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, 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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