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Owl & Pussycat
The adventures of Jim and Isabel aboard S/V Sonsie of Victoria
unscrambling spaghetti
02/18/2013, ko'olina Marina, Oahu

Paradoxically, the closer we get to departing on our grand adventure of sailing around our big blue ball, the less sailing we do. There's so much preparation for our journey!

In the three weeks we've been here this time around we've been out a total of once: on a fun day sail with Rob & Tammy from the Lower Mainland Yacht Club (White Rock BC) and our professional sailings friends Judy & Julian who are the crew of "Sirius", the 78' Nordhavn which -ahem- blocks our view of the ocean from our berth at H33!

So while humpbacks are gloriously breaching offshore, Jim & I are hunchbacks, squeezed down as far as we can get into the starboard lazarette to set to rights all the radio and navigation equipment wiring gone wrong. Gone are about a dozen wires from yesterday's technologies. Tracing their paths amidst the bundles which run behind fixed objects like waterheater drums, all the while tightly squeezed into a space the size of your typical cupboard under a kitchen sink was a fun challenge. It takes two to tango at this job, to ensure you're tugging at the correct (usually black) wire.  

Jim is, on top of everything else he's so capable at, a complete radio whiz. I follow his directions, trying to keep straight which wire is which, and running, with the help of a clever string, new ones back & forth from the nav station to the stern. He then proceeded to program everything and interconnect them.Honestly I consider him brilliant: we now have equipment that talks to each other, that enables us to get online while offshore via the HF radio, see other ships and get weather reports while at sea. Wizardry!! Lucky, lucky me to be with such a clever guy!

Now that we've sorted out the scramble of successive installations of different VHF, HF, and AIS system wiring, and installed a new, functional set of radios, antennas, AIS, plus a sternlight and loud hailer/foghorn, we get to squeeze back down into the lazarette this morning to repack the rudder post.

And very soon we fly home for a week or so - for a "sea survival" course plus Daphne's 18th birthday on March 1!

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02/23/2013 | donna hansen
I looked up your blog and ours is

Hope you're having a great time with friends and family. We worked all day in Ko Olina, filled the dumpster and had a big load for Big Brothers who are in Kapolei (in case you need to donate items.) Please pray for Shirley. She went to the hospital tonight with a fibrillations.
Front Row Seats

Paradise was noisy this morning what with the filming of a new episode of Hawaii 5-0 immediately opposite our berth, starting with an unmuffled motor on a barge powering a hydraulic crane, spotlights, and about four dozen people just across the way. Note to Jim: not the morning to emerge stark naked to look for the Southern Cross in the pre dawn sky!

Next up on my list: re-stringing the bumpers as the old are tattered and threatening to fray at the wrong moment. Jim is ignoring his tasks as he is fascinated and amused by the TV show in the making, what with watching the make up girl running around with her bag of blood, the swiveling cameras, and being tempted to shout out in his big Jim-voice: "ACTION!"

They just announced, all cellphones off!!....and in the silence our loud watch clock dinged seven chimes for 0730...oops!! 

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02/13/2013 | Coral
Such a good blog! You guys are so up to date!
02/13/2013 | shane
Keep the stories coming, your living my dream
02/16/2013 | Pa
Hey, is that my old marine chronometer from Montrea days? Good to know it's dinging watches in the proper environment.
02/16/2013 | Pa
Oh ' L ' - I missed it!
03/05/2013 | Deborah
love this picture
Sunday, February 3

On Sunday Jim spent many a sweaty hour hunchbacked & squished into various nooks & crannies installing the new watermaker membrane only to have it, guess what, not function as it should. Pity! As we were going to head out to sea to test it. We are longing to get back out on the water. Spinning dolphins have been hanging out at Electric Beach (by the power plant), and it would have been lovely to see them.Today Jim will contact the manufacturer by Skype to troubleshoot.

I was very lucky yesterday p.m. Stepping off the boat onto the dock I spotted the Marina's Barnacle Bob, a leathery sea turtle right by my foot, swimming along in its unhurried fashion, round the end of the dock, stretching its neck up for air before diving down under the boat alongside us.

On our sunset stroll by the lagoon we watched a local fellow near the sea's edge practice his fire-stick baton up-deedoo-swirly techniques. Impressive! He deftly spun it around his neck, bent over to roll it over his back, through his legs, threw it spinning into the air, caught it, figure eights flashing, etc etc all without getting singed! 

That firestick can represent life's challenges, or perhaps more accurately, our responses to events in our lives. The trick is to handle them deftly, with flare even, and not let them harm us.

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Getting Sonsie ready
02/02/2013, ko'olina Marina, Oahu

We are still at the Marina working on getting Sonsie ready for her offshore adventures. Jim fixed the clutch on the Watermaker, and here he is at the spreaders using our new mast steps to replace the bulb in the steaming light. I pulled out 225' of anchorchain to tag it: red for 25' white for 50' blue for 75' then single yellow =100'. Red white blue again then double yellow for 200'. Then crank crank crank manually hoisted it all onboard again, into the anchor locker.

We always take a swim break as the lagoon is only steps away, and yesterday we watched two tugs bring in a hefty bulk carrier, through the narrow entrance to our Marina and to Barber Point harbour. It was flying its Q flag - quarentine, the H flag - pilot onboard - and the Panama flag.

We hope to leave for the south Pacific mid March or shortly thereafter. An adventure of a lifetime is due to start as soon as we feel Sonsie & crew are ready and equipped for the journey :)

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A sail up the lee shore of Oahu, Nov. 27-28 2012
11/29/2012, Lee shore of Oahu

Our sail up the lee shore of Oahu was terrific. Moonlit and peaceful. We anchored in a quiet bay and lay on deck admiring the forest of rigging, listening to the roar of lazy surf on the beach. Sooooo perfect!!

In a thrice interrupted by double vrooooooooooomzzzzzvroommmzzzzzzzzz'ing of two mopeds, weaving along the dark road set in 1000' from the shoreline, round the cliffs. Both of us thinking, what a nuisance, they sound like they're going way too fast, young fools.

XRUNCHCRUNCHZZBANG then absolute silence.

Shivers down our spines, metallic taste in our mouths. Did what we fear happen? We discuss for a few minutes, until we see a car approach from the other direction, from the end of the road (a cul de sac). It stops, turns around. A cell phone call is obviously made as not five minutes later, sirens: a whole horn section, French horn police cars, trombone fire trucks, trumpet ambulances, with piccolo tow truck at the rear.

but for a long time afterwards all we could hear in our ears was the buzzing of mopeds, and crunching silence.

The morning's excitement on this quiet stretch of coast was a helicopter with a bucket doing practice drills, stirring up the dust then spilling water about. Next some kayakers paddled up, and we shared some fresh pineapple while discussing the tourist boats chasing the dolphins. Where is Paul Watson when you need him? Jim and I both hailed the pest-boats on the radio, telling them to lay off the dolphins. Eventually they dispatched themselves, and all was once again pristine. I snorkeled to the beach while Jim drifted in to shore on the dingy, wearing only his smile. We walked pretty much alone along the expanse, stumbling across a small, local cemetery, keenly and lovingly tended with lava spirals of rocks and terracing. One other couple at the end of the beach, and lo and behold Jim knew the fellow, the repository of "all things best to do on Oahu" from the hotel by our marina. Trey and his gal pal and I swam back to Sonsie while Jim paddled (by this time wearing his swimming togs!) and they came aboard for some beers and a hodgepodge of a lunch.

By the time they'd gone the wind had too, so we had to motor back to Ko'Olina. We flew our pretty gennacker for a bit, but what with one knot of wind in one direction opposing one knot of current in the other, we gave up after half an hour...

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Who: Jim Merritt & Isabel Bliss
Port: White Rock BC
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