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S/V Love Song's Adventures
back on the same old ball
10/31/2011, MAJURO

Hallelujah, it's over!! We're here! We finally sighted Majuro and Arno about 12 miles out at noon today, but didn't arrive until 5pm. This time we motored between Arno and MAJ, a shortcut of 8 miles or so but easy in daylight. We never went to shore as the phone company and everyone else would've been closed. We are actually on our same old mooring ball! Funny, seems like we might've just been down at Eneko and came back. Coming through the pass today was our first squall, visibility dropped to a 100 yards, then by the time we reached the anchorage it was sunny and a beautiful sunset. Appropriately it's raining to welcome us back, we haven't seen a drop since Fiji! We also had a Iakwe rainbow.

We got the dinghy over the side but the motor's not on yet, and there's a boat called Savannah that's here with a 6 year old boy. They came over with some halloween candy and after the boys jumped into some costumes, they took the boys trick or treating to the boats in the other anchorage. They got Koolaid, pudding, cans of nuts, sliced apples, glow sticks, and some other candy. They were so HAPPY! They made a thank you announcement over the radio to all the boats afterwards.

We invited the new friend, Jake, to stay for dinner and they are playing legos now after a big round of pirates on deck. We are looking forward to trying out the new dinghy dock here...a miracle!!! It's out in front of the nice building that Allen wired, next to the giant windmill which we could see when we were at sea. That was kinda fun! We are thankful it's all behind us now, and now it's time to go to work cleaning up! manana manana...Last night about 4am I had just made my log entry and thought I should go get my pot of yogurt jars out of the engine room. SURPRISE, when I opened the door, greasy hot water was spraying everywhere, and it was like opening the door to a steam room! I grabbed my pot and then went to tell Allen he'd better get up, so I went to get ready to shut the motor off and he happened to grab a rag to stuff in the leak (that new water muffler he made that's been leaking the whole way from Fiji) and his rag got caught in the drive shaft! He was obviously still asleep! Immediately it wound tight and we shut the motor off. It took him a few min. to dig it out, and we cut new rags to stuff into the hole. He's pretty bummed it's so leaky because he fiberglassed it to the floor and it will be tough to get out again! When he finally came upsstairs he was like frankenstein himself, he had wiped his sweaty brow and greased his eyebrows black, and his eye sockets too! I said HAPPY HALLOWEEN! He was a greasy mess, basically. So was my pot. I scrubbed him up a bit and he eventually went back to bed but couldn't sleep, so I went to bed. It wasn't nearly as bad as the time the oil hose squirted the freshly painted engine and walls, but pretty close repeat! I think it should all just be painted black, then he wouldn't notice the stains and he'd feel a lot better about things! ha ha ha

late nite equator x-ing
10/23/2011, equator

Moonrise was just before 0330 and only an hour later and we have crossed the equator. The stick is still standing, creaking against all of the restraining devices with each roll through the endless troughs. It just goes to remind you that everything can be going along nicely and the unexpected happens, so one must prepare for the unexpected. I told Allen there's nobody I'd rather be with in an emergency than with him, although I was never in an aircraft emergency with him, he's still the captain in charge out here! Let's hope we can get into Tarawa's Betio Harbor and find a 5/8" foot long bolt to fix it. It's a major port with the purse seiners and long liners all going through there, and someplace we didn't expect to return to, but grateful for the option. Last time we were there our gas cans were stolen from the aft deck during a rainstorm in the night, right from under our guard dogs' noses, and another night our entire dinghy was stolen only to be returned at 0730 the next day by the Bairiki police! Ahhh, fond memories of romantic travels on the high seas...

The little tiny island of Kuria, Kiribati, is about 30 miles abeam of us now, visible on the SIMRAD, and Maiana is ahead of us. We hope to reach Tarawa before sunset Monday evening. That's when it will help that we've been there before, by following our old track in, if it's still in the plotter chart's memory. I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep! What a luxury that will be.

Lower shrouds failure
10/22/2011, closing on the equator

Not the adventure we were looking for...when not 20 minutes earlier I erased from an email a statement that boredom is best, I was in for a real surprise!

I had just mentioned yesterday that if we ever get back to Mexico someday (as in we'd like to get there sooner than later) that we really ought to take the entire rig down (as in the mast) and clean her up inside and out, as Love Song is 30 years old now. So what happens this morning on the last 5 minutes of my 1230-0530 watch? I had just written in the log book and done a regular visual sweep of the horizon in the faint hint of dawn, sat back down and started to read to finish a chapter in my book. TWANG, THUMP, I jumped up and standing on my tippy toes looked out the cockpit roof over the cabin top and noticed the inner shrouds on the starboard side with the ancient BOSE speaker and the ratlines was hanging all cockeyed. WHAT? I had no idea the implications...but figured it couldn't be good. I whipped around and yelled down the aft stateroom companionway to Allen, "GET UP! Allen! ALLEN, (Whistled)" no response. I grabbed the beach towel covering the hatch and balled it up and threw it down on him. That woke him up! Wyatt kept sleeping (he was on the berth across the cabin). "The shrouds have failed! GET OUT HERE!" and he was up.

Harnessed up, we quickly furled the jib, then I started the engine and he went to drop the main. I could not believe my eyes, that with each wave, and there was a lot of them, as in never ending, that the base of the mast was lifting up off the deck and just as quick setting back down again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. HOLY COW. My adrenalin was really flowing now. Once we got the main down and we were going directly into the wind and waves, bashing almost Southeast, Allen figured that he was going to have to climb up to the first spreaders and loop some line around it to jury rig it some halyards through it and hopefully keep it from going over. I insisted on getting Morgan out of his cabin and putting him in the aft cabin with Wyatt, thinking that if the mast went over I didn't want it affecting my ability to get to the forward cabin. I got him dumped into my bed and now Allen was ready to go out.

He wasn't clipped in and when I asked him to he said he really didn't want to be clipped in up there where 1. he needed to be able to get out of the way if the mast crashed onto the deck and 2. that he didn't want to be clipped to the rig if it went overboard and sank! OK! So, there he went, up onto the brand new piled up mainsail (Dear Lord, we plead your mercy and ask that you keep that stick upright and give my husband gecko toes) to loop a rope around the mast below the spreaders and contain the spinnaker halyard and a spare through it. He climbed back down as I stood by the man overboard button. (Thank you Lord for watching over us and keeping us safe, and while you're at it could you please lend us a few extra angels to hold that thing up while my husband has to climb around securing it?). I am thinking, what is it about being offshore from Tarawa that people suffer mast failures? Our friends on Brickhouse had been dismasted several months ago in this vicinity. I remember hearing stories of the dismasting of another pilot friend and didn't really want to join that club.

So, jury rig one was complete and Allen went to work with blocks and the preventers, deciding that more obviously was needed. That meant he'd have to go up again. This time he tells me that I can come out on deck and help him. GREAT. Now two of us are on deck, but I clipped in. He told me that in an emergency you didn't have to be clipped in. Well I didn't want to become one more part of the emergency, so I stayed clipped on. Up he went again ("Oh Lord Our Lord How Majestic is your name in all the earth", thank you for your sunrise to let us see what we're doing out here, and please give my husband the strength to hang on up there, "And if you say, be thou removed, and be cast, it will obey you, if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you've got all the faith all the faith you need, walk along with the King, you can do anything, if you - if you have the faith of a little child!") I realized that my prayers were filled with old hymns and songs, and wanted to yell at the sea, PEACE, BE STILL! while my hubby's up there! I'm also thinking who needs this?!

Down he comes again, and we manage to eliminate 80 percent of the wobble. One last attempt he says, with these spare lines to pull it forward using the downed shrouds themselves. This time I am in the dinghy, which is mounted on the foredeck but has some inflated fenders underneath, which happen to roll slightly with each swell. Up he goes, and I am feeding him this line, which is starting to tangle in the footsteps and whatever else is flapping around up there. I know my bicycle went overboard from the old dinghy a few years back, and I do NOT want to think about that as I slip and slide, hanging on to the bow pulpit watching him go up. I can see and hear that his strength is flagging, (OK Lord, this is it, he needs your super strength, This is the Day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made, I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it. WHAT?!) and he drops back to the deck a few seconds later, totally spent, dripping sweat, and shaking. DONE! That's as good as it's gonna get we think, so now to decide on our course.

WHEW. Thank GOD we are motoring, still might go back out and pull the main off, just in case. We've got to get through the ITCZ and with that comes buckets of rain, which will fill up in all the slats and folds of the mainsail and dump unceremoniously on us when we're least expecting it. In the meantime, I went back to bed for another couple hours of ZZZ and now it's Allen's turn. Please remember us in your prayers as ever!

middle of the night
10/22/2011, 120 miles south of the equator

The moon rose at 0230 and in my fatigued state I actually thought for a minute that what I was seeing was a volcanic eruption in the distance! The middle of the moon was covered by clouds, so only the points were showing orange, and since we're within 120 nm of Kiribati I was thinking maybe there was some new land developing right before my eyes. Then just as I thought maybe I should tell Allen to come and see this sight, the moon lifted itself out of the cloud cover and became its plain old slivered self, albeit orange still. After that it rose up in the sky and looked just like that Dreamworks picture where the little boy is sitting on the lip of the moon sliver with his fishing rod dangling into the silvery cloud below. WEIRD!

Highlights yesterday and the day before: the sunrise and the sunset. Water water everywhere, water near and far...too bad there's no ISP out here as there's ample time for surfing the web! Otherwise it's just LS surfing down the waves, which have become rather unpleasant off and on.

Other high points, meaning they made me smile or laugh, were the dogs. Dallas went to eat her lunch yesterday and instead of placing the bowls out on the aft deck which requires harnesses and clipping onto the jacklines running the deck, the boys just drop their dishes outside the cockpit door onto the deck. Dallas didn't even bother to go out the door but put her front feet on the deck and started the chow down with her back legs still on the cockpit combing, leaving her with her butt up in the air. The boys went into hysterics and Wyatt tried pushing her out but she didn't budge! Finally she went out and turned around, but we got a good laugh over that. Then at dinner, Allen was joking with her when she lifted her head up to see what was being served, and said, " At ease, Admiral Dallas," when she rolled her eyes at him and flopped her head back down on the cushion! Guess you would've had to have been here to appreciate it, but this is what we've been reduced to. It's the little things that count, obviously!

So, a week down and maybe 5 days left, including the dreaded ITCZ band crossing...wish us luck!

Kids view
10/19/2011, the pacific

So far our trip to Majuaro has been good. We left Fiji October 13th. The wether is good. The wind is coming out of the east. It is the 6th time we crost the eqaeter. We have gone 250 miels from Fiji. We just cauht a wahoo and a skip jack tuna. But my Dad lost the skip jack. There is big swells and wind waves. We are out of the Fiji iland chane.

smooth sailing
10/19/2011, the pacific

All is good at this time, on the high seas. This is the end of day three, or is it two? No I guess we departed on Saturday so it's three. So far the conditions have been nice. Winds a little aft of the starboard beem, at between 12-18 kts. A little cross chop, but not bad. The first day we did the most miles, around 165nm, then it's been going down, along with the wind strength. Tomorrow I'll probably fly the spinnaker to increase our mileage. So far there have been no squalls, and I don't think we will have any until we reach the ITCZ up north of the equator, another 5-6 days out, I hope! We had one fish on just outside the pass, but it got off. We have the "meat"line out all day, I'm sure we will hook up with something. The temp is going up as we travel north. Fiji was kinda cool & humid this season. Now it's back to HOT & humid. Have you been checking our progress on Yotreps? We have been a bit lazey about posting "Sail blogs", but Morgan will have one out tomorrow.

So far the watch system is as follows. We all eat dinner. I clean up, and Kath turns in around 1930. The boys and I tell stories until 2100, and then they are off to bed. I stay up till 0030-0130, then it's Kathy's watch until 0500. Then I'm up, and the boys get up around 0730. Kath gets up around 0830, and I go back down for another hour, or two. Kinda exhausting, but not too bad.

Morgan has taken over filling in the log book, twice a day. He records, Lat& Long, course, speed, wind & wave, and barometer. In the evening he plots our position on the paper chart, and logs the 24hr run. He also forecasts out our next 24hr fix. Pretty cool.

Today we ran abandon ship drills. We all have tasks and have to meet back in the galley ASAP. The boys run off to the fwd cabin and don their life vests, and bring Kathy's and mine to the galley. Kathy gets the spot light, hand held VHF, Passports, and the EPIRB, and brings them to the meeting spot(the Galley). I get out the abandon ship bags, and bring then to the galley,and then we all collect everything and move to the cockpit where we prepare to launch the life raft. obviously we don't launch, it's only a drill, but we do the rest. God willing we will never need the skills, but it pays to be prepared. Well that's about all for now

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S/V Love Song
Who: Allen, Kathy, Morgan, Wyatt, and Dallas & Dulce
Port: San Diego
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