Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moku pe'a Report

30 April 0600 position 15-17N 157-22W. Day's run 143 miles.

I am finally settling into boat life and, except for missing Lori, leaving
thoughts of life at home behind. It was exhausting getting ready for this
planned seven month trip. Besides ensuring that the boat was ready, I had
to get my life ashore organized to run on auto pilot as much as possible
while I am gone. Finish 2013 taxes, pay property tax in advance, put
other bills on auto pay, make sure car and house maintenance is done… The
list goes on and on. It would have been even more difficult if Lori
wasn't there to hold the fort down. Rocky didn't have to worry about the
boat, but he also had to get his property management business organized to
run without him.

It's like we have been riding the rail South since our last report. Wind
direction is unchanged from its ENE direction, and has only slowly
increased from 8 to 12 knots. We put a reef in the main during the
afternoon to make it easier for the auto pilot to steer and the reef has
been in since. Speed varies from 5.5 knots in the lulls to 6.5 in the
puffs. We rarely have to adjust anything during a watch.
We haven't seen a single sign of human life since our first night at sea,
but I expect that to change shortly. At 2200 we left the US Economic zone
that extends 200 miles from our shores. This is the boundary that
foreign fishing boats must stay outside of. On our last trip to the South
Pacific we also saw nothing inside of the Economic zone, but outside
there was a lot of Asian fishing boat traffic.

The increasing number of fishing boats and their detrimental effect on sea
life are the changes I have noticed most in the last 40 years. My early
trips were remarkable for both the abundance of observed sea life and the
lack of other vessels seen. Whales, sharks, ,dolphins, killer whales, and
jumping tuna covering the ocean as far as the eye could see are all
memories of my early voyages South. If the downward trend continues, we
may not see anything exciting this passage in the way of sea life. It was
also unusual to see another vessel outside of the port areas during a
crossing, but in later trips we've seen more and more.

We fished today without any luck. We'll try a different lure tomorrow.

There is no sign of El Nino out here yet. It is still comfortable during
the day and cool enough for sweatshirts at night. We are both enjoying
our afternoon bath ritual, and it will likely only get better as the
water warms nearer the equator.

Nothing needed fixing on the boat today, but I did have a problem in the
galley spilling some of the liquid out of a can of chicken onto the floor
while making curry for dinner. The smelly greasy mess was not easy to
clean up.

Rocky is now one up in the cribbage tournament, but I am planning a

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moku pe'a Report

29 April 0600 position 17-39.9N 157-49.1W. Day's run 126 miles.

We enjoyed five hours of smooth sailing in light air heading due South
about 100 miles off the Kona coast until the wind died completely at 1100
and we turned the engine on. Powered until 1800 when we were well past
South Point and the wind finally filled in from the East. Since then we
have been scooting along at five to six knots in the same amount of wind
on a beam reach in smooth seas. Looks like the lees of the islands are
behind us. After midnight the skies cleared and with no moon it was very
dark except for the Milky Way ahead of us and phosphorescence in our wake.
Interesting how the biggest flashes of phosphorescence are deep below
the surface and sometimes flash multiple times as they disappear behind
us. It almost seems as if the little creatures are protesting as we pass…

Finally had my first deep sleep last night and am getting caught up. It
has been difficult getting used to being awake from Midnight to 0600 and
sleeping when the sun is up. Rocky seems to be faring better than I am in
adjusting to our 6 on 6 off watch system. We also had our first baths on
the stern today. Don't know about Rocky, but I was getting pretty ripe.
Amazing how a good sleep and a bath can improve ones' outlook on life.

This morning it was so nice we played a couple of games of cribbage. I
finally beat Rocky (he is much better at it than I am) in the first game
but he skunked me in the second. I put out a fishing line this afternoon,
but it was too smooth and we were going too slow. I think I will get
serious tomorrow.

I also had time to dig into our parting gifts. Many thanks to Hiromi for
the kaki mochi and chocolate, Betty Lou for the chocolate, and Lori for
the cookies and booze lei. Moku pe'a stinks good from all the flower lei
we received.

It was Costco muffins and an orange for breakfast, tuna wraps for lunch,
ham, mac-n-cheeze and a salad for dinner, and snacks at all hours. Nobody
is starving here.

The steering cables were a bit loose so I tightened them and rigged a
bungee cord to keep the topping lift from slapping against the mainsail.
At about 0100 the masthead light, which we had been using to illuminate
the windex, crapped out. I'll go up to fix it in either Christmas or
Tonga. Otherwise, Moku pe'a is doing well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Moku pe'a Report

28 April 0600 position 19-45.5N 157-53.2W. 110NM from Kaneohe Yacht Club

"I'd rather be lucky than good" is my favourite saying, and lucky is how I
feel right now.

We had originally planned to depart on Friday, 25 April, but about a week
earlier I started doing research on clearance procedures in Christmas
Island. I found out that one does not want to arrive there on a weekend.
If you do, then all of the officials necessary to clear you in to the
country, Customs, Immigration, Agriculture, etc., have to work overtime
all paid for by the arriving vessel. So I did some arithmetic. It should
take just over a week to get to Christmas. Yikes! If we left Friday we
would likely arrive on the weekend and put a serious dent in the cruising
kitty. So we postponed our departure until Sunday, and we are lucky we
did. It was blowing hard on Friday and Saturday which would have made a
miserable start to the trip, but by Sunday the wind and sea had mellowed,
and we have had a great sail for the past 20 hours. Rocky had overcast
and some rain on the six to midnight watch, but the skies cleared later
and I have been enjoying the Milky Way ahead of us.

We were lucky to have good friends and family come down to wish us well on
the voyage just before we departed at 1020. Lori and Sherri Phillips
climbed to the top of Makapuu to watch is go by and we could see Lori
waving the American flag at the summit.

We put a reef in the main at the Mokuluas and have had it in since. The
wind has been up and down in the lee of Maui, and the reefed main does
better than the full main when we are slatting. We even had the engine on
for an hour just after dark.

Just before sunset we passed close to a tug pulling a barge heading East
and I wondered if my pal Jeb Baker was the skipper. I thought it might be
deja vu since Matt Dyer and I passed Jeb on his tug as we headed home from
Tahiti in 2011. I turned on the VHF to call the tug, but Channel 16 was
tied up by some lolo on a 17 foot whaler off of Waianai had lost sight of
land and without compass, chart, or common sense couldn't figure out which
way to aim to get home.

Our course has taken us along the western edge of Penguin Banks. Lots of
birds and fishing boats. We even saw mahi jumping behind the boat but
we're not fishing today. Apologies to Fred Morelli and Randy Reed, who
gave us some beautiful lures, but we had too much on our minds to want to

Our first way point is at the latitude of South Point on the Big Island
and longitude of Kaena Point on Oahu. By heading there we hope to avoid
the worst effects of the lee of the Big Island. Ever since passing
Makapuu we have been fighting to keep down to our desired track. There's
quite a bit of North in the wind, and when it lightens we find ourselves
having to heat up to the East to maintain speed and keep from slatting.

Chilli and rice for dinner with a nice green salad. Nothing too ambitious
as I was feeling a little nauseous. Don't think its seasickness as it is
about as calm as it gets out here. Probably just the jitters of leaving.

Just one minor window leak because I didn't dog the port forward port
properly. Otherwise Moku pe'a is in good shape and performing superbly.
I think she is happy to be here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moku pe'a Report - 17 April

Moku pe'a Report - 17 April 2014

Rocky and I are on schedule for an end-of-April departure from Kaneohe
Yacht Club. The "To Do" list is shrinking along with the days remaining
until we sail. The Mighty Moku pe'a is anxious to get going. As I type
this I can feel her tugging at her mooring lines in anticipation.

The purpose of this post is to test our ability to post directly to our
blog from the boat by satellite telephone. The technology is amazing, at
least to me. When I first started crossing oceans by sailboat 39 years
ago, this kind of communication from boats at sea was inconceivable.
Progress is great, but it does have its potential downside. We've become
quite comfortable with all this technology and have let our guard down.
We don't bring a sextant anymore and instead rely on the 5 GPS units
aboard to tell us where we are. Heaven help us (and commerce on Planet
Earth) if something like a solar flare were to take out the GPS satellite
system at the wrong time. We do still have paper charts though and can
probably find our way by dead reckoning (kind of like reading by
Braille). Captain Cook did it, and he didn't know where he was going.

Back to work on the "To Do" list…