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[ Adventure Logs ][ Hawaii ][ Offshore Sailing ]

Pacific Ocean: Hawaii to Vancouver

Part Thursday July 3, 2008 – 2 days before leaving

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JoEllen Chenoweth (left) was happy to dive us around between Hanalei and Princeville to show us the sights. Here you can see Kaua’i’s lush valleys where a lot of farming is done.

Carllie: We had a wonderful visit with JoEllen Chenoweth, whom we had met through our new “surfing dude” friend Michael McNulty and his family (read the June/08 Adventure Log about Michael). JoEllen was so charming and gracious, like a Southern Lady, although I don’t think she is originally from the Deep South! She picked us up in her car at the beach at 3 o’clock and drove us around for a couple of hours showing us various sights on the north side of Kaua’i. She drove us into the exclusive housing and resort complex where she lives, Princeville, and we stopped for tours of the beautiful, elegant but European-decorated Princeville Hotel and the much more Hawaiian, Hanalei Bay Hotel. Of the two, we would rather stay at the latter.

b4 Taro (used to make Hawaiian poi) fields.

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With JoEllen in the elegant Princeville Hotel.

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This is in the much more Hawaiian feeling Hanalei Bay Hotel.

Eventually we found our way to JoEllen’s home, a lovely ranch-style house nestled in the centre of Princeville, where we again made friends with her perky little dog, Buddy. Believe it or not, his owners had abandoned him when they left their condominium in Princeville, leaving him tied up there. The caretaker/manager asked around to see if anyone could adopt him, and JoEllen gladly stepped forward. She and Buddy have a very loving friendship, and she feeds him specially prepared meals that she makes according to a recipe provided by a veterinarian, which includes rice and other nutritious looking stuff, not just the garbage they put in commercial dog food. Buddy sits up and dances for her when it’s dinnertime. When we were relaxing in her living room, she patted her lap to get Buddy to jump up into it, and instead he leapt into mine!

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JoEllen with her sweet little dog, Buddy, who is here asking to be taken for a walk.

We enjoyed a nice walk around Princeville with JoEllen, and she showed us how to find the path to “Queen’s Bath,” a lovely naturally rock-enclosed natural swimming pool located down a steep path on the rocky, surf-battered shore. Later, after I had put my first load of washing into JoEllen’s washer, Garett and I walked down to “Queen’s Bath.” It was a pretty rocky, steep trail, but well worth it. Huge, rough black rocks, line the beach here, and we picked out way along to the pool. Everyone is warned to be very careful swimming here, especially anytime that’s not summertime as the surf is so big it can wash people away. Of course, everyone thinks they will be fine, that the sea looks okay, but then once in awhile a big wave will come in and wash someone out to sea or bash them into the rocks. Luckily, while we were there the sea was not big and several people were enjoying the pool. Garett took off us shirt and went for a swim as he was wearing a pair of his colorful Hawaiian swim trunks. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so fortuitously attired so I had to watch from the sidelines.

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Walking down the steep trail to Queen’s Bath.

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Queen’s Bath, Garett on right, can be subject to rogue waves that will wash unwary swimmers away or bash them up, from the fall to the spring.

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Garett really enjoyed his swim at Queen’s Bath.

When we got back to JoEllen’s house, she served us a lovely dinner of vegetarian pasta and asparagus in home-made Hollandaise sauce, followed by an absolutely delicious and decadent dessert of brownies with ice cream and home-made chocolate sauce. I was able to get all of my laundry done in JoEllen’s machines, and that in itself was a big help. We enjoyed a lovely discussion with our hostess, and were very touched by her interest in and respect for the Philosophy that we live and study She herself is a Quaker, and a good example of living her beliefs. In short, JoEllen was one of the most intelligent people I have met, and we thoroughly enjoyed her sense of humor, and appreciated her graciousness, kindness and generosity. She gave us a much-needed respite from our frantic preparations to leave for our crossing. Thank you again, JoEllen!

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I finally managed to gather some precious sand from Hanalei Bay to bring home with us. Maybe I’ll use it to base some candles, or something.

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Miss Piggy rests in Hanalei Bay, providing a good moorage for some boater with a sense of humour.

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I took this picture of the south side of the Napa’li Coast through the trees at Princeville. Maybe this is one of the pictures we will frame and hang on our few walls at home!

Friday July 4, 2008

This day was spent doing last-minute shopping and preparing the boat for her big crossing. Last swim, last shower, food all packed away ready to use. Water tanks and jerry cans full, gas tank and jerry cans full. We’re outta here!!!

Garett: Today was the 4th of July holiday in the States, and we had heard that there would be fireworks on the beach at night. In Canada we are accustomed to firework displays where some company or government or city group pays for the display and people just go out watch – not here though. In Hawaii, and we presume the rest of the States, it is more of an participation thing. Fireworks started at 8 p.m., half an hour after sunset. There were about 300 people all scattered along the beach with tents set up, having their picnic dinners and then they all have their individual fireworks display. There were about 30 different groups and the displays went all until 10 p.m. It was quite a sight, very individualistic. More direct participation than passive watching. We really appreciated all those people turning out to give us a big send-off for our trip!

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Light Wave enjoys her last night at Hanalei Bay. From now on, she’s going to have to work for her keep!

Saturday July 5, 2008 – Day 1

Carllie: 0800 hours: We have glimpsed our last rainbow over Hanalei Bay. The beach scene is slowly, slowly coming to life. People are walking and running, dogs are trotting happily along beside their masters, and the shushing sound of a gentle surf continues through it all. We have enjoyed so much our five weeks here—running along the beach and the road behind it, walking to the store for groceries, visiting friends on their catamaran, swimming every day. The pace of life here is perfect, and so is the temperature.

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An unbelievable last rainbow appears as we prepare to leave Hanalei Bay. What could be more auspicious?

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We saw many such rainbows while anchored here, but this one was the one we will remember.

We will think of the beauty, majesty and calmness of these islands as we cross the wide Pacific to Canada. By sometime this afternoon we will lose sight of them, but never in our minds.

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Garett pulls our trusty Porta-Bote up on deck to dismantle and store it for the last time in Hawaii. It has been a very trusty and dependable dinghy, and gotten us through some pretty substantial surf here in Hawaii.

We got up at the crack of dawn so we could leave Hanalei Bay early, but as always happens it took a little longer than we expected. Before Garett folded up our PortaBote dinghy to store for the crossing, we motored over to nearby Puddytat, the Catana 40 catamaran owned by our new friends David and Sylvie, to say goodbye. We had to circle them a few times, calling into their bedroom hatch “We’re going now! Goodbye Puddytat!!!” before they came out, smiling but bleary-eyed. It was tough leaving them behind; as with all of our cruising friends they have found a special place in our hearts. It was even harder for them to see us leave as they have been anchored in Hanalei Bay for two months now, and planned to leave a week ago to sail the same way we are going but destined first for Seattle to do some boat work and get a Canadian visa for Zimbabwe-born Sylvie. However, because David seriously injured his wrist and hand while walking (not while on the boat but on land!), they had to delay their departure, as of course he is the “brawn” of the two who handles the heavy lifting and winching, anchoring, etc., and he must be fit to serve his watches even though Sylvie is a very capable sailor. It was hard especially on Sylvie to see us leave. They kindly offered to photograph Light Wave with sails up, so we motored a ways out to hoist our sails, then sailed back in and around Puddytat, posing for pictures. We hope to see David and Sylvie again sometime, and will definitely follow their travels by e-mail.

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Just as we sailed out of Hanalei Bay, looking back…

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…and looking forward to the broad unmarked Pacific.

Out at sea: Much rougher than expected, but “survivable.” Light Wave is a “tough little ship!” Started out first couple of hours with very big swells, but well spaced. Since then shorter seas–jerky motion. Very salty outside as we are taking a quite a bit of spray. Garett: We were up at 5:30 a.m. with the usual shower and brilliant rainbows. We still had a few items to do: set up the drogue, set up the safety lines, take apart the dinghy, etc.We motored over and said our final goodbye to David and Sylvie on Puddy Cat. After a sail past for photos we left Hanalei Bay at 9:30 a.m….only 2,800 miles to go… The winds were 15 knots from the east north east as we headed directly north. We were making good time at 5 to 6 knots but it was a little bouncy for the first day out as we did not quite have our sea legs.

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Out at sea, with our first “snack plate,” Garett’s creation, in hand. Still smiling!

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Aren’t those sails looking good?

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Not long after this first sunset at sea we started our watch cycles at 2000 hours.

Sunday July 6, 2008 – Day 2

Carllie: 1300 hours–158 miles from Hanalei Bay: Last night during my first shift off watch, sleep was difficult. The easterly swells were big (5-6 feet) and the sea lumpy because of a conflicting swell from the northeast. Also, as I lay on my tummy with the breeze from the fan cooling my face, I felt the occasional drop of water hit my right leg. I convinced Garett to sail a bit more downwind to ease the pounding on LW and let me get some sleep. The ocean water moves constantly and is very noisy. Even without Light Wave to swirl, gurgle, swish and thunder around and occasionally to slap and pound, it would be noisy! I guess this is the sound of life. As of 0930 hours we finished one full day at sea, and now we are four hours into our second day. In one measured day, we made 137 miles! Garett: We are now into Day 2 and are trying to get into a rhythm. We seem to find the 3-hour night watches from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. that we are trying out on this trip to be much easier. During our trip to Hawaii in March we were using 4-hour watches at night and that the extra hour really makes the time drag.

It was a little bouncy yesterday and we had to head off a little west of north so it would be a little smoother when dark came at 7:30 p.m. Headed off a little more later.

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Another rainbow! Only this time over the Pacific.

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The first of likely many “eating” pictures… Charming.

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Garett setup safety lines up high around cockpit

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Garett set up safety lines high up like these, all around the aft half of the boat.

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Leaving a temporary track on the vast ocean.

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Still practising my ukulele, and wearing the sarong I bought the day before I left…Hope I get a chance to wear it in warm weather at home! Shows you how warm it was.

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Thinking, just thinking…

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The sun sets and we sail on…

Monday July 7, 2008 – Day 3

Carllie: 1841 hours, 305 miles out: Today the sea really calmed down. We have actually gotten down to just below 2 knots for a few minutes. Right now we are doing 3 knots. The sea is so calm, relatively speaking, with a long SE swell of 2-3 feet. We actually have opened the cuddy cabin hatch! Played Mexican Train Dominoes to the double-7 tile (we will teach you this great game when we see you, if you don’t already know it! Wendy: We have learned a much better version! Mucho mas divertido! (Much more fun!)). Tomorrow we will finish the game! It’s good to find a game other than Scrabble or Boggle that the two of us can play together. (Especially because Garett, not being a “word person,” gets really discouraged with both of those games and I have to give him a 50-point handicap in Scrabble!)

Highlights today:
  • “Air-drying” au naturelle after a hot-water outdoor shower in the warm morning sun. We haven’t been able to do that since we were anchored in those beautiful remote bays in the northern Sea of Cortez!
  • A small school of very pretty iridescent 6-inch fish followed along the inside of our starboard hull for hours. Guess they were catching the slipstream, but they still had to swim fast. I was amazed how long they stayed with us.
  • Playing Mexican Train Dominoes.
  • Listening to a really good previously recorded philosophy class.
Garett: When noon came the winds went light to only 5 to 7 knots. Nice and smooth but we have slowed down a bit. Little did we know this was the start of 10 of 11 days of winds of 0 to 5 knots. I had to replace the sheer pin again inside the autopilot. I hope it lasts. (Arrival note: surprisingly this pin lasted the rest of the way, and I only had to replace the pin once on this trip.)
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Sunrise is always a happy time for the watch person.

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Again, our Paratech parachute anchor components are all ready to deploy off our starboard aft hull.

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But I am not ready to deploy, also on the starboard hull enjoying a few rays…

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One of our few yummy avocado-tomato-cheese sandwiches before we ran out of avocados, with grated carrot salad, for lunch. What a life!

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Not too much action out there! “Well. Hmmm. Okay.”

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The sunsets and we wonder if we are losing our wind…

Tuesday July 8, 2008 – Day 4

Carllie: 0140 hours: With barely any wind, our light-weight Light Wave slips through the subdued sea on this starlit night. We are making about 2 knots at this moment. In fact right at this moment we could probably swim faster than we are sailing. Well…maybe not. Wouldn’t want to chance it.

The moon has set, and the stars paper the night sky with brilliant light that happened millions of years ago. Eternity and infinity surround us–in the unending universe that forms the sky and the vast depth of the ocean beneath us. I wonder, as I gaze at the dark night sky, what has become of my good friend Orion, who kept me company on long night watches down the continental coast and west across the Pacific to Hawaii? And where has that multi-colored star, Antares, gotten to? And what about Sirius and Betelgeuse? I think these are stars in the southern sky, and you don’t see them in the summertime in the northern hemisphere. It was nice to get to know them while I could. 1300 hours: The water was so calm, clear and blue, and the temperature so warm that we actually swam–well dipped–off the boat. We took all the sails down and it was so still that we didn’t even need to tie a rope to ourselves for our little plunge. However, I only briefly let go of our swim ladder to peer down into the depths. Garett was a bit more courageous, swimming out about 3 feet and back to the ladder. Aren’t we brave sailors? Or silly ones? Don’t worry, the boat was perfectly still and there wasn’t a ripple in the water for miles, and we took turns. Peering down into the deep blue (probably 2-3 miles deep at that point), actually bright blue, depths of the sea pierced by shafts of sunlight felt very different than snorkeling in 30 feet of water over a reef! Swimming around the boat, even in that dead calm, was out of the question. Just the thought makes me quail. Garett: By 1100 hours with the wind virtually calm we decided to motor and did so for 6 hours at at a reduced speed of 4 knots to conserve fuel and maximize our range, but first we each took a swim in this rare flat calm ocean. Water temperature has peaked at 82 F. Air is 82 F., what a surprise.

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Sun rises again, on an even stiller sea.

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And we spy another beautiful rainbow.

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Almost totally flat, you can see our fishing line towed on the left…

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Pretty flat calm now…”Hmmm…shall we do it?”

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Flat calm in all directions. Looks like now’s the time!

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Garett let go of the ladder and swam out a few feet with his goggles on so he could peer down into the depths.

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I guess I didn’t even let go! It was nice cooling off, and nice to know we did it!

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We call this “sheet rainbow”. It is when the rainbow is so far away it doesn’t have a curve to it. Pretty, isn’t it? You might see a rainbow like this on land on the broad, flat Prairies.

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Light Wave under way on another quiet day on the Pacific.

b44And the sun sets as we keep on a-sailing!

Wednesday July 9, 2008 – Day 5

Carllie: Afternoon: We had a very harmonious day today. Have established daily routines; we play Mexican Train Dominoes in the afternoon which is fun and gently brings our minds together, make an early light dinner and then I go off to bed while Garett takes first watch at 8 p.m. For this crossing, we are doing four 3-hour watches instead of three 4-hour watches as we did sailing to Hawaii, and it is much better. That last hour of a 4-hour watch was a killer!

We were moving again after being becalmed yesterday for awhile–until we used our motor for six hours and found a breeze! Funny how after that worrisome period of little-to-no wind when I began to worry about running out of water, the incessant noise of the water that comes with the wind was so welcome!

b45Sunrise

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Garett reading one of my books on a relaxing day.

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False alarm– not a fish but weeds on the hook. What a disappointment!

Thursday July 10, 2008 – Day 6

b48A new day dawns.

Carllie: 11p.m.to 2 a.m. watch – 0130 hours, 2092 miles to go: So much of a crossing is spent calculating. If we continue at 2 knots, how many miles will we make in this day? (Only 68, but better than nothing.) At 120 miles a day, how many days will it take to cover 2,700 miles? Should we reduce water consumption by 1/2 gallon a day so that we have enough for 32 days at sea? (And a few days before typing up these journal entries, Garett calculated that there are roughly 13,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water in the world’s ocean [that’s 13 billion billion]. I don’t think that measly number could possibly quantify the amount of water in this limitless sea, and can’t imagine how he could have so quickly come up with that number…)

Why all this incessant calculating? Certainly, sailing in a small cruising cat necessitates restricting weight, so we must limit the provisions and water we carry. Merely to survive, we have to calculate. We restrict fresh water showers to once every 4 days, sponge bathing in bitsy amounts of water morning and night. And we certainly cannot carry six months’ of food as do some of our friends sailing on monohulls (in the old days, solo sailors like Joshua Slocum (“Around the World Alone”), who was the first sailor to sail a small cruising vessel around the world alone in the late 1800’s, and 20th-century sailors like Eric and Susan Hiscock, Bernard Motissier, and Lyn and Larry Pardey, the latter of whom are of course still pursuing the dream, carried a year’s supply of food easily in their heavy monohulls. But all the rest of this non-stop calculating is simply caused by impatience and anxiety. Are we, after two years of cruising, still so out of synch with the rhythms of nature? “Go placidly amid the noise and haste…No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.” (Desiderata. I now doubt the wisdom of the latter phrase, because our Universe on the planet Earth certainly is not unfolding as it should…) Garett: We had a touch more wind today so sailing was good. After three days of calms and sitting still we now have a new motto and axiom: Noise + Movement = Progress. At sunset I noticed something at the end of one of our fishing lines. A fish! It had been months since we had caught anything we had forgot what to do. I reeled in the line and as it approached we realized it was a beautiful mahi mahi or dorado (as it’s called in Mexico. “Dorado” is Spanish for “gold”.) He seems to be pretty tuckered out as we think he may have been dragging behind the boat for some time. We managed to land him. Even though we had already had supper we had supper #2 and grilled up some fresh mahi mahi. There is nothing like really fresh fish.

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Garett made these “taste” treats with avocado and canned crab on Wasa multigrain crackers.

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Our afternoon game of Mexican Train Dominoes.

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Our friend, the Pacific Ocean.

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You can see how calm it was (and how stable a sailing catamaran is!). For days and days we played M.T.D. every afternoon and had no problem with our tiles falling over.

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The beautiful mahi-mahi being reeled in. Even now I feel bad that we caught and killed such a beautiful creature.

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No false alarm here. Mahi Mahi are incredibly beautiful fish. I thanked him for helping us with food before dispatching him.

Friday July 11, 2008 – Day 7

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Sun is just coming up during Carllie’s 5 am to 8 am watch.

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There it is!

Carllie: 1530 hours, 708 miles out from Hanalei Bay. It is now overcast and 73 degrees F. outside. We are sailing due east at 4 knots, the wind having shifted to the SW and been very light all day.

So far (knock on wood!) this crossing has been much more pleasant (even fun!) than the last one. The first day-and-a-half was a little rough, but then it smoothed out as the huge swells moderated. We enjoyed five days of full sunshine with a few clouds around the periphery and a couple of short showers. We even swam off the boat in a dead calm, looking down through our goggles into miles of sapphire blue, clear ocean stabbed by shafts of sunlight that pierced the depths. At the moment it is raining, and Garett is chopping fixings for a salad to go with the grilled mahi mahi that we caught yesterday (big surprise!). Tomorrow I may make sushi with the leftover cooked fish, but I don’t know about mahi mahi in sushi… We’ll see. I thanked the beautiful fish for giving his life to us as he lay dying in our cockpit, but I still feel bad about it. He was so brilliantly yellow as we hauled him in, but lost his color as he died. The Mexicans call these fish Dorado, which means “gold”. And here’s the clincher: mahi mahi/ dorado mate for life! And if you catch one, its mate will often follow the boat for hours! (Sob!) Garett: By dinner time the winds had finally shifted to the southwest as we reached 32 degrees north (Hanalei Bay was at 23 degrees north). This is a great sign as we can now head northeast direct to Victoria.

b57A small flying fish (about 2 1/2 inches) bites the dust on Light Wave’s deck. We actually did not get very many on deck, not enough to fry up as we had read in other cruising stories.

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The pink tones from the sunset reflect off the water and parts of Light Wave.

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A sunset frames the other end of the day.

Saturday July 12, 2008 – Day 8

Garett: Things had looked so promising last night as I took my watch at 8 p.m. The winds had shifted to the southwest, we were able to finally make the turn to head northeast to Victoria at only 33 degrees north latitude, and were moving along at 5.5 knots. Everything was looking good. One thing we have learned on these trips is to keep yourself on an “even keel,” not getting too high or too low because if you get to high inevitably something happens and it seems to hit you hard. This is an excerpt from my log from last night: 2100 hours: Good sailing as we head northeast to Victoria. We are finally above the high pressure and out of the calms. 2200 hours: Winds shifted every 5 minutes from southwest to west to northwest to northeast and built from 10 knots to 20 knots. We just did a full circle in the wind shifts and are heading back to Hanalei! 2230 I struggled to get the screecher wrapped up in the building wind. The wind is now solid 20 knots from northeast where we were just going a couple of hours ago. 2330 Waves have quickly built up and we have now had to bear off and are heading northwest towards Japan. Maybe we are not above the high…sigh.” It was a long night as I had to eventually reef the main and then finally take it down as the waves were quite choppy which is what happens when the wind quickly comes up. In the morning I checked the weather faxes and they were now showing a stationary front where we are and that is what must have accounted for the wind changes of last night. By noon the skies cleared and the winds moderated but still from the north northeast so we were still heading northwest away from where we wanted to go.

Carllie: 0715 hours, 1881 miles remaining. Sometimes the ocean is like a wild horse: it bucks and snorts and throws you around; but if you don’t want to walk, you grit your teeth, hang on tight and keep going. Last night, somewhere on Garett’s 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. watch the wind steadily veered from the SW at 10-12 knots which had been giving us a pleasant downwind sail, to 15-20 knots from the northeast, beating our pants off. We had to head downwind (west to Japan!) as we were taking such a beating, and the ocean is always fearsome even in those conditions at night (especially on an overcast, moonless night).

Now, in the light of day my stalwart captain has decided to head up so we can make more progress north. Steep waves and big swells throw us around and make my sushi-making plan a laugh.

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The light breaks on a new day in the middle of the vast ocean.

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Getting choppy. Waves never photograph well, so be assured these little bumps were a tad bigger in reality!

Sunday July 13, 2008 – Day 9

Carllie: Afternoon: Peaceful day again today, after a very boisterous, difficult day yesterday. We got to play Mexican Train Dominoes again because it was so calm. Only problem is we are not making the time we need to make. It will take much more than 20 days (from now) to get to Victoria.

Nice to have the sun back again. Started the day with showers—always great treat, especially in the warm morning sun. Put out our fishing lines again. It’s so much fun to catch a fish! [Ed. Note: isn’t it amazing how quickly I forgot my sorrow about that poor mahi mahi?] 2315 hours, my first watch: At last! It is a beautiful, clear moonlit night and with just a breath of breeze our gamin Light Wave, true to her name, makes way lightly and buoyantly through the night sea. At last we have that romantic, moonlit and starlit night. Unfortunately, it is much cooler now than when we first started our crossing. Even until two days ago we could stand outside at night in PJ’s watching for the lights of freighters (faint hope!) so I could call the lonely duty officer to chat while asking him to make a note our location. (This did happen once, and the fellow on the radio was very kind. Another time, they just ignored our hail.) As we had been warned, it is indeed much cooler now than in our first 8 days when we lived in swimsuits. Today and yesterday I actually kept socks on my feet most of the day and wore my long nylon exercise pants. All day we have sailed at only 2 to 4 knots with very little breeze, and I began to seriously consider water rationing as we sail toward the Aleutian Islands rather than Canada trying to get around this huge North Pacific high. Since I went to bed for Garett’s first watch, however, the wind has steadily shifted more to the east and we are sailing north at a lovely 3-4 knots in smooth seas. Idyllic! Light Wave whispers through the glassy water leaving behind only a sparkling trail of glittering moonlight on the dark sea. Will we catch another mahi mahi tomorrow? Will I master “trembolo” on my ukulele? Will I grasp a clearer understanding of concepts I am studying? Only the new day, the new expression of Consciousness, will tell. Later in my watch: I threw open the hatch to the sleeping hull, pounded down the stairs and called to Garett: “Garett! We’re dead in the water, I can’t start the motor, and there’s a freighter right behind us!!!” Turns out the “freighter” was the moon just touching the horizon. False alarm. Hah hah hah.

b62Clouds begin to gather, and portend days of less sunshine ahead…

b63A typical sunset view on these nights.

b64More ukulele practice, but this time not in my sarong!

b65How much further? How much further? Are we there? Are we there?

Monday July 14, 2008 – Day 10

Carllie: Today has been another calm day, very little wind, great for relaxing and contemplating our “re-entry” into land-based life. Started out motoring that we began at 2 a.m. and finished at 10:30 a.m. Seemed to get us through the real “dead calm” that had crept up on us in the middle of the night and made us feel like we were again pinned to the ocean, though thankfully not like when we had been tethered to our parachute anchor en route from Mexico to Hawaii back in March. When we run the engine slow it really doesn’t make that much noise, and with our handy-dandy construction-workers’ earplugs we don’t here a thing when we snuggle in for our sleeps off-watch in our designated sleeping berth.

Today we averaged 3 knots. Yesterday it was less. Had such an easy day with so little movement that we played Mexican Train Dominoes for about 2 hours. Garett made delicious pita bread, from scratch, and as we had had a big lunch of leftover pasta and a plate of cheese, pickles and tomatoes, and the pita bread was hot out of the oven at 4 p.m., we made a delicious early dinner of it with humus. (See Garett’s Pita Bread in Light Wave’s Galley Section coming soon!) Tomorrow I will make potato-corn chowder (to use up some of the potatoes that are drying out) and use garbanzo bean sprouts in a potato salad with garlic, onions and cheese. Did well today with my goals, studying, and really worked with my ukulele. Figured out how to play “Hanalei Moon” by ear, and even made musical staffs to record the notes. Tomorrow I will see if I can figure out the chords to go with it. Oh! We just about caught a HUGE tuna–about 30 lbs we figure. Garett reeled it right up to the transom–with me working the reel while he pulled in the line as something is wrong with the reel mechanism–and just as he was about to gaff it, it snapped the lure off and took off! This was a beautiful blue and silver color tuna, with a very different extra set of long fins–about 10 inches long—that reminded us of the flippers on a Humpback Whale. We have no idea what type of tuna it was, but it was for sure a tuna, and our mouths were literally watering as soon as we saw what we had. Sushi! Sushi! I have to admit, however, that I am a poor fisherman as I hate killing these creatures, and when this guy snapped the line and took off, as Garett slumped in disappointment, I yelled after the fish, “Good for you, fish!” Garett was pretty put out, in his happy way, and spent the next hour rigging up the hand line with a new, jury-rigged lure! In case we don’t catch another one of these unusual tuna, here is my attempt to sketch it:

b180My sketch of the huge tuna we reeled up to the boat. The fish that got away!

Garett: I checked the weather faxes and it looks like we will have to sail to at least 40 degrees north to get above the Pacific high pressure area which seems to be slowly moving to 38N 140W. We are currently at 37N 160W. Winds are light. On the fishing front, we have been dragging our two fishing lines with high expectations for the last several days since we caught the mahi-mahi. We were having breakfast this morning and we though we heard a faint voice outside. It is not good to start hearing voices at any times and especially in the middle of the ocean but we both heard it. We jumped out to the cockpit thinking it might be somebody on a life raft calling for help but then we realized it was the reel on the fishing rod whining away as a fish tried to take all the line out. We jumped into action and slowly reeled him. After 15 minutes we finally had him along the side of the boat, and boy was this a big fish! It appeared to be some type of tuna, about 30 pounds, biggest fish we had seen on our trip. We got out the gaff but found in the excitement Carllie did not take off the protective plastic tip and when I gave it back to her to take off just at that moment–Bang!!–and he was gone with the lure and leader. He actually broke the metal leader. Oh so close. It would have been sushi for a week!

b66This is repaired rapala lure which is identical to the one that the big tuna took with him into the deep today. This is our last lure, other than the two on the downrigger and the handline .

b67Afternoon rest, reading while the boat sails along. Pretty cushy life.

b68And we’re back (temporarily at least) to blue blue skies and bluer water.

b69Garett making his Pita Bread (easy he says) at sea. See our recipes page.

b70In the light winds of today Garett does a little bit of a sail repair.

b71Now who was the third crewman who took this picture? Spooky!

b72Where are those westerlies? Looks pretty calm?

b73Water, water everywhere…and not a whisper of wind.

b74But it was nice while it lasted…

Tuesday July 15, 2008 – Day 11

Garett: Water temp 69 F and air 68 F. It is getting colder every day. Still have 1,770 miles to go at 0800.

Carllie: Our 11th day at sea since leaving Hanalei Bay, we enjoyed 5 1/2 hours of sailing at an average of 4.5 knots, having motored very slowly for 11 hours since midnight last night. After several days of lolling about in 3-7 knot winds, sailing anywhere between 1 and 3 knots, this was a real treat! We thought we had turned the corner, literally, as the 5-7 knot winds we enjoyed today were east-south-east, indicating that we had finally sailed far enough north through the huge high that had settled over the whole Pacific Ocean to get some steadier south winds to get us up north where we need to be to catch the westerlies.

About mid-morning, Garett spied what he thought was a whale in the distance. I am below at the time in the starboard hull, and as I rush to come up I think, “I hope it’s not too close!” By the time I got topside Garett had figured out it was a pod of dolphins, and we watched them through our binoculars leaping in tandem away from Light Wave. It was quite a sight, and as we have seen nothing but the odd sea bird, the little school of fish that followed us in that first week, our bright yellow mahi-mahi, and the “fish that got away” yesterday, we were mesmerized. Unfortunately, although we called to them and squeaked our “dolphin talk” they declined to swim over for play time with Light Wave and crew! It was a happy day—sailing at a good speed at last! Garett jury rigged some of our fishing gear so that we had all three rigs—downrigger, fishing pole and handline—deployed with lures that we hoped would tempt another of those great big unidentified tuna like we had just about caught yesterday. The fish that got away!!! However, like the proverbial kettle, a watched fishing line never snags the fish. Our ears are now attuned to that whining sound of the fishing reel spooling out. Just hope it doesn’t happen in the middle of the night… Likely not as it’s likely the fishies sleep then too! It’s pretty hard for me to keep track of the time out here for some reason…I knew today was July 15th, and then at some point calculated (on my stubby little fingers) that if we left Hanalei Bay on a Saturday and this was the 15th day out (???), well then this must be Saturday again, and our friends at home would be talking to each other on a pre-arranged teleconference in which we like to participate. When I told Garett today was Saturday, he just looked at me, smirked and crossed his eyes. I hate being the subject of mathematical condescension… ahem! Anyway, finally I got it straight. Today is Tuesday, as we have been out 11 days, not 15. To reiterate, so much of a crossing is spent calculating: Just a few minutes ago, Garett announced that the Aleutians are 985 miles away, Russia is 1,500 and Victoria is 1,720. Garett’s dad, Mack, had asked us when we talked to him the night before leaving Hanalei Bay if we would be heading for the Aleutian Islands. We laughed and teased him, but now we know where Garett’s “brilliant genes” came from! Maybe we should head for the Aleutians! But the question is: Will they have grocery stores and ATM machines where we land? Light Wave is truly a desirable ocean-going vessel as she still sails in such light winds. Very few, if any, monohulls can sail in 5 to 7 knots of wind. We suspect our good friend Elvin Letchford, who sailed out of Hanalei Bay in his Vancouver 27 monohull bound for Canada ten days before we did, is about 1,000 miles ahead of us and has been caught in the middle of that huge high. We know he has lots of tankage, but the question is: will he have enough fuel to get him out of the high and complete his final (approx.) 1,700 miles to Victoria?? We will be scanning the Victoria docks for him when we arrive, hoping to exchange war stories! I am happy with what I have accomplished today, making progress on the goals I’ve set for the month while keeping Light Wave clean and fresh and preparing food. Garett makes the popcorn, an occasional scrumptious surprise lunch, pancakes and sometimes his delectable omelettes for breakfast. With this light wind and calm seas it’s easy to continue our afternoon game of Mexican Train Dominoes, which is great fun. It’s the only game we’ve found that keeps both of us interested and happy. Garett hates playing Scrabble with me as he’s not a “word person” and even with a 50-point handicap that I give him he sometimes lags so far behind he loses interest. Mexican Train Dominoes, however, is a real strategy game, and we both get into it with great gusto! As Garett just said, “It’s been sunny the whole time except for that one day [when we went through the stationary front].”

b75We spied this big orange thing in the distance and wondered if it was a liferaft, so of course we detoured over to check it out (luckily we were motoring at the time as such little detours are not so easy under sail). Unfortunately, or fortunately I guess, it wasn’t a liferaft but a big piece of old styrofoam that had held up a dock likely somewhere on the west coast of North America! We did see occasional bits of such flotsam during our crossing. Plastic, particularly, floats, while everything else (like tin cans and glass bottles) will sink to the bottom of the sea and in not too long a period of time will disintegrate.

b77Ahh! That afternoon rest at sea. What great sleeps I had during the day!

b78Boy, Light Wave is really whizzing along! Patience, patience.

b79Shows how bored we were, taking pictures of our pots and pans! hah hah.

b80Streaks of clouds paint the sky in broad brushes of mauve as the day ends…

Wednesday July 16, 2008 – Day 12

Carllie: 1835 hours, 1,634 miles to go: We have spent several days in these light winds, and although it has been more relaxing than 15-20 knots of wind, it does extend our trip and causes some concern. I am missing my workout routine. It is hard to exercise on the boat, although we are constantly climbing stairs and going down them; but today I did do some Callanetics in the cockpit as well as burpees and stretches. We tried sailing directly north today under drifter, screecher and main, and did sail at 2-3 knots for awhile, but soon the little breeze disappeared so we were back to motoring. Garett says we have 65 hours of fuel and if we motor slowly at 4 knots we get far better mileage so that equals 260miles. If we motor 11 hours, we will be post the North Pacific High (we hope) and should start getting more Westerlies. That will leave us a good safety margin of fuel for 200 miles to motor the last bit into Juan de Fuca Strait if we need to. (Calculating again!)

I practised ukulele, had fun with it. Big challenge now is learning to do the “tremolo” strumming with a pick. I have to relax my hands to do this. Worked on my Spanish. I love that language, and find it so satisfying to be fairly fluent in it. Showering with a big 1 ½ liter bottle of hot salt water, followed by one liter of hot fresh water to rinse off feels GREAT! Garett: Some ominous clouds to northwest and there is a bit of northwest swell. Every night on my 8 to 11 p.m. watch I am able to pick up on the shortwave radio the weather faxes from Hawaii and Pt Reyes in California. This has been a low-tech way of distributing weather information to mariners for years, and it’s free. I feed an audio feed from my little short-wave radio to my microphone port on my Panasonic CF-72 laptop and I run a piece of software called JVcomm32 which saves each fax as a graphic file. It takes about 10 minutes per fax. Each of the broadcast stations (there are dozens) around the world has a complete schedule. The particular ones I am interested are the 24, 48, and 96 hour forecast for sea level pressure (this will give the big picture of where the major systems and air masses are) and the wind and wave prediction charts. Well, after going over things, this is forecast from the Light Wave amateur meteorologist:
  • Thursday July 17 – Light south to west winds
  • Friday July 18 – West winds of 10 to 15 knots – Good news maybe we can turn to Victoria.
  • Saturday July 19 – West winds of 10 to 15 knots
We will see what comes… This evening we danced in the cockpit while we sang “Hanalei Moon” to the light of the silvery moon, a full moon. “Hanalei, Hanalei moon, is lighting beloved Kaua’i…When you see Hanalei by moonlight, you will be in heaven by the sea. Every breeze, every wave will whisper ‘You are mine, don’t ever go away… Hanalei, Hanalei moon, is lighting beloved Kaua’iiiiii.” Romantic. Unique. Unforgettable.

b81Light winds for Light Wave. Good thing she’s light!

b82Garett deploying our whisker pole so we can pole out our drifter sail.

b83Oops! Now where did those nasty-looking clouds come from?

Thursday July 17, 2008 – Day 13

Carllie: 0820 hours, 1,589 miles to go, mid-Pacific: At 0500 hours Garett threw open the hatch to our “sleeping hull” where I was sleeping until my watch, and yelled “We’ve got a fish!!! As I had hardly slept the night before, reasons unknown, and had just achieved deep sleep in this last 3 hours off-watch, I was somewhat less than enthused about his fish! It took me a few minutes to rouse myself and climb up the stairs into the pre-dawn light. Garett was reeling in the fish, and I quickly grabbed the gaff, well as quickly as possible while stumbling about eyes half-closed with no ready memory of fish-retrieval procedure.

Within a relatively short time Garett reeled this one in (last time that big 30-pounder had zinged off our whole line as our reel hadn’t been set properly), and then I held the rod while he gaffed it. This was another of the same type of deep-sea tuna as the “fish that got away,” but a much more manageable and practical size for us, about 6 lbs. (Sorry Evan, in the frantic pace of landing a fish in these conditions we don’t have time to weigh it!) What would we have done with 30 lbs of fish anyway? We have a cooler, not a freezer, and fish only lasts so long in a not-too-cold cooler. Garett is always keen to dry what we don’t use, but still if we netted 25 lbs of fish and ate a lot fresh, say 5 lbs, we would still have 20 lbs left. So we are lucky we didn’t catch that big guy! As soon as we finished our delectable restaurant-quality dinner, Garett set out screecher and drifter sails for downwind sailing as he had detected wind from the W-S-W, just enough to sail sing-on-wing (or would that be “wing-on-wing”?). We are eating really early for us, between 5 and 6 p.m., so that I have time to digest most of it before I head downstairs to sleep for the first watch at 8 p.m. Now, I was all ready for bed, having finished another Spanish lesson, and was starting to go down when Garett yells, “We’ve got a fish!” I dropped my stuff (not my drawers, my “bed-time stuff”!) and jumped out into the cockpit to help, and just then he excitedly exclaims, “I think the middle line (our downrigger) just nagged another one!” while he’s reeling in the first fish. Two seconds later he says he thinks we snagged one on our hand line as well. So, suddenly we’ve gone from two tuna fillets in the cooler for dinner tomorrow and no fresh sushi in sight, to potentially three big new tuna crowding our cooler! But one step at a time here! I helped Garett land the first fish, another big tuna same type, 6-8 lbs. Once we had it gaffed and safely in the cockpit, Garett dispatched it quickly and we proceeded to retrieve the fish on our hand line as it was apparent by; now that the one we had snagged with our downrigger, the middle line, had pulled free. Again, this second fish was the same type of sea-going tuna with one set of regular fins and one set of very long fins like flippers. Obviously, we had sailed through a school of these tuna and it being dusk (as it had been pre-dawn in the morning), they were hungry! Soon we had two big barrel-shaped tuna in our cockpit laying in a pool of bright red blood. In fact it messed up the aesthetics of our pictures so much Garett censored them right out of our website! Garett: After the big fishing day (“Soo-shee! Soo-shee!) true to the forecast a west wind came up just after dinner and before dark so I set up the screecher on the whisker pole and the drifter to leeward and off we go. We are now at 41 N and 158 W. Only 1,549 miles to go. (Ahem! “Only???”)

b84Needing bread, so I’m kneading it.

b85This very big bird, with about a 6-foot wing span soared and glided around us for days upon days. We don’t think he’s an Albatross. Perhaps a Goony? Maybe our friend Vicky Johnsen will let us know…

Friday July 18, 2008 – Day 14

Carllie: 0704 hours, 1,306 miles sailed and 1,503 to go, sailing at 5.5 knots with drifter and main on a port tack, heading NNE: Light Wave is leaping lithely over the sea this morning. This boat was made for sailing! The wind has finally arrived, or more accurately we have finally found the wind!

We ate a fabulous, light dinner last night of fresh grilled tuna accompanied by rice-bean pilaf. I had been yearning for sushi and really wanted to make some with our fresh tuna yesterday for lunch, but as I had already spent an hour in the morning baking cinnamon buns, Garett convinced me to hold off on the sushi. This I was loathe to do as “Who knows when we’ll catch another fish?” And of course you must have ultra-fresh tuna to eat it raw in sushi. Still, I longed for a nice sushi maki roll made with sushi rice, nori, a bit of mayonnaise, wasabi and a long narrow cylinder of raw tuna. (see Recipes link off Main Menu). Garett: 1100 hours. We have now been sailing for 15 hours straight. What a relief after all the light winds of the last 11 days. I think we are now finally into the steady westerlies. The only problem is that with the westerlies the sun has disappeared and instead of the brilliant ocean blues we are surrounded by the steely grey of fog. The temperatures are dropping. The water is 61 F and the air 59 F.

b86Finally making those long- yearned for tuna sushi rolls!

b87Wow! Maybe I made a bit too much? Never mind! Enough for lunch or dinner tomorrow!

b88The sun sets in the growing fog on a gloomier night.

Click here to go to Part 2 which covers July 19 to August 7, 2008.

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About Author

Garett Hennigan

Garett Hennigan is a mechanical engineer who in partnership with his wife Carllie built a 28 foot catamaran, Light Wave, in 1999. He has sailed extensively through Mexico, Hawaii and now back in the Pacific northwest with over 20,000 sailing miles and over 5000 hours of boatbuilding experience.

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