Sunday, June 14, 2009

365 Days!

Position: 06/14/09 as of 1500Z 16 33.844N 101 39.224W

Today marks two milestones. First of all, I am half way up the coast from Panama to Marina del Rey and second it has been one year since I left Marina del Rey for Hawaii on June 14th, 2008. It has been a crazy year: I've crossed 3 oceans and 5 seas, crossed the equator twice, and covered over 23,000 nautical miles. I have stopped in some of the most remote places in the world making great friends and experienced the fury and beauty of the open sea. It has been a year of amazing adventure which I hope to continue for the rest of my life because I love to live life on the edge and to the max every day.

Thank you for all the emails and comments wishing me a happy anniversary. You guys are awesome! Other than my little recap of the past year, the wind has been out of the south though inconsistent. Today, the wind has shifted from 30 degrees off the bow to just off the stern. I have been able to make relatively good progress doing a lot of sail adjustments to make the most of the changing wind angles.

I just looked up at my radar screen that I have split between radar and the data page that shows boat speed and wind speed, depth and miles to the next way point. The depth gauge usually has a line after it when I'm offshore as the depth is in the 1000s of feet and is too deep to get a sounding. It read 80 feet. This can happen when the bow is out of the water like when slamming through a wave or heeled over far enough. But the depth continued to stay at 80 feet and then to 70 feet.

I double checked my electronic charts and they didn't show anything that would explain the reading. I dropped the sails and fired up the engine so the boat wouldn't be heeled over (not that it really was enough to effect the wind gauge. I motored around in a big circle but the depth stayed steady 60-70 feet. I didn't want to leave the cockpit so I called my friend Mike Crawford from Praxis Universal to see if there was anything on his chart. After giving him my position he checked Maxsea, a very detailed chart program, but there was nothing on his chart either. I am back on course now sailing along at about 4.5 knots with 78 feet on the depth gauge. Either this is an uncharted sea mount or there is something wrong with my depth gauge.

If there is one thing I have learned on this trip it is that the ocean is full of unexpected things.

I'll let you know how it pans out.




Blogger Arminius Advocatus said...

Woot! Congratulations for your first Sea-birthday :D

Good luck and Good Sail from the Land in front of you ;)


June 14, 2009 at 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...always the unexpected not far around the corner.
That's why we cannot become complacent with our prayers! We don't know... but we know someone who does!
Good job to keep vigilant and keep on top of all this 'stuff'....awesome.
Congrats on your year at sea.
It has been a fantastic time following you and learning so much.
It will be bittersweet when it ends. However, I am confident that we will soon be following another Zac adventure or two!

Stay safe.
UK friend

June 15, 2009 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depth question is easy! You are being stalked by an infatuated whale! However, if it doesn't come up for air . . . it's a submarine!

Seriously - congrats on the 365 days! Solo in a not-so-large craft - that's impressive progress!

Even more impressive when you consider the first circumnavigation took 3 years - (starting) with 5 ships and many crew!
Although I'm sure they would cite the lack of the Panama canal for their tardiness, perhaps being attacked by the Portuguese, a mutiny, the fatal consequences to their leader from trying to convert a native chief to Christianity . . . and no GPS - was in fact more relevant? How things have changed in 490 years!

At least being solo you don't have to fear mutiny - and you seem sensible enough to avoid the other problems! :)

Safe passage to MDR!


June 15, 2009 at 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed every hour with you. Hard to see that its been one year !!!What a story you can tell.TAKE CARE ZAC

June 15, 2009 at 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Dave (Bedfordshire UK) said...

It has certainly been an epic journey for you Zac, what a year!...I continue to be amazed when reading your blog, your ability to overcome problems with methodical thinking and maturity is something that is in itself, most inspirational.

Best wishes from me here in the UK on the final chapter of your voyage, heres wishing you a safe trip home.

Regards, Dave

June 15, 2009 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

One year on quest. Just a year older, but so much wiser and experienced than just an ordinary year.

It's almost done. I'll miss this experience. Thank you Zac and Mariann and Lawrence for sharing this with us.

Sail safe, Cap'n and stay hydrated!


milford, ohio

June 15, 2009 at 4:33 AM  
Blogger Rory Gogan Singapore said...

Your sailing Bud, Mike, is 3100 miles away from you at about 7 o'clock.

June 15, 2009 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger kenintoronto said...

It would be neat if Zac discovered a new Sea Mount. They could name it after him!

June 15, 2009 at 5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody in a submarine is playing a joke on you and running about 80 feet directly below you...?

June 15, 2009 at 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Brenda & Desi said...

Zac...Good morning, barely, where you are. I sent a blog to Southerly noting, @ 1:45 my time early-er this morn, in a little poem I jotted, that Mother Nature is always out there, churning & scheming. Till you actually come closer to shore, you might not know if it's her messing with what's down in the depths, or "the depth gauge". Bummer to lose it...especially navigating back to land. Just another challange on the "quest", a million different things (I'm sure you've mentally, literally, listed them all) A fire a day, I say. Just part of the plan, so plan on it. 80/20 rule.
Back to your anniversary...pretty impressive...25,000 miles. Wow. Can't even fathom. We're so proud, praying everytime we talk about you, hear your name, think of you. Have a great new year, enjoy all you've deserve it. Out of Atlanta, Mimi & Desi

June 15, 2009 at 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac: Wonderful accomplishment........God is on your shoulder. Sail well and wise.

God Bless

Balmoral Sailor

June 15, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher said...

Congratulations on an amazing year at sea! So glad you let us along for the ride, and look forward to your documentary, book, etc., to extend the journey... Take good care out there -- so close! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

June 15, 2009 at 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

A question for you, Zac: If you could name one thing that is different than what you anticipated a year ago, what would it be? Is this what/where/how you expected the one year anniversary to be like?

Sail on with full attention, no complacency, home is within sight.

Blessings to you!


June 15, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger LouAnne said...

My goodness. 365 days? It's been that long? Seems just like yesterday that my brother (now gone) sent me your blog site. He would have been as excited as I am that you are almost home!

Be well & stay safe!

June 15, 2009 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger johnnyBgood said...

congratulations zac! what a wonderful and exciting year you have had. your courage and strength of character are to be admired. homeward bound...yes you are.
john baker/w hollywood/ca/USofA

June 15, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Kevin Conant said...


Happy Anniversary and congratulations... You're an inspiration and a joy to allow us all to sail vicariously along with you. May God give you favorable winds to MDR. You say you never want to settle down, if you decide differently, you have everything it takes to be an excellent firefighter. Looking forward to your homecoming and hearing you speak when you get on the mainland. Thank you from a 31 yr. veteran FF and homeschooling dad of two teenagers.

June 15, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Congratulations on your one year anniversary on the Intrepid. I hope the blob of clouds I see directly over you on google-earth is pushing you along and not causing you any grief.

You're doing it!!

Not bad...not bad at all!


June 15, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger JBo said...

We are celebrating the same anniversary. We left Hawaii on June 14th and moved to Kansas. We were VERY bummed to have missed you in Honolulu!! We have enjoyed keeping up with your ocean adventures as we are trying to find adventures of our own in LAND-LOCKED Kansas. LOL

We continue to pray for favorable winds as you sail home! Wish we could hop over to Cali to see you land!

Jennifer for the Borgers

June 15, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger BritDee said...

What a milestone, Zac! all your hard work and determination!
Good for you and many congrats!
Sail safe and keep on amazing us!

June 15, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger STEVE B said...


What a great year! Your post got me thinking about when I first heard about and read your blog. I have not been along from the start but I believe I found your blog on June 20th and have been hooked every day since. I don't remember how I heard about your trip! I feel in many ways that I have travelled along with you to places, I feel embarrased to note, that I had never heard of. Some places I was familiar with thanks to Captain Slocomb and it was interesting to compare the two journeys. I even re-read his book during your trip. Having never been on a sailing vessel I have learned a little sailing lingo and have felt sickening lows (no-responses and ghost ships come to mind) but have really enjoyed following your trip.
Still praying for you...


June 15, 2009 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...


It's been a long but very exciting year for you. I'm sure it was full of joy, torment, happiness, and sorrow. You have come a long way and have grown up so much in this last year. Most people will never experience the mental growth you took on from 16 to 17 years of age.

I must admit that I loved following you adventure this last year. Even though I'm excited you'll be back very soon it's also a sad time. Knowing that this blog world and your adventure will be over very soon it will effect all our loyal blog friends we have known for the last year. Many have been there from the start of your great journey.

Sail Into MDR,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late with this comment, but, Happy Anniversary Captain Zac !!!!! I do remember how excited I was for you last year on this date. You have given us a great year, a year of adventure, fun, frightening times that we went to prayer over, wonderful, amazing answers to that prayer. I am so glad you have been safe and healthy for the last 365 and may that continue. I am proud to be forever a Zac Packer - long may we reign.

Sail on dear friend,
Bend, OR

June 15, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Zac,
I have been watching your progress for much of the trip and think that you are an amazing inspiration to many. Safe and adventurous journeys to you!
Mountain View, CA

June 15, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Anonymous dawn ziegler said...

I didnt get a chance to post yesterday so....Happy Anniversary.
It's hard to believe you've been gone for a year already and that we have been following you for a year now. WOW!!!
What will we all do when you are home and documenting your adventure?
Youre an awesome young man with great possibilities ahead of you.
Are you getting excited to be back home yet?
Dawn, Rebecca and Thomas

June 15, 2009 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Allyson Janell said...

Hurrah! Good going,Zac.

June 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger RK said...

Congratulations! What a year and thanks for sharing it. May may years like this come for you.

All the best,

June 15, 2009 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Buttercup said...


June 15, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary Zac! Normally you don't have anniversaries for how long they've been to sea so that is something!

Maybe a barnacle has hitched a ride on your sonar transducer?? That can throw off the readings. I hope I can make the return celebration.

I am moving my boat this weekend to a new harbor which is about a 6-7 hour sailing trip and that is enough for me!!!


June 15, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy R said...

Awesome, congratulations on your 1 year anniversary at sea! Be vigiliant and continued good luck!

June 15, 2009 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous CovingtonKat said...

Yo, Cap’n Zac! Really? A whole year has gone by? Wow!

I remember the first time I logged onto your blog…I think I was there just after the first newspaper article that came out about you…I thought, “Hey, I want to go along on this trip!” And I was so disappointed at each postponement of your sail away day…there was more than one, right?!? But I was glad that you were choosing to Do Hard Things even before you sailed – especially those needed to make the Intrepid as seaworthy and safe as possible for your journey. And oh what a journey (and year) this has been.

There are so many of us Zac Pac’ers who have been there since the beginning…staying with you as you stayed with your dream and your quest…I wonder how many of those virtual group hugs you felt….many, many were sent…and not only to you, but to your family as well.

So, Zac, you done good…a whole year at sea…making new friends along the way while making your dreams come true!! I wish you the happiest of anniversaries…this one will be hard to top! But somehow, I know you’ll keep trying to do so!

Blow, winds – BLOW…and go, Zac, GO!

June 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Zac, like so many others it is great to know you have had a fabulous year. Most of us have been following your adventure every day and living vicariously through you. And, like someone else has already said we will be waiting for the next adventure so we can all tag a long with you. Blessings as you stay focused on the final couple of weeks. Steve

June 15, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Dave (Bedfordshire UK) said...

You have achieved in the last 12 months, what many people would consider a dream!...your blog has been a very absorbing read, and I have sat here on many occasions wondering how on earth you have found the will and the strength to carry on with your voyage.

You are one hell of a guy Zac, and I really wish I could be there to meet you when you get back home......but as it is not to be, you have instead, my very best wishes, and regards from this side of the big pond. :)

Regards, Dave (Bedfordshire, UK)

June 15, 2009 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

@ Marilyn -

Thanks so much for your thoughtful post. I appreciate it very much.

As this journey of Zac's comes to completion, I am reminded of all of the wonderful people whose thoughts were posted here. Some made me laugh hysterically (Rory and Bill M.); some made me more knowledgeable about sailing; (Grant, John, Dave, Croaker and others). Others inspired me (Dave, Mark n Adino, Doug P and UK friend),and others became these wonderful, friendly voices who came to live here on the blog (everyone else)and I can't forget our dear, young friend, Parker Fritsch, who is doing the hardest work of all right now.

On a personal front, this last year has been filled with highs and lows. In the span of one year I lost my job and recently discovered that I have breast cancer.

One thing is for sure. And that is I will dearly miss this blog and the people who have participated. It is my hope that the site remains and that Zac will use it as a forum to let us follow him and his next adventure.

Woo Hoo! He's almost home. Can't wait to celebrate with all of you!

June 15, 2009 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

@Mimi & Desi your poem on the last blog was wonderful! Thanks for sharing :)

Sail on Zac! How excited you must be and maybe a little sad? Selfishly I'm kind of sad, I'll have to muster up some sort of life as I won't have your adventure to check daily! Well there is the book and the DVD to look forward to!

Be safe, have fun and above all be still and listen, God's angles are about you. <><

Waterloo, NY
Captain SV Wombat

June 15, 2009 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Jeffry said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 15, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Jeffry said...

Once again, your depth sounder is picking up different thermal layers of sea temp.

One thing I've learned about our oceans, is never to say 'you've seen it all'

Can't be done!



June 15, 2009 at 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Kaye Kittrell said...

Congratulations, Zac! I am reading all your blog entries, and am sending you my best wishes for a safe return home. I live nearby so I hope to be there when you pull in! I have been forwarding all your posts to my 18 year old son in hopes of inspiring him to great things. He's leaving for college in September. I didn't know a thing about sailing till I started reading your blog, except that it takes great bravery, which is confirmed with each post!

All the best,

Kaye Kittrell

June 15, 2009 at 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It has been great watching you live a dream.

I have to be real - you must absolutely get your high school diploma or GED and try to go to college. This will prove to be basic in your generation. You have a long life ahead of you and you don't know what it will bring.

June 15, 2009 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

@ Melanie,

I wanted to say thank you for mentioning all the blog individuals that inspired you. Sometimes people see things that they acknowledge in other people and never look at themselves.

You had a very hard year and I don't know everything you're going through right now. One thing that I do know is your an inspiration to me and many others here. When you spend time here writing and actually inspire me with just your words it really amazes me.

I hope and pray that when Zac returns your life will get better and things will fall into place. I sometimes think? How would I react if I lost my job? How would I react if I had cancer? Would I even be here daily writing on this blog? Melanie, thank you so much for your kind words. I don't know you personally but I'll keep you in my prayers.

Thank you for being such an inspiration in my life. You're truly amazing Melanie. I see that smile!!!

Daily Prayers,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 15, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

What did you find out about the depth finder, Zac? hmmmmm...

@Melanie - prayers are with you!

@Mimi & Desi - great poem!

Many of us with the same thoughts in our minds and hearts... UK friend, Willy, Doug P., Kathy (from Bend), Anita, Bill Mann, Bob in OKC, Croaker, Peter (we miss you), and SO many others! Yes, what a year it has been. Thanks to all the Sunderlands for letting us ride along.

Come on home, Zac!

Blessings -
WA St.

June 15, 2009 at 8:05 PM  
Anonymous laura said... are you doing...i bet your just about ready to sneak out on a fast boat and meet your boy!!! Wouldn't Zac be surprised to see you show up on his radar lol.
Just wanted to say hi to you and the all are just amazing!!
It won't be long now.

June 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on two huge milestones in one day! Exciting to watch as you draw close to home! Don't relax now, keep a sharp edge and a clear mind!

Ray & Deanna
Clovis, CA

June 15, 2009 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Eric of Sherman Oaks said...

Captain Zac, Greetings from southern France and congratulations on 365 days completed. This is my 1st time commenting on your blog but I have been following your courageous journey since the beginning. I was on safari with my wife, Keri, in S. Africa when your journey began. We are on vacation in France now but hope to be in MDR with our daughters to welcome you home. I will continue to pray your safety and for steady winds. Godspeed Captain. Eric of Sherman Oaks.

June 15, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zac:
I just wanted to let you know that we just came back from taking a walk down at the MDR main channel jetty. . .and yes the baby whale is still there! I just know he is waiting to escort you in. A happy thought - yah!
Peace - J.

June 16, 2009 at 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac,

I had the same issue comming up form Cabo. I think maybe it may be a dense thermocline or something. I wouldn't worry to much about your sounder, mine went back to normal.

June 16, 2009 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

You are one amazing guy! I have followed you for a year and I think...WOW
I am looking forward to seeing your return to your family.

June 17, 2009 at 5:51 AM  
Blogger asha saini said...

BRAVO...what an adventure and determination! Keep up with your mighty spirit, you're almost home...the world awaits to CELEBRATE YOU, dear ZAC!


asha saini
A well wisher

June 21, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

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