Spinal Injury on Atlantic Crossing [Ep. 135]

We prepare for the Atlantic Crossing in the Canary Islands and set sail in the pouring rain. We’d done nearly everything that needed to be done before we left and spirits were high as we lost sight of land… until something terrible happened.

Song Credits:
00:11 Mimi Gilbert – A Thousand Smiles
00:46 Becoming Me – Taji
02:47 Hudson – Friends of the Bog
05:32 Lilac – Alnilam
07:46 The Pedestrian – Mute Chior
10:19 Michael Dunstan – Home
11:52 Castaway – Liam Wright
13:25 Casanovas – James Walker
15:12 Morning Bear – Despise

Videos made by Elayna

Get your free sticker here

Want the chance to come aboard/unseen footage privileges and other rewards? Become part of our crew on Patreon by supporting our videos!

Download Elaynas album here!

Follow us on Instagram for more up to date locations on La Vaga!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Pick up some official La Vaga merch and help support our production!

Subscribe to our new sexy website for blog posts and updates!

Follow us on Twitter!

Like Elaynas Music page on Facebook!

What equipment do we use?

What software do we use?
Video Editing: Adobe Premier Pro
Weather Forecasts: Predict Wind

Comments 39

  1. Wow! You guys must look after each other! After what happened to John Fisher I realized more and more how dangerous it is to sail. You must be doubly careful. It will be a disaster to see something bad happening to one of you guys. Always think safety first. Please be careful out there!

  2. So So scary, but many times the risks of our adventures can be very scary and make you take count and add some more levels of security and safty, sense the video stopped, we will be thinking of your safe journey and hope all is well, and you can return to your wonderful and exciting adventure your share with us, When i went from Japan to the Phillipines, we lived for it seemed like a year and a half on the beach, i had always wanted to add scuba diving to my love of sailing, i was just married at 38 for the first time, so i signed up for my classes and dove 3 times a day every day, i was in heaven on earth, my 6th dive my dive teacher Eve, from Switzerland, who had moved there for good, and i set out , we dove on an ocean moutain, we were at 30 meters, surrounded by hammerheads and other sharks , sea turtle it was magical, we started to acend and then it happened, my BCD malfuntioned , and lockily i just touched Eves fin and he felt it , it was filling and i tried to find the plunge but being new in my bmind i remembered that if something goes wrong and your mate has an octopus just get your BCD off, so while i’m trying that hes trying to keep me down and fiond my plunger, but something was wrong, i was luck to escape and also lucky , we were not drug up tpo the surface , but we had gone up quite a bit, also lucky for me Eve hardly ever used much air, because we down 10 min. there are only 3 decompression tanks in the Phillipines only 1 worked, it was hes away, Eve knew this and decompressed me in the ocean, I was very lucky, when the boat finally saw us and we were aboard, he lookecd at me and said I think for as bad as that could have been you handled it like a pro, so you will have know problem passing all the way to rescue diver, which was my goal, I told him, we will have to keep this a secret or my new wife will freak and she will want me to stop? He said sounds good to me, we never could make the BCD fail again in test, not sure why it stuck but always clean your equipment very well, so i was beached for several days, and she started to question why i was not going out diving , can’t remember the excuse but , she soon figured out something was wrong, but did not try to stop me, which would not have worked anyway, I did make rescue diver, I miss diving, someday i shall return? take care you two, we shall see you on the flip side??

  3. Riley needs medical attention. Do you have a neurologist to consult with? I can rustle one up if you don’t have one.

    1. Post

      Thanks for the concern Paul. We really appreciate it. We have some good news ahead.

      1. You guys are tough and strong! Elayna, you can do this! I know that any obstacles that you may hit, only make you two stronger! You and Riley have been through so much..and so i tip my hat to you.. Valerie and I have so much respect for you guys. We pray that you make it safely across THAT crazy but beautiful Atlantic!. My heart deeply goes out to you guys! Valerie and I so hope to hear from you guys soon!

  4. sad about what happened to Riley. Stay calm Elay and take good care of him during the crossing, or go back to the Canaries and consult a doctor. All good luck to you. Love from Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

  5. Take care of yourselves the adventure will Waite .im praying for you guys every day.Cheers.Charlie

  6. Hang in there you two. Hoping you made the decision to return back to your port of departure because the uncontrolled pounding during the remainder of the crossing would undoubtedly make things even more uncomfortable and add to the possibility of making the injury even worse. Try some ice on the painful areas and try to lie flat and still until until you arrive at your destination. Our hopes and prayers are right there with you two. best of all you have the love you share between you to ease some of your pain and strengthen your resolve in reaching your destination. I know you will reach medical care within a timely fashion. Elayna is more than capable of handling the captain duties, so plot out a return course, ice yourself down at the point of injury and let Elayna do the driving for now. Remember if the price of living this life of freedom is some occasional pain and mishap, you two are way ahead of the odds making it well worth the voyage. Besides, now you have another amazing story to tell regarding your travels, and chicks still dig scars!! Stay strong and I will be eagerly awaiting your next posting once you’ve recovered mate!

    May god watch over you both.
    Best of luck in your recovery and see you soon online!



  7. Although you may feel alone as you handle skippering La Vagabonde and attending to Riley’s needs, while faced with the constant worry about his medical condition, I hope you can take comfort in the knowledge that hundreds of your followers are with you every step of the way and have you in our thoughts and prayers. And regardless of how Riley ended up doing a face-plant into the chair, that occurrence was just a ripple in time in comparison to the boundless love and strength you have in each other over countless hours of time. Remember that accidents are just accidents: although our words may be uttered without thought or care, what they may lead to are unintended. Have faith in each other and do what you think will be best for your partner.

  8. Don’t know if you guys believe in a God or the power of prayer never the less praying for you both as you journey through this life. It sucks when you have a “ domestic “ especially when it results in an unintended and accidental injury to the one you love. There will be regret, worry and sadness that it work out like it did. Talk it out, forgive and then forget and move forward together . Safe travels and stay safe. Stephen

  9. Had a few good smacks from boats. The good lady has more talent in one of her fingernails to get you both through it. If you turned around and got it checked out you would be the smartest internet adventures on the planet. Long way to Antigua kids. Making right decisions makes right decisions look easy when they end up right.

  10. Our family re-lives our sailing adventures every week with you guys and understand fully the joys and risks involved. So our hearts were in our mouths when you shared your distress on Riley’s injury this week. The only thing i can think of to say is ‘Trust your experience and your gut’. The cruising community is amazing and I know if you can get radio contact they will be there in a heart beat.
    Stay safe. Reef early. The trades will get you there.
    Much love
    The Collins family SV Grace

  11. Hi Both
    Are you not tempted to go to Guadeloupe first. I.e. Spain to France without checkout paperwork.
    With the Outreamer connection you are practically French now anyway…lol

  12. Hey guys. So sad. I hope Riley is okay. Please update ASAP. We are all concerned. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

  13. Hope all is going to fine
    With your expérience of thé sea
    Courage Elayna toi cabines doit it

  14. Hi Elayna and Riley, with your satphone you can call the number +49 4721 785 to get medical advice for Rileys neck and head. It is an emergency number for distress at sea and connects you to a doctor of the Helios Clinic in Cuxhaven, Germany. You can also try Bremen rescue +49 124124. They probably can tell you some tests to find out about the severity and that will help you in your decision to go on to the Caribbean.
    As I see him in the video lying on his back and talking I recommend that you do not go back to the Canaries but sail on West to Martinique. Mostly the therapy can be rest. When I sailed the same leg many years ago also after 2 or 3 days out my wife got hit hard by the main sheet on her arm. It swell to double its size. She insisted not to return. We carried on and it healed under way. You have a comfortable big boat and with the wind it will be an easy go. For you alone just keep the sail area a little underpowered.
    He possibly can assist you with watching for other boats and ships while you take your sleep.
    Good luck

  15. Oh my goodness I feel for you but you will prevail over this one. God is watching over the both of you always. Hang in there and know that we are all thinking about you and many of us will be praying for your continued safety ….. no more arguments as we can see what happens when we let ourselves get out of balance with our emotions… and good health to you as you make this journey. Sending you lots of love.

  16. I would call for a helicopter rescue for Riley. And ask for a fellow cruiser to come aboard and help you sail back to the Canaries. Blessings… Jim, Texas

  17. Hey Guys,

    Starting such a significant crossing with an injured crew is way too risky. Go back and get well first. This is a sign. Life gives us challenges and roadblocks for a reason. Please heed the warning.

    Our prayers are with you.

  18. Guys, nobody watching this can really advise you of your next move.
    Elayna, I would put money on you captaining this crossing especially in that boat. It is normal for you to doubt your abilities when forced into this situation but this mini-disaster could also be your graduation! I predict you will look back on this set-back as just another blip in your sailing education many years from now.
    I also broke my neck as a young man, and my back, and am reminded daily of that day. But, against Dr.’s orders, continued to ride motorcycles 100,000s of miles, and have sailed three boats for almost 40 years now on Canada’s Great Lakes. Riley will be well again. His episode sounds like he has re-pinched a nerve (I’m not a doctor) and could benefit from a bit of traction. My wife of 32 years gently pulls my head for me, occasionally. We met a few years after my accident and she has shared it with me for all these years. Life will go on for Riley!
    I am subscribed to these videos as I’m patiently waiting for my wife to retire (5 years) so our full time sailing dream can become a reality. I wish I could share my experiences with Riley face to face. We all have our stories and his and yours will one day be a badge of honour to share with others.
    I don’t believe in luck or any spiritual idols, only in myself and my wife.
    And I believe in you both.
    All the best,
    Gup x

  19. I was following your Journey the last few Weeks beeing jealous. I feel very bad about your current Situation. Please tell us how the Things going so far for you both, asap.
    Be strong, be hopeful, think its easy to say: we are all with you!

    Good Luck, fair Winds!

  20. Wish you guys a speedy recovery, do keep us posted as we all will be worried and waiting to know your whereabouts.
    God Bless you two lovely souls!! Our prayers are with you two.
    Love- Tarun

  21. Elanya, please send an update when able.
    Will be praying for you and Riley every day.
    Have been following your journeys for a long time now as I am a fellow sailor.
    Having spent time in Perth, Geraldton, Broome, Kimberleys and Darwin on a road trip 2001 we feel a connection to you guys.
    I am sure you guys will take the safest course of action to get Riley back on his feet.
    Time, patience and prayer heals all as I have been in the same boat (situation – no pun intended) as your man.

  22. The Atlantic can wait…If you don’t feel up to it go back to get healthy and re-group. Don’t let your pride make the decision for you. Only go forward if you feel you are recovering CONSIDERABLY day- by- day QUICKLY. It’s a team decision…be safe!

    1. Hello both and everybody
      just a word to be with…
      just a word to give you a little part of strength to crossover this painful moment!
      Sure you have medical help by phone and i hope we are just late with good news on the website!
      I agree with…Atlantic can wait
      Take care

  23. Hi Guys,

    From your current location it appears you are across and heading for land. Hopefully Riley is feeling better and/or is about to get medical help.

    We will be sailing in the BVI’s from April 13 thru 26. If you guys are going to be in the area give us a shout. Would love to buy you a beer!!

    God Bless and stay well!


  24. Guys, relax.

    Remember the videos posted by Elayna & Riley have an approximate lag of 2 months (for obvious reasons).

    They made it safely across the Atlantic and arrived in Antigua on February 13th (*). So I am assuming (and Elayna’s comment posted today April 4th: “We have some good news ahead” is only a confirmation) that all went well eventually…. Of course we are all waiting for the next episode to find out how Riley’s situation evolved.

    (*) according to Vessel Finder and La Vagabonde’s AIS last transmission.

    Happy sailing….

  25. I FIGURED IT OUT!!!! 8:35 into the video Elayna is seen EATING A BANANA AS YOU LEAVE PORT!!! This is very bad juju if you believe that stuff. Naughty girl, GET RID OF THE BANANAS!! Good luck, love the videos.

  26. Elayna, after I watched the video, I thought, “Elayna can handle this”. And you did!

    Riley, time to think about self care. You are a sensitive man, insightful; as evidenced by your essays and videos. Find peace if you can. Decrease some risks.

    Following you sometimes scares me for you both as you trade privacy for disclosure and fame. Mostly, I feel privileged to be given these peeks into the lives of two creative people who take risks to follow their dreams. But, our voyeurism is not worth your lives and well being.

    Glad this time you are safe.

  27. OMG! Glad you guys made it over the Atlantic, but my goodness what a fright about Riley’s neck! Look forward to seeing you soon. So sad to see you both cry. Lots of Love.

  28. Very difficult for us to add to the concerns expressed here by your many followers. We can’t tell you how hard we are praying for you. You have become members of our family and we feel so bad about this situation. It’s going to be a miracle that will get you through this crisis. Let’s see what God will do. May God give you the strength to survive. All our love. Bill and Laurie Miggins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *