Author Archive

Land ho

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

We’re currently 89 nautical miles west of the Golden Gate and if all goes well (knock on wood) by tomorrow evening (Sunday) we’ll be land ho’s tied up in slip B-30 at Emery Cove!

730 Miles to Go

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

In case you’ve been following our position, and have noticed that it hasn’t been updated in the last couple days, fret not! The winlink database is just down right now.

What started out as a fun game of leap-frog with the Pacific High has turned into a frustrating game of tag! Just when we think we might be far enough from the high to get some more favorable winds, the darn thing moves closer to us. What’s a crew to do? We’ve been sailing as close to the wind as possible, which means we’re beating into the wind. But luckily it isn’t too uncomfortable.

We have just about 730 miles to go to the Golden Gate! If all goes well, that means just about another week at sea. While we’ve had a great passage so far, I think we’re all feeling ready for hot showers and a little more variety in our diets (rather than just a different flavor of ramen). Not to mention that we can’t wait to see our friends and family back home.

Luckily we still have plenty of margarita makings on board, and our nightly conversations with our buddies on other boats remain a highlight of our days. For tonight’s net, Capn Fairwinds has prepared a fake weather report. Imagine a computerized voice saying something along the lines of “the sailing is great everywhere, except where you are, where it will suck”. (I guess it’s funnier if you’ve heard to the forecasts on the VHF. To us, it’s hilarious!)

Miles down: 2262
Miles to go: About 730
Beer remaining: 50? (we lost track a while ago)

Fish On!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

The last few days of this passage have been just about perfect! We’ve had calm seas and nice wind during the day. At night, the wind dies off, so we just drop our sails and sleep. It was frustrating at first not to be moving, but then we started to look at it as being just like anchoring for the night. I’m thrilled to report that not only have I stopped taking pills for sea sickness, but I’ve even been able to read without feeling queasy!

We think these next couple days will be the “crux move” of this journey. We are flirting with the edges of the Pacific High, and it’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll manage to scoot around or get caught for a while with no wind. Thanks to all of you psychics out there who helped push the High south- it worked! We’re optimistic that even if we do get stuck, it will be for just a day or two; and it’s more fun to hang out here than to sail north, only to have to sail south again near the Pacific Coast, where we’re likely to have gale conditions.

Today was a shower day- I’ve declared that we will bathe every 3 days whether we need to or not! With the sun and light winds, it is quite a pleasure.

Other excitement lately: we’ve seen a couple of tankers pass about 5 miles away from us. We also had a small bird (a storm petrel, I think) fly into the cabin and land in the sink! Ron scooped it up and set it free. These petrels love to hang around our boat at night; they seem to be attracted to the light. In fact, Capn Ornithology went out on deck with a headlamp on, and a bird flew right at his forehead. Todd managed to get his hand up and fend the bird off, sparing the poor creature from certain death on the rocky precipice that is Todd’s brow.

But our biggest news is that Ron caught an albacore tuna yesterday! I had been debating about what to make for lunch: pasta or rice to go with the (as yet uncaught) fish. Ron said not to count on fish for menu planning. After an hour or so I decided to go ahead with the pasta, and just after I’d dug out the pot, I heard the handline knock. “Fish on!” I yelled. Ron let the fish run just a bit, then brought it in steadily. We all crowded around the cockpit to catch a glimpse of it as he reeled it in, and were so excited when we saw that it was a tuna! Ron landed it and killed it quickly. “Pasta’s off, rice is on!” I yelled. The fish was maybe a ten pounder so it fed us all for two days. Ron’s already declared that tomorrow is another fishing day, and I’ve been thinking of how I might scrape together a fish curry. I love yelling “Fish on!” in a high, quavering voice, so I kinda hope he gets a lot of strikes before ultimately getting one to the boat. We’ll just have to be careful about eating too much tuna because of the mercury levels. After we hit Hilo, Todd and I joked that we had eaten so much sushi, that when it got hot outside, we grew taller! But seriously, I’ve been told the symptoms of mercury overload are irritability, forgetfulness, and… damn it! I can’t remember what else!

Miles sailed: 1524
Miles to go: 1343+
Beer remaining: 90 or so

Homeward Bound

Monday, July 12th, 2010

After all of our sightseeing and surfing, we were ready to set sail for San Francisco on Saturday, July 3. But then Todd scrutinized the weather and decided it would be better to wait a day, to let a low pressure system pass through the North Pacific ahead of us. And since our spot on the Aloha Dock of the Hawaii Yacht Club gave us front row seats for the fireworks on the 4th, well, we decided we might as well stay til the 5th.

So last Monday morning we hit the Wailana Coffee House for all-you-can-eat pancakes (including Capn Sugar High’s favorite coconut syrup!) with our buddies on Isis. I was a little embarrassed to order a third plate of pancakes when Ron and Todd had stopped at two, but I’d spent the last month on Oahu porking up for the return trip and wasn’t about to hold back on our last morning in port!

After showering and cooking up 3 DiGiorno frozen pizzas (dinner and lunch for a couple days), we hit the fuel dock for a little bit of diesel and then were on our way! We had great sailing out of the Ala Wai and around the west side of Oahu. Things got a little rough that night in the channel between Oahu and Kauai, but since then it has been pretty much ideal conditions, with plenty of sunshine. And today has been the best day yet: the wind on the beam and the small, well-organized swell have made for a smooth ride. Hooray! The guys even managed to reduce our beer stock by upwards of a dozen.

To get back to SF, we have to sail north, up around the North Pacific high. Our friend Rick has been sending us weather updates, letting us know the high’s position. Unfortunately right now it is pretty far north, so we invite those of you with psychic abilities to envision it moving south. (Those of you without such abilities, well, how about you start saving your pocket change so you can buy us burritos?)

Rick has also been giving us important news updates. A couple days ago Todd came up into the cockpit and announced, “Rick told us who is in the World Cup finals.” Excited to know, I asked “Oh, who?!” Capn Total Recall scratched his large forehead and mumbled, “Uh, I don’t remember.” Hoping to give his thought process a helpful push, I offered, “Well it is either Spain or Germany and either Uruguay or the Netherlands.” Todd shook his head. “Nah, none of those. It was something like Peru or Chile or one of those countries.” I was left wondering which was more appalling- his short term memory, or his failure to understand the concept of “semi-finals”.

I will give him this though: he learned from our provisioning mistakes of the last passage. This time, we’ve got plenty of easily-prepared (but somewhat disgusting) foods like Chef Boyardee ravioli and Hormel chili. Our mainstay is ramen; we even did taste-tests of the many brands available in the Japanese stores of Honolulu. Sequoia made up a ramen chart with star-ratings and comments about each brand, and she ruled out one of them based on the amount of sodium it contained (astronomical as opposed to sky-high!).

Todd also bought a ridiculous amount of Pringles, much to Ron’s both joy and misery. When he signed on, Ron thought this would be a great opportunity to lose weight. But a tube of Pringles is never far from reach, and they tempt Ron with their siren call. We’ll hear Ron yell, “Oh, damn!” and the next thing you know, he’s elbow-deep in sour cream and onion.

Miles sailed: 987
Miles to go: Depends on where the high is (think SOUTH!)
Beers remaining: About 105 (yes, he bought more this time)

Two weeks out (of our minds)

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Unfortunately last Sunday we hit a new weather region: totally cloudy and 20-30 knots of wind. The worst part was the 10-12 foot confused seas (NW swell meets NE wind) which has made for a pretty uncomfortable ride that has persisted for the past week. Luckily the winds and seas have started abating but we’ve still yet to see more than 5 minutes of sunshine.

We’ve tried to remain upbeat but have been disappointed by the lack of good beer drinking conditions. One technique we use to stay positive is the “it could be worse” principle. For instance “it could be worse, you could be working”. However, things have deteriorated to the point that our current favorite is, “it could be worse, you could be in the Donner party”. People were always telling us that this is a “milk run” and “the easiest passage in the world”. In retrospect we wish we would have slapped those people instead of letting them inflate our hopes.

FantaSeas: Susan’s been wishing there were a pill she could take that would provide all nutrition and make it so she’s never hungry and never has to eat (she’s been borderline seasick the entire trip). Capn Landyacht has been fantasizing about buying a VW Bus and moving our mode of travel ashore.

The silver lining to all of the clouds is that we’ve been making good time and today we’re celebrating less than 1000 miles to go to Hilo. We also have reports from a boat a couple hundred miles ahead of us that there is indeed some sunshine out there. Capn Ham Radio is running the Hawaii Puddle Jumpers net so every night we get to talk to the other boats on the same route which helps us feel connected.

Miles to go: 999
Beers remaining: 75
Times Susan’s been awoken by saltwater squirting through the hatch as we take a big wave on deck: 2

One Week Out

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

We’ve been underway for a week now! Thankfully we’re in much better shape in terms of seasickness. Although we’re not tossing back margaritas, neither are we tossing up lunch, so we can’t complain.

PregnanSea : While we were still in the throes of seasickness, Capn Cookie Tosser asked in horror, “Is this what it’s like being pregnant?” I replied that there are a lot of similarities:

1. You’re nauseated
2. You’re always tired, if not exhausted
3. You have weird food cravings and aversions (personally I can’t get enough of Trader Joe’s Indian fare but can’t stand the thought of cheese)
4. Your mind is dominated by two thoughts: “What have I gotten myself into?” and “I’m gonna kill the man that talked me into this.”

FantaSeas: you’d think we’d be worried about just making it to Hawaii, but really, what’s most concerning is what comes after Hawaii. Will we be up for another twenty-something day passage within 4-6 weeks of arriving? Todd admitted that he’d been fantasizing about how he could fly back to California and get me to bring the boat back without him. “Wow, me too!” I confided, “I’d been thinking maybe I could get Rick and Marcus to help you bring the boat back. Todd snickered, “my plan was to bait you by getting a couple hot young guys to crew with you.” Huh. When I asked what he’d do if I ran off with one of these guys and the boat, he just shrugged and said, “Eh.”

As I said, luckily we’re feeling better now. Capn Iron Stomach had a “break-through” today; not only did he fix himself “pizza” (sandwich bread with tomato sauce and cheese), he ate it with beer while reading a book below decks. He was so pleased with his progress that he celebrated by eating a half pound of whoppers (malted milk balls). Ironically, this resulted in a tummy ache.

Miles to go: 1895
Beers remaining: 85


Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Our friend Rick says, when you’re homesick it’s because you want to go home and when you’re seasick it’s because you want to go to sea. Oh, if only that were the case!

We left the anchorage at Frailes mid-day on Saturday May 1st bound for Hilo, Hawaii. We had good sailing until that night when we were left with no wind and washing machine seas off of Cabo San Lucas. Knowing there had to be wind ahead around the cape we motored for a couple of hours and at midnight were sailing again.

The last couple of days have been mostly, well, miserable! Although conditions have been great with just the right amount of wind our seasickness has limited our activities to sleeping, laying on the cabin sole wishing we could sleep, dry heaving over the rail, and cursing the ijiit who bought 4 cases of beer and only 4 bottles of Gatorade.

On our 2nd day out a brown booby circled the boat a number of times before landing on our new life lines for a rest. Although we knew our kindness would be repaid in guano neither of us had the heart to shoo the little guy off. He preened and rested for several hours and then left us, but not before paying his bill in spurts on the foredeck.

The other night I was laying on the cabin sole between checking the horizon for ships while Capn Sweet Dreams was asleep in Sequoia’s berth. Suddenly he raised himself up and shouted “Ahoy there!” Confused I replied “I’m right here” as I was a mere 5 feet away from him. He mumbled something incoherent in his half asleep state so I said sternly “you’re hallucinating, go back to sleep, and next time buy more Gatorade.”

Thankfully we seem to be acclimating now and surprisingly this is one thing that Todd has done faster than I. We’re hopeful that we’ll soon feel good enough to add watching movies, reading books, and drinking beer to our vast daily repertoire.

Miles to go: 2350
Beers remaining: 90 (sigh)
Dead squid on deck: 2

Almost (but not quite) Gone

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Left La Paz Tues 4/27, great sail to Caleta Lobos and a quiet night at anchor.

Weds 4/28 went thru the Cerralvo Channel, but were surprised by southerly winds; still managed to sail most of the way, and decided to anchor at La Ventana, where we spent another day waiting for the winds to change. Unfortunately, they did at about 11pm- came strong from the west (reported to be 40 kts)! Had an uncomfortable night but decided to wait it out. Later heard of two boats on the rocks/beach at Muertos, on the other side of the point we were at.

Awoke to screaming winds and large swells, so we decided to get out of there. Had our walkie-talkie headsets on for the operation. Capn Calm N. Collected’s commentary: “Oh my god! NO! Ahhh! Oh, f#%*!” I thought he might be hurt, praying “God, don’t let it be his hands! He can’t support me if he can’t type!” Turns out we were just paying out anchor chain unintentionally. Got the anchor up with the only victim being our heavily chafed snubber, got the hell out, and had a good sail down to Los Frailes.

Sat 5/1: Still deciding if we strike out this afternoon or wait til the morning. Next landfall Hilo?
Capn Junk N. DaTrunk’s latest trick: sitting on the auto-pilot remote. He puts down the remote, forgets it, sits on it, then exclaims in shock when the auto-pilot goes wild.

Miles to go: 2675
Beers remaining: 90.

Anchored in San Juanico

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

North of La Paz on the inside of the Baja there’s very little in the way of coastal towns other than Loreto, Mulege, and Santa Rosalia which is why you haven’t heard from us recently. This update is coming to you via Winlink (over our HAM radio).

We had a great time in Bahia Agua Verde, where we spent a week snorkeling, kayaking, and having cookouts on the beach with our buddy boats Theophilus and Sassona. The kids slept in a tent on the beach a couple of nights, and had a lot of fun!

Loreto and Mulege are roadstead anchorages (no protection from wind or swell) so you typically stop there just long enough to launch the dinghy, reprovision, and then move on. We enjoyed our short overnight stay in Loreto (even though I (Capn Pacifico) had a hard time sleeping with the wind and chop) but we did manage to get into town for dinner, breakfast, and two grocery shopping trips.

We’re now anchored in the very picturesque and mostly uninhabited bay of San Juanico, getting ready to head the 50 nautical miles further north to Mulege before crossing the sea to San Carlos. We’re scheduled to haul the boat out on May 26th and will leave it in dry storage in San Carlos while we return to California for 6 months to work and visit friends and family.