“Is that ship going to hit us?”

Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View

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Day 27 -- Last push to Hawaii

A bit of a wild night last night. The rain clouds were out causing havok. Everytime a cloud snuck up behind us the wind would increase sharply and then the rain drizzeled down. After the shower, the cloud would move on taking the wind with it. That would leave us wallowing in the super sloppy seas when our speed dropped from 6+ knots to 3.5 or worse. Repeat that multiple times.

On my watch the rain came down so hard I had to hide below. The extra wind however was a boon for making miles. 129 in the last 24 (only counting westward miles). As I write this we are less than 80 miles away. My best guess is we'll get near the bay around 3/4 am. and at the enterance around 4 or 5. This will be our last full day and night at sea.

We can already hear the USCG and NOAA weather on the VHF. This is the first VHF traffic we've heard in at least 10 days if not more.

We're both pretty excited and it's going to be hard to sleep off-watch. I'm a bit bummed we'll be approaching in the dark because I wanted to see the land rise up out of the ocean after 27/28 days. There's probably going to be more rain tonight but the winds are expected to be a bit lighter. Then later tomorrow the trade winds are going to shut down for several days! Looks like we got lucky with the timing on that one.

What I'm really looking forward to is SEEING SHERRELL! She flys in the day after we arrive. What good timing, eh? After having sailed so many miles with her at my side it was really hard to adjust to not having her with me. Not to mention we are hardly ever apart, so this month has been tough. I'm going to try to call her when we get close to the island because I'm so excited to see her again and talk to her. My sister also flys in on the same day, but she'll be in Kona the other side of the island. So Michael is going to meet her over there and they will probably stay there for a while as they have friends coming to Kona too. They'll be here long enough to help me celibrate my birthday in Hawaii!

(I've been unable to get an email connection for 2 days so these slog posts might appear out of order when they finally get through).

Day 26 - Sail. Repeat.

Posted on Wednesday May 1, 2013

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We have more wind today and I expect it to continue tomorrow which has been nice but a little rolly. Michael is already taking about how he'll miss the deep blue sea and watching the waves. He'll have another day or two to burn them into his brain along with all the video he's shot to keep him going.

He was just talking about how for the past 25 days the only thing that told us we are going anywhere is the fact that the sunset and sunrise times keep changing. The electronics help, but there's no external clues around us that we are actually going anywhere. Waves, water, wind. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It seems pretty strange that there is even an end to all this after almost a month. It's become such a central part of our daily lives that there is a weird longing for it not to end. Yeah, I can't believe I'm saying that either.

With only about 180 miles or less left we should see land soon. Just 2 more nights at sea and we will be arriving early Friday on the 3rd.

Day 25 -- Getting closer

This evening at about 7pm PST we are about 275 miles from Hilo. We can almost taste it. We've had a good sailng day making over 5 most of the afternoon. We're slowing down a little now but it appears we are on track for getting in the morning of the 3rd.

Email has been really difficult still and this email editor keeps mangling my messages and doubling up paragraphs when it sends them out (really it's not me making those errors I swear).

Day 24 - The beat goes on

Another sunny day on the brilliant blueberry sea. We've had some really relaxed sailing weather. About 10 knots out of the East. Right now it is down a little to about 7 or 8 knots and we're only doing about 3.6 knots. And we aren't headed in the ideal direction, but we're heading WSW and then we'll turn back WNW later. I think we managed about 111 miles towards Hilo in the past 24 hours but we also dropped about 30 miles south. A bit more wind would be nice, but we'll take some mellow weather too.

Right now we are 420 miles from Hilo, which is about 4 more days away. We are almost out of tomatoes (yes they lasted 24+ days without refrigeration). And we still have bread, tortillas, Mexican cheese (for Michael), potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots all doing ok without refrigeration. The colder weather really helped keep our produce from rotting. We've eaten all the apples. I bought less than planned because Michael didn't really think he'd eat many, but then once he tasted how good they were we mowed through them.

We are doing great on fresh water. Day 24 and we are still on the main tank of 38 gallons. I expected this to run out around 4-5 days ago. We've been very careful with it. We cook some dishes with a little salt water and we wash everything with salt water too.

Yesterday we had some popcorn as a treat, but we were foiled. The package must have sat on the shelf forever because it didn't pop well and was chewy. It was like having tiny little bits of cardboard with some salt and brewer's yeast.

Due to our distance from any email stations and the noise levels, getting our email messages out has become extremely difficult. It's been taking me hours of trying/retrying to send messages. I have decided to not spend so much time fighting it. I'll try once in the morning and once in the evening no more than 30 minutes each. Our HF radio needs some fine tuning so I can use it on other bands. This is the first time we've used our new antenna setup so I've been finding some issues while on this passage and it's only just now started to limit our email connectivity. I'll have to work on it in Hawaii.



Right now we are probably about 420 miles from Hilo, which is about 4 more days away. We are almost out of tomatoes (yes they lasted 24+ days without refrigeration). And we still have bread, tortillas, Mexican cheese (for Michael), potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots all doing ok without refrigeration. The colder weather really helped keep our produce from rotting. We've eaten all the apples. I bought less than planned because Michael didn't really think he'd eat many, but then once he tasted how good they were we mowed through them.

We are doing great on fresh water. Day 24 and we are still on the main tank of 38 gallons. I expected this to run out around 4-5 days ago. We've been very careful with it. We cook some dishes with a little salt water and we wash everything with salt water too.

Yesterday we had some popcorn as a treat, but we were foiled. The package must have sat on the shelf forever because it didn't pop well and was chewy.

Due to our distance from any email stations and the noise levels, getting our email messages out has become extremely difficult. It's been taking me hours of trying/retrying to send messages. I have decided to not spend so much time fighting it. I'll try once in the morning and once in the evening no more than 30 minutes each. Our HF radio needs some fine tuning so I can use it on other bands. This is the first time we've used our new antenna setup so I've been finding some issues while on this passage and it's only just now started to limit our email connectivity. I'll have to work on it in Hawaii.

Day 23 Sunshine

We had a little be slower night last 24 hours. We ran about 108 miles, but only 88 was towards Hilo which are the only miles that really count and the only ones I've been counting. This afternoon however brought us some clear skys and sunshine! We've had a little sun, but usually only in very short doses. Now it's out in full glory and the wind is a brisk 15 knots from the East.

Yesterday Michael saw a large school of flying fish, flying. He's been facinated by them showing up magically on our decks during the night. (Usually dead and stinky by the time I find them.) He was excited to see them out in action soaring over the waves.

We are about 500 miles from Hilo now. That's about 5 days away and Mexico is quickly falling into memory. As a token, I'll keep the Mexican flag flying until we reach Hilo.

I think we've shot some cool video with Michael's water proof camera. I'm excited to see the final footage, expecially the part where we make landfall.

Day 21 - The rolly option

Posted on Saturday Apr 27, 2013

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(Friday 26th)
We've been slowly creeping north of Hawaii. I would really like to be headed a bit more south, but the E winds that are supposed to be out here have remained NE. So to take a jibe south means we would be heading more south than I really want.

Today I sucked it up and set the boat up to go dead down wind just to keep from creeping north and as a stop gap until the east winds arrive when I could ease a little south without loosing my speed to the west.

I say sucked it up, because going dead down wind sucks. Boats love to roll in this condition and thus we roll and roll and roll. But we are heading on a better course. This is really the position I've been struggling to avoid. If you could see our track you would see a crazy series of creep north for a few days and then creep south again. All the while I refused to jibe south because I didn't want to give up any speed to the west. I keep hoping the easterly winds will return which make getting a little south easier.

I know I could just jibe south for a half a day and be done with it, but if I'm not heading west I'm not happy. So I'd rather roll. So if you're wondering what I'm complaining about because it's my own stuborn fault. You'd be absolutely right.

Day 20 - Boat wash

Posted on Thursday Apr 25, 2013

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Still about 800 miles to go. We are averaging about 110 miles a day which is pretty good considering all the light winds. I had another night watch with very little wind. I struggled with the big drifter to squeak out 3 knots during most of my watch. The afternoon winds are always a bit stronger and we're doing about 5.5 to 6.0 now.

I've been having lots of problems connecting to the email system lately so I haven't been able to check the weather in a while. I think it is supposed to remain light again tonight, but beyond that I'm not sure what's in store.

We haven't seen any more ships or any wildlife other than a few flying fish on deck and the ocassional visits from sea birds. The sun has been trying to burn through a light cloud layer all day so things are warmer. We had our first "rain" of sorts. It was strong enough to wash all the crusty chunks of salt off the boat and I was able to wipe all the windows clean. It's nice to get the salt off the decks.

Day 19 - Less than 1000

Posted on Wednesday Apr 24, 2013

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My night shift usually sucks. It seems that the 3am to 11am tends to be the lightest wind everyday. Last night however I was treated to a nice 8-10 NE breeze which lasted all morning. I think I managed over 5 knots most of the night and our 24 hour average was about 115 miles. It's so nice just to sail rather than spend my time tweaking, adjusting, changing course, cursing the wind.

When I checked our distance to Hilo, I was surprised to see it about 950 nautical miles. Yeah! 3 Digits! The sad thing is NOAA is telling us to expect 6-8 knots for at least the next 24 hours, and they got it right. We've got the big guns out and we are lucky to push 3.5 to 3.8 knots.
(While writing this we hit 2.4 at one point).

The weather has warmed up and Michael was happily complaining about finally feeling hot. It still remains pretty cloudy which has put a damper on our star gazing plans, but each day the clouds seem thinner. Who knows maybe we'll get a clear night yet. The moon has been out and is almost full which is nice for sail changes or just hanging out.

Amazingly we had a ship pass us last night. I wouldn't have known about it without AIS because I was never able to see it. It was about 12 nm to the south of us and seemed to be on a course for Panama. This is the first traffic we've encountered in 14 days. Perhaps there is civilization out there after all. Sometimes we feel like we've entered some kind of twilight zone of endless sea.

Day 18 sailing again

The calm, impossible to sail times have been few fortunately. We made pretty good mileage in the past 24 hours in spite of my painful watch where I only managed 7 miles in 4 hours. I think we did about 122 miles overall. Michael had a great watch with plenty of wind hitting high 5's and low 6's often. Fortunately I had the foresight to take down our large drifter sail before I went off watch last night as the wind kicked up. Taking it down when it is dark and windy can be difficult. We turn downwind and put the large sail behind the main, then I blow the tack's shackle and gather the base together like a mad-man while Michael lowers the halyard trying to lower it fast, but not too fast so it doesn't hit the water -- a sailing faux pas.

I had another slow watch in the morning and I put the drifter back up around 10am and we've been flying it since. I don't think I will take it down this evening though as the winds have been lighter and less gusty. The light winds means we are only running between 4 and 5 knots, but there are hardly any waves and the motion is calm.

I've been having problems making HF radio connections to send out our email all day today, so I don't know if this will make it out today or not.

Day 17 -- becalmed

As I feared the wind dissapeared. This has been a weird year for the weather patterns, normally the trades are strong NE where we are.

Since we orginally stocked up with a lot of fuel, I opted to burn some more rather than drift. From 5am to 9am I tried to sail in almost no wind and only managed 7 miles. We'll probably go a few hours then shut it down again.

Tomorrow's weather looks more promising.