Sunday, July 13, 2014

From Where to Where?

Leaving Opua at dawn
I have mixed feelings about being in internet range again after seven weeks of being away from all things networked and interconnected.

Actually, I lie.  

In this day and age, I think that getting out of touch of the web is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.  I can't wait to go get lost again.

But it was heartening, when I reconnected to the blog after all those weeks of just sending in posts via the HF radio, to see the comments that showed how much people seemed to be enjoying our dispatches from never-never land.

It's a different thing entirely, writing via the radio, without either the aid or the distraction of pictures.  I must say that I enjoy it.  Pictures are such poor things for telling a story.

[This is where I remind myself of some things that pictures can never tell you about this passage.  Like pissing on deck in a gale, and the wind swirling around you so that you suddenly get this faint taste of urine from the air…Cruising World magazine ain't never going to tell you about that.  And also, how I started off carefully mopping saltwater from the cabin sole, and wiping it down with a rag rinsed in fresh, just to keep everything nice-o…but how everything devolved until our cabin in back was a soupy mess of discarded boots and raingear, waiting for their next run on deck.  And how Elias suddenly wised up to the fact that his bunk in the bow is actually the crappiest spot in the entire boat to sleep, and his decision that the very best bunk, the port side settee with its cozy lee cloth, was his and his alone.  That kind of thing.]

Still, pictures have their place.  So, if you haven't already gorged yourself on everyone else's scearrhea (that's compulsive online over-sharing, natch), I offer this brief photo-travelogue of the 23 days that took us from Opua, New Zealand to Tahanea Atoll, the Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.

The route looked something like this
Lunch on the back deck on the first day, Cape Brett in the background
Juvenile wandering albatross joined us once we were out of sight of land
Skua chasing a wandering - I think Alisa IDed it as an Antarctic skua
The crew, they are...
…all happy.
More stuff than normal seemed to break on this passage - these Schaefer fittings on the inboard end of our mainsail battens are…well, kind of crap.  Tend to strip out if the sail slaps.  Thank your ever-luvin' god for West System epoxy.  There are very few things I wouldn't want to go to sea without…West is one of them. 
Keeping the program moving while the epoxy cures on the main - staysail set with the jib poled out to windward
The crew, they're still...
...happy, though Alisa is strapping herself into the galley and cooking in raingear
And, actually, Eric isn't that pleased.  The poor guy never got over seasickness - a concerning change from his normal two-days-and-it's-over routine
Putting in a reef.  I'm a poor log-keeper, so I lost track of the number of reefs I put in and shook out…but it was tons
Then we got smart and hove to to let a low pass in front of us.  But the low stalled out and parked over Galactic.  Wrong call - we had been making a steady 8+ knots on a beam reach, and might have been heroes if we'd only kept it going.  No big deal, we just ended up hove to for an extra couple of days, waiting for it to stop blowing.  (This is where I defend our 23-day passage time by noting that we were hove to for five days.)  Except that I did take that one poor step below and broke my ribs.  Now that changed the tenor of the passage.  This pic was taken a few days later when the wind was down and we were moving again under staysail alone.
The waves, oh they're big enough. 
The Kodiak mantra - "Sure hope this weather holds!"
Eric was reduced to sleeping on the sole in the saloon
"C'mon, Mike!  If we barberhaul the cunningham like <<grunt>> this, we can get another eighth of a knot out of her!"
"We don't know any better!  This is the only life our parents ever gave us!"

The kids are totally unflappable about it all.

Only five days from the finish…and poor Eric is green again
A sign of the tropics - the first flying fish on deck.  The boys ate it for breakfast
We had a visit from whales - Sei or Bryde's - way out there in the blue blue world.  One came up a boatlength away from us...
Meanwhile, we're getting soooo close.  We're getting northwesterlies on the back side of a front.  Everything is fine as long as we don't catch up with the front
A squall 24 nautical miles long...
And finally, at dawn, a tuna just outside Tahanea
You never met a kid so proud of himself
Eric and the perpetual spaghetti factory
Inside the pass, and the water suddenly so flat
Blessed Tahanea
Anchor down, awning up, sushi for dinner
More to come soon.


  1. Pictures may not tell the whole story, but you guys have some pretty darn cute kids to tell a piece of it! Looks like that was quite the passage...!

    1. yep, a "ripper" passage, as some of my more Australian relatives would say...

  2. That spaghetti picture is so odd, I don't understand. Underway, our lines are always just so-- coiled and out of the way...

    1. funny that - Alisa always used to coil up lines just so…it's taken her years, but I finally cured her of the habit.

  3. Fantastic pix - makes you sick for the sea (sorry Eric). You wrote the passage brilliantly for us, but the pix show us Alisa's smiling to burst, gallant Galactic under sail and boys in boy heaven. Thanks!

    1. yes, thanks for seeing past my anti-photo facade!