The Ultimate Family Vacation

Local family to embark on sailing trip to the South Pacific

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2003

Starting Sunday, keeping up with the Joneses will require more than a sport utility vehicle.

Dr. Lindy Jones, his wife, Colleen, and their two children, Micah, 10, and Rosie, 7, plan to leave Sunday on a 16-month sailing trip that will take them from Juneau down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco, then across the ocean to the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific and eventually to New Zealand.

"I just wanted to get some good concentrated time spent with my family and go on a big adventure," said Lindy Jones, a family practitioner who has lived with his family in Juneau for 9 1/2 years. He chose the South Pacific as a destination because, he said, "I just think it's the neatest warm place to sail to."

"It's kind of wild," said Colleen Jones. "It's a dream that we have that will hopefully come to fruition."

The family has lived on their boat, the Micah Rose, since they sailed it up from Victoria, British Columbia, 2 1/2 years ago. But they have been planning the trip for more than seven years.

"I'm not sure why he decided that he wanted to sail ... but I think it's just a dream of his," said Colleen Jones.

The family designed and had built their 46-foot boat with living and travel needs in mind. The boat carries enough fuel to go 100 hours on engine power alone, and 120 gallons of water - enough to last the family three weeks. For the trans-oceanic sailings, the boat has a water maker that can make ocean water drinkable.

"It's a great boat," said Lindy Jones.

Colleen Jones attended sailing classes in Florida and California to learn how to operate the boat, and Micah took classes with the Juneau Youth Sailing Foundation. Some friends of the family also gave the family sailing lessons.

"It's definitely challenging," Colleen Jones said. "It's not hard, but it takes your undivided attention. It's been exciting in many ways just learning the whole system of a sailboat and how it works."

The family will be joined by some more experienced sailors to help with the longer passages of the trip, she said. They plan to join Juneau doctors Alan and Monica Gross, also on a sailing trip, for a portion of their trip in the South Pacific.

Micah and Rosie, formerly students at Auke Bay Elementary School, will be taught on the boat using the Juneau School District's Cyber School. They will communicate with their teachers and classmates on a ham Internet connection.

"Hopefully we'll just learn abroad, too, wherever we go, and apply a lot of the math and sciences wherever we are," Colleen Jones said. Living on the boat will be a learning experience in itself, as well.

"You're a little more in tune with the resources you use," she said. "You're conscious of everything."

The boat is stocked with "a couple hundred" books, and board games and cards to keep the family entertained. If Micah has his way, the boat also will carry his computer.

"The computer will stay on the mainland," Colleen Jones said, informing her son that he would have to leave the computer in Victoria, B.C., or San Francisco.

Dr. Dorothy Hernandez, a doctor from the Lower 48, will cover Dr. Jones' practice while he is sailing.

"The important thing is that I'm coming back," Jones said. "I'm only gone for 16 months. I enjoy Juneau - it's just a break to hang out with my family, which is hard to do when I'm working."

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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