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Don & Deb's Big Adventure on Buena Vista
On our way to the South Pacific and beyond...
Day 27 & 28 to the Marquesas
04/17/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 27 & 28 = 75 nautical miles. 336 left to go. Being in the doldrums, you can expect lots of days with little or no wind and that's what we've had. We had something else too...a broken toilet! Don is such a good husband - he didn't like seeing me using 'the bucket' so he went to work. Since we weren't sailing anyway he proceeded to take the head completely apart, all the way down to the y-valves and hoses. He cleaned everything thoroughly, especially the hoses that become completely clogged with...what is that stuff? Dried urine? Not sure. Anyway, it gets hard as a rock in there and takes a lot of effort to clear. We found a rebuild kit for the head in our spare parts and he replaced all the rings and springs and whatever else is replaceable. It just occurred to me that all you landlubbers reading this might find this subject distasteful. Well, in the boating world, everyone has a marine head, they all have issues from time to time, and they all smell occasionally. When you go to someone else's boat - if you don't know them that well it's bad form to ask to use their head. If you do know them well, it's ok to use it but they usually have to tell you the finer points of using and flushing their particular model. There's lot more on this subject but I'll leave it at that. So, after a day and a half we had a sparkling clean working toilet. Now he won't have to spend a day or two of our island time doing that particular job. We've been talking alot about how the heck we're going to get to Nuka Hiva with no wind. We decided that any time there is even a ripple, we've got to spring into action and move forward if only a mile. Don wanted to finish his book the other day but I kicked him in the butt and we got the spinnaker flying in 5-6 knots of wind for 4 hours (and that says alot because it isn't one of my favorite sails...yet!) During the day you can sail with the spinnaker and still see any squalls coming and douse it if danger is near. At night it's much harder to do that but it's something that we may have to do anyway if we want to see land any time soon. Last night would have been a good night to fly it because it was a starry night and any rain clouds caused the stars in that area to disappear. Last night however we were both so exhausted that we just put up our staysail and ghosted slowly through the night making 7 miles or so. We seem to be tired all the time now. I wanted to get a few things accomplished on this passage but after a few weeks of disrupted sleep it's hard to get serious about any endeavor except sailing the boat, feeding yourselves, and napping alot. Don was up early in the day getting the spinnaker ready to go again since we've finally made our way far enough west to have a nice point of sail to use it. We had 6 hours of spinnaker time before the rain clouds and squally conditions closed in on us again. So here we sit, no wind, no sails up, waiting. I guess it's time for a Pacifico.

04/17/2012 | Pam
Kudos to Don for going to work on the head.

At least you are in the middle of the pacific and not back here in the rat race. You will be celebrating land soon. Hang in there and don't stop blogging. I loves it!
04/18/2012 | Anthony
Hi, hang in it's just a slow sail. Its great to have spears O/B. I have almost two of what ever I need. How is you food supply? dranking water & Fuel? I know also have a sailblog under Mandalay. stay Pos +++, enjoy the trip, once it's over you will look back and say we did THAT. When you close you notes Pacifico did you mean BEER?
04/18/2012 | lyn
YAY for spinnaker time!! I loved the times we got to fly ours - did lose our wind instruments when wind came up and hasty take down of sail. Will get in some Pacifico so we can toast your arrival. Hang in there guys.
04/19/2012 | Anthony
Hi, just checking on your sail. Let me take you back, remember the day we meet in VTR. I was reading a sailing book, Deb you came over to me. OK, it was the four points, The sunday brunch all the champqgne we wanted. I bet you would love to sit down and eat like that Rt now. The VTR Days, I do miss that Harbor.

Keep the wind behind you, you will arrive soon. anthony
04/19/2012 | Al & Esther Roth
Dear Don and Deb, thanks for the daily episodes for which we can hardly wait--- and without commercials. You have a good screen writer. Get an agent. Love, Mom and Al
Day 26 Big Squall Alert
04/15/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Look at the size of that one.

Day 25 & 26 to the Marquesas
04/15/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 25 & 26 = 102 nautical miles. We decided to break out of SQUALL ALLEY and motored all night. Our autopilot is not operating properly so that means hand steering the whole way which is a mind numbing experience. Next day started bright and sunny but then we found that we had entered CONVECTION CITY...another spot that has towering clouds that can easily turn mean. During the day we went from no wind to rain squalls and back over and over, getting no where fast. It's too bad that some of this rain can't be sent over to Mexico where they need it so badly. We estimate that here on Buena Vista we have seen 30+ inches. Yes, that's 30 INCHES of rain...maybe more. Today we looked at the grib files and see that there's no wind in our near future either. This sure isn't the trip we both envisioned. We had heard about the beautiful long swells of the blue pacific and this would be one of the great sails of our lives. We've had some great times but after Day 25 comes and goes with no real idea of when we'll make landfall, well it's hard not to get a bit depressed. The whole first fleet has arrived in the Marquesas except for 'Sockdolager' who is about 130 miles ahead of us, 'Artic Tern' who is about 50 miles to the east, and 'Buena Vista'. When we ripped our genoa I was pretty upset, but until now it hasn't really sunk it what a liability that is for us. With all this squally weather, we're hesitant to lift the main completely, for fear we won't be able to get it down fast enough if a squall does hit. Before we were able to make good headway with reefed main and big genoa, which was easy to reef quickly. But now, without it, it's difficult to keep the boat moving through this area. Our repair materials are on their way to Nuka Hiva via 747 as we speak. All we have to do it get there. We're about 400 miles away. Seems easy but could be another week? We both feel like 'laying one on' tonight but probably not the best idea. Speaking of 'bending the elbow'...Don Anderson of 'Summer Passage Radio', the weather guru that Don and I became friends with who helped thousands and thousands of boaters with the weather for the last 20 years....passed away. Thank you Don for all you did for us. We'll miss you..

04/15/2012 | Mike Anderson
It's a marathon, not a sprint! You'll be there in 3 days or 8... Actually it's not a race at all, unless you are the first to arrive! However long it takes, when you get there you will feel like winners!
04/15/2012 | Anthony Diliberti
Good to here you are OK, Yes I learned about Don. It's the crusing commu will miss him. Did you ever meet him while in VTR?

Good luck with the Head not a good job anytime.
Stay safe
04/16/2012 | tom snell
sounds like its been quite a struggle during this leg of your trip but. sounds like you may be gettin close to your destination. good luck. and you can bend your elbows when you get ashore.meanwhile i'll toss a few back for ya lol. really enjoy reading about your adventure. jayna says hello!
04/16/2012 | Laurence Boag
Well... this is how great memories are made. Slowly but surely, you will live the adventure of a lifetime. Much love and thought.
04/16/2012 | True companion
Hi Don, Deb, keep your smiles on, your out there. We aren't making it this year, spending a lazy summer in the Sea, those commitments changed:-) maybe next year we'll catch you.
04/17/2012 | Carla and Doug
Thinking of you guys and sending positive thoughts your way - and some good wind. Sorry that they trip hasn't gone as well as you hoped, but you are definitely troopers and hanging in there. Good thing you have a good crew and captain! Just think of the celebration you are going to have when you hit Nuku Hiva. Lots of Hinano's are waiting for you! PS: The best deal - buy a case of 1/2 liter Hinano's and just keep returning the empties for full ones anywhere in French Poly. It's a heavy load in a dinghy, but worth it!
04/17/2012 | ian.b
well done what a great team you two
Day 24 to the Marquesas
04/13/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 24 = 62 nautical miles. I KNOW! Are we ever gonna get there? It's days like today that me and Don feel like the worst sailors in the world. We just can't seem to find the wind to get the boat moving in the right direction. Where are the southerly trade winds we've heard were down here? We're at 3 degrees south and are still getting light north-easterlies or no wind at all. Our desired landfall is 500 miles away at 220 degrees, which is southwest. All I can seem to sail is 150 or 280. We did fly the spinnaker for 4 hours yesterday, but today, with squalls all around it's just crazy. I've got another squall story but not sure I'm up to telling it. Suffice it to say - no matter how much you want to sail through the night with a full mainsail...Don't! At 5am this morning we were sure happy that we had reefed down the night before. During this morning's squall event there were a few moments of hilarity that I will share. We made it through the first squall, 25 knots of wind, dark, so so wet, boat flying at 8 knots. I looked at the radar and saw a lineup behind us, with squalls the same or bigger than the first. There was a few minutes break (down to 15 knots) between them so we decided to reef down even more. Don put his harness on over his sarong and stepped outside. His sarong immediately blew off leaving him completely naked, except for the harness. No time to waste, he reefed the sail butt naked in the pouring rain. Wish I had my camera handy but it was too wet to contemplate getting it. When we were done we were both drenched. After the squalls were over Don made us both a cup of coffee. We stopped to reflect upon this last drama. I said, "At least it's fresh water, I feel nice and clean" a moment later a wave hit us to port and Don lost his balance and his coffee went flying, mostly over me! Laugh, it's funny! Later I went into the aft cabin and found that the hatch above our bed had been left slightly open. All of our bedsheets, bed, pillows are drenched. Then I went into our reefer looking for something good to eat to make us feel better...I found a half rotten cantaloupe at the bottom of the veggie container. I tell you, the other half was just divine.

04/13/2012 | Anthony Diliberti
Sounds like you just starting to have fun, he we had hail/rain /wind/. Still working on this BFC\( big Fat Cow ).

Anthony
04/14/2012 | lyn
Been great reading your blog. Brings back so many memories of our crossing. Don't remember having so many squalls but definitely remember water pouring in hatch when wave broke over boat!! You get to see Nuka Hiva - we missed that and heard it was great. Was sitting on the beach the other day thinking of you both. Not long till that good nights sleep!!
04/14/2012 | jeff
donny boy workin on the boat starkers is something that sounds extremely funny to me you go don!!!!!
04/15/2012 | Krausz House
Evan and I are laughing and feeling bad at the same time. I wish I could wiggle my nose and send you a clothes dryer! Also wish you would have had a camera for Don's exhibition as well! We love you and can't wait to hear your voice and see your faces. Be safe. Love, r
04/15/2012 | Nanc
You guys are nuts!!! I am standing my ground on this one. Hope you make it there soon! xoxo
Day 23 to the Marquesas
04/12/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 23 = 110 nautical miles. Less than 600 miles to go. We had two nice sailing days but have only been able to go due south from where we crossed the equator at 131W. We've had northeast wind and we've been hoping it would shift more to the east so we could veer around to the southwest towards Nuka Hiva but no go. Friends of ours, Karen and Jim on 'Sockdolager' are further south of us. They have been reporting for two or three days on the nightly net that they don't have much wind where they are. They are in a 24' Pacific Seacraft (half the size of our boat) and they've been out a week longer that we have. We were hoping to catch up to them but instead we've just jibed away so we don't get stuck in the no wind hole they are in. Sorry, Karen! I've been successful ordering the supplies needed to fix our torn genoa sail. Vicki on 'Southern Cross' who did the crossing last year and didn't want to do it again (now I know why:) she is flying in to Nuka Hiva on Sunday to meet her husband who just arrived at the island today. She helped me make contact with a sailmaker there in California and she's bringing back what we need. Our mates Carla and Doug on 'Moondance' have been following the blog and know what's going on as well. They did the puddle jump last year and had a sail repaired in Nuka Hiva. They told me there's a couple who live on a blue steel boat there and they repair sails in a loft by the wharf. They charge $35 an hour but they don't have any material...but now we have our own supplies. Yippee! It is all coming together. Hopefully we'll get a quick fix and won't miss out on anything. Thanks to all of our 'ground support', we couldn't do it without you...and that includes my close friend Pam and also my parents who handle whatever comes their way. You Guys Rock!

04/13/2012 | Anthony Mandalay
Hi, good to here things are on the up side mate
Stay safe, enjoy the ride & you Boat.

04/13/2012 | karen scott
Heard your conversation with Carlos on the ham..how exciting to hear your progress!
Day 22 to the Marquesas
04/11/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 22 = 89 nautical miles. We've found a nice little rhythm moving due south from where we crossed the equator. We've cruising along doing our 5 knots and trying to enjoy the ride. Can't go much faster due to our reduced sail area. Don's reading a book called 'Blue Latitudes' about a fellow who retraces Captain James Cook's voyages around the Pacific in the ship Endeavor. I'm reading Herman Melville's 'Typee' about an english seaman who jumps ship at Nuka Hiva (where we're going) and is taken hostage by a tribe who is known for their savage acts of cannibalism (so far they are treating him like a king - fattening him up?) Yesterday I made homemade yogart and today we made cookies. One of the boats we're traveling with, 'Southern Cross', Mark's wife Vicki is flying in to Nuka Hiva to meet them on Sunday. I am trying to figure out what materials are needed to fix our torn sail and hopefully Vicki will be able to pick up the supplies and bring them with her. We've heard there is a rigging/sail repair place on the wharf there but it could be completely different than what I would normally think of as a sail shop. We are in the Marquesas remember, not the big city of Tahiti, that's over two months from now. We've been told if you want to do it yourself, to lay the sail out on the beach and use sail tape and various other materials to get it ready for sewing. My mate Marni on Picara has a machine that can do the job unless the Nuka Hiva guy works out. The beaches in the Marquesas are supposedly infested with nono's (no-see-ums), awful biting flies, so this should be interesting. Well, nothing to worry about now, we've still got five or six days before we even get to see land again. Which reminds me...I've been asked if it bothers me being so far away from land. Not that much really. We've been living on Buena Vista for three years now and the boat has become our home. We're just playing house in an unusual place (that rocks back and forth). Whether we're 10 miles off the coast of Mexico or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I can still go down the companionway to the galley (kitchen) and make a cup of coffee, grab a book and laze out on the settee (couch) and relax. Now sometimes I've been a bit panicked when sea conditions were deteriorating and you know what I do to get a grip on myself...I go downstairs, make a cup of coffee, sit on the settee and relax with a book in my little home on the sea.

04/12/2012 | Anthony Mandalay
Hi, good to here you are safe, the book don is reading I read two times. Once you find a port with an airport I may fly down to see you.
Day 21 to the Marquesas
04/10/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 21 = 61 nautical miles. HEY - WE MADE IT TO THE EQUATOR! Yesterday we figured that we would make it to the equator in the evening sometime. On the way it was beautiful sailing weather (in between squalls that is). The sun went down and the wind died and we were 15 miles away. We had dinner and then kicked back in the cockpit and fell asleep. I woke up at 1:45am and we were within 20 seconds of crossing the equator. Our chartplotter gps said: 00.00.19N, 00.00.18N, 00.00,17N, and so on down to 00.00.00N, then 00.00.01S, 00.00.02S, 00.00.03S, and so on. We had a cocktail and gave Neptune his taste, watched the full moon and the stars and enjoyed the moment. Here's a bit of the ceremony for 'pollywogs' like we were yesterday...becoming 'shellbacks', conducted by the Royal Order of Neptune: "Should she fall overboard, We do command that Sharks, Dolphins, Whales, Mermaids and other dwellers in the Deep are to abstain from maltreating this person. And we further direct all Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and others who have not crossed Our Royal Domain, to treat her with the respect due to One of Us. Given under Our Hand at Our Court on board the sailing vessel Buena Vista on the Equator in Longitude 131.44W on this 10th day of April 2012. Signed, King Neptune. We thought we'd like to go swimming at the equator in the morning so we dropped the little sail that was up and went to bed. When we awoke in the morning we were 6 miles away. We had drifted that far during the night, with the help of the hydrovane who continued steering Buena Vista even though he could have taken the night off also. Our impression of the equator - it's cooler and less humid than I was expected. This morning was 83 in the cabin and 79 in the water. Hurrah! We made it. Regarding the comments below by Jeff who sees himself going a bit insane doing what we're doing and Mike, the one who would love to be here and talks about Jeff...these two happen to be my brothers. We love you guys.

04/11/2012 | Carla and Doug
Congratulations - hope that means you lose the squalls and start getting some sunshine and good sailing winds. It is definitely your turn! Rest when you can!
04/11/2012 | john Owens
Congratulations to Deb and Don and the good ship BuenaVista. Can you see Australia from there? 8 )
john
04/11/2012 | Bill Hudson/Zephyr
Congrats to you both. It took us 19 days last year so 21 is a good crossing considering what you have been going through.
Keep going. You'll get there!
04/11/2012 | Ellen & Ian sv Kasasa
Congratulations you guys on crossing the equator. You're almost there now. Hope you get away from the ITCZ soon sounds nasty - but you're coping well.
04/11/2012 | Al & Esther Roth
You crossed the equator! Go Deb & Don, you guys are our heroes!
04/11/2012 | Ib & Yadranka
Congratulation and well done. Our thoughts are with you. See you soon!
04/11/2012 | Polly Kuntz
Way To Go Guys!" Congrats," we are SOOOOO proud of you both. Here's to smooth sailing from now on. Lots of love to you both. Polly & Walt oxox
04/11/2012 | Anthony Mandalay
Congrs You did it, I remember when I first meet Don In ventura, (LOCKER). You have come a long way since then.
Miss ya, Anthony
04/11/2012 | keith robbo
o.k , half time buzzer has gone . take a seat , have a smoke , a piece of orange and listen up . It's been a tough game so far but your coming through very , very well. This pussy pacific has thrown eveything at you trying to turn you back . Let's get out there and come home with the wind , backs , stay tight as a drum , forwards , keep it loose , eyes open and you'll be sailing through the two big sticks in no time . unreal Tom Hafey
04/11/2012 | jeff
and you have to rememeber i get sea sick just by looking at the ocean and i have to take a freakin boat to work wtf lol? ( sorry mom ) catalina is ok, i like walking around the town every night. im off today though i am so happy that you guys are doing what you love and i wish i could follow you there but again i get seasick reading a book about the ocean hehe., i dont think its in the cards for me. i remember when we were kids, debbie was always getting carsick and stuff now its backwards .
04/12/2012 | Jo and Rob Woollacott
Welcome to our side of the planet!
04/14/2012 | Linz and Cath
I know Im late but as you know shit happens at sea and my boat has just come in. Contrats you two welcome to this side of the plant, thinking of you both every day. Linz and Cath
Day 20 to the Marquesas
04/09/2012, Outbound Cabo, Inbound Marquesas, French Polynesia

Day 20 = 72 nautical miles. The ITCZ loves Buena Vista and is following us. We've got to get the heck out of this area. When it's nice it's just beautiful here with light winds, nice and warm, and fluffy white clouds passing all around. But when it turns nasty the skies become completely overcast and the water changes to a dark and stormy grey. The ITCZ snakes around from place to place. When we were at 6 N it rolled out the welcome mat for us and slammed us good (our first big squall) and then as we moved south, so did it. As a matter of fact, we've been in this unsettled area for four days now. As we near the equator, at 1-2 degrees north the ITCZ actually jumped past us and we had to cross it's axis again...that's when we tore our good sail. A few days ago we started motoring all night, just to get through more quickly. When we motor we can't use the hydrovane so we used our electric autopilot. Unfortunately, after the first night the autopilot stopped cooperating (he's flaky - that's why we bought the vane) so we're essentially hand steering through the night. So, at 10pm Don goes below to have a sleep. I'm at the helm, it's pitch black outside. There is a full moon somewhere but there's so much cloud cover you can't see it. I have the steering wheel locked but the boat roams from side to side and you have to keep adjusting it. The compass is in front of me, lit at night with a glowing red light. The compass dial moves slowly from right to left, from left to right. The wind meter is up on the bulkhead about four feet away. The dial on the wind meter moves slowly from right to left to right to left. As we motor on, the boat rocks from right to left to right to left. I am now hypnotized and am must put my head down for just a moment. Next thing I know Don wakes me up and says that the seas have become alot calmer. I wake with a lurch and look at the compass...it's no wonder, we're going in the wrong direction...north! We turn the boat back to south and try it again. An hour later, radar shows a massive green blob about 4 miles away and moving in fast. We get ready for the next big hit. This squall hits us with wind at 20-25 knots and god knows how much rain, alot. I'm inside watching the radar screen and Don's at the wheel. We continuing motoring, hoping to pull away from the storm, no joy. We put the motor into neutral for awhile, hoping the storm will pass over us and continue on, no joy. It's all around us and doesn't move on for several hours. When it's over, the clouds start to break up and a few stars start appearing. It's over for now. Keep motoring...we've got to get to the equator and beyond. Just a note: one year ago today we left Puerto Vallarta to do the puddle jump with our friends Cath and Linz, didn't make it. A boat we left with last year, Blue Moon, did their passage in 18 days...we're on Day 20 and still have 750 miles to go.

04/10/2012 | jeff
if i was there in the pitch black in the middle of the night at the wheel with nothing in site i would go just a little crazy and probably start laughing or screaming something like WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING HERE? ( sorry mom ) but thats just me and you guys are way more basd ass than me :) happy sailing.
04/10/2012 | Mike Anderson
Don't listen to Jeffro. He is ready to hang himself because he is forced to work on Catalina Island- the only populated of your beloved Channel Islands. He hates it because there is nothing to do out there. You guys loved the Channel Islands because you have to find your own entertainment. Well, I for one would rather be with you in the middle of the ocean than with Jeffro on Catalina complaining about lack of available women and how expensive a cheeseburger is. If it were easy, it wouldn't be an extreme adventure!

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