Hawaii sailing blog: Memorial Day, The Lantern Memorial Festival
29 May 2017 | Hawaii sailing blog: Memorial Day, 5/29/17. The Lantern Memorial Festival
We are not sailing to the quiet retreat of Pokai Bay today, as previously planned, due to our strong desire to instead take part in the annual Lantern Memorial Festival held on the beachfront at Ala Moana park here in Honolulu.
We are willing to brave a crowd of nearly 50,000 people in order to honor and remember our beloved Bryce, Ian's eldest son, who left this earth in August nearly one year ago. Our friend and fellow crew member, Fernando, will also participate in honor of his lost brother.
It is a beautiful, sunny day on Magic Island, the beach covered with tents and canopies protecting scores of families from the intense sun, as they grill, play games, frolic in the surf, while literally thousands of others stand in an astoundingly long line to register for and obtain their memorial "lanterns," consisting of a floating "canoe" which carries a four-sided enclosure containing a candle and writable "walls" for personal messages. These canoes will be assembled, decorated with words, pictures, flowers, and love, then launched into the water at sunset (see pics attached).
We secure 3 lanterns for Bryce and then spend the afternoon under our makeshift umbrella on the beach, guarding the spot to ensure our access to the night's events, listening to beautiful, soulful Hawaiian music being played from the huge stage, feeling very melancholy in anticipation of the evening events. As 6:00PM approaches, the crowd doubles on the beach.
On the stage (and also 2 adjacent screens) the ceremony begins, led by the Shinnyo-en Buddhist members who sponsor the event. Mournful Hawaiian drum performances, a symbolic and moving hula dance, and an original song by a young girl in honor of her lost relative are performed for a tearful crowd.
As the unfolding sunset creates a dramatic crimson, then purple backdrop, the ceremonial lanterns are blessed, and then the crowds move to the water's edge to launch their candle-lit lanterns, standing in waist-deep water as they release the lanterns into the ocean.
Over 7000 sparkling, golden lanterns begin to leave the shore and float away from family members, filling the small bay, in a mesmerizing, hypnotic and deeply- moving display of nature's cycle. Fernando releases his lantern, then Ian, myself, and grandson Hunter, representing Rachel, Holly and the Steele and Hepburn families, each simultaneously released our lanterns to the eternal sea.
The universal connection of this very diverse crowd, sharing a collective sense of sadness and awe, is almost palpable. In this moment, we are all truly brothers and sisters. If only it could always be this way.
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Bay [part 3]
21 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Bay [part 3]
Hale'iwa Harbor & Waimea bay
Departed Pokai bay at 7:30am, motoring in zero winds up the west coast bound for Hale'iwa Harbor on the north side of Oahu. An awesome morning, sapphire blue Pacific seas, towering Oahu coastal mountain range towards Ka'ena Point, the most western point of Oahu before rounding and the easy a short way up the north coast to Hale'iwa Harbor. A short 3 hour run...another difficult office day!!!
Anchored in 10ft just outside the inner harbor breakwater with just 'one thing' on our mind! "Find Hale'iwa Joe's and sample their famous Mai Tai's...Oh well, we may as well have brunch too, right?!"
Back to Wheytogo, adjust the anchor and settle down to dinner, a bottle of Laetitia Pinot and another glorious sunset.
Saturday morning saw us wakened by canoe racing, airport powered parachutists and of course from this town on Oahu Nth shore...pleasure and charter boats heading out for a day's fishing or shark diving in huge cages.
Departing at 10:00am for Waimea Bay to anchor for another couple of days. Some snorkeling perhaps in the small paradise cove?
The Kiwi was abandoned on board to do the 'office' domestics and make another 90 gals of water whilst the Commodore (Sharon) and Fernando paddle boarded to shore (no dinghies allowed at this site), carrying phones (camera} in a dry bag on the paddle-board, for a leisurely 4.5 mile walk up to the Waimea gardens and the renowned Waimea falls. An exotic, shady, dark green botanical garden, nestled among black and red cliffs of lava rock, was filled with stunning varieties of ginger, unusual palms, taro and many other colorful tropical plants and enormous umbrella "monkey pod" trees, which provided cooling shade on the meandering walk to the falls.
After a cooling treat of refreshing tropical juices and purple (taro) French fries, it was time for the walk back to the boat. Returning to the boat required a little extra effort, paddling against the surf and oncoming waves. Back on board, it was time for a refreshing swim and snorkel in the warm, late afternoon sun.
A lovely local young woman who crews on a tourist catamaran swam up and shared great info about snorkeling sites and caves, even offering to be our tour guide.
The Hawaiian locals have been consistently warm and friendly everywhere we go. Another picture-perfect evening followed, during which the 2 alpha males on board competed with each other to capture the best sunset photos, even including a sunlit bottle of rum for special effects!
The beaches emptied at sunset, and we were left in a quiet bay on a gentle rocking cradle, sitting out on the back deck in a warm tropical breeze, staring up at an explosion of stars in a clear sky with the faintest hint of residual gold on the distant western horizon, captivated, mesmerized, once again, and so very grateful for the privilege of being in this place.
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Bay [part 2]
21 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Ba [part 2]
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Bay [part 1]
21 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Hale'iva & Waimea Bay[part 1]
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay [part 3]
18 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay [part 3]
We departed the safe haven of Waikiki Yacht Club Ala Wai for the open seas around the Island of Oahu - our next Hawaiian adventure.
The morning trade winds of 14-18kts on our stern and a rolling swell propelled us passed Honolulu harbor, clearing the no-go zones of the International airport and the Barbers Point Petro plants unloading zone towards Barbers Point Harbor and the Ko Oolina Marina to re-fuel. KO Oolina Marina is a resort village, condo's and a golf course on Oahu's west side, with prices not for the faint hearted.
With 25kt winds on the beam we nestle up to the fuel dock - a 'mickey mouse' do it yourself fueling excursion! We took this opportunity for a leisure brunch before heading 15nm up the coast to Pokai bay. A beautiful sail up the coast in 15-20kts, arriving late afternoon to a visitor welcome by resident 'spinner' dolphins and anchored inside the breakwater, just 50 yards off the beach in about 9 ft.
Paradise Lost!!...this little gem is a renowned island cruising stopover, calm waters, a curved white sand beach, children playing on the breakwater, canoe paddlers racing their strange craft.... this is truly paradise!
We settled in...swimming and leisurely soaking in this magical place, with of course - some of the Capn's Captain Morgan [private stock]. Dining on the rear deck, a special cuisine fit for royalty to observe the renowned Pokai Bay sunset...an amazing palate of color. Another magical day in paradise comes slowly to an end.
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay [part 2]
18 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay [part 2]
Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay
18 May 2017 | Our Hawaiian adventure around Oahu - Day 1- Pokai Bay
Our Next Hawaiian Adventure: A 6 day sail around Oahu
16 May 2017 | Our Next Hawaiian Adventure: A 6 day sail around Oahu
The Trade winds are favorable over the next week for some sailing. Departing May 17th we plan to sail to Pokai Bay, Haleiwa Harbor, Waimea Bay, Kaneohe Bay. Returning to our Waikiki Yacht Club base Monday 22nd.
We will share our adventure as we circumnavigate this island paradise.
Hawaii: A relaxing first week
14 May 2017 | Hawaii: A relaxing first week
Approaching Waikiki Beach and the Ala Wai marina in Honolulu on this, our last day at sea, the intense feelings bubbling to the surface were myriad: excitement mixed with relief that we had made it safely, without injury to ourselves or our sailing home (Wheytogo), a teary sense of incredulity, pride and disbelief that we four had actually crossed that vast and lonely ocean by ourselves for 18 ½ days on a sailing catamaran (a thrilling adventure that few people in their lifetime will be fortunate to experience), a tinge of disappointment that it had come to an end, and a sense of anticipation for all the beautiful sites yet to be seen as we sail between these volcanic isles over the next 6 months. Not to mention being able to walk on terra firma….it would be another 3 days before the buildings and walkways (and toilets) stopped “swaying” from side to side.
We were greeted on the dock of the Waikiki Yacht Club by our sailing buddies (and land crew) Denis and Holly from sailing catamaran Tango, who came bearing beautiful orchid leis for each of us, along with chilled cans of Maui Bikini Blonde beers. After catching up with a few “war stories” and tales of the sea, we went about the task of securing moorage at the Waikiki Yacht club, marveling at the heat, the cooling trade winds blowing across our deck, the turquoise water and swaying palm trees just steps away from our boat and the rowing teams on outrigger canoes rhythmically gliding past our sailboat.
After calling friends and family on the mainland, Brazil, and New Zealand to assure them that we made it in one piece (EVERYONE digitally overdosed after 2.5 weeks of smartphone and internet withdrawal) we began putting away all the deep-water ocean riggings and gear, a slow, tiring and anticlimactic process. We went to sleep before 9PM each night for the first week, sleeping 9 + hours, yet still needing afternoon naps, amazed at how deeply fatigued our bodies were.
Unbelievably, Amanda booked a red-eye flight back to San Diego just 7 hours after we arrived at the dock. However, Denis, a very thoughtful and generous French-Canadian gentleman and fellow catamaran sailor took her on a 3-hour whirlwind island photo tour before she departed with a week’s worth of photos, leaving Ian, Fernando and myself to explore the island on our own.
Adjusting to life without a car, we took long walks along the beaches and walkways, finally bringing out our Japanese folding bikes for trips for grocery (probably a more dangerous trip through the traffic than on our Pacific crossing). On the weekend we rented a car for 2 days, touring Pearl Harbor, and driving the perimeter of the island, visiting the stunning North Shore beaches (seen in the attached photos), Waimea coast, Punchbowl memorial cemetery, and at 630am on Monday, hiking up to the top of Diamond Head for an unsurpassed 360 degree view of the city and the Pacific ocean.
Hawaii: A relaxing first week [part 2]
14 May 2017 | Hawaii: A relaxing first week
Log Mexico to Hawaii: Our Adventure Statistics
13 May 2017 | Log Mexico to Hawaii: Our Adventure Statistics
Log: Mexico to HawaiI: Waikiki Yacht Club...our final log for this phase of our Pacific Adventure
04 May 2017 | 21.17 : 157.50 Waikiki Yacht Club
This will be our final morning sail, its 3:00am and still dark, that familiar early morning welcome ‘hiss’ as we move stealthily through the seas just 7 nm NE of Molokai shore. This has been a magical journey across 2500 nm of the northern Pacific, a journey of just over 18 days, a journey where each of us has been able to deepen our respect for the sea whilst capturing the magic she has openly shared. Restless and constantly changing, an environment in which we can each say…’we have been one with the sea.’
A glimmer of light like an artist’s palate appears in the eastern sky as the sun rises for a new Pacific day, shades of crimson & orange against the gray and black of the night sky.
The seas, now slowly visible, are disturbed with counter swells from the E and NE... winds slowly consolidating throughout the early morning...shifting we hope to the N as we approach the Kaiwi channel. After a few days of light winds, a change on the way? i wondered...our happy hour rum sacrifice last evening at last had been heard!!
The wind gradually filled in during the morning shifting slowly N as we adjusted towards our channel entry waypoint on the NW of Molokai...the crew with new enthusiasm constantly trimming to extract max go forward... ETA around midday we calculated.
Scanning the horizon for our first site of Oahu was a constant pastime....at last the outline of the Koolau range came over the horizon...a magic feeling to see the land that would serve as our base for the next few months come into view after some 2500 nm of open ocean. As the morning unfolded a celebration of course was customarily observed. We were now really getting close, even our wonderful lady Wheytogo lifted her bow as 15-20 kts of consistent N winds across the channel filled her sails...this was to be a great and magic sailing morning. Cap’n Kiwi reviewing the shoreline charts, adjusting our Diamond Head waypoint to ensure we maintained clearance from its shoreline and importantly set clearance from the navigation buoys on our run up the coast towards Ala Wai.
For those who have seen this coastline along the Waikiki shoreline from Diamond Head from the sea, will know and appreciate, how spectacular it is against the backdrop of tropical and very green elevated hills beyond.
We have experienced a richness that has emboldened us daily to achieve. An experience that exposed one’s weakness yet enabled our strengths to shine. Being 1000nm from any outside support is a sobering state, yet if one can’t accept and manage that risk – you stay still.
Confucius said “When it is obvious that the goals you set cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps”
We have a commitment to deliver for ourselves – our dream. If in some small way what we have enjoyed achieving in pursuit of our dream…. inspires others to strive towards their dream…we leave you with a smile.
We all can be, whoever we want to be. Thank you for joining us on our magical journey.
Log Mexico to Hawaii: We can smell the Frangipani's
03 May 2017 | 21 16'N:156 42'W, Day 17 - we ncan smell the frangipani's
Position 21 17 N 156 43 W
Winds and seas have picked up from the past couple of days to a steady 15kts. We are motor sailing so that we can control our progress to meet a daytime the channel crossing to Oahu during daylight hours.
We awaken to a picture perfect day- clear blue skies with no sign of threatening squalls in any direction- the gently rolling ocean calm and peaceful, as if to say " OK, you've paid you dues...you passed the test...no more surprises on your final day at sea...enjoy!" The temperature: a balmy 82 degrees without the heavy humidity of the past 4-5 days, everyone on deck with a look of anticipation as we begin our final leg of the journey- the islands are just 75 nautical miles in front of us, on a due west course toward Maui. The seas are nearly flat, the tiny waves glistening like diamonds in front of us. The downside to this idyllic picture: NO WIND! We raise the beautiful bright blue spinnaker sail in the hope that the winds will increase in the heat of day to propel us on a rapid downwind course, but it is not to be. The spinnaker flaps and twists in the fickle breeze; with great disappointment we take her down and start the motors.
As we approach 40 nm from our next GPS waypoint near the tip of Maui, Ian shouts "Land ho!" spotting a dark peak of land in the clouds on the western horizon -our first sighting of any land mass in over 2 weeks. We all rush to the front deck, anxious for our first glimpse of the barely visible peak- is it real? YES! The past week has been very quiet, no signs of ships in any direction, either by direct sighting or radar; no activity heard on the VHS radio at all until very suddenly last night, a Honolulu Coast Guard message about a stranded catamaran comes through loud and clear, followed shortly by a Coast Guard security warning about lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean from the Kilauea volcano. We realize that we are truly nearing our destination after 18 long days and nights on a vast and isolated ocean. We hope to reach the eastern border of Maui this evening before sunset, then Diamond head by noon tomorrow. ALOHA!!
Log: Mexico to Hawaii: 'and the sea will never tell'
02 May 2017 | 21 04'N:153 16'W, Day 16 - 'and the sea will never tell'
Log: Mexico to Hawaii - 2000 nm under our stern
01 May 2017 | 21 02'N:150 38'W, Day 15 - 2000 nm under our stern
Position at 5:00pm PST Monday May 1st: Lat 21 02 487 N, Lon 150 38 467 W, [mag]. On a heading of 264 deg directly towards Molokai WP. Winds 15-20ks kts ENE and swells of 1 - 1.5 mtrs from the ENE.
As reported yesterday we were in 'slow mode' to allow some nasty stuff up ahead to either dissipate or move out of our way. The sea conditions made the slow down approach uncomfortable for those in dreamland so, down with the sails and we motored slowly overnight. This enabled better control going forward, as we were not reliant on wind / swell direction and strength etc.
As the evening developed the seas and winds went quiet, just a few distant squalls. Thus, against the hum of engines at a slow 1500rpm, the crew enjoyed some less turbulent sleep. Watch was not as much fun given less to be occupied with, sails, wind, trimming, tweak that last wee bit into speed, coffee and more coffee!
You stats folks may be interested. For the travelled 2133 nm's, we have used the engines for only 6.7% meaning we have enjoyed an amazing 93.3% under sail. As a consequence, we have enough diesel on board for an approx. 2400 nm's [alternate engine use] Overall though we are about 9% slower than target due to a number of 'on the road' decisions, a more conservative sail plan and of course the route plan was straight-line versus sailing in accord to the winds and seas. Our expected arrival in Ala Wai will therefore be closer to the higher of 16 - 18 days.
All now is clear ahead and we are now sailing directly downwind towards NE Molokai some 430-nm due W. Ala Wai Marina just a mere 65 nm's beyond that. Getting close to Mai Tai time!!
Log: Mexico to Hawaii: Preparations & Maintenance
30 April 2017 | 21 03'N:148 29'W, Day 15 - Preparations & Maintenance
We have received a number of emails from friends inquiring about our planning and preparations for this adventure. I have modified one of our postings to 'bring you aboard' our process.
Preparations and Maintenance for an offshore Pacific passage are significantly different than a coastal cruising adventure where you are never far from the next port for fuel, spares, provisions or simply maintain contact with 'the world'. On a coastal adventure If the weather does not look ok or there is a weather system running down the coast - you simply don't leave port until the conditions improve. If already on the way and the weather turns against you - head into the next port or safe anchorage and wait it out. Whilst many planning aspects, the on-board systems and general safety or emergency requirements are similar, the detail, planning and contingency coverage are significantly different.
On an ocean passage, there are no 'Shell shops' to pick up the 'missing' item, to add fuel or purchase more milk or beers.
Planning and preparations for an offshore adventure are critical. There are many publications and Cruising guides which outline a generic approach i.e. to learn from others experiences, however one needs to adopt a process that is 'owned' by us, for our boat, our needs, our safety and that of our crew [if applicable]
This is our approach and the guide systems we have set in place:
Review the various applicable guides and publications, noting the salient points applicable, potential weather conditions en-route, where is the Pacific high, best timing of the passage etc
Route Plan: We use both Predictwind & Sailflow on-line applications that have been developed to assist us cruisers make our departure and route plan decisions. We have developed a 'Kiwi' excel application that details our route plan, way-points, distances, bearing and respective timings associated with each WP step. Once complete we document a formal 'Route Plan' and file with Lauren [Sharon's daughter] which provides specific boat information, planned route, emergency contacts, on-board persons, and importantly target contact times. This document also provides a guide for Lauren in case of emergency or in the event of 'no contact/gone missing'
We have further developed a 'Wheytogo Sailing Guide' applicable to each of us on board, that documents all our planned on-board procedures, location & use of safety devices, responsibilities, 24 hr watch schedules, external communication plan and other relevant 'live aboard' considerations.
Boat and systems: Review the checklist covering all specific servicing requirements for safe cruising, engines, generator, life raft, communication systems, rigging, shackles, lines, sails, overboard 'abandon ship' requirements, EPIRB, life jackets, safety lines etc., water making & storage, additional fuel & storage. Check & review all backup systems and communications, [portable VHF, GPS etc].
Food & General provisioning: Meal planning for the anticipated duration plus contingency days, ingredients, fresh foods, storage foods, cooling of foods, chilling systems for beer, wine, coke, rum!!, potable water.
With many storage places on board complete an inventory of item and location.
Clothing: Prepare clothing and/or take out of storage the clothing items likely required given the off-shore weather, temperature, 24 hr. watch, wet weather gear etc.
En-route recording logs: It is critical to know where you are at any given point, accordingly we have developed excel applications that are recorded every 6 hours that records, distance traveled, SOG averages, fuel used, fuel remaining, GPS location, distance traveled, predicted arrival date & time. If engines are used, running temps, oil pressure, hours run, fuel statistics etc.
Communications: We have on-board the usual cruising systems, VHF [typically short range - ship to ship, ship to shore] & SSB radio for longer range communications. In addition, we have an Iridium Extreme satellite phone that enables, voice, email and en-route weather downloads.
For this passage, we have established a daily 4:00pm [nominal] communication blog, that is posted for all interested- family and friends to monitor our progress, share our stories and experiences and importantly convey "all is good on our adventure'
A backup communication "Spot Locator" system is on-board run by Fernando which is activated twice daily. We on board Wheytogo will on future travels, have a similar texting based backup system in place.
Weather: Obviously, weather along our route is a critical process to manage to ensure a safe and enjoyable passage. Typically, a forecast established before departing covers approx. 14 days with accuracy deteriorating as the days extend out therefore downloads during our passage, every few days is important, particularly with regard to the Pacific high location, winds and swells. For this passage, we were fortunate in also combining our on-board reviews with those undertaken by our friend Denis Michoud based in Hawaii. Denis, on land with access to a wider range of weather forecast systems would email his weather take daily and offer route change advice as necessary. This became particularly important as we got closer to Hawaii and the daily changing weather systems impacting the island chain.
There are many facets of cruising that we have adjusted to adopting as we progress across this vast Pacific Ocean. The duties vary to those necessary on a daily basis to sustain our well-being and of course those tasks and checks on the 'good health' of our SV Wheytogo. Other agenda must do tasks on a semi regular basis and those that are emergency 'must do now' maintenance or repair items.
For me as Capn there are always the continuing route, navigation adjustments, weather assessments and report downloads, current location against plan etc. The readiness checks on all the systems that 'we may need to deploy' as we go along. House battery health, when to run the generator to top up whilst at the same time ensure we have hot water and sufficient power systems available to run the galley, high electrical load cooking appliances and other such vital food preparation demands.
For all of us... the frequent 'walk about' - look, touch, check - sails, rigging, halyards, sheets, lines, shackles etc. As reported on our day blogs we had to execute repairs for chaffed reef lines, work around contingencies for alternate wing on wing sailing configuration, repairing sat phone connectivity etc with each instance, testing our planning, our contingency preparations and our 'teamwork'
The team, our Wheytogo crew, each undertook duties and functions necessary to assist our smooth sailing adventure even during times of stress, varied sea conditions. Preparing a dinner meal whilst 'riding a 27000lb surfboard' at times was an adventure in itself.
Tis 4:00pm...the Capn's happy hour, a period of time to regroup and realize what an amazing adventure, an experience that has enriched each of us to appreciate the wild Pacific, the sunsets, sunrises a place of serenity a place where dreams are made and dreams fulfilled.
Log: Mexico to Hawaii: Two week milestone
29 April 2017 | 21 32'N:146 08'W, Day 14 - two week milestone day
Today marks 2 weeks since we left Baja Mexico on our journey across the Pacific. We have dropped down to latitude 21degrees, bringing us ever closer to our Hawaiian Islands destination, now 667 straight-line miles away. Also bringing us closer to a large, late season low pressure system near Hawaii, which we may have to dodge. The last 3 days have been fraught with squalls all around us, but yesterday afternoon was a gorgeous sailing day: warmer temperatures (finally peeling off the jackets), bright blue skies above and brisk winds (18-26 knots) propelling us along on our W/SW course as we pass the 2/3rd distance milestone. We all sat out on the rear deck, enjoying the magic of the moment. Even the fickle heavens joined in the celebration, presenting us with a series of rainbows, including a full 180deg arc, a parallel set of double rainbows, and 2 sets of "sheet" rainbows, very rare according to Fernando. Surely it was a good omen for the night......not so. As we prepared for night watch, the squall lines began to pop up all around the horizon, creating havoc with wind shifts and big swells. It was a long, adrenaline-filled night for the guys, who took the whole watch, reefing and un-reefing the sails as they watched the squalls arise on radar, not visible in the black night sky. At last, dawn brought calmer seas and patches of blue overhead. The morning has been pleasant so far, though we are keeping a close eye on the developing grey thunderheads. Stay tuned...
Wishing a very happy birthday to my son, Ryan, who turns 26 today. SO SAD to not be with you to celebrate today. Hopefully, we can all be together to celebrate in Hawaii this summer! Xxxxxx Mom
Log: Mexico to Hawaii : A great day at the office!
28 April 2017 | 22 17'N:144 15'W, Day 13 - a great day at the office!
Position at 7:00pm Friday 28th: Lat 22 17 034 N, Lon 144 15 068 W, [mag]. On a heading of 221 deg towards Lat 21 50 [or below]. Winds 18 -21 kts SE and swells of 1-1.5 mtrs from the NW. The weather models I downloaded and importantly as recommended by our friend and trusted advisor Denis in Hawaii each confirmed to avoid at least some of the nasty stuff ahead...head for Lat 21. [Denis and his wife Holly have spent many years cruising these paradise waters of the Pacific thus, knows this weather stuff along with being very experienced cruisers - we are fortunate to have them share their experience]
This is sailing...this is why we have embarked on this cruising adventure...the last 24 hours have been amazing. Great sailing conditions overnight with only a few occasions where winds and seas rose to the moment and clipped our ears!... just in case one was getting complacent.
This morning as the sun rose in the east...I could see for the first time since my watch began at 3:00am the Pacific Ocean seas I had been sailing blind across, for the past few hours...what a magical sight. The golden tint of the morning sun dancing across the swells, white caps hissing a welcome to their world and as we sliced our way forward the foaming seas leaving our stern seemed to be saying...' enjoy another wonderful day at the office'...indeed we shall!
The evening draws closer and the squalls decide it's their turn to play...with high wind gusts, rain and turbulent seas... we prepare for our overnight sail plan, turn on the radar to gauge direction and likely potential of us 'meeting and greeting'...another fun evening in store for the watch crew of Wheytogo.
Log: Mexico to Hawaii : Riding a 27000lb surfboard!!
27 April 2017 | 23 00'N:141 48'W, Day 10 -
Position at 6:00pm Thurs 27th: Lat 23 00 790N, Lon 141 48 790 W, [mag]. Heading of 265 deg on our rumbline towards Hawaii a degree above our Molokai WP. A further few deg adjustment when we are approx. 200 nm away.
Winds and seas have calmed this afternoon and currently NE Winds of 18-22kts[app] coupled with a NE 2.0 mtr swell at 8 secs. Overnight saw a good number of fast running squalls around on the radar and we were caught by a few. For an 8-10-hour period winds and seas were constant at 26-34kts [app] with seas 2.0 -2.5 mtrs at 8 secs.
During the squalls winds peaked to 38kts [app} It was a hairy ride at times...imagine a 27000lb surfboard!!...pitch black and all you hear is the scream of the wind and the surge of white caps as they lift you up and propel us down its face. Our weather models from yesterday said winds in the 20kts range max...yeah right! Our overnight sail plan was accordingly adjusted with 3/4 more turns in the genoa.
We will see what fun and surprises are in store for us tonight.
We awakened to the 3rd day of stormy grey skies, squall lines surrounding us 360 degrees above the boiling and churning seas, producing 8-10 ft. swells, which mercifully, are coming from behind us. It was a difficult watch overnight for Fernando and Ian, sailing in a pitch black starless and moonless sky, with shifting winds and powerful swells while sailing downwind, leaving the autopilot impotent to correct the course. Winds gusted to 38 -40+ knots intermittently, with a constant background of 26-34 knots. The air was heavy with moisture, with peaks of rain-filled clouds threatening a downpour that never materialized (it would have been nice to at least get a fresh water rinse of the salty boat out of all this weather). Ian finally turned on one engine at low revs to ensure we didn't broach surfing the face of huge waves. This continued on into the mid-morning.
As mid-day approaches, we have started to see a few patches of blue sky directly overhead, though billowing thunderheads still collect all around the horizon. There are few signs of life around us, except for a rare seagull and some flying fish. No further boats have been spotted, and there is no chatter on the VHF radio or SSB that was intelligent. We are alone on this infinite ocean, however our trusty WheyToGo and her kiwi captain have kept us safe and warm. We are now past the half-way mark, with 900 miles still to go to Hawaii. As we swirl around like a centrifugal carnival ride, we are looking forward to warmer, turquoise waters, and a stable floor beneath us.
Log: Mexico to Hawaii: Half Way to paradise
26 April 2017 | 22 38'N:139 30'W, Day 10 - Over half way to Paradise
Position at 6:00pm Wed 26th: Lat 22 38 512N, Lon 139 30 205 W, [mag]. Heading of 286 deg
Currently NE Winds of 22kts[app] coupled with a NE 2.0 mtr swell at 8 secs. Overnight saw a good number of fast running squalls around on the radar we managed to come through unscathed.
My downloaded weather models are all heading NW around 308 deg. The models show a concentration of unfavorable activity 20+kts on or below our Molokai rumbline. We have decided to not head so high N... but head N of the rumbline and see if we are lucky to have lessor overall impact than heading way N as the models indicate. Inevitable we will get some of the current disturbance...so as Denis points out a 50/50 decision. We will know in the next day or so if we are backing the right '50'
This am at just after sunrise we got rumbled by a rogue squall, 40kts + true and high 30's [app], seas at 2.5 + each from the NE. Fortunately we were still on our night sail plan so was able to sort through it and get back on track. Exciting there for 15 mins or so!!
A water making and taking advantage of the Gen set running for the WM, laundry and maintenance day.
To all our family and friends who have sent good wishes and comments on the blog....thanks heaps.
Gotta go...we just have a strike on one rod!!!
All is good....cheers
Log: Mexico to Hawaii: Our Journey ...Our 'Bucket List' Adventure
25 April 2017 | 22 26'N:137 17'W, Day 10 - Our bucket list adventure
How good is this....a place where dreams are made and dreams fulfilled.
Log: Mexico to Hawaii : Crew lost my best deep sea rod!...
24 April 2017 | 23 06'N:134 43'W,
Position at 4:00pm Mon 24th: Lat 23 06 067N, Lon 134 42 842 W, [mag]. Heading of 238 deg
Currently ENE Winds of 17-22kts[app] coupled with a ENE 1.5-2.0 mtr swell at 12 secs have become more consistent after the light and fluky winds this am. Our course change to get closer to Lat 12 continues with 'wing on wing' sail plan directly downwind at 6.5 - 7.5kts. We will adopt our night sail plan and may revert to our 120 deg wind angle after dinner for crew comfort and particularly during the girls evening helm duty. All is good.
Over the course of a pleasant and peaceful Sunday afternoon of downwind sailing, we watched the clouds begin to slowly build and start to coalesce around us. We plotted our course on the charts and made note of the half- way mark to Hawaii which we will approach in the next ~ 150 miles...a mental milestone for us all. We had a lovely, indulgent "Sunday dinner" out on the rear deck in blowing winds: Asian spice encrusted pork tenderloin with mango chutney sauce, mashed potatoes and herbed green beans, a nice Chilean Malbec, and baked chocolate croissants for dessert, with the roar of the sea and classical music serenading us in the background. Very civilized, everything under control, right? Never get too complacent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from land in any direction. Mother Nature is always in control.
No sunset could be detected under the bank of clouds encroaching slowly in all directions. As I began my night watch at 10:30pm the winds were very consistent at 15-18 knots, the seas growing slowly in intensity. Light rain showers came and went. At 1145pm, the winds suddenly jumped to 21...25...29...knots, rapidly changing directions, and the boom begins to pop. I quickly wake Fernando and Ian to begin adjusting the sails. As they scurry onto slippery wet decks in their safety gear, they begin thrashing from side to side in pitching seas while they try to reef and furl flapping lines.
However, lurking beneath the stormy ocean, a large fish shape was gathering dinner thoughts himself... we all hear the sudden loud whirrrrr, of a fish hitting the lure of our trailing fishing line and taking off at incredible speed away from the boat. The line continues to play out with an unrelenting whine, unable to be slowed with Fernando's best effort, and cannot be stopped. Moby Dick??? Ultimately, the reel is ripped from its rod holder, the heavy-duty line securing it to the rail snaps, and it soars behind the boat, trailing behind a determined fish...fortunately Fernando did not go in with it. Bye! Bye! Kiwi's new fishing rod & reel!!!...Kiwi said "@@@%%$$...Fernando you did what!!!"
Finally, by 1AM, the sails and course were adjusted and the winds back down to 20 knots, and a tired crew retired, leaving Fernando to man the helm for a few more hours, keeping an eye out for Moby Dick.
This AM, the air is warm and muggy, and the clouds have broken up, though showers can still be seen at points on the horizon. The guys spent additional time on deck this morning doing "smart rigging," to more easily manage wing- to -wing sailing from the helm. A new fishing line is out, and we are surfing a following sea. Overboard casualties: 2 of Ian's favorite caps, his brand new heavy duty ocean rod and reel, one lens from his prescription glasses, and our fish dinner.
Human beings all intact, as we pay our homage to Mother Nature.
- Indeed all was as described with great accuracy and lighthearted humor, though I must add that from where I was as these events unfolded, the picture was a bit more serious. First of all the painstakingly engineered preventer set-up failed right where we thought it would not. That, coupled with above described sea state and deteriorating wind conditions plus a bloody fish that decides to strike just at the wrong moment, set in motion one of the funniest/scariest events in all of my sailing adventures.
Picture this: I am slumbering on the deck chaise while Sharon is at the helm, happily tooling down the road at a steady pace. I hear her say something like " The winds are picking up" or some such. As I scramble up the stairs to the helm station the winds are really, really picking up and I hear a loud crash above. Little did I know that the preventer pully had come loose at the cringle and now we have a 20 degree swing the boom can freely move until arrested by the port traveller. With winds racing to the 35+ knot mark, that cannot be a good thing, especially when you are wing on wing. I say to Sharon, "please go get Kiwi. We need to take steps. She goes below, and by the time he arrives at the helm, things are really interesting. Just as he and I are drawing up a plan of action, the fish strikes. So, now we have an extra element to deal with. I am torn between the fish, de-briefing Kiwi, racing up the deck to remedy the preventer situation and putting my rain jacket on. Mind you I am standing at the port side stern rail, fighting this bloody fish, getting wet, being bounced around and having Captain smarty pants throwing remarks at how I should bring dinner in. When the rod finally bounces loose, all he can say is...You did @#$%%what with MY rod??? WE could all do nothing but laugh out loud, forget the rod and the fish and carry on with the more immediate and pressing issues of getting our good ship back on track. One hour later all is well again. The Pacific gave us a little spanking tonight, and we are wiser and more confident in each other because of it.