Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting Ready to Cruise to Hawaii

For the last few days we have been swinging on anchor at La Cruz. The week before, we were in the marina, taking advantage of being on the dock to prime Ka’sala for her offshore passage. Doug has been going over the boat with a fine tooth comb. The engine, with new seals and tune up, is ready. The deep cycle batteries have been replaced and we are more than thrilled with the results. We fixed the whisker pole. Doug has been up the mast several times to make sure all the fittings are sound and the instruments functional. He’s been all over the rig and it’s also ready to go. He’s checked out the hull and there is no untoward growth (though we will give it a last scrub just before we leave).

We have been through all the lockers and storage areas inside Ka’sala, cleaned, tidied and organized. We’ve created room for the provisions to come and hung nets for produce. We’ve been on the internet reading about Hawaii, the expected weather and sea conditions en route. We’ve looked at charts and Doug has created a working copy for me to plot our route as we are underway. I’ve been reading blogs and books of people who have completed the journey with a specific eye to provisioning. We’ve met a handful of others who will be heading to Hawaii around the same time as us. (Most recently two Dutch boats heading to Alaska via Hawaii – one of which who will winter their boat in Comox! – a small world!)

Talagoa ,with Waldy and Rhia aboard, will be wintering in Comox after her Hawaii/Alaska adventure

I’ve been to the doctor to get a couple courses of antibiotics for our medical kit and will soon compliment it with painkillers as well. All going well, we won’t need to use these medications, but there are no pharmacies at sea!

On the anchor we have been able to work with the HAM radio to see how our communications will work. Doug went over the entire antenna system, replacing a fuse, cleaning and adjusting. We discovered the Canadian flag we fly on the back stay interferes with our signal, so we have removed it. For the last three nights we have been listening in to the Pacific Puddle Jump Net (PPJ) and the Pacific Seafarers’ Net. (PSN) We have been able to hear net control, relays and boats reporting all over the Pacific – even Jan, on Nerieda, on her way from the Falklands to Cape Town in the South Atlantic. We’ve been thrilled to communicate with Steve, aboard Silas Crosby, on his way from Easter Island to Chile. Doug has helped relay for the PPJ net each night.

While we listen in, I use my practice chart to plot their positions.

We are very pleased to hear and be heard all over the Pacific because this will become our lifeline once we are underway.

One thing we will not have at sea is the capacity to email or be on the internet. The only way we can communicate will be by the SSB. I won’t be able to blog while underway and, unless you have an SSB, you won’t be able to contact us until we arrive in Hawaii. However, there is a way you can keep track of our progress. The Pacific Seafarers’ Net works in conjunction with YOTREPS to track boats underway, file weather reports and provide a variety of supports. We have registered with both and, once we start our journey, we will be in HAM radio contact with the PSN every 24 hours weather and atmospheric conditions permitting. They chart our information, post it on their website, and pass it on to YOTREPS who post it graphically on their website. To get this information, follow these steps:

Go to: This URL is the PSN homepage. Look to the column on the left and the link entitled: “Current Roll Call”. Click on that. There you will get a list of boats which are currently at sea and their current details. (latitude, longitude, speed, wind, swell, etc.) You won’t find us there yet, but once underway we are identified by our HAM call sign: VE7KSL.

If you want to see the graphic representation of our journey on YOTREPS, go to:  This is a list of boats registered with YOTREPS. Scroll down until you come to our HAM call sign: VE7KSL and beside it our boat name. Click on the “track” button and you will be forwarded to a Google Map which will show our position. You can use the keys at the upper left of the map to zoom in and out and move around.

If you decide to follow us, I recommend you read: which outlines the reasons why we might have missed a check in. Also, the Frequently Asked Questions on the YOTREPS site gives more information on how the system works:

Although I will not be able to blog while we are en route, I will be keeping a log on my computer which I will post once we get to Hawaii. We will start looking for a weather window to leave Banderas Bay around April 15. The trip is approximately 2800 nautical miles and will take us 21 to 30 days, depending on wind and waves. We hope to catch a northerly flow to push us offshore and out of the influence of coastal waters into the trade winds which will push us from the EastNorthEast to Hawaii. We hope to follow the rhumb line and stay around 19 degrees North latitude on a course of approximately 270 degrees West. Of course, each day we will have to accommodate the wind – we can’t sail directly into it and sailing close to it is very uncomfortable. We will, undoubtedly, be adapting to the conditions we find ourselves in. There is also a current in our favour so, even if we become becalmed, we have a very good chance of continuing in the correct direction.

On Sunday, April 10, we will move off the anchorage in La Cruz over to Paradise Village. It is easier for us to do our Mexican clearances from there and to provision. Luckily for us, Susan and Gary have offered to help us with their van and will take us where we need to get stores and fresh produce. Paradise Village has excellent, purified water, so we want to make sure our tanks are full before we leave. (We hold 500 litres). Being on the dock will also make it easier to do last minute jobs.

I will make sure I post just before we leave so you can follow us on YOTREPS and the PSN. In the meantime, although I am looking forward to the adventure, I am also nervous of the unknown. I’m working on myself psychologically to focus on the positive and keep an open mind. (Mummy!)

1 comment:

  1. Hola! We are so pleased to hear that all is on track for your next 'great adventure' - the long way home to Van. Island! Intrepid II is now being made ready for another summer on the hard in Guaymas and we will be home in early May. Perhaps we can connect over the summer and share stories of our travels since we crossed paths in San Blas. Carol & Kelly