Here are some answers to questions from Amber in Kansas City…

Q:  Where did the term "landlubber" originate?  I’ve always heard "land lover" and I understood that.  But then when I read "lubber" it sent my head a-spinnin’.

A:  I’ve wondered the same thing, but I had to Google this one.  I found this answer on a UK website called The Phrase Finder.  It seems to agree with the entry information on the word origin, and it sounds like the term has been around for a while.  Even before "modern technology" sailing was a world unto itself.

The word *landlubber*, first recorded in the late 1690s, is formed from *land* and the earlier *lubber*. This *lubber* dates from the fourteenth century and originally meant ‘a clumsy, stupid fellow; lout; oaf’. By the sixteenth century it had developed the specialized sense ‘an unseamanlike person; inexperienced seaman’, which is the same sense as *landlubber* and was eventually combined with *land* to emphasize the unfamiliarity-with-the-sea aspect.

*Lubber* itself is probably related to or derived from *lob*, a word also meaning ‘a clumsy, stupid fellow; lout’, which is chiefly an English dialect form but occasionally appears in America (for example: "He is generally figured as nothing but a lob as far as ever doing anything useful…is concerned" — Damon Runyon). Though *lob* is not found until around 1500, somewhat later than *lubber*, *lob* is clearly related to words in other Germanic languages meaning ‘a clumsy person’.
From The Mavens’ Word of the Day (October 9, 1997)

Q:  Why did you have to post a bond in Bora Bora?  I’m not trying to pry in too personal, I was just curious what the purpose of the bond was, and if you had any other bonds at other destinations?

A:  Let’s just say that Lauren and Tiff have a reputation that precedes them (just kidding).  Actually, whether or not you have to pay a bond when entering French Polynesia depends on your country of citizenship (sort of like visa requirements).  All US citizens have to pay about $1350.  The bond is the guarantee that you have sufficient money for a one-way plane ticket back to where you came from.  My understanding is that at one point there were too many people showing up in the islands and not respecting the immigration policies, generally acting like freeloaders, etc. so the bond was instituted to ensure that anyone entering for a visit could return home at their own expense.  An acceptable alternative is to have a pre-paid return ticket (like most tourists would have).

Q:  Are you a day ahead of us back here at home?  Have you passed the International Date Line?

A:  Taking daylight savings time into account, we’re 5 hours earlier than Kansas City right now.  For sailors, the time in Greenwich, England (Greenwich Mean Time / GMT / UTC / Universal Coordinated Time), which is at zero degrees longitude, is important because it’s used for radio schedules, celestial navigation publications, etc.  By using this standard time zone, people all over the world can reference events by converting this standard time to their own time zone, depending on their location.  It’s much easier than having US publications in a US time zone, European publications in a European time zone, etc.  The time difference between where you are and Greenwich is based on the speed of the earth’s rotation (how fast the sun moves over the surface of the earth), and is one hour for each 15 degrees of longitude (24 hours for all 360 degrees).  That way everybody has the sun as high in the sky as it gets at sometime around 12 pm.  The international dateline is exactly on the other side of the world from Greenwich, England at 180 degrees longitude and is diverted a little bit so that countries split by the 180 degree longitude line (Fiji, Tuvalu, and others not so nearby) can be completely on one side of it.  The dateline also meanders quite far to the east in the north Pacific for reasons I’m not familiar with.  We’ll cross the date line when we’re sailing between Niue and Tonga later this month or early next month.

Q:  Big Question!!!!  Are you guys planning on diving the Great Barrier Reef?  I haven’t seen anything about Australia in the site’s plans, but for avid divers isn’t it a dream?  And you’ll pretty much be right there, right?  Just curious.

A:  Yes.  We’re hoping to do that.  Where exactly we cross the reef depends on our route after New Zealand, which is far from finalized.  Recently Australia has been making things a bit more difficult for visiting boats and New Guinea would be an interesting place to see, so our route may go something like New Zealand – Fiji – Vanuatu – New Guinea – Australia – Indonesia – etc. but that’s just one possibility.  Many of the popular tourist destinations in Australia (e.g. Sydney) are farther south than is convenient for us to sail given our current plans.  Although we have a high-level route based on the seasons, where exactly we’re going to stop isn’t always easy to predict because of what we learn along the way from other sailors, locals, and our own research.