Sunday, July 31, 2016

Seattle Bound Day 1

Gonna make this a quick one. We are 30 hours out of Nawiliwili Harbor, Kaui Island, Hawaii. I've put our boat name on the Pacific Seafarers Net so they will be doing roll call in a few minutes. We check in, give our lat and long and sea conditions. There are a couple of boats about two days ahead of us on their way to the mainland so it's nice to see their progress and what the weather is like further north.

We did not leave on a Friday. That's bad luck. So we waited til Saturday. We ate all the bananas because having a banana aboard is also bad luck. Exiting the breakwater we encountered 8 foot closely spaced swells. That was fun. Once we fought our way 8 miles east of Kaui, we were able to lay in a tack that would clear the NE tip of the island. By sundown we made the point where the seas were quite confused. Randy tossed his cookies over the rail and away we went.

There is a big high pressure dominating the NE Pacific and we are trying to get across the stiff trade wind flow so we can turn east towards Seattle. For now we are headed just west of north. Big seas, rough conditions, spray in your face, etc... I'm having trouble staying on the seat here in the nav station.

I've updated our position report so you can check that if you like on Farquar. See the URL in the heading of this web page.

Other than people puking and water coming over the rail, everything is just dandy.

Send us some good vibes and we'll keep on blasting through this NE wind to get to the promised land...

Scott, Connie, and Randy

Oh yea, we logged 140 miles in the last 24 hour period!

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Nawiliwili Harbor, Lihue HI

Traveler is tied to the dock in Nawiliwili Harbor after moving around from Hanalei Bay where we waited out some tropical storms.  Our new crew member came aboard yesterday and we are spending time getting to know him and seeing the sights on KauaŹ»i.  Randy is a vagabond rascal with lots of sea miles and many good travel stories.  The trades are blowing strong out of the east and are predicted to moderate by the weekend so it looks like we'll be getting the heck out of Hawaii soon.  
The yellow line is our predicted course.  Red is straight on a chart.  Blue is the great circle route.

Most likely the next blog entry you will get from us will be from at sea, via the SSB.   You should be able to track us here at this web site:

The FastSeas weather routing service is predicting our passage to take 21 days, 8 hours.

Everyone we've met here in Hawaii has been wonderfully friendly.  We are so glad we came.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head, but that doesn't mean...

I bet you've been wonderin' what we've been doin' down here in Hawaii land. Did you think our git up & go got up & went?  No, being the cautious, prudent sailors we are, we've been waiting for the right weather window, the crew window, the fully provisioned boat, and the stars to align properly. Seriously, why rush? We're in Paradise!

Meanwhile, we've ambled (major understatement) across the 100 mile Hawaiian archipelago to the far northern island of Kaua'I where we found some hotel WiFi to pirate. Here in Hanale'i we watch the TransPac single-handers arrive from San Francisco after battling the remnants of tropical storm Celia. They glide into the bay, drop an inadequate anchor and make their way to the nearest pub.  We then watch their boats wander around the bay looking for good holding.

We went from the crowded Ala Wai harbor in busy Honolulu, Oahu

To the peaceful, but rolly, waters of Hanalei Bay, Kauai

We've watched tropical storms/hurricanes Blas, Celia, Darby, and now Estelle approach and the first two pass. Once this cavalcade goes by we will be clear to continue our journey across the NE Pacific. Our new crew member, Randy arrives next week. Then we will provision perishables for the 5th time and have our lines ready to cast off when the coast is clear, whenever that might be?

Brent, Eileen, and the skipper on the beach at Poka'i Bay Oahu
Here in the bay the rain squalls keep us busy shutting and re-opening the hatches, mopping up the floors, caulking those leaks in preparation for winter in the Pacific Northwest. South of the bay we see 1000? foot tall waterfalls streaming down the lush cliff sides.  It ain't so bad!

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Our only chart of Hawaii is a beach towel.  We navigate on it with ease.
Lahaina Town on Maui, that was fun, enjoying the local yacht club and the craziness of the fourth of July. The town was packed to the gills with sunburned gringos, "Haoles" as the Hawaiians call us. Out on the water, Erik and Meagan on S/V Resolute joined us for dinner for our last night on the club buoy.  They had come over from Mexico just like us but unlike us they were working their way through the Hawaiian Islands from north to south before jumping off for the Pacific Northwest. It's nice to meet fellow cruisers once in a while - "normal" land-based people don't seem to grok what it is we are doing.

We got our little weather window so we let go of the mooring ball and headed north towards the island of Moloka'i.    As soon as we got out of the wind shadow of Maui the trades hit us with wind and waves.  Once again, I got soaked standing at the wheel as the big buffalos came roaring down on us.  We put our trust in Traveler and just held on for the few hours it took to cross the Pailolo Channel.  Half way down the southern side of Molokai we found Kaunakakai Harbor, a long pier running out through a rare break in the reef that covers the entire south shore of the island.

Alenihaha, Pailolo, and Kaiwi channels, our three nemesis.

 Just outside the harbor we turned Traveler into the wind, rolled up the scrap of headsail, and fought the double reefed main down to the boom.  We found the turning buoy that led us through the reef and dropped the hook in 12 feet of water only to come to a rest 40 feet from the reef.  On the second try we got a little more breathing room between that sharp coral and our rudder, about 100 yards this time.  And so we came to a rest, exhausted after a rough passage.  Still the wind was blowing a steady 15 with gusts in the 20s.  Inside the harbor, we were fully exposed to the wind but surrounded by a huge reef that cuts the wind waves down to almost nothing.

Connie napped while I sat anchor watch, ready at any time to start the engine to motor her into the wind if the anchor chose to break out of the mud. A gust would hit and take Traveler's bow off to one side.  The anchor chain would come tight and we'd swing back into the wind. I watched a tug bring in a large barge and wrestle it to the pier against the wind. Later, Connie spelled me on anchor watch while I lay down.  Finally by sunset the wind dropped to a steady 10 knots and we could both relax.

Traveler squeezed in at the pier

The harbor master was not around the next morning so we walked around the pier looking at possible places to tie to the dock.  The slips were nothing but pilings to tie the bow and a concrete pier for the stern. On the windward side, boats moored stern to the wall with mooring buoys to hold the bow off. There was no space over there for us.  The pilings on the leeward side appeared to be about 12 feet apart.  Traveler is 12.5 feet wide so that was not going to work for us. Next to the big loading pier used by the barges there was a space big enough for us to squeeze in behind the one large sailboat slip so we opted to claim it.  Tied loosely so the tide could come in and out without stressing our lines we felt lucky to have our lines on something solid when the afternoon winds piped up again.  Later that day the Moloka'i Princess came in on its normal run from Lahaina and took the pier behind us.

Getting cabin fever, we found the local pub and spent an evening enjoying grub, beer, and live music by the Mobettah Band.  The next day we walked through town looking for a bus to take us on a ride around the island.  No bus on Saturday.. or Sunday.  We did met a lady with a ukulele who showed us around town a little. We walked to her house and she found a neighbor who agreed to rent us her old Saturn so we could take a drive around the island.  Now these people didn't know us but they gave us the keys without a concern. "What are you gonna do, steal it?  It's an island!"  We hopped in and drove to the Kalaupapa lookout on the north shore overlooking Kahi'u point where the leprosy colony is and was. 

We hiked over and saw Phallus Rock nearby.

On the west coast we found a wind swept beach and a huge almost-failed development.

Driving the road out to the east coast we slowed to a crawl as the road narrowed down to a single lane and the rain came upon us.

Moving from the dry south side around to the wet east side the foliage changed rapidly from desert to rain forest.  We stood on  the cliff looking south and east at Pailolo Channel.  She was windswept and white capped all the way to Maui, just like when we crossed a few days earlier.  We dropped off the car, leaving the keys inside when we couldn't find the owner at home.

Trade winds hit east side of mountains, dumps moisture.

During our time on Molokai we've been listening to the NOAA weather radio and on occasion, walking to town to find internet to check weather.  The high wind warnings and small craft advisories are over for a few days so it's now time to cross the Kaiwi Channel to Oahu.  We'll leave early, early, tomorrow morning to make the 48 mile journey.  We are also keeping our eye on the tropical storms heading this way from Mexico. Hurricane Blas has stalled out now and soon will be just a light puff of wind.  Celia is right behind Blas and is still packing a punch. I suspect we'll be talking more about Celia in the future.  But for now, it's off to Kaunakakai town to find some internet to post this blog and catch up on email.  Follow our progress at

S/V Resolute on the mooring at Lahaina

Monday, July 4, 2016

Connie, spray in face

Connie, spray in face, while SV is down below getting dried off.
Last night anchored off Sugar Beach in Kihei, Maui the wind calmed occasionally and on those occasions we slept. Our plan was to get the heck out of there ASAL (As soon as light).  Connie was up at first light making tea then we got down to it right away, Connie going forward to bring up 150 feet of chain and our 35 kg anchor, and myself taking the helm.  I had a heck of a time trying to keep Traveler's bow into the wind as she constantly tried to blow down.  Very patiently Connie gave me hand signals to come forward, move right, move left, back down, and stop.  Eventually she got in 120 feet and the chain became bar hard.  We were directly above the anchor in 30 feet of water and the anchor was not budging.  She pressed the windless switch and it ground to a halt.  Then I saw my dear wife grab the hand crank and throw her weight into it.  The bow dipped in a wave, she brought in another six inches and with the upsurge of the bow and her force on the crank the anchor finally popped loose.  We knew the ground tackle was set well - we'd been there for 33 hours in high winds giving the anchor plenty of time to dig its way towards the center of the planet.

Our present anchorage at Lahaina

Sails still furled, we fell off the wind and drove through the mooring field being careful not to get swept down on the charter boats riding on mooring balls.  As we headed across the bay the sun came up and the wind came up with it, streaming through the lowland between the two huge volcano peaks.  While only 1/4 mile from shore, the wind was kicking up waves that grew in intensity until they were slapping the side of the boat and drenching me in the cockpit.  Connie asked, "Are we going to raise some sails?  Maybe three reefs in the main and the staysail?"  I sure didn't want to get up on that deck and fight a third reef into the main.  Anyhow, we only had to make it across three miles before we could duck behind the point.  So the answer was, "No, I think it's safer to motor for now."  So we beam reached, under power across the bay, shipping water into the cockpit.  I was glad to have my go-cup of hot tea - it helped to be able to rinse the salt spray out of my mouth with something hot and sweet.  A third of the way across the bay, the dinghy under tow flipped over.  I know, we should have had it on deck. But it had been too windy to hoist it up on the deck the night before. (Lame excuse) At least we had the outboard motor up on the rail so it didn't get soaked. Two thirds of the way across I realized that I was soaking wet and shivering. I said, "Connie, I think you should go below and put on your foul weather gear."

Maui has two volcanoes with a lowland in between.  That's where we anchored, at Sugar Beach

When she came back on deck she took the wheel and I went below, stripped all my wet clothes off, dried myself with a towel, and put on my heavy weather gear.  I grabbed my sunglasses to keep the spray out of my eyes and returned on deck, nice and comfy.  So we powered across the bay, towing the dinghy upside down, and in an hour or so, rounded the corner to find slightly lighter wind and waves coming over the cockpit coaming.

We slowed down the boat and brought the upside down dinghy into our lee.  While Connie held the painter, I hooked the side of the dink with the boat hook and flipped her back over. Sorry about the upside down tow, old dink. 

We thought about raising sails but the wind was constantly shifting from one side of the boat to the other as the confused air spun around the lee of the land.  Screw it, we'll just motor. Let's turn on the watermaker, then we don't have to feel guilty about using the engine.  So we made water, we re-heated  soup, we striped off our foul weather gear, and we arrived finally in Lahaina snaring the LYC buoy #2 just outside the harbor. 

We agreed... that wind and spray action was the worst we'd ever..EVER.. seen on Traveler.  At no time on our 2550 mile Pacific Ocean crossing did we see wind like that. 30 knots?  Only in the lee of the island of Maui.  It's crazy here.

Lahaina is lovely. The Lahaina Yacht Club is wonderful - they took us in like family, telling us to use their facilities whenever we wanted.  We took showers, had cold beer,(only $5. for a locally made brew!) and found a Washington Yacht Club burgee hanging from their ceiling.  For those of you who don't know, I taught sailing at the WYC for years.  It's the student club at the University of Washington in Seattle

Banyan Tree, downtown Lahaina.
We are in the midst of a wind event says the NOAA weather radio:

"On roads, driving high profile vehicles may become difficult.  Motorists should exercise caution opening car doors.  Loose objects may blow around. Sustained 30 and gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

On the water, winds 20 to 30 knots with gusts up to 50.  Wind waves 6 to 12 feet in the channels.

Small craft advisory in effect through Saturday night."

So we will stay put on our beautiful LYC mooring ball #2.  We'll dinghy into the harbor tomorrow to do some grocery shopping but for the most part we'll stay with the boat, watching the mooring lines for chafe and  making sure our little upside down dinghy stays right side up.

We've got old LYC buoy #2 reserved through the 4th of July and so we'll have front row seats for the fireworks display off the party barge anchored right next to us.  A great excuse for me to fire off all those expired flares we stashed away!

Note: This picture is NOT of our present wind event.  It's for the 15th...
Windyty has a prediction for Friday the 15th that shows a big tropical depression hovering over the islands.  If this holds true then we'll be cooling our heels in Honolulu for a little while longer.