Monday, September 3, 2012

Orcas in Desolation Sound

We saw these Orcas at the south end of Thulin Passage in Desolation Sound.







Friday, August 31, 2012

Onward and Upward (northward)

Friday, 24 August, Cortes Island, BC
Tuesday:  We motored from Nanaimo to Garden Bay SYC outstation (Pender Harbour) and spent one night.

Wednesday:  We motored from Garden Bay to Sturt Bay, Texada Island.  We've passed Texada Island many times over the years not knowing that is was anything more than a great, hulking, forested rock in the middle of the Georgia Straits.  Sturt Bay, near the north end, has a good little anchorage and moorage available at the Texada Boat Club docks.  Everyone was so friendly.  People driving down the street would often stop to ask if we needed directions.  The grocery store was well stocked and reasonably priced.

Thursday dawned breezy out of the north, and we could finally sail.  It meant tacking upwind among the many reefs and rocks, but it was a good sail.  The wind eventually died (as usual) and we motored a few remaining miles to the SYC Cortes Island outstation.

Posted on the bulletin board is an interesting article about packs of wolves stalking hikers on Cortes Island earlier this summer   Yikes!  Unfazed, we caught up on a few chores:  Bill laid the anchor chain out on the dock and replaced missing length markers.  He also inflated the dinghy for upcoming anchorages.  Kathi rearranged (again) our clothes and linens for the ambient climate. We're loving the cool, sunny days.

After spending a couple nights tomorrow morning, Saturday, we heading north to Yaculta Rapids, Gillard Rapids and Dent Rapids.  This should be interesting.  We'll be adding wolves to our wildlife watch list.





Cruising Desolation Sound, British Columbia

Time sure flies..., Here's just a quick word while we have brief internet access:  After lavish provisioning at Ganges and Nanaimo, we've been cruising in the Desolation Sound area for the past couple weeks, making a loop around Cortes and Sonora Islands and stopping in many beautiful, calm, quiet, sheltered bays.  We've seen some wildlife:  seals, porpoises, and orcas.  The snowy mountain peaks looming in the background in the hazy, cool late summer air.  The calm waters make dinghy travel like skimming on a liquid mirror. 

So far, our stops have included:
Cortes Bay, SYC Outstation
Refuge Cove for fuel
Dent Island
Chameleon Bay
Octopus Islands
Gorge Harbor.

There hasn't been much wind, so we motor all the time. There are a fair number of boats around, but it's not at all crowded.  The powerboats are starting to look pretty good, and we've undressing them with our eyes....

After a quick pause at Cortes again, we're off to Tenedos Bay before starting south again in a few days. Will post some photos later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back in Beautiful British Columbia

Wednesday, August 15th, Victoria BC
After a chilly, foggy night motoring we arrived in sunny Victoria and got a berth in front of the Empress Hotel in James Bay.  The weather was really hot and sunny.  We wandered around looking for our favorite chandlery, but it's gone.

Mary Doherty, Seth's wife, drove up from Seattle to meet us.  We all had a beautiful afternoon at Butchart Gardens followed by a terrific dinner in the restaurant there.  Bill and I broke out our clown bikes and rode around the Dallas Road shoreline route.

Friday, we moved the boat around to Royal Victoria Yacht Club.  It was so pretty and peaceful.
We were able to explore the neighborhood a bit on our bikes.

Our friends the Ellsays, off Stray Kitty, who sold their boat in Brisbane, are now living near RVYC.  Now we call them the "Stay Kitties".  Chris and Christine picked us up and took us home for a wonderful dinner (and more laundry).  Their daughter and Activities Director, Kerry, made sure we had a good game of Charades after dinner. The Ellsays' kids must be very well behaved, because their father did not guess "temper tantrum" in the game. A good time was had by all.

After a couple nights at RVYC, we motored (again) up to Ganges on Saltspring Island.  It was the usually sunny, chilly weather we missed so much.  Again, were wearing our August fleece ensembles.

Anyhow, we spent the night at Ganges.  It was great to see some SYC friends again.  It was really handy to have our bikes for quick shopping trips to the village.

After 1 night, we motored (again!) up to Nanaimo via Dodd Narrows.  We anchored out overnight.  There was an Austrian Amel and a German cruising boat nearby.  We would have liked to hear their stories.

Tasman to Tatoosh: Landfall!

Sunday, August 12th! Landfall at Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada!
Completing our 18 day, 2,471 n mile passage from Kauai reaching under cool, but sunny skies, we watched the snow-capped mountains of Vancouver Island grow taller and taller, we arrived at our destination.  We were greeted on the way into the harbour by a whale sounding.  [When we get back to the US, it'll be "harbor" again.]

This passage completed our 9,877 mile return voyage from Hobart, Tasmania started on Bill's birthday March 9th. What a relief to have that all behind us.  We didn't have any really bad weather or trouble, but what a long tedious trip.  After a perfunctory visit from the RCMP for customs, Barbara and Harry Lee took us to their condo for champagne and salmon. Life was truly looking good! What a great welcome! Thanks Barbara and Harry!

And many thanks to Seth Siegal, who sailed with us!  His unending thoughtfulness, good humor, resourcefulness and patience made the trip so much easier and enjoyable for us. We are in his debt.







We stayed a couple nights in Ucluelet, showered, shopped, laundered and fueled up. On August 14th headed out again towards Victoria. We made a detour through Barkley Sound and spotted some humpback whales in Imperial Eagle Channel later in the afternoon.

 The breeze came up and we hoisted the sails. As the sun set, the fog closed in and the wind died. We motored overnight to Victoria keeping a very close watch on the radar and AIS for the many vessels traveling and fishing in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Sometime in the night, we completed our return rounding of Tatoosh Island, closing the loop on our 3 year, 27,351 n mile  Pacific voyage. Now we're off to rediscover southern BC before returning to Seattle for good.

Whale's Tail
.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Waving at the Folks Back Home


Saturday 10:23 a.m. Seattle time

We're at Seattle's latitude (47° 43'N).  We're about 400 miles west at 131 47W,
Wave as we pass by.  
 *\o/*
   ()
   /\

Back in our Home Latitudes


Thursday, August 9
Lat 47 01N Lon 134 57W Course 50 Motoring 5kts Calm (duh) Overcast (duh)
After a great downwind ride, wing & wing, gliding on the gentle swells, for a couple days and nights, the wind gave out and we're motoring again.

Although we're 450-500 miles offshore, we're cheering as we pass the latitudes of Astoria (46 10N) and Olympia (47 01N).  We plan to make landfall at Ukee (Ucluelet BC 48 55N) in 3-4 days (and nights, sigh...)

Bill and Seth saw whales spouting today.

Although, we've had good conditions and no real problems (knock wood), we've had about enough and we're really looking forward to the end of this passage.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fashion News: Foulies and Fleece


Tuesday, 7 August 2012 Lat 44 26N 142 08W 
Course 35 Boatspeed 8-9 kts Reaching
Wind NW 24 kts, Showers

Fashion for the new Fall Season is on display on Jarana, with the stylish crew sporting fleece, foulies and shoes or boots.  Accessorized with hot drinks and runny noses.

After a couple days flying along under spinnaker (blue) and SW winds, a cold front brought us brisk NW winds. Our average speed overnight has been over 8 kts. Yowza! With wind strength similar to the tradewinds, the sea state is somewhat lower, as these winds do not cover such long distances as the trades. Good thing.

Even with that, it's too rough to use our Moka stovetop espresso pot. With the gimbaled stove swinging back and forth, and the Moka top fills and the bottom empties, it's so top heavy that it falls over and spills causing a traumatic, early morning, hot espresso catastrophe. So it's instant coffee/swiss miss mochas instead.

We hope for landfall next weekend.

Big News! We put up the kite!



Sunday, 4 August 2012 
Lat 42 40N Long 146 50W Course 25 
Boatspeed 7kts Wind 12kts SW

Flying the kite, a rare occurrence for us. We've hauled the thing around for 25,000 miles buried in the back of the boat. It's been out a few times, torn, repaired and stowed again. But today, after several days of crawling along at 3 kts or motoring, Bill finally had enough (and fuel is running low).

I had just told him we would run out of milk and would have to switch to powdered milk.
Maybe that's what did it.  Anyhow, he drug the asym up to the bow and rigged it, Seth hoisted and were off. We were doing 5kts in 6kts of breeze.  The wind gradually picked up to 8 kts, 10 kts and now 12 kts.  Whohaa! We are all so relieved to get the boat moving again.

But wait, there's more!  We caught a fish too. while sailing under spinnaker. Seth minded the sail.  The asym doesn't need much trim. (Racers, brace yourselves: the sheet is cleated! I can imagine the gasps of shock). Meanwhile, Bill landed and filleted the albacore.  It's a nice sensible, 2 meal size for a change.

And it wasn't even noon yet.

We've been seeing debris:  barnacle encrusted logs and beams.  We've managed to avoid running over them, but another boat has hit a couple.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Scenery Along the Blue Highway


Friday, 3 August 2012 Lat 38 25N 150 05W Course 040 Boatspeed 7.5-8.5kts
Reaching, Wind 120 15 kts, Showers

For 2 days, were either ghosting along at 2.5-3.5kts under sail or motoring,
It was quite pleasant, really, the way non-sailors imagine sailing to be:
quietly slipping through the water, gently rocking. (Ha!)  We don't carry
much fuel, so we have to be selective about motoring.  Bill found a good
window where we might be able get into some breeze 12 hours away.

During the calm, the long low slow swell from the west was replaced with a
faster and higher swell from the west, a sure sign of ... something.
Anyway, at 3am today, we found the wind. Fortunately, Bill was on watch when
the wind did arrive, so he could get everything set up and put a reef in before
it got up into the 20s.  Bill expects the wind to last a day or so.

Today's Scenery:  clouds, the usual litter, mostly styrofoam pieces, and
water (duh). However, yesterday we were visited a couple times by a pod of
pilot whales. They're small and black, with curved black dorsal fins.  They
don't cavort and frolic like dolphins, they just swim around.

That's today's big news.

Tomorrow's point of interest:  The Kermit Roosevelt Seamount at 39 30N 146
17W.  It rises from the seafloor at 4,500 fathoms (27,000ft) to 915 fathoms
(5,400ft). There's not much of a view from up here at sea level.  Nor
probably any view down there either, as it's probably pitch dark at that
depth..

Tasman to Tatoosh, continued


 The Blue Highway to British Columbia

Tuesday, July 31st, 34 42N 154 34W, Only 1700 miles to go! Course 70 off the wind, wing & wing, Boatspeed 6kts Wind 10kts W Sunny

Sorry for the long lapse in blog posts. For some reason, sailmail stopped posting for us, so our Seattle friend and now editor, Susie Stillman, is posting our emails.
Pink Sunset Along the Blue Highway

It feels like we're on a Blue Highway to home. The seas have been very calm, and our wake looks like the road stretching out behind us over a sapphire blue plain. For the past 6 days since leaving Hanalei Bay, we've been on every point of sail, in generally pleasant conditions. We've had balmy temperatures, moderate winds and seas, very little rain, and wouldn't mind a bit more rain to clean off the salt. It's a no-drama passage so far (knock wood). Surprisingly, we've been able to sail the rhumbline a fair amount. The north pacific high pressure zone has stretched out like a banana, with a low from Alaska trying to cut it in half. So Bill spends an hour every morning trying read the tea leaves (grbs, weatherfax, fishguts). Right now, we're sailing downwind with the jib winged out. Seas are fairly calm and the very low gentle swells from the east are now coming from the south. We've been able to have ports and hatches open for fresh air. Yay!

There are quite a few boats out here, ahead, behind and to the west of us, although we can't see them. Soon a number of returning Vic-Maui race fleet will be on the move too. We we feel like we have lots of company.

The Blue Highway has a lot of litter along the way. there's been a constant trail of trash in the water. However, using our fancy new stainless steel gaff hook, we did recover a glass fishing float, with a colony of gooseneck barnacles and small crabs clinging to the ropes tied around it. On July 29th, the singlehanders' net reported an overturned 25ft alum fishing boat at 34 51.864N 152 30.690W The fishing is said to be very good around there. At the time, we thought it would be too far east for us, but we may end up there yet.

We'll cook the last of the wahoo tonight and maybe put out a line for a new victim tomorrow. We may switch to smaller tackle to avoid snagging another sea monster. They make such a mess.

We'll be blogging infrequently, as not much changes from day to day, But Bill sends a Spot location daily, so you can track our progress if there's nothing good on TV.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tasman to Tatoosh - The Final Leg

Friday, July 27th, Lat 27deg 02N Long 159deg 00W, Course 350, starboard tack, Boatspeed 7-8 kts, Wind 16-26kts 86deg, Sunny
Bill, Kathi and Seth en route to Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Goodbye Kauai

On Wednesday at 1600, we left Hanalei Bay. We hoisted sail inside the bay and set northward straight out to sea. It was really breezy and we felt like we were shot out of a gun, starting out fast right on our course. The plan is to sail 1200 miles north to 42 deg N 155 deg W and turn right. Our heading is 360 deg, but due to a strong west-setting current, we're making more like 350 close reaching. Since we're on the wind, it's been a bumpy and wet ride. Bill finally managed to close up all the leaks but one, the leak around the mast. It only affects the forward head and everything in there is plastic covered, so it's just a minor nuisance on this tack. But the cabin is nice and dry. Yay!

The wind has been pretty consistent with only minor windy rainy cells. The sea state varies though, so sometimes the boat just keeps falling off waves with a bang making it hard to sleep, despite partially furling the jib to slow down. The temperature has been the most comfortable of any passage so far, probably 75-80 deg, (dunno for sure, the thermometer's kaput). We haven't seen much wildlife. Some of the returning Single-handed Transpac racers are 100+ miles ahead of us sailing back to the mainland too. So we've eavesdropped on their radio net a little. One racer crossed paths with a fishing boat one night and had to hail him on the radio presumably to avoid running into the gear towed behind.

The north pacific high pressure zone has stretched out east to west and is predicted to move north. This is not good - the wind may die over a large swath of ocean. We would prefer that a low slip down from the Alaska to create a trough down the middle....

We have plenty of books and magazines. We bought Nook eReaders in Honolulu, and have lots of books on them, and also have the usual complement of audiobooks. So we have plenty to keep us entertained, when we're not eavesdropping on the "neighbors" but it's still boring. When we were online in Honolulu, I borrowed eBooks online from Seattle Public Library. However, they're reaching their 3 week expirations while we're at sea, so they are not all readable.

================================================================


Monday, July 30, 2012

Honolulu, June 30th-July 20th


Waikiki, Hawaii Yacht Club, Aloha Dock
Diamond Head, Honolulu
Sorry for the blogging lapse:  Our time in Waikiki was filled with mundane, mostly non-blogworthy chores.  Kathi had a small flat nearby for a few days, so Bill & Kathi stayed ashore until Mark and Nance left on July 3rd. We broke out the bikes and put them to good use.  Bill was able to bike to West Marine.  We did find a relatively cheap rental car, so we had 4 big wheels (vs 4 little bike wheels ) for the last week of errands. It was nice to have the car to meet Seth when he arrived on July 17th.  Hawaii Yacht Club was a happenin' place on the weekends with live music. We biked across the bridge to Waikiki Yacht Club a few times for drinks and wonderful dinner and brunch.

The parts we ordered from the mainland arrived timely, and Bill replaced the throttle control and autopilot ram.  He also replaced the leaky emergency steering cover in the stern.  The jib foot needed a minor repair, which Bill was able to fix onboard.   Mostly we worked on the boat in the mornings while it was cool and we then could go for a swim at a nearby beach in the afternoon.  We ate out a lot and put on some weight.

A number of Canadian cruisers passed through while we were there either coming or going from the mainland. Two were singlehanders:  We were rafted to Silk Purse, (skippe r& crew Kirk) from Victoria BC waiting out an early cyclonic season en route to Japan. Jeanne Socrates on Neirada stopped by briefly during her 2nd circumnavigation.  She's finishing her second solo circumnavigation en route to Victoria.  Both have good blogs, Neirada has a link on 48 North's web site and Silk Purse is easy to google.

Also a couple French boats stopped in and we had a good time with them.  One, Zeecada, (Yves & Reine) is en route to Sitka, and we hope to see them again in BC in the fall. Nicolas and Gilberte from Reunion Island (west Indian Ocean) aboard Batt2, which they purchased in Seattle and spent several months moored next to the Fremont bridge.  They plan to leave the boat in Hawaii while they go to Paris to rehab an apartment for 3 months later in the year.  We're hoping they'll stop by Seattle on their way back to Hawaii in January so we can all go to the boat show as a family.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Northward Bound

Saturday, July 28th, Lat 30 02N Long 157 35W, Course 360, starboard tack, Boatspeed 6.5-7.5kts, Wind 126-18kts 86deg, Sunny
Bill, Kathi and Seth en route to Vancouver Island, British Columbia

We got lifted overnight, so we're making progress to the east of our waypoint 725miles N.
Weather is still really nice, including a few good rainshowers yesterday, everything else is still the same.....There's just not much to tell.

----------
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Tasman to Tathoosh - The Final Leg

Friday, July 27th, Lat 27deg 02N Long 159deg 00W, Course 350, starboard tack, Boatspeed 7-8kts, Wind 16-26kts 86deg, Sunny
Bill, Kathi and Seth en route to Vancouver Island, British Columbia

On Wednesday at 1600, we left Hanalei Bay. We hoisted sail inside the bay and set northward straight out to sea. It was really breezy and we felt like we were shot out of a gun, starting out fast right on our course. The plan is to sail 1200 miles north to 42 deg N 155 deg W and turn right. Our heading is 360 deg, but due to a strong west-setting current, we're making more like 350 close reaching. Since we're on the wind, it's been a bumpy and wet ride. Bill finally managed to close up all the leaks but one, the leak around the mast. It only affects the forward head and everything in there is plastic covered, so it's just a minor nuisance on this tack. But the cabin is nice and dry. Yay!

The wind has been pretty consistent with only minor windy rainy cells. The sea state varies though, so sometimes the boat just keeps falling off waves with a bang making it hard to sleep, despite partially furling the jib to slow down. The temperature has been the most comfortable of any passage so far, probably 75-80 deg, (dunno for sure, the thermometer's kaput). We haven't seen much wildlife. Some of the returning Single-handed Transpac racers are 100+ miles ahead of us sailing back to the mainland too. So we've eavesdropped on their radio net a little. One racer crossed paths with a fishing boat one night and had to hail him on the radio presumably to avoid running into the gear towed behind.

The north pacific high pressure zone has stretched out east to west and is predicted to move north. This is not good - the wind may die over a large swath of ocean. We would prefer that a low slip down from the Alaska to create a trough down the middle....

I forgot to mention in my last post that we caught a 4ft wahoo at the entrance to Hanalei Bay as we arrived. I managed to freeze some of the fish and we gave away the rest to randomly selected boats in the anchorage. There's still some mostly frozen fish in the refer, so we haven't put out a line yet. Going forward, in an effort to catch smaller fish, we're going to try smaller tackle. The big ones are just too hard to handle and we can't store or eat very much of them anyway.

We have plenty of books and magazines. We bought Nook eReaders in Honolulu, and have lots of books on them, and also have the usual complement of audiobooks. So we have plenty to keep us entertained, when we're not eavesdropping on the "neighbors" but it's still boring.

----------
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Saturday, July 20th

Hanalei Bay, Kauai
We left Waikiki Saturday afternoon, and motored in light air all the way to Kauai, 120nm overnight. (I really wished we'd replace the gasoline with diesel in one of the fuel jugs to replace what we used in that trip. KK) There was plenty of ship and barge traffic with us as we passed the SW side of Oahu. Once past the developed industrial areas, you can appreciate the rugged beauty of Oahu,

We arrived at beautiful and calm Hanalei Bay Sunday afternoon. There were quite a few boats there, including a good part of the Singlehanded Transpac fleet. This included Moore 24s and Olson 30s. Amazing. We got acquainted with a few of the lads at sundowners on the beach. Adrian, on IDEFIX, (formerly MOF) from UW Yacht Club is planning to sail his Olson 30 on to Australia with his girlfriend and a guy friend. That ought to be interesting. Some of the competitors had buddy boats, non-racing cruising yachts that shadow the fleet. What a good idea!

Hanalei is a wonderful anchorage. In summer, the ocean swells are small and few reach inside the bay. It's 20-40 feet deep with a good holding sand bottom, few wakes, beautiful beaches, little noise, easy shore access, garbage disposal, recycling and showers in the park and stunning scenery of craggy mountain peaks and gentle surf on the reef. There's a river to explore by dinghy, kayak or SUP (standup board) And a pretty good grocery store and restaurants easy walking distance from the dinghy landing. We hated to have to leave so soon.

will post some photos later

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Honolulu, June 30th-July 20th

Waikiki, Hawaii Yacht Club, Aloha Dock
Sorry for the blogging lapse: Our time in Waikiki was filled with mundane, mostly non-blogworthy chores. Kathi had a small flat nearby for a few days, so Bill & Kathi stayed ashore until Mark and Nance left on July 3rd. We broke out the bikes and put them to good use. Bill was able to bike to West Marine. We did find a relatively cheap rental car, so we had 4 big wheels (vs 4 little bike wheels ) for the last week of errands. It was nice to have the car to meet Seth when he arrived on July 17th. Hawaii Yacht Club was a happenin' place on the weekends with live music. We biked across the bridge to Waikiki Yacht Club a few times for drinks and wonderful dinner and brunch.

The parts we ordered from the mainland arrived timely, and Bill replaced the throttle control and autopilot ram. He also replaced the leaky emergency steering cover in the stern. The jib foot needed a minor repair, which Bill was able to fix onboard. Mostly we worked on the boat in the mornings while it was cool and we then could go for a swim at a nearby beach in the afternoon. We ate out a lot and put on some weight.

A number of Canadian cruisers passed through while we were there either coming or going from the mainland. Two were singlehanders: We were rafted to Silk Purse, (skippe r& crew Kirk) from Victoria BC waiting out an early cyclonic season en route to Japan. Jeanne Socrates on Neirada stopped by briefly during her 2nd circumnavigation. She's finishing her second solo circumnavigation en route to Victoria. Both have good blogs, Neirada has a link on 48 North's web site and Silk Purse is easy to google.

Also a couple French boats stopped in and we had a good time with them. One, Zeecada,(Yves & Reine) is en route to Sitka, and we hope to see them again in BC in the fall. Nicolas and Gilberte from Reunion Island (west Indian Ocean) aboard Batt2, which they purchased in Seattle and spent several months moored next to the Fremont bridge. They plan to leave the boat in Hawaii while they go to Paris to rehab an apartment for 3 months later in the year. We're hoping they'll stop by Seattle on their way back to Hawaii in January so we can all go to the boat show as a family.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Mr Toad's Wild Ride

After a boisterous 100 mile  ride from Big Island to Honolulu, Jarana is tied to the Aloha Dock at Hawaii Yacht Club.  They seemed to have just enough fuel and water to make it.  Then Bill, Mark and Nancy took much needed showers, beers and rest after 17 days at sea. 


Mark and Nancy just didn't get enough sea time though, and tried their best  (without success) to find rides on tonight's harbor race.  There's just no accountin' for taste.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rangiroa to Hawaii - Day 16 - The Last Full Day

Thursday 28 June 2012    Lat: 19°43.16'N   Long: 156°33.05'W  120 NM from Honolulu
Motoring in lee of Hawaii, heading 320T at 5 kts
Cabin Temperature: 86 deg F  Humidity:  71%

During the night we could see the glow of light from the Kona Coast, but in spite of being only about 25 miles away, the Big Island has remained completely hidden in a shroud of clouds and haze.

Since about 0100 this morning, there has been too little wind to sail and we have been motoring.  We're starting to see a little wind coming from the other side now, but it's still too light.

On the plus side the seas have moderated considerably, making life aboard more comfortable.

We will be in Honolulu tomorrow morning.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rangiroa to Honolulu - Day 16

Wednesday 27 June 2012   Lat: 18°10.58'N   Long: 155°25.49'W  230 NM from Honolulu
Stbd tack reach, 2 reefs, heading 310T at 7.2 kts
Cabin Temperature: 83 deg F  Humidity:  70%

Early this morning, we were welcomed to Hawaiian waters by a pod of dolphins.  They only stuck around for a couple minutes before disappearing like they came.

Yesterday afternoon was spent negotiating a series of squalls, reefing and un-reefing several times.  The squalls continued into the night but both reefs stayed in after dark.

Mark has stayed busy in the galley, creating pizza lunches for both yesterday and today in spite of the motion.

And there is a lot of motion.  The wind has shifted a bit more to the north, which means we are sailing closer to the wind, bashing into head seas.  I can only imagine how horrible this passage would have been if we had left from somewhere further west like Bora Bora.

The Big Island looms in front of us.  With two peaks at over 13,000 feet, it should show like Mt Rainier shows from Seattle, but the island is almost completely hidden by clouds.  We will pass by the Southernmost point some time this evening.

Rangiroa to Hawaii - Day 15 - The end is in sight

Tuesday 26 June 2012,   Lat: 15°37.32'N   Long: 153°41.73'W  420 NM from Honolulu
Stbd tack reach, 2 reefs, heading 310T at 7.2 kts
Cabin Temperature: 86 deg F  Humidity:  76%

The big island of Hawaii is 240 nm away, so we should see it some time tomorrow.  By tomorrow night, we should be in the lee of it, experiencing flatter seas, but also, much less wind.

We had a couple fast days in the NE trades, making 194 nm in one 24 hour period, but our speed has dropped a bit, making only 174 miles in the last 24 hours.

Flying fish keep landing of the boat and I have thrown seven back in the water this morning, though none of them were still moving.

Our ETA in Honolulu remains midday Friday.  I can see nothing in the weather models that would change that significantly.

Yesterday, we had a boobie land on the bimini after circling the boat for hours trying to figure out how to land.  He made an awkward departure after only about 15 minutes, landing in the water next to the boat.  Perhaps he didn't like the motion either.

Things have gotten cooler at night and we have resorted to wearing partial raingear to keep warm.  The last two days have been cooler on board under an overcast sky, but the sun is out again today, so its pretty warm in the cabin again.

We're all dreaming of long showers and ice cold tropical drinks.  Under other circumstances we'd all look forward to bumming rides for the Friday night racing at Hawaii Yacht Club, but after 17 days at sea, maybe a few hours ashore would be nice.

And I really look forward to spending some time with Kathi.  We still have an anniversary to celebrate.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rangiroa to Hawaii - Day 13- People pay money for this??

Sunday 24 June 2012
Lat: 10°32.79'N  Long: 149°13.42'W   815 NM from Honolulu
Stbd tack reach, 1 reef, heading 320T at 8.0 kts
Cabin Temperature: 83 deg F   Humidity:  74%

There's not much interesting to report today.  It's a little cooler this morning, but the motion is as violent as anything we experienced on the way to the Marquesas.

We have completed 191 miles in the past 24 hours and are still on track to arrive in Honolulu on Friday.  If we average 6.8 kts, we'll arrive about 0900 Friday morning.  Right now were averaging about 8 kts.

The constant motion makes it hard to do much aboard, so we sit around planning what we will do when we get to dry land.  For a ride like this at Disneyland, they'd charge you $10 for a two minute ride and make you wear a seatbelt.  We are free to move about the cabin and bang our heads, shoulders, shins, etc. on anything that moves (and everything moves).

Fortunately, it has been a little overcast, so temperatures are much more comfortable aboard.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rangiroa to Hawaii - Day 10 - Out of the Doldrums

Friday 22 June 2012
Lat: 05°36.98'N  Long: 145°39.75'W    1200 NM from Honolulu
Stbd tack reach, heading 330T at 7.1 kts
Cabin Temperature: 87 deg F  Humidity:  76%

Life is good again.  We finally escaped the clutches of the Doldrums and are rocketing on our way to Hawaii. 

Yesterday found us deep in the ITCZ and we experienced several rain squall as we crossed.  Wind around the squalls came up enough to sail about an hour, but we had to motor between the squalls.  We managed to collect a few gallons of water that will be used for dishes and such, but it's not clean enough to drink, except in an emergency.  About 2100, the wind was up enough to sail again, and it steadily built overnight.  There was some distant lightning around the boat in the night, but by morning the sky had cleared and we are now solidly in the trade winds.

This morning, we also passed the halfway point to Hawaii.  The first half took ten days, but the second half will go much quicker and we should be in Hawaii in seven days.  At our current speed, we should be there some time next Friday.  The weather forecast is almost the same every day at 14 -18 knots from the NE, but gets lighter as we approach Hawaii.

I know I said I was done talking about fishing, but we actually caught a small tuna yesterday afternoon.  We celebrated the occasion by eating him for dinner.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Passage to Honolulu, continued - Day 9

Wednesday 20 June 2012
Lat: 01°33.23'N  Long: 144°17.29'W  200 - 250 NM south of measurable wind
1430 NM from Honolulu
Motoring, heading 350T at 5.0 kts   Cabin Temperature: 92 deg F  Humidity:  62%

Yesterday afternoon we finally crossed the equator (under power of course) and celebrated with a bottle of sparkling cider (as Veuve Cliquot was in short supply).

With any luck, we should be at the halfway point and into the NE trade winds the day after tomorrow.  The second half of the trip will go a lot faster than the first half and we can go back to using the windvane for steering.  It would be an understatement to say we are all tired of hand steering.

We've been closely monitoring fuel consumption and now estimate that we will be ok.  We seem to be doing a lot better than I thought we would.

Water remains a concern.  We started out with less than we should have, and the passage is going slower than planned, so we're trying our best to conserve.  A little rain would really help.

Anyone following my postings closely may have observed that, in spite of my statement to the contrary, the cabin temperature has been steadily climbing.  And this is true.  Fortunately, nighttime temperatures are bucking this trend and I actually felt a bit cold during the midnight watch.

Days and nights have been very clear and we've yet to even see a rain squall.

In the fishing department, we tried to fool the fish by disguising the lure with a piece of garbage bag, but the fish were on to our ways and continued to avoid the lure like a teenager avoiding their parents.

Passage to Honolulu, continued

Sunday 17 June 2012
Lat:  04d 14m South  Long: 145d 16m West  254 NM south of the equator
Motoring, heading 000T at 5.2 kts
Cabin Temperature: 90 deg F  Humidity:  62%

By every account, this passage is supposed to be one of the quickest and more enjoyable.  So far, our experience doesn't seem to fit that mold.

Yesterday afternoon we reached a milestone of 2/3 of the distance to the equator and 1/4 the distance to Hawaii.  It was a fairly quick first leg, but the next 1/4 looks to be brutally slow.

The wind continued to die down yesterday afternoon and was down to 4 or 5 knots at sunset.  As we need to stretch 350 miles worth of fuel across a 600 mile wide convergence zone, we're trying to conserve fuel.  Conditions got lighter as the night progressed and on my midnight to 4:00 AM watch, we only made 8 miles under sail!  The wind was too light for the windvane, so we had to hand steer all night.

The wind outlook continues to be dismal for the next week, so we may have a few more 30 mile nights. At 0730 this morning, we finally gave up and started the engine.  The autopilot is broken again (4th time since leaving Seattle) so we also have to hand steer under power.  We may motor in the daytime just to have a little airflow through the boat and try to sail at night to save fuel.  We shall see.

We've go most of the ports open now, so things feel a bit cooler below deck even though the engine is putting off a lot of heat that we didn't have before.

We continue to drag a fishing line, but we were in danger of being passed by it in the night.  No self respecting tuna is going to strike a lure bobbing on the surface.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Passage to Honolulu

Thursday 14 June 2012, Lat:  09d 59m South, Long: 146d 32m West, 606 NM sourth of the equator
Starboard tack,  beam reach with 1 reef, heading 005T at 8.0 kts, en route to Honolulu
Cabin Temperature: 87 deg F, Humidity:  75%

It's hot and humid and the boat is all closed up to keep the saltwater out.  We all sleep with fans pointed at us.  Temperatures on deck are much more comfortable, but salt spray is included at no extra charge.

Miraculously, there have been no leaks.  I gooped up the leaky chainplate and Mark applied Gorilla tape around the mast, and so far the pointy end of the boat has stayed dry.

The wind came up above 20 knots in the night and I put in a reef.  The wind is expected to continue about the same for another day and a half, then go light.  It will be slow going across the ITCZ, which will be 600 NM across at the time we arrive there.  We don't carry enough fuel to motor that far, so we'll have a speed threshold for starting the engine.

We're sailing towards Jimmy Cornell's recommended waypoint for this passage at 00N, 145W, and so far have had no difficulty staying pointed in the right direction, sailing just a little high to offset the west setting current.

So far, the hand fishing line we've been trailing for the past two days has yet to catch a fish.  In spite of the serious fish shortage, Mark has stayed busy in the galley and kept us all well fed.

Leaving Rangiroa


Wednesday, June 13th.  Bill's first passage blog post:
We finally got underway about 1400 after a drift snorkel in the pass in the morning.  Nancy & Mark liked it, but I thought the south pass at Fakarava was much better.

Most of yesterday was pretty flat with great sailing conditions, reaching along at 7 knots in 10-15 knots of breeze.  I was actually able to read a few chapters of my book, but today things have gotten pretty bouncy and I'm struggling to sit at the computer.

It was a clear, starry night, without any squalls.  I saw quite a few shooting stars before the crescent moon came up about 0200. l stood the entire watch in shorts and a t-shirt. This morning continues with great sailing conditions.  It looks like we will have good wind for a couple more days before things go light.

But below decks, things are hot and uncomfortable.  I'd sleep on deck if there was a good place sleep.

Rangiroa

Rangiroa was a relatively busy little place.  There are a few resorts, pensions, restaurants, several grocery stores and other businesses.  So we were able to have a few meals out.  It was easy to hitchhike and people were very friendly.  The grocery stores were adequate and we were able to stock up on most things we wanted.

Bill and I took a terrific dive just outside the reef.  It was one of our deeper dives so far, around 100ft.  But the descent is down the slope of the reef and there is so much light, you don't have much impression of the depth.  It was one of the best dives we've had so far.

There is a fuel jetty there, so we had hopes of taking on fuel there.  However, the jetty is located next to the turbulent sandbar and that was a sign to us that it might not work out.

At one point, Nancy said "Let's go get fuel Saturday morning."  I'm not sure why she thought we should do that, but I was pretty alarmed by the idea..  Getting fuel meant moving the boat a couple miles to questionable location with rough waters and lots of current, trying to take on fuel, possibly in jugs by dinghy and then most likely returning to the old anchorage, dinghying ashore with my luggage and hitchhiking to the airport in time for a 1pm flight.  Uh, no thank you! 

As it was, 10am Saturday morning Bill and I got ashore with no drama, hitchhiked to the airport, had a pleasant lunch, said our goodbyes and I got on the plane.

Tikehau

Tikehau turned out to be just beautiful.  It's got a small village and a few small resorts.  We spent a couple nights there.  Normally, travelling in the atolls' lagoons is nerve wracking because coral heads are scattered around.  However, Tikehau has a marked channel most of the way we wanted to go.

We spent our second night at the south end near the Tikehau Pearl Resort.  We were the only boat there, and it was just like the postcards, calm, colorful fish, and swaying palm trees. The next morning we reversed our path to exit the lagoon.  There was really strong current in the pass.  It was so strong that there was a depression in the center of a large whirlpool just outside. It was a pleasant day's trip of about 52 miles to our next anchorage in Rangiroa. 

There was a fair amount of current in the Avorutu Pass into Rangiroa.  But most dramatic was the extreme turbulence just inside.  The outgoing water flows over a sandbank and really piles up.  But it smoothed out as we approached the anchorage in front of the big resort near Tiputu Pass.

We circled around some moored boats and prepared to drop anchor.  Just as the anchor went down, the throttle jammed and the engine died.  We were pretty close to another boat, a reef and the over-the-water hotel, but the anchor grabbed and we stuck tight.

Bill spent all the next day fashioning another solution to fix the throttle.






Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Au Large vers Tikehau

Monday 4 June 2012 Lat 15deg 13S Long 148deg 24 W. 160 nmiles NE Tahiti, Motoring Course 5deg, Wind calm, Seas glassy, Warm, Humid and Showery
We're at sea en route from the island of Taihiti to Tikehau atoll.

Marina Taina turned out to be a great spot, although the weather seemed very hot. We were med-tied with the big boys on the outside seawall, next to a 80ft yacht from Cannes. The guys aboard we're really friendly and good company. The staff at the marina were so accommodating and helpful. Bill went diving with the Fluid Plongee guides there. Rage (ex-Portland was also there). They made an interesting jury-rigged rack for a steering windvane.

There was a huge Carrefour hypermarche 5 minutes walk to the east. To the west, was a McDonalds and a pretty good regular supermarket. Also, a pretty decent, though expensive laundromat. The water on the jetty was fresh and potable. And there was small corals and colorful fish just under the waterline on the jetty as we balanced our way ashore on the 12ft plank/passerelle.

After a few days touring around Tahiti and Moorea, staying small pensions, Nancy and Mark joined us for a few days prep. We made several trips to Carrefour and amply provisioned from their huge selection.

Saturday afternoon, Kathi carelessly let one of the dodger windows fall overboard in the 50ft waters under the boat. Doh!!!! However, the marina master was on hand to dive our anchor and retrieved it to our huge relief. Our anchor was set 80ft ahead of the boat with the chain laying atop one of the fixed bow lines of our neighbor. The diver attaches a balloon and fills it with air to raise the anchor, while we take in the chain on our bow. Their whaler acts as a tug to hold our bow off from drifting down on the next boat. Then we let go their standing lines, and Bill guns the engine and we're away.

We made a U-turn to the fuel jetty 100 ft away, to full for the passage. Provided we have the right customs documents, can get duty free fuel. But because of the paperwork, the marina doesn't usually sell duty-free on weekends., because they are usually very busy with their local customers. But by prior arrangement, the marina did it for us. They were just so accommodating.

We anchored out near the reef and took a short snorkel to cool off. We left early Sunday morning for Tikehau and Rangiroa. We've had to motor almost all the way. That's especially inconvenient because the autopilot is kaput, for now. We will repair or replace it in Hawaii.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Now We're Really Really in the Tropics

Monday 28 May 2012 Puna'auia (near Papeete) Tahiti. Warm, Humid and Showery

We arrived at Passe Havae in the wee hours Saturday morning and had a blessedly calm and quiet anchorage. We could smell the earth and the flowers as we approached in the night. Later that day, we motored inside the reef up to Port Phaeton. We got ashore for dinner, but didn't really get to explore the "Presqu' Ile " area.

Sunday, we motored north along the west coast up to Papeete. The scenery is just stunning: lush and green, high, craggy mountains, crashing white surf and red church steeples. Although thick grey clouds were swirling around the peaks, it was clear and sunny down at sea level..

We're now anchored in busy Punu'aauia.bay with speedboats and jet skis whizzing around. Fortunately, it's quite windy, making the warm humid air more comfortable. We've been cleaning the boat (mildew) and fixing things (the head). We tried grocery shopping today, but it's a holiday (again), so the stores closed early and we came home empty handed. (Leftovers again)

Last night we ate outdoors at the Marina Taina Dinghy Bar (pizza). There was a Brazilian band playing and it seemed like everybody (the French) brought their kids. So small kids were running around everywhere. But they were pretty cute. It was really pleasant. Unfortunately, it started to rain, so they had to herd all the customers under cover for a while.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Now We're Really in the Tropics

Friday, 25 May 2012 Lat 18 46 S Long 149 09 W ~70 miles S of Tahiti Course 320 Wind E 10-20kts Boatspeed 6.5kts Warm, Humid and Showery

It really feels tropical now. And we're sailing in a convection zone of showers and light squalls. Because of the rain and the seas, we have to keep the hatches closed, so it's pretty muggy in the cabin. sigh....Last night, the seas were quite big, one overtaking wave just rolled right over the stern into the cockpit. I just saw this big dark form looming up behind the bimini, and it just kept coming. There's no moon and the overcast blots out the starlight, so just the phosphorescent foam is visible. Of course, you can hear the roar of the waves and boat's wake to clue you in.

We hit a new surfing record of 15kts right before the big one sloshed us. "Good God Almighty! Great Balls of Fire!!!!"

Tomorrow, we should be at Port Phaeton, the bay between Tahiti Iti and Tahiti Nui.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Raivavae in the Rearview Mirror

Thursday, 24 May 2012 Lat 21 43S Long 148 17W ~250 miles S of Tahiti Course 330 Wind SE 17kts Boatspeed 7.5kts Showery

Tuesday night, along with Joel and Mandy, we had dinner at the home of the French couple, Vincent and Emilie, who staff the island medical clinic. We shared our pictures and videos from our trip to Motu Piscene and the rocking church service. Since someone always needs to be available at the clinic, only one of the couple can be away at a time. But, it's a small island, so no one can get far. So only Vincent was able to go with us.

For dinner, Vincent prepared a delicious Alsace Tarte Flambe (kind of white pizza). We brought a feta-tomato-olive salad.  And Mandy prepared delicious octopus spaghetti. Joel grabbed the victims when he dove his anchor the day before. All followed by Mandy's yummy, stovetop banana cake and purple taro ice cream.. We even had wine, which is rare and expensive in these parts. A trio of neighborhood cats gobbled up the leftover spaghetti. Merci a' Vincent et Emilie pour l'acceuil chalereux!

Yesterday, we left Raivavae, its craggy peaks crowned with swirling mist. It was really a dramatic and beautiful sight.The weather was quite misty, but we thought, no sweat. That's way easier than salty spray washing over the boat.However, it was cool enough overnight that not only did we have to wear foulies, we had to go back to fleece!We thought we were done with that, but no.

Anyway, we've had more wind that we expected, so we have our usual reefed main and jib. But it's off the wind, so it's easier to live with. Today is cloudy with fewer showers. Yay!

It's always a challenge getting back into the offshore routine. And we miss splitting watches with crew, as we did with Mark on the last passage, But we're not suffering from motion sickness or the troublesome leaks we had on that leg, due partly to Bill's repairs and partly to a dryer offwind course. So those are a definite improvement.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Things are picking up a bit

We've enjoyed the company of the other yacht, Jomandy. They are completing a circumnavigation that started in Malaysia years ago. They have some great stories to tell. A couple days ago, we both moved to the south side of the island inside the lagoon. There are beautiful, fine, white sand beaches on the motus over here. But the water is shallow with coral heads, so navigation takes extreme care and clear, calm conditions. That said, the snorkeling here is so-so and the water is fairly cool.

Yesterday, we attended another church feast. We were very late, but they kindly served us anyway. The menu is chicken, pork, cooked fish, (all baked in a pit) poisson crue (really delicious, marinated, raw fish and veggies!), several versions of taro and manioc (tapioca), banana crepes (need rum sauce) and several kinds of cake. The food is laid out on long banana leaf "runners". Although plates are provided, everyone eats with their hands. (Kathi cheated and brought forks this time).

Afterwards, there was a wonderful musical church service. The different congregations come together this month, and each congregation wears their own colorful ladies' dresses and extravagant hats and men's shirts of matching fabrics. It's a flamboyant sight. The music is exuberant and uplifting. We'll have great photos and maybe some video to post later. Afterwards, everyone hangs around and visits (and smokes). This was one of our few opportunities to meet very many local adults and children. They are just delightful, and everyone is in their Sunday best, which include "coronnes" of flowers and leaves (head wreaths or "crowns' in English) on the children. There was a second, short special service (in this case a lively memorial) Then another meal was served (which appeared to have some different dishes), although we passed on that. We finally feel like we've found the "real Polynesia".

Although, we're on the leeward (sheltered) side of the island, there are violent katabatic winds that pound us at night, usually between 1 and 3 am. The boat swings around, jerks on the snubber and the chain drags and snags on rocks below. We're in a fairly deep hole (37feet!) and the anchor seems to hold OK, but it's unnerving and hard to sleep. There are a few rain showers, but nothing major or long lived.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ho Hum

Mercredi (Wednesday) 16 May 2012 on the hook at Rairuia, Raivavae Wind NE 10 kts Boatspeed 0 kts Sunny and calm

Raivavae has been a very sleepy and pleasant, subroptical port of call.
Not much seems to happen around here. There are no hotels, bars, or restaurants. There are a 3 villages, a couple pensions, 3 stores, 4 churches and a post office. It's a good anchorage and a very pleasant climate, with temps in low 70s, and not much rain. The biggest events this month are the church feasts. Each Sunday a different church hosts a gargantuan feast, broken up by church services (not the spirited dancing of the other islands). We don't even see children playing in the water like on other islands. We see their school buses passing by.

Today, we finally got out our folding bikes and rode around the island. Most of the way, the road is paved. There's pretty good airport, with one flight a week from Papeete.

Food: people give us grapefruit, coconuts and papaya. A French resident sells tomatos and bok choy. There are chickens running around, but nobody gathers eggs to sell or trade. We found a little mint and basil growing along the road. But apart from taro, staples and the local Hinano beer from the stores. that's about it for provisions. We still have some mahimahi and NZ meat in the fridge. Thank goodness the fridge still works (despite a coolant leak). The cool temps help.

Yesterday, another yacht arrived. Yay! a French guy & his Malaysian wife 5 years into a circumnavigation that started in Malyasia in 2007. They are very lively and good company.

The semi-monthly cargo ship left with our erstwhile crew Mark aboard, bound for the bright lights of Papeete. We'll catch up with him next week in Tahiti.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

L'Arrivee, Enfin

Jeudi (Thursday) 10 May 2012 on the hook at Rairuia, Raivavae Wind E 25 kts Boatspeed 0 kts Sunny and windy.

At Last!!!!  Must get lunch and go ashore aux gendarmes for les formalites.

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Almost There

Wednesday 9 May 2012 Lat 26 00 S Long 147 23 W, 130 miles S of Raivavae 191 miles Nw of Rapa, and 500 miles SSE of Tahiti
-Course 350 deg Wind SSE 15 kts Boatspeed 5-6 kts Sunny, balmy, and stinky, little flying fish on the deck.

We jibed! It's a novelty to be heeling the other way after 2 1/2 weeks on port board. Although, beam reaching the boat averages somewhat flatter.
The wind waves are down, but we still have a big, long SW swell, from gales far far away. So the boat rocks as the swells pass under us.
The windspeed varies somewhat, so the watch has to more actively sail the boat, vs just setting the windvane and ignoring it for days at a time.
We finally put out a fishing line. Up to now, no one wanted to deal with a big, angry, slippery fish while the boat was pounding to weather.

Iit's a bit cool yet for shorts and T shirts, but at least we don't need our foulies and boots at night anymore. Yay!
Mark even put away his winter wardrobe and got out his summer whites and loud shorts.

Landfall tomorrow, really, for sure. We're looking forward to getting fresh fruit, baguettes and maybe even fresh eggs.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Movin' Right Along

Tuesday 8 May 2012 Lat 27 60S Long 146 23 W, 250 miles S of Raivavae 110 miles ESE of Rapa, and 630 miles SSE of Tahiti
-Course 310 deg Wind W 20 kts Boatspeed 8.5 kts Sunny, balmy, no flying fish yet

Things are finally as they should be, almost. We've been able to dry out most of the wet stuff on the boat, except the carpet. Yuk.
We're reaching along in the trades, except westerly instead of the normal southeasterlies, but we're not complaining..
The wind went a little light in the night, so we motored a bit on Bill's watch. But the wind came back up in the morning and off we go.
Hopefully, the wind will keep up. We don't expect find diesel in Raivavae, so our fuel needs to last until Tahiti.

We listened to more Jimmy Buffett and Eileen Quinn today and we're studying our French Polynesian fish guide.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Left Turn

Monday 7 May 2012 Lat 30 18 S Long 145 39 W 172 miles S of Rapa, 400 miles S of Raivavae and 770 miles south of Tahiti
-Course 330 deg Wind SW 19 kts Boatspeed 7-8kts

After a day and night of 22-30kts of wind on the nose, we're FINALLY, out from under the interminable northerlies and have been lifted 90 deg. We're still on starboard tack, but at least it's a reach and the boat isn't heeled all the time. Last night was beautiful: mild, 15kts breeze and moonlit, although the seas were still rough. But at least we're not taking waves over the boat and their related leaks have stopped.

Today, the sun is out and it's finally warm enough to wear shorts! We are so relieved to be pointed where we actually want to go.
We're 2 days from Rapa, arriving after dark, which would require standing off all night waiting to enter the coral strewn harbor in late morning when the sun is high and at our backs. Might just as well sail the extra day or so to Raivavae. So it's back to plan A.

So we can dry out somewhat. When we get ashore, there will be lots of stuff to wash before can go play. Most likely, we'll be ferrying water in jugs to fill the ship's tanks, as well.

Although we're still bored out of our skulls, we're feeling much encouraged. We listen to Jimmy Buffett to cheer us up too.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

We're still here

Sunday 5 May 2012 Lat 32 24.6 S Long 146 08 W 300 miles SSE of Rapa, 530 miles S of Raivavae and 1,000 miles south of Tahiti (What the heck are we doing here anyway?) If we're not careful, we'll end up at Pitcairn Is in another week.
-Course 30 deg Wind N 27 kts Boatspeed 3.8kts

When we changed our landfall to Rapa, we had hoped to arrive today. It seems we're always 3 days away.
Being Sunday, we listened to an Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples gospel CD. I don't think the spirit moved anybody more than we were already bouncing around. Bill is still fighting motion-sickness, believe it or not.

The breeze came back up and since yesterday afternoon, we've been sailing slowly eastward waiting for a low to pass over us. It was a pretty bumpy and boisterous night. It's hard to sleep as the waves toss us around. This morning, a wave tossed Mark holding a milk carton across the cabin to the nav station. Fortunately, Bill was there to break the fall and mop up some milk. Every move in the galley has to choreographed around the pitching and tossing motion of the boat. The stove's on gimbals and is always moving. The sink is the only safe place to set anything down.

When the wind lightens, then maybe we can tack. Lord knows what'll come tumbling down inside the boat as we tip to the left after 2 weeks tipped to the right.

For those of you waiting for email from us: sailmail is really difficult and slow down here. So bear with us. We'll respond when we can.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Heaven Forfend!

Friday 4 May 2012 Lat 33 19 S Long 150 13W -Course 55 deg Wind N 10 kts Boatspeed 6kts
And yes, still on port tack, but we're going to have to tack to avoid an unnamed reef up ahead.

Bill's actually driving the boat! by hand! It's the first time the wheel's been touched by human hands since we left Cook Strait nearly 2 weeks ago.
The windvane works great on most points of sail, but doesn't steer as high as the boat will point on the wind. So Bill took the drastic step of steering himself.
The wind's gone light, down to 10kts and we need to make some progress north.

will this trip never end.....?

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Still on port tack...

Thursday 3 May 2012 Lat 33 51 S Long 152 26W -Course 55 deg Wind N 17-25 kts Boatspeed 7kts Landfall is now planned at Rapa, French Polynesia. We hope to arrive in a few days. It's quite remote with a small population and no encircling reef like Raivavae.

We can't seem to make much northward progress and we're still on port tack. We manage to keep just ahead of a succession of lows dropping down from the north. Tacking onto starboard would put us in high winds. We did slow the boat down to 3.5 kts overnight in 22-27kts and really lumpy seas. Waves were frequently washing over us. That has lessened.

Things have smoothed out today and winds have moderated for awhile.

Temperatures continue to warm into the 70s. But, the boat is pretty damp inside.

boring boring boring.....

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Slogging to Windward

Wednesday 2 Mayl 2012 Lat 34 55S Long 155 01W -Course 35deg Wind N 17 kts Boatspeed 6kts

Ditto

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Slogging to Windward

Tuesday 1 Mayl 2012 Lat 36 24 S Long 157 35 W -Course 35deg Wind N 1710 kts Boatspeed 6.8kts MOL

Seas are rougher than the winds would suggest, so we just slog along. Every once in a while, we take a seasickness pill, which takes us from merely dull-witted to catatonic.
Nonetheless,we really shouldn't complain too loudly. It's just tedious, not really a gale or storm.

If the wind comes up a bit more, we'll have to reef, slowing the boat down. Ironically, the motion may increase when we lose the dampening effect of the larger sail.

Dinner last night was lentil sausage and ratatouille stew and tart lemon yogurt. The smoked salmon is all gone.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

(no subject)

Monday 30 April 2012 Lat 38 07 S Long 159 26 W -Course 40deg Wind N 10 kts Boatspeed 6.8kts

The breeze came back up and since yesterday afternoon, we've been steadily sailing on port upwind on moderate seas under full main & jib.

There's high overcast and we're sailing into a low between to highs. We don't expect winds over 30kts, but it'll be another bumpy ride probably. Ugh.
At least the boat keeps moving along well and the steering seems to work OK.

We passed the halfway point, but are considering landfall at Rapa instead of Raiavavae. Rapa farther east and south, but may be easier to attain.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Noises Off

Sunday 30 April 2012 Lat 39 45 S Long 161 52 W -Course 20deg -Motoring -Wind N 10 kts
After finishing our Sunday brunch we're motoring in light wind, sunshine and a few showers .
Maybe we can dry out all the wet gear and rags. There's condensation to dry out as well.
We had a good run overnight sailing north with mostly full main and jib.

Noises underway: If you're motoring, the engine just drowns everything else out.

Under sail, above decks there's the soft roar and rush of the wave and the hiss of the foam. Below decks it's banging and slamming, whooshing and shooshing, gurgling and sluicing along the hull, the rig is humming, the wind rushes over the sails and deck hardware might be clacking. All that's fine and lulls us to sleep. However, the accompanying clinking and clanking of pans, crockery and cutlery, and rattling of loose doors and other stuff is maddening. So after a while, all the lockers are stuffed full of towels and other padding just to "shut them up". Poor Mark, so tormented by pans and lids clanking in the dish rack, just resorted to stuffing them in his bed. I guess he finally was perturbable.

News and Entertainment:
A couple days ago, Bill and Mark saw a pilot whale leap clear of the water right behind the boat. Twice.
We have our real and audiobooks, of course. Mark is diligently practicing his French.

We have an SSB/Ham radio that has BBC, VofA and NPR channels. We have never received any of those broadcasts, which is quite disappointing. So we have no idea what's been going on in the world beyond the est 154 miles of visible ocean surface around us. (est 7 mi visibility => pi x r sqd = 3.14 x 7 x 7= 154 mi sq ). We have no clue about what is going on the mile or so below us....I guess we can see the sky OK. We only started getting moonlight the past 2 nights.

Nor has the ham radio allowed Bill to communicate with his many ham family members.

We asked Bud Cuffel for some good news and he reports no drought on the Long Beach peninsula. Hurray.
Any other good news reports are welcome. Sorry we cannot accept puppy & kitten pictures via sailmail.
Hold the bad news til later, please..

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wash Rinse Repeat

29 April 2012 41 34S 162 48 W Course 355 Boatspeed 7.6 Wind N 20 kts
Well, we did tack onto port, and the wind did come up. Bill's weather prediction was spot on to the hour! We thought we could dodge a low, but no. Long story short: bare poles overnight, blew downwind 36 miles south. avg speed 6 kts, max speed 8.5 surfing down invisible waves in the dark, a gliding sensation. Although the winds never seemed to exceed 35kts, Later, when the wind changed 90deg, and put us sidewways to the slop, it got a little bouncy: the sewing kit crashed, sending spools of thread and notions all over. Our course on the plotter was an backwards "4" with a curving tail at the bottom. Then we got up in the morning turned the boat around, and here we are again.

Bill says we'll have another one in 3 days. Oh joy.

It doesn't ever rain very much, but waves are constantly drenching us, so we never get the salt off our gear. We're quite envious of our friends with complete cockpit covers. though. It's a lesson ex-racers have to learn the hard way.

Mark made a terrific chicken rice dish, kind to wobbly stomachs. We're so glad to have him aboard. He's imperturbable, though we try.

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Not quite same ol' same ol'

Friday 27 April 2012 Lat 41 35 S Long 154 27 W Course 55 Speed 7.5 kts, 2 reefs
The weather is still a comfortable 65deg F, with showers .

We're still on port tack, but now we're sailing close hauled, heeling over,seas are rougher and taking waves over the boat, although the wind isn't any stronger. Bill has lashed in the first reef and put in the second reef. We'll use the 1st reeflines to rig a 3rd reef if the wind really picks up. This will be the first time we will have used a 3rd reef, so we don't really know how it will work out.

We've been eating pretty well: quiche with leeks, chicken caprera, lasagna, and moussaka. Tonight will be smoked salmon linguine or gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce. The fruit has been keeping well in the moderate temps. That will change in the tropics.

Bill says we may tack onto starboard later today. That will be a welcome change, we've all got cricks in our necks from being on port tack for 6 days. Also maybe the leak over Mark's bunk will stop.

Books we're reading or listening to:
Bill: Reviewing French weather jargon and listening to _The History of Almost Everything_, by Bill Bryson,
Kathi: _Playing for Pizza_, by John Grisham
Mark: _The Illiad_,by Homer and many others. Mark reads a book a day.

If you've been following us on Spot, that coverage is ending. Find the YOTREPS link via the Position section of the blog.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Same ol' same ol'

Thursday 26 April 2012 Lat 41 56 S Long 167 60 W Course 60 magnetic 7.2 kts
Still reaching or close reaching in N 12-22kts of breeze, sometimes reefed. in the company of albatroses and some other unknown birds.
We've been chasing behind a high all the way from New Zealand and we're trying to keep the speed up to outrun 2 converging lows. With every forecast, a low from the tropics seems be be arriving a little later and it now looks like we will outrun the center, but not the cold front or the squash zone on the leading edge. The tropical low will pass behind us and merge with a low that came off of South Island. Unfortunately the winds in front of the low will be 30 knot northerlies, so we won't be able to turn up toward the tropics for a few more days and in fact we may need to bear further south a little.

Every day is pretty much the same, especially Tues 24 April, which was "relived" after crossing the dateline from west to east. You don't get many do-overs in life: it's too bad we didn't make any improvements the second time around.

Oh well, we can't really complain. It's not too cold, not too hot, steady moderate wind and seas, hardly any rain and only a couple leaks. The refer seems to be staying cold enough. That will be confirmed later when we see if all the meat at the bottom remains unspoiled.

Bill and Mark are brushing up on their French and we're all reviewing the Tahitian phrases:
Hello = Ia orana, thank you = maururu, and good = maitai (that should be easy to remember)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tasman Island to Tatoosh Island - Leg 2 - Wellington NZ to Raivavae French Polynesia

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 (for the 2nd time. We crossed the dateline last night)
Lat 42 44 S Long 174 00 W
On Sunday we checked out of Wellington NZ with the friendly customs officer who came to the boat. As the boat pulled out of the berth, he took a photo so Search and Rescue can identify the boat if we were to made a distress call later. Nice touch....

As we motored into Cook Strait, a frisky pod of dolphins swam along with us. As they frolicked in our bow wave, some were mating. They don't even slow down swimming and really quite shameless about it. Shocking.

Light northerly breezes were predicted as a wide high pressure system spread across the region. The wind actually picked up nicely and we have been reaching under a double reef on a balmy northerly for 3 days. A low pressure system (gale) looks like it will cross our path, so we've slowed down for a day, although there seems to be some current pushing us along. We considered diverting the Chatham Islands (NZ) to the south, which would have been nice. But we'd rather save the time for French Polynesia. So we're plodding ahead. As the winds calm, we can see and feel the long low SW swells from the southern storm track that have almost always been present since we left Hobart. And here we also have long low N swells from winds up north.

To see our weather and wave conditions,in living color you can go to passageweather.com, click on South Pacific, and select Oceania.

There are almost always 2-3 albatrosses, a gannet and smaller birds wheeling around. When the water is rough, small squid are washed aboard for us to find each morning, leaving little black inkspots on the deck.

Mark Lincoln is with us and is a great help and crewmate. We are well provisioned and with the calm weather we can prepare nice meals and have the appetite to eat them. The cool weather allows the unrefrigerated fruits and vegs to ripen slowly and puts less demand on the refrigerator to keep cold.

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Auckland by Air

April 3, 2012. We flew to Auckland. It was pleasantly warm and balmy when our kind friend Marian Harkness picked us up at the airport and took us to her lovely home for a few days. Two days later, Brian kindly picked up Mark Lincoln at the airport early in the morning and dropped us off at RAYC.
Mike Webster picked us up on Northerner for a 4 day Easter weekend race/cruise. Mark was brighteyed and bushy tailed on the start line a few hours after getting off the plane. We had a fabulous 4 days aboard Northerner racing and cruising with Mike. He's a terrific host and catered to our every need (almost).

Mike Webster rowing to victory in the singlehanded, singleoard race.  Northerner in the background



Graeme Colle
 We were able to rendezvous with Gloria and Michael on Paikea Mist, for a goodbye visit. They are headed north for another season before returning to Vancouver. We hope to see them there again in a year or so.

A couple days later we flew back to Wellington to prepare for Leg 3 - Wellington to Raivave. It was sad to say goodbye to our special Kiwi friends. We hope they'll visit us in Seattle. Wellington is a lot colder than Auckland. But Mark had brought a heater part so Bill was able to fix our heater and get the boat warm in Wellie's cold weather. Of course,he also had to fix the refrigerator, so we could have cold too.

Unfortunately, while we were away, another boat had hit and damaged Jarana. So there was a bent stanchion to repair. There is a big supermarket just across the street from the marina, so we made daily trips for provisioning.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Back in New Zealand again

Sunday, March 18, 2012, Passage from Hobart to Nelson, NZ, cont'd
We rounded Cape Farewell, a huge curving sandspit at the north end of NZ South Island under a painted sunset. We motored slowly south down Tasman Bay in order to reach Nelson in daylight.

A pod of dolphins welcomed us making Disney-sparkly phosphorescent trails around the boat in the dark smooth waters for a long time. Their rapid exhalation-gasps as they rapidly surface and descent sound spooky in the dark..

The quarantine was the most thorough we'd seen yet. The officer even emptied the vacuum cleaner bag, to get any seeds that might be there. (I had emptied it in Hobart, so I got the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Hah! I usually channel Phyllis Diller. Kathi)

Nelson was a great stop. Our jib got some much needed, just in time repairs.
Restless, with Mark and Brandi from the Seattle area were near us on the dock, as were a couple Aussie boats that left Hobart before us and got the really rough weather. It was good to see them safe and sound and unfazed.

After few days in Nelson,we had a awesome sail up to French Pass, hitting 14kts reaching down a steep swell in Tasman Bay under sunny skies. . Whoo Haa! We had great sailing on the turquoise waters under sunny skies everyday in the sounds. What fun!

We spent just a few days in Pelorous and Queen Charlotte Sounds en route to Waikawa to meet up with friends Pam & John (Passages) on a land trip and Jackster and Inspiration Lady. Passages is heading north for another season before getting back to Vancouver in the next year or so. We'll be counting the days until we see their smiling faces again.

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Tasman to Tatoosh - Leg 1.1 Crossing Cook Strait

Saturday, March 30, 2012 Waikawa to Wellington
It's only 46 miles across Cook Strait between NZ North & South Islands, but it can be really treaturous . First you have to exit Marlborough Sounds via Tory Entrance which is very narrow, used by freighter and giant ferry traffic, AND has very strong tidal currents.

We left Waikawa in the wee hours and motored the rest of the night almost all the way to Wellington. Bill took the whole watch and Kathi slept through most of it.

hmmmm no dolphins this time. But at least there was at least a brass band playing and friendly folks on the dock to take our lines as we pulled into Chaffers Marina. We were delighted to see our sistership Coel Mor, Restless and Navire there. Navire belongs to Wellingtonians Janet and Dave we met 2 years ago in Tonga. When we passed through Wellington last year with the Stillmans we were really disappointed not to have time to see Janet & Dave and the Coel Mor family. So we were expecially happy to have a second chance.

Also, last year, we were in Wellie on Bill's birthday. Susie booked us at the Chalie-Bill restaurant. Unfortunately, our Bill was sick and couldn't enjoy the great meal. So our third treat was to have dinner again at Charlie-Bill. It was just great.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tasman to Tatoosh - Leg 1 Passage from Hobart to Nelson NZ

March 9, 2012, Bill's Birthday: Homeward Bound
We left Hobart in sunny and calm weather. In the Derwent River, dolphins cavorted around us. Next the Mumm36 Bill had crewed on escorted us further down the river. Our friend Zack had it set up as a "drinks trolley" for a gaggle of friends. It was a nice send off, and made it all that sadder to leave.
Drinks Trolley, goodbye Zack!

We motored past spectacular Tasman Island and its rafts of giant seals around sunset at 2030. Bill was thrilled with his lavishly birthday gift of M&Ms. Actually, he got a really nice foulie jacket too. Anyhow, the northerly wind came up and we reefed. We had the usual long low SW swell and the steeper N windwaves.

Most of the passage was light air. In 9 days, we motored 90 hours. No complaints here. A number of other boats were caught in the NZ weather bomb hundreds of miles apart, so we were very happy with our lot.
Calm crossing

Our only moment of near-drama was finding screws on the deck under the gooseneck. It had been badly worn and Bill had it repaired in Hobart but had trouble getting the right fasteners He managed to remount it but has permanent souvenirs of the job in form of tefgel spots all over his new "couture" jacket. Oh well... It was pretty for a few days. It still seems to keep the water out.

Albatrosses and gannets were our constant companions across the sea. NZ is 2 hours behind Tasmania, and one issue in setting the clocks forward, was: on whose watch would we set the clocks ahead. That watch would be 2 hours shorter.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Catching up on our travels

Our last post was from Denarau Island in Fiji, last September, we've visited Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania in Australia. We had a wonderful time everywhere and no serious mishaps..

So, to continue in brief, we spent a couple idyllic weeks in Fiji's Yasawa islands.
That was some of our best cruising: turquoise waters, benign weather, great snorkeling and we even caught a fish!

On September 21st, we checked out of Lautoka for an uneventful sail to Port Vila on the island of Efate in Vanuatua. We really enjoyed our 3 weeks there.
We spent a few nights at Havanah Harbor, Port Resolution on Tanna Island, and several lovely days at Aneityum

After 3 weeks in Vanuatu, we checked out of Aneityum and left after dark. Bad idea....But we managed OK and the rest of the passage was easy and uneventful passage,, we arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia and enjoyed some lovely anchorages and French food there. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the Loyalty Islands or Isle des Pins.

Our friend Seth Seigal joined us for a great 6 day beam reach to Bundaberg, Queensland in Australia. (Seth found the best Black Forest cake EVER at the local patisserie! )
We arrived in Bundaberg November 10th.

We spent a few weeks cruising the Hervy Bay and Moreton Bay, stopping at RQYC in Manly for awhile. Brisbane is a great city with terrific museums, especially the Maritime Museum.

Traveling south, we stopped in Port Stephens and met Jim and Barbara Cole from Seattle. Jim is one of several Boeing employees working at a nearby Aussie Air Force base.
They showered us with hospitality, even taking us to the office Christmas party in Newcastle, which was very nice indeed.

We did manage a short stop in Pittwater, a popular cruising ground just north of Sydney.
We arrived in Sydney December 20th. What a fantastic place. We spent 10 days and lots of money at Cammeray Marina with Totem. We were able to watch the start of the Sydney-Hobart Race from a tall bluff. The boats came quite close and the big boats' mastheads were higher than us. What a sight.

On New Years Eve, we anchored with friends in sight of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge for the fireworks. What a show! It's incredible, and warm!!!!

We spent 10 days anchored in Blackwattle Bay in Sydney along side Don and Bonnie on Minerva and really enjoyed the city. And Costco! Yay!

On January 20th, we sailed south to Jervis Bay, Eden and Tasmania. Tassie has spectacular scenery, great anchorages and very friendly people. We had a wonderful time visiting Howard and Lorraine Smith of Nomzamo who lavished us with fine food, drink and a cozy bed in their beautiful home. Three weeks in Hobart flew by and we were really sad to leave.

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