Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where is Zac? A Parent's Worst Fear

G'day to all,
The last 24 hours have been very difficult. As most of you know, we are in communication with Zac on a daily basis; we speak twice daily in the late morning and late evening. All safety aspects of the vessel, current conditions and what is coming weather wise are always the hot topic as are situations back here with family, friends etc.
Yesterday we heard nothing from Zac at the appointed time to call. We are not too alarmist so didn't think a whole lot about it, although in the back of our minds we were hoping that everything was going well for Zac. As time pushed on a mild anxiety prevailed. Every time the phone went we raced to it with the anticipation that it was going to be Zac only to have our hearts sink with disappointment when it wasn't him. It was the opening of the AYSO soccer season yesterday and as a coach for Jessie's team (U10 ) and assistant coach for Toby's team (U12) the games provided a good distraction for the family from are growing concerns.
Throughout this journey Marianne and I have had a few of those awkward discussions of what would happen in the unlikely event of disaster overtaking Zac. Many times throughout the afternoon we exchanged glances and the look from Marianne troubled me. I had told her in the past to be prepared for days where there would not be any communication due to equipment failure. I tried to comfort her with the reminder of these conversations.
It had been eighteen hrs since we last heard from Zac. Conditions were fair with the lightest winds he had experienced in a month. What could have gone wrong? We decided to start taking action. Zac is very responsible and would have made every effort to touch base with us. Aside from his Iridium satellite phone, he has SailMail (email service) through the SSB (single side band radio) via a Pactor III modem. He also has SSB radio contact with other vessels that would have been able to relay back to us via email. It would be very unlikely for all of these systems to go down suddenly and at the same time. We took his last known position and projected his course to next way point, taking into account lapsed time, speed of the vessel and conditions. We could figure out where Zac should be. Were we being hasty or was our son in need of help? We tried contacting the yacht club in Port Moresby to see if they could contact local shipping in the area but there is no organized marine safety organisation there. We contacted any and all missionary pilots we could find out of PNG. It was already Sunday there and we had very little success.
We began to put out prayer requests, contacted other cruisers with SSB radios and Aussie customs organisations that fly in that area. There were many emails and phone calls made during the course of the evening. We had not called for a full blown search at this time.
Situations grew worse when we contacted Linda at Clearpoint Weather. She is the Iridium phone expert there. She was able to get Zac's call record directly from Iridium. It was not good news. His last call was to Mike, our team eletrician, at 2:00am (our time). The call put Zac's position way off course in amongst a heavily reefed area. Were our greatest fears being realized? We checked and double checked the information. The question on both of our minds was how accurate was the information? We called back to Linda who assured us that the location given by Iridium was known for being very accurate and was often used by search and rescue teams. Had Zac's quest to become the youngest man to sail around the world alone met ill fate? Was Intrepid on one of hundreds of reefs in the area?
The family mood had been somber throughout the evening. The children had gotten ready for bed and one by one fell asleep on couches, seats and futons. Nobody wanted to leave for bed without hearing that Zac was OK. It was late and we were emotionally drained. We prayed one more time before attempting to launch a full on search and rescue. If the boat had sunk the automatic EPIRB (emergency beacon) would have gone off. We knew that Intrepid was afloat. We looked more closely at the coordinates that Iridium had provided but could not understand two things: why was Zac was so far off course and how had he traveled so far as to be on top of those reefs?
We began to contact Cairns Australian Coast Guard for a full blown search and rescue when an email flashed across our monitor. "Hi mum. I'm OK ." We could hardly believe our eyes. Relief was an understatement. We shot him an email back asking him to check his position but heard nothing.
The evening had been nearly more then we could bear. We went to bed relieved to know he was alive and that he hadn't fallen overboard or been absconded by rascals but wondering if he had somehow miscalculated his position.
In the morning we had an email from Chris and John from Moana. They are currently a few days out of Cairns, Australia, their homeport. They had spoken to Zac at length on the SSB radio and though he had had some trouble with his sat phone and email, he was sailing along comfortably at 5-6 knots and undaunted by his communication troubles. Carey and Ted from Majuro had also made contact and gave us his latest position which was on course for his way point. Praise God for modern technology, a cruising network of true friends and God's goodness. A heartfelt thanks to all that helped during our communication ordeal . We still have not gotten to the bottom of why Iridium's position for Zac was so far off or why Zac's email isn't functioning well. The sat phone fell into the sink (and an inch of water) when Zac was running up on deck to tend to a screaming fishing line. It isn't dead but isn't working either.
Zac should be entering the Torres Strait this evening. His efficiency will be somewhat limited because of his communication problems. It will be a true test of his ability to navigate to get himself through there without the instant communications that he is used to. Please continue to keep him in your prayers and we will keep you all posted as we receive more information.
One drained father-of-seven,


Blogger Peter said...

Hi Laurence and family,

It was such a shock to find your new posting tonight, and to hear the news that you were out of communication with Zac. I had not received any prayer request, and I'm sure we were all just waiting to hear again from Zac.

While reading your excellent post, I was on edge and not looking forward to the end of your blog. I have never stopped praying for Zac's safety, and I am so glad you had others praying for this particular situation. I am grateful to God for Zac's contact with you, and to know he is all right.

I can't even imagine what your family has been through this weekend, and am so sorry for you all but am so glad you got to find out what was going on. I will keep my prayers going for you all and hope the news can improve in the coming hours.

Thanks Laurence for taking the time to update us all. The love for your son pours out of your blog. Zac is quite blessed to have such a wonderful family. YOu all to care, ok?


September 7, 2008 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Laurence and Marianne... You do know how to write a blog in such a way to very effectively convey what I am certain was a very difficult time. Hugs to both of you and prayers to Zac.

I know Torres has long been expected to be a real challenge, and I know now it will be high stress for the family as Zac makes his way through without standard communication. I know nothing can be said to make it easier for you, but know there are many others out here being anxious in our own way.

Zac, if you read this, know that there are many prayers good wishes and positive energy coming your way. Stay safe - and stay hydrated...


milford, ohio

September 7, 2008 at 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God that Zac is OK! My heart is still racing after reading your blog, Laurence. The ordeal you and Marianne (and your children) went through must have been agonizing. I will continue to keep Zac in my prayers, as always. Sir Laurence and Lady Marianne are there as well.

With great relief!

Sherman Oaks,CA

September 7, 2008 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Thanks for the update, I have been on the edge of my seat reading your post. I too have been praying for Zac, knowing the difficulty he has had with the fuel tank etc during the last week.
Hopefully by the time you read this post, Zac will have gone through the Torres Strait with ease. I think we will all be glad when he arrives in Darwin, so all of you can get some rest and relief.
God Bless

September 7, 2008 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger rbwilson said...

Laurence and family,

I was getting so gloomy reading your post I had to scroll to the bottom to make sure there was a good outcome! I then went through the entire entry in detail. Thank God everything is OK. I think it's time to buy TWO Iridium phones to take to him in Darwin!

You probably will feel like staying on the Intrepid when it sails out from Darwin after you see him!

Continued good wishes for Zac and the entire family,

Bob Wilson
Laguna Niguel

September 7, 2008 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

Many prayers for Zac. I confess after reading the first paragraph I had to skip to the end or have heart failure.

He is a stong, smart young man and a savvy sailor. He'll do fine.

Bless you both, Lawrence and Maryanne and all your new gray hairs!Hugs to you all!

September 7, 2008 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Laurence and Marianne,

GOD BLESS YOU - Do you drink wine? Please have a drink or two. I wish there was someway that you both could go to Darwin. I bet you're counting the minutes, hours and days Dad - just to get your arms around that boy.

In the meantime, "Hail Mary, full of Grace,..."

September 7, 2008 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger TomD44 said...

I can only imagine.. as you said "a parents worst nightmare".. your kid is sick or hurt and needs help.. and you can't get there. My wife and I have three kids and we feel for you.

As I read the story I was almost holding my breath... it looks like there is a happy ending.. but with lots of questions. Kind of like when your kid is late coming home and are not answering their cell phones.

ALl the best.. I'm kind of hooked on this around the globe stuff.


September 7, 2008 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

I have a good idea of how you might be feeling those helpless moments, doesn't matter their age be it 16,
26 or 36. Keeping you all in our prayers and thank you Laurence for the update.


September 7, 2008 at 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Donna H. said...

Laurence and Marianne,

I can't imagine what you have gone through this weekend. I'm so grateful that Zac was able to get off even a short e-mail to you, and that you received news from not just one but two sets of friends who had talked with Zac.

This has got to be one of the hardest things for a parent --- to give our children completely over into God's care. It's such human nature to want to protect them, and you both, along with all the members of Team Zac, have done everything you can to prepare him and make sure he has what he needs.

Thank you so much, Laurence, for taking the time to let us know what has been happening. My children and I will be among the thousands of people praying for Zac tonight and during the coming days and nights. You have an incredible son, and he and both of you are an inspiration to us all.

And Zac, when you get this, remember in those long days to come that you are never alone, that God is right there with you, no matter what is going on. You are lifted up in our prayers every day. You will probably never know most of us here on this earth, but you have a place in our hearts, and throughout each day we think of you, and breathe a prayer, asking God to watch over you and keep you safe.

Love and prayers for you all,

North Richland Hills, TX

September 7, 2008 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger MissWarren said...

Oh wow!!! I guess thats not the best place for the phone to try and go for a swim. I think most of us have had a phone that has tried to plunge into water at sometime. I had one fall into to loo once.
Hey Zac, if you have any rice or any of those little silica packs that keep things dry you can put it in a bag with the phone and it will draw out some of the moisture.
Glad to hear that Zac is fine and sailing along on his way to Darwin. I have a package that I need to get off in the mail tomorrow.
All of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

September 7, 2008 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger bakergirls said...

Laurence and Marianne,
Wow, your posting was a real cliff hanger. We are keeping you, your children and Zac in our prayers. Daily! We know the Lord will give him the wisdom he needs to get through the Torres Straits. He will give you the peace that passes all understanding. We were thrilled to hear he was alive and well.

The Baker Family

September 7, 2008 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Denny757 said...

Hello Zac & Family,

Boy you had us scared too. Thank the Lord that Zac is okay and continuting the journey. We will be anxious to hear the whole story of the communications block.

Bless you all,

Denny Finke

September 7, 2008 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

Dear Drained Father of Seven and Their Mother Too,

Your post was a 'page turner'. I, like others, couldn't take it and 'fast forwarded' to the end. Still, my hair is standing straight up and my eyes are all teary, but they are the tears that come from good news. I suspect you had the same reaction when you saw that that brief email on you monitor!!

As a dad, my empathy and compassion for you has no limits. God bless your entire family and may you trust in his will.

The boating community is a special culture. Thank God that Zac has networked with that group who can claim credit for your ability (and that of us Zac-Packers) to sleep for the next few nights.

Please advise us how long it's estimated to take to get through the Straits!!

Based upon events to this point, I can truthfully say that if ever I found myself between a rock and a hard spot at sea, and that includes succesully navigating the Torres Straits, I can think of nobody I'd rather have at my side and my helm than young Zachary Sunderland. And I know about Joshus Slocum, Sir Francis Chichester, the Pardeys, etc.

Looking forward to the next post.

The Croaker

September 7, 2008 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger KATE said...

G'day, that it is.
As long as he's alive and sailing,
and on course...and we know the weather is cooperating for a change. All is well really.
I am almost positive that he has dealt with a wet phone prior to this, he knows you have to take them apart and use a hair dryer, the oven, light power on the microwave...something to dry it out. Maybe Iridium should offer a back-up phone, I thought they gave him 2? One to keep in the microwave?...

You two etal must have been frantic, YES it sounds like you are. Nobody can blame you, we've all been there on occasion. But, the EPIRB hasn't gone off. We got a long way to go here. Of course, you have fears about what could happen along the way. And why he did not use the other avenues of contact, Sailmail, SSB
contacts, he's 16...probably is
doing what he should be doing, sailing...he has no clue the amount of panic that will exist if he doesn't check in one way or another at the prescribed times is strange he has not used email more.

(Side Note: As a Mom and an Aunt I just realized you two have not experienced the where the heck is my child? teenager mode yet, Zac's the oldest and doesn't drive...plenty of time to panic in the future!) By the time they all reach 18, you will start thinking all children should come equipped with an EPIRB!!

It would be ideal if another ship could eyeball him and let you know he truly is okay. Also, he should be on the Darwin net, along with the Sheila (they are more east coast, up to the horn AU). Isn't anyone from the Darwin net in touch with him?

I hear your frustration at his lack of navigational efficiency you feel will prevail through the Straits. Don't forget he does have charts...many have made it through on celestial navigation alone. Zac, is an accomplished sailor...he's is probably going to give this area his all, which means to beans with the communication problem...he's keeping an eye out for any little ripple of wave in front of him.
He fully understands the tricky nature of the Straits with the winds, the shallowness and those tides. He's been studying for this. He just might be in more panic mode than you two right now.
Fear is a great motivator, perhaps he is using a little fear to get him through.

Worrying does absolutely no good, like ever!
It a waste of precious time. Luckily, you have 6 other children to take care of. Sounds like you will have to stay in touch with Zac via relay from friends, unless he finds the time to dry out the phone. It could be worse, much worse. Currently, he's undauntedly sailing along it should be. He's just doing it the hard way, without communication.

So many unanswered questions, what fish?...Did he finally catch one?
Sending you my most positive vibe,
along with virtual prayers and hugs. Hang in there, we're all her for you. And thank you for keeping us in the loop.

September 7, 2008 at 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laurence & Marianne -

I have been reading the blog daily since Zac set off from home -- but up untill now, have never posted. Zac is an inspiration to me. He is an extraordinarily capable young man, and I'm sure he will make it through this time with flying colors. Anxiously awaiting your next post. And of course, you have my prayers.

Shalom aleichem -

Chicago, IL

September 7, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi There Zac, Laurence, and Marianne..
Rest assured, Zac is NOT alone, as you already know, there is an army of praying faithful lifting him up tonight. However, that said, we may all be white haired before he gets home!! I've already got a head start.. Sure glad that the current nightmare is behind you. Sounds like another great chapter in his forthcoming book. Laurence, you should have an insert with your vantage point. Excellent writing skills mate! Having a 20 year old son that is a full fledged mountain climber, we have had to endure some long periods of no communication knowing that he was on some 2500-3500 vertical rock face, and then making the decent after darkness... makes for anxious waiting to hear that first communication from him that he is safely back down. I have been to the point once of actually looking up the National Park Service emergency phone number to call for the search, and had it gone another 30 minutes would have made the call.... yep, got some gray hair that weekend. We will all be happy to get that word that Zac has passed safely through the straits.
Zac, now is the time to remember your mantel,,, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me".
Prayers going up here for good wind, safe and smooth sailing, the sense of putting Intrepid right where she needs to be, better communication, a running engine if and when needed, peace and reassurance for your family and the Pac!! Sail On Zac, Sail On...

September 7, 2008 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...


I've never skipped to the end of one of these blog entries, but after getting about 50% through Laurences post tonight, I couldn't stand it and jumped to the last paragraph...

What great relief to know Zac is safe, but such pins and needles about the sat phone / communications problems...

Daveh & Skipper

September 7, 2008 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Laurence and Marianne,

I just finished reading the blog entry again, and sit here truly amazed. I am a single person living alone, with nobody really but myself to live with every day, except for the contact with my family, friends, and coworkers.

Not only do you have all the responsibility of Zac's adventure, but SIX more children that need your constant love, care and attention. I just have no idea how you both manage.

I know that you rely heavily on the Lord, family and friends. It would be a great part of the story for you to share this part of the story too sometime in the future.

I realize more every day how important it is we all pray for you all, and also wish that if you can reach out to any of us if you need help in any way. Zac is in all of our prayers tonight. You can bet on that.


September 7, 2008 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Bacchus said...

I can't help but to think of the times that I scared the bejesus out of my parents whenever I didn't show up at home "on time" (before midnight) or at least call to let them know that I was still at a friends house, etc. All that out of just plain carelessness. I know they were probably scared to death, but us kids would never know.

Being on the other side of the world must be extremely excruciating when the regular updates from the sea fail to come on time. But a fish on the line is a valid excuse ;-). It's past time to show up the folks who caught that tuna a while back.

No worries, but God be praised. Y'all hang in there.

September 7, 2008 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger JohnK said...

This blog is getting off-topic. It should be about Zac, not about his parents.

September 7, 2008 at 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Jack M. said...

Whoa! More prayers going up here, for sure. You are an amazing family with an amazing son. ...

September 7, 2008 at 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Bilgerat101 said...

Glad to here all is wall
You have touth hem wall
he can do this or you would not let him go have fath in him
most kids would not have made the frist lag He can do this
this may soud bad it not ment to be his got moor in portin thing to do right now then call home
HE CAN DO THIS note to zack grat job keep it up

September 7, 2008 at 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

Hi Laurence & Marianne,

As I was reading your post, my heart was rapidly beating. I kept thinking positive thoughts and, thank God, it had a good ending. I can imagine what you were all going through.

We'll all be relieved when Zac makes it through Torres Strait and into Darwin. He has accomplished so much and will continue to do so.

We continue to pray for Zac's safety and for the Sunderland family. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Zac, God speed and keep you safe.

Dick & Gin

September 7, 2008 at 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oohhhhhh! okay, wow! what a post!

Laurence: thanks for posting that to keep us informed when Zac is unable!

Marianne: have a good nights sleep!

Zac: you're doing GREAT!

johnk: are you kidding? did you really say that in front of all us Zac Packers?? ohhh geeze! don't get us started!

Jen BC

September 7, 2008 at 11:25 PM  
OpenID rklein said...

What a nightmare! Thank god, Zac is alright. If only that Iridium position would have been better, you probably would have been a bit less worried. But it is good to know, that Zac has all the best emergency equipment money can buy. You knew he was afloat, and that he probably just had communication problems. Sometimes you just have to hope that "no news are good news". My parents had to resort to that a few scary times, when my sister was traveling alone in Asia.

All the best,

September 7, 2008 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...

Hi Laurence and Family,

Glad to hear everything is OK. I was sitting on the edge of my seat too and now I understand how my friends and family felt. We've been off cruising for five years now and our initial communication was only through the SatPhone.. no email or blogs.. nothing else. I always wondered why the phone was answered by someone who sounded like they had sprinted to get there.

Well that was the first year. Now we have email, a website, blogs AND a tracking map so anyone can answer the question Where's Billabong?. Now when/if we call we usually get an "oh.. hi", and WE are the ones thinking "hey don't you want to know what's going on?". The comfort level has gotten much better on both sides.

I'm SURE Zac's panic (if there was any) was all about your comfort and making sure that YOU were ok. He is a tried and true sailor, tested by the elements and the ENTIRE Pacific Ocean (I noticed you changed the blog sub-title to Coral Sea :):) )

I loved the Kate's in-site into the "Where's my child?". I've haven't experienced that from the parents side yet, but I guess I have been the focus of that topic for years now (I'm 41 and it never stops). Maybe on Zac's return you can get the entire family sponsored by the of Spot tracker.

Having experienced all that this great world has to offer (including some reportedly dangerous places like the Red Sea, Yemen, Sudan, the Mallacca Straits and Indonesia), I feel more comfortable on my boat in these foreign places than back on land in my home town. It's all about your comfort zone and coming to terms with what you can/can't control. A cruisers mentality is to always to be thinking "What if?". If you take that mentality and REALLY think about all the things that could go wrong ON LAND, you'd drive yourself crazy.

I'm sure your next in person HUG with Zac will feel all that much better!! .. and please give him one from the Zac-Pack.


September 7, 2008 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Rory Gogan Singapore said...

The BEST email U ever and will ever get I reckon!

NFL for Zac:
SD 24:CAR 26
Den plays Oakland I think about 2:15 pm Torres Staits time your Tuesday. DeMarcus still #2. U might be able to catch it on the SSB Armed Forces Radio.
Brady tore his ACL, out for season.
Falcons QB stepped up! ATL 34: Det 21

So did U catch that fish or not? :-)
Stay safe brother!

September 7, 2008 at 11:52 PM  
Anonymous Debbie said...

When the day passed, and there was still no message from any of you, I myself, began to wonder if everything was all right. And, then when I checked just recently and started reading the update ,I suddenly felt my heart drop, and couldn't read fast enough, hoping as I read there would be good news at the end. You Zunderland's are such good writers!! Thank you so much for taking the time to update when your anxiety level was at it's highest!! My eyes started tearing up fearing the worst, but was so relieved that you had made contact with him. My heart is still beating fast as I write to send you my love and heart felt relief!!
I will keep praying for Zac, as always, but an extra special request tonight to help get him through the Torres Strait. His sailing ability will get him through. I have a lot of confidence in him.
Love to all the Zunderland's. I will be anxious myself to hear about his communication ordeal. Hope you can all get some rest!

All my best,

North Hills, CA

September 8, 2008 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hello Sunderland family

Thank you SO much for the update; I have to tell you I was on the edge of my seat! Truthfully, I was terrified! I can't even imagine what all of you were going through as you waited to hear from your beloved son. I know these thoughts have been expressed over and over, it just shows how much we care for "our" Zac!

Praise be to God he is safe. I'm sure all the prayers sent will continue to protect Zac as he continues on his quest.

Many blessings to all.
Waterloo, NY

September 8, 2008 at 2:07 AM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Between Mom's hospital stay w/the ensuing infections after her surgery & the title from Sir Laurence’s post – it’s no wonder I won’t be sleeping tonight, but on my knees in prayer! Sweet Heavens! Had me half-scared to death – had to re-read the blessed blog twice to make sure I hadn’t mis-read it. God Bless Capt Zac! I do admit, sure makes for a chair gripping read.

JohnK – you do know how to P**S off peeps don’t ya?!? I won’t slam ya beyond that.

Lady Marianne & Sir Laurence, y’all, Team Sunderland and Capt Zac are most assuredly in all the ZacPac’s prayers. God Bless y’all’s ever lovin’ hearts!

My heart’s still racing after that one!

Back to my knees! Thank Heavens Capt Zac & y’all are okay.


September 8, 2008 at 2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God that Zac is OK and was able to contact you. Still following and praying in Brazil!

September 8, 2008 at 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a cliff hanger.. Glad to see that all looks well for the time being..

Truth is we are all a little bit spoiled by the modern technology and when it's not there we find a big black hole filled with ?????

I'm sure Zac will be fine with his travels with or without the sat phone..

He has proven to be a very smart as well as cautious young man..

My heart goes out to the family for there justifiable concerns.

I too was worried when we don't see any posting for several days..

This story has become a part of my everyday life checking in for updates on the adventures of young Zac Sunderland and Family..

Best wishes to all of you..

September 8, 2008 at 3:21 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Laurence and Marianne-

Oh prayers going your way and Zac's as well. As the mother of a 17 year old I can't imagine the courage and love that it has taken for the two of you to encourage Zac in this journey. I tend to panic when the child is late getting home!

I will continue to pray for safe journey for Zac and peaceful sleep for you!

September 8, 2008 at 3:27 AM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

Laurence and Marianne plus six,

Just a thought:

Zac is dealing with the reality of being where he is and doing what he's doing -- a pretty darned well it seems.

His poor family is back in California dealing with their imaginations which can run amok in free form.

There is a lot of religious talk and references on the blog. I simply trust in God and talk to him frequently -- and yes, Zac's name does come up, but out every action is based upon a decision and we must enjoy (or not!) the consequences. God presented Zac to you with a good brain between his ears. You have guided its development and Zac is using it. More good work, Sunderlands.

And to the schmuck who complains that the blog about Zac is becoming more about the parents, I'd like to say, "Go soak your head ... or get a family so you'll know what this is all about. We are all fellow humans having a fantastic voyeristic experience through Zac, but many of us are also parents and we are sharing the experience and concerns that any parent would feel. It's called empathy and compassion. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Participation here is a choice."

The Croaker

September 8, 2008 at 4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

byTeam Sunderland,

I had a feeling all day yesterday that something was not right on the ocean front. Unlike everyone else, I was scared to skip to the end of the post. I am so glad that all is well in the end.
We did not have all of the current communication systems on board when we were sailing and I can only now realize how our parents felt when we were at sea for 30 days or overdue in a certain port after a long passage. We were young and inexperienced and we had no idea of the panic that we were causing at home. Until now.

Your son is very capable and will sail through the Staits with flying colors.

Thank you Laurence for your update. I am sure that you were not much in the mood for writing at the time. I know you may not have much communication with Zac for a while but please keep the Pack updated when you can.


JohnK... Can not believe you said that??? The blog is about Zac... his family is a part of what makes Zac who he is. Watch out the Zac Pack is going to cream you for that one!

September 8, 2008 at 4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that you are OK. Don't forget to the try the rice with your sat phone - like you did with your Ipod earlier in the journey. I had my brother-in-law do this with this wet phone after I read about it in this blog - it really worked!

September 8, 2008 at 4:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Zac and his amazing parents,

I can't imagine all of the things that went through your head this past weekend. It must have been a very long one. My heart goes out to your entire family.

Laurence, your account was riveting and I was certainly glad to find a positive ending. My heart felt so heavy and I had tears as I was reading your post.

As we are all aware, electronics are nice, but cannot always be counted on. Sometimes things just have to be done the old fashioned way. Glad that Zac was able to be in contact with friends on Moana.

I know when you all meet in Darwin, it is going to be one long hug. It will be very difficult to let him go.

Lots of prayers and positive thoughts to Zac and Team Sunderland.

TO JOHNK: You may be fairly new to this blog. If you go back and read pasts posts, you will realize that although this IS Zac's blog, Zac is Zac because of his amazing parents and friends.

Zac's sailing skills will help him accomplish his goal, but the support of his family, friends, Zac Packers and lots of prayers (and I am not a religious person, but becoming one after reading this blog daily) will also help get him to the end of his rainbow.

Linda and Bill
Washington DC

September 8, 2008 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

To JohnK... Fear not - this is all about Zac and Zac's quest; the over all experience and that includes the experiences of Zac's family, IMO. I think if you read through the blog since departure you'll see it's mostly postings from Zac and comments to Zac. This particular episode points out the differences in relative experiences - Zac might not have been over concerned about the lack of communication and was just tending to the business of sailing through Torres; meanwhile, back at home there is worry teetering on an all out meltdown. Again, all part of the experience as a whole.



September 8, 2008 at 5:07 AM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Hi Laurence.

It's great to hear that everything is ok with Zac. Maybe a stupid question but can't Zac use the Spot to send an "OK" signal. At least it would show you how fast he is going where. It looks like he is in an area with coverage.

@ johnk
I think you missed the seriousness of the situation.


September 8, 2008 at 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Tim Harding said...

Hi Laurence and Marianne,

I've been away on my own adventure to Alaska and now I'm back I was keen to check on Zac's progress.

What a shock! Well done for maintaining your sanity! I have four sons (one lives in Alaska) and they've all been in scrapes but are fine right now. Not knowing and waiting for news is very tough. You rightly have every confidence in Zac but disaster can strike even the best prepared. Thank heavens he's OK and it appears that equipment malfunction seems to be the root of the problem.

We should have assumed that all along but I know only too well how easy it is to let yourself consider the awful, bleak, theoretically possible scenearios.

If I were a betting man I'd put money on Zac's safe and timely return to MDR but I'm told it's unsporting to bet on a certainty.

Have a stiff drink and a good night's sleep, you deserve it!

All the best, Tim

September 8, 2008 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Laurence & Marianne,

Thank goodness everything is all right with Zac. I can see where Zac gets his writing ability from. I thought Mom was great at it and since we don't hear much from Dad it made me believe he's too busy with all the technical stuff. Laurence your story telling on this post was a huge scare, kept me on the edge of my office chair, and in the end a sigh of total relieve.

I'm so sorry your whole family had to endure those 18 hours without any communication from Zac. I know the whole family especially Mom & Dad must have been worried sick about Zac and his actual location. Thank God everything is all right and his location was incorrect. It's great to know our young Zac is safe and heading towards Darwin.

Laurence thank you so much for these heartfelt updates. Your writing of this blog was great even though it scared us dearly you did a great job. I hope you both are keeping a log of these events especially the last few days worth.

I'll continue praying for Zac and the whole Sunderland family. Hopefully you'll have some peace in your hearts knowing Zac is going just fine. Thank God he keeps in contact with his sailing friends on the radio. Sometimes we receive blessings from places we never thought possible.

Try and relax a little bit today because you have been through so much these last few days. I know this isn't very important but did Zac catch that fish!!! Great writing Father of Seven, please rest a little bit today especially Mom. Can't wait to hear from Mom again.

Sail On Zac,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

September 8, 2008 at 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Zac and his family,
I learned about Zac's quest in an Internet headline a couple of months ago, and I want you to know that I look forward to checking the blog every day and following Zac's progress. I think he is so brave for attempting the circumnavigation, and you, his parents, are so brave for letting him go. This week, I am delivering my 18 year old daughter to college, 1,000 miles away from our home. The separation is a physical pain that brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of it, even though I am excited for her to begin this new chapter of her life. I can't imagine what you must go through waiting for Zac's phone call, knowing that he is at sea, alone. And I laughed when I read his message to you, "Hi Mum. I'm OK." As a parent of two teenagers, I know well that feeling of imagining the worst when they don't call or don't come home on time, only to receive a nonchalent text message that all is right with the world. I was on the edge of my seat reading your blog, and I'm so glad that your boy is OK. Please know that you have a friend in Boston who is watching Zac's progress and praying for his success. He is an inspiration to us all!

September 8, 2008 at 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zac, Mom, Dad, and Zac's brothers and sisters,

Just like all the others, I'm sitting here reading and re-reading your post with tears running down my face for a young man I don't even know yet think of every day! I have two sons with one on his own but living close by. If push came to shove I could track him down because he's on land. I cannot even begin to imagine your fear (it's a rotten thing, isn't it??) when there was no communication and the world is big. Yet, alas, his friends came to the rescue and let you know he is on course and ok. Whew!!!

I recall several posts where Zac wrote that he was studying the straits. I've been studying. I need to go study. I trust he has done that very thing knowing he is alone (with God's guidance) making that journey through the straits. He never would have embarked on this trip if he didn't believe in his very refined skills. And you never would have let him go if you didn't believe in them either.

Please please please keep us posted out here in cyber land, contact or not from Zac so we know how to pray. I live in MN but I tell you what -- I'm saving my money for a trip to California to see this young man enter that port at HOME. Better have lots and lots of kleenex available ... we are all going to need them to wipe our tears of joy!!

Hang tough knowing there is a HUGE Zac Pack out here praying for you all.

Brooklyn Park, MN

September 8, 2008 at 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Laurence & Marianne & family,
You all have another friend in Boston - me. I've been following the whole adventure. When I read the title of the latest post this morning, my stomach turned inside out and tears formed in my eyes. I'm a mother and I've already been through the teenage years once (just entering round 2 with child #2), so I know all too well the anxiety that comes from not knowing where your son is and if he's safe. I'm sure that you knew this might happened when he set out, but nothing really prepares you for the actual event. I'm glad things are ok for now. My good thoughts are with Zac and you, and for a safe landing in Darwin. -Michele

September 8, 2008 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...

Team Sunderland,

Thanks for sharing a little bit of the emotion and concerns that you experience every day. I believe that the ZacPac and I continue to pray for Zac's safety every day regardless of the wet phone and the unknown. I feel drained after reading your post and can only imagine what the time was like for all of you.

Darwin should be a time of great celebration for Zac and Team Sunderland!

September 8, 2008 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Oh, lord. I had to take my heart medicine after reading that. Fortunately for me, the torture only lasted a few seconds while reading the blog post. For you to have to endure a whole day of that, I know as a parent, it must have taken everything out of you.

I'm so glad you have relative comfort now.

Santa Monica

September 8, 2008 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

"Whew" is all I can say. Hope you dont have to endure that again, but I am glad you've mentally prepared for it as best as possible. Well done.

September 8, 2008 at 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Many time throughout the afternoon we exchanged glances and the look from Marianne troubled me." Upon reading your words I stood up and began to pace around my computer, unable to read on any further. Whispered prayers passed my lips as I felt helpless and read on.
I'm so happy to know that Zac is doing well and is now navigating the straits. I am sorry that the SAT phone is inoperable at this critical time. I am comforted at the fact that I know Zac has good instincts and has studied for this part of his journey. I am also comforted by the fact that he is able to communicate with Moana, which we will all be relying on greatly until Zac arrives in Darwin.
As for Johnk; Zac's kinda busy right now trying not to beach himself and his boat onto a reef somewhere. As a singlehander I'm sure he stays pretty busy. I'm happy to read a post from his folks anytime they have something to say.
On a lighter note...did he catch that fish? If so, I hope it was good eating! That is one expensive fish dinner!

in Torrance

September 8, 2008 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having both lived and sailed in that area and given Zac's long experience both with sailing and this particular boat I was somewhat surprised at your reaction simply because you hadnt heard from him in 24 hrs. The authorities would not have launched an expensive SAR operation after such a short period of time with no contact. Sometimes shit happens and you are simply too busy to worry about having to make an "I'm ok call" every day to keep folks at home happy and not worrying.

I do realize of course that Zac is quite young and he is your kid so the concern isvery understandable. I might suggest though that given some of the long stretches that lie ahead that you moderate the concern somewhat and let the kid do what he does best...sailing the boat/taking care of problems as they arise/and communicating with both you and the blog when he has time..I'd wait a few days at least before attempting to convince authorities to launch any searches since the cost of that search if it in fact turns out to be a false alarm will be billed to you...something to consider in the future. The boat is well equipped, there are Plan A and B communications systems, he has an EPIRB so just relax and enjoy the adventure that your son is creating for both imself and you. Its a great thing he is doing so just let him go out and enjoy it.

All the best and I know he will do just fine.


September 8, 2008 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Laurence and Marianne,

God's grace through this has not only been sufficient, but overwhelming!

Praise God for the communication - I'm glad to hear Zac is alright!!

I pray the Lord will build a hedge of protection around your son, and see him safely through this amazing feat!

Stay the course, brother!!

September 8, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

Laurence and Marianne,
Thank you so much for letting us know that Zac is okay.
I read your post with fear especially after the heading. But as soon as I saw "Hi Mum, I'm ok" tears of relief started to flow and I resumed breathing.
I'm so sorry you had to endure those 18 hours of anxiety.
As always I will continue to send good thoughts and prayers to Zac and the Sunderland family.
I look forward to reading that the Torres Strait is behind Zac.
Be Safe Zac!
Tucson, AZ

September 8, 2008 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

Laurence & Marianne,
Gee, had it not been for the concern of the subject, Zak, that would have been one of the most exciting cliffhangers I ever read!
I hope and pray that you do not ever have to write another however, Laurence.
God Bless you guys! Take a deep breath and know that there are many of us out here that are praying daily for Zak's protection and provision and are always at the ready for you and him.

September 8, 2008 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Great to follow this adventure! Certainly spurs the imagination. But doesn't God have better things to do than watch over an obviously privileged young man sailing the globe? I don't get it. (And I'll save you the trouble), I never will. Zac will succeed based on his own intellect and skill, technology and support from his family. Good luck!

September 8, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Laurence,
You really know how to create tension in your writing. I too had to scroll to the bottom of your post to know Zac was ok. Hopefully Zac will be thru the straits soon and he can enjoy clear sailing and the family peace of mind. I've heard the Gulf of Carpenterie has excellent fishing too. I hope he landed that fish after the sat phone went for a swim.

September 8, 2008 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger KATE said...

The Sunderlands:
Anything? News from the other cruisers? Any more emails?

If not, Lawrence, take a deep breath, remember back to the days when you were first learning to sail and there was no sat phone means of communication. You learned, you survived and you passed the skills down to your son. His skills will prevail, he is strong.

Any dribble of communication, feel free to let us know.

Anxiously awaiting word also,

September 8, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger johnnyBgood said...

hello laurence, marianne and the entire sunderland family. i'm sitting here in my office trying to pull myself together after reading your post. i wasn't sure i was going to be able to get through the entire thing. PRAISE GOD! young zac is alright.
john baker/w hollywood/ca/USofA

September 8, 2008 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

It's always harder for those on land waiting for the words "I'm Ok." Zac knew that you would be worried, but there was not much anyone could do but sit tight. Modern technology is a boon and a bane to us all, something that is hard to live with, and hard to live without. Don't forget Zac still has his GPS and backups, so even if we don't know where he is, he does. Zac with make it to Darwin fine.

I know how easy it is to lose a phone on a boat, as I'm have the same thing happen to as Zac did. One lousy inch of water in the sink got my phone too, so I never lay my phone down in the galley...a lession learned.

September 8, 2008 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following Zac's trip since MDR and haven't spoken much. The ability to be in "constant communication" is both a blessing and a curse. (GREAT when it works and worrisome when it doesn't!)

My son (and new daughter-in-law) sailed from San Diego to the Marquesas last year...27 days with only periodic email contact BUT with position check ins via one of the radio nets.

I second one of the other posters, he's smart and careful, his boat is well equipped.....sure its possible to get in trouble, but my son came across families with children under 2 yrs old cruising the islands (albeit not PNG) with few real hassles.

Zac's trip will take constant courage on both is and his parent's parts.

My best wishes to you all.

Steve in Northern CA

September 8, 2008 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Thank God Zac is okay and on course! My heart leaped when I saw your post. Zac and I have chatted a couple of times online (in fact we talked on Sat. about TS Hanna blowing up through here and whether out boat was safe). I know how very hard it is to not hear and try not to worry. He is in my prayers and thoughts and I'm sure he'll handle the Straits as well as he has the rest of his trip to date. Thank you for keeping us up to date!

Annapolis, MD

September 8, 2008 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

Wow, in all the excitement and amazement at following Zac's journey I forgot to think about how truly dangerous an undertaking this is. Needless to say I am very happy to hear that it is "only" a communication problem.

Please know that there are a lot of us out here keeping Zac in our thoughts.

September 8, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hugs to all of you! Many are praying for Zach here in Iowa too. I pass some of his blogs on, and this one for sure! My heart is still in my stomach, but so thankful you heard he's okay. May this all work for great good and God's glory. Amen

September 8, 2008 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment is directed to Greg (Blundstone) in reply to the recently arriving comment under the "Of Goblins and Fairies" blog entry. (Greg's full comment may be
viewed by locating the entry at September 7, 2008 12:36 PM.)

By the way, I am NOT Zac, nor do I speak for him. But considering Zac's current level of activity at Torres Strait I hope its OK for me to address Greg's inquiries.

>Question: In the latest pictures,
>it show you have a 35 horse
>outboard motor now on board? Did
>you always have that?

The outboard seems to have been present well before the begining of the adventure. It is plainly visible in many of the photos posted under "Photo Gallery" on the
main page of the website.

I believe it is actually a "three point five" horsepower engine, not "thirty five"

>Or, was it just added, to possible
>that the place of your engine if
>it fails again?

Its probably not intended to use the outboard for propulsion of Intrepid. At least there doesn't appear to be a mounting bracket on the stern which would permit for that.

Its quite possible to place an outboard on the dingy and use the dingy for towing purposes, but this is something which most boaters do only for short distances and within harbors. It takes a long time for a small engine to get a heavy displacement boat like Intrepid moving at any significant speed. And towing via a dingy is not something which is practical in open ocean conditions unless its very calm.

September 8, 2008 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac(and family)

God, you convey what you must be feeling as a parent I was our children are precious. Zac is an inspiration and I love reading about his progress. You are in my prayers as is the family.

Good luck and may God bless with winds in your sails...moderate wind no gales.


September 8, 2008 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Oh thank God, thank God! As has already been said, I about had a heart attack before reaching the end of that post. Even reading some of the comments had me in tears. Zac is in my prayers always, and I also pray that you won't have to go through that again. Some of these feelings are so overwhelming I can't even write them - I'm a newbie Mom and almost can't even make my mind go there, as to how I would feel and react. God bless your whole family, over and over again.

To MS - I understand you may be trying to preach moderation, but as a parent, could you live with the outcome if the worst had happened and you did nothing but wait a prerequisite few days before even trying to search? My sister was lost in the NC mountains many years ago. After less than a day we started a full scale search that ended up being the largest manhunt in NC to that date, involving SAR from multiple states and the Army and National Guard. She was found 3 days later. It was said one or two more days could have killed her between the weather, lack of water, and wildlife (bears). Thank God we didn't wait. And I don't mean to speak for L & M or the rest of the Zac Pac, but cost be damned! Are you kidding? L & M - trust your instincts. We are behind your whole family and support you all the way. No one should ever think to second guess your decisions on an issue like that. Ever.

I am in awe of all of you - Sunderlands and Zac Paccers. It's wonderful to know the world is made up of people like you all (or "yall" as they say here :)

Raleigh NC USA

September 8, 2008 at 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my eyes welled,
my heart raced,
and my faith stretched,
even now the tears are running down my cheeks...
normally i read all the blogs and write...
not this tme...
we all live so contrived in our comfort zones...
not fully realizing "exactly",
the feat of this young Lindberg...
and the at times,
stretching of all' Team Sunderland,
its to easy to forget...
that at any moment calamity can strike,
even gremlins climbing into the engine, unawares...

and yet, we all "family",
all wanting to 'step up' and in any way,
'how', can we help...
definitely a back up iridium phone,
"emergency procedures"...
as the hours ticked by and light dimmed... faithlight and daylight,
and the wisdom for Zac to be in contact with Moana...

part of me wants to chuckle nervously
remembering Zac, to be 82 days away from his 17th birthday,
makes all this, even a more incredible feat...
and yet the dangers are all to real and lurking...

you're an incredible man Laurence, a man of great faith...
even now as you reflect and your heart is tested...

some Spiritual solace...
Hebrews 11:6
Genesis 15:6
Genesis 22
and of course
Esther 4:10-14

all of our steps are ordained by THE LORD, and you know in your heart of hearts, Zac's desire and skill and training and even being your's and Marianne's eldest son...
and his destiny...
sleep well assured that Zac is in the will of GOD not just in this quest of his, but also what lies ahead...

the mind of man plans his way
but THE LORD directs his steps..
proverbs 16:9

thank you so very very much Laurence for your transparency, during this time and being able to put to "word" your heart and emotions, for being real with your other family, 'the ZacPac'

know that you're all bathed in prayer every moment of the day

take care papa Sunderland
take care
and get some sleep... ;- )..

Sir Captain Zac,
surely is becoming the man,
but the process can be wrenching...

mark n adino,Vicksburg,Mississippi

September 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Daryl said...

Amazing! What an amazing account of an amazing young man's adventure. I can't even imagine: "We went to bed relieved to know he was alive." To even wonder about that sends chills down my spin!

from Iowa

September 8, 2008 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking at my T shirt---"Zac's World Adventure" ...indeed, indeed.

September 8, 2008 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl in San Diego said...

Please forgive me all, especially Zac, for spelling Zac's name with a K....I guess I was more upset than I realized! And I did it twice, YIKES!
I am very sorry!
Cheryl in San Diego

September 8, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

Wow! Scary stuff. Glad to hear that Zac is OK! Everyone hear at West Marine Channel Islands is pulling for him!

September 8, 2008 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Thank God that Zac is OK!!! I'll keep him in my thoughts and prayers and I'll wish very hard that Torres Strait will be easy and uneventful!

You've got us all behind you, Zac!!!


September 8, 2008 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huge sigh of relief... keeping you all in my prayers... Take good care Zac, Lawrence, Marianne, and younger siblings... Keep us posted! Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

September 8, 2008 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Franklin 5 said...

whew...we are so relieved and we praise God for his protection. We will continue to pray for Zac and for the family!

September 8, 2008 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger sgkuhner said...

My parents can relate totally to your anxiety at not hearing from Zac when he was supposed to call. In December of 1971, my wife and I left St Thomas in the VI Bound for the Panama Canal. The day we left we called my parents and told them of our plans.

At the time we had a 30 foot Allied Seawind Ketch with no electronics. We did not have a radio or any other way of communicating with shore. Nor did we have any electronic aids to navigation: we used a sextant.

On the way to Panama, we decided to make a detour to the San Blas Islands off the north coast of Panama. It was a marvelous detour and we felt like we were stepping into the pages of National Geographic. In the three weeks we spent there, we only saw two other sailboats.

When we finally arrived in Colon at the eastern end of the Panama Canal, we called my parents to say we had arrived. They had expected the call from us three weeks earlier and were besides themselves. They said that they were about to call the Coast Guard and demand an all out search for us. I told them that from then on, we would only call when we had arrived somewhere; not when we were about to leave. For the rest of our three year circumnavigation, they only heard from us and learned where we were, when he arrived at a new destination.

September 8, 2008 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger davejb851 said...

to the Sunderland Family,
Often it is the worst of problems, and the most stressful of times that bring those close even closer.
As parents I know the feeling of not knowing, and wondering.
Please if it's possible, and many believe it is...'Heaven forbid' that your home is darkened by circumstances.
Prayer has proved a powerful, and healing harbor for those in need.
Mine is added nightly, and now, at any moment Zac crosses my mind.
One often wonders, 'why right now, why at this moment and at this place?' Yet we all know that anyplace, and anytime would become the worst moment or place.
Miracles, and effort will not go unsupported, or answered.

September 8, 2008 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I just want to let Zac know that he is in my classes prayers. I am a 5th grade student and in a class of six.We have all been checking Zac's blog and keeping up with everything that goes on with his trip.Good luck Zac! -Kirsten

September 8, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I first read about Zac's trip in WORLD magazine last week. They didn't give a URL for the site/blog, but Google did :-)

It's good to know that the Lord is in control and that 24/7 access is free. I'm praying for Zac and for the rest of y'all.


September 8, 2008 at 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>light power on the microwave...something to dry it out.

NEVER the microwave unless you intend to fry the electronics completely.

I too wonder why Zac didn't use Spot to send an OK ? According to the FindMeSpot page he should be in a covered area ?

Fair winds to him !

-Sven in MDR

September 8, 2008 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

Come on, some of you guys. You're saying things that do not need to be said that planting thoughts that do not need to be thought. Oh ye of little faith!

I'm referring to the comments that imply that something horrendous could actually happen ... and other 'what ifs'. Everyone knows what the potential is if things do not go well, but most of us have kept up with Zac since before he left Marina del Rey and have read every word on his website .. more than once just checking on facts. Everyone of us who has done so will suffer greatly if Zac is injured, but on the other hand, we know the skills he has, the manner in which they were acquired, the resources and support he has available, and have enormous conviction that we are following an historic event in the making. We'll all celebrate when our young hero sails back in the mouth of MDR early next year. And we'll all be exhausted, but in a different way from Zac's exhaustion.

Please do yourself a favor and return to the home page of the website and read from the earliest entries which I think are dated from back in April. They lead up to his departure in June through his stops in Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Paupau, New Quinea, and to this point where he is working his way quickly and I'm sure, carefully, through the Torres Straits.

Of course there may be some out there who would be more comfortable on one of the craft sites dealing with Scrapbooking. If you can't handle this adventure and become a bona fide Zac-Packer, do yourself a favor and don't participate. It may get tense again. Hysterics get sent to the brig!

The Croaker

September 8, 2008 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa Wildenhaus said...

Please, don't write like that again! I felt sick to my stomach as I read your account of what you poor people went through! As a mom, I can’t even imagine. I am so thankful Zach is fine and you can finally rest. My husband warned me when I started reading Zach's story that I shouldn't follow it so closely because if anything happened to him, God forbid, I would be devastated. He knows me well. Unfortunately, from the first article I read I was hooked! I don’t go to bed without checking the blog. I have constantly nagged my husband about what could possibly be wrong with the solar panels or the engine or why Zach’s not catching fish. I have used Zach as an inspiration to the children I work with and as a gauge for how high they should aim for their futures. You are all in my thoughts.
I am so thankful you were writing a cliffhanger and not an ending.

Chico, Ca.

September 8, 2008 at 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOL--gasp out loud. Before clicking on my Zac's Blog bookmark, I had a strange feeling that he was not safe. Then read Dad's blog title. I know Zac sent his brief e-mail, which provided you some relief, but I am scared for him and for you, Mom and Dad. This is a public forum, so this is a dumb place to ask, but do you guys have some sort of distress code to secretly communicate in a dangerous situation? Like saying "mum" instead of "mom"?

September 8, 2008 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac and Family,
This is our first post but "we climbed on board" Intrepid just as she left San Diego and a day has not gone by that we haven't clicked our bookmark and checked up on your adventure. My wife and I started sailing 8 years ago and that experience makes your situation come alive for us.
Stay encouraged, if you come to Phuket or Lankowi we will come to see you in person.
So, keep up your courage, life is full of problems and challenges and it is all by HIS design. It is in these places that our relationships become real!
GO! Zac GO!
V and J in Thailand

September 8, 2008 at 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sitting here, frequently refreshing the blog, anxiously waiting to hear that Zac is safely through Torres Strait... or at least nearly through... before I can go to bed.

September 8, 2008 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Zach, we are learn about you in our class. How do you know how to sail?

May 9, 2009 at 8:30 PM  

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