The Race to Labuan Bajo

IMG_4799Later that night after our first day on Sand Dollar Beach, I noticed that Hazel was burning hot when I started to carry her to bed after she fell asleep watching a movie. We checked her temperature, and it was 102.5 F. Earlier in the day she had complained of headaches and neck stiffness. All of this set off alarm bells for me and Jenna, because a quick search of the internet showed that these could be signs of meningitis.

So we did phone consultations with my daughter Sara (nurse practitioner in Boston) and Jenna’s sister Julie (pediatric resident at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia), and they both suggested we do some physical exams to test Hazel’s nervous system. She passed. So we gave her children’s ibuprofen and put her to bed.

The next morning Hazel’s fever was down to 100 degrees. She still felt soreness in her neck. Holly (DPT in physical therapy, works at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle) conducted one of those eye exams where Hazel had to follow Holly’s finger, and Holly noticed a flutter in Hazel’s eyes. We discussed this and decided that it made sense for us to get closer to a hospital. It was 10:00 in the morning, and our plan had been to slowly motor to Labuan Bajo overnight in order to conserve fuel.

That plan was quickly thrown out the window. We pulled the anchor and cranked both motors at 2600 RPM. We also had both sails up. The weather was hot and the seas were flat. It was like motoring in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in August except now we were on a mission. We were low on fuel, and if we ran out I was prepared to pull the boat up to shore, dinghy the girls in, and have them grab a car into town. We were also racing the sun.


It turned out there was no need for an emergency beach stop, because we covered the 80 miles to Labuan Bajo in 9 hours. We did blow past schools of large jumping tuna without stopping. This was serious business. We made it into town and anchored in the mooring field in the dark. Hazel spent the afternoon watching movies and eating mac and cheese. She was in good spirits and had lots of energy.

INDO0418This morning Hazel’s fever was gone and she remains in good spirits. We had to move the boat because it turns out we had anchored in a shipping lane. We are now anchored off a beach in front of a hotel.

Jenna and Holly were planning to head over to Bali tomorrow to spend a day there before Holly flies on to Seattle. Instead all 3 girls are heading over to Bali today. They have some excellent hospitals there, and Hazel has an appointment with a doctor this afternoon. They will then hang out in Bali, lounging by the pool and perhaps hitting a spa. We’ve heard that Bali can be fun for groups of girls who hang out there together. Hazel is quite excited to go off on a mini adventure.

INDO0434We are sharing this with all of you to keep you up to date on what is going on with us. Hazel is fine, but airplane tickets from here to Bali cost $60, so it makes sense for her to see a doctor. In the meantime, Leo and I are going to hang out on Sophie where we will clean the boat, do Sophie school, watch war movies, and drink beer.

I’ll let you know more as I know more. Lucky luck lucky.

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