The Big Blue

25 November 2012 | Opua
21 November 2012 | Western Samoa
16 November 2012 | On passage to NZ
14 November 2012 | On passage from Tonga to NZ
14 November 2012 | On passage from Tonga to NZ
12 November 2012 | En route to Opua
11 November 2012
08 November 2012 | Pangaimotu Tonga
02 November 2012 | Kelefasia, H'Apai Tonga
02 November 2012 | Pangaimotu Tonga
20 October 2012 | Lape Is. Vava'u Tonga
19 October 2012 | Neiafu
17 October 2012 | on passage
14 October 2012 | Niuatoputapu
12 October 2012 | Samoa
11 October 2012 | Samoa
06 October 2012
04 October 2012
03 October 2012 | On Passage
30 September 2012 | On Passage

We left Sitka

16 July 2020 | Appleton Cove
Mark
Sitka
After arriving in Sitka, we fueled up and got an end-tie in Eliason harbor for a few nights. We did laundry
and some exploring, while taking some notes on places we wanted to revisit and had a nice dinner out.
White King Salmon, steamer clams and rockfish fish and chips were shared with wine and Fresh
Squeezed IPA. The place was a ghost town compared to any non-Covid summer day, but pretty dang
nice for us and the food and service at the restaurant was really very good. As we wobbled home, a
good night's sleep was in order after the big crossing and we slept in soundly. Lolo spent the next
couple days working while Danny and I tackled some projects, then we headed out to Goddard Hot
Springs Saturday morning. The rain cleared and clouds parted as we watched numerous humpback
whales breaching and tail-slapping, before arriving to a bright sunny calm anchorage at Goddard and
waited our turn to hit the natural hot water pools. As we soaked in the upper pool/bathhouse, a gaggle
of gals on a girl's day off took over the lower pool and had the time of their lives. Laughter spilled out in
waves long after we left and I was sure there must have been some Champaign involved. We enjoyed
some of the fresh halibut I'd previously caught in Seward with Tom and Jenny and made that al-la Marx
Brothers style - Macadamia nut encrusted coconut curry. Had a great evening and again, slept well. We
spent the next day trolling for salmon and had a couple on, but ended up accidentally catching two black
rockfish - which was awesome anyway as that's Danny's favorite fish.
A couple more days, running errands and waiting for Lolo to finish her meetings, and we finished things
off with a spectacular meal at Ludwig's Bistro. The food and deserts were amazing and a bit of a splurge
as we'll be eating aboard for the next while. We then went for a spectacular walk after dinner through
Totem Park. The paths led into a grove of giant trees and historic totem poles that were simply
dwarfing. I'm so glad we got to see this spiritual quiet place and feel the history of its past. The totem
artistry was ominous and fantastic!
We left Sitka today and transited Peril Straights and are now anchored in Appleton Cove - and old
lugging camp. We watched a local fishing boat check his Dungeness crab pots, one of which he pulled 20
legal crabs from. Just one! I like this place. We may have to bribe him tomorrow with cash!

Arrived Sitka today

10 July 2020 | Sitka
Mark Ward | Rainy
Arrived in Sitka this morning. Took us the expected 3-1/2 days. Ended up sailing in light air most of yesterday and last night to conserve fuel as we hadn't intended to motor the whole way.
Sitka welcomed us this morning with rowdy conditions and boisterous seas, but we were happy to arrive before a long low pressure system takes over. Ginger survived and is quite happily sleeping away next to the cozy heater, glad to have a still home once again. Crew all good, fed and watered.
Lots of memories on this simple 3-1/2 day passage of times not that long ago and the many many watches Laurence and I stood alone. It's still a bit freaky at night...
Time for bed.

Day 2

07 July 2020 | Gulf of Alaska
Mark
Logged 300 miles as of this evening. About 300 to go to Sitka. Wind still very light, seas calm.
Still hoping to sail more as if we have to motor the entire way, it may be nip and tuck with fuel.
Ginger sprange to life last night when we shut off the engine for a few hours, so I know she will
be relieved as well. Lolo saw several pods of whales this morning. Sun came out today for a while
revealing true clear blue water. Beatiful! Made me want to turn right and head for the tropics.
Making chicken tika masala for dinner. All well.

A New Chapter

04 July 2020
Mark Ward
Making the last of our preparations before leaving Alaska and sailing south. Saying goodbye to good friends and the spectacular beauty of Alaska is hard, but we are up for the new challenge and it will be nice to be living on Radiance once again. Wish we could say the same for our cat Ginger.
She’s a reluctant sailor at best.

Losing a Friend

04 December 2014 | Anchorage
Mark
Kiri was born just over one year ago in the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati (pronounced "kiri-bas.") At a gas station in Tarawa, I'd noticed the tiny kitten's tail sticking out of an empty single serving Mylar potato chip bag. She was flea-ridden and mangy, but her eyes shown brightly. "What do you say Lolo," I asked? "We only have the Marshall Islands to go through before we get home to Alaska. You have wanted a cat - and they are not going to care when we get to Dutch." We eyed her keenly and assessed the situation. Her life here in Tarawa, would surely end soon - falling prey either to the nocturnal cannibalistic dog packs, or starvation. We made a pact and agreed; "if she only lives one month with us, she will surely have a better life that she would here."
With the gas station attendant's blessing, we adopted her and brought her home to Radiance. We bathed her in a plastic tub and picked the fleas from her tiny body - which fit in the palm of my hand. Over the next seven months, Kiri would grow into a fine young feline and become a valued crew member and dear friend - serving as watch-mate for an epic voyage of almost 5000 nautical miles of sailing. As Lolo and I stood watch schedules 24/7, Kiri kept us company with her playful antics and warm snuggles. We cared for her like a child and she made our house a home. Together, we endured the mundane with the terrifying, big waves and sea-sickness, the sweltering heat of the tropics, and the frigid temperatures as we moved north. We taught her the ways of life aboard but she knew nothing of life ashore.
In August, our voyage ended when we arrived in Seward, Alaska, and moved to a home in Anchorage. We were worried about her, but she seemed to delight in everything new....trees, birds, grass, strange animals...indeed, everything was wild and amazing and she was full of enthusiasm. She refused to be kept indoors, so we got her fixed and got her a collar. She ventured ever-farther from the front door, but always returned to climb atop Lolo's chest at night - roaring away with her enthusiastic purring. Then she'd settle at our feet for the night. In the morning, she'd rise with me and the alarm clock for a quick snack and then want to go outside.
Yesterday was just such a day. In the morning, I lifted her and gave her a snuggle, and then looking at the new fallen snow outside, let her out. I woke Piper, made coffee and called outside for Kiri. Then I took a shower and called Kiri. I got dressed and Piper made her lunch, and I called Kiri. "Piper, we have to get going so I can get you to school." I said. We hopped in the car and began to drive.
On the next street over, in the middle of the darkly lit road - atop fresh white snow, I saw a black and white object. I knew it was Kiri but I did not want to believe that. I pulled the car over. She lay still - with only a dusting of fresh snow on her fur. Blood dripped from her mouth and her eyes were wide open. I took her in my arms, held her head and buried my face into her fur. "Oh Kiri, it's OK......sweetie.....it's OK." She was warm and her eyes were wide open. Her body was limp, but she seemed as if she was still there. Through tears, Piper and I stroked her and spoke to her - telling her "it's OK.... We love you Kiri...we love you."
I didn't know what to do. I knew she was dead, or nearly so and I thought that Lolo should say goodbye, so we raced back home and broke the terrible news. I gave Kiri one last hug - her body still warm and fur, soft and supple, then lay her in a shoe-box and drove Piper to school.
I have never, in all my years felt so saddened by the loss of a pet. I used to believe that as humans, we could heal. And even our hearts could heal and be good as new. But I know now, after living and experiencing loss as long as I have that a piece of your heart dies each time. And it leaves a hole... that will never, ever, be filled again.
There is a hole in the house and it hurts. As I look at Kiri's collar, half-empty food dish, and little ball of tinfoil, I realize she will never know how much she meant to us, how much she helped us on our passage, how much she was loved, or how much she will be missed by us. By all measure, Kiri won the lottery in quality of life and though her life was short, I will never, ever forget her. I don't for a second regret adopting her, but I only wish she had been able to stay a little longer.

Resurrection Bay

24 July 2014 | Bulldog Cove
Mark
We slip through the small cut in Granite Island that opens into Taz Basin - a spectacular jewel of an anchorage along the Kenai Fjords. It is boisterous and rolly outside, but placid and serene in the tiny basin. Hundreds of feet of solid granite shield us from the wind outside and it's almost eerie just how quiet and still it suddenly becomes. We drop the hook in 85 feet of water, though we are just a hundred feet from the shore. Launching the dinghy, we decide to take Kiri with us and consider the smooth granite rocks a safe place for her. She has been to shore exactly twice in her life - once with me on a deserted atoll in the Marshalls, and once in Kodiak to visit the vet and get her shots. She is beyond reluctant, more terrified. But in a matter of days she will be living the life of a landlubber, so this will be good for her. She scurries across the granite boulders and into the brush - meowing in protest. With Piper's help we coax her out after picking some blueberries for breakfast pancakes and take her near the summit to overlook the rollicking sea on the other side. She is not impressed and instead of hiking with us, scampers into a hole quite deep between the huge boulders. O.K. she is a cat. She needs to be rescued by the equivalent of the fire department. Fine. She can wait. I look back upon Radiance floating in the placid tranquil water and tugging at her anchor line. This unassuming and relatively tiny eggshell of fiberglass has transported us some 20,000 miles over the last two years. She looks a little tired..with yellow salt water stains along her waterline. She has been good to us. She has kept us safe and sound. She has delivered us home. As I look down upon her, with my daughter at my side, I ponder this for a moment. We decide to head back to the boat but first must rescue the cat from the tiny bear-like den she has wedged herself into. Lolo takes off her hat and jacket and lays down in the rocks - reaching far down into the hole and grabs Kiri by the scruff of the neck. She can't really move, so she hands the cat up to Piper who hands her to me. I stuff her into the arm hole of Lolo's jacket and she does not complain. She wants to be saved. We head back to the boat for dinner and a movie and sleep well. This morning after some blueberry pancakes and a short excursion ashore, we head off to Resurrection Bay....our home waters. Trolling through Pony Cove, I hook a silver salmon but it manages to shake the hook. I can't believe we are here. Everything looks so beautiful. The mountains, the water....the water. The water is...is...greenbluesilver. It's kind of Fender sea foam green, but that's not it. It's silvery, Brach's candy blue..or Kenai River green. I struggle to describe it. It's, it's,.....it's home. There is no other color like it. I see my soul in it just under the wavelets. There is stupid chatter on the radio - from Deshka River tinnies here for the Seward Silver Salmon Derby. They are like Jr. High School boys on the radio. I cringe at their radio etiquette and wish the coast guard would issue citations to them. But, I know they are weekend warriors from Anchorage and they have short fuses. Was I like that? Will I be like that again? I have always been a sap. I've wondered how I would feel arriving back home after such a long journey...after such a long time...a very long time planning for this trip. This trip of a lifetime. I know I will get choked up. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow - when we pull into Seward and tie up the boat..to the dock..from whence we left some 20,000 miles and two years ago. But if I happen to be in your company and I do start to get all teary eyed, be forewarned as I'm sure it is going to happen - and probably more than once. We are home and I feel not unlike I did after I graduated from high school - heading off to college and an uncertain future. For I certainly have an uncertain future. But it is one I do face with pride and open arms.
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
About:
M [...]
Extra:
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/thebigblue/?show=profile
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Radiance's Photos - Fiji
Photos 1 to 71 of 71 | Main
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clown and tube worms
big grouper at Chimney
Sea Turtle at Chimney
Snorkeling The Chimney
The Chimney
Dakuniba breakfast of curried fish and breadfruit
Dakuniba
Dakuniba at Chief
soft corals
Savusavu anchorage
Radiance from the restaurent doorway at Savusavu
Danny and Cowry
giant clam
basket star
scorpionfish
savusavu school children
savusavu hot springs
savusavu home
The Chimney
Soft corals
Lolo at Rainbow Reef, Viani Bay
Lots of fish at Rainbow Reef
Lolo and me
Danny and Giant Trevali
Giant Trevali - mmmm!
Danny and Walu
First beermaking aboard yacht Radiance
white tip reef shark
tube worms
tube worms
Napolean Wrass
Visitor Trish
Danny
Split Rocks, near Cousteau
Diving the White Wall, Viani Bay
Dorado
view from 100-ft
white wall dive
wall of soft corals
spotted Eagle Ray
Dive
Savusavu
Danny watching for bomies
school bus at Viani Bay
Fijian rainbow
 
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