's so peaceful. This feels like a vacation, which I am assured will turn into hard work as we get nearer to the trip.

Happy man in the cockpit

My view from the cockpit.

But it's dinner time (turkey/cheese quesadillas with a dark and stormy, the official drink of Bermuda).

I love this place.

AND... Here's Tobacco Bay:

And the Unfinished Church of St. George:

(taken straight from the daily journal of me)

Bermuda! Day 1

Ahh, Bermuda.

The flight in was unreal. The water here is so blue, it blew my mind!

So, I arrived in Bermuda, got through customs alright, hopped on a bus, and went into St. George to meet the Captain of Juno, Shirish Date, at the White Horse, this legendary Bar/restaurant that's been here for ages. After a $6 beverage, which I immediately regretted...but it was cold...I found Shirish, and we hopped in the dinghy to go to Juno, my home for the next month or so.

That's the dinghy...

And that's the deck of Juno from the bow. (Mom, the yellow lines running down the deck are the lines I will be harnessed into when we are underway.)

Do I sound like a sailor or what?

So, the boat:

It's unbelievable for a few reason. 1) How awesome it looks 2) How much stuff is on it 3) How small the space I now live in is. See...

My bunk

My stuff

I know now, more than ever, that this trip will stretch (or compact) me as much as I could've expected. Learning the processes of the boat take time, patience (especially since the 11 and 9 year olds know EVERYTHING about this boat...stupid kids), and a try or two to make sure you get it down. I mean, everything is so different. Food, lingo, the fact that it takes me 5 minutes to flush (flushing has been dubbed “pumping poop”), manners (literally, when it comes to bodily functions, there is NO shame). It's great.

The family:

Shirish – Capitan, writer, sailor, big word user, legend.

MB – Capitana, wife of captain, soo nice. She made me feel right at home.

Orion – This kid is going to cure cancer or something. He's a genius at 11.

Rigel – Just fun. Rambles about who knows what all the time, just to entertain himself. A bit moody, but cool kid.

I think I will like these people.

Anyways, when we got back to the boat, Shirish showed me some of the more common functions (flushing, making fresh water, starting the engine etc.), and we got ready to get some pizza in St. George.

St. George from Juno.

People...I ate a BLT...maybe a $3 sandwich in the U.S. In Bermuda it's $10!!! Yea, I agree, F that.

But seriously Bermuda is very expensive.

So, after eating, we came back to the boat to chill, I unpacked, and we got ready for bed.

Sleeping was hard. I was sweaty, it was muggy, I was burning up, I had to pee (but didn't because it seriously takes effort to flush), but finally I fell asleep...then woke up...then fell asleep...and so on about 6 times. I woke up at 6am...overjoyed. I never thought I'd be that excited to wake up at 6am. The best thing about sleeping the first night was my sheets...


But anyways, with some coffee and oatmeal, I was good to go for the tour of the island!

Side Notes:

1) Gold Bond is a life-saver. Seriously.

2) There is a “Tall Boat” race. By “Tall Boat” I mean like, awesome old pirate ship boats. Like this:

All over the place...So cool. This is actually a US Coast Guard training vessel called the Eagle.

Anyways, until next time.

(This post taken straight from my hand written journal...so enjoy it)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Here we go!


I'm all packed up, I have my passport, my itinerary, and I'm getting ready to go to bed. I wake up at about 3 am, to get on a plane in Greensboro at 6:30, to fly to Cincinatti, to fly to NYC, to fly to Bermuda, where I will meet Shirish (el capitan) and go to the boat, Juno. Juno is a 44 foot Alden, quite a nice boat, and home for the next month, at least. Oh look, a picture!

This isn't Juno, but it looks similar. I'll have pictures of it tomorrow though!

Well, I'm tired, and I've unpacked and packed my bag about 5 times now, just to make sure I had everything, I think I'm good. I've got my books, Ipod, camera, and jump-rope for entertainment on the boat. (Oh yes, you CAN jump rope on a sailboat)

Side note: When I return, I am going to make my living writing children's stories, the first being "Oh Yes, You CAN Jump Rope on a Sail Boat!" The protagonists will be Asher and Noah, and the antagonist will be......the new Yellow Wiggle, cuz he's a dookie boots.

Alright, off I go! Next post: from Bermuda! (If internet cafe's aren't too expensive)

Monday, June 8, 2009


It's my second day in Virginia. It's been a pretty weird couple of days. I packed up pretty much everything I own (I think I left a couple things...sorry Sloans), shoved it all in my truck, And drove up here...not for vacation...but to move out. It's kind of heavy knowing that I just moved away from Asheville. Bittersweet would be a suitable term.

So, until I leave for the trip early Wednesday morning, I actually have a pretty full schedule. Today, I have a dentist appointment (sick), some work up on my dad's property, and packing for the trip. Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment, more packing, and my birthday/Father's day dinner! Then it's an early night/early morning to get to Greensboro for my flight.

The trip...

Like I said, I'm finishing up my packing. I was pleasantly surprised 1)With all of the awesome gifts I was given from Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker, in Fletcher, NC (If you are in Asheville, make sure you go here, not REI) and 2) When I got to my parents place in Virginia, I had a new camera (Pentax Optio W60, waterproof), new sunglasses (Costa Del Mar TP2, tortoise frames, blue mirror lens), and a sweet Undertoad T-shirt (check out Undertoad @ http://www.undertoadcompany.com/).

Besides that, there's not a whole lot to talk about. Me and the Pops are about to leave to go look at chainsaws before my Dentist appointment (sick). But, I will leave you with a sweet video that I think you will enjoy....Actually, make that two videos. Check em.

This one is of a new film, 180 South. It's a trip, taken by Jeff Johnson, and inspired by the Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins' trip to climb Mt. Fitz Roy, in Argentina, back in 1968. www.180south.com.

This one is of Liz Clark, a San Diego native who took a 5000 mile sailing trip with her family when she was 11, and has dreamed of sailing around the world ever since. She left Santa Barbara, on her mighty steed (Cal 40 sailboat) Swell, in 2006, and has travelled, so far, south as far as Panama, the Galapagos Islands, and has been in French Polynesia for a couple years now. She has had some great adventures, and you can read about them here, http://www.swellvoyage.com/.

Hope you enjoyed those. I may post again before I leave, but if not, you will hear from me next when I arrive in Bermuda!!! Holler.

Oh, and, Turd Furg finally watched Braveheart for the first time ever...my friend is all grown up...a true man.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last Full Day in ASHEVILLE!


Today is the beginning of my last day in Asheville. In 24 hours, I will be in my packed out SUV headed to Virginia. I've figured out how to pack all of my stuff into a small duffel bag and a backpack...which is pretty impressive to me. I think I'm gonna smell real bad. But hopefully, so will everyone else...1) So I don't feel bad, 2) So our stenches will mix and mingle...and start to smell like home. Too much??? Hopefully salt air has some kind of anti-bacterial/anti-stench properties.

In other news, I finally got my freaking Arc'Teryx jacket that I've been waiting for. It got here a week ago, but everyone thought it'd be funny if they waited until my last day to give it to me...funny right? I hate these people.

Just kidding.

But seriously...Here's the jacket.

Friends...Family...Acquaintances....that thing is sexy.

So I am unbelievably excited right now. I put on War Paint....Seriously, check it out...

Awesome...I'm so bored right now.

But seriously, Asheville...you have been good to me. I hope I enjoy this last day in your warm, loving bosom.

I'm ending on that note...(single man tear.....crap, pulled a Sloan again)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This is Awesome

Check out the link. 

Ben's Trip

So, this is a link to the boat's complete course. My dad will update it everyday, so you should just be able keep clicking on the link and checking out where the boat is.

The List

Before i get to "The List", I have to tell you about my dream last night.

First off, I am congested and feel like crap, which sucks (But I did use a "Neti-Pot" last night....they work, I was surprised). But I think it was due to the mixture of congestion and Nyquil that I had an unbelievable dream...I had chest hair. I know what you may be thinking...How does a man as manly as "The Johnson" not have chest hair??? Well...It's a question I've asked God many a time, and He thought it best to bless my dreams, instead of my reality, with a chest full of luscious, thick, brown hair. And that's all my dream was about, or at least all I can remember.

Let that bless you. If you're wondering about the hand on my belly...It's God's. He's rubbing my belly. And yes...God does, in fact, wear a watch.

Alrighty then.

The List...of things I am going to pack. If you can think of anything else, by all means, fire away.


3 pair of shorts
1 pair of long pants
1 long sleeve shirt
2 bathing suits
1 set of good clothes (casual)
Underwear and socks (optional)
1 pair sneakers or deck shoes
1 fleece shirt
1 set of foul weather gear (pants and jacket)
1 Pair of work gloves (aka my hands)


2 towels
Liquid soap/shampoo


Sunglasses (polarized w/ strap)
Insect repellent
Sailor’s Knife
Ziploc Bags
Moisture control crystals


Camera (Waterproof)
Computer (Mac)


Customs Letter for Bermuda

And the best thing is, I can fit all of this in a relatively small duffel and my backpack!

The only other things I know I'm taking are books, so if any of you have any good ideas, please indulge. (If you know of any 1000 page books that are awesome and not boring, they take up less space and more time) I know I'm somehow going to fit The Chronicles of Narnia audio books on my Ipod, but that's all I've got so far.

I starting packing everything up from the house yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I had way more stuff! So I pretty much cleaned out the whole man cave of all of my stuff, packed a Tupperware container, and put some clothes in a bag. I called it a night when I realised that, for the past 10 or 15 mins., all I had been doing was picking things up and putting them in a different spot...

So, a good start to the week, besides congestion, and I am more excited than ever!

AND...I watched The Man From Snowy River last night....Holy crap people, great movie. Men, go watch it. It's about this orphan, Jim Craig, and how he has to prove himself to these other mtn. men, so he can claim his inheritance. It's awesome. Great quote:

"I think a man could sooner hold back the tides than tame the mountains."

It's good, It's good.