Hawaii passage daily log
19 January 2016
We are happily sailing along in 12 kts from the east at 5.5 to 6 kts. Our position is 7 degrees 7 minutes south and 139 degrees 28 minutes west at 1400 hours, local time. It's been a very pleasant 24 hours with seas about 5 feet from the northeast.
There has been a fishing restriction on board from the galley until the freezer gets more space. This is not good for placing well in the Marquesas to Hawaii fishing tournament. By the way you Hawaii boats, did anyone catch anything larger than a flying fish?
We had a nice send off at the dock in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva. Henri, the owner of the snack where we get food and Internet asked his pal, a ukelele master, to sing us the Havaiki Nui song, about the oceangoing canoes, and he gave us a stalk of bananas. No, we are not worried about the bad luck implications of bananas on board.
Day two underway, current position 04 degrees 51 south, 139 degrees 28 west at 1500 hours local time.
It has been a sweet ride so far, albeit very hot. Barry and I take turns sitting in the cockpit under an umbrella because our dodger offers no shade from the sun to the south of us. It will be more comfortable when we turn left towards hawaii I hope. The aft cabin is quite comfortable though, with great ventilation. Got some relief eating an ice cold baby watermelon while sitting on the leeward rail in the shade of the mainsail, while dipping my feet into the ocean when larger swells pass by.
We are currently sailing a course nearly due north because of northwesterly winds. The plan had been to sail northeastwards so that we are sure to get a favorable wind angle north of the equator. Tomorrow we will get easterly winds again, and will decide if the extra miles sailed towards the east really are necessary given the weather we think we will get north of the equator.
Day three underway, current position at 1600 hours is 02 degrees 23 minutes south, 139 degrees 25 minutes west. Our heading is 10 degrees magnetic, speed about 6 knots. Weather has been good with two free boat washes this morning, clearing skies, wind 12-15 kts, seas about 1.5 meters.
Today I lost Sylvia....but, then I found her with a good book...and so it goes, my life like a singlehanded sailor. The good news is she lifted the ban on fishing, but I was too busy fussing with sails and stuff to get the lines in the water, maybe in the morning. Don't let my joking about Sylvia give you a bad impression, she still does all the cooking, most (97 percent of the dishes), most of the cleaning (98 percent), the radio nets, not to mention her watches...all with a smile...well, maybe not too smiley on the 4-7 am watch.
Day 4, 1500 local time. current position 00 degrees 17 south, 139 degrees 30 west
Course of 010 magnetic, boat speed of about 4-5 knots, sometimes less.
Wind is down to around 10-12 knots, with a gentle swell.
We expect to cross the equator sometime this evening. For you betting folks, 17minutes south equals 17 nautical miles, so place your wagers on exact time. Winner gets a crew spot on our next major ocean crossing, hee hee, just kidding, how about a daysail.
It is still brutally hot, with no protection from the sun. To beat the heat, I started a thick book, Kingdom of Ice, about an 1880 arctic expedition on a boat, which devolved into a struggle for life on the ice and land of Siberia. If I lay in the aft cabin, with the breeze on me, it is almost refreshing. That is where I was when Barry lost me yesterday. It is calm enough right now for Barry to sit on the lee rail in the shade of the mainsail, and dream of catching fish. The ban was lifted yesterday, so he put a line in the water this morning, with a blue striped squid lure. He was also seen jumping up and down in the cockpit, barking like a dog, to dissuade a booby from attempting to land on our masthead, where our vhf radio antenna is. So this is how we are spending the last day of 2015, a banner year for us, full of so many adventures, new friends and lovely places we enjoyed. I hope you are all enjoying this day, and wish you the best in 2016!
Day 5, 1400 local time. Our position is 01 degree 12 minutes north, 139 degrees 29 minutes
West. Course was 10 degrees magnetic, until we entered a cloud 30 minutes ago that had us heading due west with light silky rain. Now that boat and crew are much fresher the wind is slowly veering and we are working our way back to a more northerly course. The wind shut off last night at midnight so we motored till dawn when it filled to about 10 knots out of the northeast. Because there was no wind last night there is no wind chop and we find ourselves ghosting along at 4.5 knots on a mostly two meter swell from the northeast. This is truly 'smooth sailing'! All is well aboard.
Yesterday was quite a day. We had an equator crossing at 1906 local time. Did anyone guess correctly? We celebrated with a shot of rum while we thanked and shared with Neptune. Then there was the big party at midnight when Sylvia woke me and we dropped sails and started motoring. How's that for bringing in the new year on a sailboat! When I went back to the bunk the boat was rolling rail to rail in the swell and had me seriously considering straps for the bunk to keep from rolling all over the berth. What would people say? Well, I'll just keep wedging in sleeping like a crab for the time being.
If anyone needs to find us and doesn't have our latest position just follow the banana trail. They've become very ripe and keep falling off the stalk on the back of the boat. Like so many fruits and veggies on the boat, when they ripen we eat them or loose them and I can't tell you how many bananas I've eaten lately. So that's our exciting life in the last 24 hours, but like our friends on Balvenie say, "better bored than scared!".
Jan 2, 1700 local time, position 02 d 45 north, 139 d 32 west.
Motoring at 4-4.5 knots on heading of 358 magnetic.
We are out of time for a long story, suffice to say we had a full day, and except for lack of wind, a nice one. Barry hooked a big fish, but we will tell that story next time.
Jan 3, 1400 local time Position 04 d 23 north, 139 d 22 west.
Currently motoring, due to lack of wind, as we have been doing since just after midnight, except for that sweet hour between 5-6 am when we glided along in silence, aaaah. Until the wind died, then the sails started slatting, then the outhaul busted due to the repeated shock of the mainsail slapping back and forth. Grrrrrr. It was a somewhat easy fix, feeding wire through the boom, then swedging on a new thimble. So the mainsail is back in business, or will be if we ever get more than the 2-3 knots we occasionally see ruffling the surface of the sea. This is our third day of light and variable winds. We now look longingly at thunderheads, wishing they would come our way with a bit of wind! We have been mesmerized by amazing cloud formations, and rain showers surrounding and occasionally passing over us.
So, yesterday's fish was a massive yellowfin tuna that barry hooked at 8 am, and struggled with for 2 full hours. Finally, when it was by the boat it managed to get free. Barry thinks it was hooked in the gill or somewhere on its side, not the mouth, which is why it was so hard to reel in. We both ended up glad it got free, as that's just too much fish for us to handle, hard to land and too much fish to store. He has sore arms and shoulders, but enjoyed the excitement while it lasted. We sure hope the fish is ok after his ordeal.
Jan 4 1700 local time position 06 d 12 m north, 140 d 00 m west
Never again will I look longingly at thunderheads. As they say, careful what you wish for.
Last night at around 2045, Barry was on watch, and felt the wind building quickly. He gave me the come up quick call, which takes a few minutes what with foulies and harness to put on. I came up into the cockpit to some serious wind. It had built from 15 to 45 knots plus in less than five minutes! We luckily only had the jib and mizzen up, so it was a matter of rolling up the jib before it tore, then we hove-to with the mizzen up. Spent 2 hours just waiting for wind to settle down, then finally we were able to set a bit of jib and get on our way again sailing till morning. At seven AM the breeze shut down and we motored until 2 pm when it kicked in right away into the twenties. Everything would be so much more pleasant if there weren't four major swells all mixing things up and all the little minor swells tossing in too. Anyway, it seems we may have finally made our way through the ITCZ at 6 degrees north. All is well as we crack off to a heading of 312 degrees and Hilo is bearing 305 with 1187 miles to go.
Jan 5, 1500 local time position 07 d 50 north, 141 d 31 west.
Sailing in 25-30 knots on a course of 307 magnetic. Boat speed has been 6.5-7 knots, with a double reefed mainsail and the teensiest bit of jib out. Our gribs say it should be around 24 knots, so we all know to add 5 knots to that and that's what to expect. It is forcast to lighten up by midday Wednesday, whew! So. Nothing to report, no,fishing while it's like this, not even reading, just eat, sleep and watch the waves.
Jan 6, 1600 local time, position 09 d 55 north, 143 d 19 west. The wind has mellowed out and Iolani is making really nice speeds, about 7 knots, now that the seas are knocking us about less. Our course is 310 magnetic, just above ( meaning north and windward) of rhumb line. Last night was another stinky time, prompting Barry to declare that chicken farming was sounding very attractive. But we got through it fine. I discovered while on watch at around 1 am, that singing aloud, quite loudly, helped me keep my mind off the rough seas. I had been bracing myself with all muscles tensed, awaiting the next assault, when I realized it wasn't necessary as I was wedged in just fine. Things started getting pleasant late morning and we have had a really nice day. This passage making isn't so bad after all.
Jan. 7, 1600 local time, position 11 d 52 m north, 145 d 23 m west
The last twenty four hours had us moving at a good clip, averaging about seven knots for a 165 mile noon to noon run. Seas were a bit bumpy for the beam reach, but we're not too bruised and still have all our teeth! In the morning we clean out the scuppers and last nights could have made a feast with squid and an assortment of flying fish. I'm told they make great bait, but the fishing ban is still in effect until calmer seas. You'd know what I mean if you ever tried cleaning a fish on the side of the boat while it's bucking along, rails close to dipping as it rolls side to side with the steep swell, and the ever present spray carried by in 20 plus knots of breeze. I'll have the canned corned beef tonight, if you please. Our buddy boat out here, Lady Carolina, caught a dorado yesterday but they have a step down transom and a fish cleaning tray mounted on back rail so they're better set up...even so there were some moments of suspense when Steve was landing the fish and a big swell came up the transom and submerged the both of them...I can hardly wait to get the full story in Hilo. So tomorrow we hope to get lines in the water and give them some competition. I'm not sure we've mentioned that there's a fishing tournament for the Hawaii bound boats and I believe Lady Carolina is looking most favorable.
Jan 8, 1600 local time
sailing course of 304 magnetic with boat speed of 6-7 knots.
We are moving along nicely and if the winds hold in mid teens, or do not drop below 12 or so knots, we are looking at a Tuesday arrival. We might get light wind over the weekend, and will perhaps need to motor awhile to move the boat along. It has been a treat to have enjoyable sailing again, relaxed enough for reading and good sleep. I just baked a "chocolate cake" from a boat cookbook, which had no eggs, and was all mixed together in the baking pan. Well, it certainly saved on dish cleanup, but the result was disappointing. Perhaps some jam and whipped cream on top will help. We did a few pieces of laundry, only to have a massive " white buffalo" which is a crumbling top of a wave that smacked the side of the boat and splashed all over the cockpit and the drying laundry on leeward lifeline, oh well. Those are the highlights of another day at sea.
Jan 8, 1600 local time, position 9, 1600 local time, position 15 d 18 north, 149 d 07 west.
Winds have lightened to 10-12 kts...thwack! thwack! go the sails, but only occasionally as the big remnant swells roll through and the breeze goes soft. Last night the wind moved aft and became more gentle along with the seas so at midnight we shook out the double reefed main and poled out the jib. We ran like that all night at 6 plus knots without a moon and galaxies of stars. These are the nights to remember! Nights are much cooler now so we're wearing fuzzies under foulies on the night watch and the days are pleasantly warm. Since the seas were down I decided to troll a blue and white squid about nine this morning. I had just woken after going to sleep at six and had just taken my first sip of coffee when the reel started running off. Mr. Squid had only been in the time it takes to make instant coffee. So we rolled up the jib with the pole still up and did a slow forereach under main and mizzen while playing the fish. We are happy to report a 41" (1.04 meter to the rest of the world) bull dorado. Now you know what we had for lunch and I'm sure for dinner. So look out Lady Carolina, we're still contenders in this fish tournament! We have 430 miles to go, over all those fish, to get to Hilo. Looking forward to another nice night under the heavens.
Jan 10, local time 1600, current position 16 d 45 north, 150 d 47 west.
It has continued to be lovely out here, exactly as we had dreamed of while planning all this back home. This morning, after some gentle rainshowers just before dawn, the sunrise was spectacular due to so many clouds. To add to the thrill, I hailed a massive Italian freighter which politely altered course to pass behind us, and then the closest and most vivid rainbow I have ever seen completed the picture.
We have started to clean up the boat; to wipe up the saltwater that dripped down the inside of hull behind the cabinets, and the green mold that was growing inside the forecabin. That must be optimism, or foolishness, to be sure we won't get any more white water splashing on deck. Well, splashing is one thing, as opposed to the firehose blasts we got with each wave those few rough days. They hit us with enough force to peel the varnish and even some wood off the caprail!
Hawaii is getting close enough that we can hear Coast Guard announcements on the VHF radio. It's a bit of a tease, as we still have just under 300 miles to go and probably will need to stall the boat a bit of distance offshore as we prefer to arrive Wednesday morning at daybreak, as opposed to Tuesday after dark.
Jan 11, 1500 local time, well, Marquesas time as we seem to wait til we make landfall in a new place to change to the new time zone. Perhaps due to laziness, or the ease of checking into the SSB net at the same time each day, it works fine except that it is disconcerting to have the sun come up later each day as we sail west. My happy 4 am watch had the joy of first light by 4:30 am when we departed, now it is more like 6 am and sunrise at around 7.
Our position is 18 d 07 north, 152 d 36 west. 164 miles to go.
Boat sped has been between 5-6 knots of fine sailing, and we are staying busy, or reading, or gazing out at the long lazy big swell that is rolling past us from the north. It must be 4 meters, but long period and gently shaped so it is a pleasure to sail over.
Wind should pick up tonight so we hope to speed up and arrive before midnight Tuesday, and we may just head into the harbor if it's calm and we feel confident about the lighted channel. We will decide tomorrow.
Jan 12, 1300 Hawaii time, position
We have 50 miles to go to Hilo, which will be the longest 50 miles of the trip for a couple of reasons. First, after 16 days at sea we are Ready! Also, the wind has lightened up to single digits so we're only making 3-4 knots and that puts us there in the dark. We really don't want to enter at dark. The last reason is the most important, we would be arriving around low tide and Radio Bay has a shallow entrance that is impassable for us at low water. So the plan is to sail slow with our lite wind and make our entry at daybreak when the tide is up. We've already stowed the mainsail which started making a racket early this morning when the wind went light and the boat started rocking with some short, choppy, side swell.
Yesterday day was clear, pleasantly warm, with a nice breeze. Just after lunch we set the assymetrical spinnaker to get our speed up so as to make Hilo before dark on Tuesday. But the wind went aft and we weren't able to hold it more than an hour so back to wing on wing with the jib poled out, main, and mizzen. At dusk the wind went foreword and we were dropping the pole when a Mahi Mahi struck! It was a quick fire drill to stow the pole, land and clean the fish, all before the evening SSB Net. This morning the lines went in the water again, but nothing yet today. Lady Carolina had a yellow fin tuna on but lost it due to operator error...whatever that means.
We continue to clean out our salty boat while the sun is shining so when we arrive the lions share will have been completed. We think the nasty squall we encountered or those couple days of stormy weather may have affected our solar panels...they weren't charging and the solar regulator was very hot...so they're disconnected for the time being. Put it on the list!
Looking forward to an early landfall Wednesday morning, customs, immigration, all our buddy boats in the harbor, and ice cold beer.