05 October 2017 | Victoria BC
24 August 2017 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
27 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
10 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
22 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
18 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
12 June 2017 | Humane, French Polynesia
05 June 2017 | Moorea, French Polynesia
07 May 2017 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
21 April 2017 | Fakarava, Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
05 April 2017 | Tahanea Atoll. Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
05 April 2017 | Makemo Atoll, Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
07 March 2017 | Rikitea, Mangareva, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia
20 February 2017 | Rikitea, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia
14 January 2017 | Playita, Panama City, Panama
02 January 2017 | La Plait, Panama City
17 December 2016 | Isla Nargana
16 December 2016 | San Blas, Panama
R&M In Victoria
05 October 2017 | Victoria BC
Being in the excellent marine center of Victoria BC, its been an opportunity to have some needed work done on Emerald - R&M - the Repair & Maintenance period. Victoria has a good array of professional services and chandlery shops which Ive tapped into but most work I'm able to do myself.
We've also decided to remain in Victoria for the winter season before heading back to SPac again next year (maybe) and have secured some long term berthage for these months while continuing to live aboard. The folks at Greater Victoria Harbor Authority have been super friendly and accommodating and have offered us prime real estate in downtown Victoria in front of the majestic parliament buildings and the Empress Hotel. We're really enjoying it here and all the amenities.
What is really outstanding is that our friends from SV Sage, who we sailed with thru the Indian Ocean with and originate from Victoria, have notified their friends here of our arrival and they've all come down to meet us, invited us out, etc. So we've made a number of new friends right away and its been super. Canadian hospitality at its finest!
And as the cooler months approach we've have to arrange for keeping the boat and ourselves warm. Emerald has 220V electrical systems and Canada is a 110V system and not wanting to get into the complicated business of converters, we've run a simple 110V cable from shore power, with good watertight connectors, thru a small hatch and connected these to two high output oil filled heaters in our salon and cabin. These seem to be doing quite fine. And should it get too frosty we can run the generator and the aircon in reverse heat mode - which really heats up the boat quickly. Also we've laid out a carpet in the salon, placed a thick duvet comforter on the bed, bought some socks, jumpers, cook warm winter meals, etc. We should be in good shape! Victoria gets a fair share of blue skies and sun and Emerald is in a good orientation for the solar to fill the batteries each day.
Some of the spa treatments for Emerald have included:
- Having the mainsail removed and take to UK Sails loft in Nanaimo for restitching the work UV damaged threads, batten replacements and a few patches along the batten pockets. The genoa was inspected and still in good condition.
- Fitting smooth plastic cylindrical protectors on the jack-line to prevent abrasion/chafe on the main sail.
- Full servicing on the Onan-Cumins generator
- Full servicing on the two Yanmar engines and sail drives
- Replacing the base wood under the freezer where dripping condensation has partially rotted out the existing wood. Earlier on I had added more thermal insulation to the freezer exterior wall but we finding that the condensation is now mostly coming from the door and door sealing which is near impossible to find a solution.
- Finding a fixing the water leak on the runner on the port side of the full. We discovered a slow leak into the port aft toilet cabinet.
- Servicing of the Locomarine Yachtrouter 4G/Wifi booster. This was shipped back to Europe as its just too much electronics for me.
- Replacement of the two bilge switches.
We do miss the warm tropics but still love the romance of living on our boat, its cozy atmosphere and our great neighbors and this wonderful city. We are looking forward to do some exploring of the Gulf Islands soon.
Passage Hawaii to British Columbia
24 August 2017 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
"On our very best day, against Mother Nature, we play to a draw. And never must we forget or think of how genius we think we are, as the forces of Nature are so much more powerful and unpredictable than we can prepare for. It's a humbling experience to face Neptune in her fury." -- A Wise Old Captain, not a Bold Captain.
Our first few hours out and we hauled in our first Mahi that went right onto the kitchen table that evening. I was doubtful we'd get it back to the boat as we were sailing along at 9kts and we'd lost one fish earlier on by just going to fast. But we carefully hauled in this 90cm long beautiful green-blue Mahi without slowing. This was the beginning to catching many Mahi on the first half of this trip - including a hook in Dave's arm! Later we noticed that the Mahi stopped biting north of 34 degrees - suppose the water was getting too cold for them. But then stepped in the Tuna.
I chatted (sms) daily with Rose and was most curious of her first impressions of Canada - afterall it will become her new home . She stayed with her cousin's family in Toronto for the duration of my passage to Victoria and at one time asked if we can move there and not Victoria! I'd say we're off to a good start! I had a great crew this time, with lots of camaraderie and support from Dave and Paul, two Canadian lads from Vancouver. When they arrived we completed a vessel familiarization in Hilo, packed three large carts at Safeway with food and took a drive out to see some local Hilo sights. A few cruisers from neighboring yachts dropped by for sundowners the day before we departed.
As described in an earlier blog, our planned route was to take us initially 1250nm on a course of 350 degrees from Hawaii to allow keeping west of the North Pacific High (where little to no wind exists). And then a course of 60 degrees toward the top of Vancouver Island before taking a 105 degree course for 285nm towards Juan de Fuca straits into Victoria. It's not a direct rhumb line route. However, the winds and seas always influence any passage and consequently we would revise our plan accordingly to keep us comfortably sailing and reduce motoring. The Pacific is a vast ocean of temperament demanding patience and planning. Let's see how well we did:
June to September are claimed to be the better months for traversing this north bound course and I've been studying weather maps daily for 6 weeks to understand these weather patterns. For the most part, the NorPacHigh is visible in the forecasts but it's not stationary (unlike the South Atlantic High) and by the time we departed it wasn't at all well defined as constant influencing easterly HP and LP systems came and went. I predicted we'll see the doldrums early and have a difficult last ⅓ of this passage.
Days 1 to 3 of this 2900nm passage was excellent sailing with 12-22kt westerly winds on the beam to our 350 degree course giving us average SOG's of 9kts. We had a few squally nights with a one very rapid onslaughts of 32kts in just a few minutes, dumped a load of water and, as quickly, disappeared. However, as we do, at nightfall we reduced the canvas to the 1st or 2nd reef. In our first 24hrs we covered 188nm (noon to noon).
Paul and Dave conceived a few passage challenges. Like the 'Noonsite Beard Photo' - taking a daily facial photo of the three of us at 12 noon. But the real challenge was a pushup for each Nm covered - the first day was 188nm and now, a few weeks along, Im beginning to see some bulging pecs! And the 'Foots-en-spa's' - dangling our feet in the ocean off the sugarscoop - refreshing and softens up the calluses.
Days 4 to 7 were of a mixed bag of just enough wind to keep the sails up to minimum wind and motoring/sailing as the NorPacHigh seemed to be diced up all over the region with sections right above us. There are positives to no wind: sea-life spotting, swimming, no-spill coffee's, easy deck walking, sound sleeps, etc. We stopped Emerald for a fun 2 hour swim in the deep blue including dropping the complete anchor chain for straightening and turning the dinghy over for a good bottom scrub. We were also delighted by the company of Albert, a large (Black Footed) Albatross, who amused us by swimming along with us and later following us for days. Sadly, a few days later, Albert dived on our fish hook and took it into his beak. We removed it successfully noting Paul's earlier wisdom to remove the barbs from the hooks.
Somewhere during these lack-of-breeze-NorPacHigh days, we reviewed the forecasts and changed course to a revised intermediate waypoint while maintaining the one at same latitude off north Vancouver Island. This allowed us to do more motor-sailing as opposed to motoring only. We are careful not to cut too much into the rhumb line direction as the penalty of that would be severe (Oregon!). Looking out past the initial 3-4 days of 10 day weather forecast will trick you into a false sense of security as it almost always changes. Actually, reviews of longer term, 10 day forecasts, is primarily for monitoring and tracking of any regional HP/LP systems.
Days 8 thru 11 the winds returned - somewhat. 12-18kts initially from the east and later NE which pushed us further east (VMG!) but quite aware that this could be a penalty later on as we try to make the WPT off N. Vancouver Island. So we kept pinching some north in where we could! But then a HP system entered our domain and kept us motor-sailing.
Day 12 thru 15. Wildlife! Schools of Northern Rightwhale Dolphins jumped and played at Emerald's bows while we precariously hung ourselves over the crossbar trying to hold our GoPro's in the rushing water. Fishing has improved with a Tuna/Albacore catches which we partly ate right there on the spot! We almost ran over a large Sperm whale, just missed him by a few meters. We managed to pinch north as planned and finally got out of the persistent Highs and into some fine easterly winds putting Emerald on a broad and downwind sail (wing on wing sailing). Each morning we'd have a weather meeting, discussing the forecast models and reconfirming our route. We are now running out of fresh veg and fruits and now dipping into the frozen ones. Apart from breakfast, we all sit down together for meals, a chat and have a laugh.
Days 16 to 19. 47N. Burrr. We've certainly left the tropics! The new attire is foulies, socks, long-johns, layers of clothing and blankets. The nights are dropping to 12-14C, mornings occasionally fog filled, days where only a peak of sunshine splinters thru. The watermaker seems to be making less water too! Made cakes - any excuse to put the oven on! Why didn't I take that heater option!? Burrrrr. Whale spotting: pair of large Fin Whale. Catches: a few 6-7kg Tuna (Albacore); pods of Dall's Porpoise's. We've now changed course for a more direct easterly route to mid-Vancouver island. This is downwind sailing in 12-18kts wind, with an occasional wing-on-wing arrangement, 2-3m swells and quite comfy.
On the approach to Juan de Fuca straits there was plenty of shipping traffic voyaging in both directions from the straits. Lots of eerie dense fog. Our AIS and radar easily highlighted any ship's movements. On one occasion a large cargo ship coming up behind us, 4nm away, would have passed us by as little as 0.2nm (370m) so I called them up and asked if they would pass us to starboard by at least 1.5nm - for which they obliged. I sent off a final email to Canada Customs with our ETA into Victoria.
We passed Cape Flattery and entered JdF straits on the morning of 22 August which coincided with a flooding tide giving us a nice boost in addition to having the wind behind us. Then the wind picked up to 25+lts behind us and the straits became a Race Track! Gusts to 36kts and 16kts speed (SOG; record)! What was suppose to be a 6hr passage now became 3hrs! The hilly shores of Vancouver Island emerged. We stayed on the south side of the TSS and later crossed to the northern Canadian side (13:06hrs 22 August into Canada). A few Humpback Whales were seen along with more porpoises. All smiles were seen onboard!
After entering the breakwater we tied up at the Canada Customs Dock and used their telephone booth to call the officers that came onboard about 20minutes later. After clearance protocol we then moved into the Inner Harbor and tied up at Causeway Docs - one of the most scenic city spots we've ever put Emerald. To celebrate our safe and successful passage we cracked a bottle of champagne and later headed up a pub up the road. WoW...Victoria....Im really impressed!
Overall this was an excellent passage with super support from Paul and Dave ... and our trusty autopilot.
Things that didn't work so well on this passage. The sealife is demanding of a cruising yacht! Thanks Guys!
End of the second week and the mainsail's stitching broke all along a seam just below the 1st reef. There must have been some existing stitching already broken so when the sail was raised and filled with wind the loading caused the stitching to part and run along the complete horizontal length of the sail (fortunately its below the 1st reef so we can still use the main to the 1st reef). How did this happen: a few theories. 1. there are 25k miles on the sail in the tropics and UV has ultimately weakened the thread (triple stitched). 2. chafe from the jack-lines against the thread causing it to abraise/wear (A year ago, I installed plastic jack-line covers over some, but not all, these lines...mmmm). 3. combination of the above. To repair it properly will require the services of a sail loft.
One day the port engine wouldn't start. We concluded it was an electrical/communication issue and after scratching our heads and consulting the electrical schematic discovered that the 10A fuse was blown. At 10 cents, this is one of our cheapest fixes!
Our Watt&Sea hydrogenerator's U-bracket mount failed while moving along at 8kts. As there is some paint removed from the front end of the prop housing I suspect that it had hit an object. There is a shear pin installed and this broke too. But having said that, a submerged object should of also hit the keel or rudder or sail drive before hitting the hydrogen - but no signs of any contact there. Mmmmm. A worthy note is that W&S were quick to respond to emails, also seeking a temporary solution and offering to ship the replacement parts to my next port (FOC).
Departure: Hilo, Hawaii 10:00hrs 3 August
Arrival: Victoria; 19:15hrs 22 August
Total Days: 19 days 9hrs
Total Miles: 2559nm
Average Daily Run: 134nm
Best 24hr Run: 188nm
Max speed: 16.5kts
Average speed: 5.4kts
We're in Canada!! Save aTree, Eat a Beaver!
The diversity of cruisers we continue to meet is staggering. Over the last three years, Rose and I have been amazed at not only the support and commaderie among the cruiser network but also the amazing array of interesting characters, adventurer's, backgrounds and boats that we've had the pleasure to share anchorages with. Here's just one example, while in Reeds Bay, Hawaii the last few weeks, we met quite a young lady that rebuilt her own boat and had just solo sailed from San Francisco; a French Canadian couple who've just completed the North West Passage; another young couple from Australia on their maiden voyage, who well underestimated their provisions and yet are already making money with their entertaining video's; a wonderful retired couple in their new catamaran slowly and carefully venturing out for their first adventures. At nearly every bay, atoll, island, etc we've met such a melange of people. It's been very rewarding and they've all certainly enriched our lives.
I've not seen as much plastic and garbage in the ocean as Ive seen here in the North Pacific. Each time I look over the side we'll see some object floating by. It's a garbage patch out here! My son wrote to me with an update on the plastic 'gyre' out in this region - an island of plastic rubbish, debris and micro-plastics circling around in an area the size of France. Mind boggling isn't it?! We Humans just love to destroy! Our children are going to think we're such dip-shits when they are old enough to start running things and realize what a mess we left for them...what we have destroyed or killed or made extinct or fucked up in the last 100 years has been more damaging to our planet Earth than the last million.
Big Hawaii and Hilo
27 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
Emerald arrived into Hilo Bay at 03:00 on 9th July. While there was a lot of city lights impeding a clear view of the entrance marker buoys at night, as we got closer the flashing reds and greens became apparent and we found our way safely thru the channel and into Reed's Bay. We found our Navionic charts very accurate here. Seabed holding has been reported to be poor due to a layer of mud/sand over lava beds however we seemed to have managed to get a good grip on our first attempt. There are about 10 boats on private moorings here and a few others anchored.
The following day after a few hours kip we headed over to see George Valdez at US Customs who cleared us in - single stop for customs, immigration and agriculture - and without a boat inspection, in our case. We thought about anchoring or tying up alongside at Radio Bay but decided against that and remained in Reed's Bay. However we did use Radio Bay to locked it off our dinghy at the canoe club while we explored Hawaii. Being in Reed's Bay, a different jurisdiction than Radio Bay, we had to register with the Reed's Bay harbor master and paid approx $7 per day for our stay. We needed to take on fuel before heading to Canada and found that the fuel delivery companies would only accept a minimum order of 200 gallons (we only needed 120gal) so I arranged with 3 other yachts to take fuel and we eventually had an order over 400 gallons. Bunkering was arranged with Big Island Energy (price: USD3.68/gal) and I coordinated with Radio Bay's harbor master to get the four yachts in for loading. This went very well and everyone was cooperative.
Hilo and Big Hawaii has been a nice stop. We rented a car at Alamo Rent a Car and got one of their 'deals' of about 50% off the regular price and I guess we made an impression on the agent as we chatted away as he made sure we got a new compact car. Nice wheels! So having the car for 2 weeks allowed us to get all around Hawaii, Volcano Nat'l Park, Volcano Winery (a small hobby winery with some interesting wine varieties), Ka'u Coffee Mill and macadamia plantation, museums, the many waterfalls, the beautiful Kona region, remote walks where we came across egg laying leatherback turtles resting and basking in the sun before heading back to sea, etc.... and to Walmart for our Veziron wifi device ($30) and topped it up with data ($10 per 10GB). We also got a Verizon mobile phone for $10+30 that includes unlimited calls and SMS's anywhere in the US for 30 days. Also a lot of trips to Starbucks for a great coffee and fast internet. The large Safeway, Foodland or KTA restocked us with provisions (though its quite difficult to find any 'edible and healthy' food at these places) and the Farmer's Market in Hilo on Wednesdays and Saturday's stocked us with local fruit and veg (non-GMO).
We met fellow cruisers from SV Julia in their beautiful new Fontaine Pajot Helia and Erin and Simon in their 1958 wooden sloop they refurbished and sailed from Vancouver which took them 30 days - they near starved as they ran out of food and were saved by a few good fish catches.
It's hurricane season here in the east Pacific and sure enough while we were here they were forming in the east and heading toward Hawaii. The first one was Fernanda which was later downgraded from a Cat 3 hurricane to a depression and eventually when it arrived to Hawaii we had winds to15kts, increased swell with king tides and lots of overcast/rain for a few days. Before it arrived however I moved Emerald out into deeper water (9m; 19 43.877N: 155 03.665W) as the shelf that we were anchored on was only about 3-4m and would be subject to considerable chop if the winds blow up. And behind Fernanda came Hurricane Greg, Irwin and Hillary which, fortunately, all lost their punch before they arrived in the Hawaiian island region.
While here I ordered up some boat bits i.e. wind transducer, reef lines, new dinghy paddles, generator fuel pump. As we are transient and haven't an address we coordinated with the local UPS office and our shipments were sent here for my collection. Courier from the mainland to Hilo was done in an amazing 3-4 days!
As much as we would have enjoyed cruising the Hawaiian islands we were eager to get to Canada well within the good weather period between June and August. So we set a departure period of the first week of August to head north. Also, as it would be the Nor'easterly trades moving us along for the first few weeks, the further west one goes the more of a reach (wind forward of the beam) it becomes and less comfortable. Rose will fly to Canada and visit friends and family and I have taken on crew - two lads, Dave and Paul, from Vancouver that came recommended.
I had some maintenance and repairs to do. I changed out the first and second reef lines that were showing signs of severe chafe. Also replaced the aft boom sheave block that had a broken sheave wheel. I had a spare block from Martinique days that I refurbished so it was an easy replacement. Then replaced the Raymarine wind transducer on the mast top that stopped working during our passage from BoraBora. Then we went out for a spin in the bay to re-calibrate the nav and wind instrumentation.
Soon we'll miss the warmth of Pacific and be heading to the Great White North!
Passage Bora Bora to Hawaii
10 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
"The sea has a way of teaching you to see - not just by making the eye dance across the surface of things, jiggling, sweeping, swooping, taking measure in ways the landlocked eye can't even conceive. Its trickier than that: teasing you to look at whats bobbing at the edge of your vision, at what lies beyond: deep inside, locked in memory or destiny"
M. Lavin, 1959
Midway in our passage the winds subsided and the seastate calmed and that allowed us a few moments to sit out on the open forward deck in the cooling breeze and admire the big blue around us. The deep blue, clear, waters, the bows slicing through with a bow wake...mesmerizing like watching camp fires as kids. And the sky blue with its puffy hovering clouds. All alone we are - only Emerald and us. Hey, looks who's joined us... a pod of spotted dolphins decided to make a joyful presence! It's these moments that your soul needs to take it all in, think and accept. Open your mind, free your soul!
The Plan: It's a 2240nm passage. We'll maintain a course 010 - 015T degrees from Bora Bora which would take us well east of Christmas Island and into the ITCZ (near the Equator). This is not a rhumb line to Hawaii but if we don't do this then we'd later be banging into the winds when we do cross the ITCZ and the NE trades kick in towards Hawaii. We'll make efforts to squeeze as much Easterly as we can.
Our sail passage can be broken down into three parts. Part 1 from Bora Bora to the convergence zone with SE trades of 15-20kts winds, Part 2 in the convergence zone with little wind and a whole lot of overcast with squalls and rain and Part 3, from the convergence zone to Hawaii with the NE trades of 15-25kts winds. Its was all pretty uncomfortable and boisterous sailing as the winds and wave were generally forward of our beam i.e. reaching; so there was a lot pounding, slapping (that cats are infamous for) and spray. We still made some good speeds and daily progress runs, all with a 2nd reef in and often a reef in the genoa (Im always under canvassed!). Our flybridge tent kept us well sheltered from the winds and spray. We slept, when possible, at the flybridge or on the salon benches. Yet, this passage ranks as one of our most uncomfortable passages that we've undertaken and thats primarily as most of our previous sailing has been downwind - far more comfy! In hindsight, to reduce so much reach sailing, as we didn't get sufficient easting, we should have made our way back to Tahiti to get a better wind angle to Hawaii. One has to be a bit of a masochist to enjoy ocean passage like this for days on end.
We didn't fish as we have a freezer full of fish and we want to lessen this load before the US Agriculture department decides to confiscate it. Rose prepared 6 days of healthy meals before leaving so there wasn't any cooking to be done in the beginning. But...poor girl...she remained pretty much horizontal for first days out with stage 1 sea sickness (more about that below). As a requital, Rose will fly to Canada from Hawaii and later meet me in Victoria and I will take crew on from Hawaii.
Emerald crossed the Equator for the 4th time on 30 June at 17:40hrs and we celebrated with .... a beer!
One highlight: We are midway to Hawaii and after 7 days of bouncing around and walking like a drunken sailor the seas became calm and subdued. And then amazingly...our moods took a swing for the better - a few moments of euphoria, jubilation ... finally! And then there's no better way to enjoy those moments than strip down, have a cooling deck shower and run around the deck with nothing on but a smile! And dolphins! Then ... no sooner came the ITCZ....
It took about 3 days to get through the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) which went from about 03N to 7N. We could see it clearly on our forecasts in the 'rain' mode. It was quite squally but their intensity rarely exceeded 25kts and we made efforts to dodge them ... with marginal success. Mostly 80% or more overcast with plenty of rain but no lightening (thankfully). As expected the winds were all over the place: high when a squall initially hit us and then next no wind as it passed. As a result we motored or motor-sailed a good way through.
We used PredictWind/GO for weather forecasts and routing checks and SailDocs/GO for big picture weather reviews and warnings over the North Pacific region.
Always a highlight in our day - we stay in touch twice daily with cruising friends in French Polynesia via the PolyMagNet on 8173kHz - a volunteer HF net run by cruisers for cruisers. And we also got to chat with SV Silverland - an amazing young family we met from Holland in their 40's Dutch ex-fishing motor-sailor. Champ kite surfers! We shared some great anchorages and diving in the Gambiers with them including with friends Sasha and Roger of SV Endbal.
Seasickness is a malady and one Rose suffers from occasionally - and this trip has been one of these occasions. And while I seem to have a stomach of iron and seldom feel the symptoms, this trip even tested me. Often it is something that goes away in a couple of days at sea. Drugs, such as Sturgeon, can be taken to relieve the symptoms, even after you come down with it. Rose also takes ginger and she has in the past tried a variety of other so-called remedies i.e. accu-pressure bands, etc but these haven't worked. The symptoms typically begin with frequent yawning, followed by a slight headache, dry mouth, pallor, cold sweats, nausea and sickness. This was the first time Rose had drunk seawater, ½ cup twice a day, and she say it did help her!
To make life interesting during the ITCZ squalls the port side genoa sheet Clutch decided to loosen up from its foundation. Clutches are those neat little devices that grab and secure the lines and maintain the tension on them. Should this break off then there would be no sailing the genoa so a fix needed to be executed immediately. Trying to retighten the two bolts from the clutch side was just not going to do it as the nut just spun. So I had to completely remove sections of the salon ceiling, cut an access hole to allow me to get my hand and spanner on the nut while Rose tightened the screw. Typically of a boat repair....1hr of preparation to do a 30 second job! That was all done while bobbing up and down in 2m swells! Reef line chafe is another issue with the 450s' boom and if not paid attention to, a reef line will chafe thru and break in no time. I have learnt a few tricks over the years and employ these. But on this trip the 2nd reef line began chafing thru and I end-cut 25cm off to shift this area. Also then one of the aft boom sheave rollers broke. I've made it a routine every morning to run around the boat and its rig inspecting for anomalies. Murphy resides on yachts you know!
Two days before arriving the sailing condition were just a delight; big blue sky, hardly any swell, 15kts NE wind on a beam reach, 8-9kts SOG and 'Franky Perez' blasting on the hifi. We pulled into Hilo Bay of Big Hawaii at 04:00hrs on 9th July and anchored in Reeds Bay. All the conditions were good and safe for a night entry i.e. little swell, near full moon, well lit marker buoys, confirmed accurate charts.
Departure: Bora Bora; 09:00hrs 24 June 0900
Arrival: Hilo; 04:00hrs 9 July
Total Days: 15 days 19hrs
Total Miles: 2235nm
Average Daily Run: 143nm
Best 24hr Run: 188nm
Photo: Hitchhiking Brown Boobie
Passage Route Bora Bora to Hawaii to Canada
22 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
During a relaxed time at one of the scenic Bora Bora anchorages we were chatting, as one does, about our plans going forward. Up until this time we were to continue westward toward Tonga, Fiji and then north to the Marshall's and Micronesia. Then we realized there was an opportunity to leave French Polynesia now and head north up to Hawaii, Canada and into the Pacific North West. It took a week or so to mull it over and do the research and in the end we decided Canada was where we wanted to head to next. The weather was favorable at this time of year for such a passage where the best months for routing from Hawaii to British Columbia is June to August. It meant leaving Bora Bora before the end of June to be in Victoria before the end of August. I studied the weather patterns, routes, the North Pacific High and its associated lows and also corresponded with Jim Innes, a tactician for the Transpac rally that runs from PNW to Hawaii who provided me with guidance.
The passage from Bora Bora to Hawaii will be relatively easy going with reliable easterly trades moving us along nicely. We expect to clear into Honolulu and stay for a week. Leaving Hawaii toward Canada will be a bit more challenging. A rhumb line from Hawaii to Victoria takes you thru the N Pacific High which entails no winds and a days and days of motoring.
So the passage plan from Hawaii is expected to take us on a course of 350 degrees for at least 1100nm and try not to be temped to point for BC. This route will take us around the High to the west of the center and keep us in the breeze. It also positions us so that when we do penetrate the High it keeps motoring to a minimum. Then we drew a line out of the entrance of Juan de Fuca bearing 280 degrees for 350nm and marked a waypoint. This is our entry into the straits (about equivalent attitude as the top of Vancouver Island) and the reason for aiming for this point is that if gales from the NW are forecasted and materialize then the ride from that point puts the wind on a favorable broad reach.
We are expecting to have to get out our cold weather gear. And low visibility and cool fog can be expected on the Swiftsure Bank and along the Juan De Fuca Straits to Victoria. Juan De Fuca Straits are a busy shipping channel for merchant ships heading into Canada and the US, predominately to Vancouver and Seattle. Plenty of fishing boats and humpback whales are expected - let's not get too close! And fishing should be good!
Soooo looking forward to Victoria!