Planning the Double X Voyage

On the left, the Double X, hoisted in the shipyard, undergoes much needed repairs; Newport Beach, Calif., May 2015. On the right, the Double X after a complete overall spanning over a year to make her seaworthy for the long journey ahead; Newport Beach, Calif., May 2016.

All of us on Double X are in the thick of it as we get things ready for our upcoming sailing voyage. As you might expect, the to-do list is a long one as we ready the boat, chart our course, gather the necessary permits and licenses, and get our stateside affairs in order.

I must admit, there are days when I feel my mind is on overdrive, but I return to my lists and focus on the tasks at hand. I can’t help but smile as the crew and I check off each task as tangible evidence that the adventure ahead is that much closer.

Just two of the hundreds of dolphins swimming around the Double X as we sail from Newport Beach to Catalina Island during one of our sailing trials preparing Double X for her long voyage. It’s not easy to catch them on camera because they're so fast! April 2016.
Just two of the hundreds of dolphins swimming around the Double X as we sail from Newport Beach and Catalina Island during our sailing one of many sailing trials preparing Double X for the voyage. It’s not easy to catch them on camera because they’re so fast! April 22,  2016.

Some days have been better than others. On a recent sailing test, we witnessed a spectacular school of dolphins, seemingly thousands, jumping joyfully beside the boat as if guiding us to our destination, and shared beautiful sunsets and stimulating conversations. Yet, we also faced challenges too, including broken hydraulics oozing fluid into the cabin, torn sails and even injury as my daughter had a bad fall, taking a hard hit to her shoulder. All has been repaired or is in the process of mending, but it’s certainly a reminder that sailing is not always rosy.

The plan

Right now the crew and I are on our way up the coast to Sausalito, California. While there, we will be performing additional sailing trials in the San Francisco Bay as well as provisioning the Double X for our long journey ahead.

Our official departure date is July 16th. Our plan is to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge (an idea that appeals to the romantic in me) just after the sailors participating in TransPac push off for Hawaii. Plus, the timing fits my son Rod’s schedule, so he can join us on the Pacific Ocean crossing.

We are charting a course across the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific, which should take about three weeks. I have such vivid memories of this crossing from my experience four decades ago. There is something deeply spiritual about this leg of the journey—the seemingly endless water, the star-filled sky, and the ability to reflect on so many possibilities.

Afterwards, our schedule becomes more fluid, but I’m especially eager to visit some of the most isolated islands in the world like the Gambier Islands.

Sailing for change

I’m looking forward for this voyage to begin, especially for the opportunity to see firsthand the changes that have occurred in the planet and the people since I circumnavigated the globe more than 40 years ago. I’m especially interested in exploring how people are dealing with the local impact of weather patterns that seem to defy prediction.

We had just such a challenge at home in Southern California. As you may know, experts had forecasted fierce El Nino storms with massive rainfall and severe flooding. Yet, the storm pattern defied the best predictions, soaking the north instead and leaving Southern California relatively dry. What pushed El Nino north? It’s not clear, but the so-called “Blob,” the unusually warm water off the Pacific coast, may have played a role.

The Blob also appears to be behind a massive red crab invasion sweeping up from Baja California onto Southern California beaches. In Newport Beach alone, crabs are dying in massive quantities, stranded on the beaches and in the bay, piling up to almost a foot deep. It’s quite a sight.SFC Blog 2

I know Southern California is not alone in experiencing unusual weather events; the effect on other parts of the world is equally profound. That’s why I hope to get a conversation started about what could be driving these changes. I truly believe this is the first step to making a difference.

I’ll be blogging regularly about the journey as well as posting photos in the Double X Photo Albums. I figure, by sharing our observations, we can help bring more awareness to the importance of making a positive impact on this beautiful planet that we call home.

I hope you’ll join the conversation. Feel free to comment below. Although I won’t be able to respond directly to you, you can be sure that I will be reading your comments and incorporating them into blog posts. The more we learn and share information, the more we can make differences in this world that truly matter. I believe this wholeheartedly.

Well, I better get back to those duties on board that Captain Bob has laid out for me and the rest of the crew so that we can be properly prepared for this upcoming voyage.

Thinking about all of you and I am looking forward to talking to you again soon.

Much love to all,

Dr. Sam Signature



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7 thoughts on “Planning the Double X Voyage”

    1. Hi Kary,
      Land Crew here. Thanks for your question. The Double X itinerary is fluid, so there is no firm map/chart of the journey to post on the website. For the next few months, however, Dr. Sam plans on returning to many of the French Polynesian islands he visited during his Firebird journey in the late 1970s. Of course, as we know more, we will update the website. Thanks for following along!

  1. Sam – Your reflections on a journey begun 40 years ago, and the anticipation of revisiting some of those early destinations reinforces the lessons of observing and learning throughout life. Thanks for being a model of this!

    “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it,” according to Einstein. I wholeheartedly agree. Gaining new insights from experience and careful observation is perhaps the most influential driver of my life. I’m excited to hear about your next learning.

    1. Hi Keith, Great advice indeed! We will pass your message on to Dr. Sam. Enjoy a terrific day.
      With warm regards,
      The Land Crew

  2. Hi Sam,
    Just read the blog and look forward to more! Don’t know if you recall, but the sailboat I started my adventures in, a Peterson 44, was named Dos Equis. Translated it means Two X’s. I know you visited shortly after we bought the boat and was wondering if there was any association? Good sailing. Charley

    1. Hi Charley,
      Land Crew here. Happy to pass your message on to Dr. Sam to pick up when he’s in Wi-Fi range. We are sure he will get a kick out of it (we did!). The boat actually received its name in honor of Double X, the Nutrilite food supplement. Have a wonderful day!

    2. Hi Charley,
      We heard from Dr. Sam and, yes, the boat is indeed named for the Double X food supplement. As for the original inspiration, it came from Francesca. Since Double X is the #1 product in the Nutrilite brand, she thought it would be a great name for the boat. Of course, Dr. Sam jumped right on the idea!

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