Friday, November 25, 2011

112411

Happy Thanksgiving!! Yee Haw We are in Hawaii and boy are we thankful!! We made it to Oahu's Ko'Olina Marina just as it got dark on Wednesday. Typical Morrison style. My last post was Friday the 18th, the weekend was pretty much more of the same, sunny days, cloudy, windy nights. We had big mile days - a record setting 197 miles from Friday to Saturday. It wasn't comfortable, but it was definitely fast. We could had Hawaii in our sights and it looked like a Wednesday morning arrival in Honolulu. Monday night we passed the southern end of Hawaii (the big Island) on my watch. We didn't get the high compression winds we thought we might get, with highs only in the mid to upper 20's. As my watch was winding down, so did the wind, I started the engine, and within minutes the high temperature alarm was going off. So, poor Dennis was rousted out of bed at 0600 to deal with that. Ane that set the tone for our last two and a half days. After working on the engine for 3 hours, it restarted, and then the wind came up, so we were back to sailing. We had been in email contact with a cruiser living in Kona who was helping us find a place to stay here in Oahu. That day after the net when he and Dennis were talking, he told us the channel between Hawaii and Molokai was blowing a gale. We figured we were 20-30 miles out from there, so should be okay. We did however put the second reef back in the main as it was getting dark. I don't think the reef had been in even 10 minutes before the wind jumped to the high 20's/low 30's and the seas built up. We had another wild ride that night, and made up some of the time we lost sailing backwards that morning due to the 2 knots of current against us with no wind. Tuesday we had more of the same engine drill. Dennis had worked on the raw water pump Monday - it had worked its way loose, and was spinning around not pumping. Tuesday we ran the engine for about 4 hours before the alarm went off again, and on it went. Fortunately the wind kept up, so we kept moving and the current finally turned in our direction on Wednesday. Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon was probably one of the wildest rides we have ever had the winds stayed in the upper 20's and the seas were big. We were taking waves over the bow and into the cockpit fairly regularly, but the end was in sight. The channel between Molokai and Oahu was the culprit - again lots of wind and water funneling through a tight channel - simple physics with crazy results. The entrance to Ko'Olina was straight forward, and we tied up to the fuel dock as directed. The joy of being still, of being able to stand upright, to pee without falling off the head while hanging on for dear life. We found some people down the dock on a commercial tour boat to take pity on us and let us in the showers. What a treat to stand under the water for as long as we wanted. After a beer and gin and tonic we walked to the hotel close by for an overpriced only moderately well cooked meal - but hey, the salad bar was awesome, and I didn't cook it or clean up after it and they served a good California red wine - not out of a box!!!!! Oh the things we take for granted.

This morning as I was waiting for the marina office to open we met a couple on one of our sister ships - hull #29. Debbie and Steve are now our new neighbors and new best friends. So far Oahu has been extremely friendly - like French Polynesia, only in English. Steve and Debbie graciously invited us to join them as their guests at Thanksgiving dinner at the home of their friends on the north island. What a beautiful home and nice people! It couldn't have been better if we had tried to plan it. Dinner was hosted at the home of Gary and Diane. Their backyard goes right to the beach, their home is lovely and welcoming and the food was amazing. Steve and Debbie introduced us to more people than we will ever remember the names of, all of whom were friendly and helped us to feel comfortable and at ease. Josh had kids to hang out with - mostly girls - which kept him occupied and happy.

So we have ended up on our feet - I am hoping to find a job at the hospital that is in the town about 5 miles away, otherwise it is at least an hour bus ride into Honolulu proper. I will be happy with whatever comes up, but it sure would be nice to be closer to the boat. It seems that the tsunami last spring took out about 300 slips at the Ke ehi lagoon marinas, so the downtown marina is full up. That is why we are way out here at Ko'Olina. It is a very nice marina, and the area although resorty is nice and clean and friendly. Target, Home Depot and a grocery store are about a mile and a half walk away, the bus stop is about a mile away and there is a small grocery store/deli a short distance from the marina. Steve and Debbie have already offered rides to West Marine and Costco. So life is good. We have new friends, a nice slip close to the showers and laundry (which is cheap, 1.50 to wash 1.75 to dry), the beach is close and best of all we are still. It was amazingly cool to sleep the whole night through, the right way in our bed and in Josh's case in his bed.

----------
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

111811

Well, we made it through the ITCZ. I think I should get the sailing equivalent of a big silver belt buckle for riding the bronco thru the night last night. I stayed on the full 8 (or is it 12) seconds and then some!!! It was pretty wild!! The wind and the seas did their best, but I hung in there. My watch saw winds 18-23kt with gusts to 30. Not too big of a deal except the wind direction varied from 40 degrees in front of the beam to 40 degrees aft of the beam. Made sail trim and windvane setting a challenge. I pulled sail in and put sail out and adjusted the wind vane until I finally settled on the autopilot, the double reefed main and the staysail. With that we had reasonable speed 6-7 kts and only buried the port rail a little bit (Well actually a lot, but everything becomes relative after a while). The seas were pretty big and I got very wet. No rain though lots of clouds. The swell was and still is primarily from the north. The good news though is that the current is finally helping us a little bit - yeah!!! We will probably get to Honolulu on Thanksgiving Day - Kind of a pain as only the captain can leave the boat until customs comes, and then there is a fee for after hours/holidays - wonder if they'll take a check or credit card? Our supply of US cash is minimal. I had good sleep last night before my watch, and again after. It showed as I made pancakes for breakfast (1000 am). Josh is a little seasick again today, but in good spirits. There is actually blue sky out there, maybe we can get a little dried out today. The whole boat could stand to go through a car wash - ourselves included. Dennis cracked the hatch in our cabin this morning, and we got pooped by a wave. I had to tell him that generally I like to wash my underwear in fresh water! My drawer was out so that Dennis could reach the generator controls, which is why it was available to be doused with salt water. I wouldn't be surprised if we sprouted gills.

----------
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

111711

From the ITCZ. Wind is squirrelly - up and down. Its rainy, we are motor sailing. The only thing exciting ( if you can call it that) was we sailed thru a flock of flying fish 3 nights ago - boy do they stink!! I don't leave the cockpit at night (at least not because of smelly fish), so I had to put up with the smell - yuck! Also had a first of burying the aft deck toe rail - never done that before. Goes to show you can get used to just about anything. Actually I just want to be there so the discomfort of sailing like banshees is secondary to my desire to have a long hot shower. Optimistically we could make it by Wednesday, if we can just loose the current and pick up 20-25 kts of wind, it could happen. We should be exiting the ITCZ within the next 24 hours, and will then make our turn towards HI. The northern trades should kick in and off we go. Carla and I missed our SSB call yesterday as I was helping to un reef the mainsail - hoping to get some more speed going (finally gave up around noon and turned on the engine). So, we rescheduled for today. Had to cut it short today because they needed to make some sail adjustments, we'll try again tomorrow. We are only 8 miles north of them now, but they are about 17 miles to the west of us. Might be getting close to VHF range, in which case calls don't have to be scheduled. We can pick up the horn anytime. Josh is feeling a little seasick today - not sure what is different. He is being a real trooper - gets up every day at 0600 for his watch with no qualms. We are really proud of him.
Well, I will try to post this.....

----------
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Sunday, November 13, 2011

111311 From The northern Hemisphere

Well, its Sunday and we are back in the Northern Hemisphere. We crossed the equator around 0600 this morning. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to be woken for the occasion, so it passed quietly. We will probably have a little celebration this afternoon.

The wind finally clocked around to the southeast, so the last two days have been better as far as the motion is concerned. We hosed down the cockpit yesterday to get the saltwater off, things dried out some and I actually made a real lunch (Chinese cabbage salad). It has been nice to be able to open some hatches to cool down and dry out the inside of the boat. Lucky Dennis always seems to get pooped thru a hatch while he is sleeping, so the new rule is to always close the portholes at night!! He says it is a most unpleasant way to wake up - I personally hate having to dry everything out. It was my pillow that got soaked 2 nights ago when it happened last.

It has been pretty uneventful since fixing the diesel leak. Dennis and Josh had to add water to the generator cooling system, but that is a chore that will need to be repeated every couple of days related to the ongoing issues with it. I am pretty sure our batteries are looking forward to shore power almost as much as Josh is!!

We have been making good time 6-8 knots consistently. We have caught up to Moondance in latitude, but they are 36 miles west of us. Our next waypoint is the ITCZ or the doldrums. Brad has us aimed for 8 degrees north 148.4 west. We are hoping it is a narrow band and we get thru quickly and can make our turn to Hawaii. Optimistically we have about 11 days to go. - Pray for us. Right now we are at 00 degrees 30 minutes north 148 degrees 37 minutes west and fighting the counter equatorial current or some such PIA. It is very strong and are doing a ferry to the northeast. Interesting thought for a sailboat.....

Quiet day today. I am nursing a sore left hand, I spilled boiling water on it this morning. It hurts like stink, but I don't think it is going to blister. Amazing really considering how much motion I cook with all the time that I don't get hurt more often. There is certainly an art about cooking on a slant with a moving stove top. We should video it for a reality show - I bet it would be hysterically funny.

Well, that's it for now...

----------
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday 111011

Well, here we are, its our fifth day out,and things are finally clicking in.

We left Sunday the 6th around 2pm. It was a beautiful day, the pass was no problem and Josh caught a 34 in approx. 30 lb yellow fin tuna just outside of the pass. That was a good thing even though it slowed us down. When we got back situated Moondance was 6 miles ahead of us. That night for the Pacific Seafarer's net we discovered our SSB was not transmitting. Dennis could hear them, but got no response to his attempts to check in. So... project for the next day. Ideally the winds would have been from the east or southeast giving us a beam reach. Alas the wind has been northeast, so we have been on a close haul. It is better than the death rolls we have had, but still is difficult to move around. On the upside, the Tuna was delicious!!

Monday Dennis cleaned all of the connections on the SSB, and Monday night was successfully heard and checked in. You can follow us on their website www.pacseanet.com. Our call sign is KI6HAI. I haven't navigated their webpage, so cannot give you any hints on exactly how to do it, but it can be done. Dennis thinks the connection was loosened at the deck fitting when I strapped down the water jugs.... I don't know, it is another one of those voodoo things that boats have. Josh discovered Monday night that sleeping in his bunk with this amount of port heel is not possible, so he has moved onto the salon settee until we have a more comfortable tack.

Tuesday we discovered diesel in the port food compartment. What a disaster. We unloaded it all, wiped and washed, tore off labels and relabeled with sharpie and put it all back. Only to discover on Wednesday that it was full again. So, repeat the above and add Dennis discovering that some stupid SOB in Evergreen's past thought that fixing a hole in the diesel fill tube with glue and covering it with tape was a good decision. NOT!!! Whomever it was better hope I never find them - it won't be pretty. Dennis cut out the hole and plugged the tube with a wood through hull plug and hose clamp. Today - no diesel, problem solved, food replaced.

The weather has been okay, we had squalls on Monday and Tuesday, no winds above 33knots, was weird to turn upwind, on the way from Mexico we turned downwind during squalls. We have a different sail configuration now, smaller main jib, so turning up feels like I have more control. Probably just my imagination. Mostly the winds have been in the 15-20 knot range. I had a first for me last night - I actually put out more sail. We had lots of wind, but no speed with the partially furled jib, so I put out the stay sail and voila! 6kts. We have been trying to go straight north with as much east as possible. Yesterday we crossed to the west of our north south line from Rangiroa to the equator. Hopefully we will get some southeast winds today (Jamie promised!!!) and will be able to make some of it up. If we continue at 130 miles per day will should be at the equator by Saturday....We'll see.

With the SSB working again, we are able to speak with Doug and Carla daily. It is nice to hear other people. I miss being able to just pick up the VHF and call over. Now we schedule our calls.

So today everyone looks well rested. Josh has been taking the 6-9pm watch at night and 6-9am in the morning. This lets Dennis and I get a 6-7 hour block of sleep, it really makes a difference. He fills in during the day as needed as well. We have been on power rationing, so he has not had as much computer time as he would like. Feeling slightly seasick hasn't helped his desire to look at the computer either. The weather is good, we are cruising along at 6-7 kts at 350 degrees true. A little more west than we would like, but at least we are moving, and at this point everything is functioning properly. Hopefully this will continue so we can settle into some sort of routine. I'll let you know. Now if I can get this to post life will be good!!!

----------
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

110311 from Rangiroa

110311
Well, I have been pretty remiss in posting since we arrived in Rangiroa.  We have been here almost 2 weeks now and even have reasonable internet, I have no excuse.  Oh well, I am what I am I guess....
The trip here from Toau went well, no problems, sailed the whole way.  We arrived Friday morning just before slack tide, but entered thru the pass anyway, again with no problems.  We had a dolphin escort for the last 30 minutes or so and just before they left they gave us a real show - jumping and spinning - way cool.  The pass was a little swirly, but totally manageable -at least for us going in. A big schooner left right after us, and going into the current was a bit rougher, they had a pretty wild ride going out.  We anchored just northwest of the pass (Tiputa) in a real pretty bay.
The first week we spent getting to know the atoll and provisioning.  The main town is about 8 miles from us, and getting there is interesting.  There is a magazine close by, but is does not sell beer (heavens to mercy - what to do??:) ), and is somewhat more expensive.   We have been ordering baguettes from there , so at least we have bread which is nice.  We are anchored in front of the Kia Ora resort which has a nice dinghy dock and a helpful front desk.  They called a restaurant to come get us one night for pizza and a taxi to take us to town on another day.  We had a nice evening with Doug and Carla in the bar overlooking the lagoon.  Moderately expensive, but not too bad for a resort.
As I said, provisioning is always interesting, and here the distance to town and lack of public transportation makes it even more so.  On our first attempt we all hitchhiked into town, we were at least halfway there before we got a ride, but we were grateful nonetheless.  There are two reasonably well stocked stores in Avatoru and one about 2 miles from there.  Chez Daniel was willing to give us a ride back to the boats, so we stocked up on immediate needs - beer, soda, eggs, cream, fresh veggies and fruit.  That Wednesday we took a taxi from the hotel into town, did our stop at the gendarmes and then into Avatoru for a big provisioning run.  The taxi driver is very nice - Eugene.  He waited at the gendarmes and took us to the post office.  Chez Daniel was crazy with the arrival of new stock, but the woman who runs it (Elise) put aside beer, soda and eggs (we didn't want them to  be refrigerated) and said we could have a ride back to the boats later in the afternoon.  So, we walked to Magazine Kenny, back to town, had lunch,went to the smaller magazine, then did our shopping at Chez Daniel then waited for an hour and a half for a ride back to the dinghies.  Whew!!! it was a long day.  If you visit Moondance's blog (www.followingmoondance.blogspot.com)  you will see pictures of the provisions on the beach awaiting the dinghies.
Since then we have done some snorkeling and walking and exploring.  Josh's friend Max on s/v BigFish came to our anchorage at the end of our first week here.  He was very happy to see them and has been going nonstop since then.  We first met them in Moorea back in June, and were expecting to catch back up with them when we got back to Tahiti in September.  As it turns out they really like the Tuomotus and have been here all season.  Max (16) has 2 sisters Alex (14) and Ayla (12).  They are a really nice family on a large catamaran.  Josh and Max have been spearfishing and fishing like crazy.  They have even sold some of the fish they caught to the locals.  Quite the entrepreneurs.
It is hard to believe it is November already.  We celebrated halloween with Moondance - watching Charlie Brown and the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp.  Carla made popcorn balls - yum!  The local population had trick or treating for the first time this year.  We would have loved to have gone to town to see it, but it was really rainy and transportation is a real issue.  Elise from Chez Daniel said it went real well.  Tuesday the first was a school holiday - the day of the dead - I guess sort of like Memorial day in the US.  Lots of flowers and such at the cemetery.
We are hoping to get at least one drift snorkel thru the pass in before we leave, and I hope that I can talk Josh and Max into one more fishing expedition.  They have been real lucky catching yellowfin and it would be a nice supplement to our provisions for the crossing.  I think we are going to head out on Sunday - Brad thinks it is a good window to leave.  I am doing all the last minute projects and stowing, and we will do one last provision run tomorrow.  The last thing we will do is put the dinghy on the front deck - at that point we will be pretty much boat bound, but at least it means we will be moving.  I think we are all ready to head north and move into the next phase of our adventure.  Hopefully we will get visitors in Hawaii, and I will find a job quickly.  I will post along the way as I did on the crossing from Mexico.  We will participate in the pacific seafarer's net, they have a website that I will post, I think you can follow us on that as well.