Turning Back The Years ~ Frogs On Board

Suppose you sailed to Maui to find a safe haven during the coronavirus and realized that four people you knew from college lived on Maui. Suppose the number of COVID cases in Maui was a total of six on the whole island. Suppose the restrictions for gatherings had been lifted and the restrictions for inter-island travel had been lifted.

Would you invite those friends to spend a week with you sailing around some of the Hawaiian Islands? Well, that is exactly what we did last week.

Dave, Dave and Frank were fraternity brothers in college.

Dave, Gloria, Dave and Nikki agreed to pack a few clothes and hop on TTR at Mala Wharf in Lahina. We upped anchor around 10:00 a.m. and initially motor sailed toward Lanai because the wind was very light. Once we turned along the southern side of Lania, we had a bit of wind and finished with a downwind sail to Shark Fin Cove.

Star 1: Mala Wharf. Star 2: Shark Fin Cove. Star 3: Honolua Bay.

Fortunately Frank had the coordinates for a mooring ball at the cove and after a bit of hunting, we spotted the ball and were able to secure Ticket to Ride in a lovely place. Although the area doesn’t look protected, there was a rock outcropping to protect the boat from swells. Plus the weather was very mild.

Shark Fin silhouetted in the sunset.

Shark Fin is a rock that protrudes from the ocean and looks like a shark’s fin. It is an excellent place to snorkel with an interesting rock formation underwater that attracts marine life. Some of us swam from TTR to Shark Fin to get in some exercise as well as check out the fish. Others took the dinghy over to Shark Fin and snorkeled from it.

Crystal clear water with sea caves in the far corner.

We spent two nights at Shark Fin Cove. TTR was moored in about 30 feet of extremely clear water and the fish were so plentiful it was like floating in an aquarium! There was a small sea cave within swimming distance and several rocks that made snorkeling entertaining as well as refreshing. Early mornings were calm enough to explore on the stand up paddle boards.

Coffee in hand, Frank waits to tie TTR to the mooring ball.

Cruisers know that sometimes there are maintenance items that require a quick off-shore motor to clear tanks. This is a picture of Frank enjoying morning java as he waits for us to return in TTR so he can retie us to the mooring ball. Not a bad way to while away some time.

Shark Fin Cove was pretty isolated and we only saw one sailboat that appeared to be doing some day snorkeling tours and one fishing boat. Well, except for the three rock climbers who repelled down the 60′ cliff face, then swam over to say hello…. that was definitely a first! I wish I had a picture of those folks but I was coming back from snorkeling when we saw the climbers.

MaryGrace and Frank watching the sun set at Shark Fin Cove.

Our next stop was Honolua Bay, back on Maui. We figured we should stop back at the home island in case Dave, Nikki, Dave or Gloria decided they wanted to jump ship. Happily, everyone wanted to remain for the whole week!

TTR nestled in Honolua Bay.

Honolua was our first stop on Maui when we arrived back in April and it remains one of my favorite spots. The bay is wonderfully protected from waves and it is a marine preserve so both above and under water it is beautiful!

Another gorgeous sunset in Honolua Bay.

One positive aspect of COVID is that the reduction of tourists to Hawaii has lessened the pressure on the reefs. Locals are saying that the coral and fish life is improving quickly in the absence of large numbers of snorkelers and divers. Even compared to when we were in Honolua Bay two months ago, we saw an increase in the number of fish and turtles around the reefs.

A small turtle surfaced next to TTR.

We spent a lot of time in the water while in Honolua Bay snorkeling, SUPing, lounging on floats and watching dolphins swim through the bay.

Dave, Gloria, Nikki and Mary Grace enjoying some down time.

Perhaps the highlight of our visit to Honolua this time was swimming with the dolphins. We saw them playing in the bay and quickly jumped in the dinghy to get closer. Frank and I had grabbed our masks, but unfortunately not a camera. We took turns using the masks and jumping into the water from the dinghy to see the dolphins.

Frank swimming with dolphins in a different anchorage.

There were probably a dozen dolphins on the surface but underwater there were at least two dozen more. I SO wish I had a photo to share, but at least the memory remains.

Frank and I are very comfortable in the water and didn’t think twice about jumping in to swim with the dolphins, but our friends were slightly hesitant. The look of wonder and excitement on their faces after they did jump in and see the dolphins was priceless. What a joy to share this experience with friends!

Frank attempts a running start on the SUP.
Star 3: Honolua Bay. Star 4: Kaneohe Bay.

After three nights in Honolua Bay, we awakened at first light and sailed to Kaneohe Bay. We sailed along the north side of Molokai Island because the views of the island are very pretty. The wind was lighter than expected and the direction wasn’t quite what was forecasted so we ended up further away from the island than we would have preferred.

Molokai’s shores are lush and dramatic.

The sail from Maui to Oahu took about eight hours in winds of 14-20 knots so it was a very relaxed sail. Unfortunately two of our friends battle sea sickness so they slept most of the way, which is a good way to avoid feeling ill.

Kaneohe Bay is very large and we spent our first night at the Sand Bar. Our time at the Sand Bar included SUPing, swimming, hiking and generally relaxing.

TTR anchored off the shallow Sand Bar in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay.

Chinaman’s Hat is a small, sharp rock close to the entrance to Kaneohe Bay which can be “hiked.” However, the hike is really more of a scramble up the side of this steep little island and Dave, Nikki, Frank and I decided to try it. The view was great, but the hike up volcanic rock and dirt is extremely steep and becomes very slippery when it rains.

Chinaman’s Hat was a scramble not a hike.
Frank peeking from the top of Chinaman’s Hat.
Nikki working her way down Chinaman’s Hat before the rain started.
Beer-30 in the afternoon.
Star 4: first stop in Kaneohe Bay. Star 5: last stop in Kaneohe Bay.

After just one night at the Sand Bar, we moved TTR to the southwest portion of Kaneohe Bay near the Kaneohe Yacht Club and rented a car so we could take a driving tour of Oahu Island.

Shallow reef break along the North Shore.
North Shore of Oahu.

We managed to drive most of the island and made a few stops at beaches and scenic overlooks with a stop for lunch sandwiched in between. (See what I did there?)

A sign of the times: with COVID masks and without.

After eating all of our meals on Ticket to Ride, it was a nice change to eat out while visiting Haleiwa on the North Shore. This week on Ticket to Ride, everyone helped with meal prep and clean up so providing meals on the boat was not difficult. In fact, I would wager the food we ate on board TTR was as good as anything we eat in restaurants; and the view from the boat is unbeatable!

Frat brothers cleaning the galley after dinner.
Grill master, Frank, in Honolua Bay.

Here are a few more pictures from our day spent driving around Oahu.

Rescue helicopter near Diamond Head Lighthouse…. hope it was just practice!
The blow hole near Eternity Beach.
Looking down on Eternity Beach used in the final scenes of “From Here to Eternity.

I was a little concerned that this lifestyle would be too restrictive or odd and that Dave, Dave, Gloria and Nikki would feel really confined, but happily I didn’t sense that and no one seemed too tired of boat life.

Several times Dave, Gloria, Dave and Nikki mentioned that seeing the islands from the water was a unique experience for them and gave them a new perspective for the islands. Frank and I enjoyed sharing our floating home and perhaps demonstrating that we aren’t completely crazy for choosing to live on a boat.

Even though it has been decades since we have spent time together, these friendships, forged at Texas Christian University, melded as if no time had passed. We never broke stride and everyone interacted as if we had been spending time together consistently for years. Thanks for a great week y’all! TTR seems a bit quiet today without you.

GO FROGS!!

Side Note: Unfortunately, Hawaii is beginning to see a spike in COVID-19 cases and once again restrictions are being put in place to stem the spread. In just a few days, the 14 day quarantine for inter-island travel will be reinstated; at least for air traffic. Luckily, Dave, Nikki, Dave and Gloria returned home before these restrictions were reinstated. We sincerely hope the virus is curtailed in Hawaii before it becomes rampant. In the mean time, Frank and I will exercise greater caution in our social interactions.

Several of the photos in this post were taken by our friends, and Dave S. was especially good at capturing fun shots during the week. Thank you for the pictures.

As always, thank you for stopping by to read our blog. We would love to hear your thoughts about the places we are visiting should you care to make comments below. If you would like to hear from us more often, please check out our FB page or our Instagram.

Dodging A Hurricane ~ Good Riddance Douglas!

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and I never thought about hurricanes. Tornadoes, yes. Hurricanes? I hardly even knew what they were.

Now we live on a boat and hurricanes are a determining factor in where we want to be at different times of the year and thus have a major influence on our lives.  In 2020, we had planned to avoid the hurricane season by sailing to French Polynesia in March. The plan was to stay for a while in the Marquesas Islands where hurricanes are virtually unheard of.

But like every other person in the world, our 2020 plans have changed and we are spending this hurricane season in Hawaii.

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Pretty views in Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Fortunately, Hawaii rarely suffers from hurricanes, but recently Hurricane Douglas developed and decided to head toward these beautiful islands.

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Randy and Shellie pulling Frank on the foil board.

We were happily anchored in Hanalei Bay, Kauai when Douglas began swishing about in the Pacific and heading this direction. Between swims, foiling practice and visits with other boaters, we began exploring our hurricane options. 

Most of the local boaters were taking the hurricane threat fairly lightly but since Frank and I experienced running away from Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit, and we saw friends who remained suffer severe damage, we tend to err on the side of caution.

 

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That little green dot represents TTR in Hanalei Bay.

Folks who have permanent marina slips for their boats already know they are going to ride out any storm in the marina and thus go through some lengthy steps to prepare:

  1. remove sails and canvas
  2. remove any loose objects
  3. tie down anything that remains on deck
  4. tie, cross tie and reinforce all of the lines that keep the boat in the dock
  5. pray

Since we do not have a permanent marina home, our options vary depending on our location. Here in Hawaii, we had contacted a couple of marinas and they either did not have room for us or only had an end tie available. The issue with an end tie is that we can only secure TTR from one side so we have no way to secure her in the middle of a slip to prevent her from banging against the peer when winds push her in all directions.  That was not a good option as we had visions of Ticket to Ride surging and smashing against the dock.

When we were in the Caribbean, it was possible to find mangrove holes where one could anchor and secure the boat and the roots and trunks of the mangroves absorbed much of the storm, thus offering a viable hiding place during a storm.

We are not aware of such places in Hawaii.

Much like when we were in Puerto Rico and sailed away from Hurricane Maria, we believed our best option was also to sail away and avoid the storm altogether. The difference this time was that we didn’t have a destination to sail to; instead we were just sailing out of harms way and would be bobbing about until it was safe to return to land.

There were a few other boats anchored in Hanalei Bay who had the same plan, so several of us left the Bay on Saturday, 48 hours ahead of when the storm was expected to reach Kauai.

When deciding where to run from Douglas, we originally considered sailing north because forecasts showed a chance of the hurricane passing Kauai on its’ south side. But as the storm tracks were updated, it became more likely that Douglas was going to pass over Hanalei Bay or on the northerly side.

After much discussion between us and with other sailors, we decided a better plan was to sail south, thus keeping the Hawaiian Islands between TTR and Hurricane Douglas. The plan was to sail our way south on the western side of the islands while Douglas stormed north on the eastern side of the islands.

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TTR sailing w R1 in the main and the self-tacking jib.

Fortunately this plan worked well and TTR encountered very little of Hurricane Douglas’ effects.  The highest true wind speeds we encountered was 31 knots and the highest seas we saw were probably 8-10 feet.

We saw no rain and the seas were reasonable.

Frank did an amazing job of reviewing the weather reports, analyzing the wind predictions and guiding us toward the lighter wind spots. In fact, after the storm passed us on Sunday, we saw a long stretch of very flat seas and only 6 knots of wind!

When we sailed out of Hanalei Bay, we had the genoa and self-tacking jib up as foresails. We did find we used the self-taker most often and we had one reef in the main at all times.

All told, we were only out sailing about 48 hours. We left Hanalei around 9 am Saturday and we dropped anchor off of Maui at 8 am Monday.

Things I learned:

  1.  TTR is a sturdy, well designed and well fabricated sailboat. She can handle much more than I can. (Ok, I already knew that.)
  2. I love how quiet the rigging is on this HH55!
  3. Frank has a higher tolerance for speed and bumpiness than I do.
  4. Self-tackers are especially nice when short handing in rough seas.

If I were to change anything about how we handled this sail, I would have put a second reef in the main after we were behind Oahu and had a little distance between where we started and where the eye was predicted to hit Kauai. While a second reef wasn’t necessary and we were completely safe, I would have been more comfortable since we didn’t exactly know how windy it might become; especially at night when I am alone on watch.

I would like to express our appreciation to the many friends who reached out to wish us well and who followed our track as we were avoiding the storm.  I appreciated the prayers and the messages we received. It is comforting to know others are looking out for us when we are out of communication and guessing our best course.

Kuddos and big thanks to Frank for handling the lions share of the decision making. He is very good at analyzing the weather and I am often only able to listen as he tells me what is happening so I don’t get sea sick. I’m fortunate that he is so capable and that he doesn’t get sea sick!

This is a very simplified version of the decisions that must go into how to handle an upcoming hurricane. There are so many facets and it takes hours of weather watching and option assessment to come to a conclusion. Each boater must consider the capabilities of his own boat. How prepared is the boat and can it be moved right now? What does your insurance mandate? Have you filed a hurricane plan with your insurance company that must be followed or can it be changed? How much time is available to get into a safe zone before the weather affects sea conditions? How healthy and how capable is the crew? What “outs” are available if the plan isn’t working? Are communication systems up and functioning on the boat? Do you have people in place to communicate in case your weather information fails? Who knows where you are and can keep up with your location in case a problem arises? How much fuel, food and water are on board? These are a few of the factors that must be considered.

At this time, it is very important that we recognize and thank Tommy Henshaw for his incredible help during Hurricane Douglas. Tommy is the young man with whom we became friends in Kaneohe Bay.  I think he is our living guardian angel. Tommy was in communication with us several times a day during our Hurricane Douglas sail. Tommy watched our tracks, looked at weather and sent us the latest information based on images we are unable to get while at sea. He sent us messages just to let us knowhe was keeping an eye out for us. Tommy has shared local knowledge and offered information and advice that has been invaluable! Many thanks, Tommy!!

As always, thank you for visiting our blog. We would love to hear your thoughts using the comments below. If you want to hear from us more often, please look for us on FB or Instagram (hh55ttr).

Visiting the Kaneohe Yacht Club

After several weeks anchored in Kaneohe Bay, waiting for quarantine to finish and some sail maintenance to be completed, we were invited to visit at the Kaneohe Yacht Club.

What a delightful change to be docked at this yacht club.  While the Bay is nice, we were almost the only people living on a boat and we had very little interaction with others. Plus the Bay is large and has some considerable fetch so relaxing in very calm water at the Yacht Club is appreciated.

DSC07778Mae and Tommy chillin’ on TTR.

Tommy and Mae came by in Tommy’s fishing boat while we were anchored in the Bay and we have very much enjoyed getting to know these young people. They have told us about some local places to visit, sailed with us, helped with some rudder work and offered to take us out on their whaler.

KYC has a very active junior sailing program. We see the youngsters heading out on a variety of sailboats that range from tiny Toppers and O’Pen Bics all the way up to Waspz.  The kids tack up the harbor right past the bow of TTR with coaches following behind offering instructions.

DSC07514A Waspz out in Kaneohe Bay.

COVID-19 put the kabosh on casual beer can races at the KYC until a few weeks ago but now they are back in full swing with a few modifications.  Crew numbers are limited and instead of starting the race from the bulk-head, the boats take off from their slips and head to the starting line for each appointed class start.

DSC07868Racers jockeying for position before the race start.

As  you can see, the fairway gets pretty tight with all the race boats setting up and bearing off to cross the start line on time. TTR is on the end dock and very close to the rolling start line which is also the finish line.

DSC07897Spinnakers are deployed before the start line.

DSC07783Tacking back to slips just past the finish line.

The folks at the Kaneohe Yacht Club have been incredibly friendly and welcoming! We have met so many people that the names are beginning to run together but the overall feeling of kindness and acceptance has been universal.

Last Thursday we had a few folks over to watch the races and share some “pupus” which is what Hawaiians call bite size appetizers. Drinks and conversation flowed freely but we kept a close eye out for the returning race boats.

DSC07801Looking to see which of their friends is first this week!

DSC07805Dancing toward the fairway.

Lori invited us to join her and Tony for a walk along the Ulupaina Trail.  While the trail was slightly less than four miles, it was often quite steep and the footing was a variety of roots, rocks and pine needles strewn with the spiked round balls of sweet gum trees.

P7010034Frank, Tony and Lori paused for a photo in the shade.

The sweet gum balls hidden in the pine needles made the footing a challenge but the majority of the trail was shaded and we had some really nice views.

P7010042This would be a perfect reading spot; shady with a lot of birdsong.

In addition to meeting sailors, watching races and taking hikes, I had the opportunity to play tennis twice while at KYC. I admit, my racket was dusty and my strokes quite rusty, but it was really fun to whack a few tennis balls around the court. I am certainly not ready for or in shape for Dallas tennis leagues, but the tennis here was very casual and no one seemed to care about the inconsistency of my shots. I hope it isn’t another five years before I play again!

Our time here at KYC is just about finished which is too bad because we already feel like we ‘belong.’  We truly appreciate the warm welcome here, the opportunity to meet the Kaneohe Yacht Club members and enjoy the ambiance of the club.

A special thank you to Ike for finding a spot for TTR at the yacht club and to Noodle (Bill) and Lori for taking us under their wing and introducing us to so many people!

Thanks for stopping to read our this quick update about what we are doing in Hawaii. We hope you and your family are healthy and well in these unusual times.

 

Long Walks, Roaring Holes And Albatrosses On Our Anniversary.

Exploring Oahu is not easy without a car, so after we finished our two week inter-island quarantine, we rented an auto and set out to explore several parts of this island. We are having some sail work done and will remain in Kaneohe until that is completed, so Kaneohe is our base of exploration for now.

DSC07577View from the original road between the leeward and windward sides of Oahu ~ and a stop on the Shaka Tour. 

Laura Morrelli told us about a self guided tour app called “Shaka Guide Oahu” which we downloaded and used to explore a bit of the island. In addition, we have driven the shores and checked out a few locations that might be nice to anchor in for a few nights once our sails are back on board.

One morning we set out for Ka’ena Point Reserve. Shellie and Randy of s/v Moondance told us it was a great walk and that they saw some baby albatrosses there, so we decided to drive over and check it out. (Albatrosses are at the end of this post.)

P6160375Looking back toward our starting point at that white sand beach in the distance.

We chose to walk from the state park on the south side of Ka’ena Point, but due to COVID-19, the parking lot was closed which added an extra mile each way to our walk. The eight mile round trip hike was flat and hugged the coast line so there was plenty to see as we strolled along.

At one point Frank and I were startled to hear a growl coming from the rocks and we looked sharply thinking there was a monk seal nearby. But actually the noise was from a blow hole we nicknamed “Old Growler.”

Old Growler spraying mist.

Old Growler actually turned out to be two blow holes and Frank was almost sprayed while taking the second video.

Old Growler spitting at Frank

Ka’ena Point Reserve was established in 1983 to protect the natural dune ecosystem. This is one of the last unspoiled dune ecosystems in the main Hawaiian Islands and allows visitors to see what natural dune habitats found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands look like.  In 2011, a large fence, enclosing 49 acres, was installed to prevent vehicular traffic and to keep predators like mongooses, rats, cats and dogs, out of the area. Within the Reserve are monk seals, Laysan Albatrosses and other birds and plants unique to Hawaii.

Monk seals are the only marine mammal that reside only within US Territorial waters and the majority of these endangered seals live in the remote northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

MonkSeal_1000Image from Hawaiian Ocean Project

We were lucky enough to see two monk seals; one at the beach at the start of our walk and the other on the rocks at the point. Both were sleeping in the sun and the only movement I saw was a very occasional flipper flick. Visitors are required to keep a distance of 150 feet so I couldn’t get a decent photo.

We also saw some unique plants:

P6160410The aptly name Starfish Cactus in bloom.

P6160405“Sedeveria” or “Green Rose” grew with abandon throughout the Reserve.

Our friends from the 2016 Sail to the Sun Rally know that Frank and I love to stumble upon bubbly pools and when we do, we climb or trek energetically just to submerge ourselves in those waters.

There were several bubbly pool candidates as we walked to the Reserve and on our way back we just had to stop at the one we deemed “the best!”

P6160412Perfectly clear water inviting us to cool off.

We had to scramble down some rocks to get to this little pool, but the volcanic rock was rough and not slippery which was helpful. We lounged in the water, which was the perfect temperature, and Frank took pictures of plants and fish under the water.

P6160427 Four little fishies in this picture.

Pretty quickly the waves grew as the tide came up, and this pool could clearly become rough and dangerous. We had to abandon our bubbly pool when the waves began crashing over the rocks, but it sure was fun and refreshing.

P6160422You can see the wave hitting the rocks behind us!

After our hike, we drove to Ko Olina Marina where our friends Dan and Susan of s/v Kini Pōpō and Shellie and Randy of s/v Moondance were meeting us to share dinner and celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. Of course we stopped for a couple of bottles of bubbly to mark the occasion. It was really great to celebrate our anniversary with an excellent walk and time with special friends! Thank you Moondance for hosting and Kini Pōpō for staying awake after your overnight sail from Maui!

AND NOW, on to the Albatross…..

“At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1798)

Who remembers reading this poem in high school? The Rime is about an old mariner who relates his experiences to a man he happens to stop while walking along a road. I remembered little about this poem except that the sailor had to hang an albatross around his neck.

The albatross was considered an omen of good luck to sailors because it usually indicated the wind was coming up and the sails would soon be filled again. Plus birds were thought to be able to move between the spiritual world and the earthly realm so they were considered supernatural and natural.  We could discuss this poem for hours, but it is through the Rime that the albatross became a more complex symbol because Coleridge related the bird to christianity and redemption.

Laysan

Photo courtesy of All About Birds.

Anyway!  Ka’ena Point Reserve is one of the few places where Laysan Albatrosses nest and we wanted to see these mythical birds. We saw many fledglings who still had their downy feathers and were not quite ready to fly away. In the distance we saw one grown bird feeding a fledgling. Parents feed their young a thick, concentrated oil extracted from their prey and regurgitate it into the mouth of the fledgling.

P6160391Still a lot of downy feathers on this fledgling.

Surprisingly, the birds were sitting in open areas on the sand, not well hidden and very vulnerable. As gusts of wind came through we watched a few fledglings stand and spread their winds, seemly to get a feeling for just how those wings were supposed to work. One or two took tiny hops with wings spread wide, but they quickly dropped back to a laying position as if a tad bit frightened by the test hop.

Seeing how the albatross was historically important for sailors, I thought I would share a few fun facts about them.

  1. The Great Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird. The wings can span to over 11 feet!
  2. Albatrosses live long lives. The oldest known is a female, Laysan Albatross named “Wisdom” who is at least 66 years old!
  3. Albatrosses can fly up to 600 miles without flapping their wings!
  4. These birds can dance! Take a look at the first 15 seconds of this YouTube video and witness the Laysan Albatrosses courting through dance.
  5. Albatross take up to two years in the courting process and then they mate for life.
  6. Depending on the species, Albatrosses fledglings take between 3 and 10 months to fly and once they take off, they “leave land behind for 5 to 10 years until they reach sexual maturity.”
  7. Parents feed the fledglings until they fly and are so tired at the end that they often wait another two years before reproducing again.
  8. There are 22 species in the Albatross family.
  9. Albatrosses eat mostly squid and schooling fish.
  10. Although considered a good omen by sailors, in literature, the albatross is often used metaphorically to represent a psychological curse or burden.

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Photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife.

This picture was taken at Midway Atoll, HI.  You have to admit that the Laysan Albatross in this pic has really pretty markings.

So there you have it, a few fun facts about Albatrosses. Now I need to go dig out The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and see if I enjoy reading it now for pleasure more than I did as homework in high school.

Anybody want to join me?

Thanks for joining us and reading our blog. If you want to hear from us more often, visit our Facebook page. Stay well and be kind.

 

 

 

A Few Favorite, Practical and Inexpensive Things Aboard TTR

**Our blog is not monetized. We do not have affiliations with any of these products and are not paid for any links or mentions.**

There are four items on Ticket to Ride that I am really happy to have on board and although they are mundane, they make my life easier and I think they are worth sharing.

My first item to share with you is an egg cooker. 

Regardless of where we travel, eggs are available and they are an excellent, inexpensive source of protein.  We eat them pretty often and we add hard boiled eggs to chicken salad and tuna salad.  And of course we need eggs for baking brownies and other delicious desserts!

Most people haven’t seen an egg cooker and they think this is a silly gadget, but I love mine. This little egg cooker was inexpensive and can make hard boiled, poached or scrambled eggs.  I only use mine for cooking hard boiled eggs and it makes them perfectly every time.  While this gadget does use electricity, it uses very little water and it doesn’t use any propane.

DSC07647Dash has a new double layer egg cooker if you want to cook more eggs at once.

To use the egg cooker, you put the indicated amount of water in the bottom of the cooker, make a pin hole in the fat end of the egg using the poker on the bottom of the water measurer, close the cooker, push the start button and walk away. About 15 minutes later you have perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs – every time. Voila!

My egg cooker by Dash cost $15 from Amazon in 2016 and was worth every penny to me. Today the same egg cooker is $19.99.  

Laundry is a reality of land and boat life. I see many on-line conversations about how to wash clothing on a boat but nobody talks about clothes pins for hanging clothes to dry.

For many years on our last boat, Let It Be, we hand washed our clothing.  On Ticket to Ride, we are very fortunate to have a washer/dryer combination unit. However, since the dryer uses a lot of electricity and takes a long time, we usually hang dry our clothing. Twisty Pegs are my favorite type of clothes pin.

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Twenty twisty pegs cost $10.

I like Twisty Pegs for several reasons:

  1. They are flat, easy to store and don’t take much room.
  2. There is no metal soI don’t get rust stains on our clothing.
  3. No moving parts so they don’t break.
  4. They last a long time – my originals are 5 years old.
  5. I like the happy colors.

We have lost a couple of twisty pegs overboard, so I recently ordered more from Defender.  Here is a link if you are interested:

https://www.defender.com/search.html?q=twisty+pegs&x=37&y=15

ICE is a luxury on a boat and we have made it a priority since we began cruising in 2015. Perusing Amazon, I found silicone ice trays that have been perfect for us.  These ice trays can make really large cubes which we refer to as “icebergs.”

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Icebergs coming right up!

The nice thing about these trays is that I can make really large cubes or only partially fill the trays for smaller cubes.  We have a dorm-like refrig/freezer in our cockpit and the upper freezer shelf holds three silicone trays which make plenty of ice for us every day.

One observation about the silicone trays: when we use RO water from our water maker, the cubes are very easy to clear from the tray. However when we use dock water, the cubes are much harder to remove. I think this has to do with the chlorine in the dock water, but I am not certain.

I like these trays so much that I have a spare package of them on TTR, but the ones we have are still in perfect shape after 5 years of use.  Here is the link on Amazon.

Moving to the expensive category.

Finally, cookware. Now this one, I have to admit is a luxury item because of the expense, weight and space usage of these pots and pans. For years I used the nesting cookware with removable handles that is so popular on boats. Frank was not a fan and I was lukewarm about those pots and pans.

Two years ago, at the Annapolis Boat Show, we watched a cooking demonstration by Allen Cerasani of ScaleDown Cookware. I was pretty skeptical about the product because I realize I am a sucker for demonstrations and the product is definitely expensive.  (Website is being rebuilt, but you can reach Allen at scaledownnow@aol.com or by phone at 518-587-6130)

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I love our pots and pans.

Long story short, we ended up buying some of these pots and pans and they are fabulous! I have used them for two years and they are holding up very well. They are truly non stick and clean up is absolutely simple. The handles are oven safe up to 500 degrees so they can be used for nearly any oven cooking.

Using the small pan, I can cook an omelette without using any oil and it folds and slides right out of the pan.  I have had two friends order the cookware after using mine while on board TTR.  Also, do you remember Connor, our stellar crew member? Well he loved these pans and made himself an omelette nearly every day! In fact when he left the boat I double checked to make sure he didn’t take the small pan with him! (I know you wouldn’t, Connor!)

Recently a neighboring boat wanted to make pancakes and borrowed my large skillet. I laughingly told her I would let her borrow it if she promised to give it back. When she returned the pan she said, “I didn’t really get it when you made me promise to return the pan if I borrowed it. But now that I have used it, I know why you said that!”  She wants the name of the pans now too.

If you buy the whole set of pans, you will need more galley room than normal because they are not space saving, nesting pans. Also, these pans are heavy, so they won’t work if you like lightweight pans.  If you don’t have room for the whole set, you might decide to buy just one pot or pan in the size you use most often.

I found a demonstration by Allen on YouTube,  if you want to see the demo.  FYI, I will definitely keep these pans if we ever move back to land!

There are certainly other, more essential items on Ticket to Ride, but I was stupidly happy about receiving my Twisty Pegs yesterday and it made me think about practical items that “bring me joy” and make life afloat easier. Perhaps they are of interest to you.

Do you have any favorite items I should know about?

Thank you for visiting our blog page. If you want to hear from us more often, visit our FB page.  All the best from us to you.

**Again, this blog is not monetized and I do not receive anything for mentioning these products.

 

May 2019 Blog Post Info Update

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The current view from TTR in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, HI.

About a year ago we wrote a blog post about TTR and some of the issue we were experiencing. As we stated in that blog, we think issues on a new boat are to be expected. Today we review the problems we were having and how those were resolved.

Looking back, it is amazing how few issues we have had with Ticket to Ride. Fortunately all of the issues have been manageable and none of them are structural in any way!

Once again, we must be very clear and express our sincere appreciation to HH Catamarans for their excellent service and support of us and for our sailboat. Each time we reach out to HH, they are prompt, extremely helpful, and reimburse us for labor and materials. We are truly thankful for their continued support and guidance.

The electronics on sailboats have become increasingly important and more complex. CZone is a control system that allows boaters to replace traditional wiring with electrical switching controlled at a centralized computer screen. One cool feature of CZone is that you can program six different settings on your boat and with the touch of one button wanted systems are engaged. For example, one setting we have is “Day Cruise.” When we engage Day Cruise, the electronic charts and VHFs turn on, power is turned on to navigation lights, winch controls are turned on, etc.

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Along the top are the six programs we have customized

Initially we had some issues with communication between CZone and our systems and we thought CZone was not working properly. However, the issues turned out to be programming issues not function problems. When CZone was installed and programmed at the factory in Xiamen, China, the programmers didn’t really understand how we would want to use CZone on Ticket to Ride.

Frank spent plenty of time on the phone and through emails with Jessica Li, overseer of the installation and programming of electronics on our HH55,  and Kiel Moore of CZone in New Zealand. Frank gained a better understanding of CZone and he has worked to get it set up to function well for our purposes. The beauty of CZone is its’ flexibility among other features. CZone is now working beautifully and we are very happy to have it on TTR.

In our original post, we discussed problems we were having with the air conditioning units and the processing of power from the generator to our inverter / chargers and then passing that AC power on to the AC loads onboard. We spent a good deal of time communicating with Jessica and tried a few different fixes without success.

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Mastervolt Inverter/Charger installed.

In the end, the underlying problem was a faulty Victron Inverter / charger. Hudson Yacht Group specified the Victron Inverter/Charger because it was the largest wattage inverter in a single unit on the market at the time. We ended up replacing the Victron Inverter/Charger with a Mastervolt Inverter/Charger and since then we have not had any issues with the ACs or the generator to inverter/charger power.

AIS/VHF issues. As offshore travelers, having the ability to talk to other boats or ships using the VHF is extremely important. The AIS allows us to transmit our location to nearby boats and ships and to receive information about nearby boats if they broadcast on AIS. This information is extremely helpful, especially at night when it is hard to determine distances from other ships. For a while our AIS/VHF were unreliable and when working, only transmitted 2 to 2.5 miles.

After a bit of diagnosing with the help of an excellent electrician, Will Immanse in LA Paz, Mexico, we determined that the cable spec’d by Pochon (electronics supplier based in France) that ran from our VHF/AIS to the top of our mast was not properly sized for the distance between the units and the antenna. As signals travel through wire, transmission signal diminishes as the distance traveled increases. Frank and I replaced our RX-8 cable with Ultraflex 400TM (Times Microwave) which has greater signal strength and carries the information between the antenna and our radios and chart plotters.

After changing the cable, our AIS signal reception changed from 2 or 2.5 miles to 6 – 8 miles and on VHF we can talk with ships that are sometimes as much as 15 miles away.

As for the other small issues we listed, happily, they are resolved:

~ the enclosure around our helm station was made sooo tightly that we cannot get it zipped all around, even when we had three people working together.  We had a small strip added to the enclosure and it now closes easily.

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Now we are snug and dry inside this enclosure.

~ the oven on the stove sometimes goes out without any apparent reason.  Easing the burner knobs out a little resolved this problem.

~ there is a leak from a vent box in the engine room that allows seawater into the area when we have following seas. Frank spent a bit of time replacing the hose with a longer hose allowing a large upward loop routed into the outer transom bulwark. The  problem is solved.

Considering the complexity and performance of the HH55 catamarans, the issues we have had on Ticket to Ride are pretty minimal. Today we have over 10,000 nautical miles under TTR‘s keels and we are very pleased to say that her systems are running very well and we are living quite comfortably.

Thanks for stopping to read our blog. We will be finished with quarantine on Oahu very soon and we look forward to exploring this island soon.

Kaneohe Bay And The History Of He’eia Fishpond

Currently Ticket to Ride is anchored in Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu, HI. 

Choosing to anchor where we did was random, but we have found that sometimes random anchor spots allow us to stumble upon something.  Similar to an unexpected find on Martinique way back when, we love it when we happen upon an interesting place that we probably would not have heard about in a guide book. It is sort of like cruising lagniappe! (Lagniappe: something given as a bonus or extra gift.)

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Photo credit: Google Maps satellite images

Located on the windward (east) side of Oahu, Kaneohe is the largest estuary in Hawaii and covers about 11,000 acres.  Although the opening of Kaneohe is more than 4.5 miles wide, outside of the bay lies the only barrier reef in Hawaii which breaks the ocean swell and provides protection in the bay.  Even when the trade winds are blowing outside the bay, the anchorages are very calm, especially in the southern part of the bay. This is particularly nice for us on TTR because the breeze keeps us cool but the boat has very little motion at anchor.

fish pond

It’s interesting to SUP along the coral that rings the sandy areas.

Meandering through the long channel to get to our anchor spot, we passed several shallow areas of sand and coral. These shallow areas are often right next to the channel and the depth on the reef is ankle deep at low tide, but where the outer coral ring ends the depth immediately drops to 30+ feet.

fish pond-6

“The Sandbar” is very popular for family gatherings, kiting and fishing.

Boaters often motor right up onto this sandbar then lay a stern anchor. Unwilling to nose TTR onto the sandbar, we chose to drop anchor a bit off of the bar and SUP to get to the shallows. We were only able to stay at this spot for a night or two.

I read that the Kaneohe area was the most heavily populated part of Oahu during the “pre-contact” era of Hawaii. (Research indicates that pre-contact is considered to be prior to the arrival of Captain James Cook sometime around 1778.)

The fact that Kaneohe is an estuary, which means that one or more fresh water streams or rivers mix into the seawater, is important and was influential in the lives of these Hawaiians. 

The mixing of fresh water and seawater creates a brackish water that is perfect for growing algae that nurtures fish. As many as 600 – 800 years ago, native Hawaiians recognized that value of this brackish water and put it to use for loko iʻa kuapā; walled coastal ponds. Below is a picture of the He’eia Fishpond that encloses 88 acres of brackish water.

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Photo credit School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology, HI

The He’eia Fishpond wall is about 1.3 miles long and has seven gates; four along the seaward wall and three along the He’eia stream, which allows for controlled mixing of the salt and fresh water to create this brackish enclosure.

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One of the seaward gates.

Trapping fish in this brackish enclosure allowed Hawaiians to supplement their food source in an area that naturally developed food for the fish and eliminated the need for a caregiver to feed the fish.

“Ocean fishing is dependent, to a great extent, upon conditions of the ocean and weather.  High surf, storms, and other associated weather phenomenon influence and interrupt most fishing practices.  Therefore, fishponds provided Hawaiians with a regular supply of fish when ocean fishing was not possible or did not yield sufficient supply (Kelly, 1976),” per the Paepae o Heeia website.

It is amazing to me that hundreds of years ago, these Hawaiians had a back up plan for days when traditional fishing methods did not provide enough food for their people.

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A portion of the He’eia Fishpond wall.

As you can see in the picture above, this pond is not built with one wall but two. Each wall is constructed of basalt (volcanic) rock and they are 12 to 15 feet apart. The section between the two walls is filled mostly with coral but also with dirt.  The purpose of the two walls is to slow the flow of water and create a base level of water in the pond so that even at low tide there is sufficient water for the fish.

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Looking over the wall toward shore where early Hawaiians probably lived.

It is estimated that building this loko iʻa kuapā took two or three years of dedicated work by hundreds or even thousands of residents who passed and stacked rock and coral.

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Another example of the seaward gates.

In May 1965 a flood ruined a 200 foot section of the He’eia Fishpond and it went unused until 1988 when Mark Brooks began repairing the wall. In 2001, Paepae o Heeia, a non-profit organization, was established with the express purpose of restoring and caring for the He’eia Fishpond.

Today this historic and innovative walled pond is fully restored and in excellent condition. TTR is anchored about 300 yards from the Fishpond and on calm days we can paddle along the wall and see the waters entering or leaving the gates depending on the tide.

fish pond-3

Shallow sand and coral just off the Fishpond wall.

Kaneohe Bay is so large that there are many areas to explore, but until our two week, inter island quarantine is finished, we have to remain anchored here, so we haven’t had a chance to see as much as we would like.

But the Q will end soon and we have no complaints about our location. The views are stunning, the temperatures are very comfortable and in addition to learning about He’eia Fishpond, we are taking care of routine maintenance on TTR.

As always, thank you for stopping by to read our blog. I posted a video of the He’eia Fishpond on our FB page, so be sure to head over there if you want to see the video or hear from us more often.

 

Searching For Calm Anchorages and Old Petroglyphs

After a couple of weeks in Honolua Bay, we decided to change locations on Maui. First we stopped at Mala Wharf but the north winds made the anchorage pretty bumpy. So after just two nights, we moved to Olowalu which is a few miles south of Lahaina.

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Mala Wharf anchorage is quite pretty.

The water in Olowalu is beautiful and we dropped anchor in a large sandy area for excellent holding.  However, we noticed the wind was shifting throughout the day and we were concerned the anchor chain could become fouled in rocks or worse damage coral. While we were swimming we had located a mooring ball nearby, so we decided to up anchor and tie to the mooring ball instead .

We had quite a time of moving just a few feet away as the wind shifted direction and velocity incredibly fast in Olowalu. When we upped anchor, the winds were about 10 knots. However as we were maneuvering and tying up to the mooring ball, the wind significantly changed directions twice and I saw the wind speed vary between 12 and 30 knots!

TTR has a decent amount of windage, but thankfully with two engines we are able to control her well. Soon we were securely tied to the mooring ball and we celebrated our successful mooring and coral saving maneuver with sundown cocktails.

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Sunset at Olowalu.

The next day we decided to take a short walk in search of the petroglyphs reported to be near Olowalu.  Frank and I have a history of very little luck finding cave paintings in a variety of locations.  While in the Sea of Cortez, we took a dinghy trip and a loooong walk looking for cave paintings near Bahia de Conception.  We spent a good two hours traveling to and searching for the caves without any success.

So when Frank suggested we head off in search of the Olowalu petroglyphs, I was a bit skeptical. But hey, it has been forever since we have had a walkabout so I was in.

Here are a few pictures from our walk.

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Once we were on this old road, traffic noise receded and bird song could be heard.

After a quick quarter mile walk from the beach, we turned onto this old road and walked about half a mile before we were side tracked by a beautiful spring.

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The fresh water was clear and cool.

We couldn’t resist sitting here for a few minutes to watch the water flow and listen to the birds twittering and fluttering nearby. Before long though we continued our search for the drawings.

Happily, we quickly found the old, out of commission pump house which is the marker for the beginning of the petroglyphs.

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Clearly that old pump house is out of use.

According to the information we read, the images we saw are known as Ki’i Pohaku which means “rock pictures or images.”  The Ki’i Pohaku date back 200-300 years to an era which was referred to as “pre-contact” Hawaii.  I thought the drawings would be older than they are but without any protection from the elements they could be erased in time so I guess “younger” is better in this instance.

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A portion of the smooth wall where the petroglyphs are located.

The guide we read suggested bringing binoculars and that was well worth the effort.  We sat in the shade and spied all kinds of drawings – people, families, a sailing vessel, a dog, etc.

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Can you find the sailboat?

The theory is that this area was along a trail between Ioa Valley and Olowalu Valley and that travelers would rest in the shelter of this rock wall.  I can almost imagine some mom telling her child to stop drawing and come on along. 😉  However the drawings are chiseled into the rock so I imagine adults made these depictions.

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Here is a photo take through the binoculars.

It is kind of interesting how similar looking cave drawings are from different areas of the world. Those we have seen all tend to have triangular upper bodies and stick-like arms and legs. It is probably challenging to make even a crude drawing into rock using hand tools.

The temperatures have been great in Maui and it was a perfect day for stretching our legs and seeing tiny bits of land  but pretty soon we strolled back to Ticket to Ride.

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The little used, older road along the coast.

Maui is so lush that even walking along the old road adjacent to the new, well traveled road is quite pretty with huge trees and flowers.

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TTR bobbing in those gorgeous waters.

Every time I return to an anchorage where we left TTR, I am happy to see her floating there, waiting to welcome us home.

Thanks for stopping in to read this post. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to explore other areas and share that with you. Wishing you all health and comfort during these trying times.

 

 

Floating In an Aquarium During COVID-19 Isolation.

This point can kick up great surf waves.

Honolua Bay, located on the northwest side of Maui, is a very popular stop for local day cruise boats. I have learned that four boats carrying 25-50 people each are often moored here for the day to allow their passengers to swim and snorkel.

“Our anchorageas seen from the road.

The Coronavirus has changed all of that. Instead TTR is sharing this beautiful bay with three other cruising boats who have also sailed to Hawaii for refuge during this pandemic. A local couple escapes here on their monohull as well.

A variety of fish anywhere we look.

Although our plan to sail to French Polynesia is on hold until boarders begin to reopen, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to spend our isolation in Honolua Bay.

A school of Convict Surgeonfish.

Nearly every day we snorkel or swim and every time it feels as if I have jumped into an aquarium. The water is chilly enough to warrant a rash guard or a light wet suit for longer water sessions.

I love those eyes! 

The visibility in the water depends on the surf but usually it is very clear.

A Wedgetail Triggerfish – love those lips!

I am amazed by the variety of fish we see and how wide the range of colors, markings, shapes and sizes.

A pretty Pinktail Triggerfish.

I wonder if there are more varieties of fish than any other species…. no, probably insects have even more varieties.

I’ve seen a trumpetfish as long as I am tall!

Still, each time I snorkel I realize how few fish I can name and that I will never know them all.

What kind of fish is this? Part bird? Part dolphin?

Here are a few more photos taken while swimming in our Honolua Bay aquarium.

The turtle is unfazed by Shellie and Randy of s/v Moondance.

The brightly marked Moorish Idol.

Of course there are a few maintenance items we have to take care of because we do live on a boat! However, with so much time on our hands and restricted movement, these projects are pretty easy to accomplish – as long as we don’t need parts or supplies!

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Frank inspecting the anchor light on TTR.

They say timing is everything and that is proven true in the above picture. We have a few college friends who live on Maui and Dave and Nikki happened to drive by the bay while Frank was at the top of the mast. They snapped this photo and sent it to us. It’s fun to see this perspective, so thanks guys!

That’s a peak into life aboard TTR while we are restricted to one location. Hopefully the pictures will brighten your day and offer a slightly different view than one from land. If you are a cruiser who was caught away from his floating home when the pandemic hit, or someone hoping to become a live aboard, maybe these will remind you of what awaits.

We on TTR hope that anyone who reads this is staying well and safe during this crisis. Remember to be especially cautious when restrictions begin to lift. This pandemic has certainly proven that we all share this world, so let’s do our best to be patient and help one another. Wishing each person health, safety and comfort during this challenging time. 

 

2800+ Nautical Miles ~ Sailing To Hawaii

Warning: A very long post! 

So what is it like to sail almost 3,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean?

dscf0223Itemizing the ditch bag in case we have to abandon the boat while at sea.

Honestly, the preparation is a whole lot of work!

All aspects of the boat and sails must be in good working condition and spare parts for repairs need to be on board. Planning meals and buying enough food for the passage plus extras in case we encounter delays, or restricted land access (thank you Coronavirus) requires organization, many trips to the grocery and time finding and recording storage locations on the boat.

Passage to HI     A pretty sunset prior to leaving the dock at Paradise Village.

However, the real answer to the actual passage experience depends on your vessel, the weather and sea conditions you encounter and the crew on board.

We were confident that our crew was excellent and experienced and that our HH55 Catamaran is strong, fast and comfortable.  Our variable would be the weather.

The unique circumstances created by COVID-19 made us especially cautious about our health once we left mainland Mexico.  As a precaution, we sailed from Puerto Vallarta to San Benedicto Island, part of the Revillagigedo Islands, about 320 nm off of mainland Mexico. We spent six days in this completely uninhabited marine park waiting for a good weather window and insuring that none of us had any symptoms of the virus.

Passage to HI-8Revillagigedo Island with buddy boat Kalewa at anchor. (Photo by C. Stich)

While anchored at San Benedicto, we once again enjoyed some excellent scuba diving and relished the opportunity to see the giant manta rays again. It was fun to share this special place with Clayton and Connor.

IMG_0115-001Mary Grace swimming with giant mantas. (Photo credit s/v Migration.)

This time we saw more sharks at San Benedicto and perhaps because there weren’t any dive boats, they seemed to hang around TTR more than the last time. Surprisingly the sharks swarmed when I dropped some lettuce off the back of the boat. Perhaps these were vegetarian sharks??

Passage to HI-6That’s close enough, Mr. Shark. (Photo by C. Stich)

Once we were confident we all felt well and we saw predictions for good weather and wind, we upped anchor and departed for the remainder of our 2660 nm adventure across the Pacific Ocean.

We are often asked if we stop at night during passages and the answer is no. We are always moving and we must have someone on watch 24 hours every day. We settled into a pattern of 3 hour watches per person when the weather was good.  If we anticipated big seas, winds or storms, we had two people up for six hour watches with a ‘primary’ watch person at the helm for 3 hours while the alternate slept in the salon. For the last three hours, the twosome would switch roles.

All in all, the watch schedule worked well and the vast majority of the time we only needed one person awake.  I had the easiest watch schedule of 7-10 am and pm.  I think they gave me the easy watch because I planned the food and we ate very well.

IMG_9765Clayton cutting the dessert pizza.

 Clayton and Connor made a dessert pizza with a layer of Nutella on the bottom, then half of it was topped with cinnamon-apple and half was blueberry pie topping. Delish!

We are also asked what we DO ALL DAY while “stuck” on a boat, but the days go surprisingly fast. One reason the days go quickly is that being constantly in motion is tiring physically and mentally and all of us rest, if not sleep, more while underway than when at anchor.

There are duties that must be accomplished often:

  • enter the log:  lat/long position, boat speed, wind speed, wind direction, state of battery charge, water levels, etc (every two hours)
  • check the bilges of the boat and make sure they are all dry
  • run new weather reports (think slower than dial up data speeds)
  • manage water levels
  • manage boat energy levels
  • take watch
  • prepare meals
  • watch the skies and seas in case unusual weather develops
  • check the sails, lines and attachments

But what do we do for fun? In addition to reading, watching movies, playing games, listening to books or podcasts, how about a little fishing?

DSCF0084Connor has something on that line.

DSCF0093    A small Mahi but enough for dinner and sashimi.

IMG_9777Connor created a pistachio crusted Mahi! YUM

He who catches, gets to cook the fish and Connor did an amazing job after Frank expertly filleted it! Many thanks to those back home who helped with the recipe because it was fab. I told you we ate well! Farm to table right there.

When surrounded by water with no land in sight, watching the nature that surfaces or flies into view is interesting.

Passage to HI-9Clayton caught this Booby as it dove for a fish!

Dolphins always bring a smile and everyone awake goes outside to watch them. 

DSCF0111This pod of about 10 dolphins stayed with us for 20 minutes. (Photo by C. Stich)

This trip we were absolutely blessed with excellent conditions. We had manageable winds with only one night of rain with winds gusting up in the high 20s.  For the majority of our passage, the wind was between 11 and 22 knots. We did have several days of cloud cover which made for cool days.  At night it was cold enough to require long pants and a jacket and that was excellent for sleeping when off watch.

Passage to HI-2The moon was waxing and became full during our passage. 

I seemed to have the luck of catching some spikes in the wind during my evening shift and at one point as we surfed down a wave and I saw 17.9 knots of boat speed! You’ll have to trust me on that as everyone else was asleep. (25k wind, R1 main, genoa)

Passage to HI-11Interesting shot of  TTR blazing along. (Photo by C. Stich.)

We had engaged the services of Bruce, a weather router, for our planned trip to French Polynesia, so instead he helped us with the trip to Hawaii.  We think having Bruce advise us was helpful to anticipate weather troughs that were not predicted through our PredictWind weather service.

Based on Bruce’s forecast of squalls and unstable, increasing winds, we had our main sail reefed for about 30% of our trip. In actuality, we missed the unstable weather and in hindsight the reefs were mostly unnecessary. But better to be prepared than caught overpowered.

Passage to HI-7Sunrise is welcome and beautiful when on watch. (Photo by C. Stich)

Even with our conservative sail plan, the whole trip took a total of 14 days and we averaged 8.2 knots. Pretty impressive considering we want for nothing and were able to cook meals every night.

Since Hawaii was an unexpected destination, I was trying to read a book our friends Katie and Kevin of s/v Kalewa had lent us when we were at the Rev Islands. Trying to figure out where to go on each island was slightly overwhelming. Also, we were concerned we might be restricted to one island once we arrived and we wanted to choose a good place to hang out for an extended stay.

DSCF0294Frank studying sunset from the galley. (Photo by C. Stich)

I suggested we each take a Hawaiian Island and give a presentation on that island. This idea quickly became a competition of who could best “sell” his island to the others on board.

Clayton and Connor delved into their personal skills.  Clayton drummed up some long forgotten high school expertise and made a power point presentation about O’Ahu.  Connor was very secretive about his presentation for Molokai and I knew I needed to step up my game…. I have NO computer skills, so I thought I would draw pictures of rainbows, waterfalls and unicorns to demonstrate how wonderful Kauai is.  BUT I have no drawing skills either, so I quit after drawing the rainbow and instead tried to paint with words! Frank was the straight man and his presentation about Maui was filled with facts and persuasive reasons to make Maui our island of choice.

IMG_9767Clayton hammed up his PowerPoint presentation!

Turns out Connor had written a poem about Molokai which I have copied and put at the end of this blog post.  I’m sure a compendium of Connor’s poetry will soon be available on Amazon!

Lest you think life on a passage is all rainbows and unicorns, like on Kauai, I will tell you we did have one rather interesting event.  Prior to leaving, we had tried to determine why our steering system was making a noise that was continuing to grow louder. 

DSCF0126Frank testing and retesting the steering system.

Frank was in touch with the maker of the steering system and several other experts.  After trouble shooting and trying the suggestions, the noise remained, but thankfully no one thought this would create an issue…. other than making it hard to sleep on the port side where the master cabin bed is. Imagine having Chewbacca mouthing off every 5 seconds behind your headboard while trying to sleep and you will understand what we heard when resting. Thank goodness for earplugs to dampen the sound!

One clear afternoon about 10 days into our trip, Frank was on watch and Clayton and I were chatting when the boat suddenly rounded up toward the wind. Clayton looked up and said, “Where ya going dad?”  Frank’s unhappy response was, “I don’t know!”

We had lost all steering!

Talk about all hands on deck! We quickly rolled in the genoa and centered the main. I took the helm, started the engines and kept us into the wind. Clayton opened the port engine compartment and Frank and Connor took the starboard, all trying to diagnose the issue. Somehow the bolt of the steering rod on the starboard side had completely backed out and we had no steering!

DSCF0124Frank and Connor after replacing the steering bolt. 

Fortunately the bolt, washers and nut were found in the engine compartment and within 15 minutes we had steering again! At least now I know what happens when we loose our steering while under sail!

This issue was completely independent of the Chewbacca noise which stayed with us the whole trip. (Now we think this is an issue with the roller bearings but we probably need to have TTR out of the water to attempt this fix.)

Passage to HI-10Frank on the foredeck at sunset. (Photo by C. Stich) 

We expected to have unstable conditions as we approached Hawaii, but instead the wind died, the sea flattened out and we had enough of a rain shower to wash the topside of Ticket to Ride! Except for when we were fixing the steering, we only used the engines for the last portion of our trip – about 16 hours of our 2600 nm trip. 

Passage to HI-5The verdant hillside of Hawaii was a welcome sight.

Even though we had a great trip, land was a welcome sight. Knowing we would be back on U.S. soil during these turbulent COVID-19 times was an added benefit.

Passage to HI-4   A quiet and relaxing view in Radio Bay, Hilo.

This trip was exceptionally easy especially for two weeks of ocean travel. We could not have asked for better weather, wind or sea conditions. The crew was pretty special too!

When we arrived at the seawall in Radio Bay, s/v Moondance and s/v Kalewa were there to grab our lines and secure Ticket to Ride to her check in space.  While we couldn’t greet our friends with hugs or touch of any kind, seeing their smiling faces was joyous.

Surprisingly, what I most enjoyed about coming to rest was not the lack of motion, but the quiet.  My ears tend to be sensitive and two weeks of noise from the rushing of water and the wake created by TTR was very tiring for me. I ended up wearing noise cancelling headphones at times during the passage to give my senses a rest. The hush of Hilo was magical.

During our trip, several friends reached out via IridiumGo to say hello and let us know they were watching our progress. I found great pleasure in these short messages and looked forward to the little “pings” announcing a new message.  Thank you so much for keeping me company as we traveled and for having us in your thoughts and prayers. Your messages warmed my heart and added a lift to my days! A special thank you to Laura who made a concerted effort to contact me every other day with newsy notes that were entertaining and more welcome than she realizes.

Summary:

  • Banderas Bay, MX to San Benedicto: 320 nm, average speed: 9.2 knots or 10.6 mph
  • Total time from Banderas Bay to San Benedicto: 1 day 10 hours
  • San Benedicto to Hilo, HI: 2500 nm, average speed: 8.2 knots or 9.4 mph
  • Total time from San Benedicto to Hilo: 13 days, 2 hours
  • Total distance Banderas Bay to Hilo, HI: 2820 nm or 3,245 miles
  • Total under engine for both segments: 16 hours
  • Highest SOG to Hawaii: 17.9 knots or 20.6 mph

A special thank you to Clayton Stich for most of these great photos!

Molokai*

By Connor Jackson

We’ve been on this boat for nearly two weeks
We’re tired, out of produce, and my executive suite reeks
But 400 miles away lies a great destination
I think we’re all ready for a Hawaiian vacation
 
But where do we choose? We all have a different priority.
Well, I’m here to represent an island minority.
You say the debate’s closed; let sleeping dogs lie.
Well hold your dang horses – let me tell you of Molokai.
 
With many safe anchorages during all passing seasons
It’s no wonder this was the landing spot of the first Polynesians.
Known at times as the Friendly, Forgotten, and Lonely Isle
With the highest density of native Hawaiians, she’ll garner a smile.
 
She has an export economy of sweet potatoes, coffee, and peppers
But she holds another treasure – an ancient colony of lepers.
Unfortunately restrictions there prevent us from going on land
But their story is inspiring, so let’s… give them a hand?
 
If access was granted, it wouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg,
We could cut footloose with the locals like Stump and Peg. 
But enough with rotten jokes, don’t let them give you a fright
Thanks to them is a lack of development, not even a stoplight.
 
Kaunakakai Harbor is the place that everyone loves
Its main street has an old western feel, so we can reenact Lonesome Dove.
Despite it being the birthplace of the hula dance and (maybe) flower leis
The locals still request to please refrain from any of your sporting ways.
 
There’s also Papohaku, a stopover from O’ahu
To ease the crossing from Maui from one day to two.
I won’t say this is Kaui, with vegetation resplendent 
And it sounds like some of the anchorages here, are highly weather dependent.
 
We are stocked up for months with plenty of provisions
So don’t let the lack of markets affect your decisions
I know only Trix and peanut butter may sound like slim pickins’
But rest assured Frank can make 10 kt chickens.
 
The island abounds with stunning geography and ample places to hike
And its home to a Pacific Seafarer Net radio operator, KJ8ZXM.
I saw no mention of surfing, and I know for some that won’t please
But I don’t really care, because I don’t have good knees.
 
But I’ve been going on a while, and I don’t mean to tire us
I think by now we have clear choice to avoid coronavirus.
Your guys’ islands are not that great, I say with a sigh
The only rational option is the gem, Molokai
 
Oahu? Localism. Maui? Crowded. Kaui? Anchorages too few
To go anywhere but “The Friendly Isle” I must poopoo
I see your sad faces, but before your mood turns sour
Let’s just go to the place with the most mana power.*

 

*This poem includes some inside TTR passage jokes and might be confusing.

WOW, if you made it through this looong blog, thank you.  We appreciate you taking the time to share our journey. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out or add them to the comments below.  Stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

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