Swept Away

Ian likes to plan and he has a knack for thinking through the details, even when the boat he’s planning for is not his own. He’s also devilishly persuasive. Long before we’d given any real focus to the question, he’d figured out that we needed to know where Maddi would fly in and out of when she came to visit in December. His suggestion turned out to be Fakarava, where by incredible coincidence, Makara (Ian and Erika) and Starlet (Jennifer and Mark) both intended to be for Christmas. We regretfully explained that while we didn’t really have a plan, per se, we would be much too far east by then, well on our way to the Gambiers. But every once in a while, he’d gently ask if these poor, confused American sailors had a plan yet. After luring us to join them in Moorea for an unplanned (by us) detour, we burned up enough time that, as predicted by Ian, Fakarava actually did make the most sense.
Lo and behold, we found ourselves Christmas eve, faced with an unusual northwest turn in the weather, sailing upwind and backwards (as in north and west), to get to Fakarava according to Ian’s plan, for a delicious Christmas dinner with Makara and Starlet. 
This was only the beginning. Jennifer and Mark had their own devilish ways of derailing our plans, mostly involving Mark’s boyish grin and sentences like,”Let’s sail to Kauehi, dive the pass!” Why not? More north. Then all voices raised the call, “On to Toau!” West.
Ian, meanwhile, had been doing some more scheming. He was willing to concede that we did indeed need to start logging some south and east miles but… rather than sail back to Fakarava in April after visiting the Gambier (as planned?) it would make much, much more sense for us to sail north and meet them in Hawaii to join them for a northwest cruise up to Alaska and down the coast of North America. Back to our beloved Baja and from there, almost a year later than planned, we could hit the Palmyra and the Line Islands on our way to Tonga.
We actually got out Jimmy Cornell’s World Crusing Routes to check it out. Ian’s plan was diabolically clever (it sill sounds a little tempting).
It was only an extra 12,000 miles.
It was difficult indeed to finally turn southeast (as planned?) and leave our friends to continue their northwest journeys. This is the very hardest part of sailing. These goodbye’s feel so sudden and irrevocable. We will almost certainly see Starlet more, which is great, as they are circumnavigating along the same route, more or less, that we will be. But after Alaska, Makara is headed back to the Caribbean and then home to England.
And that’s a long way around for Starlet and Allora.