blog post

Tuesday 4/16/13 03:30 12 44.617 S 123 47.188 W 44.617S 123 47.188W Bad Day Yesterday was a very bad day to say the least. It all started with a very hard night, with winds blowing up to twenty knots and fairly large waves that would kick the stern of the boat around. So when I went off watch at six am I was pretty tired. I was awaked a half hour later when a large gust hit and rounded the boat up into the wind and the boat was suddenly heeling thirty five degrees. Not a good thing when flying the spinnaker! Barb had it all under control but I was awake and ended up sitting in the cockpit for another hour. I then went to bed again and Barb woke me two hours later saying the wind had built even more, so I got up and we ended up taking the spinnaker down in the dark and putting the large jib, 160, out with the pole extended. Then it was back to bed. Two hours after that I woke to the boat rolling back and forth, basically rolling in the swells. The wind had gone down to five knots again. So it was time to take down the 160 and put the spinnaker back up. While rerouting the lines I noticed that one leg of the bow pulpit was broken, great one more thing to fix. Then when we hoisted the spinnaker it proceeded to just come falling out of the sock and ended up in the water dragging alongside the boat. That let the sock go free and it took off flying free about twenty feet from the boat. So I had to lower the sock down into the water and turn the boat into the wind so Barb could catch the sock and drag it onto the boat. Apparently when the sail people installed the spinnaker into the sock they did not tie off the pin in the swivel and over time and use the pin fell off. So I dug around and found a different pin and put it all together. Then we had to try and reload a very heavy wet spinnaker into a very wet sock which took a while. Then I hoisted the spinnaker again and just when I got it up the sock zoomed up to the top taking the hoisting line with it. Now it is swinging fifteen feet off the deck. Luckily I was able to snag it with the boat hook and pull it down before it wrapped itself around something else. By this time I had had it. I came back to the cockpit and plopped down and declared ‘that is it I am done I am not having a good time and I just want to go home!’ Actually it was much stronger then that but you get the idea, I was just finished! After I calmed down and had a great breakfast, of fish tacos, I just went to bed and slept for five hours. When I woke up I was feeling much better and not so depressed. I would never have believed just how hard on things this constant rocking and rolling is. The amount of work that is going to have to be done when I get to New Zealand is growing every day. It is very hard for me to watch as the boat is slowly taking such a beating. Not that the weather we are in is bad at all it is just the constant movement. But here I sit in the middle of the night with the sky lit up with a billion stars and warm glow of the phosphorescent water and I feel so lucky to be here!

Another Fish

Sunday 4/14/13    23:00
13 06.163 S
121 10.219 W 12110.219W    (link fixed now)

Last night we caught another fish.  We had only had the line out for a little while when Barb saw it jump into the air.  I was down below doing dishes, the diligent galley slave that I am.  So I grabbed the video camera and went on deck and filmed Barb as she hauled the fish to the boat.  There is not a lot of playing the fish that is being dragged at six knots and you have him on a 500 pound test rope.  It is mainly meat hunting.  But never the less it is a little bit of excitement in our day.  Barb kept saying it was not very big at all, but when she got it to the boat it was over feet long.  So I gaffed the fish and hoisted it onto the cockpit were I spent the next two hours cleaning it.  It is really hard to clean a four foot fish, balancing it on a one gallon bucket while the boat is rolling back and forth.  It wants to slide this way and that.  I also need a longer filet knife if I am going to clean things like this.  The meat of this fish was totally white, while the meat of the tuna was as red as beef.  If the tuna was just sitting in a bowl you would think it was.  We ended up with two fillets that were about three feet long and at the thickest part about two and a half inches thick and eight inches wide.  A lot of meat to say the least.  So we fried up some samples last night, fish sandwich for breakfast, and fish tacos for dinner tonight.  We have froze about half of it and will have more fish tomorrow. We did all this while we were still making are 150 miles for the day.  We are still fling the spinnaker almost continuously. At times during the nights when the apparent wind pipes up to twenty knots it is a little much but I seem to be able to keep it under control. It tends to make for very long nights though.
I think that I am ready to get off the boat and walk around for a while.  The lack of sleep and constant movement are starting to work on me.  At times I feel a little too isolated and Barb catches the brunt of that.  I try to sleep some during the day but that is not always that easy.  Today Barb tried to shake me to wake up, but I didn’t wake even when she shook me.  I miss being able to call friends or just stop by and see them.  Sometimes it makes me homesick.  I miss you all!!!

Crossed the 100th parallel

Tuesday 4/5/13    20:00
14 26.343S
108 50.372W 26.343S 108 50.372W

On Friday evening we crossed the 100th parallel while we were gorging ourselves on some delicious Tuna sushi. We had the seaweed wraps, the wasabi, the Kikoman soya, Ginger pickles and of course the raw Tuna but we didn’t have the sushi rice. So we used ordinary rice and didn’t cut the sushi rolls but ate it like a burrito. But it tasted just like sushi should!! We probably ate the equivalent of about 60 Tuna sushi rolls.
We have had the spinnaker up now for the last 4 days and will probably have it up until we reach the Marquesa Islands. That’s the only way to sail straight down wind. Not much to do except the occasional tack as we negotiate sailing thirty degrees either side of straight down wind. Now we know why they call this sail the milk run but it’s a good start for me with my very little sailing experience.
We have settled into a routine. Dennis takes the first shift from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am while I sleep and then I take the 6:30 am to lunch time shift while Dennis sleeps (he doesn’t need as much beauty sleep). The wind gusts seem to happen more frequently at night so Dennis is better equipped to handle those in the dark. We are still on Chilean time so now the sun rises at 10:30 in the morning and sets at 10:30 at night. We will soon have to start adjusting our time not that it really matters to us.
Every day we empty out the bunks, bring the cushions outside for the day and hang the sheets on a clothesline Dennis made. We vacuum the cushions prior to bringing them inside. We look like the ‘Beverly Hillbilly’s Clampets’ on water. But our efforts are working as we have gone a night or two without bites or very few. We just can’t stop until we reach land and we can fumigate!!
The weather is tropical now so we spend most of our days in the cockpit and enjoying every minute of it! I am, of course already golden brown, but Dennis is taking a little longer to tan. He has to do it in layers but I don’t see that happening as he lies in the shade every day!


Friday 4/5/13    20:00
        17 16.306 S
        99 38.762 W 16.306S 99 38.762W

Finally caught Fish

Dennis woke me up early Thursday morning to let me know that he had just pulled in a fish hooked on our trolling line and that I should come out and look to see if we wanted to keep it. It wasn’t a Tuna. The fish was about 3 feet long but shaped like a snake with huge eyes. It was not pretty. It was also dead so we decided that we did not want to keep that one. But at least it gave us some comfort that the lure we were using was attracting fish. We also decided that trolling in the nighttime, when we may not be watching the line, was not a good thing to do.
By mid day the winds had died down and we had to switch from the 160 back to the spinnaker. That meant less rolling and a smoother sail. Dennis noticed that there were some small metal filings on board and made an assumption that there was something going on with the pole we were using for the 160. So you know Dennis, he is all about maintenance to prevent major issues that could result in expensive repairs. So we tore the V-berth apart, dug out tools and parts and proceeded to take apart the pole on deck. Dennis on one end doing the fixing and me at the front of the boat holding and pulling the pole at his command. He did find the problem and he did fix it and it is better than before!! But the way the wind is now, it may be a while before we use the 160 again.
So at 8:00 in the evening we were both sitting on the cockpit enjoying the smooth sail and the sunset and I was contemplating heading down below to heat up left over for dinner. When I got up I noticed the trolling line seemed to have something on the end. I gave the line a little pull and sure enough we had a live fish. We had made the line extra long so that the lure was well behind the boat so it took a little while to pull the line in. I was halfheartedly making jokes about what ugly fish we may have on the line this time. Halfway in Dennis exclaimed “It’s a Tuna!!”  Well that changed everything. Now the pressure was on me to get that Tuna on board. I managed to get it to the side of the boat so that Dennis could haul it in and then I gave him the line. We had previously rehearsed what our roles would be so we would be prepared if by chance we did catch a Tuna.  But all that flew out the window for me and all I could think of was getting that sucker on board. But luckily Dennis remained calm and had to give me very simple instructions of where and how to get the gaff put together. I took the line back, walked towards the front of the boat to bring the Tuna close so that Dennis could hook him with the gaff. And it all went according to plan. As Dennis lifted him out of the water the tuna flicked himself off the hook and line but luckily landed in the cockpit. What a beautiful 20 lb Tuna!!! Stay tuned for pictures in our photo album which we will post when we have internet. Dennis did a great, but very amateur job cutting off our Tuna steaks and we now have enough Tuna for a while and even managed to freeze a couple of meals. We did not waste much!! Within 3 hours we were sitting back and eating the freshest Tuna steaks we ever had that we fried with nothing but a little olive oil and some fresh limes sprinkled on top just before serving it up!! Wow is all I can say! And tomorrow we plan to make Sushi.
It was an experience of a lifetime.

Not Rolling

Wednesday 4/3/13    15:00
18 10.931 S
95 10.116 W 10.931S 95 10.116W

Finally after two weeks of rolling in eight to ten foot following seas it has let up a little.  I am sure that if it goes totally dead I will long for the high winds again.  We are sailing along on course at about five knots with only seven to eight knots of apparent wind.  It is surprising that a person can sleep when your body is rolling side to side and the boat is creaking and moaning.  Just imagine taking your kitchen and tipping it thirty degrees one way and then slamming it thirty degrees the other. Stuff is always banging and clanging around.  There is always that one can or jar that clinks up against a cabinet.  Then when you climb out of your bed it quits then just as you fall asleep it starts again, it can drive you totally nuts.
We have developed a way to hang the generator from the boom so it is gimbaled and does not tip over, which it did when we were hit by a particularly large wave.  The thing kept running lying on its side as I scrambled up to shut it down.  The only thing that happened is oil ran into the air cleaner and chocked of the motor.  When I got it started again it started smoking like crazy until it burned the oil out of it.  Because the auto pilot has to work so hard to keep us on course in the rolling seas we seem to have to run the generator at least twice a day to charge the battery. Without the generator we would have to take turns steering the boat and that would have been a challenging sail for the next 2 weeks. Every day there is something to fix.
Yesterday we saw a pod of False killer whales (that’s their real name according to our Nature book). They are about 12 feet long. They hung around the boat for quite a while swimming alongside and then diving under the boat. It is always amazing to see them up close in the wild. There are also schools of flying fish that seem to all take off in unison and fly about 5 feet. Every morning we find a few on deck.
I am surprised just how much easier it is with another person on the boat.  I actually get a chance to sleep five or six hours at a time.  And having someone to talk to makes a big difference and Barb does not let me forget to eat.


Tuesday 4/2/13    12:00
18 26.344 S
92 16.954 W 26.344S 92 16.954W

Well our latest dilemma seems to be bed bugs.  They must have come aboard when we were stocking the boat in Puerto Montt.  It is a little hard to do much about them when you are in eight to ten foot seas.  We have bagged up most of our bedding and are boiling the last remaining sheets and vacuuming the cushions.  We will keep this up for a while.  So if anyone was wondering if Barb was getting lonely out here for so long, it is not a problem she has lots of new friends that really love to sleep with her. I tell her that those are just little love nibbles from her new friends but she does not see the humor in that.
The sailing here is really different than sailing against the wind in the Atlantic.  It is all down wind.  Most of the time we are using just the big jib poled out.  We are faster with that then using the main and the big jib because the main shelters the jib too much.  The last few days we have been doing over 150 miles a day which is really great for this old boat.  It is quite the ride though, in these eight to ten foot seas.  The worst part is the frequency of the waves is very short, so the boat is really fishtailing around as the waves shove the stern this way and that.  The autopilot is constantly fighting to keep up. The feeling of speed is almost scary at night when you are surfing down the waves at over eight knots with the glowing phosphorescent foam all around the boat. Yesterday I was on the bow moving the pole from one tack to the other and Barb was in the cockpit pulling sheets when a wave hit the rear starboard quarter dumping six inches of water into the cockpit and throwing me against the life lines.  So staying in the cockpit isn’t always the driest place to be.  The lack of sleep is very wearing, it makes doing anything at all a chore.  Just moving around the boat is a lot of work.  Doing dishes is a two person job, because you can’t set anything down or it ends up flying across the cabin.  So one person washes the other has to dry and stow them away.
20 days done at least 20 to go, half way, if the wind holds.

Turned West

Friday 3/29/13 23:00
20 28.568 S
83 32.059 W 28.568S 83 32.059W

Heading West

We finally made the turn and are now heading West versus North and so we are getting further and further away from the South American coastline. The weather is getting warmer although for the last few days it has been mainly cloudy. I am already in shorts and it will probably take Dennis another week or so before he is in shorts. The last couple of days the wind has settled into a pattern. In the mornings there is a nice breeze but the waves are fairly large so the boat rolls quite a bit. By the afternoon the waves and the wind settles and we can have a nice afternoon in the cockpit. By evening the wind start to pick up and we start experiencing a nice fast sail. From 20:00 to midnight the wind gusts and can go from 10 to 25 knots in a matter of seconds. I am starting to get used to this and not get the feeling of terror as the boat heels 30 degrees. Yesterday our keyboard went flying during one of the wind gusts but it still works!!
Based on our average boat speed for the last couple of days we should be arriving in the Marquesa Islands in about 4 weeks or 28 days.
We are now trolling a new lure and fishing line but still no fish. I was hoping to have fresh fish for Good Friday. Oh well, I do have some chocolate for Easter Sunday!!

A Day of Sailing

Wednesday 3/27/13 05:00
24 01.260 S
79 49.436 W 01.260S 79 49.436W

A day of Sailing

Yesterday we had a day of sailing. We had the Spinnaker up and it was a quiet sail. I was sitting in the cockpit enjoying my morning cup of coffee when suddenly the wind gusted from 10 knots to 20 in a matter of seconds. I did not see it coming. Dennis was trying to get some sleep and it’s the fastest time I saw him scramble to the cockpit. He was there within 2 seconds (in his underwear). We decided to bring down the spinnaker and put up the main with the 160. From there the weather starting to turn and there were grey clouds all around and before long it was misty rain. The wind gusts became more frequent so we changed the 160 to the Yankee and before long we had a reef put in the main. I have to say that sailing with the spinnaker is an easy sail but 20 to 25 knot winds and sailing with the main is much more exhilarating.
We still have no fish but now we have quite a few birds diving for our bait. One bird actually caught it and he released it pretty quick. Within 5 minutes he was back ready to do another dive. We pulled the line in as a sea bird is not on the menu, for now anyway.
We are doing great with our food supply. We figured we have another 2 weeks with fresh vegetables and bread and after that it’s homemade bread and canned goods plus rice and beans, although we do have plenty of cabbage, onion and potatoes. We just have to be creative with the one pot meals!!

Robinson Crusoe

Sunday  3/24/13    07:00
30 04.734 S
79 10.486 W 04.734S 79 10.486W

Fabulous spinnaker run

We set the spinnaker yesterday around 2:00 in the afternoon and ran it until the wind picked up around 1:00 this morning.  It is unbelievable to be sailing under spinnaker at night with the moon making the water sparkle and the spinnaker light up like a bright ball.  I had to wake Barb up to get it down which is kind of a challenge in the dark.  We have been dragging a lure through the water now for a week and have not caught anything at all.  We even tried putting a squid, that had washed on to the deck last night, on a line, what a mess, I got the ink all over and boy does it stink.  Everyone should get to have all this fun.

Saturday  3/23/13    24:00
30 41.461
078 57.307 40.421S 78 57.673W

Robinson Crusoe Island

I had wanted to send an update recapping our day on Robinson Crusoe Island but the boat was rolling too much and it was hard to sit and type anything. It was also the first time on our trip that I have felt a little queasy so that meant spending most of the day in the cockpit. Today we rolled out the spinnaker, lowered the main and it has been a beautiful, smooth sail.
The Island’s claim to fame is Scotsman Alexander Selkirk, who spent four years marooned on the island after requesting to be put ashore. He had had a dispute with the captain of the privateer Cinque Ports in 1704 over the seaworthiness
of the vessel (the ship was rotting). Abandonment was tantamount to a death sentence for most castaways, who soon starved
or shot themselves, but Selkirk adapted to his new home and endured, despite his desperate isolation.
One could describe the town as a fishing village, down to the lobster catchers in knitted caps, and dusty stores that run out of supplies before the provisions ship arrives. The supply ship was there while we were there so the town was bustling as the slow unloading process took place and construction for repair of the damage from the tsunami was at a peak.
We decided to do the SALSIPUEDES hike which took us to the top of La P�lvora. The trail zigzagged 45 degrees uphill through eucalyptus groves, ferns as high as 10 feet and thickets of coniferous trees to reach the ridge Salsipuedes, which translates to ‘Leave if you can.’ Dennis of course would not stop until the trail ended. If he had had a machete he would have continued into the thicket to the next crest. We could have become Robinson Crusoe part II. We had our usual Tomato sandwich lunch at the top while we savored the view and took lots of pictures. Our descent was much quicker than the ascent but we felt the pain on our legs. After 5 hours of hiking we were looking forward to a beer and a home cooked meal at a local restaurant. Much to our disappointment all restaurants were closed probably due to the fact that the supply ship had been unloaded and had left port. The little town had gone back to sleep!! We settled on BBQ hot dogs cooked by Chef Dennis and a nice bottle of wine. Oh, and the hot dogs we bought in the local store was sold by the hot dog. When we indicated we wanted the Hot Dog pack sitting in the fridge display case she asked ‘How many did we want?’ I understood the Spanish and much to our surprise she opened the pack and began counting out the hot dogs and weighed them and placed them, individually, in a bag for us.
Robinson Crusoe was a great little 2 day detour before we began our 35 day sail!

The part Barb forgot to mention:
The hike was up the side of a very steep mountain often we were on a 45 degree incline and that was going up the switch backs.  Brenda you can probably relate to how I encouraged Barb to keep going even when her caves were aching only this hike was much steeper and longer.  The views were truly spectacular from the top.  Someday when we have internet again we will put pictures up.  As far as the town goes it was pretty much totally destroyed three years ago in the tsunami.  It is being rebuilt with lots of government money.  A lot of it not making any sense at all, but to get money it has to be built it government standards, what a waste.  Once all the workers leave it will return to a poor little fishing village whit a few tourists coming to visit.