Category Archives: Hawaii to Fanning Islands

Internet?!?! Here?!?! Yup – Here are some pics!!

Unbelievably, this tiny village of 50 people, on a small atoll 800 miles away from what we would call “civilization” has reasonable internet service. I am typing these words from the nav table at anchor! You have to love technology sometimes… I bet a thank you is also in order for the Cook Islands Protectorate, New Zealand. Thanks Kiwi’s! 

And without further ado…pictures!!

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The Beautiful Mermaid on the Bow in Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii
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Just a friendly turtle in Honolua Bay…
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The Intrepid Crew Under Way for Fanning Island
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The first day and a half out was glorious
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WAHOO!!!
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The sexy Mermaid filleted it up!
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Then conditions deteriorated. Luckily we have a tough salty woman aboard who has the patience to get the monitor set!
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She also whips up some mean deviled eggs. I washed those bad boys down with a draft amber ale. For a minute we almost forgot how rough and uncomfortable the conditions had gotten…
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Naked sailing…in a squall
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Go away squalls!
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The 40 knot welcoming party that greeted us upon arrival to Fanning. Look at the angle of the mast on the Island Packet (left). The waves were about 4 feet in the anchorage. It was intense.
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The next day we cleared customs and immigration. They were thrilled to have ice and were pleasantly confused by the jalepeno artichoke dip and tortilla chips.

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The town pier in Fanning. Levi from SHOSTROM doing a headstand.
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The main road in Fanning Island… The large building is the town meeting hall
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Dinner….trying to escape
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Ruby was teaching Yoga to the locals. Alyssa second from the left…
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Jenny (sv Levana) brought balloons for the kids, which were a hit!
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Bruno built a small hut for each of his children; this one for Agnes
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The dining table at Bruno’s house. Huge globe over the table. He WAS a sailor you know…
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The home he built. Each stone was taken from the windward side of the reef. He did an amazing job.
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The interior of Bruno’s home (upstairs). He re-purposed his boat in many creative ways.
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Lyss and Ruby toasting their Kava bowls. Tastes like dirt and makes you tired, but apparently the locals are hooked
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Ellie resting at anchor on a calm day in Fanning
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The locals still get around in traditional sailing craft. Although this guy somehow acquired a few plastic hulls. I bet he would win the island regatta…if they ever had one.
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Going out to drift the pass at Fanning
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Fanning as seen from seaward
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Life enhanced by Maui Jim (a future sponsor maybe??)
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Lyss with her new BFF girlfriend, Ruby, from s/v DRINA
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An ecstatic Ruby on our evening booze cruises. Sunken tug boat in the background.
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This sunken tug has been here a while. I never got the full story…
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This is the shot I’ll send Maui Jim with our sponsorship request…
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Kiribati sailing canoe. Can you spot the LED lawn light I gave them? Now they can legally operate in US waters….OK probably not.
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Ruby gifting one of the lights to a friendly local I-Kiribati man
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The man’s humble home. See where he put the light?
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The Kiribati Culligan Man… Drinking from wells such as this one is why so many of them are sick.
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The inside of a typical humble I-Kiribati dwelling. The woman on the right – the man from the earlier picture’s wife – is pregnant and sick. The kids were very shy and cute. The whole family sleeps in here.
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Another family we gifted lights to.
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Under way for Penrhyn. Sunset alert!
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Another shot for our future sponsors: Maui Jim

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Another amazing meal of Wahoo
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Does she look ecstatic to be inside the lagoon at Penrhyn or what?

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The ladies all dressed up outside the church. Alyssa second from the left. The hats are required attire…
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The Reverend and his wife, Mama Tata, invited all the yachties to an after church feast of tuna, lobster, chicken and rice



Fanning Island – Drinking Kava with the Locals and Riding Out Squalls

This is a crazy place. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this is definitely not it. I was picturing a protected lagoon to anchor in with a nice breeze coming through the cabin, friendly locals sailing past in their dugout canoes, a rich culture to absorb and possibly a bit of infrastructure. What we have found is a lee shore to anchor in with big squalls every day and night, there ARE in fact friendly locals sailing past us in canoes, we absorbed some local culture last night at the kava bar where we were served a bowl of intoxicating dirt water and were subjected to some of the worst sounding electric keyboard and accompanying karaoke we have ever heard.

What’s cool is that we have definitely found a place that has yet to be inundated with western culture, which is pretty amazing to find in the year 2015. MTV has yet to corrupt the youth and turn them gangster like in Tahiti. It’s still a subsistence-based economy and everyone fishes to provide for basic food needs. To describe the island a bit so you can get an idea of the place. Picture an 8-mile long by 3-mile wide coral atoll with a lagoon in the middle. The land is densely wooded – more densely wooded than any other atoll we have ever seen. There are 2,500 people living on the island but you wouldn’t know it. There is not a single paved road, or telephone, TV or toilet to be found. There is not a single store. At night there are no lights around the lagoon, or even fires for that matter. The “roads” are tire tracks through the grass, and the main one cuts right through the soccer field. The 2,500 residents live in palm-thatch huts and are completely oblivious to what is going on in the rest of the world. There could be a world war going on and unless someone is near the only radio on the island to listen in from Tarawa, the capital, they wouldn’t even know about it until the nuclear fallout.

We went to land yesterday to visit with the only foreigner (I-Matang in I-Kiribati) on the island. His name is Bruno and he is a Frenchman who has been here for 25 years. He was a sailor and married a local woman and they now have three children together. To get to his home we had to follow a single-track game trail through the jungle, leaping over mud puddles and ducking under brush, for about half a mile until we came to his home near the ocean side of the atoll. En route we were greeted with friendly smiles and “Maori” which is hello in I-Kiribati. [By they way, you pronounce Kiribati as “Kee-ree-bas.”] The locals all live in open palm-thatch huts on raised platforms. Almost every yard has a pig or two squealing and trying to shake the rope from their hind leg. We came to a clearing and then on the left we found ourselves walking on coral cobblestone instead of mud, we had found Bruno’s home. We walked through the jungle courtyard past a few small palm huts with children gazing out at us curiously and giggling. Finally we met Bruno in the main house, he was upstairs on the patio reading.

Bruno is a friendly, leathery, short Frenchman with a huge white beard and big smile. He invited us up and we gifted him some sun shade from the boat and offered him some Napa Valley Cabernet and some French Brie, which he was very excited about. We spent the next couple hours visiting with him and learning all about his sailing adventures that brought him here, the two shipwrecks, the later one that made him a permanent resident, the 18 years it took to build his house and his dealings with the ridiculous government officials. His house is a work of art, built from coral stone, concrete and what was left of his yacht. The windows are made from spinnaker and the roof from a mainsail soaked in epoxy – it’s a really cool house. It was a great visit and we plan to return to visit some more and buy some intricate shark tooth daggers that were made here on the island.

After visiting with Bruno he pointed through a hole in the jungle and said to follow the path until we hear music, that would be the kava bar. We made our way through the jungle – Indiana Jones-style – and followed the faint sound of music. Two friends on the Australian-flagged boat DRINA were already there. We joined them and sipped some of the earthy-tasting chalky water they call kava from half coconut shells. Kava is a drink that is made from a pepper root (that they can’t grow on the island, but import) the drink is mildly intoxicating in a sedative kind of way. All the men at the kava bar all look a bit tired and in a comfortable stupor. This is how they get their buzz on since it’s a dry island and alcohol is not allowed. I guess alcohol turns them into crazed zombies so the chief of the island banned it but allows the consumption of kava – makes sense to us. It was karaoke night. I got some video and I’ll have to upload it from Samoa or Tonga. It’s better to see for yourself than me to describe it to you. Let’s just say there’s a reason you have never seen a CD for sale labeled: The Modern Sounds of Kiribati…

After a couple of hours at the kava bar we fought through 3 foot waves and made it back to Ellie, soaking wet. We rode out yet another horribly rough night at anchor on a lee shore. The bow was jumping 4 feet and when the tide changes you get huge waves slapping the front quarter of the boat. As you can imagine it’s pretty hard to sleep through that so we’re pretty tired this morning. Unfortunately the GRIBS are calling for the squally weather to continue at least through tonight.

We are planning to leave early next week when the NE trades finally f*** off and some moderate easterlies fill in. We’ll ride those the hell away from the ITCZ and enjoy, what we hope to be, a pleasant sail 1,000 miles south to Suwarrow, a nature preserve with only a single person in residence.

Until then we’ll see what other cultural experiences are to be had here on this crazy little island in the middle of the Pacific.

Cheers from the end of the earth,
Lewis & Alyssa

May 8, 2015

Fanning Island, Kiribati

03 51.552 N
159 21.504 W

Landfall at Fanning Island After 7 Days at Sea!

We are anchored in 15 feet of turquoise water inside the lagoon at Fanning Atoll. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Well the truth is that we are riding out a tropical depression and riding to our anchor in 4 foot standing waves and 35 knots of true wind in driving rain. Holy crap this is intense! The 100 foot schooner SHOSTROM, anchored 400 feet away from us, is being heeled over 25 degrees and she’s riding beam-to the wind and seas due to the incoming current. Our crazy hair-raising entrance to this lagoon matched these conditions in pucker factor. It was 2 parts imprudence, 2 parts impatience and 1 part weather….allow me to explain…

We made landfall this morning around 1100. We decided to stand off and enter the pass at – what we thought was – slack water, at 1:30pmlocal. Well, the Navionics tide table in our chartplotter was totally wrong and the current was incoming at 1:30 at about 3 knots. The current was manageable but the squalls and rain ensured we would not be entering anytime soon. We sat about a mile offshore watching band after band of rain overtake the atoll. By 3:30pm our spirits were pretty low and we thought we were going to have to spend another night at sea. The squalls just wouldn’t let up enough for us to see the coral in the pass and safely enter. By about 4:30pm we saw on radar that there was a break in the squalls on the windward side of the atoll. Our hopes got up and we started slowly motoring towards the pass…that was still engulfed in the squall.

As we closed with the pass we started seeing men in canoes fishing outside the pass. A cool sight and a good sign that the current in the pass was possibly slack. The squall line finally broke and we could see the other side of the atoll. We checked the radar out to 16 miles to verify there were no more squalls coming and we motored towards the pass, now only 0.4 miles away. It was still raining but lightly and we could see both sides of the pass. We were both a little uneasy about not being able to see the colors clearly and thought about pulling out and heading back to sea for the night. But after the week we just had and knowing flat water was less than a mile away, our prudence took a back seat and we pushed on. We had two separate chartplotters, running two programs, with verified GPS waypoints in the pass, and we could see both sides of the pass and we were pretty sure we would be able to decipher shallow water by the remaining sunlight and we verified there were no more squalls coming from windward. So on we went through the fleet of fishing canoes, filled with smiling locals welcoming us to Fanning.

As we entered the pass I noticed that the current was still incoming – our GPS speed increased to 4 knots speed over ground while speed over water was only 2.5 – we were being sucked into the pass. The current increased to 5 knots and I had to keep our speed up to control steerage. It was difficult to decipher the colors but we managed with the Mermaid on lookout on the bow. We were almost through the pass when the colors didn’t line up with the chartplotter – the brand new-to-us chartplotter that we paid over $300 for the fancy chip that had detail for this very lagoon entrance. I trusted my instincts and ignored the chartplotter and followed the colors, led by the experienced Mermaid on the bow. We went over some areas that were 30 feet deep but the fancy Navioincs chip said they were awash rocks – what a piece of sh*t! So pissed!

Anyway back to the hair-raising ordeal at hand. We were flying into the lagoon at 7 knots over ground and our only saving grace was that we studied the charts beforehand and new that once we were inside the lagoon it opened up and the only real hazard were the rocks to port. Well, the navionics charts were way off and I had to go over digital rocks again to enter clear water. We could clearly see the colors at this point. That’s when we noticed a huge squall forming over the lagoon and headed straight at us…and we were still motoring and were about to lose all visibility both above and below the surface.

I gunned the engine and whipped Ellie around so her bow was into the incoming current. We now had her stalled in place but moving at about 4 knots over water. I looked the chart over and figured out the offset between what our GPS position was and our most likely position on the chart. I figured out that if we crab-walk to port we could get out of the main channel, and thus the strong current. We were crab-walking sideways (bow into the current) into shallower water when the squall overtook us. We inched closer to a place to drop the anchor while the rain pelted Lyss on the bow and I struggled to keep Ellie pointed into the wind and rain. We made it into 15 feet of consistent depth and what was likely sand (we couldn’t see anything at this point.) I yelled for Lyss to drop the hook and we let out 75 feet and much to our relief it caught hard and spun Ellie head-to the wind. We snubbed the anchor while getting drenched. We were finally anchored in Fanning. A fitting end to a very trying passage.

The squall that hit us coming in morphed into the monster low pressure system that is kicking our asses right now. We have spent the last few hours watching our position closely while getting pummeled by 35 knots of wind and rain with 4-5 foot waves. It’s probably much worse outside the lagoon though and we are glad to be anchored and even more glad we spend most of our boat bucks on good ground tackle!

We have to get back to celebrating our arrival and Lyss just put out the appetizer spread so time to sign off. We’ll write again once cleared into the island nation of Kiribati. Did I mention there were men sailing across the lagoon in dugout canoes with old-style Polynesian sails?!?

Cheers form the middle of a storm in Fanning,

Lewis & Alyssa

May 3, 2015

Anchored Fanning Atoll:
03 51.561 N
159 21.491 W

Hawaii to Fanning – Day 6 – Almost There!

We are 950 miles south of Oahu and just over 100 miles north of Fanning. We made 133 miles in the last 24 hours. We should make landfall tomorrow morning and plan to enter the pass at slack water around noon.

Still stuck in big squalls. Looks like they are following us south. At least we are able to sail in this inconsistent wind and rain. The seas are also down to 4-5 feet and nothing compared to what we suffered in the middle of the trades.

Sure is hot on the equator. The thermometer in the cabin is reading 90… Our cheap “Tornado” fans we got off Amazon for $17 bucks are cranking hard to keep us cool. They sound like blow dryers but sure move a lot of air!

Replaced the autopilot with the spare this morning. It was a tricky swap removing the wheel while getting thrown around by a squall but it’s done and we have a working autopilot for the time being. You may wonder why we don’t use our Monitor Windvane to steer right now – it’s because these squalls are so inconsistent in wind speed and direction that the monitor has us steering to Mexico and then Guam and then the wind dies and it can’t steer without wind so it will gybe us – so that’s why it’s important to have BOTH a windvane AND an autopilot. Unless of course you’re a glutton for punishment and love long, wet, tiring stints at the helm…

The other finding that pissed me off was that the brand new stainless lower shroud I replaced back in Oahu is already tarnishing. Seriously. What bullshit. Less than 10 days of ocean use and it’s rusting?!?! It must have been low-quality Chinese stainless wire. I thought West Marine was better than to carry such crap. All sailors beware and do NOT buy your rigging wire from West. The real pain in the ass is that now I have to figure out a way to get 9/32″ 316ss 1×19 rigging wire to us in the south pacific – no easy feat. That one seriously chapped my ass and I am pretty annoyed that West Marine would carry such low-quality rigging wire.

While I’m ranting, I’ll fill you in on what has become a full-page to-do list. Usually after a long passage we have 5-6 items that need addressed once in port. Well, this time the list is 18 items long and includes things such as: re-bed genoa car tracks, fill hoses, stanchion bases, and starboard chainplates [we only did port in Bora Bora], make a new water-tight mast boot, replace the bilge pump and mount the float switch on the centerline, sew the ripped bimini, put bolt through monitor paddle to keep in alignment, rebuild autopilot, somehow get new rigging wire and replace the rusting lower shroud, et al. This was a rough passage and the sheer amount of water we took on deck sure showed us exactly where it can sneak below. At least there will not be a lack of boat projects to keep us occupied this season.

We caught a Wahoo yesterday. Freezer is now full and we are excited to make some delicious meals. A big thank you to Matt of CALYPSO at Ko Olina who gifted us the repala-type diving lure that caught it. I think we were dragging the poor guy for hours – he was so hydrodynamic that the bungee was barely being pulled. Alyssa noticed we may have a fish and we pulled the line in to find a 3.5 ft Wahoo! She stepped up and filleted him into small steaks, then took a much deserved hot shower.

We will be cleaning up the boat today in preparation for making landfall tomorrow. It’s quite a mess due to the rough weather we had for the first four days out. The dish soap also when flying somewhere and we can’t find it so the sink is full of dishes…..fun stuff right?

Tomorrow morning we should see the palm tree-lined motus of Fanning. We’ll raise the yellow Q flag and carefully enter the pass and drop the hook in flat, calm, turquoise water amongst cruising friends who also sailed south from Hawaii.

In the meantime I’ll be trying to sail through a procession of squalls.

Aloha,
Lewis & Lyss

May 2, 2015

23:17 Z
05 35 N
159 08 W
176 T
6.6 KTS
17 KTS WIND FROM ENE
4-6 FT SEAS

Hawaii to Fanning – Day 5 – Rainy Day Blues

At 21:00 UTC we were 800 miles S of Ko Olina Marina, 690 miles SW by S of the Big Island, and 250 miles NW by N of our destination of Fanning Atoll, two more days at this crawl.

Well, we made it deep into the fire swamp. Non-stop rain and squalls all night. The silver lining is that the rain and squalls have flattened the seas a bit and the wind is slowly dropping below 20. The wind is too inconsistent for the monitor to steer so we have the autopilot on and doing its best – the problem is that its best is like having a drunken moron at the helm. It’s on its deathbed and the clicking coming from the belt means the gears may or may not make it all the way to Fanning. It’s had a decent run over the past 10,000 miles so we’ll forgive its terrible performance on this leg.  But I plan to swap it out with the spare once we reach Fanning.

The bilge pump is still on strike and we are having to prime it once in a while. That means sticking your mouth over the disgusting hose and blowing through with enough force to get the water through the pump. Unfortunately poor Alyssa took a mouthful of blowback from the hose while she was trying to clear the hose – let’s just say there was a lot of hissing, bad looks and talk of buying a house on land, that doesn’t move, that is not covered in saltwater in every crevice, that has laundry machines, that doesn’t require standing in the rain to get somewhere, etc.

Another funny Mermaid story (she’s sleeping so can’t censor me right now ;-) ) is her offshore sailing attire as of late. I venture that she is trying to get out of the mindset of being offshore so instead of wearing her waterproof foul weather gear when she is on shift (and thus stay dry while gong to the helm or adjusting the sail, etc) she has decided to wear a pink nightgown/bathrobe. I asked her about this choice but it was a fool’s errand – I had forgotten about the infallible estrogen-soaked logic that prevails in times such as these…my reasoning didn’t stand a chance. Although it is an added bonus to see her shed the robe and grab the helm to get the boat back on course, all the while standing nude in the rain. She may not be smiling while out there in the cold rain, but I am enjoying every second of the entertainment.

Time to get back to babysitting the drunken autopilot. I’m also turning the engine on. Too many wind shifts for drunkie to hold a decent course, and our diesel tanks are full.

El Cap & The Princess Pea in the Pink Nightgown

May 1, 2015

21:16 Z
07 58 N
158 46 W
177 T
5.5 KTS

Hawaii to Fanning Atoll – Day 4

You know it’s been rough when 20 knots feels pleasant to sleep in…

Our current position has us 390 miles N-NNE of Fanning Atoll. We have sailed 580 miles since leaving the Kona coast of the Big Island, four days ago.

The wind and seas have subsided a bit but are still heavy and Ellie continues to rock and roll her way up and over breaking wave crests. The going has been tough on her but she has handled these seas very well – seas that would certainly eat a lesser boat and break her to pieces.

We are still only flying the headsail, now at 100%. The monitor continues to steer an excellent course – I wish I could buy it a drink for its valiant efforts through these tough seas – that device is worth its weight in gold.

We are on the edge of the ITCZ and expect to find it in earnest sometime tonight. We are being hunted by a couple squalls to windward and the skies are overcast. The GRIBS are calling for a moderate to strong ITCZ due to the strong NE trades. Only luck will tell if we get hammered or are able to thread the needle through. The latest GRIBS are calling for a few degrees of convection. Better put the portable GPS in the oven…

The primary bilge pump is on strike. It wouldn’t be a proper passage unless something broke right? I thought it was a 5 lbs of blonde hair I found in the sump, or the dirt, or the grains of sand and small chunks of wood – wtf?  After cleaning all that crap out it still wouldn’t pump. I took apart the hose and blew through the sections to ensure it was clear. Then I had to resort to getting into the engine compartment and disassembling the diaphragm pump housing. The flaps were a little dry so I lubed them up and put the whole thing back together. It worked upon final assembly but a few hours later it quit again, probably just to piss me off. I have it off for now and we can use the primary manual pump to empty the sump. We also have a high water bilge alarm that will start wailing if we forget to check the level. More water has found its way below deck on this passage than any other to date, most likely due to the huge breaking seas coming aboard and our angle to them (just slightly abaft the beam).

We tapped our keg yesterday in order to sample the fresh amber ale we brewed back in Hawaii. It came out great – a refreshingly light malty brown ale with northwest hop bitter and aroma – it sure hit the spot during Captain’s hour yesterday evening. It will certainly be a hit with our friends once we reach Fanning.

Will most likely be writing again from a tropical downpour. Good thing because I could really use a shower – I’m starting to smell up the joint.

Cheers,
Lewis & Alyssa

4/30/15
21:15 Z
10 13 N
158 23 W
172 T
6.3 KTS SOG
21 KTS WND FROM NE
6-9 FT SEAS

Hawaii to Fanning – Day 2 – Part 2

The Mermaid’s post this morning was awesome. I just wanted to add a couple happenings…

I had a very rude awakening this morning. I woke up to Ellie running down huge tradewind seas and lurching violently side to side when she gets thrown down wave faces. I was not anticipating the more extreme motion when I made my way to the head. Once in the doorway of the head she lurched and rocked violently to starboard.  The movement threw me head-first into the head and I smacked my head against the hand rail, hard. Not the most enjoyable morning I’ve ever had.

The seas are big, the wind is whipping up spray, and we are running like hell for the fire swamp (the ITCZ). The fire swamp, as we’ll call it on this passage, it where we will find solace amongst different dangers such as strong squalls and thunderstorms, but at least it will kill these strong trades and accompanying seas. We are about 327 miles away and at this pace should be there on Thursday night or Friday morning.

At least we’re making good time. Like Alyssa said, we’re making haste for the fire swamp and potentially calm seas beyond. In the meantime, tell the trades to “simmer.”

Aloha,
Lewis

April 28, 2015

21:30z
14 37 N
157 01 W
200T
6.8 knots SOG
24 Kts from 65 degrees
7-13 Ft Barftastic Seas

Hawaii to Fanning Atoll – Day 2

It is Day 2 of our passage and we have sailed another 128nm in the past 24 hours with 680nm to go.

The wind and seas have increased (20-28kts, 8-12′ seas) and moved more ENE, allowing us to sail slightly downwind for a more comfortable ride.

Lewis put out one of our last Skabenga lures since we were sailing 6.5kts and within 2 hours we had hooked a monster Mahi! This thing was much bigger than all of the fish we have caught so far, somewhere in the 5-6′ range. Unfortunately, just as Lewis was pulling the fish near the boat, the beast dove down sideways and our metal crimp on the line chafed through the 300lb monofilament, releasing the fish with hook in mouth as he thrashed away. It was probably for the better. As of right now, we don’t have nearly that much space in our freezer for that much fish. Not only was it a monster, but it was gorgeous with bright flashes of yellow, blue and green. We’ll throw a wire leadered cedar plug in the water today in hopes of catching a small tuna for some sushi. I had our GoPro rolling the whole time, so we’ll see how the footage came out! I also took a long GoPro of my morning sunrise shift in the rough seas, for those of you wondering what it’s like. Yes, it’s a little rough, but it’s very peaceful and the beautiful sunrise makes it completely worth every night at sea. Can you tell it’s my favorite shift?

I’m a third of the way through a new-to-me book, Under the Tuscan Sun. A term I learned I thought appropriate for our passage: Festina Tarde, to make haste slowly, used in the Renaissance. It was often depicted by a dolphin entwined with an anchor, a snake with its tail in its mouth, or by the figure of a woman sitting with wings in one hand and a tortoise in the other. Is sailing not making haste slowly? Sure we can push the boat near hull speed every day, but a sail boat going 6.5kts is still very, VERY slow. Taking time to see the ocean, mother nature, and remote islands at our own pace, taking time to watch every sunrise and read a book, is very different than taking a 747 to Australia. A plane will get to our destination months before us, but misses everything in between. I think I like this term.

It’s going to be another relaxing, mellow (but rolly) day at sea for us. A large wave just slapped against our hull and sent a wall of water into the cockpit. I have a perfect spot behind the dodger that almost never gets wet. It’s fascinating to watch the water splash up with the sun behind it, revealing the same bright blue/teal water you dream of in shallow lagoon anchorages. We’re really looking forward to setting up our “fort” in Fanning and camping out for a couple of weeks. All of our toys will be coming out of deep storage, sailing pedal kayak, our new paddleboard, both hammocks for the cockpit, shade for the boat, the dingy, spear fishing gear, dive/snorkel gear, and maybe even the kite board.

We’re expecting to hit the ITCZ around 9N in another day or two where the weather will be inconsistent with many squalls. We’ll sail when we can and motor when we can’t. We have plenty of diesel since filling up in the Big Island, so aren’t afraid to turn on the engine. After the ITCZ, we’re hoping to finally see those “doldrums” of glassy seas people keep talking about. If it really exists, we may simply hang out for a day, watch Waterworld and go for a swim.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out for the smokers. I just watched a cargo ship pass 13nm N of our position.

Festina Tarde,
Alyssa & Lewis

April 28, 2015

18:50z
14 53 N
156 56 W
176T
6.5 Kts
21.1 Kts Wnd
9-12 Ft Seas

Hawaii to Fanning Atoll – Day 1

Day 1 Summary:

At 0700 this morning we had covered 145 miles since leaving Kona and were 113 miles south of the Big Island and 800 miles N of Fanning Atoll.

We nailed the weather window and the forecast was right on. We motored south in the lee of the Big Island and found the SE wind about 12 miles from south point. The wind was wrapping around the island and piped up to about 20 knots at the peak but the sea state was manageable and we bashed into it close-hauled making upwards of 7.5 knots at times, helped along by a favorable south-setting current. Once we cleared the island the wind settled down to low teens and we had an absolutely beautiful sail on a course of due south through the night. The east wind is picking up and turning north now. We expect to see the NE trades sometime this evening. We have kept all of our easting in the bank so when the NE trades fill in we’ll change course to 190T and run off for Fanning.

All is well onboard and we are rested and well fed by the onboard master chef ;-)  I think our battery bank is at the end of it’s life. Something I forgot to address in Hawaii. Voltage drops noticeably at night when you put a load on, I’ll have to decide whether the house bank can make it to Australia or if we should look into having batteries shipped to Pago Pago, American Samoa. Allan – When you get a moment, would you mind checking if USPS will ship Lifeline AGM batteries priority? That will probably drive the decision.

Otherwise, Ellie is sailing like a champ, we have ice-cold draft beer and sparkling water on tap and sunny skies to keep the fridge cold. We have our sea legs back and are getting back into the groove of being at sea. All smiles this morning.

Manuia from the Pacific Ocean!

Lewis & Alyssa

April 27, 2015

21:45z
16 50 N
156 24 W
172T
6.5 Kts
16.5 Kts Wnd
6-8 Ft Sea

Hawaii to Fanning Island – And We’re Off!

Good morning from the lee of the Big Island!

We finally caught a break – literally and figuratively – with the Hawaiian seas. We sailed from Maui to the Big Island last night and it was glorious compared to the beat down we had leaving Oahu. We motored through the lee of Maui on calm seas and were able to sail out of the lee into the Alenuihaha Channel (between Maui and the Big Island). The SE wind provided the perfect amount of wind (about 15-20 knots) and the seas were much smaller (about 3-7 feet). We sailed past Molokini Crater and short tacked out into the channel between Maui and Kahoolawee. The wind died a few hours after sunset so we went back to motoring. But this time the seas were much more reasonable and we were both able to take 3 hour sleep shifts through the night. Oh, and the autopilot is working like a champ.

As planned, we entered the breakwater to the Honokohau Harbor on the Kona Coast around 0600. This is the exact time that all the sport fishing boats put to sea so we had an interesting time dodging the parade of boats exiting the narrow harbor entrance. We managed to make it in unscathed despite the fact that the lighted range was not working! We came alongside what was described to me over the phone as a sea wall, but in reality was merely a rock and coral wall with concrete on top of it. This was definitely the most sketch sea wall we have ever come alongside and tensions were high. We decided to tie long lines to the wall and Alyssa was tasked with the duty of pushing Ellie off the wall the entire time I was taking on diesel fuel. With the tank topped off, we slipped the lines, shoved away from the scary wall and put back to sea. It felt great to be back in open water.

We just traded sleep shifts and I am now on watch after a 3 hour nap. We are motoring SSE along the coast of the Big Island in very light air (less than 4 knots) and glassy seas. Our plan is to take advantage of this break in the trades to get a half day south of Ka Lea, the south point of the Big Island, and the southern most point in the USA (for you trivia buffs – it’s not Key West). The forecast is calling for 10 knots out of the SSE to SE so we should be able to sail close-hauled into these tonight. The NE trades are forecast to fill in late tomorrow out of the NE and we will ride them on the quarter towards Fanning.

Well, have to get back to watching for whales. We came close to hitting a Mother and her calf yesterday off Maui. That would have left a mark. We’ll keep a sharp eye.

Wish us fair winds and CALM seas over the next week.

Aloha,
Lewis & Alyssa

April 26, 2015

TIME 21:11 z
LAT 19 12.0 N
LON 155 59.9 W
COG 170T
SOG 6.3 knots
TWS 3.6 knots
TWD 200T
SEA 2-3 FT