Friday, June 18, 2010

Prom, Graduation & a Shipwrecked Sister

The last couple weeks since I got back from Cape Town have been some of the most action-packed in a long time. It started off pretty slow finishing up classes and hanging out with my friends. Our latest extreme sports faze has involved a lot of agility so we've been spending a bit of time on the spring floor and tramp getting our different roles and flips down. Shortly before I left, I asked out this amazing girl who is now my girlfriend. Her name is Becky and she is a senior at Westlake High. So she brought me to her prom and we had an awesome evening. It was really the first sign of my last year of high school coming to an end - not that my previous 3 years had been conventional at all but still like turning 18 this is a milestone in life.

The boyz - grad night

Beautiful Becky

After prom I was pretty busy trying to finish up 3 months worth of history and econ in a week but I pulled thru and before I knew it, it was grad time. It went very well even though it was the best part of 3 hrs long. There were only 26 seniors in my class but it was good. I gave a small speech and showed a video clip of my trip. My school awarded me a "Do Hard Things" Award that was pretty cool. When we went to leave the stage we got to exit in our one way and there were definitely some acrobatics involved (video coming). It was awesome to walk out of that room free from high school and so ready for another adventure.

Before the prom

During the graduation ceremony I noticed that my mom had been on the phone quite a bit. I figured it was my sister and afterwards my mom told me that Abby was experiencing 60 knots. Now that is a crazy amount of wind but I knew that Wild Eyes and Abby were prepared and could handle it. That night I went to a couple of grad parties but I kept thinking about Abby out there in the hell of the Southern Indian Ocean, what she must be going thru and thinking about one of my storms not too far from where she was about a year before.

I got home late and fell asleep. My dad came in my room around 6:00am and said that Abby's Epirbs had gone off and that he had lost contact with her. My heart dropped and my mind raced back thinking of the friends I've lost at sea and how cruel the ocean can be. I pulled it together knowing that Abby had all the right gear and emergency equipment. She even had my ditch bag - the bag you take with you right before you abandon ship.

The next couple of days were pretty sobering with no communication from Abby and no idea what was going on. It felt weird to be on the other side of the equation. Last time it was me out there and the parents aren't sure what had happened to me.

Now if you're reading this I'm sure you've heard the story of how Abby was rescued by a French fishing boat and has now been transferred to a French Navy ship headed for the little island of La Reunion. I'll be flying out with a few other people on Monday to go meet up with Abby and bring her home.

Wild Eyes and the Ile de la Reuinion

Thanks to all of the agencies involved in planning and organizing her safe rescue.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zacman- Have a safe trip and big hugs for your sis
Kodiak Mike

June 18, 2010 at 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

I am glad you will be there to meet her and bring her home. I'm sure that when you hug her it will be the most heartfelt hug you've ever given her.

Blessing to you both!

June 18, 2010 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger MindWalker said...

Carry our best wishes with you for Abby. ~Donn C.

June 19, 2010 at 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Will you be coming back through LAX next week? Let us know what day and time so that we can be there to show Abby our support. Thanks for the update.

Kim, S.V., CA

June 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Welcker Family said...

Very interesting to read about Abby from your perspective, Zac. Very cool you were able to catch a glimpse of what happens "on the other side" i.e., when your parents lost contact with you right before you headed into the Torres Straits. Congrats on the graduation - continue to do hard things, we are all still behind you and your family.
Sandy, Don, Cassie, Roxanne

June 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Congrats and safe travels, Zac. Praying that your summer calms down a bit... Give Abby a hug from all of us!
Blessings always,
Marie, WA St.

June 19, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Calisto Brian said...

Zac, Congratulations on graduation. Thats a big step. Graduating, drivers licence, new girl friend, solo circumnavigation, and a rescue mission to the southern ocean all in one year. Wow! Don't expect all your years to be this full or you may be disappointed. lol.
Brian, Santa Cruz, CA.

June 19, 2010 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Zac---Thanks for the update on your life. Think about letting Abby borrow Intrepid for a week or so when she gets back. Maybe she wants to go over to Emerald and hang out by herself for a few days to get away. I know I would. Her homecoming will be hard. Not like yours. I'm just glad that she is safe.


June 20, 2010 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Zac, Congratulations on your graduation. Also your beautiful new girlfriend. Can't wait for Abby to be home soon. Glad you are flying out to get her. Another adventure! Looking forward to hearing about the birth of your new sibling tooDon't let your blog go so long without an update!

June 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

It's just a little mind-blowing to think of all you've been through and accomplished, especially since MDR to Catalina is a good sail for me!

June 21, 2010 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your book, also, Zac. Your parents must be oroud of their children. It is evident you and Abby are well balanced teens with loving, supportive family. God bless you and the Sunderland family. Nancy M.

June 22, 2010 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger KarenH said...

Hi, Zac, nice to hear from you. But I thought you weren't blogging any more; somehow, the blog URL changed, and the feed doesn't work any more. I had no idea you posted anything since March 23. This may be why you're getting so few comments. I only learned about the change with your post on Abby's Facebook page.

Now, I'm sure that many of your ZacPac-ers would still like to know what you're up to. For one, after your sister and new baby sibling are all safely home, when can we expect your DVD Part II?

June 22, 2010 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger GlobeMasterOne said...

Commander Zac,

CONGRATULATIONS... on your graduation. And thanks for the introduction to Becky...beautiful couple...lucky guy!

Thanks for sharing your story.

Have a safe trip to meet Abs...she will need your love and protection. I think about her well-being all the time.

Our prayers are with you and your family.

john, Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario, Canada

June 22, 2010 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Don said...

What a great brother you are Zac! I've been following Abby and you are cut from the same good cloth.

June 22, 2010 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Sian said...

It's good to hear your perspective on Abby's situation as you experienced all this such a short time ago. She is one lucky gal to have a brother like you. Cheers to you both. Safe traveling!

June 22, 2010 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Chris July said...

Zac, Congratulations on all your accomplishments. You are so lucky to have the family you have.Give my best regards to Abby when you see her, she did really well. How perfect that the island is called "Reunion", you just cant plan that. You have so much opportunity ahead of you and as one of your fans, I look forward to seeing whats next. May you always have Fair Winds and Following Seas.

June 22, 2010 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger RK said...

It s great that you can meet her Reunion. I hope you two have some time for the island. It must be beautiful and different from Mauritius were you have been.

All the best wishes to Abby and you,

June 23, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Kathleen in Palms said...

I would love to be part of the welcome home for Abby also, will stay tuned for more news. Enjoy your journey, Zac. You're a good Big Bro.

June 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Lori Love said...


So proud of you working so hard to finish school. I can't wait to see where you go from here. You and your girlfriend are adorable. I love the pictures you posted. Proud of you flying to meet Abby, I'm sure your dad appreciated not having to leave your mom. I am so glad this chapter of your families life turned out so well. Always in my thoughts and prayers!
Lori Love

June 29, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

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