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Don & Deb's Big Adventure Continues in Oz
We are now living in Melbourne, Australia after selling our beautiful yacht 'Buena Vista' in New Zealand. Even so...the big adventure will continue one way or another!
Day 18 to the Marquesas
04/07/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 18 = 108 nautical miles. Less than 200 to the equator! No big squalls today thank goodness but it rained like crazy all darn day long. Nice winds pushed us along but boy was it wet. Less than a mile visibility so we used the radar occasionally to check for traffic. It is so amazing to me the different weather conditions you get out here and how quickly they change. We've got a single reefed mainsail up today and full genoa flying but we have to keep our eyes open for any sneaky squalls. Our mates on 'Southern Cross' made it to the equator today so congrats to them. Hopefully we'll get their during daylight hours, we think Monday morning.

04/09/2012 | Lisa frost
Glad you are safe and dryer! Love to you both and I hope you make it there by Monday!! do everything here is good. Had a nice Easter with the hubby. Long drive. Great weather!
Day 17 to the Marquesas
04/06/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 17 = 121 nautical miles. About 1,000 miles left to go. Yesterday I mentioned rain. Today we found out what a real ITCZ squall is. Luckily the sun was out and we saw IT coming, like a freight train straight at us. We had a single reefed main and our big genoa out, we quickly rolled it in to triple reefed. This thing coming is like a big dark blob with a curtain of darkness connecting it to the water off in the distance. As it approached, very quickly, I got this feeling that this might be a memorable experience. I got my camera ready (which is what I do when I get that feeling). The sun disappeared and the water color turned from blue to gray. The surface of the water became rippled at first and then stirred up and angry looking and waves developed in all directions. Don puts the side panels up on the cockpit enclosure to keep the rain out as much as possible. He disengaged the hydrovane steering unit and moved behind the wheel to take control of the ship. I'm throwing pillows, books, hats, etc. to the front of the cockpit, clearing the decks so to speak. The first thing that happened as the squall approached is the sails start to flutter and the wind dies off a bit and then bang, the wind meter shows 4 knots to 20 knots to 25 knots in about 5 seconds. At the peak of the event we saw 30 knots. I went downstairs and turned on the radar and I can't believe what I'm looking at. We've been completely devoured by this thing, this squall is five miles wide and all around us. I took a picture of the radar screen and I'll try to post it later. Impressive. Don's behind the wheel as Buena Vista's speed through the water increases from 4 knots to 8 to 9 knots in no time at all and holds at that speed. Water is everywhere, calling it rain is an understatement for sure. There's so much wind and water coming down you can't see anything but gray streaks. It's leaking into the cockpit here there and everywhere but there's not much we can do except hold on for the ride. The ride continued for about an hour, the squall finally passing over us and continuing on it's way. We were both happy it was over but when I looked at the radar screen I had to gasp. There were four or five more blobs lined up behind the first big one waiting their turn to take a whack at us. Yesterday when I mentioned the clouds looked like armies marching to war, it was like that. It's called a squall line. Well - we weren't going to just sit there and take it. We started the motor and got the hell out of there. The sun went down and we dropped the main and motored the rest of the night keeping an eye on the radar and enduring passing rain showers from time to time. No more squalls like that since then. When the sun came up it was another gorgeous day. There are more armies all around us off in the distance setting up for the next attack. What a place this is! It occurs to me that if someone could throw a few mooring balls out here they could rent sailboats to those adventurous souls who love to do wild and daring things..."Go Sail the ITCZ...You'll love the feeling". The ITCX is also called the doldrums. Crazy squalls mixed with light winds and large areas of no wind. Our new plan of attack is sail when there's wind, take cover when it's squally, and motor when there's no wind. Next 'stop' - the equator, in a few days.

04/07/2012 | Linz and Cath
Say hi to Bob when you see him again Donny
04/07/2012 | jeff
keep going guys i miss you i love reading your stories. that squall sounded scarey wow
Day 16 to the Marquesas
04/05/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 16 = 104 nautical miles. Will we ever get there? The last few days have been incredible sailing but hard work and very tiring doing it 24 hours a day. Getting closer to the ITCZ there are now lots of clouds around that look like marching armies on their way to battle. Last night about midnight the sea got really bumpy and the wind blew from a few different directions and we knew something was about to happen. A strong squall hit us and it started raining hard and lasted about an hour. An incredible amount of water came down. We zipped in the sides to our cockpit enclosure and with towels in hand tried to keep it dry inside. Don wanted to go out and have a shower and I convinced him to wait until daylight. Throughout the night we were visited by squalls and rain and in the morning a new day had dawned. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the seas have calmed down. It is absolutely beautiful out here today. Nothing to do but enjoy these perfect conditions and take lots of naps. (I am tired all the time now) 05N130W here we come and then on to the equator!

04/05/2012 | Polly Kuntz
Hi Guys, so proud of you both. If I were on board, I would have bitten my nails off. I look forward to the evening , and wait for your post. Way To Go!!!! Stay safe....:)olly oxox
04/06/2012 | Carla and Doug
We are sympathizing with you for sure. Hope the waves settle down and nothing else breaks. Sail safe and get some rest!
04/06/2012 | Linz and Cath
I have a great recipe for Flying fish and Booby Stew
04/06/2012 | karen scott chico yacht club
Keep it up ..Great job and so proud of you! Wish we had done it! But as of April 1st we are now grandparents for the first time , a boy Quincy 9pds 2oz we are so happy!
04/06/2012 | lyn foltz
Hi Guys,
Congrats on 1/2 way mark and that dorado. It was my famous catch on our crossing. We got rid of the tenant from hell - will be back in business in a week or so. Stay off the ladder!!!
Day 15 - Yippee - Sushi!
04/04/2012, Outbound Cabo - Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Don pulled in this little dorado today...little by our standards as compared to the big boys we caught in Mexico. It was big enough to eat though!

Day 15 to the Marquesas
04/04/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 15 = 121 nautical miles...over halfway there. Jibing down the rhumbline towards our target 05N 130W (latitude 5 degrees north and longitude 130 degrees west) has been successful but a bit slow since we're sailing back and forth down the line instead of directly on course. The sailing has been excellent though, with winds in the 15-25 knot range allowing Buena Vista to run at up to 7-8 knots (slow for a car but fast for a sailboat). Buena Vista's crew is working like a well oiled machine. Right now we're approaching 129 W and will jibe to the SOUTH and stay on that course for many many days. The ITCZ and it's sometimes squally and rainy conditions, sometimes no wind at all, will be directly ahead and we hope to pass right through it and on to the equator over the next three days. The reason we are all the way at 130 W is that right now there is very little wind south of the equator. Many puddle jump boats that took off ahead of us are there and becalmed. So we thinik that we might as well get as far west as possible up here where there is wind. From now on the further south we go we will find that the big winds and seas of the northern hemisphere that we have been moving through will slowly dissipate and as we cross the equator the wind will begin to fill in from the southeast (and soon we hope). I am really looking forward to this change. Hey - big news - we caught our first fish today, a maui maui (aka dorado). It's our favorite and we can't wait to have sushi for dinner tonight.

Day 14 to the Marquesas
04/03/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 14 = 109 nautical miles....almost halfway. Everyday Don walks the decks tossing any squid or flying fish off the boat and looks around to see if anything needs work. Today he came across a big screw with an alan head top that came off of our roller furling gear. Thank god he found it and put it back. I don't know what we'd do if we couldn't use our roller furling. It's indispensable. I guess after so many days of use the boat takes such a pounding that even screws can work their way loose. He walked up the back of the deck and found that the antenna connection for our single sideband radio had broken and the top of the antenna was just hanging off the backstay. The backstay is a huge piece of wire rigging that goes from the middle of the back of the boat at the deck to the top of the mast. The single sideband radio needs an antenna that goes up high enough to send out a good signal. Our antenna is insulated going up the backstay to about 10 feet and then it connects directly to the backstay in essence making the backstay an extension of the antenna. OK, so now it looks like we don't have a radio until that connection way up there is fixed. Geez, it's 10 feet up there and we're on a rocking and rolling boat in the middle of the ocean in 15-20 knots of wind. Don looks at me and then looks over at the little step ladder he keeps tied on the side. I say NO NO NO WAY! He says, "That's why I brought the ladder. That's the boating life, Deb, stuff goes wrong and you have to try to fix it. I said, Oh My God, you're crazy. It's about 5 o'clock, still plenty of sunlight. We took down all the sails and started the motor. I experimented with motoring with the swells to try and find a smooth place. I turned into the swell and tried motoring up and over the swells to try and find a smooth place. I tried the auto pilot but he wouldn't cooperate at all. Finally Don said well I'm just gonna give it a try, so I kept the boat as smooth as possible (impossible) and Don stepped up that ladder off the coachtop at the back of the boat and tried to reach up to that connection. A little swell hit us from the side and he swung around hanging onto the backstay and then he fell off to the side and landed on the deck with the ladder kicked away to the other side. OMG - we can't do that again! So we met back in the cockpit and watched the sun going down, trying to figure out how we were going to communicate to the rest of the world that everything is OK, it's just the stupid antenna is broken. I want to tell you all right now that if something really serious were to happen out here, we have an EPIRB. It's a safety device that puts out a satellite signal, a distress signal that contacts the coast guard and other emergency organizations and tells them exactly where we are. So - if I happen to miss a blog one day...don't's probably just the antenna is broken or something like that. So I guess you want to know what happened??? Later in the evening when all the puddle jumpers check in at night with their position reports we listened in not knowing if we would hear anything or not. We did hear the net and when they called our name we were able to check in as well. We told them we had this antenna problem and a few minutes later a fellow boater still in Mexico (1500 miles away) called in and said he could here us just fine. So even with the thing hanging in the air unconnected...the radio still works. We'll get on the ladder and fix it when we get to a nice smooth anchorage. :)

04/05/2012 | john Owens
Receiving you loud and clear here in Oz, soon you will be in the Southern Hemisphere too... Happy sailing
Day 13 to the Marquesas
04/02/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 13 = 122 nautical miles. Closing in on the halfway mark. Today was an incredible sailing day, one of our best ever. It's warm, like 80 degrees, but when you look out of the cockpit enclosure it's reminds me of the North Sea or what I imagine the English Channel would look like on a big day. Completely overcast with bands of dark clouds streaking from east to west with angry looking water. We had 25-30 knots from the northeast and big seas, maybe 10-12 feet, mostly coming from the northeast but some from south mixed in there. Every so often a really big wave would roll through like a freight train, dousing us with water and spray and throwing the boat hard to it's side...but she always bounces right back. We were on a heading of 240 (the right direction-yippee), with the wind coming from behind. Buena Vista handled it all so well, she was made for these conditions. I didn't know if I would like it or not but now that we're here we have no choice but to endure whatever happens from day to day. And believe me, shit does happens! And when the sun goes down, you just keep sailing. No time outs or quiet safe anchorages out here. You have to keep going. We continued on the west side of our rhumbline all day and all night. We plan to jibe to the south (to the east side of the line around mid-day tomorrow. We are closing in on the imfamous ITCZ, intertropical convergence zone where the wind and squally conditions can be quite bad. But not lately, it's been downright tame there for weeks but can change at any time. There's three boats ahead of us by 100, 200, & 300 miles so we'll have the benefit of seeing what they do and what conditions they get as they attempt to cross to the equator.

04/03/2012 | Linz and Cath
04/04/2012 | Carla and Dougc
Rolling along... Hope you are getting some rest and that the ITCZ takes it easy on you. Almost half way!
04/09/2012 | Anthony
Hi good to here you are safe and enjoying the trip.

Day 12 to the Marquesas
04/01/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 12 = 110 nautical miles. Still feels a world away. We decided to stop trying to do what wasn't working for us and go where the wind is and let Buena Vista run. Our new plan is to follow the rhumbline but instead of going up the middle at a slow and uncomfortable pace we're going to sail from the left side of the line to the right side of the line with the wind behind us. Then we'll jibe (change directions) and go from the right side of the line to the left side and do this over and over moving down the line. It means in essence sailing 130 miles to accomplish 100 but we think it'll work for us. We should have double reefed the mainsail before we took off in the new direction and once the sun went down we didn't feel like doing it in the dark. We sailed all night on the 'right side of the line' with probably too much sail. We encountered a big commercial fishing boat at 4am. Tried to call them on the radio but got no reply so we sailed right by them at about 2 miles away. We were both anxious for the sun to come up so we could reduce sail and feel more in control. So, with a double reefed mainsail we jibed and took off back towards the line. Oh by the way, we're now over 1,000 miles away from Cabo San Lucas.

04/02/2012 | Belinda Del Pesco
Thoroughly enjoying reading about your trip. Thanks for posting these updates. Good luck with the 130 and the jibe plan... I hope it makes for fair winds and an easy passage.

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Buena Vista's Crew
Who: Don and Debbie Robertson
Port: Ventura, California
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