Monday, October 31, 2016

31 October again - Tutukaka

12PM position 35-37S 174-33E, slip E-13, Tutukaka Marina

I've lost track of what day it is here so you get two 31 Oct posts and yes, I sent the last two out of order. Sorry about that.

Simon's adventures in Patagonia sounded like a lot of fun, but there is no way I would ever do anything like that. I don't do cold. The guys from Charleston who I used to work with in the Navy's dry dock safety program will back me up on that. They used to call me "The Hawhiner" because I complained about being cold on some of our winter work trips.

I'm not exactly enjoying the climate here in New Zealand. It's a beautiful country, but it's cold.

I often find myself thinking about my hot tub in Hawaii, and how nice it would feel to be soaking in its 100 degree water. It's not like I can just warm up here with a hot shower. Water is scarce on a cruising boat. Most of our onboard showers are taken on the swim step at the back of the boat because the boat's shower compartment in the head is being used for gear stowage. The swim step showers have got to be quick to conserve water and out in the open you get cold in the wind as soon as you finish showering.

I'm focused on this topic because we pulled in to Tutukaka Harbor yesterday afternoon, and after securing the boat and having a couple of beers in the waterfront bar, we all took hot showers in the Marina restrooms.

One token gave us 5 minutes of scalding hot water, and it was 5 minutes of heaven. Life was wonderful again.

We decided to stay put in this quiet natural harbor for a second night. The wind is continuing to blow out of the south today, but it is supposed to be northerly tomorrow which will give us a down wind run for the final 37 mile leg into Whangarei.

We are spending the day getting the boat ready to haul out in Whangarei including washing, drying, and folding the dinghy, flushing the outboard engine, and doing laundry.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

30 October - Marine Mammals

The two whales we saw yesterday weren't the only mammals seen swimming here. Clay has gone swimming at least once everywhere we've anchored. The water temperature here is 62 degree F, cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey (google it), but not cold enough to keep Clay out of the water. It's certainly cold enough to keep the rest of us out. He climbs out after his swim saying something like "toasty!" Yea, right. He keeps trying to talk the rest of us into joining him, but we're not biting.

We departed Whangaroa at 9AM yesterday and had a perfect beam reach in offshore winds back down to The Bay of Islands, anchoring in Oke Bay at 3PM. Simon says this is his favorite spot in this area, and I can see why. It's the most remote anchorage in The Bay of Islands, is well protected, and has a huge sand beach at the head of the bay.

31 October - Ten Pounds of Rice in a Five Pound Bag

12PM position 35-27S 174-33E

That's what it feels like sometimes with five of us on this little boat. We function pretty well both in awake mode and asleep mode, but the transitions between the two can be difficult.

Clay and Gail share the master stateroom forward. Tom and I sleep on the setees on either side of the main salon, and John sleeps in "Aftcabinstan", the port aft cabin under the cockpit.

During daylight hours we all use the settees for reading, eating, and socializing so Tom's and my sheets, blankets, and pillows have to be stowed elsewhere. We're keeping them on Clay and Gail's bunk.

There's not enough locker space for all of us, so we are living partially out of our sea bags. The sea bags are all stowed in the half of the double Aftcabinstan bunk that John doesn't use. The lockers we do use for personal gear are in the forward and aft cabins. Clay, Gail and I have lockers forward and John and Tom have lockers aft.

The transition is easier in the morning because Tom and I are usually up first. The first one awake starts the coffee. We fold up our bedding and it stays piled on the settees until both Clay and Gail are up and have set up their cabin for daylight mode. If I want any of the stuff in my drawers I'll wait until the Captain and Admiral are both finished foreword.

The night time transition is tougher. We all have to decide on a common bed time. Everyone vacates the settees, Tom and my bedding is retrieved from the forward stateroom and set up, everybody stows and retrieves gear for the night from the forward and aft cabin, and everyone goes to bed. The last sound before the snoring begins is Tom saying "Good night, John Boy" (Waltons), and somebody grunts.

At the moment we are bashing to weather in 25 knots of wind and lumpy seas trying to get to Tutukaka Harbor. We've got the small jib up and a double reef in the main and 15 miles to go. We should get there mid afternoon.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

29 October - Exploring Whangaroa

We decided to sleep in yesterday morning, and nobody stirred from under their deep covers until 730AM. After a late breakfast we moseyed down to the south end of the harbor, about 3 miles from where we spent the previous night, nosing into every bay along the way to look for promising anchorages. We dropped the hook off the little town of Whangaroa and dinghied ashore to explore.

We found the town drunk all alone pursuing his passion in the local pub. He told us that the trail to the top of St. Paul's Peak, which overlooks the town, was down the street opposite the wharf. It was a somewhat strenuous hike for the out of shape crews of Jambalaya and Puanani to reach the 700 foot summit, but the views at the top and beer in the pub afterwards made it all worthwhile.

We decided that the western arm offered the best shelter with its nearly 1000 foot surrounding cliffs, so we returned there taking a slight detour to check out the "water buoy" in one of the eastern arms of the harbor. Some folks in the pub told us about a buoy that had fresh water piped to it directly from a spring on shore. It was placed there so cruisers could refill their water tanks at no charge. We found the buoy but didn't try it out. What a civilized country!

The mother of all headaches woke me up early this morning. My vitamin I was in the drawer under Clay and Gail's bunk and I didn't want to disturb them, so I went for a paddle in the dinghy to try to work through it. Sometimes exercise helps. The water was mirror smooth and there wasn't a breath of air. I paddled around the cove closest to the boat for a half hour and was on my way back when I heard the splashing and breathing of some large marine mammals. A pair of small whales, perhaps pilot whale size, swam right by Jambalaya on a tour of the bay. The noise was loud enough to wake John, who came on deck to watch them. Everybody else in the anchorage slept right through it.

We're headed back towards the Bay of Islands now, and it is a beautiful day. There is a light offshore breeze blowing. It's not strong enough to sail yet so we are motor sailing at present, but the wind is forecast to fill in. I can hear the boys on deck unrolling the Genoa now. Looks like we're going sailing!

Friday, October 28, 2016

28 October - Naps

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the cruising lifestyle is naps. Every once in a while you find yourself in a calm anchorage on a lazy afternoon with nothing that needs doing and the bunk calls to you. There's something about the gentle rocking and turning of the boat, the sound of water lapping against the hull, and the seabirds crying in the background that puts you to sleep. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times, and most of the Jambalaya crew could be found toes up, snoring away gently as the boat swung to her anchor in Whangaroa's western arm. Yes, there was exploring to do, but it could keep until the crew was rested.

We awoke from our naps to find Mark and Kana in their dinghy at our stern eager to mount an expedition up the river at the end of the western arm. We loaded both boat's dinghies and took off at high tide for a nearly mile long trip up a twisting and turning canyon until we ran out of water. The highlight was an active waterfall falling from the top of a 1000 foot high cliff. We would not have believed that a place like this existed here if we hadn't seen it for ourselves.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

27 October - Western Arm, Whangaroa Harbor

1400 position 35 00.5S 173 43.8E, at anchor in 20 feet

We dinghied ashore yesterday after lunch to go for a hike on Moturua Island. We found beautifully manicured trails that took us across the top of the 500 foot high island to a beach on the exposed ocean side. The views were spectacular. Kana looked but didn't find any mussels which are supposed to be plentiful along the island's shoreline. We found a dead penguin on the beach, an unfortunate first sighting of these birds, and I found what I believe is the world's smallest blowing conch. No, it doesn't sound very impressive but I'm keeping it anyway. We also found some hilltop pillboxes from WW2.

Last night after dinner we finished watching "Mars Attacks", a cinema classic that we started watching the night before we departed Fiji.

At first light this morning we departed for Whangaroa, 30 miles to the north. We had to motor sail most of the way in light headwinds, but the wind freed and increased as the day wore on and we were able to sail the final few miles into Whangaroa.

Halfway through the passage we caught two eight pound fish. Their species remains a matter of debate among the crew, but I think they are rainbow runners. We will eat them tonight likely not knowing with certainty what they are.

The entry into Whangaroa Harbor is a 200 yard wide gap between 500 foot high cliffs. Once through the entrance, the harbor opens up into a labyrinth of fiords that twist and turn for miles into the island's interior. We anchored in the "Western Arm" of the harbor in Rere Bay at 130PM on Simon's recommendation. It is spectacularly beautiful with high cliffs surrounding us. It almost feels like we are in a river canyon. There are a couple of other boats at anchor at this end of the harbor, but it feels deserted here in the western arm.

Have I mentioned how well we are eating here aboard the good ship Jambalaya? Gail is putting together some real feasts in the ship's basic galley. Last night we had baked Mexican chicken. This morning it was egg McMuffins. Lunch was Vietnamese pho with chocolate for desert. Clay says he doesn't like to eat at restaurants, because he always eats better at home. None of us can understand why he doesn't weigh 300 pounds.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

26 October - Waiwhapuku Bay, Moturua Island

1200 position 35 13S 174 12E, at anchor in 13 feet

This morning it looked like we were done with low pressure systems for a while so we left Opua Marina and motor sailed ten miles to a protected anchorage in a little bay between Moturua and Motukiekie Islands. These relatively high islands provide good shelter from wind and waves, and the hiking ashore is supposed to be great. We'll find out about that this afternoon. Some of the islands have isolated fancy houses on them, but not Moturua. The chart says it's a wildlife sanctuary.

There are hundreds of protected anchorages like this one In The Bay of Islands, and all of them within a 50 square mile area. This is going to be fun.

Monday, October 24, 2016

25 October - Down Under

Coffee is an important part of my life. Here in the frigid and breezy New Zealand climate it is a critical part of my life.  None of us can figure out how to order it here though.  One can't just ask for coffee.  It's either a "long black", a "short black", a "flat white", or something else I can't remember. There's also an "Americano", but we're so embarrassed about the political situation in the US, there's no way any of us will order one of those.  This morning Tom and I walked into a McDonalds and asked for "senior coffee".  This was a new one for me. Apparently old folks, like me, get cheap or free coffee.  What we got was a shot of espresso in a coffee cup with a little pitcher of hot water on the side.  What?  The only way to be sure we'll get the real thing is to make it ourselves on the boat. When I get coffee figured out here I'll let you know.

We've been delayed a bit here in Opua by weather.  There's a front rolling through today and it's pouring and blowing outside.  This system should be gone by tomorrow, and our plan is to head north to Whangaroa Bay after overnighting somewhere in the Bay of Islands. 

We have had a great time here is Opua. Two days ago we had an epic 7 hour tour of points north by car with 5 of us shoehorned into something the size of Honda Fit.  Yesterday we went tramping (Kiwi for "hiking") through a nearby Kauri forest preserve. Good fun. 

This is a stunningly beautiful country. Hilly and green with deep bays and open pastures. Sheep appear to have been mostly replaced with cattle since the last time I was here. The people are very friendly and the beer is good. 

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

22 October - Simon

We got together with the Puanani crew last night at the condo Gail had rented to swap sea stories and celebrate our successful crossing. Dee got a puncture wound in her thigh fighting with a sailfish on the second day. The wound turned out to not be serious, and she has almost completely recovered. Otherwise Puanani's trip was as uneventful as ours and they had a great time.

This morning I telephoned Simon Willis, an old shipmate who lives here in The Bay of Islands. Simon came down to the boat and we spent the day reminiscing and catching up over lunch and a few beers.

Simon and I first sailed together 40 years ago in the LA - Tahiti Race. Simon was the best in the business back then. He had just become available to sail with us after he resigned from eventual Whitbread Around the World Race winner Flyer's crew due to a personality conflict.

I was still honing my sailing skills back then, and I learned a lot from Simon. Being a Kiwi, he was also an expert at enjoying life and he was a mentor to me in that fine art as well.

We sailed together again in the '77 Southern Cross Cup and Sydney - Hobart Race.

I last saw Simon in Maloolaba harbor on Australia's Queensland coast. I was there cruising with my Dad in '82, and from the cockpit of Kanaloa I instantly recognized Simon's distinct saunter and profile walking on the dock 50 yards away. I yelled out his name and received a boisterous "Neuuuudle!" in reply. It turns out he had just completed the single-handed Trans-Tasman Sea Race on his home made 26 foot sloop.

Simon was a tough guy. A couple of years ago, in his mid-60s, he sailed his 40 foot sloop to Chile via the Roaring 40s. After sailing around Cape Horn he was single handing to the Caribbean when he had a stroke. He managed to sail the remaining 3000 miles partially paralyzed to where he could get medical care in Grenada.

He looks healthy, but he said the stroke has left him weaker and that his memory isn't what it used to be. He is certainly frailer. I didn't recognize him walking on the dock when I first saw him today and he didn't recognize me either. Perhaps we're just a couple of old sailors now, living off the memories of our youth. Simon hasn't lost his spirit though. Every local we passed knows him, and in typical Kiwi fashion the greetings included an exchange of good natured insults and some laughing. I could see that he is still an icon in this yachting community.

If things work out, Simon and I will be sailing together again next year with another old shipmate, Robbie Vaughan, when we help Robbie sail his boat from LA to Tasmania.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

21 October - Landfall

1200 position 35 18.7S 174 07.2E.  Opua Marina

The wind finally filled in from the northwest at 10 knots and we shut off the engine at sunset.  We sailed all night in flat seas and arrived outside the Bay of Islands at sunrise.  We doused the sails and powered the ten scenic miles in to the town of Opua and tied up to the quarantine dock.

This is the time of year when cruisers migrate from the tropics to New Zealand.  All of them wait for a weather window, like we did, so boats tend to arrive here in swarms.  We found seven other boats already at the quarantine dock that had arrived since the end of business hours yesterday.  

The New Zealand authorities are extremely professional and efficient, and by 1030AM all of the formalities had been completed for all of the arriving vessels.

Puanani arrived at the quarantine dock shortly after we finished up with customs.

It took 8 days to complete the 1100 mile passage.  We had a day of bumpy sailing when the winds came out of the south, but the rest of the passage was lovely.  We never saw more than 20 knots of wind.  It did get a bit chilly at night as we approached New Zealand with multiple layers, gloves, and hats required to keep warm.   We were very lucky with the weather.  3 hours after arriving in Opua it was blowing 30 knots in the harbor.

After clearing customs we moved to a slip in the adjacent marina where we found Gail and Blossom waiting for us.  Now it's time for a shower, a nap, and a beer in no particular order.  Then we'll look into exploring the Bay of Islands.

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20 October - A Tragedy Avoided

1200 position 33 41S 173 29E. Days run 129 miles.

The center of this high pressure area is a boring place. There's no wind. The seas are like glass. We're not catching fish. It's been 2 days of the same as we power south. There's nothing to do as the autopilot maintains a constant heading.

We stand our watches, but in retrospect it wouldn't have mattered if we didn't. We've seen no ships and no adjustments to sails or course have been necessary.

We're staying busy reading, sleeping, telling stories, listening to music or podcasts, eating, and talking about the next meal.

Then, in a split second, the boredom turned into adrenaline when the knot securing the sun shower to the wind generator mast came undone and our warm bag of solar heated shower water fell into the sea.

There was no hesitation as the highly trained crew of Jambalaya lept into action to retrieve this piece of equipment so critical to the crew's personal hygiene. Tom pulled in the fish lines as I disengaged the autopilot, throttled back, and turned the ship around. Clay bounded up from below, grabbed the boat hook, and retrieved the floating bag of water as we passed.

The action was over almost as quickly as it started, the sun shower was back on deck, and we were once again headed for the land of the long white cloud.

John snored on in his bunk, blissfully unaware of the drama that had taken place around him.w

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

19 October - In The High

1200 position 31 32S 173 17E. Days run 133 miles.

We are smack dab in the middle of a huge high pressure area that is slowly moving to the east as we move south through it. We did get in 4 hours of sailing from 8PM to midnight when the wind filled in from the northeast but otherwise we've been powering. It is glassy out here now, and the forecast calls for at least another day of this before the high moves off and we get westerly winds. If we can keep the speed up we will make it into Opua just before the westerly winds increase and shift to the south.

It is really cold out here at night now. Last night I had on long underwear, 2 sweatshirts, sweat pants, wool socks, deck shoes, and a wool hat. John was using chemical hand warmer... and there's zero wind chill. It is great sleeping weather.

We are seeing more and more Portuguese man-o-war out here, but not much else. Occasionally a bird will stop by to inspect our lures before moving on. We haven't seen any other sea life since our dolphin encounter a day and half ago.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

18 October - It's all downhill from here

1200 position 29 23S 173 10E. Days run 154 miles.

We had an excellent spaghetti dinner last night that Gail had pre-made and frozen for us. It was superb. Thank you Gail! Dinner was followed by a rum drink to commemorate our reaching the half-way point in the passage. Excellent stories followed.

Early in their careers, Tom and Clay were officers in the same Navy transport squadron. Most every officer in the squadron had a nickname, usually obtained through some comical episode, and we got to hear the stories behind the names. "Wheels Up", "No Show", "Leaf Eater", "Stains", and "Booster" we're a few discussed.

Just before sunset a school of twenty or so dolphin arrived to put on a show for us. These were the smallest dolphin I've ever seen.

The wind continued to back during the night allowing us to head directly toward New Zealand for the first time since the wind filled in. Tom and I decided that our midnight to 4AM watch this morning was the best one of the trip so far. The boat was screaming along in smooth water at nearly 8 knots under a full Genoa and one reef in the mainsail headed straight for Opua. It doesn't get any better than that.

Nothing lasts forever, and the wind started to die off toward daybreak. Average speed dropped down below 5 knots, and the engine came on at 930AM. We are heading straight into a high pressure area that lies between us and Opua. We may have to power for a couple of days to get through it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

17 October - Half Way

1200 position 26 49S 173 36E. Days run 150 miles.

Justices after noon yesterday we either snagged the bottom or a massive fish hit the lure on the reel. The line smoked out for about ten seconds and then went slack. The line had broken in front of the leader. We never did see what took it.

"Why are they fishing?", you might ask. "Haven't those boys eaten enough fish?"

Turns out John is a fishaholic, and just wants to fish. It's something to do...

The southerly winds forced us west yesterday, but they have been slowly lifting us, and now we're only 30 degrees off of our desired heading. We bumpy seas have smoothed out a bit, but nobody would consider this nice conditions.

This morning a cruise ship, The Pacific Pearl, passed a couple of miles from us on their way from Sydney to Tonga. We spoke to them on the VHF radio. We were going to ask them if they had any Grey Poupon but chickened out.

I'm standing watch with Tom Gannon, a retired Delta Airlines pilot. We have the 6-8PM and midnight-4AM watches. Clay and his cousin John Garth have the 8PM-midnight and 4AM-8AM watches. Daylight hours are a free for all. Yes, Tom and I have a better deal but the watch system was Clay's idea so we are going with it. Tom has sailboats in Maine and Florida and has two grown daughters like I do. We have a lot to talk about during our watches.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

16 October - Punishment

1200 position 24 45S 175 10E. Days run 130 miles.

We are being punished now for the good times we had on the first three days of the passage. At 7PM last night the wind filled in from the south and quickly increased to 20 knots. We put 2 reefs in the mainsail, rolled out the jib, and headed west. The wind we are now seeing is coming out of a high pressure system that is approaching New Zealand from the west. The wind is forecast to slowly back to the east over the next couple of days as the high passes south of us allowing us to head up until we are pointed toward the barn. It has already lifted us twenty degrees and we are heading southwest.

The seas built quickly after the wind filled in, and they are very confused. It feels like we are riding a bucking bronco out here - not very comfortable, and the boat is pounding a bit, but at least it is dry below and we are protected in the cockpit.

Clay and John teamed up for the third mahi preparation last night, fried mahi in an egg Panko batter. It was the best yet.

The autopilot drives the boat so there's not much to do out here but plan the next meal and solve the world's problems. Yesterday when we were all together in the cockpit, Clay announced that he had a serious question to ask us. "When you get divorced in Alabama, is your ex-wife still your sister?" Hmmm.... This led to a discussion on the various cultures where marriage to ones siblings is accepted, which led to a discussion on which states allow you to marry your first cousins. The jury is still out on that one. Yes, we are making progress out here on solving the world's problems.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 October - Glass Off

1200 position 23 27S 177 04E. Days run 137 miles.

I have never seen the water as flat as it has been so far on this passage. It feels like we are out in Kaneohe Bay on a calm day. Jambalaya's narrow beam and large sail plan makes her a great light air boat, and we are able to sail 5 knots in 6 knots of wind on a reach. We spent most of the night reaching along in that much wind under a nearly full moon. But the wind kept backing until it was out of the north. We need to reach to keep the speed up, which forced us to head southeast, 60 degrees off our desired course. That doesn't get us where we want to go, so we rolled up the jib at 4AM and have been powering ever since.

It was my turn to cook, so it was lemon, butter, caper mahi for dinner last night with a nice salad John made. Thumbs up from the crew.

The temperature is already dropping. I switched from my light sweatshirt to my hoodie during the first night, and I put on sweatpants as well last night. I'm using a blanket in bed now too.

We took advantage of a level boat this morning to lubricate a malfunctioning winch and epoxy in some of the dodger snap posts that had come out of the hatch cover. We are ready now for heavier winds that we expect tonight.

Friday, October 14, 2016

14 October - Smooth Sailing

1200 position 21 10S 177 09E. Day's run 158 miles.

The weather has been perfect since departing Fiji. The wind has been varying in strength between 6 and 12 knots from the east and it is now starting to lift us. The sheets are being eased, and speed is picking up. Seas remain nearly flat, and we are streaking south. We spoke to Puanani on the VHF this morning, and they were 11 miles behind us.

Baked fresh mahi and salad for dinner last night, French toast and hash brown potatoes for breakfast this morning. The Jambalaya Bistro is open for business.

We are getting comfortable and settling in to a routine at sea. The boat is in great shape and loving these conditions.

The long term forecast continues to improve. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

We received some bad news yesterday. My lifelong friend and shipmate Mark Walker passed away after a brief battle with liver cancer. Mark was always the first person I called when I was putting together a Lipton Cup crew for KYC. He was a skilled sailor, a great shipmate, and a good friend. I will miss him.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

13 October - On Our Way

1200 position 18 31.4S 177 08E. It was still raining when departed Denarau yesterday morning, but it started clearing on the way to Vuda and has been beautiful ever since. We had a calm and peaceful evening anchored in Momi Bay, and were underway headed South at 0600 this morning.

We motor sailed until we were outside the barrier reef, unrolled the Genoa, and shut off the engine. We've been close reaching on port tack ever since in flat seas and winds between 5 and 12 knots. It's been full sail in the light stuff, and one reef in the main when it's heavier. We are just about able to sail the rhumb line course to New Zealand with sheets eased a bit for speed. We are hoping for a lift to allow us to get some easting as the southeast trades are forecast to increase this weekend and it would be nice to be able to crack off a bit when it does.

At 1PM we caught a beautiful 40 pound bull mahi. We may not be doing any more fishing this trip.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

12 October - The Window

Dee and I walked out of customs at the airport in Nadi to find Clay and Gail waiting for us with their rental car. We drove back to the boats which were moored in the marina at Denarau. Most of the boats in the marina are super yachts, multi-million dollar beasts up to 300 feet long. Jambalaya and Puanani are nice boats, but they are out of place in this lofty crowd.

After getting settled in on the boats, we headed up to the condo that Clay and Gail are renting nearby, and spent the day discussing weather strategy for the passage and hiding from the rain that hadn't let up since we landed.

The last time I sailed from Fiji to New Zealand, thirty nine years ago, you departed when you were ready. Accurate weather forecasts weren't available back then, so you got what you got, and boats making the passage almost always got nailed by a low pressure system somewhere along the way. We got hit by a good one back then, and I remember it as being the coldest I have ever been... ever.

We have accurate long term weather forecasts now, and if we both time our departure relative to the passing lows and are even a little bit lucky, then it should be smooth sailing all the way to New Zealand.

It is looking now like a Thursday/Friday departure from Fiji is our weather window relative to the passing lows, so we are getting underway Wednesday. We'll head up to Vuda Marina where we can clear customs and then head down to Momi Bay, which is just inside the barrier reef. We'll overnight there and get an early start for New Zealand on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Little Things

11 October - Denarau Marina, 17 47S 177 27E

My sea bag is unusually full for the flight from Honolulu to Fiji. Besides containing the clothes that will hopefully keep me warm and dry if we run into heavy weather on the passage from Fiji to New Zealand, it includes tropical cruising attire in case we are delayed waiting for a weather window to make the passage south. But about a third of the bag contains special items for Jambalaya and Puanani and their crews.

There are 2 yoga mats that will hopefully make Jambalaya's hard fiberglass cockpit seats a little easier on her aging crew's okoles. There's a new 1 liter stainless steel French coffee press for Puanani, and a new iPhone for Kana to replace his dead one. I brought two rolls of weather stripping to better seal the doors on Jambalaya's refrigerator. There's 5 new "Luci" lights for Puanani. These inflatable waterproof solar LED lights are perfect on boats. They light up a cockpit all night and recharge during the day. I brought chocolate covered espresso beans to help jump start the Jambalaya crew on those early morning watches. Lori sent along some lemon peel and kaki mochi for Blossom to remind her of home.

It's the little things that make the difference on an ocean passage, and it looks like we have the little things covered.