Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas...

From the crazy Warren clan in Texas!

Hope you and your families are having this much fun too. Happy Holidays!

Love Carla and Doug

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life at the fuel dock...

You know us, we can make our home anywhere - even at the fuel dock!

Turtle crossing
There is lots of sea life around us - leopard rays, beautiful coral fish, lots of turtles, and a big Tiger shark named Laverne.

We haven't seen Laverne yet, but keep feeding her scraps.

Sunset at the fuel dock
During the day, the fuel dock has boats coming and going, but not too many. At night, we have the place to ourselves - almost.

A couple of times, we have divers surprise us around 11pm. Bubbles against the hull are a little disconcerting when you aren't expecting them.

Our transportation
Since we don't have a dock, we decided to launch the dinghy to go to shore, plus adjust our mooring lines.

Much easier than trying to jump from the bow - at least for me. Doug is an excellent rower and even sings to me!

Christmas in Hawaii

We have been doing a little bit of boat work and lots of goofing off - of course.

We toured the village of Holualoa with Joe and Leah - lots of unique art galleries and one great restaurant.  A very nice day trip.

It is great to be in Hawaii during the holidays - lots of decorations, events, and warm, wonderful weather.

I know, quit rubbing it in!

We joined in the fun and attended the 27th annual Christmas parade - it was a hoot! All of the local charities, organizations, etc. had an entry.

Quinn's set up a table outside so we got to see it all - comfortably with a Mai Tai in hand.

We leave Tuesday for Texas to celebrate the holidays with the Family - YIPPEE!

It will be strange to be so far from Moondance. It has been a long time. New friends here in Kona will keep an eye on her for us, so we know she is in good hands.

In our explorations of Kailua-Kona, here are some of our "Best Finds". We promise to keep up the search!

Hamburger - Splashers on Alii
Homemade onion rings - Splashers on Alii
Fish and chips - Quinns on Alii
Mai Tai's (especially during happy hour 2 - 5) - Canoe Club on Alii
Seared Ahi tuna - Bite Me at Honokohau Harbor
Pizza - Kona Brewing Company on Kuakini Hwy
Sports Bar - Oceans on Alii

Friday, December 2, 2011

Enjoying the Land of Plenty!

It is hard to believe, we have been in Hawaii for over a week - time is flying by!

Home sweet home!
We are still moored at the fuel dock, but have been very comfortable.

The only tricky part - getting off the boat (especially for me). I am stuck on the boat unless Doug helps me off - it is a big step!

The locals have been very helpful and given us great tips for getting around the island, plus very friendly. Love it!

Touring the island with Joe and Leah!
What a wonderful treat... Joe and Leah (best friends from Albuquerque) are here. We have really enjoyed exploring Hawaii with them - thanks for hauling us around!

Place of Refuge
A highlight, visiting the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. Translated, the "Place of Refuge at Honaunau" - the most complete restoration of an ancient Hawaiian religious sanctuary in Hawaii.

Plus, lots of green sea turtles.

Hitchhiking around the island
We have been hitchhiking a lot and have met some very nice folks.  A great way to get around.

Unfortunately, we had a ton of laundry to do, plus provisioning, so we decided to rent a car for the week. Good choice - love that fast transportation!

Our neighbors - research vessel Machias
We were very lucky to be at the fuel dock when the research vessel Machias moored right next to us. Wonderful people that are working on some very interesting projects.

Kind of strange - side tying to them so they could fuel up. They are much bigger than Moondance!

Being in the "Land of Plenty" is strange after being so remote in French Poly. We have been shopping at all of the stores - even if we don't buy anything. What a treat to find everything you need or want.

Crossing the equator and toasting with Neptune

Our current plans are to stay on the Big Island until January and then sail over to Oahu.

We are flying to Texas to join the family for the holidays - very excited about seeing everyone!

Doug on his daily walkabout

We "think" we will be in Oahu until April or May and then will head back to French Poly (all subject to change of course).

Chatting with Evergreen
Our trip from French Poly to Hawaii we rated a "C Minus". Winds were inconsistent, plus big waves and currents made it very uncomfortable and unsettled. 

So grateful to Jamie (s/v Totem) for doing the weather routing for us!
Captain Doug - healing a bit...

In comparison, our trip from Mexico to French Poly we rated a "B Plus", much better.

Cruisers tell us that heading back south is tougher - I am not sure I even want to think about that now.

As we crossed the Equator, we raised a toast to Neptune, plus spread some of our best friend Steve around. I know he would have enjoyed our adventure - no matter how crazy.

ITCZ - so this is what they were talking about

For now, we will just enjoy Hawaii. We have lots of projects to keep us busy (and out of trouble), plus lots of beautiful places to explore.

Come and see us sometime - we would love to have you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Made it to Hawaii!

We are safely moored at the Honokohau Marina - of course it is the transient fuel dock, but we are happy to be here! Water is supplied, but no electricity, plus the bathrooms (no showers) are a very long way down the road. Oh well - we will be just fine here until they find us a slip in the Inner Harbor - hopefully next week.

Everyone has been so friendly. New friends Ralph and Glenda on s/v Our Country Home met us at the dock. Thank goodness - we needed lots of help. This med-mooring thing is very tricky! Plus, they arranged for Customs to be here and clear us back in the States. Customs took a lot of our good food - like our bacon, sausages, grapefruit, potatoes, etc. They did leave our zucchini and flank steak, so we won't starve!

Ralph and Glenda also took us to the Harbormaster and helped us get us checked in and then drove us to town - Kailua-Kona. We enjoyed wandering around and shopping, plus found a good hamburger/beer joint - Quinns Almost by the Sea - our kind of place. We actually got to watch some sports on TV - we didn't care what they were showing, we were watching it. TV Tubbies!

It's official, we are back in the States - we now have cell phones and are connected. Next step, internet. Too strange!

Our trip from French Poly to Hawaii - just a little shy of 17 days. We will write up a summary once we get our energy back.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - we will be thinking of you all as we devour our Turkey Day goodies!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 16: Not yet...

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 18-17.62N; LONGITUDE: 155-25.65W
COURSE: 313T; SPEED: 6.5
24 HOUR RUN: 145m

We are approximately 35 miles from the south end of the Big Island of Hawaii, but we can't see it yet. Too many clouds in the way. But, we know it is there and that our adventure is almost over. Yeah! We have had winds of 25 - 33 knots pushing us in the right direction since about 6:00 this morning. We wish they would ease up a bit, but don't think that is going to happen until we pass the south point and get some protection from the island. Oh well!

Evergreen is about a day ahead of us and experiencing no wind - go figure. They are heading directly to Oahu, which is an additional day. We have been buddy boating with them since April and are going to miss them. Hopefully, we can catch up to them in January.

The marina and custom folks are ready for us - thanks to Ralph and Glenda (s/v Our Country Home). Hopefully, everything will go smoothly and quickly.

By noon tomorrow (if all goes well), we should be docked at the marina - relaxing and enjoying an ice cold beer - on tap we hear!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 15: Now, that's more like it!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 16-45.60N; LONGITUDE: 153-29.33W
COURSE: 302T; SPEED: 6.7
24 HOUR RUN: 131m

The wind and seas calmed down last night - just in time for us to get a good nights sleep! We are still seeing 30 knot winds once in awhile and will get a strange series of waves, but nothing we can't handle, plus we are making good time.

One little whine - it is colder here than we are used to. You should see us all bundled up in the cockpit for night watches. I think I had 4 layers on last night. Plus, we miss that sunshine. What whimps we are! We hear of snow storms hitting the states all ready and just get a shiver. Hope you are all staying warm and dry!

We are really getting excited about making landfall! We should start seeing land tomorrow (if the weather cooperates) and should be at the Honokohau marina in Kona early morning on Wednesday. It is all coming together - almost like we planned it. Just hope the marina has a slip for us. Details, details...

The crew is definitely ready to get off the boat and stretch our legs. We are thinking of hitchhiking or walking to town (Kailua-Kona) to check it out and do some shopping - only 3 - 4 miles away (we think). Anything that doesn't involve a rock'n roll'n boat!

Hawaii - here we come!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 14: Are we there yet?

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 15-11.27N; LONGITUDE: 151-59.28W
COURSE: 315T; SPEED: 6.1
24 HOUR RUN: 153m

I know, I should quit whining, but we are ready to be there - especially after the last 24 hours! Last night at sunset, the winds kicked up between 20 - 34 knots and stayed that way till sunrise, plus add some big waves and some light rain showers. We thought things would improve, instead they got worse. 30 - 35 knots of wind gusting to 40+, and don't forget the bigger waves - oh my. We were hoping all this was being generated by a passing storm, but we think it might just be kicked up trade winds and will be with us for a few days. Oh well - we have a double-reefed main with just our staysail out and we are still making 6+ knots and are semi-comfortable. The winds and seas have calmed quit a bit, so we will be just fine.

As it looks now, we should be in Kona on Wednesday morning very early - yeah! We are fortunate to have some wonderful cruising buddies that are all ready sending us information on Hawaii:
- Shawn and Chris (s/v Tao) have sent us information on getting around Hawaii and the amenities at the Honokohau marina. We are happy to hear that there is a restaurant/bar close by!
- Ralph and Glenda - whom we haven't met yet (s/v Our Country Home) have sent us lots of information on Hawaii and the marina, plus is helping us with clearing Customs. We have also been invited to a cruisers Thanksgiving potluck. Can't beat that.
- Behan (s/v Totem) has family living on the Big Island and has sent us lots of info on touring the island and where to eat - like the locals.

Thanks everyone - we all ready feel welcome and can't wait to experience Hawaii for ourselves. We just need to get there and get started!

A funny: During our period of high winds this morning, Doug needed to pee. Not wanting to leave his station, he kneeled and pee'd in the cockpit scuppers (drains). Foul weather gear is definitely not user friendly, but it was very entertaining to watch. We both had a good laugh while the winds and waves were rocking us about!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 13: Good sailing!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 13-15.97N; LONGITUDE: 150-18.43W
COURSE: 318T; SPEED: 6.8
24 HOUR RUN: 146m

And it has been for the last 24 hours - yeah! The wind has been fairly constant between 20 - 25 knots. The seas are still a little confused, but much improved. Doug and I both got a really good sleep and are rested today. We have been making good time too - even with a double reefed main and a furled mainsail. Hope these conditions last all the way to Hawaii!

As we get closer to Hawaii, we have been thinking about all of the things we are going to do. First, take a break. We are thinking of renting a car and doing some exploring, plus we need to do a huge amount of stinky laundry, grocery shopping, checking out the marine stores, etc. But, we are also thinking of things we haven't had to do for a very long time - like buy cell phones. It will be so strange to be connected again, but so nice just to be able to pick up the phone and call someone. What a treat!

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, pizza for dinner, and sourdough bread baking in the oven. Things are definitely looking up on Moondance and the crew is in high spirits!

PS: We have been fishing since Day 1 - no luck! We don't think there are any fish out here - except the ones committing suicide and landing on our boat as we sail by.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 12: Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!!!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 11-15.79N; LONGITUDE: 148-54.00W
COURSE: 343T; SPEED: 7.8
24 HOUR RUN: 140m

Anyone recognize this line from the Jetsons. But, the line really applies to the ITCZ - we have had enough fun, thank you very much. We survived the day of squalls all right, but last night was tougher. The winds kicked up between 20 and 30 knots, which is okay. But, the seas have been very very confused and we have been bouncing around all over the place, which meant neither one of us got much sleep. Oh well, we made good time - always the silver lining...

Today (so far) has been better. The seas are still confused, but have settled down some and we still have good wind. Hopefully, things will continue to improve and we will have a great sail tonight.

At about 11pm tonight, we will take a small left turn that should take us right to Kona, Hawaii. We are hoping that everything goes well and that we actually make landfall on Wednesday - YAHOO! Which means Thanksgiving dinner and football in the good ol' USA!

We are hoping that the Honokohau Harbor Marina in Kona will have a slip for us - they said they will to their best. I have got my fingers (and toes) crossed for sure! It will be strange to be in a marina (with all of the amenities) again - it has been a very long time.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 11: Wet and wetter!

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 09-02.94N; LONGITUDE: 148-19.46W
COURSE: 001T; SPEED: 5.4
24 HOUR RUN: 135m

Well, we definitely know we are in the ITCZ - it has been stormy and raining buckets. Fortunately, no thunder and lightening - sailboats don't like lightening. Moondance (and crew) have received several fresh water rinses - good thing it is warm water!

We are still running our stink pot (engine). We keep trying to turn it off and raise the sails, but then the wind dies. Plus, the current is still an issue - we aren't making as good as time as we should be.

Only 56 miles to go before we reach 10 degrees north. By then, we should be out of the ITCZ and able to start on our last leg to Hawaii - approximately 700 miles - yeah! From what we hear, it sounds like it should be a good, fast sail. Hope so!

Starting to think about mai tai's...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 10: Poof!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 06-51.64N; LONGITUDE: 148-17.33W
COURSE: 004T; SPEED: 6.0
24 HOUR RUN: 128m

Dropped a few sails, flipped a switch, and Poof - we are now a stink pot, but we are making much better time! Not that we like being a stink pot, but sometimes you just have to give in (see below for Excuse List). We will probably motor for 2 days, which will take us through the ITCZ. We don't carry enough fuel to get us all the way to Hawaii, so once we hit 10 degrees North, the northern trade winds should take us the rest of the way - yeah!

Excuse List: Meet our best buddies Joe and Leah from Albuquerque, Thanksgiving feast, NFL football, winds are too light, currents pushing us towards Mexico, only enough Coke Zero and Hinano beers to last 6-7 more days, excited about being on land, better to clear Customs on Wednesday so we don't have to pay overtime for the holiday, there was a mutiny afoot, and lots more.

As you can see, it was an easy decision to become a stink pot. Captain and Crew are very happy!

PS: Finished Harry Potter 1 and 2 - only 5 more to go (I think)...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 9 - Problem on the foredeck!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 04-48.50N; LONGITUDE: 148-40.89W
COURSE: 015T; SPEED: 5.8
24 HOUR RUN: 134m

That was Doug hollering at me to come and help. He had noticed that the shackle had come off the tack of the head sail - not good! Doug gathered up his gear and slowly crawled to the bow of the boat and quickly made repairs. Doug is very safety conscious so made sure he was tethered to the boat at all times. But it is still spooky - especially since we are getting some pretty big rollers this afternoon. But, repairs have been made and Doug is back in the cockpit waiting for his well-deserved beer.

We have had an excellent sail for the last 20+ hours. The wind has been 18 - 25 knots and the seas fairly flat (until now). We are caught in the Equatorial currents (big currents), so we aren't making as good as time as we had hoped. That is supposed to change soon. We are expecting a big push - hope so!

Finally - we have passed the 1/2 way mark to Hawaii - yahoo! We are almost to the ITCZ, which will complete the 2nd leg of our journey. The 3rd leg is through the ITCZ, which is about 120 miles. The 4th and final leg is from the ITCZ to Kona, Hawaii - about 700 miles.

We still don't know where we are going to "park" Moondance once we make landfall, but are working on that. We have all ready been in contact with marinas and other cruisers to determine our options. It is kind of strange, Hawaii doesn't have a lot of options for cruisers - go figure!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 8 - Hard to believe...

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 02-38.45N; LONGITUDE: 148-59.31W
COURSE: 002T; SPEED: 4.7
24 HOUR RUN: 120m (not good)

We have been sailing for over a week and we aren't there yet - we aren't even at the half way point. Almost though - we should be on the downhill slope tomorrow - yeah! But, we are both doing well and enjoying the adventure, plus still like each other - amazing. Our fresh food supplies are limited, but we have lots of canned goods (can you say Yum?), plus we still have Coke Zero and our daily rations of beer. Who could ask for more?

There is a big weather system that is surrounding us now - so we go between beautiful sunshine to complete cloud cover - quickly. Also, the winds are erratic - ranging from 8 - 25 knots. We prefer the 25 knots so that we can cover some ground, plus practice our sailing skills. Our storm preparedness routines are becoming finely tuned. So far, Doug has only got soaked once today. I (the smart one) know how to duck out of the rain when necessary!

We are hearing nasty rumors that there are big storms up north that will be affecting our trip. A favor? Please keep your storms to yourself for a little while longer. We don't want to make this too big of adventure. But, we are also hoping the the weather isn't too rough on you either.

Just want everyone to be happy and safe!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 7 - Crossed the Equator!

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 00-39.03N; LONGITUDE: 148-59.82W
COURSE: 001T; SPEED: 4.6
24 HOUR RUN: 129m

Yup, we did! At 05:28 am (15:28 Zulu) this morning we crossed the Equator at longitude 149.00.55. No fireworks or bands playing, but we did celebrate with a glass of grog. We drank the very good 7-year old Cuban rum (had to - can't take it to the States); Neptune got a big shot of Tahiti rum - not very good, but expensive! It is nice to be back in the Northern Hemisphere.

Our weather has been good, but our winds are lightening up some. Hopefully, Neptune appreciated the rum and will give the wind a boost for us. We figure we need to make more than 130 miles a day so that we can be in Hawaii by Thanksgiving. Better get moving!

The next big leg of our trip is to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which is about 480 miles from the Equator. The ITCZ is where the southern and northern trade winds converge and can have extensive clouds and rain squalls - the doldrums. We are hoping for a quick easy trip through the ITCZ - just like on our trip south.

Today, we are having a very nice relaxing day. We have been at sea for 7 days and are both doing very well - so is Moondance.

Except... we discovered an installation feature/flaw, which surprised both of us. Doug did such an an excellent job on all of the integrations and installations on Moondance, we were shocked to find something that didn't work as expected. We cannot run our generator (which needs to run to make water and charge the batteries) on a starboard tack when the seas are big. The exhaust submerges and the generator has to work too hard and overheats. So, we are having to run the big engine to charge our batteries. Our solar panels and wind generator are doing a great job, so we haven't had to run the engine very often. To make water, we need flat seas or to head south for a couple of hours. Hopefully, that won't be necessary - we have lots of water on board. Doug says it will be an easy fix while we are in Hawaii - put it on the list.

Hope we don't find any more features or flaws along the way - hah!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 6 - Caution: items may have shifted

Moondance stats:
LATITUDE: 01-26.12S; LONGITUDE: 148-56.87W
COURSE: 001T; SPEED: 5.0
24 HOUR RUN: 128m

That's an understatement for sure. With the confused seas that we have had, plus heeling on a starboard tack, opening our food lockers can be dangerous! There are things just waiting to jump out at you. We have learned to open the lockers slowly and peek in. If you are lucky, the item you are looking for is easy to grab, but that doesn't happen often. Oh well, it keeps us on our toes.

The last two days have been beautiful sailing - light to medium winds during the day with plenty of sunshine. At night, the winds are averaging 20 mph and gusting to 30+. So, we make sure we trim the sails accordingly before night falls and try to make up some time. Just like we requested, the winds changed from the ENE to ESE so that we can head due north. The seas swells have changed from confused to only slightly confused, so much more comfortable. Our complaint - it is getting cold at night. We might even have to get our blankets out tonight!

Early Sunday morning we should cross the Equator and enter the Northern Hemisphere. We have promised Neptune a grog of rum and, based on the good weather we are seeing, he seems to be happy with it. We just won't tell him he isn't getting the good stuff!

Things are definitely improving on Moondance daily. Last night Doug made chicken simmered in pasilla pepper sauce; tonight Cajun meat loaf with mashed potatoes - can't wait. Plus, today was a "shower day" and we are feeling (and smelling) so much better.

All is well on board!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 5 - Pooped!

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 03-28.66S; LONGITUDE: 148-47.31W
COURSE: 343T; SPEED: 5.1
24 HOUR RUN: 146m

Not pooped - pooped on! At least I think that's what the sailors call it when waves crash over your boat and soak you. We have been getting pooped a bunch on this trip. You know it is coming when you hear a big "whack" against the hull, you turn your head, your eyes get big, you duck --- too late. You got pooped! Oh well, we dry quickly and are also learning to spend more time on the port side of the cockpit - the dry side!

All is well on board. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing 18 - 26 knots, and the sea is still confused. Oh well - can't have it all. We are comfortable and about ready to celebrate with a cold Beck's beer!

On my 3am watch last night, a big school of fish were swimming around us (looked like tuna). I finally figured out that they were chasing some small fish - must have been a big school of them. One of the small fish actually jumped up right in front of me - close enough to make me jump and scream. Could have been a piranha you know - hah! Unfortunately, none of the big fish jumped on our lure.

Found a leak in the toilet paper locker this morning. That's not good. It is 1589 miles to the nearest grocery store! Hopefully, the roles will dry out and still be useable.

We are thinking of the Vets and their families today. Doug's Dad, Jay, was a SeaBee (sp) stationed at Papua New Guinea in WWII. Miss you Jay. My Dad, was in the Navy on a destroyer in the Korean War. Love you Pops!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 4 - Moonlight ride

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 05-50.92S; LONGITUDE: 148-11.45W
COURSE: 349T; SPEED: 6.0
24 HOUR RUN: 155m

All is well on board.

The "almost" full moon was beautiful last night, wasn't it? I was on watch and about 12:30 the winds kicked up to 25 - 30 mph (our average has been 15 - 20 mph). I hollered for Doug to come and join me - just in case the winds kept escalating. They didn't. Instead we enjoyed a 2 hour moonlight ride cruising between 7 - 8 knots. The seas even cooperated. That really doesn't happen very often in the cruising world!

Plus, we both got caught up on our sleep - yeah! Our sleeping arrangements have been interesting. Besides not sleeping together, we are sleeping at the opposite end of the bed because of the starboard tack. We have also squeezed ourselves into the bottom of the bunk pushed up against the bulkhead - just so we don't slide around too much. It sure is hard to keep the sheets on the bed - that is Doug's job!

We are enjoying a nice, sunny sail today. The ENE winds are pushing us off course a little, but it sure has smoothed out our ride. We are hoping that the ESE winds will return soon so that we can get back on course for crossing the Equator. We think that will happen on Saturday - we shall see.

Miss you all!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 3 - Enough squalls all ready!

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 08-23.71S; LONGITUDE: 147-40.57W
COURSE: 352T; SPEED: 4.2
DISTANCE TO KONA, HAWAII: 1858m (approximate)
24 HOUR RUN: 121m

And all is well on board.

Well, I shouldn't complain, we had a beautiful sail yesterday - just wish it had lasted longer. About 4 am this morning, we got pelted with squalls - lots of them in all shapes, sizes, intensity, and duration. And they didn't quit until 9 am. So we spent 5 hours taking sails down, putting sails back up, adjusting and trimming, and not sleeping much. But, all is better now. The seas are still confused and lumpy, but the sun is shining and our clothes are drying out.

Hopefully, we will have a nice quiet sail this evening. We need to catch up on our sleep and dishes - hah! Plus, make up some miles. Those squalls really slowed us down!

PS: Last night, we passed our 5,000 mile mark - the distance we have traveled since leaving Mexico and heading to French Polynesia. Pretty amazing!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 2 - Stomy Monday

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 10-32.74S; LONGITUDE: 147-36.98W
COURSE: 004T; SPEED: 5.1
DISTANCE TO KONA OR HILO, HAWAII: 1855m (approximate)
24 HOUR RUN: 139m

And all is well on board.

Stormy Monday - that it was! We had a lots of squalls pass by us over the last 24 hours. Two that dropped a lot of rain; one had big winds (30 - 35), but the rest just spit at us and kicked up some winds. We are always prepared though - just in case. We are 400 miles west of the Marquesa Islands, so we think they are generated a lot of the squall activity, but could be wrong. The seas were a little confused too, so we didn't get lots of sleep, but managed okay.

Today, is a beautiful sunny day with good winds and moderate seas. So we have had a busy day napping and relaxing - hah! Hope the good weather pattern holds for a long time...

We were surprised this morning to see a small freighter off our port beam - fairly close. Doug called them and they adjusted their course and even called us back. Very neighborly of them. We don't think we will see many boats between here and Hawaii until we get close to making landfall.

So far, Moondance is performing well and we haven't had any issues - that is good news. Crew is doing well too and had only a few issues - Doug bonked his head hard on a port; I smashed my pinky in a door. Nothing major though!

Sorry to say - no fish have been caught... We will keep trying.

The good news - the generator is running so we will have hot water for showers. Can't beat that with a stick!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 1 - getting our sea legs!

Moondance Stats:
LATITUDE: 12-42.36S; LONGITUDE: 147-33.97W
COURSE: 358T; SPEED: 5.5
24 HOUR RUN: 142m

All is well on board!

We left Rangiroa, Tuamotu yesterday, at 02:00 pm our time (00:00 Zulu time). We started with light winds that quickly built up to 15 - 20 mph, which is great. Our seas are a little confused, but not too bad. We were actually able to get some sleep last night. There was one big squall that passed through this morning and we are expecting more. But, we are prepared!

A couple of pods of dolphins have come and visited us, but that is about it. We can see Evergreen's light occasionally, but no other boats in site. We did enjoy the beautiful moon last night - great to sail by.

We are going to be on a starboard tack the whole way to Hawaii, so it is a constant shuffle trying to keep everything on the starboard side of the boat from shifting to the port side, but we are keeping up with it - so far!

I have started listening to the Harry Potter series on tape - it is a great way to pass the time during my watches. I am 1/2 way done with my first book - only 6 or 7 more to go (I forget). Good thing I have lots of time!

Hope you are all well - we miss you...

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Au revoir French Polynesia!

It is hard to believe, but we have been in French Polynesia almost 6 months. It is an amazing place and we have met so many wonderful people. We are going to miss it and promise to return next year.
Rangiroa anchorage

Today, we are starting our sail to Hawaii - 2136 miles due north.

We hope to be anchored off the island of Hawaii in approximately 18 days.

Our good buddies on Evergreen are traveling with us, so we will have daily radio contact. Plus, we will be communicating with the Pacific Seafarers Ham net daily to report our position.
Enjoying the lagoon

We are fortunate to have two friends helping us with our weather routing - Thanks Jamie and Brad! It is definitely going to make our passage much easier.

I will be updating our blog daily so that you can track our progress and follow our adventure.

It is going to be strange being in Hawaii for 6 months, but we are looking forward to all of the luxuries - ESPN, microbrew beers, cheap and fast internet, California Zin's, and all of that other good stuff.

Plus, we will be able to visit our family and friends - we have missed you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Can't believe...

That we have been in Rangiroa over a week all ready - we have been busy - well busy for us!

Sunset dinghy ride

We are anchored off the Tiputa Pass. It is a beautiful bay surrounded by the Kia Ora resort, dive shops, and a great public beach and wharf, plus there is little grocery store and some gift shops. Perfect for cruisers.

Tiputa Pass

As you can see, getting through Tiputa pass is a challenge and you want to make sure to hit it at slack tide. It can still be an exciting ride - so be alert.

Relaxing at the beach snack shop

Rangiroa also has some great snack shops. The public beach snack shop is our favorite - great double cheeseburgers and french fries, plus big Hinano beers at a fair price (for French Polynesia).

Local kids playing bocci ball

We decided to play some bocci ball after lunch - the local kids were much better than we were. They really enjoyed showing us how to play.

Relaxing on the water taxi

There is a water taxi that runs from the wharf, across the pass, to the Tiputa Village. The village is very small, but we enjoyed the excursion and the exercise, plus the water taxi stopped by Moondance to pick us up. Can't beat that.

Rangiroa lagoon - beautiful

The Rangiroa Lagoon is huge - about 40 miles long and 17 miles wide and fairly easy to sail around. Rangiroa is a popular destination for divers - lots of coral and fish.

Carol hanging at the Kia Ora resort

The Kia Ora resort is beautiful and we treated ourselves to drinks one evening (sorry no happy hour), but we enjoyed ourselves. They let the cruisers tie up to their dinghy dock, plus have helped us get taxis and provided lots of good information.

Taking a break

We have been doing big time provisioning in Rangiroa - getting ready for our long trip to Hawaii. It isn't real easy to provision here, but we have figured it out. We hitchhike or catch a cab ($400 Cfp pp) to the Avatoru village, which is about 8 miles away.

Doug's happy - hamburgers and Hinanos

There is 1 gas station, 3 grocery stores, and 2 snack shops in Avatoru, and we have visited them all - several times. Unfortunately, they aren't close together and we aren't very organized, so we do lots of walking and hauling our purchases around the village.

Provision run - almost done

Our favorite grocery store is Chez Daniel. The manager, Elisa, and her team have taken very good care of us. They even haul us and all of our goodies back to the boats (for free), plus stop at the gas station and the liquor store, plus wait on the beach while we grab our returnable Hinano beer bottles from the boat. We couldn't ask for better service!

Cruising kids enjoying the roulette

We met another cruising family on Big Fish - very nice people that have a ski resort in the French Alps. We all splurged and went to dinner at a nearby roulette. Good food and prices, big portions, and just a short walk from the public beach. We will definitely go back.

Crew of Evergreen having a good time

So, as you can see, we are enjoying Rangiroa. Besides lots of eating and provisioning, we have done some snorkeling, checked out all of the gift shops, done some beachcombing, worked on projects, and lots of relaxing.

Enjoying the rain

Our weather has been a little unsettled since we arrived (lots of rain!), which the locals are grateful for. We are waiting for a weather window so that we can start our trip to Hawaii, but it is slow coming. It looks like, we will be in Rangiroa until around November 6. Oh well, we like it here, plus we have more exploring to do!

PS: Happy Halloween! The locals are celebrating Halloween for the first time - hard to imagine, huh? Wish we could join in the festivities, but we aren't sure what the taxi runs are after dark. Oh well! We made popcorn balls (our first time) and watched a scary movie with Evergreen. Too fun!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fun Facts

After spending 6 months in French Polynesia and visiting so many of the islands, we have learned how different the island groups are - the people, the culture, the history, and the geology.  Here, you thought we were just goofing off all this time - hah!

Here's what we have learned from talking to the locals, our personal experiences, plus doing our homework:
Makemo, Tuamotu Islands

The Tuamotu Archipelago has 78 islands - all but 2 of the islands are coral atolls.  For sailors, they are considered the "low and dangerous" islands and difficult to spot - even with radar.  These islands were avoided in the past, but new technology has made sailing through the atolls much safer.  But, you still have to be alert - especially through the passes.

The Tuamotu's are the the "oldest" of the island groups.  The island mass has sank completely leaving a beautiful lagoon surrounded by a coral reef.  The coral reef is made up of many motus/islands.

We visited 5 of the atolls in the Tuamotu's - hope to see more next year.
Bora Bora, Society Islands

There are 14 islands in the Society islands and they are the most famous in French Polynesia - Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, etc..  They are high-steep volcanic mountains and are very striking.

The Societies are the "middle-aged" islands.  The islands are sinking, plus the coral reefs and lagoons have formed.  It is estimated that Tahiti is sinking 4 inches a year - oh my.   

We spent lots of time in the Societies and toured 6 of the islands.
Nuku Hiva, Marquesa Islands

The Marquesa islands are made up of 10 islands.  Like the Societies, they are high-steep volcanic mountains that can been seen for 20 miles.  A great place for sailors to make landfall.

The Marquesas are the "youngest" of the 3 island groups.  The coral reef and lagoons have not formed yet, but will - eventually.

We only visited 2 of the Marquesa islands, but would have loved to have seen more.

All of the islands in French Polynesia have been wonderfully different - hope you get to visit them one of these days!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pictures from Toau - finally!

As you can see, we had a great time in Toau. Gaston and Valentine were excellent hosts and we really appreciated them sharing their beautiful island with us. We hope to visit them again next year. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

PS: Thanks again Carol for sharing.
Valentine, Gaston, and the rest of the gang!

Dinghy caravan through the lagoon

The fish trap - what a variety

Gaston spearing lunch

BBQ fish - very tasty

Baby frigate keeping an eye on us

A day at the beach

Valentine and Carol preparing dinner

Lobsters on the barbie

Carla dressed in a pareo - oh my!

Visiting the Pink Sand motu

Doug and the shark chasing dog

Gaston and Valentine - our hosts

Dennis and Carol at the Pink Sand Motu

Lots of fish

Potluck and Trashing Burning party

Sunset in Toao

Crew of Evergreen exploring

Doug setting the whisker pole

Carol cleaning up the beach

Dinghy ride through the coral