Cruising Life in Puget Sound
29 July 2017
Since arriving back from Hawaii on June 23nd, life has quickly returned to the previous normal. Medical appointments, car maintenance and appliance repairs consume our days, albeit in slow motion. Schedule, wait, another delay, and then repeat. If people think boat repairs are expensive, have Sears fix your refrigerator! It took two weeks to fix ours with a $120 part that took 20 minutes to install at a cost of $680!
To me, it felt like our cruising days were over! I could see Huzzah at anchor in the Harbor from our deck, but we had so many things keeping us from setting sail. The blessing this time afforded us however, was the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. We spent a weekend doing some crabbing in the skiff with Valerie's family, and Rose & her family were able to join us aboard Huzzah for a night in Quartermaster Harbor for Independence Day fireworks. A couple of weeks later Jody spent a week in Portland assisting Rose while she was recovering from hip surgery.
We finally broke free of our domestic trappings in late July with a short cruise to the South Sound with grandson Milo. With stops in Filucy Bay, McMicken Island, Jerrel Cove and Olympia, we had a great time in spite of our failure to catch many crab. Milo is a good dinghy driver, so we did quite a few "Harbor Burns" as we call them, just motoring around.
Life is good aboard Huzzah again!
Landfall - Passage Day 16
22 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
Our final day at sea was as spirited and challenging as any we've experienced during our cruise. Beam reaching in 25 knot winds and 10' seas with beautiful sunshine seemed entirely fitting for our final leg. Not even a huge wave that sent green water down the companion way hatch into the cabin could dampen our spirits. So, with a double reef in the mainsail, and a sliver of the genoa flying, we came charging into the Straits of Jaun de Fuca in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 21st - after 16 days and 16 ½ hours of passage! Hip Hip Huzzah!
Welcomed Change - Passage days 14 & 15
20 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
Yesterday greeted us with light overcast skies that soon burned off into beautiful sunshine. The gray sea became blue again and life was good! Life is fairly simple out here. So we put our fishing lines in the water and watched the miles disappear behind us. We finished the day with some awesome Mahi tacos, complements to Scott! Today is shaping up to be a repeat of yesterday. It seems ironic to me that the weather's improving as we approach the Washington coast, but in fact, we're just lucky to be sailing on the edge of a 1025mb high pressure system. Wind and sun is hard to beat! We continue to make good time in these favorable conditions. After almost 13 days on starboard tack (wind blowing the right side of boat) we're now on port. The seas are unusually small, and we have 10 - 14 knots of wind on the beam. We've covered over 300 miles in the last 48 hours, and we are now ~260 miles from making landfall at Cape Flattery. Sailing has been so easy lately, the only navigation I've done is to alter course this morning to avoid sailing over a shallow (33' deep) area of foul bottom called the Cobb Seamount. Our expected arrival to Gig Harbor is Friday afternoon - but anything can happen, so it's just an estimate at this point. Life is good aboard Huzzah!
In the Loop - Passage days 12 & 13
18 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
Life aboard now feels like an endless a loop. We stand watch for 12 hours (2 shifts each day), sleep for ~8, then cook/clean and attend to our daily constitutional's & personal hygiene for the remaining 4 hours! Repeat, and then repeat again. After six days of overcast, rain and fog, our senses can no longer differentiate between the days. Living in wet rain gear for 6 days is something that defies explanation. Is that baby power I smell? Hum. Even the Sunbrella fabric protecting our cockpit has conceded to the relentless deluge of rain and now drips profusely in multiple spots. Not a dry spot to be had anywhere in the cockpit. And since we sprung a leak in the hydronic diesel furnace while beating to Hawaii last year, it's inoperable. But we're fighting back with daily doses of 5,000 IU's of vitamin D so we don't all get SAD, and turn the boat south. Not everything is gloomy however. We have been sailing strong and recently accomplish some significant passage milestones. We've banked a couple 170+ mile days this weekend, and we just completed our 2,000th mile sailing since departing Kauai. That makes it about 570 nm's to reach Cape Flattery. Sailors use all kinds of jargon to describe making good time, the one we use most often use is; �"we're hauling the mail�". To be sure, we are quite happy to be sailing the rhumbline home at 7 knots! As some of you may know, I post these updates over an Iridium satellite phone in a text only format that is about ½ the speed of your 1995 AOL dial up modem. It works well for our weather routing program and texting via our phones. But I cannot see my blog page or any comments you post on it or to Jody's FB page. Sorry! So don't stop typing, as I do look forward to connecting with you all again and answering any questions you might have when I get cell reception in 4 or 5 days. Cheers from Huzzah!
Water Torture - Passage days 10 & 11
16 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
After a rainy day and light wind sailing, we capped yesterday (June 10th)) off with Mahi for dinner before starting up the D-Sail and motoring through the windless night. We knew it was the calm before the next low, so we didn't mind. Now, less than 900 miles from the Straits of Jaun de Fuca, we're sailing fast again at 8.8 knots with 25 kts of wind on the beam. We've done this so many times, and it's my favorite point of sail. I'm always in awe of the power of the wind and the seas, and how Huzzah seems to effortlessly handle these conditions. Today however, we're in the North Pacific being pummeled by large waves and intense rain. Our rain gear is soaked thru, our hands are cold, our gloves soaked to the point of being useless. We can see our breath when we exhale; the cabin is 58 and wet. The cockpit is even worse as the wind blows the rain and sea spray sideways under the dodger and bimini. Okay - enough said. This morning we attached our clear side curtain aft of the dodger which has been a tremendous help. In stark contrast to our world of the past 18 months, this is simply dreadful. We haven't seen the sun in three days, and I quietly wonder if we will again over the remaining week of our trip. So why am I'm sailing Huzzah into this torment of rain and cold you ask? Family; it trumps everything else. Oh how I hope we have one of those special NW summers this year. My Grandson's and I are counting on it! Gerry & Crew of Huzzah
First 200 mile day - Passage days 8 & 9
15 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
I quietly cheered last night while logging our 20:00 hours (8 pm) position. As the off-watch crew was below sleeping, we had set a new milestone for our epic two-year voyage aboard Huzzah by sailing 202 nm's in a 24 hour period! We had previously recorded a handful of times we had covered more than 170 miles in a day, but never the �"double century�" as I call it. After sailing 11,567 miles it finally happened, and it felt good! It's a record for Scott as well, so we did a quick fist-bump at watch change as I slipped below to get my wet rain gear off in route to my bunk for some sleep. Oh, how the little things matter at sea. The weather conditions that created this opportunity were due to a big low pressure system heading East across our path, packing 25 - 35 kt winds. We knew days in advance of this, and were well prepared with everything properly stowed and a thorough check of our sails and rigging completed. We were also fortunate enough to catch the back side of the system and ride it NE for a day, with its wind at our back. With a double-reefed main and a quadruple reef in the genoa set on the whisker pole, we were off faster than a prom queen's dress! With a 10 -12' average wave height, we had plenty of surfing moments and would routinely hit 11 knots, with the occasional 14 kt ride. It's not as much fun as it sounds, however. In the dark of night, with all the sounds of wind and water crashing off the waves and the autopilot swinging the wheels back and forth as the boat slaloms down the waves - it's nerve racking for me. The weather remains cold and wet with interior temperatures in the 58 - 62 range. Lots of �"sideways�" rain blows into the cockpit and we're all wearing fleece, raingear and boots. I had to loan Scott socks so he could get his boots off without help! I think his price to deliver a boat to this area just increased. We doubt the Mahi Mahi are fans of cold water either, but we'll try Tuna. Our box scores to date; Avg speed 6.2kts./148 nm/day, Distanced sailed 25, Distance to Cape Flattery (rhumb line) 1,050, Distance to Gig Harbor =1,200. Cheers from Huzzah.
Counting Buoys & Fish- Passage day 7
12 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
This morning we had a significant milestone (in our little 45' world anyway) to share. We completed 1,000 nautical miles (1,150 statute miles) of our voyage - almost exactly one week after our departure from Kauai. For left-brain thinkers, that's about 6 knots of boat speed we've averaged while sailing as fast as we comfortably can 24/7. That means we're about 1,500 nm's from the Straits of Jaun de Fuca. Of course, we'll sail much further than that to get there. We've been sailing on a starboard tack (wind blowing over right side of boat), close-hauled (sailing into the wind as much as possible) the entire time this trip. We expect our life of healing to the left will change tonight in the wee hours however, when a wind shift will force us to become right healers ;-) Overall, the first week has been good. There were times when our ride was rough and noisy, other times when seasickness symptoms kept people quietly wondering if they would ever go to sea again. But that's all part of the journey. The other part of this passage has been the discovery of fishing buoys littering the ocean! In one day, I personally counted 10 of them, tethered to the ocean floor, ~3,000 feet below. Given our sightings over the last 500 miles, I would guess there must be hundreds of these hard plastic buoys measuring about 3' round out here. One night I heard some Asian language speaking on the VHF radio, so that's likely where they're from. I believe the odds of hitting one are astronomically low, but maybe that's because that's what I chose to believe. Life is like that. Besides counting miles, we've been doing some fishing. A few moments ago, we caught our second Mahi Mahi/Dorado in 3 days. This one is a nice ~15 pounder to practice our filleting skills on. Scott seems to have the perfect touch, and is teaching Shawntel how to fillet the skin off. Thanks to Fred & Ken for the use of your fillet knife and pole. Again, one of the cheap lures we purchased at the Lihue K mart was our secret weapon. Yum, fish for dinner again! We've been blessed today with sun, calm seas and moderate wind. Life is good aboard Huzzah!
Go East - Passage day 6
10 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
We begin our sixth day at sea with light winds and unusually calm seas. The significant change has been the wind direction has changed to the SE, allowing us sail NE towards our destination. Only problem is that we're sailing towards a big high pressure system. And since high pressure normally means less wind, we would ordinarily sail around it, but this is just too big. So later today, we expect even lower wind velocities than now. Our current position puts us roughly about 700 miles due North of Hawaii, and 1700 miles from the Straits of Jaun de Fuca. All is well aboard and with the calm seas, everyone is feeling better and we're eating well. Yesterday evening, our newest crew Shawntel caught a 9 pound Dorado (aka Mahi Mahi) using a lure she bought at K mart. How about that! Cheers from Huzzah!
Fade to Gray - Passage day 5
09 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
Happy Friday everyone! As we begin our fifth day at sea, it's starting to feel like home. Although we're only 31 degrees north latitude, the sky is overcast gray, the temperature has dropped to the high 60's, and we haven't seen the sun for almost 2 days! The fleece is out, and we're wearing Gortex rain jackets and shoes after two years of storage. The refrigerator and freezer units are happy, but nobody else is. And none of this is to Scott's (aka captain casual) liking. Although he never complains, after living in Florida and teaching advanced sailing courses out of La Paz all last winter, you know he's not comfortable. He didn't wear shoes on his watch last night, but commented that he would be digging them out of his duffel today. The winds have abated, and for the first time, we're sailing under full mainsail & Genoa. The wind direction and velocity varied all night as we skirt a high pressure (low wind) system to our west, so lots of energy is being expended to keep the boat moving through the fickle conditions. Our pace continues to be good, averaging almost 150 miles per day, with 600 miles in the bank, and about 1,800 to go. Cheers from Huzzah
Judo Chops - Passage days 3 & 4
08 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
As we enter our fourth day of this passage, the conditions thus far have been remarkably consistent. The wind is still blowing from the north-northeast at a steady 18 to 23 knots apparent, and the seas have been from 3 to 7 feet. The wind chop has kept the decks and dodger soaked the entire time, but we never leave the cockpit anyway. Of course, a few large rogue waves have hurled sea water into the cockpit, but that's been the exception. Huzzah loves the moderate winds and has piled on 500 miles beating (sailing as close into the wind as possible) her way North. With a single reef in the mainsail to protect the sail repair we did in Hawaii, and a small reef in the genoa, she's moving between 6 and 7+ knots 24/7. Our quandary has been whether to sail as close-hauled as possible and suffer the constant pounding the waves extract on the boat, or to steer a course 10 - 15 lower, and add miles to our journey. For now, we're sailing as close to the wind and waves as we can tolerate, watching Huzzah judo chop the waves like a crazed Ninja warrior!
The Drumbeat - Passage days 1&2
07 June 2017 | Passage to Pacific Northwest
We began our passage from Nawiliwili, Kauai to Gig Harbor last Monday morning, June 5th under lumpy seas, moderately high winds and rain squalls. Not ideal conditions for our first day at sea, but that's the weather we had been experiencing in Kauai for several days, with no change forecasted - so we went. Our first six hours were definitely not to the crews liking as we clawed our way into a brisk headwind through unorganized, lumpy, seas under reefed sails. Once we cleared the island, however, the rain clouds dissipated, and we've had great weather and calm seas since.
Now, as we begin day three, we're finally beginning to get into our rhythm. We've put the saltine crackers and peanut butter away for now, and some crew even slept in their cabins last night. It usually takes few days for us to find our sea legs anyway, so it's all expected. Huzzah is sailing well, pointing into the wind and seas the best she can. In fact, we identified then sailed past a new 40' aluminum ocean-going sloop from the UK yesterday. After a quick chat on the radio, we learned he departed Honolulu last Sunday and is bound for Ketchikan, AK. We were curious to see the boat after identifying him on AIS, and couldn't believe how poorly his sails were trimmed when we approached. He commented that we were sailing much faster than he (almost 2 knots), but there was no appropriate response I could think other to bid him fair sailing. This was the first time I've seen another sailboat at sea!
Okay, so where are we? Click on the map section of the blog page to see our current position, but we're about 300 nm's northwest of Kauai after two full days of sailing. We expect one more day or so of wind before we run out of the trusty "Trade winds" we've been sailing in. I'm downloading the latest wind map on the Iridium Sat phone now, so I'll know more in my next update.
Aloha from Huzzah!
Whether the weather is right?
05 June 2017
Or not, is really the question on our minds recently. So much weather data is available these days, we pour over it multiple times each day, fretting over details we didn't even know existed 10 years ago. Using information from our Predict Wind program on our satellite phone as well as internet sources, there's plenty to ponder! Additionally, Scott is using the Expedition navigation program, which uses the same GFS forecast models, but gives slightly different results for some reason.
Bottom line, we've decided it's time to go! Gerry, Scott (aka Captain casual) & Shawntel will be departing Nawiliwili tomorrow morning. Our friends Bill, Greg & Tom on Anakena will be joining us on the passage. Hopefully we'll have fair winds, but we have enough fuel to motor about 1,200 nm's if the wind decides not to cooperate. The rhumbline distance is about 2,400 nm's, but our planned route is closer to 2,775 nm.
Wish us luck.
Final Projects for Homeward Passage
29 May 2017
The list of boat projects always grow prior to a passage. Whether they're born from a moment of reflection or the discovery of a new problem - they just do. I cannot tell you why the radar or even a sheet winch will cease to function after several months of inactivity, but that's exactly what happens. Some captains say boats are like their wives - ignore them and it will cost you!
Aside from rebuilding the ship's heads (toilets) or routine engine maintenance, this stay has been unusually busy with sail repair, and a few improvements I've been planning to do for some time. First up was sewing a cover for the life raft
, then I hand-stitch a leather cover around the helm wheels.
The final touch to our new helms was a "Turks head", so you know when the wheel is centered without looking. Then, I finally made a comfy cushion for the cockpit.
Since Home Depot only had one piece of foam, one will have to do. Kauai is an Island, so it's a bit ironic that it's so hard to find boat stuff locally.
Cheers from Huzzah.
Life in Nawiliwili Harbor
15 May 2017
Now that we've been here two weeks, we're starting to learn our way around the town of Lihue, and will be expanding our range significantly when we rent a car in the next couple days. For now, we've learned a few tricks for increasing our mobility and access to the major shopping areas when the cruise ships call at a nearby dock. We simply wait outside the cruise ship terminal gate and hop aboard the free shuttles that K Mart and other retailers provide. The drivers don't seem to mind as we always tip - something many cruise ship passengers don't seem to do. And when the ships aren't here, Uber rides are only $10 to/from Costco, Home Depot and Safeway.
The marina itself is a very basic, State-owned facility of ~75 berths on stationary concrete wharfs and finger piers. Truck tires are hanging everywhere to protect boats from the two-foot tidal changes and brisk trade winds. One might describe the marina as having an industrial look, as you can see stacks of shipping containers and a propane storage farm right next door. The marina's single restroom is typical Hawaiian style with open ceilings and a beach (cold water) shower. The shower even sports a door, and is very popular with the local community. We are very lucky to have moorage here as there are only a dozen slips that would accommodate our boat in this marina, and only one is for transient yachts. And this is the only marina on the island that has larger slips. Fortunately for us, Kristy the Harbormaster is a super nice lady that really works hard to help cruisers like us. Thanks to her, managing crew arrivals and provisioning for our passage home will be considerably easier than if we were at anchor!
The US Coast Guard is our closest neighbor in the harbor and maintains a station here with two fast response 40' aluminum boats, and lots of activity to observe a few hundred feet behind Huzzah. We have watched them drill in protective suits, disarming each other of weapons under the hot sun, and shouting a lot. Jody already alerted them to the fact that they were flying the Hawaii State flag upside down. We originally thought this act might be on orders from the White House, but it's been flying correctly for days now - so maybe not. .
We've begun to meet more of the locals with boats here, and have been to the Nawiliwili Yacht Club a few times after racing.
A former competitor from my Tacoma Yacht Club days lives here now and races his Olson 30 each Thursday afternoon against five other Olson skippers and a handful of PHRF boats from the Yacht Club. I used to own and race the same type of boat, so I was able to finagle my way aboard his boat. It's not easy working an Olson foredeck in 15+ knots of wind at my age, but that's the position assigned to me. We just won the series, so the crew is happy! And our cruising friends Bill & Deb arrived a few days ago in their 40' sailboat Anakena. Always nice to be with friends when exploring new places!
Kauai is a small island, and the people seem to take pride in that fact. The Aloha spirit just seems a little more genuine here than elsewhere I've been in Hawaii. To me, it almost feels like the Polynesian culture we experienced a short year ago while in FP. We love it here. And the rain squalls that roll through each night and cause us to jump out of bed to close all the deck hatches, just keep it real.
Aloha from Huzzah
Family Time in Kaua’i
11 May 2017 | Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai Is.
After arriving in Nawiliwili Harbor and seeing my guest crew off to their hiking and sightseeing adventures, it was time to catch a nap and get Huzzah cleaned and organized before collecting Jody at the Lihue airport the following evening. A mere 4 miles from the marina, I had planned to walk, but since I now had a 50 pound sail to get shipped to Honolulu, an Uber car was my only choice of conveyance.
Since Uber isn't allowed (officially) at the airport arrival terminal, we had to walk a couple hundred yards to an intersection off the airport property to schedule a ride via the Uber app. As we were standing on a dark corner waiting for some guy name Alex, it struck me how cheap I was being, and wonderful Jody was to go along without complaint. I won't do that again, however! A short ride later we're settled aboard Huzzah like we'd never left last February.
Meanwhile, Valerie, Ryan and little Henry were chilling in a super-sweet ground level condo on the beach 15 miles away in a Poipu resort. The next day we quickly joined them in what would become our daily rhythm for the next five days. We would arrive at the condo late-morning after Henry's nap, play on the bleach or in the shallow bay, kick a ball around on the manicured, golf course like lawns, and share dinner together. Typically nothing too fancy, a BBQ or takeout - always keeping things easy for Mom and Dad. And we couldn't of had more fun together.
Spending more time with our grandsons has been one of the blessings of retirement. Oskar spent a couple of weeks' aboard with Rose last Summer in French Polynesia, and we look forward to getting the Milo and Theo out for some crabbing or fishing this summer once the seasons open.
Cruzin in Hawaii!
Passage to Kauai
09 May 2017
It all sounded so simple - connect with a local sailor from the Yacht Club and do an overnight passage to Nawiliwili Harbor some ~95 nm's to the Northwest. You know, sail 271 degrees for 16 miles to clear Barber Point, then reset the autopilot to 301 degrees for 12 hours of idyllic beam reaching under gentle seas and amazing stars and you're there.
I had met my new watch captain and some of her crew earlier in the week, then sailed with them as a team off Waikiki in a dying breeze the evening prior to our departure. The crew was a bunch of friendly thirty-something's - personable, interesting and immediately likable. Most were imports from the mainland, here for the positive culture and awesome weather. The watch captain was a retired nursing professor from the local university, and owner of a 35' sloop. On departure day the crew began arriving about 4 pm under overcast skies. The weather forecast models highlighted the absence of the usually dependable trade winds as a series of big low pressure systems approached from the NE. Since low pressure systems are nasty things that typically roam the oceans at will, our night passage conditions were uncertain at best. Time would tell. After casting off from Ali Wai, we motored West an hour to Keehi Boat Harbor for diesel, as Nawiliwili has no fuel dock and our last resupply was last October in Bora Bora. However, in typical tropical style, the fuel dock had been damaged the prior weeks or so, so we were out of luck! Not a show stopper as we had plenty aboard to make Kauai, I just didn't want to haul diesel to the boat in Jerry cans. Don't even start with the Jerry can and Jerry rigged jokes please : - )
As we motored NW in the fading evening light, cartons of Thai take-out surfaced -transforming our cockpit table into a huge buffet of white rice, spring rolls, fish, and every curry sauce you've ever heard of! In hindsight, that may not have been the best food choice for this passage. Oh, did I mention the crew and their skipper numbered eight? Normally, this would be an easy sail, and I'm sure most crew envisioned sitting in the cockpit all night telling jokes. The actual passage was quite different however!
With dinner complete, we raised sails in the darkness off the Ko Olina in 3-5 knots apparent wind. For non-sailors, apparent wind is what the boat "feels" which is always different than "true" wind on a moving boat. For example, if the wind is blowing 10 knots, and the boat is moving 7 knots into it, the boat feels 17 knots. Conversely, if the wind is blowing 10 kts from behind, you only feel 3 knots. This night, the wind blew from every direction at 3 to 22 knots apparent, with lighting and rain squalls skirting by. Combined with a fairly agitated sea, this passage was not an easy one. The result was seven seasick crew (including me and my other watch captain) of the nine. The other two reportedly slept through the ordeal, and were quite chipper at our dawn arrival.
The other thing that happened was the "Bravo" watch, tired of hearing the mainsail slat in the light winds and bumpy seas, tightened the mainsail sheet firmly - unfortunately, the sail ripped in two under the huge loads generated by 15 tons of boat rolling in the sloppy seas. Coming onto watch, the first thing I do is to check the sails for trim and condition. My heart sank when I looked up to see my relatively new sail was in two pieces. Interestingly, I was the only person to even notice! I quickly dropped the sail and we motored onward to Kauai. In the middle of the ocean, this would have been a disastrous situation, but we had the luxury of simply motoring to our destination. A small stack of Ben Franklins' and few trips to the Airport to get the sail repaired in Honolulu is the remedy this time. Live and learn!
Cheers from Nawiliwili.
Preparing for Passage
04 May 2017
Every passage starts with safety checks. After getting hoisted up the mast to complete a pre-departure check of the rigging and navigation lights by one of my passage crew mates Adam, I began bending on the Genoa & Code Screecher. That's when I noticed a significant tear in the Genoa luff tape and some minor chafe issues that required the sewing machine. So, down comes the Genoa, out comes the 65 pound sewing machine and various pieces of Dacron & Kevlar repair tapes. Not being a core competency of mine, this task eventually took me hours' to do in what my buddy Ken would have completed in 45 minutes. Once finished, Adam came back to the boat and helped me feed the repaired sail into the furling unit as it was hoisted. Then the raw-water impeller on the auxiliary engine needed to be removed and checked. Then the oil level and fuel filters were checked. Check, and check again. And so went the non-linear process of working each item on the checklist. Start, identify problem, solve problem, then continue.
A good example of this process going wrong was a bottom scrub. I had contacted a guy named Charlie recommended by another sailor weeks' earlier, but couldn't get him to actually show up to do the bottom. After multiple delays, he finally shows up the day of our departure and proceeds to do a half-hour bottom scrub that looked as if the neighbor kid did it. I could see significant growth was still on the rudder, so I used the GoPro to verify that I had been ripped off for $80 of services not rendered. Due to the massive tourism business on Oahu, there are people everywhere waiting for an easy mark. With no time to shame him into doing the job right, I was his "mark" today. Oh well, the weather, views and 99% of the people here are awesome, so it couldn't spoil my day too much. Anyway, the crew were scheduled to arrive at 4:30 pm for our overnight passage, and I still had lots of things to do!. Oh, did I mention the crew and their skipper numbered eight! I'll cover our passage in my next blog update!
Cheers from Huzzah!
Back in Hawaii
03 May 2017
I arrived back in Honolulu a week ago after three awful months of Pacific Northwest weather. Rain, cold, more rain - the worst stretch of bad weather I can remember in the 55 years I've lived there! Bloody dreadful it was! I only managed to get a few hundred miles on the bike, so mot much to be proud of when my riding buddies had to wait for me on those cold 45 - 65 mile rides.
But I did get some things accomplished on daughter Valerie's new home in Gig Harbor. In spite of all the rain, we were able to make good progress on a crawl space remediation project, replace rotted fascia trim board, and eventually a new roof and gutters were installed. We also spent some fun times with daughter Rose and her family, visited with the extend family on Easter, and caught up with some friends.
Back at Ali Wai marina, nothing had changed. The water was still filled with garbage, and the local liveaboards still looked at me oddly when I fished plastic bags, pillows, auto windshield sun reflectors and other eclectic floating objects out when I had a free hand. At some point they'd always tell me they used to do that too, but eventually gave up! I'm happy to report that not everyone has given up. We met this Canadian couple from a nearby hotel who bought a net at a local shop and spent an hour cleaning out the trash one day.
Nice to know at least these Canadians care about our oceans!
My friend Bill had checked in on Huzzah a month earlier, so I knew things were good. The main Lithium battery bank was within a fraction of a volt of when I left it, and the dehumidifier had the interior bone dry. So I filled the water tanks and walked to the local ABC store for some easy food until I could get to Costco to stock up and veggies and fruit. After 8 weeks the aluminum propane tanks had been inspected and re-certified for use. A two day event often takes weeks' here. And that's okay, you just need to plan for it. Hawaii is a Pacific Island with its own unique culture and tempo, and to me, it feels more Polynesian than USA. Maybe that's why I like the people here so much.
After finishing a few boat projects and bending on the sails, I will be meeting with my crew for the 95nm passage to Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor.
Hanging loose in Hawaii!
Living Aboard in Waikiki
28 January 2017
We've been living aboard Huzzah in the Ali Wai Marina for a month now, and have thoroughly enjoyed our Hawaiian experience! The weather has been fantastic, sans a few days of rain. Our location provides us easy access to all the services and amenities we need with a huge shopping mall, grocery stores, big-name hotels, a copious number of restaurants, marine chandleries, and the ubiquitous Costco, Home Depot and Walmart stores. In contrast to our stays in Mexico and French Polynesia, this is almost too easy! To date, we have hiked up Diamond Head, visited most of the island's major beaches, walked the fashionable shops on the strip (apparently, people do buy designer shoes and handbags when on vacation), ridden the city busses, watched surfers carve big waves, and patronized many of the local restaurants. The good news is that our outings have contributed to us walking about 4 miles a day. And a special treat for us has been spending time with Jody's parents Stan & Jerry! Their condo is less than a mile away, so getting together for meals, a football playoff game or a walk has been fun and easy.
The never-ending boat projects have received some attention as well. After 19 years', the main cabin windows were beginning to leak (especially after the last passage), and needed to be replaced. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but totally underestimated how difficult cleaning the old adhesive off the aluminum frames would be! After 4 days of effort, the new windows were finished just in time for our first big Hawaiian winter rain.
The cruiser community here is small, but the people are awesome! We've made friends with sailors that have (or plan to) sail the South Pacific, so we have a lot of common interests. Most are younger than us, working to fill their cruising coffers before moving on, but cruising sailors don't seem to have generational differences. Our new friends have gone way beyond normal levels of kindness by loaning us their car, or taking us to/from the airport, and helping us with the marina bureaucracy. And all are game for a spontaneous cockpit party.
Our marina is not part of the upscale environment that surrounds tourists visiting Waikiki. In marked contrast to the gorgeous hotel lobbies, pools and well-kept shops, our marina is a dilapidated backwater armpit. The marina water is polluted with every type of floating garbage one could imagine. People have died (it's true) from flesh-eating bacteria contracted from falling in the water here. The cinderblock restrooms have been trashed, most toilet doors are missing, and few showers still function. Homeless people are everywhere digging thru the garbage and drug addicts sleep and shower in the marina's open restrooms. The land portion of this marina is a sketchy place. We pay a $150/month liveaboard fee to use locked restroom facilities, but most liveaboards apparently don't. They say it's not worth paying as they're just a bad as the unlocked ones, and the undesirables get in anyway. We agree. While many of the marina docks are fairly new (since the last tsunami), there's no sign of any maintenance since. The dock gates are broken and chained open, so people wander our docks unchecked. It only took a few encounters with druggies for Jody to opt out of the marina restrooms. While some liveaboards here are cruisers like us, the vast majority are here for the cheap accommodations. You'd be amazed how many 30-40' fiberglass sailboats built in California 40+ years ago have people living on them here. At $300/month, it's a bargain. These liveaboards have an entirely different mentality than most folks you meet on a dock. They seem to know very little about boating, and take almost no pride in their boat. There are numerous examples of hoarders piling junk on their decks so high you can't even recognize the boat.
I'm guessing these folks were raised in a bad trailer park somewhere. If there was a better choice for a marina, we wouldn't stay here. But private marinas and the yacht clubs have long waiting lists, and the sister government marina is the next harbor is reported to be even worse - which is hard to imagine. It would be hard to find a shoddier marina operation anywhere in the world. In short, a poorly managed facility, even by local government standards.
Outside the marina is another world entirely. The Hawaiian residents are super gracious, and couldn't be more friendly. The Aloha spirit is everywhere, and we love walking amongst the community. As someone said to me; "so much aloha, so little time". Once you traverse the marina parking lot to the beach or main streets, this place sparkles. Easy to see why so many come here.
Like is good aboard Huzzah in Hawaii!
12 November 2016
This was the view from my Alaska flight as I departed Honolulu a few days ago. Huzzah’s temporary slip is in the Ali Wai boat harbor, which is just west (left) of Waikiki Beach. Feel free to drop by if you’re in Waikiki. I’m now back in Gig Harbor working down my list of projects like cleaning gutters, setting mole traps, charging car batteries, fixing plumbing issues, etc. Amazing how stuff can break just sitting there unused. The best part of being home has been hanging out with Jody! We’re catching up with family (already been to a funeral) and visiting my grandsons’ is next on my agenda. I was enjoying the unseasonably warm 65F plus temperatures - until today, that is. If it’s not raining too hard, maybe I’ll get a few miles on the bike in the coming weeks. Cheers!