Dive Duck Dip Dive and Dodge - these are the 5 d’s of dodgeball, or hurricane avoidance 101.
July 10th- So were leaving Baja Naval in Ensenada harbor today to make our way across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. There is three hurricanes along our route. It’s really scary to think we will be out there with them so far away from land. But here we go…
July 16th - The first 3 – 4 days we rough on all of us. We headed west to stay north of the multiple hurricanes / tropical storms. We were close hauled in 5ft close interval swell, with about 25 knots of wind. I was the first thing to go… sea sick for those entire first couple days. I lost about 10lbs and spent all my time that I wasn’t on watch sleeping to avoid the splitting headaches that come along with being sea sick. Also, the reason I have been unable to write until now. Unfortunately, those conditions were just as bad on the boat. The radar went out just as we left, but we later got it back up and working again. Then the first time we went to reef the mainsail, we broke the part of the mast that funnels the mainsail tabs into the mast. This caused us to be double reefed the whole way. Next, we broke the furling line for the jib. We still are not sure where the chaffing is coming from, but it split our dinema core furling line in half twice. Both times we fixed the line with a square knot. Then, our autopilot starting malfunctioning. With the pin from the autopilot to the rudder in place we could not put the autopilot into standby. Thus meaning we can no longer steer by hand. Much better than the alternative of having to manually steer the rest of the way. In order to manually steer someone must crawl down into the transom and disconnect the autopilot by hand. Potentially problematic…
We were taking wave after wave over the bow. The leaks in the front slowly filled the forward room with water sloshing around the shelves on the walls. This caused our next problem. We were taking on so much water over the bow that the one way valves for the anchor locker clogged and became two way valves. Every time the bow would dip below the water line water would come rushing in the valves and down into the bilge. We discover the problem when the water started coming up through our floor boards in the kitchen. Steve soon figured out that our low level bilge pump was broken just leaving us with our whale pump and a high level bilge water pump. We could not fix the problem under way. So it resulted in whoever was on watch having to pump the water out of the bilge by hand every 30 minutes. The first couple days we joked about it being a good arm workout, but after a week of that it gets pretty exhausting.
As time went by, the swell and wind grew to about 8-10 ft, and 20-30 knots for just over a week. Believe it or not this was much more comfortable then the first few days. Finally, my seasickness had for the most part, gone away.
July 17th - Every morning on watch it always amazes me to see this bird or kind of bird anyways. (I named him Jeffery.) We’d be 1,000 miles from land in every direction, haven’t seen another boat in week and there he’d be. Bobbing and weaving threw the waves along the boat. The sun would get firmly in the sky and the bird would disappear. Then, the next morning you’d wake up and look… there he’d be flying with us. I like to think of it as a good omen. When traveling across such a great distance with so many storms to avoid along the way, the birds gave me comfort in knowing we were far enough away from the storms.
July 18th – The water has gotten warmer and the sky’s more beautiful. The moon is full! When it rises the night almost seem like day and would make the whole ocean underneath it shine like gold. The moon rose later and later and the stars grew brighter and brighter. The milky way took up a huge portion of the sky! As beautiful as the night watches were they were so hard to manage after a while. The longer the trip wore on, the harder it was for all of us to get enough rest. You’d sleep all day and still feel exhausted.
July 20th – Congratulations gang we’ve finished our first can of spam! Our refrigerator is officially broken. That’s right, now we have no possible way to keep fresh food. We cooked just about all of our meet in ketchup, worchestor sauce and anything else filled with preservatives to keep it from spoiling. Slowly but surely we were eating nothing but canned food. We couldn’t even keep / eat the fish were catching. Would be such a shame to kill such big, beautiful fish and only be able to eat a slice. So, from that point on it was purely catch and release for entertainment purposes only.
Kelsey caught a massive Ono nearly as long as I am tall. I caught a 30 lb big eye tuna. Together we reeled in at least 4ish skip jack and a couple dorados.
July 22nd - We’re now in the last 600 miles from land and its crunch time. We are running directly parallel to Darby the hurricane / tropical storm is headed directly for our destination of Hilo on the big island. While another even bigger storm is heading north to our position now from behind us. Timing is everything now. If we drop to soon we will be too close to the dangerous side of Darby and get sucked in. If we wait too long to drop down the next storm will surely catch us. The plan is to drop first thing in the morning. By this time Darby will have passed in front of us allowing us to safely drop in between the two. At this point I don’t think us nor the boat would be strong enough to fight of ether storm if we indeed did get to close.
July 24th We safely dropped down in-between the two storms. The sunsets and sunrises are incredible because of our position. It looks like heaven sky’s our about to open up and unleash hell upon us over this deep blue water. We have lost our good wind. Fortunately, the waves have died with it. We now have 8 – 15 knots of wind and chugging along at 4 knots - half the speed we’ve previously been traveling. The weather is hot! Miserably hot and humid, but the water is now warm too. Our chart plotter is reading 75 degrees with no bottom insight.
July 25th Today was so totally awesome!!! Steve woke up and put on some ACDC and we had ourselves a little day party. We drank pineapple juice and rum watching the flying fish (number one thing you see out there). After a couple drinks we put out the latter threw off a safety line and both Kelsey and I dragged behind the boat. Laughing our heads off! Was so much fun and we needed it. The ocean instantly gave us a new energy! For the rest of the trip we’d slow down the boat every day to hop in the deep blue water.
July 26th-27th We ended up getting just off shore on the 16th day. So eager to see land, but with no luck due to the haze. About 25 miles away, we slowed down the boat to 2 knots and had ourselves a couple bottles of wine. At that speed (2 knots) we ended up just about 4 miles off Hilo harbor at sun rise. Nothing so more amazing then seeing land after seeing nothing but blue water for 2,200 miles. We anchored Tahiti style in in Radio Bay within Hilo Harbor. We all got some much needed rest, and SHOWER!
Sailing to Hawaii is a huge accomplishment for the three of us. We did really well as a crew. Only had one or two discrepancy’s and we worked through all of them. This is only the beginning! That’s the craziest part.