Category Archives: Pacific Crossing

Pacific Crossing Stats & Pictures

Bonjour!

Here are some stats and pictures from the crossing. We are almost done with all our chores and will set sail from Atuona tomorrow to explore the anchorages on the leeward side of the island. We have been busy clearing in, provisioning, cleaning, doing laundry, changing oil, polishing and toping off the fuel tank and responding to bills and emails from going a month without internet.

Stats:

Outbound: Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Inbound: Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Total Nautical Miles: 2,970
Time: 25 days, 21 hours

Average Miles Per Day: 115
Average Speed Over Ground: 4.8 knots
Top Speed Recorded: 7.5 knots

Water Produced: Approx. 350 gallons

Total Fuel Capacity: 100 gallons
Fuel Burned: 40 gallons
Fuel Remaining: 60 gallons
Engine Hours Accumulated: 110
GPH: 0.36

Longitude at Equator Crossing: 129 29 W

Fish Caught: 1
Lures Lost: 3

# of Flying Fish Found on Deck: 20+
# of Fish Alyssa Stepped on: 2
# of Squid Found on Deck: 4

Books read: 5
Movies Watched: 17
TV Episodes: 20

# of Arguments Between Captain & Crew: NONE!

Ships Sighted >100 miles offshore: 4

Breakages: Alternator, Sunbrella UV Strip on Jib, Snap Shackle on Code Zero, Windlass

Here are a few pictures of the crossing and landfall.  Paid $40 for this internet connection and it’s SLOW.  Will try and upload more in a couple weeks from Nuku Hiva.

IMG_0187 DSCF1012 DSCF1006 DSCF1018

Bonjour from Hiva Oa!

Ia Orana!

We are anchored in Baie Tahauku.  We have a great spot behind
the breakwater right next to the dinghy dock.  There were 14 other boats here
when we arrived yesterday so we had to really wedge ourselves in.  Luckily a big
catamaran departed right before sunset and we snagged his spot.  We slept like
rocks last night; I think I slept a total of 14 hours!

The scenery here
is magnificent.  Towering rugged cliffs covered in dense green jungle in the
background.  The edge of the bay is black volcanic rock and steep-to.  Above the
bay are palm trees and some other awesome bright green bansai looking trees.  We
can’t wait to go explore tomorrow.

Landfall yesterday was a mixture of
emotions at their extremes.  Excitement to see land again.  Apprehension that we
are approaching land and waves crashing on unforgiving rocks.  Exhaustion from
the cumulative effects of a month at sea and not having our regular sleep shifts
when we were approaching land early in the morning.  A great feeling of
accomplishment in knowing we just sailed across the largest ocean on the planet.
  Finally, eagerness to be anchored and get some sleep.

We were a mile
out of Baie Tahauku getting the anchors ready and then of course something had
to go seriously wrong….

Alyssa thought that testing the anchor windlass
would be a good idea, which it was.  Unfortunately when she hit the windlass
buttons the breaker popped and then even after we rest it we still had no
response from the windlass.  Sh*t!!  We were closing with land and going into a
very crowded bay, without a freaking working windlass!  Just what we needed.  So
we threw Ellie in a 180 and started beating back out to sea so we could figure
this out.  We pulled out the jib and beat into the 6-8 foot swells and I went
about trying to figure out the issue.  I checked the breaker but it wasn’t
lighting up when I turned the switch on.  So I traced the wires.  Everything
seemed in order.  Checked fuse boxes, nothing wrong.  Talk about frustration!
 So I decided to try and figure out how to unlock the windlass drum so I could
at least drop the chain and figure this out at anchor.  Well the lock on the
windlass was pretty jammed and I couldn’t get the clutch to release.  I remember
John (the previous owner) telling me not to torque the lock on the windlass
because he broke it that way.  Well I’m a man and unfortunately we don’t have
complete control when it comes to tools and fixing things and what did I do
while trying to unlock it…..yep F’N broke it!  Snapped the metal clean off!!
 George is getting upset!!!

We weren’t spending another night at sea so I
asked Alyssa to pull out the spare anchor rode and I went to work on the bow
removing the anchor from the chain.  Picture me on the bow in a huge sea, flying
over waves about 12 feet in the air and then crashing through swells when the
bow slammed back down, all the while taking spray in my face while I furiously
worked to release the shackle from the anchor.  Alyssa struggled to remove the
spare rode and brought the end to the bow.  I reattached the anchor to the spare
rode and we headed back towards our destination.

After motoring into the
bay and weaving through all the boats we decided to drop the hook besides the
commercial pier (which you’re not suppose to do) and wait for someone to leave
or some official to yell at us.  We dropped two hooks so we wouldn’t swing into
the pier or other boats.

I was still incredibly frustrated by the
windlass situation and immediately went to work poking and probing with my
electric multi-meter.  After a long investigation I concluded that everything
seemed to be working fine.  I threw the breaker again and tried the windlass and
guess what…….it FKNG WORKED!  It turns out that the only thing wrong was the
stupid little LED light on the breaker is bad.

Hey Allan – I know you can
feel my pain.  We over think EVERYTHING!  AHHHHHHHHH!

After that we
re-attached the main anchor rode and moved into the spot we are in now.  We were
both relieved nothing was wrong with the windlass but unfortunately Alyssa
wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easy for over thinking the whole
thing!

I was on a roll with the multi-meter so I went to work trying to
figure out the alternator issue.  After consulting the troubleshooting section
in the owners manual I was able to trace the issue to the field current lead.
 This is a blue wire that goes from the voltage regulator to the back of the
alternator.  The wire had voltage but no voltage at the post on the alternator.
 Turns out somewhere between the end of the wire and the ring connector there
was a complete loss of continuity.  I cut it off and crimped another connector
on.  After reconnecting the wire to the post on the alternator we were back in
business!  Alternator fixed!!

We were both very relived to be anchored,
have a working windlass and a working alternator.  We celebrated with a nice
bottle of wine and a baguette some new friends brought us and then proceeded to
both pass out.

We sailed in yesterday flying the Q flag but this morning
I raised two additional flags: France and French Polynesia!  Tomorrow after we
officially clear in we will lose the yellow Q flag.

We spent the last
couple hours scrubbing the incredible amount of brown fouling off the waterline.
 Being heeled over for a month did some damage to the gelcoat!  There is a very
tough scum line from the bottom paint up about a foot above the waterline!
 Alyssa thinks we must have sailed through whale crap and killed about 1,000
squid that left marks behind.  We were only able to clean the starboard side
before we ran out of steam.  Hoping to finish the port side this
afternoon.

Spending a month at sea, in the tropics, with hatches and
ports closed most of the time was the perfect recipe for mold.  I mean tons of
gross mold.  The v-berth is ground zero.  Alyssa is on the edge of a panic
attack and we are removing things and bleaching what we can.  There is even mold
on the teak – the oiled teak looks nice but it promotes the growth of mold.  We
even found one cushion in the main cabin that started smelling like cat piss.
 Must have been marked by a feline at some point in the past and we were lucky
enough to bring the scent back to life!  It has been filling the cabin with a
horrible stench for the past week and a half.  Gross!!

We are drying
things out on deck but have to be on a vigilant watch for sudden downpours.  It
rains on-and-off here because of the huge mountains that surround the
bay.

Despite all the above, we are in great spirits and being here is
starting to hit us.  We are excited to go exploring tomorrow after we check in.
 The largest tiki in French Polynesia is in a valley outside of the town, have
to go find that!

We will try to get internet access tomorrow so we can
upload a few pictures and review your comments from the crossing.

Au
revoir!

Lewis & Alyssa

Baie Tahuaku, Iles Marquises, Polynesie
Francaise

09 48.241 S
139 01.848 W

Pacific Crossing – Day 27 – Landfall!!

We made landfall this morning and are only 9 miles away from Atuona!  Heaving-to last night sucked; we had winds over 20 knots and a huge swell all night.  The sunrise was glorious.  We can now see the colors on the islands.  Still can’t smell anything yet since we are up wind.  Feels great to see land again.

We are sailing west towards Atuona with the towering rugged cliffs of Hiva Oa off the starboard beam.

Much to do in preparation for anchoring bow and stern.  Will email again once rested.

Lewis and Alyssa

Pacific Crossing – Day 26 – Last night at sea!

We’re painfully close to Hiva Oa!  A mere 42 miles NE of the island…

 

We will heave-to 15 miles offshore and await daylight before sailing into Atuona and dropping the hook.  It’s killing us to be this close and have to bob around for another night, but what’s another night after 26 days at sea right?

 

We are slowly making way to windward of the island so we can drift in the right direction once hove-to.  I pitched Alyssa on the idea of deploying our parachute sea anchor for the night but the idea was met with resistance.  Maybe some day we’ll get to try that thing out.

 

Alyssa and I are very excited to see the towering lush green spires of Hiva Oa tomorrow and be tucked in an anchorage where Ellie isn’t getting thrown around.  It should be quite the experience to see land again.

 

It will be very strange to have to wear clothes tomorrow.  I haven’t worn a shirt since day 1 and lost the shorts about three weeks ago.  Also need to trim the beard and shave my neck so the authorities actually let us into the country!

 

I have dreamt of sailing to these islands for the past six years.  The background image on my blackberry while I was slaving away at work was a boat anchored off Fatu Hiva.  Every spare moment outside of work was spent preparing for this voyage.  Tomorrow I get to realize a dream.  We get to live in the photo.  I feel very fortunate.

 

A beautiful sunset is off the starboard bow.  Tomorrow, land ho!!

 

Current Position:

 

02:20z

 

09 27 S

138 11 W

 

220T

 

4.0 knots

 

Wind: 15 knots E

image

Seas: 4-6 feet

 

Bar: 1008

Pacific Crossing – Day 25

We have concluded that the Pacific Ocean is freaking huge!

 

We’ve covered over 2,600 miles since leaving Mexico almost a month ago.  We haven’t seen land or other people.  Our fresh provisions are dwindling.  We’re down to three eggs.  The fridge is looking pretty empty.  Still haven’t caught another fish.  Princess is a few dishes away from a full-blown strike and she informs me we are running low on white wine.

 

We are constantly craving various foods and restaurants from back home and in Mexico.  My latest craving is Hard Rock Cafe or Chili’s – southwest eggrolls, those thin salty chips and salsa, a huge chicken burger with bacon, guac and shoestring onion rings with a side of fries and a tall ice-cold American draft beer.  Alyssa’s has been a wilted spinach salad with goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, avocado, lemon rosemary steamed salmon with a really nice glass of Napa Valley sauv blanc, in a real wine glass.

 

We have been eating like kings out here but we miss sitting at an open-air cafe, sharing guac and some ice tea’s and just people watching, oh and not having to do dishes after every meal.

 

We are only 200 miles from our destination of Hiva Oa.  Unfortunately we weren’t going to make it in before sunset on Friday (and I want to make landfall during daylight) so we, very painfully, slowed the boat down to 4.6 – 5.0 knots so we will make landfall Saturday morning.  We are hoping to be anchored and enjoying a shore-side lunch by Saturday early afternoon.

 

I was able to fire up the generator and make 60 gallons of water yesterday.  It was no small task since the seas were pretty rough.  Picture me in the cockpit with one hand on a 5-gallon bucket, that is sliding violently from side to side and the other hand trying to keep my entire body from falling into the lazarette (storage locker), all the while trying to keep hoses from falling out of the bucket so I can fill the bucket and pickle the watermaker.  After much sweating and swearing the task was complete and I awoke the Princess to let her know she could take her luxurious shower.  Btw – Princess showering is like preventative boat maintenance – if it gets neglected, things start falling apart ;-)

 

Well, against every natural urge, I have to go furl in the jib further to slow us to less than 5 knots.

 

Current Position:

 

20:30z

 

07 54 S

136 18 W

 

Course: 224 T

 

Speed: 5.0 knots

 

Wind: 11 knots E

 

Seas: Sloppy.  5-7 ft

 

Bar: 1008

Pacific Crossing – Day 24

I guess we can’t have our cake and eat it too…

The great wind we have been enjoying finally brought the swell with it.  The wind piped up to 16-20 knots and the swell has become mas grande.  We are averaging 6.7 knots over ground sailing beam-to the wind and seas with a double-reefed mainsail and half-furled jib.  It’s a roller coaster ride to the finish line.  Princess is not so amused at the current sea state.  She is dreaming of a stable home on land with a dish washer….better get into port FAST!

We are 335 miles from Hiva Oa.  If we maintain over 6.5 knots we may be in as early as Friday evening.  More likely is that we will need to slow down on the last day to make landfall on Saturday morning.  Either way, looks like we will be anchored in Atuona by Saturday mid-day.  We are both very excited for landfall.

I wasn’t able to make water yesterday because we kept getting run down by strong squalls.  They were about an hour apart and brought high winds, confused seas and driving rain.  I wanted to make water today but it’s so rough we may just conserve water until the sea state subsides a bit.

Last night we had to alter course to avoid a Japanese long-line fishing vessel.  We were on a collision course so we altered course to the west in front of him.  The boat was pretty large, about 150 feet long and lit up like a sports stadium.  He had AIS which was helpful.  We passed about 2.5 miles apart.

Anyone know how to make dim-sum?  If so, email our at-sea email address.  We’re thinking Chinese tonight..

Current Position:

20:33z

06 30 S
134 34 W

210t

6.6 knots

16 knots from the E

6-8ft swell from the SE with 3 ft wind waves on top

Bar: 1009

Pacific Crossing – Day 23

Still tearing along maintaining speeds over 6 knots.  We made over 130 nm in the past 24 hours, despite battling with rain and squalls last night, and we still haven’t used the engine since the northern hemisphere!

We are 2,300 miles from Zihuatanejo and 500 miles from Hiva Oa.  We might make landfall as early as Saturday if we keep these speeds up.  Alyssa REALLY wants to arrive Saturday and looking at her log entries from her shift last night, she is keeping more canvas up than usual to make exactly that happen!  Usually she is more conservative and averages between 5.5 and 6.0 knots.  Last night her entries on boat speed were: 6.8, 6.5 and 6.7 knots!  She says in her defense there is a strong current helping us, but I know it’s more than that.

Keeping Ellie moving at such a brisk pace is exhilarating.  The steady wind over the past few days has reminded me of a quote I like: “Wind is to sailors as money is to people onshore” I forget who wrote it but it’s in the Quotes tab on the website.  I would also add ‘current’ to the quote because it makes an enormous difference in speed over ground, which is directly related to morale and overall satisfaction.

After covering 5,000 miles since leaving the Golden Gate, the jib is finally in need of some stitching.  The protective sunbrella canvas strip on the outer edges of the sail is tearing off slowly.  Almost the entire bottom edge is flapping in the wind.  It doesn’t look like it will come completely off so we haven’t retired the sail yet, but we will need to stitch it back on once we get in to port.  The stitches on the actual sail are all holding up well and show no major signs of wear.  The mainsail is still in great shape.

I’ll fire up the watermaker today, produce another 60 gallons and top off the starboard tank.  We can produce 35 gallons per hour so I only need to run it for a couple hours.  Still very happy with our Cruise RO unit.  Thanks again Rich!

We continue to trail lures and the fish continue to bend our hooks!  These must be monster tuna and dorado because I have never seen hooks bend like this.  I am running 150 lb test as the lightest line so they very well could be huge.  We have both cedar plugs and squid lures out now.  Trying to catch some more sushi ingredients.

The speedo is reading 7.3 knots so I better go topside and furl in some jib.

Current position:

Southern Pacific Ocean

19:31z

04 39 S
132 41 W

6.9 knots

215t

14 knots out of the SE

3-4 ft swell with 2-3 ft wind chop

1008

Pacific Crossing – Day 22 – Are We There Yet??

The Princess would like to know if we are there yet.  She asks me this multiple times a day…

The answer is that we are just over 600 miles from Hiva Oa.  We are tearing along, averaging 6 knots.  We are enjoying the best sailing conditions we have had so far.  We have 15 knots of steady breeze out of the SE, the swell is minimal AND FROM ONE DIRECTION! :-)  The skies are beautifully clear and the the water is a sparkling vivid sapphire blue.

Ellie is flying jib and main with the wind 70 degrees off her port bow.  Now THIS is what I imagined the crossing to be like the entire time!  Loving it.

I saw the southern cross last night.  Definitely in the southern hemisphere now.

Last night, against my will, I was subjected to the cold wrath of the sea.  I had just turned in for the night and was excited to be tucked snugly in my bunk for my sleep shift.  I was just dozing off when Ellie’s bow dug into a particularly large wave.  The wave came over the entire boat and water immediately came flooding into the center hatch and ports on the leeward side!  We had left them open for ventilation and because we hadn’t shipped a drop of water on the cabin top all day.  Well, big mistake.  I was a bit in shock as the seawater continued to pour onto the bunk and all over the bookshelf.  I yelled for Alyssa “Lyss come quick, I’m drenched!!”  We quickly closed the hatches and cursed ourselves for leaving them open.  We then went to work quickly drying any electronics that got wet, taking out batteries, etc.  Half the cushions were soaked and the sheets were toast.  Such is life on the high seas.

Trailing lures again.  Would be nice to catch some more fresh tuna or mahi mahi before arriving in port.  We have some space in the freezer just begging to be filled.

Current position:

Time: 19:19z

Lat: 03 02 S
Long: 131 05 N

Course: 220t

SOG: 6.0 knots

Wind: 15 knots from the SE

Seas: 2-4ft swell

Bar: 1008

Pacific Crossing – Day 21

We’re in the southern hemisphere!

We are 21 days out of Zihuatanejo, Mexico bound for Hiva Oa, a mere 775 miles SW.  We have caught the SE trades and are making good way under full sail, clear skies and signature puffy trade wind clouds.  There is a fresh breeze out of the SE driving us forward at 5 knots.  Once again Ellie has caught her stride and seems determined to reach Hiva Oa and take a rest.  The crew is dreaming of towering green spires, tranquil anchorages and baguettes.

The trades have brought much needed reprieve from the heat.  The breeze is very welcome and the humidity has dropped markedly.  We both even felt cold for the first time last night and even sought out blankets.

We crossed the equator yesterday and I transitioned from a ‘Pollywog’ to a ‘Shellback’.  Alyssa presided over the ceremony as she was already a Shellback, class of 2009.  We had a great day.  Alyssa cooked up an awesome country breakfast, complete with hash browns, bacon and eggs.  We enjoyed bloody mary’s while Ellie gracefully cut through the new-to-us SE swell.  We hove-to for a swim and so I could scrape off the surprising amount of barnacles that had accumulated on the waterline over the past few weeks.  We couldn’t stand being dead in the water with 10 knots of wind beckoning from the SE, so we raised full sail, set the windvane and continued to drive towards paradise.  We watched an incredible sunset while sipping boat drinks and listening to Jimmy Buffet, while the hint of fresh-baked pizza wafted up the companionway and into the cockpit.  We ended the night by finishing the movie Dead Calm.  It was a great day at sea.

I’ve put the alternator issue on the backburner for now.  We have great wind so we don’t need the motor and the solar panels are producing ample power to charge the battery bank.  I’ll troubleshoot the issue when we get into port in a week.

Gotta run – time to tuck in a reef.

Current Position:

3/30/14
23:30z

01 29 SOUTH!
130 12 WEST

210t

5.0 knots

Wind 13-15 SE

Seas: 3-4 feet with 2 foot wind chop

Bar: 1006