Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crossing from Hanalei Bay to the Juan De Fuca Strait..

It's 15h00 on the 10th July, and we are finally leaving Hanalei Bay at Kauai Island. Scot from Scoot is racing around us on his dinghy taking photo's. He'll send them to us via email. He is having a job keeping up with us because even with two reefs in the main and genoa we are moving at 7.5knots, quite a pace. Lets hope it continues.
This will be a testing ground for us and Puddytat. Yes we have sailed her around the islands here and yes we learned a bit about her but now on a long distance we were really going to learn how she liked to sail.
The moon peeks down at us ..

David's knuckle is still worrying him and I'm not surprised, it hasn't really had long enough to heal yet.
Just after one in the morning of the 11th, a wave broke over the bow and found it's way into the saloon...Drat. I was working on my computer and had just put it onto the seat to go out and do a routine check for ships when swish, slosh splosh and she got a dousing...fizzel fizzel and that was the end of her. pease note that it was the hatch on David's side of the saloon...it was open just a crack and the water only landed exactly where my computer was....s**t! Ahh you say...who in their right minds sails with a hatch open..yeah yeah I know I should have closed it, but the weather had been so benign and there had been no water where it shouldn't have been until then...
I forgot to mention...we're wondering just how long our sail tape repair is going to last ...We have ordered a new mainsail and we will be collecting it ...in California :-D so we have rather a long way to go before we get it...this leg..2273nautical miles to The Strait entrance or Neah Bay, provided of course, we don't get pushed over to the west before we can actually start to sail east.
The repair in the main is looking dubious..

The boat was moving well but we were going in the wrong direction. Huh you ask..Why? Well, the wind was blowing from the N/E, basically the direction we wanted to go so we were doing our best to get north without being pushed too far west, hoping for a westerly wind to come in as part of the high.
A sunset from the beginning of the trip.
Puddytat sailed between 6.5 and 8.5 knots for 5 days. We were making good time.During this time a few problems raised their heads, one was there seemed to be a hole leading from the rope locker into the area where the water tank was positioned and so water broke over the boat, poured into the rope locker, through this hole past the water tank and down into the shower area...and into the bilges...so the bilge pumps just kept on working..thank heavens. Then! I was sitting on the head and a wave broke over the bow and I got water down my neck..whaaaaa ??? There is a solar powered fan fitted into the deck just above the head and water was flushing down that and rinsing anyone under it. David fitted a blank in there which fixed it, but the fan didn't work now. The blank for the starboard hull broke when David was trying to fit it so he stuffed a rag into it and that did the job. We discovered that the hatches on the starboard side of the yacht were leaking...and of course the one over where I sit in the saloon leaks like a sieve too..yay :-p

If that wasn't enough one day when David was about to retire for a short nap the roller furling line broke. He had to splice the rope together again so he went to nap an hour later than he should have.
later that day at 12:23pm....A storm's brewing, Huge big black clouds and we're heading right for it. We have to go through it and the wind has gone from 10 knots to 19 knots and rising. By 12:27 it was up to 30 knots then to 31.9 knots then it suddenly dropped back to 19 knots at 12:30. A few minutes later it rose to 23knots again with rain...nice the boat is being cleaned of salt and it smells so good. At 18:00 David decided to hove to, he wanted to screw the forward locker hatches down to try and limit the amount of water coming into the boat...I went for a nap...it was soooo peaceful.
By 09:00 the next day the winds had settled to about 19knots and we were bashing through them at about 7.5 knots. Then the starboard trampoline started to work it's way loose and the anchor wanted to go and play elsewhere, so we hove to again and and re-tied the tramp and made sure that the anchor wasn't gonna go anywhere anytime soon.
The weather being what it was with that storm passing through had messed up the waves pretty badly....imagine a top loader washing machine doing it's thing, drop a grain of rice onto those waves and watch it get tossed around. That's us...well what it feels like anyway...This is a quote from our log book..." OK so the difference is that we have sails and are moving forward at about 7.5 to 9.5 knots, this means we spend a lot of time cleaving through waves, that spread themselves with gay abandon, all over the boat.
The Cockpit door and sheets (ropes) all over the place...
We even had to close the Cockpit door to stop gallons of water pouring over the coach roof and into the saloon." This, we felt, was rather amazing as out coach roof is rather high above the water..and the waves aren't really that big....UGH sailing to weather is NOT FUN! I much prefer to sail with the trades from east to west...not like this, trying to go from West to east..All the soles of the boat are covered with salty water, making it very slippery...and of course I fell, hurting my ankle, back and right arm...damn.. I'll definitely have to come up with a solution to this before we cross the Pacific again. However at the moment of writing up the log, the wind was still sitting at 18 knots, Puddytat is sailing with one reef in the main and two in the genoa and it's seems to either have settled into a pleasant movement or we are getting used to it...But I keep on waiting for it to go to hell again.

In the early hours of the 17th July 2008 the wind began to die. This was not good. We needed wind. We only had two 15gal tanks of diesel plus 30 gallons in jerry jugs. and that sure wasn't enough to get us across 2000 odd miles of water. we also had to keep enough in store to charge the batteries so that our fridge, freezer and nav instruments would function. Our solar panels would work to some extent but they weren't nearly big enough to do the whole job. David had planned to buy bigger ones once we were on the mainland.

David took over the watch at 02:00 and decided to run one of the engines...maybe this lull in the wind wouldn't last and soon we'd be sailing again...yeah right.

By lunch time we realised that the calm was here for a while. We wondered if we had arrived in the middle of the high and if we had how long it would last and how the heck could we get out of it. David put out the fishing line, "may as well take advantage of this lull," he said. I decided to try and clean up some of the saltiness on the soles and to tidy up a bit. then go and suntan on the trampoline. I never got to suntan that day but I did manage about half an hour the next. I don't usually suntan, but in this instance I figured it was probably the last time I'd see a warm sun for quite a long time.
Sunset ...and maybe a fish?
David saw a huge tree trunk, out here in the middle of nowhere. He reckons that it was at least 20ft long and 2ft in Diameter. It was covered in barnacles and dead ahead. He turned 10 deg to port and the trunck passed down the starboard side. He was pleased that he had spotted it in time. The thought of hitting it and maybe causing damage to the daggerboard, propellor and rudder...not good.
The Log we managed to miss :-)
Each night we play a turn at our ongoing game of scrabble. It gives us something to think about during the day :-). We are not allowed to cheat and use a dictionary...only to make sure on a spelling. I've managed one 7 letter word and David has had two..he would! :-p
Two things are happening...it's getting colder and we are not getting any closer to Canada/USA. The winds that we had, pushed us north and west....adding lots of extra miles onto our trip. At least at the moment we can motor in a north easterly direction....we have to go north to try and find the wind.

A fish! We've actually caught an albacore! Our first ever in the Pacific. Yay! It's about two foot long so we should get some good meat off it. David lost his favourite knife overboard...shame,...but, he says, it was worth it! :-)

Look at that..yum...there's nothing like fresh fish!
On the night of the 18th I notice that we are 811nm away from the Aleutian islands of Alaska and the Bearing Sea and 1619 from our way point marker at the mouth of the Juan de Fuca Strait...hmmmm.
There's been no sun today..it's getting colder..brrrrr...David baked two loaves of bread, yum...and it warmed up the boat a bit.
Tonight it's 'mizzeling', cold clammy weather where the droplets hang in the air and attatch themselves to you if you come in contact with them. It's a mixture of a mist and a drizzel...David's word...Visibility is almost nill and I'll have to rely on the radar. This new equipment on board is still a mystery to us...:-) we'll have to do some manual studying.....OK..sorted..it's rather easy really...the mizzel has got almost as thick as fog and is much wetter...best to stay inside as much as possible.
David..looking for wind..
Waiting for another fish.
The 19th...David writes in the log book..."The dawn isn't so much a parting of the night sky with a crack of orange light in the east...but more like someone turning up the dimmer switch in the attic. Mist, mist we are surrounded with it. The water's glassy smooth with no breeze at all." His decision is to sit and wait. If a wind doesn't come up by 10am he'll put an engine on and motor for most of the day, charging up the batteries and hopefully getting us out of this doldrum. After today we can only use the motor for charging the batteries and so we'll only move during that time...the rest of the time we'll sit and wait...Ho ho..He's caught another albacore...this is good.
We only have 30 gals of diesel left...where is that flipping wind?

20th...we've got 5kts of wind...whoo hoo..and we are sailing at 3.4 kts...please please let this hold and improve. David came on watch and by 10am the spinny was up and we were sailing at 6.5kts ....are we finally going to get somewhere?...
Moon rising...so pretty.
21st...David takes over the watch at 02:00 as usual...I've just climbed into a nice warm cosy dry bunk and then he calls me up to help him on deck...ugh...H'es wrapped the spinnaker around the furled Genoa and when he tried to sail it out, he gybed the main and broke the preventer..no biggie :-) it's only a sail tie, ( a short piece of rope, to you land lubbers :-D)...Now he wanted to lower the main..so he called me up....When we tried to lower the main we discovered that the clutch ( jammer) had severed the halyard protective braid ( the outer wrapping on the rope that holds the big sail -main- up)...David wrapped it with amalgamating tape and it worked....as things go, by now the spinny had got itself out of trouble, so David sortof packed the main onto the boom and tied it down with..yes you've got it...sail ties....He's worried about the battons though..so he'll check them in daylight. We won't be using the main till then...we hope...Oh yes in amongst all this the Auto Pilot control head lost contact with the computer, momentarily, went onto standby and the target alarms have been going off on the radar, probably more rain...fun fun fun...then...he lost a torch overboard... what a night!
The disrobed halyard...needed to be wrapped up again..
By 07:00 David is wet and miserable. There are complaints written into the log book about the cold and he's wondering WHY WHY WHy we ever left Hawai'i....I agree with that sentiment!  At least we have wind...
Today is a baking day...so we baked two loaves of bread, one chocolate brownie cake and a pork roast...hmmm those lovely smells and the saloon is warmer.... much warmer...we had to open the door to let a little cool air in..ha ha
As a celebration to the wind we decided to go to the movies tonight. YAY! We've been at sea for 11 days. David hunted out some chocolate coated macadamian nuts YUM YUM. We watched Bridget Jones...fun.

22nd...My folks have tied their yacht to a mooring ball in Panama somewhere and flown up to Seattle to see us...so of course David breaking his knuckle has caused a delay and now we don't know if they will still be there when we arrive... I haven't seen them since early 2007 when they left Trinidad. They are staying with my brother Ray in Seattle. Him, I haven't seen since 2005...so this will be a good reunion....if we get there in time....
As the days go by we are learning more about Puddytat than ever before..Also for David this is his first time flying a spinny on a cat..and every cat will react differently so it's no guarentee that you know how to do it if you've had practice on another one. However I have sailed across the Atlantic from South Africa to the Caribbean on a Cat, and also from Bermuda to the UK on another cat..so I have a little experience and we work together learning how Puddytat wants the sail to be set up. We feel we haven't got it quite right yet...I won't go into all the different things we tried..suffice to say that it's been entertaining and energetic.
David has worked out that we have 25 gals of diesel left. So that's enough for a MAX of 4hrs a day for 10 days....so no more motor sailing if the wind dies again we motor for two or three hours and then wait. I really hope that doesn't happen...it's so cold now...
That night we are sitting in the Saloon and I notice condensation gathering on the inside of the hatch frames...I say...must be warm in here..he says, must be bloody cold outside.. This years understatement. :-) Hot showers are non-existant, our water is for cooking and drinking...David hasn't got the watermaker running yet and we did start off with  75 gallons. For the two of us that should be ample if we don't waste it on showers...We make do with a quick flannel wash using icy water..ugh...sometimes I heat some water on the stove...mmmmm
One consolation..the boat is fairly free of salt and I could go out there and collect some freshish water to wipe down the inside ....Our new Auto pilot "Leo" -'cos he purrs like a huge cat- is working very well and the radar is saving us from having to spend a lot of time outside.

Sunrise to an overcast day...
23rd...we're eating up the miles now. This is great. The sailing downwind is very comfortable, I work on my quilt most days and David has been doing little projects of his own...we are eating very well and other than the cold, life is great. Sometimes I feel so good I stay up and extra hour..letting David sleep a little longer...
Ha ha from the sublime to the ridiculous....The wind is now too strong for the spinnaker..18kts.. so we have put it away and are sailing under genoa only...We are trying to get used to all the new noises that we are hearing due to the stronger winds and so we are rather tired 'cos we aren't sleeping properly. What was that I was saying about feeling so great last night?...We couldn't be bothered right now to put the main up..we'll do it soon. Ha ha..so much for salt free decks...the waves are occasionally breaking over the bows again...

24th...Wind blowing bwt 14 and 17 kts...we put the main up and Puddytat speeds up to 8 kts and seems more comfy ...a smoother ride...hmmm great. The rain/mizzel has finally stopped. By 17:00 (5pm) we have both sails reefed down to the third reef for the night and still sailing along at 8-9kts...not bad.

25th...winds are still up at 18-19kts so we are humming along nicely...still cold though..the air just slices right through you..brrrr
We've discovered that Puddytat doesn't like to be sailed slowly in a good breeze. She seemed to be pounding so David let out a reef and up went the speed and the pounding stopped...heaven.....
I haven't said a word really about what we've been eating on this trip..oh yes you know about the fresh fish usually served with chips-french fries to some. and fresh bread and such but we've also consumed spaghetti bolognaise, lamb stew, filet mignon, roast pork, roast chicken, roast lamb, sirloin steaks, chicken stir fry, lamb chops, clam soup, rib eye steaks done on the braai-(bbq), fresh baked brownie, and cheese cake, the recipe of which I'll send to anyone who asks for it...
Time seems to have moved on and the sun is getting up at 3am...this is not right, I think we should adjust our clocks..It's not fair, me doing my watch during the dark and David getting to do his during the light....no no no...the night should be shared...as it is he's only doing from 2am onwards which means I'm still doing most of the dark time...
The 26th of July finds us 658.6 NM from our way point. We have only 7 knots of wind but are managing 7.5 knots boats speed....so not too bad.
The weather's been wet today and the wind has dropped. We don't have the fuel to motor so we're waiting...and what better thing to do when you're waiting than watch a movie...so that's what we did. We watched Beautiful Mind...pretty good movie..
27th July...still no wind..David is getting a bit longer time in bed due to the movie, there's nothing happening anyway...so he might as well sleep. How he sleeps I have no idea...we're just sitting here the swell rocks the boat and the sails flop from one angle to the other..irritating noise...I've managed to get her moving at 2.3 knots but man that's slow...still it's better than nothing....problem is it's always so short lived and it's bloody freezing out there..I don't want to go outside more than I absolutely have to.
Finally at 10am..I'm still in bed and David has got the boat sailing..5.5 kts..yay! By 18:20 the wind is up to 18 knots, the genoa is reefed to the2nd reef and we're still doing 8-9knots...
By 19:30 we've put a second reef in the main, the wind is up to 24knots and we're still sailing at 8-9 knots...so even with greatly reduced sail area we are keeping up our pace.
Go figure ...now we have to charge the batteries..so the stb engine goes on and we have to run it at 2000 revs to keep up with the speed of the boat.
We haven't seen the sun for absolutely ages..pretty much most of the trip has been made under overcast or wet skies..I've written in the log book " If this is sailing in the North Pacific you can keep it. It's no bloody wonder why hardly anyone does it and hats off to the mad buggers who do that San Fransisco to Maui race and then go back in this. You gotta be nuts to sail this part of the Pacific for fun!" :-D
By 05:15 on the 28th July we're 393 NM from our way point. When reefing the main you have to release the halyard and drop the main till it gets to a point on the sail that is fitted with a ring..called a cringle..this is hooked onto a special hook at the goose neck (where the boom meets the main) and then there are ropes (reefing lines) that are attached to the leach (outside edge) of the sail that you pull down to the boom and this makes the sail smaller causing less pressure on the rig. Normally you still sail at the previous speed, but you're not stressing the boat out nearly as much...So what can and did happen while we were doing this is the main halyard somehow managed to wrap itself around those awful mast steps ..twice...and we can't adjust the sail till David climbs the mast, but we have 15ft waves out there and on the cat that's just too lumpy to deal with in the dark..later David easily got the halyard untangled and as we tried to raise it, it tangled up the other way..blast...Eventually it got sorted out and we were relieved that no damage had been caused.
23:00 I saw 14.7 knots speed over ground...whoohoo! and that's with one reef in the main and two reefs in the genoa...wow..cool..
29th July...early hours..Puddytat is bounding along and I've seen speeds of 16.7 knots...ooeeerrrr too fast especially at night...I slow her down to 12 knots ...During David's watch he'd just put the spinny up as the wind was now coming from behind us and the topping lift broke at the boom and got itself tangled around the mast and furling gear...so he untangled it, repaired it and refitted it...then he had to do a repair to the cabin sole that had collapsed under me the previous day...he says that it will have to be replaced as it is saturated and quite rotten.
While I was trying to get to sleep after my watch, I was hearing something strange....shick shick shick silence.....shick shick shick silence....what the heck? I didn't know what it was. I went up and spoke to David who also couldn't figure it out. I told him it felt like we were lifting a hull..he said no we aren't, then we looked at the speed and we were doing 18.5 knots woa!!! so we slowed the boat down again. This is ridiculous we are either going so flipping fast or dead slow...why why why can't we just have a steady speed. PLEASE!
Today is bread baking day...and...I won a game of scrabble...This is a momentous event..needs to be recorded with fanfare and champagne.. :-)
30th July...I wrote in the log book..." I'm fed up with the Northern Pacific- it's a crappy ocean- I much prefer the Atlantic North or South!..The Southern Pacific had better be nicer!"...well I do know that it definitely will be warmer :-D
30th July..Between midnight and 02:00 we've done speeds of between 3.8 knots and 11.2 knots with the winds being 6 knots to 18 knots..all in two hours up and down, up and down..so bloody inconsistent..so unlike ocean sailing I know. Of course we have the added urgency to try and will the boat to Seattle so that I can see my folks before they go back to Panama...we are seriously delaying their trip....
By 07:45 we had 4 knots wind on the nose so David put the engine on to charge the batteries and is hoping that the wind will come up before the batteries are charged. We can see land..Canada- Vancouver Island ahead...alos more other life too such as fishing boats....
A fishing boat with Canada in thedistance.
David calculates about 1 gal of fuel left in the starboard tank and 2 in the port tank....The log book is full of David's calculations for the diesel and the tides...why the tides...well because when the tide is going out the water streams out of the Juan De Fuca Strait at about 5 knots. With both engines on at 2400 revs we can make 8 knots..but we don't have the fuel to do that...we, with a decent wind, could sail it in...but there's no wind right now...so we're kinda worried you know.. We have to try and get there when the tide is going in..to get a much needed push...
The entrance of the Juan De Fuca Strait..behind us....
31st July 07:20...Murphy's law happened again and we hit the entrance of The Strait on an ebb tide. David tried going along the shore where he figured that the current would be less but made no headway. He then angled Puddytat towards the middle and discovered that the current was least in the middle..this goes against everything we know..but hey who cares right now...we were able to creep into the Strait..but we were wondering when and if we'd run out of fuel.
David standing at the bow....man it's cold...
David stood at the bows to watch for huge floating kelp beds, directing me around them, 'cos to get one hooked onto our rudder would slow us and put extra strain on the engines...I also saw my first, and as it turns out, my only puffin...sitting on the water...so pretty...Oh yes! an amazing thing happened, David was trying to get hold of the coastguard to tell them that we'd arrived..Tafina radio channel 84...he couldn't raise them...then he was back on 16 when he heard Puddytat being called and he thought he recognised the voice but wasn't sure...they changed channels and ...yes it was...It's Elvin on Omache...they swopped position info and discovered that Omache was about an hour BEHIND us...whoohooo...the poor guy had left Hawai'i 10 days before us! David told him about the current and he found it hard to believe, but was grateful for the heads up cos he was low on fuel too.
Cold cold cold...but smiling :-)
mmmy fffaces iiis fffffreeezzing...we're NUTS!
Finally we felt we could breath slightly easier...but we weren't there yet..we rounded the headland and started towards Near Bay Harbour, at least we were out of the current and Puddytat was moving a bit faster...
The fuel dock is waaaayyy down there by those buildings.
We eventually worked out where the fuel dock was..it's not marked but local fishermen pointed it out. We docked and proceeded to refuel...
Now remember I told you that Puddytat has 2 x 30 gal tanks and then 30 gals in jerry jugs...well we filled up and the meter on the diesel pump said we had taken 60.8 gallons...whew..we made it on fumes..go Puddytat!
Just after we moved Puddytat onto a different dock, we saw Omache sailing in..we rushed down to the fuel dock and helped him tie up...man it was good to see him again. He's looking forward to a hot shower and a shave...as we all are...
Elvin on Omache.. happy to see us..and happy to be here.
After Elvin had fueled up we all went to a local restaurant and ate a huge egg and bacon breakkies...BIG YUM! By midday (12 noon) we all were on our way again...us to Port Angeles and Elvin to Canada.....
On our way again...under motor..note the smooth water...
 I didn't realise that we still had so far to go before we actually arrived in Seattle....oh well lets hope it all goes smoothly...

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