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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Departure Time
08/31/2011, Hawaii

After days of preparations, we finally departed today at 5:20 PM. Here's a photo of us at the dock: (L to R, crew member Pete, Pascale, Bruce with Antoine in front, crew member Jay, and Francois. Of these, only Bruce, Antoine, Pete and Jay will be on board. It was an emotional time saying goodbye to Pascale and Francois. We won't see them for another 2 to 3 weeks.

Our passage to San Francisco will probably be about 2400 to 2500 miles.

Right now we are heading north along the west coast of the Big Island, later we will cross the strait to Maui and head north along the west side of Maui. From there we'll head to the northern latitudes until we start to see winds coming from the West that can carry us to San Francisco.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Getting ready to set sail again
08/31/2011, Kona, Hawaii

We are ready to set sail tomorrow, from Hawaii to San Francisco. Pascale and Francois are going to fly home, while Antoine and I will be sailing our boat back. We have two new crew members: Pete and Jay. Both have plenty of blue water experience. Pete is from the Bay Area and Jay is from Austin Texas.

We have been extremely busy the last 4 days, provisioning for the trip and packing things away in every nook and cranny on the boat. It's incredible how much stuff you can carry. We have about a thousand dollars worth of groceries stowed away in various places or in the refrigerator or freezer. And that doesn't include the wine cellar!

Also, we have done a huge amount of maintenance and upgrades to the boat while in Hawaii: we removed both sails and have them reinforced and restitched by a sailmaker; we replaced two halyards; we had a rigger inspect the rigging and adjust it; we placed a new LED red/green/white tricolor LED navigation light at the masthead because the red/green lights on the bow pulpit that work fine in coastal waters cannot take the punishment of an ocean crossing; we replaced a seacock and put new bottom paint on the hull. The last few weeks has given new meaning to the acronym BOAT: Break Out Another Thousand.

Tonight is our last night together as a family until we get to San Francisco... we're going out to a restaurant to ... celebrate?? ... not quite a celebration ... we're not looking forward to being apart for nearly three weeks. Let's just say we're cherishing our moments together now.

I am realizing that this kind of trip/adventure is very valuable, in that it teaches all of us how important we are to each other and how much we will be missing each other when we're apart. That will make our reunion in Tiburon all the more sweet.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Preparations for the passage to San Francisco
08/27/2011, Kona, Hawaii

The survey was completed yesterday and I got the report today (passed with flying colors).

Bottom paint was completed and the boat put back in the water today.

I have secured the other crew member and he is arriving Aug 29 at 8:05 PM. He's a retired aviation inspector with 30,000 sea miles.

I got the refurbished mainsail and jib back from the sailmaker today. Mainsail has been raised and furled in the mast.

Rigger is coming Sunday morning to complete rigging tasks (new masthead navigation light; new tack pennant for the genoa; new genoa halyard.

I brought the two spare sails out for inspection and to see if anything needed to be done to them. It turns out both spare sails are mainsails however either sail could serve as a jib as well. Both sails are in serviceable condition.

Looks like everything is a "go". I am very excited and can't wait to get going.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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08/30/2011 | Bob Haley
Have a great crossing. We would love to greet you outside the Gate on the Answer!

Bob& Debbie
08/30/2011 | Marj Bundschuh
Here's wishing you a safe trip back on your last leg to SF. Your trip to Marquesas, Tuomotus, Tahiti, Moorea sounds amazing! See you in a couple weeks. Marj
Haulout in Kona
08/23/2011, Kona, Hawaii

The insurance company requires a haulout and survey every 2 years, and we're overdue for that, so we hauled Calou out of the water today for some maintenance. Calou had a seacock replaced, and will have the bottom sanded and new antifouling bottom paint applied. We have also removed the sails and are having them refurbished so that they are as good as new. And we have a rigger inspecting the rigging and making needed changes and adjustments.

We plan to set sail for San Francisco early next week.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Heaven and Hell
08/21/2011, The Big Island

We did a driving tour of the Big Island today, visiting Volcano National Park along the way. While looking over the Kilauea caldera, we were greeted with a beautiful rainbow on one side, and the smoking, sulfurous crater on the other. Metaphorically speaking, heaven and hell.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Au revoir Daniel
08/16/2011, Kona, Hawaii

Our reliable and ever cheerful crew member Daniel began his 6 month solo trek on the Hawaiian islands with little more than a backpack and tiny tent. We were very sad to see him go but knew that this was his plan. Hopefully we may meet again, perhaps in his native England.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Passage Stats
08/14/2011, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

We've completed our passage from Tahiti to Hawaii. Here are the stats:

Days at Sea: 21 (July 24 to August 14, 2011)
Distance Logged: 2,706 nautical miles (3114 miles; 5011 km)
Average distance per day: 129 nautical miles/day
Engine Hours: 92 (mostly in the Equatorial ITCZ)
Maximum recorded speed: 8.9 knots
Maximum recorded wind: 40 knots

Our Days at Sea would have been better were it not for a torn mainsail which took a week to get down and repair and a jib halyard failure 2 days before arrival. We spent 9 days of the passage sailing with just one sail.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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08/15/2011 | Lynn A. Stokes
Not too bad for all the hassles you had! Good trip always ends at dry land. Still interested.
Morro Bay
Safe Arrival at Hawaii
08/14/2011, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Yesterday evening, as the sun set, we could see the dome like outline of the Big Island's volcano on the horizon. As we got closer, we could see what appeared to be city lights on the slope of the island. Consulting with the charts, however, we could see that there is no large city on the south east end of the island. The luminous glow was not city lights, but rather a huge field of lava flowing down the volcano to the sea.

We celebrated our sighting land with a bottle of fine French champagne (a gift of Didier in Papeete), along with foie gras served on freshly baked bread that I had made for the occasion, and also caviar on buttered toast.

It would be some time longer before we made landfall, however. The Big Island is very big, indeed. It would be another four hours after sighting land before we would approach the southern tip of the island, and another 8 hours of sailing northward along the west side of the island to Honokohau Harbor.

As we approached the island, the winds increased to 30 knots and the seas turned into the huge waves that Hawaii is famous for. Our boat surfed down mountainous swells that followed us on our course towards the north west. One rogue wave came upon us on our side and hit us so strongly that it sent everything that wasn't nailed down flying.

We sailed through the night and arrived at the harbor entrance at about 9:30 a.m.

Once in the harbor, we took a mooring ball and stern tied, Med-moor style, to the quay. We clambered from the stern onto dry land and walked unsteadily on this unfamiliar terra firma.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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