19 April 2013 | Subic bay, Philippines
18 April 2013 | Subic bay, Philippines
17 April 2013 | Subic bay, Philippines
14 April 2013 | Between HK and the Philippines
13 April 2013 | Hebe Haven Yacht Club
12 April 2013 | Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter
11 April 2013 | Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, HK
08 September 2013 | Kitchen Table
As you might imagine, the actual passage, the focus of this blog, was a whole lot easier than the preparation leading up to it! I have the following advice for anyone who might be interested in having a similar experience.
Surround yourself with great people! I was more than fortunate to have met my primary mentors, Dave and Dorothy Nagle and Wade Biggs. Not only did they open my eyes to the possibility of such a venture but they were phenomenal friends, teachers, crew mates, troubleshooters, generous with their time and energy in an other worldly way, and set an example of how to do this correctly—safely and rewardingly. The crew, Roger on the first leg, and John and Mark on the last, were the greatest. Expert, fun, even, calm and unflappable in every circumstance and I couldn’t think of anyone who would be easier to live with and depend on in close quarters for days and days of open ocean passage.
Select a trustworthy craft up to the task. The Duck was the perfect choice for me and although one has to wonder about people who form relationships with inanimate objects, I feel pretty good about Shearwater and her unfailing John Deere engine after 9000 miles of Pacific Ocean. Nothing I have ever done has required me to trust a craft more to protect my life and those of my crew and the Buehler designed, Seahorse Marine built Dieselduck 462 came through big time. This trip didn’t come close to testing her capabilities.
And finally, have fun. Sounds simple, but imagine being over 1000 miles from land, weather deteriorating, and have an active “what if” center in your frontal cortex. The list of bad things that can befall cruisers in any situation offshore is significant. What I learned from these guys is the key to the whole process in my mind and is applicable to all things in life.
Prepare as well as you can, be vigilant and proactive during the trip, (a bit of OCD works well but not too much), and then take time to really enjoy the moments as I have tried to describe in the blog. It was a phenomenal experience!!!
I never had a yen to cross an ocean. I saw the boat as a coastal marine RV affording me the transport and lodging to see some amazing places and do some great activities. The crossing popped up as a possibility as my work life ended unexpectedly and I decided to go for it rather than ship the boat on a container ship from China. The seemingly unapproachable task got broken down slowly but surely and it all happened in a good way with the help of so many people. We were lucky on several fronts but we were also well prepared to deal with issues which may have arisen.
Thanks for following along. Hope to have many of you aboard to share future adventures! And when I end with these words, I have a way better understanding of their meaning and significance.
Fair winds and following seas!!!
Like a horse smelling the barn
06 September 2013 | Admiralty Inlet
Warp speed for Shearwater aided by incoming tide. Heavy fog lifted at Port Townsend revealing gorgeous wooden schooners heading to the wooden boat show in Port Townsend, sea birds of every description, harbor porpoises off our stbd bow and a minke whale off our port. Be it ever so humble....
Mark and Mahi
06 September 2013 | Mid Pacific
Mark, Mahi and color coordinated shorts.
Obligatory Fish Pic
06 September 2013 | Off Oregon coast
Since we have internet now, this is one of the albacore we caught and a happy fisherman
We made it!
06 September 2013 | Neah Bay
12:30 a.m. pst Even weathermen can be wrong. Gorgeous still night with calm seas as we made our way out of the Pacific Ocean and into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. A school of Dall Porpoises frolicked in our bow wave this evening at sunset and now our bow wave and wake are lit up with phosphorescence. Feels great to be here although it is a bit chilly.
Here is a pic from Hawaii with new crew after fueling. 16 days to make the passage. Will sum up tomorrow but from the left, Wade, Mark, Myself, and John. Great crew and really fun passage.
A Kiss Goodbye
05 September 2013 | 47 42.7'N:125 27.6'W, 50nm from Wa entrance
Position: Lat: 47deg 47.2" Long: 125 deg 27.6
COG: 035deg SOG: 6.8kts
Baro: 1012 24h range:1012-1014 Wind: NW 18kts 24h range:04-18kts Waves NW wind chop Sails furled Present gph 2.7
Clouds Stratus 50%:
Summary 50nm from Neah Bay. Looks like a bit of breeze from the NW. This will be my last weather post assuming we turn the corner without incident! Cannot thank you enough for all your help, Lee, D and D. Would love to get together when you are all here and debrief and share some good food. It was a great trip and the added weather factor was a learning experience in the Pacific lab. Best, David
24h summary Fuel used:49g Gal/hr2.0 Fuel at destination:1137 Distance made good:150nm Ave. Speed:6.25 MPG:3.06 Fuel remaining:1137g Max range:3479nm Range to Destination:85nm Reserve Range:3394nm
A Kiss Goodbye
Now that we are close enough to smell land, the mighty Pacific is providing us a sweet reminder of why one never should become complacent offshore. For the first time since leaving Hawaii we can receive VHF weather radio and the forecast is for increasing NW winds to 25+ knots according to the US and Canada is forecasting Gale conditions at the Northern entrance of the Strait. We are 69 miles away at the time of this writing so are looking at 11 hours or so of exposure before we can thumb our nose at the same low pressure system which you have gotten tired of me writing about. Yes, it just keeps on giving.
On a happy note yesterday was about as nice a day as we have had. Picture us sitting around the pilothouse setee, embroiled in a close game of Hearts, having to put the game on hold periodically as the single rod we were fishing screamed with yet another albacore. After 4 fish we hung it up for the night, keeping 2 and releasing the others as we used barbless hooks. Dinner was about as memorable as any we have had with a rice maker full of sticky rice and two types of grilled albacore. One cooked to moist perfection and the other seared and raw centrally, served with soy and wasabi. It bore little resemblance to Chicken of the sea in water or oil for that matter. We all ate until we on just this side of pain.
This morning, Mark, who may be more fish crazed than I, put out the lure and within minutes hooked and released another albie before we decided to make tracks for the inside.
Last night was moonless and clear and I saw what Dave Nagle describes as "Alaskan Dawn" We were 150 miles offshore and I saw multiple glows on the horizon, too far out to be coastal towns. As one got closer, I realized they were fishing boats with intense sodium vapor lights drifting for the night before resuming their albacore trolling. The design of most of these fishing boats is the model for the duck!
Next post will be from the Strait!!!