Saturday, May 21, 2011

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Hawaii Week Two: April 27 to May 2

On Day 8 I discovered the nets I was using to hold the fruit were not working well. They swung back and forth so much in the increased motion that they started bashing against the portlights. I transferred the fruit to the bins I had set up in the forepeak. I could see the oranges were starting to go so began an orgy of juice making. (You might try that with a hand held squisher juicer in a pitching boat – just think of the anaerobic exercise, not to mention the clean-up!)

My juicer, bought at a Mexican market, looks like this, but is metal.  The problem is the orange is often too big for the cup making it an experience at the best of times!

We hadn’t had any rain at all and, as a result, Ka’sala was becoming very salt encrusted on the outside and sticky on the inside – especially around the companionway and the cabin sole. Our feet were also looking salty and dry. I hated to use the fresh water, but I ended up wiping down all the interior surfaces with Mr. Clean and using the left over water in the cockpit. It made a difference for our comfort. I had bought Huggies Baby Wipes and, using one of them to wipe down arms and legs, kept the dry salt at bay and saved water.

From my journal on Day 8: Most of the time we are below either in the berth or at the nav station, reading ,listening to books and music, talking together, or sleeping. I’m trying to make a point of doing at least one special thing a day and before I get out of the berth after my last watch, I visualize what I will do to bide the time and keep myself sane until the night watches begin again. I try to think of things in 24 hour segments and refuse to contemplate anything negative. It’s a very good way to have uninterrupted thinking time.

In addition to all this I am becoming a better sailor. When on watch I watch the digital GPS at the nav station – it shows COG (course over ground) and SOG (speed over ground). By this instrument alone I can pretty well figure out what needs to be done to trim sails or adjust the Monitor.

I keep my eye on the AIS and every 10 – 15 minutes I pop my head up and scan the horizon for other craft. Ka’sala is an amazing boat and takes everything that comes her way. All three of us are working as a team.


Doug has figured if we can keep to 6 knots we will be in Hawaii in 14 more days. We probably won’t stick to that today, but according to the weather forecasts we got this morning, more wind is coming our way by Thursday and we can expect 20+ knots. Doug thinks it will be more comfortable, though, because as we move farther west, the winds come more from the east – making the ride smoother.

In fact, over the next few weeks, this is how it worked out. We noticed that the ride was much smoother over 6 knots, it was quieter and the Monitor was able to hold its heading easier. It was only when I popped my head out of the companionway and saw the mountainous waves that I had a true feeling of the circumstances we found ourselves in. Better to stay below!

However, at the beginning of the second week, as the wind veered from the north to the north-north east and eventually the east, we were transitioning from a beam reach to the beam quarter and finally a run to continue to make our heading of 260 degrees. Unfortunately, the seas didn’t follow the wind at the same time and, as a result, there were periods where our sails were trimmed to the wind, but the seas would push us off. This caused unexpected lurches and pitches below, which in turn caused us to stagger and fall into things. We had to hold on all the time. Preparing and dishing up meals became a real challenge and I blessed my gimbaled stove. I learned the hard way that even Scootguard would not hold a bowl in place. On Day 8, as I was dishing up a one pot meal of pork and beans we were hit by what I affectionately called a “flipper wave” and dinner tossed out of the pot and bowls and spewed all over the galley. One bowl – made of unbreakable Corelle – crashed into the other and split in two. We really wanted to keep our heading, but figured this was way too much bashing, so came off the wind 30 degrees to try to even things out more. We were partially successful, but eventually, things calmed down again and we were able to come back to our 260 degree heading. Nonetheless, we did make 125 nautical miles that day in the right direction.

As the wind came more from the stern and the sea state increased, we found we needed to brace the headsail and the mainsail. Doug had improved our preventer system in Mexico and this worked well to hold the boom in place. Unfortunately, soon after we employed our whisker pole on the headsail it broke again. This time it became impossible for it to articulate fully and we were left with a pole that would only work on the staysail. However, necessity is the mother of invention, and Doug set up a tweaker system through a system of blocks and pulleys which attached the clew of the yankee to the end of the boom. This worked well as long as we were on a broad reach. If we needed to go wing on wing and run, which eventually happened, we would not be able to use the main. Instead, we would have to pole out the staysail with what remained of the whisker pole and use the boom to sheet out the headsail.

                       Tidying up the nettles on the reef

By Day 9 we were really beginning to feel we were out of the influence of the Mexican land mass. We were well beyond the Baja at 120 degrees longitude and looking forward to the fabled tradewinds which we were told blew consistently in an easterly direction all the way to Hawaii. We had an uneventful day in reasonable winds and seas and so enjoyed grooving to the music of Stan Rogers, the Ecclestones and Bruce Springsteen. It was a spectacularly warm, sunny day and I made orange bread to help with the night passages, while Doug took videos from the cockpit. We made 124 miles.

Happy times in the cockpit

On Day 10 we turned our clocks back another hour. We figured out Hawaii was 5 hours behind Puerto Vallarta time and didn’t use daylight savings. We adjusted according to the light. This day was the first time we ran our engine since we had been becalmed near the Socorros. We learned that this was a mistake. We should have been running the engine every day for an hour regardless, because Doug discovered our batteries were not charging the way they should be. Even though he had gone over all the electrics in Mexico and we had replaced our batteries with new deep cycles, they were not charging. Doug couldn’t help but think this was due to the alternator, the regulator or both. He knew we were using a lot of power to run our trilight at night (the light at the top of the mast that indicates a sailboat underway in the darkness). Originally we had an LED light there, but it interfered too much with the radios, so Doug replaced it. Another huge draw on the batteries was the refrigerator. We knew our computers took a lot of current but hadn’t been using them. Otherwise, we only needed power to run reading lights and the radio. Needless to say, this was very frustrating. The good news was we had used very little fuel since our last fill-up in La Cruz and still held over 400 litres.

That day we also had a warm water shampoo and bath. We abandoned the shower bag and the salt water for the comfort of the galley sink which made the whole experience a lot easier and more pleasant. There is nothing like the feeling of being clean!

The wind did not pick up that day as we expected, though the passage remained bumpy. I was fast becoming an expert at holding my balance and cooking reasonable meals, though on this day I managed to spill an entire jug of water all over the galley. Finding the silver lining in the cloud, I just took the opportunity to give it a good wipe down. My journal starts showing I’m estimating the time for the journey to be over based on the winds and our mileage. It also begins to show my frustration when the winds die down, because that means sloppy seas and difficulty for the Monitor to hold our heading. It means we are constantly adjusting and tweaking sails and vane to get the most out of what we have. This can be exhausting and frustrating work – especially at night. However, although it seemed like we were slowing down, we were consistently clocking 125 miles a day.

          Holding on in the galley

                   You'd think we'd eaten pizza all the way across! 

Day 11 was cooler and overcast. We sailed most of the day wing on wing at 5 – 6 knots in 20 – 25 knot winds. The only wild life we saw were dead – one day a little brown bird in the cockpit, other days little fishes on the side deck and on another a squid in the cockpit – not the 40 pounder I had been told was out there! No birds flying in the sky, no dolphins playing on our bow, no fish under our keel - just miles and miles of endless deep blue sea capped with foam.

By now we were in a routine that seemed to keep us comfortable and positive. I was avidly reading novels – a pleasure I thought I would not experience on this trip – and by the time I’d reached Hawaii I’d read quite a few - from thrillers to historical fiction to literature. I found myself doing a great deal of thinking about what we would find and do in Hawaii, our next long passage to BC, returning to work, our home and our friends, my family, and imagining life without my pets (who have since died). I thought a lot about the meaning of time and life, of getting old and, oh yeah, the meaning of life! I tried very hard to believe that everything is worthwhile, trying to stay positive, but the huge expanse of space around me continued to make me and my life seem pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things and I had to catch myself when I wondered: What does it all matter? What is the point?

Beautiful Bella

Amazing Abby

Day 15 at 134 degrees west and we made 133 miles.  Still no rain.  The outside of Ka’sala is encrusted and a patina of salt lies on everything.  Our feet are dry and sore despite frequent washing and applications of cream.  It’s still warm, but cloudy.  The wind has become fluky and shifts back and forth 30 degrees from east to east north east and back again.  Doug is going through all the possible sail configurations in his head – so many factors to consider – stability and safety, heading, wind strength and sea state. He’s done his research and he is putting all his knowledge to the test.  We’re certainly doing lots of reefing and unreefing – in other words, we’re sailing the boat!  Weather predictions are the strong winds generated by the large Pacific high above us will take us all the way to Hawaii. 
From the journal:  “Everything is fine on board – spirits are generally “up”, but the whole thing is a bit wearying with the constant noise and motion – always needing to be aware of what’s going on outside and knowing how to accommodate the conditions.  Doug is amazing at this and continues to navigate and do the radio work as well.  We are more downwind today and that is not as comfortable, as the main fights to bring us up on the wind and the yankee to bring us down.  I can barely stand to look out the stern and see the rising waves – much better at night when I can’t see anything!  Last night on my watch I was able to go on deck and raise the main and unshaken the reefs by myself – so I’m not a total coward – though somewhat intimidated.” 
It’s Day 16 and we covered another 135 miles.  The wind continues to be more easterly and is supposed to lower to 15 – 20.  The boat seems to have an easier motion today so I will bake up a storm by making Ziploc bread and carrot muffins.  Doug is pensive, a little quiet and perhaps a bit down.  It’s hard to keep a stiff upper lip for weeks at a time.  I’ve saved a bottle of Alaskan Amber to celebrate less than 1000 miles to go, so perhaps we will crack that today.  With fresh bread, fresh muffins, a great beer and macaroni and cheese for dinner, I’m sure that will make him feel better. 
We have to change time zones again.  We’re not exactly sure where and when to do it, but go by the light.  Hawaii is 10 minus Greenwich, so we know we have to accommodate a 5 hour time difference from Mexico before we arrive. 
From my journal:  Day 17 was a perfect sailing day.  Winds were 15 – 20 all day, 20 – 25 in the evening and 20 all night.  The waves were well dispersed during the day, but became confused and closer during the night - making for bumpy sleeping.  Randy, on the Seafarer’s Net, told us we were now “in the groove” that would take us all the way to Hawaii.  The weather faxes also seem to verify his prediction meaning we have a week to go.  Doug is concerned we might start to run into squalls, so we will start watching cloud patterns more closely to be prepared if one comes upon us.  Certainly there is more towering cumulus around and we are starting to see rain showers in the distance.  The sea continues to warm up – almost 78 degrees today and intense crystal sapphire blue.
Our provisions are more than holding out and we still have plenty of water.  We are continuing to run the motor one hour each day as we sail along.  Doug is frustrated because the wind generator and solar panels are putting out lots of amps, but for some reason they aren’t getting into the batteries. Regulator?  Alternator? Energy monitor? 
We are finding ourselves wishing for more wind as we know Ka’sala is more stable over 6 knots in these crazy, confused seas.  After a couple of weeks of this you get kind of tired trying to do the simplest things such as brushing your teeth or kissing each other goodnight. 
Day 18 found us at 141 degrees west – we covered 140 nautical miles.  From the journal:  Today we talked about what we might find in Hilo and what we might do there.  We have no guide books or internet to guide us on board.  However, there are jobs to do on Ka’sala – alternator, regulator, rivet the whisker pole, replace the trilight with an LED bulb and see what can be done with the leaking forward hatch.  We are SO pleased with Ka’sala and her performance.  Doug has prepared her well and she is withstanding the circumstances she finds herself in.  The slapping and pounding of the huge waves seem totally unfair against her beautiful hull.  We are also wondering what adventures might await us on the Big Island.  We know we will visit the volcanoes – what else?
Last night Doug tried to analyze why we have these confused seas.  According to the weather fax there is a huge ridge of high pressure extending north of us across the Pacific.  It shows we should be experiencing 20 knot winds that will put us in a direct line to Hawaii.  What Doug noticed is that our regular 15 knot wind comes ENE accompanied by swell and wind wave, but every 10 minutes of so, a strong gust comes from a more northerly direction, bringing Ka’sala higher into the wind and exposing our beam to the seas.  When the gust expends itself, she falls back down, only to get slapped on the other side.  Well , now that we’ve figured that out, what does it tell us?  Basically – this is how the conditions will be, probably all the way to Hawaii.  That’s okay, as long as the wind stays with us to keep us abreast of the waves. 
Based on the conditions, I decided to move our main meal to mid day when things seem calmer.  That day I went all out and made roast potatoes, tinned roast beef in mushroom gravy and carrots.  Delicious!  I also had my first cup of coffee in two weeks.  Wow! Did it taste good!
On Day 19 Doug turned on the computer to match the B & G GPS to the electronic charts.  Right on target!  We woke to cloudy skies and could see light showers in the distance, but still no rain to wash off Ka’sala’s salt crust.  I worried that rain would bring a disruption of our steady progress, but it didn’t turn out that way.  I’m still baking bread and made more pizza – one of Doug’s favourites.  My fresh provisions continue to hold up well and I figured I would have to throw out quite a bit of it before we reached Hawaii to satisfy their strict agriculture laws.  I hate the thought of throwing food away, but I certainly understand the desire to keep out invasive species, diseases and bugs.  Only 592 miles to go!
On Day 20 we had our first rain shower, but not enough to clean off the salt.  It seemed weird to realize that it was the first rain we had seen since Marina Del Rey last November!  Doug says he’s missed the rain.  I haven’t!  In fact, I’ve noticed our Mexican tans are beginning to fade.  I wonder if we will be able to top them up in Hawaii.  The wind has died down to 15 knots and Ka’sala is being tossed around again.  We’ve noticed that if we can keep the boat above 6 knots we move smoothly and smartly along.  This isn’t always easy when the wind is directly behind us and we have to make long tacks to make distance and speed.  Doug decided to pass the time constructively and over the next couple days polished all the brass aboard to a soft glow.
On Day 21 we needed to sail directly downwind to make our heading.  We dropped the mainsail and Doug set the yankee held out with the tweaker he had attached to the boom.  He then used the shortened whisker pole to hold out the staysail.  It worked well, and kept us stable, but we were under speed by about a knot by using the staysail instead of the main.  We missed that whisker pole! The weather continues warm – air temperature 25, water 75 and humidity 75%.
I made a big tomato sauce from as many of the last vegetables as I could fit in my large wok.  From that I made pasta sauce and chili.  I made the last loaf of Ziploc bread for the passage.  I was wearier that day than most – probably because of the constant motion, but still reading and enjoying the eclectic selection of books I have brought with me – the bunk was incredibly comfortable.  From the journal:  Unfortunately, the movement of the boat did not get any better as the day progressed.  We had afternoon rain showers and, as they came toward us from behind, we got a little push, but then the wind dropped off again.  Unfortunately, the seas did not and seemed to develop a nasty cross fetch that made it almost impossible to sleep.  In the lighter winds the sails started to slap and heave – a dreadful sound that shakes the whole boat.  It’s also disheartening to know that slowing down increases the time to our destination.  By this time, I just wanted it to be over and I had to work hard to keep my patience and not get cranky.  Nonetheless, we made 118 miles that day.
On Day 22 we had been three weeks at sea, the time seemed endless and Mexico seemed a very long time ago.  We were still flying wing on wing, staysail and yankee.  The winds continued light, but the seas were also lying down.  We decided if we dropped below 3 knots of speed, as we had during the previous night, we would motor.  As we neared our destination I thought about garbage – all along we had been throwing paper, food scraps, cans, glass bottles and jars overboard.  All plastic and juice boxes had been cleaned and carefully compressed for disposal in Hilo.  We’ve been told to expect the agriculture officials to inspect our garbage and I wanted to be ready for that.  We slept like babies during the day in the calmer conditions.
Day 23 at 152 degrees and only 134 miles to go!  Conditions were still light so we decided to fly the drifter for a few hours.  It gave us about 4 knots, but we were so close to our destination we wanted to fly into port a lot faster!  It seemed unbearably slow. We started to hear the Coast guard reports on the VHF and knew we were near.  It felt strange to realize today would likely be our last day at sea.    From the journal:  Doug is a little worried as he sees the potential for towering “Q’s” all around us which might bring squally conditions with thunder and lightning.  I hope not.  Based on the conditions and our position we expect to arrive tomorrow around lunch time – perfect for getting ourselves into the harbour and securely tucked away with enough time to check into customs.  The thought of a potential pub dinner is highly motivating. 
I cleaned out all the rest of the fresh provisions and threw out jicama, cabbage and limes, as well as three potatoes, six onions and a head of garlic.  We will have the last two tomatoes and the last apple for lunch today. 
On the morning of Day 24 we were frustrated by how light the winds were, though the sea state remained reasonably calm.  We could only manage four knots and spent most of the night tweaking the most out of the sails.  We kept a close watch – concerned we might encounter boats as we came closer to the coast, but didn’t see one.  By 9am we could see the coastline of Hawaii in the distance, but most of it was enshrouded by cloud.  Not what we would have expected as the biggest volcano is almost 14,000 feet.  We thought we might see it looming in the distance.  Both of us were primed to yell: “Land Ho!”, but  instead, the island just slowly evolved out of the clouds.
The winds were so light we dropped the yankee and with the main motor-sailed into Hilo.   Using the electronic Autohelm ST4000, we followed the electronic chart and sat back to enjoy the scenery unfolding before us.  To the north we could see, beneath the clouds, the long slope of land leading to the sea.  It was covered with vegetation in the most startling colour of lime green and framed with long steaks of dark stuff we later discovered was hardened lava, all displayed through shafts of sunlight playing hide and seek across it.  We found it a little disconcerting and SO different from the Mexican landscape we had grown used to.  As we came closer to shore we could make out large buildings, then houses, then cars on the road that snaked its way along the coast.
As we approached the harbour, we had to navigate around a long, low breakwater that juts out into the bay and were immediately in flat calm.  The sensation of stillness seemed very odd as we raised the yellow quarantine flag, lowered the main and pulled out the fenders and docklines.  It seemed impossible that in a few minutes we would be attached to shore again and we would be using our legs to walk rather than balance.  I didn’t feel particularly excited about it – just an incredible sense of accomplishment sprinkled with my usual anxiety about docking in a new place and, this time, in a new way, as we would have to med-moor here.   
We followed the bouys, navigated around a cargo ship in the port and through a 100 foot gap at the end of a dock into Radio Bay.  Tied to the jetty at the end of were Midnight Blue, Sequoia and Touch Rain, as well as two other boats I didn’t recognize.  We had plenty of room to check out the situation and prepare the anchor, lines and anchor float.  We could see people on the jetty waiting to help us tie off.  Doug smartly brought the boat up, I dropped the anchor and we backed on to the jetty.  I stood on the rail and hefted the lines to waiting hands while Doug manipulated the anchor winch with the foot controls in the cockpit.  Before we could even comprehend it, the motor was off and we were secured to the jetty.  I had moved forward to untie the dinghy and prepare it for going over the side.  Even though we were tied to the jetty, we were still 10 feet from the wall – too far to hop across, yet far enough away to protect the stern of Ka’sala.  We would need the dinghy to traverse those few feet.
Shortly, we were ashore and the crews from the surrounding boats were congratulating us and clapping us on the back.  It was about 3:30 and we were in an all fired rush to get to customs so we could clear into customs and agriculture.  We knew we had to do it before we would be allowed ashore for our much desired steak dinner.  Unfortunately, the office had closed at 2pm and we were to remain in limbo until the next morning. 
Radio Bay is a marine industrial area and port with all kinds of things going on.  As an outcome of 9/11 and the concerns of Homeland Security, crews of visiting sailboats must be escorted by security guards through the area.  Bryoner picked us up in his truck and drove us to the main gate through stacked containers, parked cars, large warehouses, gantries and a confusing pattern of roadways, where we checked into the harbour.  Because we are under 40 feet, we were charged $9.00 a day to tie to the jetty.  (Over 40 feet is $12.00).  Fresh water is available, but only two power accesses could be found which were metered at a cost 25 cents for an hour.  Luckily, we were able to plug into one of them which enabled us to fully charge our batteries over the next 24 hours.  We had to put a $50.00 deposit on a key to the washrooms placed nearby the jetty.  We paid for a week, then were returned to Ka’sala.  No steak dinner that night!
To make amends, I dug around in the food locker and was able to produce “stack” – one of our favourite left over roast beef meals – from tinned roast beef and mushrooms, packaged gravy mix, a box of mixed vegetables and a huge heap of reconstituted dried mashed potatoes.  It was surprisingly good and so was the wine we drank to celebrate!  A large tin of fruit cocktail finished the meal – gee – not bad!
Soon after dinner we were in the bunk, fast asleep, still not caught up with the fact we had arrived.  The next day would begin a new chapter in our year-long cruise.

After a snooze and a good headshake I made baked chicken casserole for dinner with a little wine and felt a little better. Soon after the meal, though, the winds and seas picked up, as a consequence of gales off the coast of California, pushing in a clockwise direction off the land. Gradually we put two reefs in the main and yankee, the seas ran up to 14 feet with 25 knot winds and gusts to 30. It was an uncomfortable night on a variety of levels, but morning came and we were fine. I wondered what the family and friends, who were following our passage on Yotreps, thought, as they watched our little emblem on Google maps progress across the Pacific. We made 124 miles that day.

                                   Sensory deprivation in the bunk

On that day I thought about Comox, which is located at 124 degrees west and 49 degrees north, and realized that if we were to sprout wings and fly straight north we would get there sooner than if we were to do the same thing and head toward Hilo. All of a sudden, Hawaii seemed way out of our way and I had to fight the feeling of homesickness that overcame me.

Day 12 was April 30 and my brother, Wes’ s 44th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Wes!

I wondered how he was and how he was celebrating. We were at 126 degrees – almost 30 more to Hawaii. Little did I know at the time we were over halfway there in terms of time at sea. The conditions continued as the day before and we were flying along. Doug was totally in his element and as happy as a clam. I focused on the fact that I was doing fine; I could manage and, if we could keep going like in the same way, we would arrive sooner, rather than later. We’d been hearing “scratchy bits” on Channel 16 on the VHF radio and wondered if there were other vessels close by, but we saw nothing and nothing showed up on the AIS. We had our fastest day and covered 150 miles.

                                     Doug is in his element!

On day 13 we made 135 miles and I wrote in my journal: Later this morning we will hit the half way point and will celebrate with an oversized Port Townsend IPA. We’ll give a bit to Neptune, even though we know we don’t need to do that until we cross the equator. Nonetheless, he’s been pretty good to us and I want it to continue!

                                  First IPA since California!

We went through the night at 6.5 to 7 knots and this morning, when we had daylight, we could see the seas. HUGE! Ka’sala seems to glide through them and the ride isn’t too bad. It feels precarious, though. On my watch last night I saw the SOG go to 8 knots and it was so calm it felt like we were in the air (well, maybe we were, but there was no crash landing!) The water hisses by the hull and occasionally we get knocked off a crest to pound and slither before we are back in the saddle again. I can barely stand to look.

I’m trying to learn to be patient and relaxed and take each day as it comes and do everything I can to minimize any stress or panic I might feel. Ironically, sometimes I feel claustrophobic – a weird feeling in such a great expanse. When I get a little hysterical I say “Beam me up, Scottie”, then just laugh. We are such tiny creatures – so vulnerable and completely insignificant in this vast landscape. I feel very blessed to be experiencing this, but it is overwhelming and hard to come to terms with. Let’s put it this way – a little house in suburbia with its defined boundaries seems a very safe and manageable place right now!

Our watches continue to work well and we both try to get a reasonable nap during the day. We don’t actually DO that much, but everything we do takes planning and careful execution. To date I have spilled a jug of orange juice, a pitcher of water, a dinner of pork and beans, a beer and a glass of wine. We literally can’t set a thing down unless we are fine with seeing it fly across the cabin when the next cross wave hits us!

Today I will try to make a curry to celebrate the ½ way point and the fact that we are healthy and happy. So far, so good. I hope it takes us all the way to Hawaii. Thank you powers that be! Doug continues to take fine care of Ka’sala and her crew – monitoring systems and making sure everything runs smoothly. He is in his element!

                                       Halfway to Hawaii!

Day 14 from my journal: We are now at 132 degrees – over half way. The wind continued 20 – 25 knots right through until midnight when it lowered to 15 – 20. We let out the reef in the foresail and flew along at 6 knots under full yankee and double reefed main. The boat is nicely balanced on a deep beam reach and the Monitor keeps her steady on course give or take 10 degrees. The sea state is high with a 4 – 6ft wind chop and a large underlying swell. Every couple of minutes we encounter a combined wave which pitches poor Ka’sala sometimes burying a rail, sometimes setting her askew and sometimes causing an up and down pumping action. We never seem to know how we are going to get it so are always skittering around trying to keep our balance or from falling into things. When we were on a starboard tack, everything stayed on one side of the boat and we could pretty well count on it. With the wind at the back, there is more rocking and rolling, side to side movement. After all, Ka’sala is but a very tiny boat in this vast sea of turquoise blue.

Still mostly cloudy each day, sea temperatures hover around 70 degrees and we are managing to hold our course at 19 degrees north latitude. Weather fax reports say these conditions will continue for the next couple days, then we may get higher winds again. I hope not. Keeping 6 knots of speed means we will be in Hilo in 10 days. Everything is great on board – not too tired, bored or cranky. The days have a certain rhythm and the 3 hour watch pattern is helpful. We are always challenged – just. We keep up our awareness and are constantly in tune to the sound and feel of any changes.

Today we washed our hair – so lovely to do it! The state of hygiene is adequate and certainly not as bad as I thought it might be. We wear T shirts and shorts and bare feet. At night an extra sweater and rain gear helps to keep out the salt and splashes. Inside the boat is dry and comfortable.

The food is lasting well and I’m able make prepare at least one hot meal a day, though it’s served in a bowl. My first meal ashore will be fussy – lots of this and that on a plate!

That night the wind came up to 30 knots and we lowered sail until we were under reefed yankee alone and we slewed back and forth in very big seas. However, soon after dark, things calmed down and, by midnight, we had the main up again.   We made 133 miles that day and by the end of week two had about 1100 miles to go to Hilo.


  1. What a great adventure! Thank you for sharing it with us all! It seems you've found the meaning of life is good food! We're glad you didnt suffer from malnutrition on the journey. We're now in Seattle dreaming reading your posts and waiting for October when we'll continue with our own adventure. Love, Carl and Cristina

  2. Hi

    Enjoying the website and all the tribulations of doing this. Keep on going we are follwing

    Best sailing
    Anne and Dick
    Full & By