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Health Scare At Sea

While sailing in the South Pacific Randy is evacuated and Sheri must finish the trip on her own, thankfully with help from lots of friends.

Sheri & Randy from sailing vessel Procyonby Sheri Schneider, s/v Procyon

Randy & Sheri are making their voyage on a Gozzard sailboat and are currently in Toau, Tuamotus, French Polynesia.


We are at anchor in the bay at Nuka Hiva, Marquesas.  We made the crossing in 21 days and a few hours.  Saying it that way makes it sound so normal.  It most definitely was not a normal trip. 

The first 10 days were great.  We had good winds and were making very good time, had only put 16 hours on the engine and were averaging 150 mile days.  Then Randy woke up in the middle night not feeling well.  Light headed and sick to his stomach. 

In the morning when the SSB net came on I did a priority traffic and got a hold of Tom on Quantum Leap who was a doctor and also making the crossing.  He gave me a list of things to check every two hours and we tried to get Randy feeling better.  Tom did a great job of working with me every 4 hours or so, checking on Randy and trying to get the nausea to stop.  After about the 5th day dehydration became an issue an along with the fact that Randy was getting so thin and weak. 

So all the boats that had been helping me (Aqua Magic and Wind Bird) plus our wonderful, wonderful friends on Endangered Species and Wind Pony started working with doctors and people in the Marquesas to try and find a ship to evacuate Randy to.  They found one (a 600 foot container ship) and we met up with them one evening and got Randy transferred.  We were so lucky, this ship takes a few passengers and one of the passengers just happened to be a doctor.  She got Randy started on IV's right away and stabilized.  He was off to Tahiti.

This left Procyon and I with around 800 miles to go to the Marquesas.  Good thing that Randy was such a good teacher and had taught me how to run most things on the boat.  Luckily there were 3 Norwegian boats that had been close to us when all this started.  They came with us to the transfer, helped with moving Randy and gave me some fuel.  Then Jan and Eva on Necessity took me under their care and stayed next to me for the next 3 days.  This allowed me to get some sleep while they watched out for other boats.  So even though I was alone on the boat I was not alone on the ocean. Endangered Species and Wind Pony loaded up Wind Pony with fuel (the wind had totally died and in order to get in I needed to motor since there was no way I could put up and down the spinnaker by myself) and came to rescue me.  The three guys motored out for two and a half days.  Then they transferred Rick onto Procyon while Dick and John stayed with Wind Pony.  It was so nice to have help on the boat!!!!!  Being on watch 24/7 leaves a lot to be desired. 

It took us 2 1/2 days to get back and when we got to the mouth of the harbor, Robin, Lynn and Randy met us in the dingy!!!!  Randy had a blockage of the small intestine which worked it's way thru once he got off the moving sailboat and onto a more stable platform. It was so great to have him back and well!!!!

Mike, Liz, Ted and Jan, thank you so much for making Procyon such a great boat.  I knew that Procyon could make it, I was the weak link!  She did great and I was never in danger and with the total calm conditions, the trip went very quickly.  I was a stressed out mess but the SSB net, Necessity, Endangered Species and Wind Pony kept me calmed down.  Also once I knew Randy was well that made life much better.  Poor Randy was totally stressed about me too as you can imagine.

Anyway, it is over and we are in paradise now. Really, really hope our health adventures are over!

Plan to spend a few weeks more in the Marquesas islands and then head down the Tuamotu's archipelago (400 miles from here) for a month or so then to Tahiti where we'll leave Procyon for a month while we fly home.

Nuka Hiva, Marquesas

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