On the ship's deck, Sofia, one of McBride's two small children, plays in the shark cage; Fischer and his wife, Melissa, are expecting a second baby of their own. Asked to name the most perilous aspect of his planned voyages, Fischer cites sinking as a prime candidate: A freak wave, or an explosion, or some breach in the hull would be calamitous. But he also mentions the toll that absence takes on families. "Managing everyone's life" is the height of challenge, he says. "If you don't have balance, you're on some road to failure."
That's why children will participate in the voyage, and will affect the route. Fischer, now 39, attended college at the International University of Singapore, and has experience in Southeast Asia. He'd love to fish the untrammeled waters around Bali, Thailand and Burma, but admits that "piracy issues," especially around the strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and Sumatra, virtually rule out that path. "We may look at each other, because we've got our wives and our kids on board the whole time, and we may decide we need to blow on by here and go to, say, the Seychelles," he says.