S/V Crazy Love

Molokai & Lanai on the way to Honolulu 17 June - 3 July 2014

Ripping along in the Pailolo Channel towards Molokai.

After five days at anchor in Honolua Bay, we headed around the east end of Molokai via the Pailolo Channel. This was a sporty crossing - 15+ kt winds with 5-8ft waves - but nothing like the Alenuihaha Channel. It was easier mostly because we did this crossing first thing in the morning rather than in the middle of the night. The crossing itself was less than 10 miles. When we rounded Cape Halawa we were able to ease the sheets and fall off the wind. Then the beautiful sailing happened.

North Shore of Molokai

The north shore of Molokai has the highest sea cliffs on this planet - so we are told. The truth doesn't matter because they are unbelievably tall even from several miles offshore.

Beautiful sea cliffs on the North Shore of Molokai

Molokai has strict rules about going ashore. Basically they don't want haoles (that's us) coming ashore except in places where they can watch us.

Okala Island

Hauling ass approaching Okala Anchorage - rock in the right third of the photo.

About half way along the north shore is a high island a few hundred yards off the steep-to shore. The cruising guide says the lee of this island is a good anchorage. We had a hard time getting the hook to set in the sand bottom, but when we did it felt safe enough.

Molokai as seen from Crazy Love while at anchor.

Matt and Rachel on Aeoli joined us in the anchorage a few hours after we arrived. We had dinner, Rosie's Indian curry, aboard Aeoli the following night. Yummy stuff.

The morning after our dinner party the oddest thing happened. The wind started blowing out of the West. "The west?" you ask. Yeah the west. My theory is that the east wind hits the cliffs and wraps around into the little corner where we were anchored. It was blowing so hard the boat was heeling at anchor and spray was blowing into the cockpit - the Beaufort scale suggests the wind was around 30 knots. Fortunately the anchor held long enough for us to get the kayak out of the water and escape for a calmer spot.

Kalaupapa

The calmer spot was only three miles away. We anchored about a quarter mile off the beach bordering the former leper colony. There's still a substantial town here despite no road access. I wonder, how do they get building materials here? How do they make a living? We didn't get to find out because we weren't allowed ashore. We didn't try to go ashore, but we assumed we weren't welcome based on advise in the cruising guide.

We stayed two days here. Didn't get off the boat. We read, played games, and enjoyed the sunshine.

Papohaku Roadstead

Upon leaving Kalaupapa, heading west, we had some groovy sailing. The wind was 10-15 from the east, so we moved quickly to the Papohaku Roadstead at the west end of Molokai. We had a hell of a time finding a sandy patch to drop the anchor. The sea floor here has a lot of rocks and coral. The sandy patches tend to be just a few inches deep with a rocks underneath. We stayed here two days after we finally found a deep enough sandy patch to set the anchor.

Dead horse cliff along the roadstead.

There's a resort on the beach. It appears to be maintained, but there were not many people around. We didn't go ashore here either. Didn't even pump up the dinghy. I did attempt a little spearfishing. Its harder than it looks. My aim is not good.

Lono Harbor

Crazy Love at anchor in Lono.

This unused little harbor is well protected from the wind and the waves. Apparently it was built in the 50's to load sand onto barges for transport to Waikiki. This practice was outlawed in the 70's, so the harbor is unused today. We did land the dinghy here, but there's not much to see. We took a walk on the beach, but mostly hung on the boat waging war against a number of bees before bashing our way over to Lanai.

Nearly deserted beach along Lono.

Kalama Nui

The wind blew like crazy the entire trip from Lono to Lanai. It was a wet and wild upwind sail all 20 miles over to Lanai. We expected that we'd get calmer winds after crossing Kalohi Channel, but even in the lee of Lanai the wind blew like crazy. We tucked into the little Kalama Nui Cove and anchored in 25 feet. The holding here was excellent with a black sand bottom that got along very well with our 7.5kg bruce.

Good snorkeling here. Lots of small aquarium fish and some larger parrotfish and orange spined tangs. I even saw a sea turtle and a shark. Sorry to say I didn't have the camera for those sightings. I tried quite a bit more spearfishing. There was lots to shoot at but I still couldn't hit anything. I'll keep practicing, I promise.

Sea arch looking out from Kalama Nui.

Manele Bay

About six miles from Kalama Nui, as the crow flies, is Manele Small Boat Harbor. The wind was dead the morning we made this short trip, so we motored for three hours to get there before lunch. We anchored for two days outside the harbor, and then spent three days in a slip after we spoke to some folks familiar with the harbor.

Manele Small Boat Harbor. Crazy Love is anchored in the background.

Manele Bay might be our favorite spot in the whole state. The harbor is clean, uncrowded, unbelievably quiet and perpetually sunny. A half mile walk from the boat took us to a beautiful beach and there is a Four Seasons resort a short walk from the beach. The perfect spot to watch some world class soccer.

The beach at Manele as seen on the walk to the Four Seasons.

Overnight to Honolulu

The sail from Manele Bay to Honolulu was a bit frustrating. It should have been dreamy downwind sailing, but the roller furling jammed again, so we couldn't use the jib. Ugh! Without the jib, we can't balance the sails enough to use the windvane. That means hand steering. Double ugh! I don't mind steering by hand, I just don't want to do it in the middle of the night. On the upside, the roller furling didn't completely fail until we were 25 miles outside of Honolulu so the hand steering was only for the last 6 hours of the trip.

We arrived at Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach at about midnight, so we had some time to kill before dawn. With the jib jammed, we couldn't even heave to. Shucks! We dropped the main and floated. The wind and waves pushed us offshore so we motored in shore a few times during the night. After dawn, we called the harbormaster's office for instructions...

Approach to Honolulu at dawn.

More in the Honolulu entry.

Maui

View from the beach on the way to Hana.

The Crossing

Getting to Maui meant crossing the Alenuihaha Channel. It has a reputation for big wind and big waves so the forecast was appropriate at 25kts from the east with 5-9 foot waves. Fortunately it is a downwind ride.

We had planned to leave in the evening, but after saying good bye to all our new friends in Radio Bay it was already dark. We decided to leave in the morning at first light and that's what we did. There was a nice land breeze to sail out of Hilo Bay, but it quit within a few miles of the breakwater. We motored for an hour and then the sea breeze (or was it the trades?) picked up. We had light, steady wind for much of the afternoon, but as we approached Upolu Point the wind built. We went from full sail to a double reefed main with a sliver of jib in a matter of 30 minutes. We had found the trade winds and they were just as forecast - 20+ knots from the east. Our course was west-north-west, so it was nice broad reach sailing. After sunset, we left the Big Island in our wake and started to see the lights of Maui on the horizon.

Conditions in the channel were pretty hairy, as forecast, but having just crossed the Pacific, we had a good time of it. Call us cocky perhaps, but these were conditions we'd seen before, and we knew we could handle them again.

We had some rain on the crossing too. The skies were mostly cloudly so it was a dark night, but on the horizon we could see a series of dark clouds coming toward us. The rain would come as the dark clouds came overhead, and then stop a few minutes later when the cloud passed. Twenty minutes later another dark cloud would blow over us. This continued for most of the night.

Carolyn and I kept a much better watch for this crossing. When we crossed the Pacific, we both slept all night long and didn't worry about anything we might run into. The channel between Hawaii and Maui is heavily trafficked so we had someone on watch full time. That meant one of us was always getting wet in the cockpit. It wasn't so bad though - the boat was steering itself and this would only be a one night passage as Hilo to Lahaina is about 125 miles.

By dawn we were passing Molokini and we were well into the lee of Maui so it was appropriate for the trades to be replaced by light variable winds. Going from 5+ knots of boat speed to less than two was a big disappointment and really killed the morale on Crazy Love. We weren't feeling very patient, so we motored much of the rest of the 15 miles into Lahaina. Before we arrived in Lahaina, I checked email on my phone. Our friend Ronnie had managed to get a slip for us in Lahaina Harbor!

Crazy Love in her "slip" Tahitian mooring at Lahaina Harbor.

We pulled into the very busy - with charter boats full of tourists - harbor and into slip 34. Ronnie was standing at the boat ramp giving us a standing ovation. It was a special welcome for us as he was one of the big inspirations for us to even consider the crossing from Mexico to Hawaii. We tied Tahitian style to the marina walkway - two bow lines to the dock, mooring bouy tied aft to keep us off the dock. After a painless checkin with the harbormaster, we were officially in Lahaina. I could already tell Lahaina was going to be awesome: the air was warm, the skies cloudless and blue, and the town was right next to the harbor. The next two weeks turned out to be awesome and we're now very much fans of Maui.

Lahaina

Lahaina's Front Street was feet away from our new home. A tourist retail paradise. T-shirt shops, ABC stores, restaurants, you get the idea. Even though I was given free samples of firming cream every walk down this street, I have taken the high road and hold no grudge.

Lahaina Harbor has no facilities for cruisers - showers being the big one. The harbormaster's office did say we might check in with Lahaina Yacht Club as they often offer cruisers use of their facilities, especially if we're renting one of their moorings. Well we weren't and we are not members of a yacht club, but we tried anyway and were fortunate to catch a break. The Lahaina Yacht Club was very hospitable with fabulous showers and I might say the best food at the best cost on Front Street. Dave and I also seem to always run into a brewery. We really did just happen upon the Maui Brewing Company tasting room, I can't get enough of their coconut porter!

It was great to catch up with Ronnie who had been working on his boat for the last couple months on his way to Australia. You can read his story here.

Day sail on the Mongo with Ronnie. Mongo is heading to Australia with a brand new mast and rig.

We took the opportunity of having a slip to get a few repairs done on our boat. Ronnie put us in contact with West Maui Sails. We had a ragged looking jib after the passage and a few batten pockets on the main that needed some love. These guys picked up our sails from the harbor and we met them at their loft. Completely understanding a cruiser's budget, Barry and Brian pointed out suggested fixes and let us put some hours of our time into the work as well. We learned a great deal in this process and feel a bit more confident if we need any sail repairs along the way.

Dave hard at work in the sail loft.
West Maui Sails.
Crazy big sailmaker's sewing machine at West Maui Sails in Lahaina.

With the jib down we also replaced the roller furling line (the one that had chafed through during the passage) and did an end over end of the jib halyard in an attempt to lengthen the life of this line.

While in port we did get in contact with Victron Energy and they are sending us a replacement shunt for our battery monitor. Since this is coming from Europe we had it sent to San Diego and will make do with the volt meter in the meantime.

Broken and corroded battery cable.  This cable supplies the whole electrical system. Yikes!

Next issue: there was a discrepancy with the voltage at the batteries and the voltage at the electrical panel. The electrical genius of the crew (that would be Dave) took things apart and found yet another smoking gun in our electrical chaos. We were able to replace the culprit (battery cable) while in port.

Paia

With all that work done, now it was time for a little fun? Many people ask us how we do it, living on a small boat with separate bunks...well we take a break every now and then. We booked a room at the Kuau Inn in Paia on the other side of the island for a couple nights for what I feel was a much deserved and earned break.

The vacation from our cruiser's life started with a bus ride to the other side of the island to pick up a rental car from what I found was the best local rental rate in town. We were to meet the owner at the mall where he was picking us up from the bus station. Dave was sure once we were driving into the country and passing an old used refrigerator at the front of the property that we were soon going to be a tale on the next episode of America's Missing Tourists. This was not the case. We got a great rate and our car completely blended in with the locals. I completely recommend Maui Cruisers Car Rental.

A purple Corolla ride.
Waterfall seen on the road between Paia and Hana.
We stopped at a arboretum on the road to Hana and saw some exotic tropical plants.
Dave in the jungle.

The Kuau Inn is an old Plantation House outside the town of Paia that we made a home out of for the next 5 days.

Home sweet home for a few days.

They have a wonderful shared large kitchen where we were able to make dinner in on a few nights. A perfect setup for us. Aside from lounging around the great lanai we got out for a few explorations of the island as well. The Road to Hana was beautiful and we attempted to catch a sunrise at the summit of Haleakala National Park. I might suggest planning a sunset for anyone coming into town. We hit a foggy morning .... and its cold, really cold (but beautiful).

We stopped at a arboretum on the road to Hana and saw some exotic tropical plants.
View on the way to Hana.
Just after sunrise in Haleakala.  We could be on Mars.
Beautiful view as we descended the mountain of Maui.

Before returning the car, we used it to do some errands. We hit the Home Depot, Walmart and the grocery. Almost like real life!

The boat's loaded up and we were to be out of Lahaina Harbor on Thursday. Even though the winds off the coast looked gusty (I'm beginning to realize this is Hawaiian coastal cruising) we made plans to head to Honolua Bay at the west end of Maui. But not till we had a meet up with some friends we met back in La Cruz who just came up from the Big Island and came over from Cabo just before us. We're hoping to run into Aeoli again soon.

Currently we're back in cruising mode anchored in a little piece of paradise called Honolua Bay where I've already spotted the Hawaiian State fish about a hundred times, swam with a sea turtle, octopus, and a couple eels, not to mention a dozen other beautiful aquarium fish.

Radio Bay, the good and the challenging

What a wonderful feeling to sail (ok motor) into Radio Bay. It is a very protected and calm anchorage. So calm I almost couldn't sleep at night, almost.

A view from the dinghy landing of Radio Bay.

Since we arrived at night on May 20, the next day was check in with customs, immigration and agriculture. The cruising guides said to only send the Captain ashore. Dave was nominated.

A couple things cruisers should know when they arrive:

  1. Everyone can go ashore (at least all US citizens).

  2. The Custom's officials are very efficient and also handle the agriculture check in.

  3. The harbor office is very friendly, the anchoring permit is only $9.24 a day for boats up to 40 ft, however they only accept a cashier's check or traveler's checks... this meant a 3 mile walk (round trip) on sea legs to a Western Union.

  4. No key necessary for the showers and bathrooms on the docks.

  5. Go ahead and rent a car if you plan to stay more than a few nights, it will be easier.

  6. They do have cameras and know when boats come and go even though it doesn't look patrolled. We were planning to leave Tuesday night but left Wednesday morning and they called us for their $9.24! (Which by the way we did mail them after obtaining another cashier's check.)

Radio Bay is a 2.5 mile walk into downtown Hilo. The nearest bar is about a mile walk. After being confined to a 26 foot boat for almost 30 days, this meant our land legs were obtained very quickly and a little painfully. Since Hilo is on the windward side of the island and it gets about 150 inches of rain a year, these walks into town were very often wet, but hey we're used to wet.

A beautiful banyon tree on the way to town.

The farmer's market is as fantastic as the guides say. The mangoes and the fresh veggies were so very delicious. We began a few of the boat repairs but since they were minor, decided it best to wait for a more convenient dock. Laundry was made possible thanks to Bob on Silverado who gave us a ride to the laundromat. A stop in one of the local breweries, Mehana, was made possible by another newly made friend. In hindsight it would have been much easier if we had rented a car.

We enjoyed Dave's 34th birthday with a few local brews, baseball, and a free burger at Hilo Burger Joint. They really do give you a free burger on your birthday, and a good one at that.

Happy Birthday to Dave.  This also doubles as our proof of life photo.  We both made it to Hawaii!

It was a pleasure sharing Radio Bay with Hokule'a and Hikianalia. These are traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes that are headed to Tahiti and beyond.

Hikianalia on its way out for a day sail.  Hikianalia has all the modern technology needed aboard.  Hokule'a will be navigating and sailing as the native Polynesians without even a sextant for navigation.

After a week on the hook in this peaceful if not very convenient anchorage we decided to head across the Alenuihaha Channel to Maui on May 28.

FAQ Revisited

Before we left Mexico we wrote up an FAQ with the answers we thought were right at the time. This time I'll give the right answers to the interesting questions and add the questions we should have asked:

How far is the sail from Banderas Bay to Hawaii?

The Garmin says the actual distance traveled was 2967 nautical miles. The "as the crow flies" distance was 2789 miles.

How long will it take?

30 to 40 days was our estimate. It actually took 28 days and 18 hours. We thought getting off the coast was going to be the hardest part. We were right. 500 miles off the coast was a bit of an underestimate to get to the trades. It ended up being more like 1000 miles until we had wind on/aft of the beam. We thought we'd get 120 to 140 mile days. In reality we got more like 110 to 120 mile days.

How much fuel?

We had more fuel than we needed. We motored for less than 10 hours, which I estimate burned less than 3 gallons of fuel. Our instincts told us to carry more water rather than more fuel and, for this crossing at least, those instincts were spot on.

How do you keep the batteries charged?

The solar panels were effective, but the skies were often cloudy, so when the sun did come out we made tons of power. Before the battery monitor quit working I saw we were making 7+ amps at 12 volts which I believe is near the maximum output for 100 watts of panel.

The failure of the battery monitor was a disappointment. A little salt water got on the gadget that measures battery current/voltage. The salt water caused corrosion which eventually led to failure. I really like the battery monitor, so I plan to fix it and reinstall it in a waterproof housing. As a backup to the battery monitor, we were able to measure voltage with a multimeter.

How much water?

We had 10, 10 liter plastic bottles stashed throughout the boat. We only drank 8 of them. In addition we had the 25 gallon tank under the v-berth that we barely touched. Then there's the 5 gallon container in the port lazarette that we never even considered. Thinking about it after the fact, we had enough water to last for an 8 week passage, probably more.

We planned on half a gallon per person per day. We didn't end up using that much. Daytime high temperatures were lower than we expected, so we didn't end up drinking as much as expected.

Do you have a watermaker?

A watermaker, even an emergency one, didn't turn out to be necessary. If its just Carolyn and I on the boat, I see no reason we'll ever need one.

What will you eat?

We ate lots of good stuff. Preparing food on the boat was one of the biggest challenges of the trip. The boat was constantly moving, always rocking side to side. Imagine making mashed potatos in your kitchen. You've peeled and chopped the potatos and placed them in a bowl on the counter while you wait for the water to boil. Then your kitchen counter tips 20 degrees and dumps the potatos on the floor because you didn't keep a hand on the bowl.

Carolyn kept a food diary that she'll eventually post.

What will you drink?

We didn't have a drop of liquor, or any alcohol for that matter, during the crossing. We had plenty of water that we flavored with powdered drink mixes.

Do you have a refrigerator?

We didn't need one for this trip. I see no reason we'll ever need one.

What safety gear do you have on board?

I thought that a healthy, capable crew was the most important thing. Turns out I was right.

Fortunately we didn't need the life raft or EPIRB. The AIS was amazing - during the first week it provided confidence that the big ships weren't going to run us over. After the first week, we didn't see another boat until day 29 pulling into Hilo. The Delorme InReach was another great upgrade - we will continue to use it to advertise our whereabouts.

What do you do all day to occupy yourself?

Keeping the boat moving didn't occupy much of our time really. The combination of boat, sails, and windvane took care of itself. By the time we'd finished a few hundred miles, we got the windvane tuned so well that we didn't hardly have to touch it. The only work we really did was reefing and unreefing the sails.

Cooking took much more time than expected. Cleaning the dishes was also quite a challenge.

Both of us did a lot of reading. Carolyn read most of the Harry Potter series, I read several Webb Chiles books, and we both very much enjoyed Ken Follet's Fall of Giants.

We did play some games on the iPad. In 11 games of Settler's of Catan, I won 9, Carolyn won 1, and the computer opponent won 1. We're really embarassed about that computer victory.

Do you stop at night to sleep?

&

Is there someone always on watch?

We said we'd try to keep watch at night. We barely tried. We did the thing with the watches for the first few nights, but once we stopped seeing other boats we just went to sleep and let the boat wake us up. If the wind picked up, the boat would heel and wake us up. If the windvane slipped, we'd round up, the sails would flog and wake us up. It turned out to work well because we were never tired and the boat was almost always moving along.

How long in Hawaii?

Now that we're here, we plan to island hop until some time in September, then find a semi-permanent slip for the boat and an apartment or room in a house on terra firma. Then we'll try to find jobs to pump some cash into the cruising fund. While we're here we have some fixes to do on the boat too.

What if something goes wrong?

Fortunately on this crossing everything went right. We feel very lucky and are extremely happy with our success.

Is it a wet boat?

Oh wow, if only we had known. Everything leaks. Everything! The boat is 30 years old and we haven't rebedded any of the deck hardware, windows, or the hull/deck joint. I have no idea when a previous owner might have done it either. During the crossing, we constantly had a pool of water sitting on the side deck. That pool of water found its way into the cabin through every hole in the boat. While we're in Hawaii, we'll need to pull everything off the boat and refresh the caulking to fix the leaks. That will be a big job, but its one we'll be able to do ourselves.

What worked?

The Contessa 26 is an amazing boat. Yes, it is tiny. Yes, it does leak. It has also brought us three thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean and not once did we feel that the boat was anywhere near failure. We never had gale force winds, but we did have plenty of wind in the mid-twenties. The waves were alway big and as much as we complained about the motion, Crazy Love didn't mind one bit. In fact I'm pretty sure she liked it.

The WindPilot Pacific Light, we call him The Conductor, is the best crew member ever. The windvane, mounting bracket, and installation cost $4500. It was worth every penny. It steered 99% of the way across - we hand steered while we were motoring.

The sails held up well. We had the sails up and pushing the boat along for four weeks straight. We had a sail repair kit in case of tears or chafe. Fortunately we did not need it.

The 10 liter bottles of water from the grocery store in Mexico were great. We didn't need those expensive 5 gallon jerry cans many cruisers carry. I'm sure they're convenient, but they're too big to stow on Crazy Love.

What didn't work?

The battery monitor failed on us, but that is the fault of the installer (me) and will be fixed soon enough.

The bilge pump. We have one of the Rule bilge pumps sold by West Marine. It was absolutely crazy. It would turn on, pump some water out, and then never turn off. I think the float switch is faulty.

I'm pretty sure our electric tiller pilots are broken, but I doubt a brand new one would be able to keep up with the big steering needed in trade wind waves. If it did work, I'm sure it would draw so much power that it would be unusable on Crazy Love.

The symmetrical spinnaker didn't work for us. We spent an hour setting it during a morning of light winds and it didn't really do much for us. We prefer to run wing and wing which we got a lot (1000+) of miles out of. We'd attach the jib clew to the spinnaker pole and stick the pole out to windward. Then we'd put the boom on a preventer. Running like this kept the sails from flogging and dispensed with the complication of the spinnaker. I doubt we'll take the spinnaker with us on our next adventure.

Our jib furling line chafed through but this was totally my fault. I had the jib rolled up the wrong way so the furling line rubbed on a part of the furling drum it shouldn't. This is an easy fix but we're still considering dumping the roller furling altogether.

Pacific Crossing: Mexico to Hawaii

Crazy Love's daily check-ins on the way from Banderas Bay to Hilo.

We made it! It feels amazing to have arrived in Hilo. The crossing was everything we thought it would be and more. It was hard at times, it was easy at times, but it was everything we were promised. The weather was perfect - the trades blew all the way across, we hit not a single gale, and we had less than 48 hours of calm during the 29 day passage. We broke a few minor things on the boat: chafed through a few lines, broke a few electrical items but it was nothing we couldn't fix or deal without.

We both kept personal records of our thoughts and updates on our progress throughout the trip. We thought we would share some excerpts of these entries with you.

John from Ichiban took this photo of us on Day 1.
Our photo of Ichiban - a Yamaha 33 - passing us on Day 1 of the crossing.

Day 0, Apr 21 (Monday after Easter)

7:30a - motored from La Cruz to Paradise Village Marina

9:15a - We're assigned slip A-12. Its big enough for at least a 40 footer. Makes Crazy Love look really small.

10am - Take water taxi to other side to see check out with the Port Captain.

1pm - Customs, Immigration, and Port Captain come to the boat to complete exit papers

1:15:pm - We've got our exit papers (zarpe).

Day 1, Apr 22

The wind is good enough to give us 4 up to 6 knots, but we're close hauled and hitting the waves on the nose. It makes for a bumpy ride. Dave fights sea sickness a bit and I really don't feel all that well either... BUT this should only be for a week or so and even if not we signed up for it.......Around midnight Dave woke me and we saw the Southern Cross

Day 2, Apr 23

Our AIS got a workout, 3 large boat crossings within 1 mile of us. I feel its like playing chicken... where is the boat, how fast, do we move, do we hail them but in the end we just stood our course and they passed a decent distance away.

Rough night last night. Got sick twice and couldn't eat. Steep waves make for slow progress. 2709 miles to go.

Day 3, Apr 24

I feel terrible that I am not nearly as diligent as Dave at sail trim, working the windvane, and overall sailing the boat. I honestly hope I make up the difference in other areas.

One of the biggest flying fish that hitched a ride on Crazy Love.

Lots of big ships. At dawn the wind picked up. Double reefed main with jib rolled up 2/3 of the way. 2653 miles to go. Later in the afternoon, we got so much wind we lashed the main to the boom and sailed under reefed jib. Very uncomfortable.

First breakage of the trip: the cleats I installed in La Cruz broke off the tiller. Easy fix. Reinstall with longer screws. Done!

Day 4, Apr 25

Not much wind last night. We hove to for a little rest. Lost only 2 miles during the night.

I could tell he was getting a bit frustrated with our progress. I put a good spread together for breakfast, we got the boat going about 2-3 knots southwest... best we can do and he was still a bit down. We'd been told the first couple days are hard and they are. Dave felt much better when 17:30 UTC time came around and we still had radio contact w/ Ichiban and Seaquel.

We saw dolphins today, a few just swam over to the boat and under... just a quick hello.

This afternoon, the wind seems to be turning more north (rather than NW) allowing us to point the bow right at Hilo. Hopefully that keeps up. 2573 miles to go.

Day 5, Apr 26

2495 miles remaining. Rosie said, "All I wanted was to take a weekend sailing class." Seems she got a little more than she asked for. Spent a bunch of time this afternoon talking about our families and reminiscing about times past.

Having a great sail right now. Bouncy, wet ride, but making 4.5-5.5kts at Hilo under double reefed main & thong bikini version of a rolled up jib. We are flying down waves and taking lots of water in the process. Working to weather is wet business.

Day 6, Apr 27

80 mile run dawn to dawn. Cloudy skies. Wind still from the NW. The windvane remote control keeps slipping. The boat is really pounding into the waves. Seems like she's really made for these conditions. We're starting to get an idea what "blue water boat" means.

Did I mention the boat is wet? Its a very leaky boat. The waves coming over the top and the rail dipping in the water has all the deck hardware fasteners, windows, and hatches leaking.

Afternoon of day 6 - Things are turning in our favor. The wind has shifted more to the N and we're now close reaching rather than close hauled. The waves are still breaking over the deck, but now only every 5 minutes instead of every 30 seconds.

Day 7, Apr 28

2325 miles to go.

This morning we talked about possibilities after Hawaii: Marshalls, Tuvalu, Phillipines, Japan. Wow, can't believe we're considering this when we still have 2k miles to go to get to Hawaii. This is the biggest jump though.

Very bumpy, fast ride this morning and early afternoon. Rosie discovered many of our fresh veggies have started to rot so there was a little work sorting through them and cleaning. Luckily all the apples are okay!

What a day. The waves continue to hit us on the beam making for a continued rodeo ride. Its getting a tad old for me. I'm just tired of the effort it takes to go the bathroom, to haul yourself out of the bunk to check the windvane, to fix anything to eat even if it is just to grab an apple out of the closet. Dave suggested a nap. Thanks Dave ( It might just work... but my bed is wet!) Since the books on my shelf and my hats have absorbed all the water they can, its dripping onto my bed. One week down, how many to go?

Day 8, Apr 29

2222 miles to go. 103 mile run dawn yesterday to dawn today

What a nice restful day after the day we had yesterday. Surrounded by blue water on all sides. Its pretty fantastic.

Brushed my teeth for the first time today. That thought disgusts me, but the boat was too bouncy to do it before. I feel much better now. Maybe this will become habit.

Still cloudy out. Haven't had blue skies in three days. Panels still seem to get the batteries to 12.8v, so it seems like we're keeping up without having to conserve. We've even been using the stereo a few hours every day.

Bashing, bashing always. I thought this was supposed to be a downwind sail. Looking over our last forecast, the N winds should start around 120 degrees W and E winds a little after that. Maybe later this week.

Position: 5:18p 19°03.16'N, 116°45.99W

Day 9, Apr 30

2155 miles to go.

We've passed the longitude of San Diego. Crazy how long that took.

Day 10, May 1

At sunrise, 2075 miles to go. 1/4 of mileage complete. Hoping this doesn't take 40 days. Don't think it will especially if wind shifts as its supposed to.

Position: 7:53a 18°30.60'N, 118°30.80W

The waves seem to be turning more N/S rather than NW/SE. This is a good sign. Looked over the pilot chart for May - N & NE winds account for almost 90% (force 4) in this area. Hopefully we start to see some of those winds soon otherwise I'm starting to think the El Nino is in full effect.

Day 12, May 3

We both slept well last night - read...didn't wake up to check things so we didn't make as much progress as we could have. After dawn, took reef out of main and unrolled full jib.

After lunch: still killing it. 5-6kts under full sail. Rosie and I talked about budgets and schedules for our stay in Hawaii and preparing for a possible next adventure.

What a great day. Our speed has picked up and we're on a beam reach. I used up the carrots today in our soup for dinner. The biscuits were a good change from tortillas.

Sunset - 1847 miles to go. 60 miles today. Wow!

Day 13, May 4

This is how flat the water was on the only full day of calm we had on the whole passage.

Lucky 13 or not so lucky. After a great sail yesterday the winds died right after bed and we've been floating ever since. I think the 1 knot current might be floating us in the right direction. In the positive, I got a shower. Yes! I can't tell you how great it feels to have clean hair after 12 days at sea. I hauled the sun shower ( which has been laying on the deck secured to the side shrouds) up to the first mast step, so I could sit below.

Day 14, May 5

We spent some time soaking up the morning sun and just enjoying the fact that the boat is actually moving again. I planned dinner around my craving for comfort in mashed potatoes. It really wasn't supposed to be so complex. But with being thrown around a bit more than anticipated and using less than ideal potatoes I quickly became frustrated. Which results in Dave saying I told you I'd eat PB & J and me being quite upset in general. I must continue to tell myself, patience!

After lunch - Crushing the miles. 1755 miles to go. Calculated average so far: 3.2kts. Wind built to 15-20. Reefed main and jib. Beam reaching at 5-6kts with the sails well eased.

Position 3:54p 18°56.78'N, 124°21.39W

Day 15, May 6

1670 miles to go at dawn. That's 120 miles made good between dawn yesterday and dawn today. One of our best days ever.

Very gray and cloudy today. Quite a contrast from the almost royal blue water and skies yesterday.

Still killing this afternoon. Stayed in bed w/ the lee cloth while the conductor [wind vane] did all the work. Made 65 miles between sunrise and sunset - a really good run.

Finished Webb Chiles' Open Boat Chronicle. Started Melville's Typee while napping between chapters. Hope Will doesn't run into cannibals on Nuku Hiva.

Day 16, May 7

Gray, rainy day... but with speed.

The wind is howling, but with reefed main and jib we seem to be in control - well at least the WindPilot is in control. Occasionally we surf down the back of a wave and GPS reads 8 or even 9kts for a few seconds.

Position 4:27p 18°51.24'N, 128°42.92W

Day 17, May 8

At 2am we lashed the main to the boom. Didn't slow us down much.

Half way! We're going quite well and though big, the waves seem to be behind us. Not the smoothest or driest of rides but we're getting there. We checked the bilge and engine compartment, it is not filled with water but a bit wet. Considering you can squeeze the water out of my mattress, not surprising.

Dave sleeping in the cockpit in the shade of the mainsail.

Concerned about battery voltage and wetness. Can't do much about the latter, but we'll charge in the morning with engine to address former. Need to build a simple box to keep water off the battery monitor shunt - I believe that's why the battery voltage keeps jumping around. If not, it will at least keep the corrosion to a minimum.

Position 7:04p 18°44.79'N, 131°06.31W

Sunset - 1365 miles to go. Played Settlers on the iPad. I've won 7 games in a row so far on the crossing.

Noticed stitching on foot of jib coming off. To address in Hilo.

Day 18, May 9

...then we heard a boom like sound and realized the jib furling line had chafed through. This we thought might be repaired by a knot or two. However, in the process the line went over, as in over into the great depths of the ocean, oops. We found a replacement not quite long enough but lengthened by another line will get us along just fine.

The waves are huge. Dave and I tried to capture how they look towering over us as they carry us along. The camera just doesn't show the impact as we see it in person.

We had a good day.

Rosie with windblown hair and foulies.  The breeze was blowing nicely that day.

Ran engine for a while to charge batteries. It started fine. The battery monitor read 14+v then back to 12 even though the alternator was putting in 4+ amps. Further evidence that there's something stealing voltage somewhere in the battery monitor circuit. Tested the batteries with multimeter, reading 12.58v. Better result than the 2.5v from the battery monitor. We really need to keep the shunt dry.

Day 19, May 10

1194 miles to go.

A great sailing day. The sun came out for a bit and it was just lovely watching the waves push us toward Hilo while we soaked up some much needed sunshine.

This was the best sunset during the crossing.  Notice the jib poled out to windward.

Late this afternoon we we shook out the second reef. We're doing 5-6kts and surfing down waves at 7-8kts. This is the trade wind sailing we were looking for. This is why I came this way.

Position 4:15p 19°02.27'N, 135°04.90W

The miles are going to come off in a hurry now. I've predicted we'll arrive in Hilo on the 21st of May. That'll be day 29 of the trip. Rosie says we're going to arrive on the 22nd. Either day we want to arrive before Memorial Day Weekend so we don't have to pay extra fees to check in with the government.

The battery monitor now reads less than 1v. Houston, we have a problem - a minor one that can wait, but somethin' just ain't right.

Daily runs of 115, 125, 119 the last three days. Those are miles made good not actually traveled. Maybe we could do 140 miles in 24 hours when we count the distance we've actually gone.

Day 20, May 11

Sitting outside and just breathing in the sea air is so amazing, my favorite to do in the midafternoon. I get excited when I look at the navigation apps to see how far we've come. I was telling Dave just yesterday I haven't really experienced fear yet out here. We've been lucky so far and I hope it holds. I was anxious while Dave was on the bow moving about working the jib pole today, but not frightened. We've seen no other boats in 2 weeks, no other debris. And aside from flying fish and yes the occasional bird no other wildlife. We really are our own little floating island.

9:18p - Less than 1000 miles to go! Looks funny on the GPS after seeing only 4 digit numbers for 3 weeks.

Day 21, May 12

The wet seats and bed are talking their toll on my behind. Other than that all is great.

Its amazing how fast the days go with food prep, reading, gaming, and well just staying on the boat. It was a beautiful sunset tonight. I do hope this means sun tomorrow.

Day 22, May 13

Finished 2000 miles this afternoon. It has taken us 21.5 days to do those miles which gives us an average speed of 3.88kts. This is all in VMG so our boat speed is a little better but unknown.

Position 3:40p 19°21.51'N, 141°09.07W

Back under full main with the jib still on the pole - that's >24hrs since we put it out w/o touching it. Moving along well at 4.5-5.5 kts. Little to no rolling.

The battery monitor seems to be getting worse - it now resets every so often. That means the corrosion or wiring issue is just about complete. Good news is that the batteries read 12.6v with the multimeter, so the panels and the rest of the electrical system are hanging in there.

768 miles to go. The nearly full moon - full tomorrow night - peaked out from behind the clouds for a few minutes after sunset. Wow! Its big. Speaking of big, the setting sun is the biggest we've ever seen. We're hoping to get clear skies in the next few nights to enjoy the moon and stars before we get to Hilo.

We're looking to get into Hilo on Tuesday afternoon before sunset. Then check in on Wednesday morning. Maybe we can even make it to the Wednesday Farmer's Market in Hilo?

Day 23, May 14

Best day yet! We slowed down a bit in the morning, so we played with the spinnaker. It really didn't do much, so we poled out the jib and got back up to a 4 knot speed. The waves are much flatter today and the sun shone with very few clouds. This to me meant another shower day. Dave did as well. I think the boat smells 10x better. Many things are drying out as well. It was really great to hear from the Lilo today. They are making their way in CA and our buddy Will has made it to the South Pacific.

Day 24, May 15

The moon is very bright, full.... amazing.

Position 7:51p 19°49.90'N, 145°22.59W

Day 26, May 17

393 miles to go at sunrise. 112 miles completed dawn to dawn.

We are getting down to it. Looking at only 3 or 4 more days. I can't believe it. Not much really happened today. Oh wait, well the red bucket did commit suicide at sea. Rather sad to just see the handle out there.

Wonder what it will feel like when we get there and anchor safely. Will it be relief? Will we feel we've accomplished something significant? Or will we be glad its over? I'm thinking it'll be something similar to finishing Avalon - Holy crap, I can't believe I just ran 50 miles (sailed 2800 miles)!

The battery monitor kept starting/stopping last night (there's a blue light that comes on when it starts) so I disconnected it.

Good news: we can hear the weather forecasts from Honolulu on the VHF.

Day 27, May 18

Busy, busy day. It started as normal... but with us making a bit to much North we decided a jibe was in order. This meant moving the poled out jib to the other side and switching tacks (not that it matters since we haven't seen another boat in weeks.) Simple enough you would think, but the roller furling, pole, toping lift got hung up and stuck. Dave on the bow with rolly waves and me at the helm trying to keep our course made for an exciting post breakfast mini-adventure and in the midst of it all we hear a sick sounding motor turning on, is that the bilge pump? and it wouldn't turn off. We abandon the pole and jib and try to get the little motor to stop before it burns something up. Dave goes into the cabin to deteremine why. He cut the power going to the battery... yet the sound continued. It finally stopped but well he had cut the wrong wire and had to rewire his mistake. We now have no auto bilge pump. Good thing we can manually pump out. We did get back to that jib and sorted it all out. Also, Dave caught a fish! In time for dinner no less.

We caught a mahi mahi about 1000 miles out from Hilo.
Dave was able to pull the mahi mahi aboard without issue.  You can see the sad remains of our red bucket in the background.

Day 28, May 19

8p - This could be our last night. It's hard to believe we've come almost 2700 miles. We've had some minor issues - nothing we weren't able to fix or work around - but its been a really good passage. Just a few calm patches, but otherwise we've moved along really well. I think it'll take a few days/weeks of reflection to fully get our heads around what we've accomplished.

90.7 miles to go.

Position 8:12p 19°39.27'N, 153°28.49W

Day 29, May 20

10:30a - Spotted land for the first time. We're moving slowly under full sail with a tiny breeze. Still hoping to anchor in Radio Bay this evening.

Crazy Love anchored in Radio Bay.

Dave is excited we made it to Hilo in <30 days! I'm just happy we made it. The last 20 miles took as long as any long road trip of your youth... we were so ready to be in Hawaii. We passed a cruise ship as it was leaving the harbor. Many people waved to us from their balconies like we were celebrities, but really we were today! We crossed the Pacific, 2789 nautical miles + 2 and that is really VMG-- we did more, a lot more. We made it. We feel accomplished and we're celebrating. Take it from me 29 days without alcohol make a rum drink that much more potent. Cheers! May the check in with harbor, customs, and immigration go well tomorrow!