Former local to tell of South Pacific adventures |

Former local to tell of South Pacific adventures

— Eugene Dennis has one overarching piece of advice.

A dentist in Steamboat Springs until he sold his shop in 2003, he spent the last four years touring the South Pacific on a sailboat. Now he's returned to Steamboat and will give a presentation on his adventure at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Yampa Valley Electric Association meeting room.

His one piece of advice: "Quit work and just go!"

Dennis and partner Gloria Watson spent years learning to sail on a smaller boat, then after one scary moment decided to upgrade — to a 30-footer if they planned on continuing to ply the waters in the Gulf of Cortez, as they had been, or a 40-footer if they had larger ambitions.

"We looked at each other and said, 'We're shopping for the 40s,'" Dennis said.

They ended up with a 44-foot boat named Pincoya, and they set off on a four-year adventure, departing from Mexico, where they bought their boat. They bounced between islands, setting down for a month here or three months there. They spent a combined 18 months in New Zealand during cyclone season, made friends and toured both the nation's islands. They had close calls with storms and great days snorkeling, racking up 20,000 miles of sailing during their trip.

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When they finally returned late last year to North America, it wasn't so much about what they had missed, but about what they hadn't.

"Driving in traffic," Dennis said.

He hopes to share his experiences with photos and stories, then it's back to thinking big, like five more months later this year in the waters around Mexico, a trip with a truck and a camper to Alaska next summer, then maybe at some point sailing to Ecuador to explore South America and the Galapagos Islands.

"You can't say enough about it," he said. "We would never be able to fully describe our experiences. It was far more than we even thought it might be."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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