From Gig to Pearl, part IV – Homecoming

Brian Bugge, Chris Ryder and Beau Romero pose for a photo on their boat “Stay Gold” July 27, after sailing from Washington State to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Photo by MC1 Daniel Hinton

Anna General

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: This article concludes the series “From Gig to Pearl,” published in July. Brian Bugge, who was recently promoted to a naval officer from a chief petty officer received military orders to Commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He sailed with three crew members on their first Pacific voyage.)

As Brian Bugge described his Pacific voyage with salt in their eyes, wind in their hair and sea in their hearts, he and his crew prepped for their arrival at Rainbow Bay Marina on July 27 after 21 days at sea, sailing from Washington State to Hawaii on a 36-foot boat.

While approaching land, sailing passed Molokai, Lanai and Maui, Bugge described how they fought to break swells of the winds waves while being pushed around the boat.

“Beau [one of the crew members] had to fight 30-foot breaking swells off Molokai and I had 35 knot gusts of wind pushing to over 10 knots of sustained boat speed — but we made it,” Bugge said. “We hand-steered 2,500 nautical miles half way across the Pacific.”

During the last leg of their sail approaching Rainbow Bay Marina, they were towed in port and welcomed by family who flew in to welcome them to Hawaii.

“Coming home from sea is a strange transition,” Bugge said.” “You’d think it’s the opposite of leaving life on land to a life beating on the rhythm of the ocean but it’s different — at least for me,” he said.

With his time out at sea, Bugge explained the realities of the transition.

“You learn to lean in to it, to trust it, to enjoy it. It becomes warm, inviting and safe,” he said.

“The boat is not only your home but your best friend. It’s because you grow fond of them, to love them and look at them with affection. It might sound strange at first, but when you’re 1,000 miles from land in any direction, it becomes clear.”

Shifting from sea life to land life, thoughts of what they will do when they hit port, what to eat and drink, came to mind.

“For a week or so after getting back from sea, I still feel like I’m in transition, but soon it passes,” Bugge said. “It’s bittersweet when an adventure comes to a close, but Willy, Chris, Beau and I have taken and given so much of this experience that even a book wouldn’t cover it all,” Bugge said.

This Pacific voyage will bring on more adventures for the crew to look forward to in the future. Brian’s lifelong dream of sailing the Pacific has become a reality and his adventure with his wife Ashley and their family in Hawaii has just begun.

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