Friday, August 12, 2016


Every night at 03:00 UTC, that's 5:00 PM Hawaii time, I tune into the Pacific Seafarer's Net. They have about eight land based stations that check in each night from all around the Pacific basin. With this many stations, they can reach just about any boat plying waters 2000 miles in any direction from Hawaii. After a warm up session, they each, in turn, ask if there is any emergency, priority traffic from any mariner. After they've scoured the ocean for boats in trouble, they start the roll call of boats in transit.

When I left Hawaii 12 days ago, I joined the roll call and became boat number 11 on the list. So now each night I listen to the controllers locate and take a report from all the boats on the list ahead of me. I write down the latitude and longitude of the boats that are making the Hawaii to mainland transit and note the sea conditions and wind. This helps me figure out what it might be like for us when we get to those locations later. We are currently about 4 days behind most of those folks who left before we did.

Now I am number 5 on the list because some boats have made port and have dropped off the list. New boats have joined the list so I'm not the last one any more. When I joined the list, the sailing vessel Rafiki was the first on the list, and as it turns out, he's been the first for some time because he's going so slow.
Rafiki, from a You Tube video being towed by the Mexican Navy four years ago.

Listening as I do each night I've learned that Rafiki's sole occupant, Andy, lost his engine and cannot use it to charge batteries. He also lost his auto pilot and had to hand steer. His radio works, we know this because he calls into the net each night. Early on when I was tracking him, I heard that he ripped his mainsail and that he couldn't do anything about it because the seas were too rough for him to go out on deck.

As I tracked him, I saw he was headed northwest, making about 50 miles a day or less. It appeared that he was headed to the tip of the Alutan (SP) chain of islands. But no, I asked the net controller what Rafiki's destination was and was told British Columbia.

A few days ago Rafiki reported zero progress in zero winds for that day. The next day he had moved east for the first time. The next, he made 80 miles progress moving east. The net controller asks him each night if he's doing alright and the single hand skipper, Andy, always says yes. Last night the controller asked specifically how his store of food and water were holding out. Andy said he missed the special foods and snacks and was down to dry goods but he had provisioned for six months at sea. Six months! He also said he was able to repair his wind steering system so that was helping his progress.

Tonight I'll tune into the Pacific Seafarer's net and log the location of Rafiki. We will continue to chart Andy's progress and hope he can eventually make landfall in lovely BC.

We are about 8 days off the coast of Victoria Island. All is well aboard.

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  1. Keep up these articulate and humorous reports. Will we we see you in PT, or in Port Madison? Maybe you,should make landfall at Cape Scott, N tip Van Isle, anchor Bull Harbor, clear in at Port McNeil (I forget), come down the beautiful, flat-sea INSIDE of Van Isle? You know the route! Call us when you can. Jim & Chrissy Loomba-Loomba 206 351 7994

  2. Clear into Customs would be Port Hardy. Bull Harbor is on Hope Island

  3. Yes, love the stories. Just put a little $$ in the kitty so that I can say I bought your first beers on the mainland! You guys are awesome!

    1. Aimee, The boat kitty thanks you and we will treat ourselves to Pizza on your behalf. Right On! sv