Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fun and excitement in Fanning

Normally, Fanning is very quiet and peaceful and the pace of life is nice and slow - island time.

Yesterday, that all changed. Two supply ships arrived delivering people and supplies and the wharf was lined with locals all day and there was lots of activity!

Moa Moa arrived first. It is a big ugly metal cargo ship and it anchored outside of the lagoon (thank goodness). Boats/tenders were going back and forth all day delivering family and friends, plus tons of rice and flour and other cargo.

The big motor sailer, Kwai, arrived later. We are guessing it is about 120 foot and it motored right past us gesturing that we were in the way and ended up anchoring just on the other side of Evergreen. A little close, but the boats negotiated a truce and even invited Dennis and Carol over for drinks. Nice that we got included in the invite too. So, we had to go. It was very interesting meeting Captain Evy (sp) and his crew of 7 who are from all over and on the boat for different reasons: research, adventure, work, etc. The Kwai delivers food from Hawaii all over the Kiribati and Cook Islands, so they cover some ground and see some amazing places.

The kids on the wharf were so full of energy with all this excitement and had a great time showing off - gymnastics, daredevil acts jumping into the lagoon, and lots of giggling. It was fun to see.

Hopefully the ships brought enough supplies to feed the 2500 locals for a couple of months. The rice and flour were disappearing off the wharf very quickly and the supply ships won't be back for a while...

Also Doug, Dennis, and Josh had to make a rescue yesterday. The other cruiser in the anchorage (a single-hander) had rigged his inflatable dinghy with a sail and was out of control and being swept out to sea by the wind and current. Doug hopped in our dinghy; Dennis and Josh in theirs. It took them about a 1/2 hour to catch the guy and rig the dinghies to pull the inflatable back to the lagoon. Close call and glad all came back safely.


Today, was much calmer. Today is Saturday/Sunday in Fanning, so everyone takes it easy. Except the cruisers - we still have projects to work on. Carol finished sewing our jib (after 3 long days). She also had to come back to help me with our canvas work. She is amazing and we are very grateful! Doug has been working on re-bedding the mast pulpit and other leaky things. Getting closer every day. My big accomplishment - baking sourdough bread.

Now, it is time for some R&R. If we were in Ko Olina, we would be sitting out with our dock buddies shooting the breeze and watching the sunset.

Miss those days!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Evergreen is here - yeah!

Our boat buddies on Evergreen sailed into Fanning on Monday (Tuesday Fanning time). We were so excited to see them and so happy to be cruising with them again. It is going to be fun. Of course, we aren't sure where or when we are going next, but know that we will come up with a plan!

We have been busy - my chores have been mostly cleaning and organizing, plus 5 big coolers full of laundry. That only took 5 days and I am sure the locals that go by are tired of seeing our underwear on the line!

Doug has been a busy guy tracking down and fixing leaks, replacing our flooded outdoor speaker (picture a big splash), working on the dinghy engine (spark plugs), and more fun stuff. Plus, he spent a couple days working on the generator. Its was running hotter than usual. Turned out that cleaning the heat exchanger with vinegar was the trick. Sure glad I married a smart guy!

Doug's next project (unplanned) is to borrow Evergreen's sewing machine and start sewing up our jib. The jib was just repaired 6 months ago by Art Nelson's in Hawaii. So far, he has counted 6 seams along the leach that are coming unstiched. We are very unhappy with Art Nelson's work - to say the least. Good thing Carol's got a good sewing machine!

It sounds like we are working all the time - we aren't. We have been enjoying life in Fanning and getting back into cruising - picture us lounging in the cockpit with a book in one hand and a beer (or two) in the other. It has been very nice.

Plus, we have really appreciated the drive-up fresh fish delivery. Fred and Mike (from Hawaii) have been sharing their bounty. My favorite so far - the yummy red snapper.

Tonight, dinner and trash burning party at Bruno's and Tabata's guest house. Should be lots of fun and some local food.

Wish you were here with us!

PS: Latest update - Carol has agreed to sew our jib. She is an excellent seamstress and we are very happy that she is going to tackle it. Thanks, Carol!

PSPS: I made homemade Ricotta for our lasagna. Didn't even know you could do that - thanks to the Boat Galley cookbook.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Settling into life at Fanning

Weather conditions: Beautiful

We anchored in Fanning on Monday - 5 days ago already. Since then we have been getting Moondance organized and liveable, chasing down some leaks, working on projects, laundry (lots), catching up on our sleep, plus doing some exploring. It has been a fast/busy week!

Fanning is an atoll and we are anchored in the lagoon, which is so many shades of beautiful blue. There was one boat here when we arrived, but they left heading south. Two other boats are anchored on the other side of the channel. Not a lot of cruisers or tourists come here - unless you are a surfer. There is a bit of a current in the anchorage, so we have anchored 3 times. We now have the perfect spot.

There are approximately 2500 people living on this atoll and Gilbertese is the native language, but English is taught at the schools. Kiribati was a British protectorate, but have now formed their own republic. Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, is on the other side of the international date line. Christmas and Fanning recently adjusted their time to be in line with their capital, so the date is one ahead of Hawaii. We thought we arrived on Monday, but it was actually Tuesday local time.

We have been trying to determine the origin of the Fanning people - very different from the Polynesians - but haven't figured it out yet. We have heard Samoa, New Guinea, and Micronesia - it is a mystery. They have been very friendly and everyone knows that we belong to the "yacht" - hah!

Fanning has no electricity, but some have solar and a few have generators. At night, there are only a few lights on. But, recently internet equipment was donated and a business opened. Wifi is $5 US for an hour. Pretty cheap and very busy!

Most people live in palm tree huts with thatched roofs (kia kia's) that are ~2 feet off the ground and moveable. Copra (coconut meat) is their only export. Everyone fishes, of course, plus we see a lot of volleyball, soccer, basketball, and lots of time in the water. Definitely on island time!

Island transportation is mainly by small canoes - some with sails - all very low to the water. It is a big lagoon and the locals use the wind and the currents to help with the crossing, but it looks like a lot of work. There are a few scooters, lots of bikes, and a few flatbed trucks that are used for bussing people and their stuff. And the "free ferry", which is a small metal boat that goes back and forth across the channel. It holds ~40 people standing, plus all of the ones hanging over the sides! The only way to get to Fanning is by boat - no planes.

We tracked down Bruno and his wife Tabeta (sp) who own the A La Belle Etoile guest house. From what we had heard, they were wonderful people and good to the cruisers - everyone was right. They immediately invited us over for dinner, which we accepted. Dinner was fish curry, baked fish, rice, and a salad - very tasty - and all cooked outside on a grill/oven made out of stone and steel. We brought beer, wine, and brownies - everyone was happy. They have three guests - Fred, Mike, and Jeff (surfers from Hawaii) - we enjoyed sharing stories with all. Fred and Mike are also responsible for the fish - they go out almost every day. In fact, they brought us a nice fish by last night. Not sure what kind, but it looks like a great dinner!

Bruno and Tabeta really appreciated the donations from Ko Olina. We have more to deliver to the school and others on Monday. Moondance is definitely getting her water line back!

Life is good here in Fanning. We hope to do some more exploring on Monday - we hear there is a store somewhere and I hear church bells ringing. Our buddy boat Evergreen will be here on Sunday/Monday, plus the supply ship is on its way. Wahoo!

PS: We celebrated our 31st Anniversary on Wednesday. Can't believe we have been together so long - it has gone by so fast and we have had so many wonderful adventures together. More to come!

Summary of our trip - we gave it a B Minus rating and the crew was rusty! We had good wind most of the way and only had to motor 10 hours - mostly through the ITCZ. The waves drove us crazy coming from all different directions and pounding ol' Moondance and keeping the crew wet. We also had lots of rain associated with crossing the ITCZ, plus some lightening - had to drag out our foul weather gear. Squalls were mild - highest winds we saw were gusts to 32 knots. But, we had three great days of sailing with calm seas - just like the pictures! We only saw one boat in our eight day crossing, but lots of birds, stars, and that beautiful moon.

Maybe our next trip will be a B Plus - hope so!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 8 - Safely anchored in English Harbor, Fanning Island, Kiribati

And it is a beautiful place! We are tucked inside the big lagoon anchored next to the village of Paelau and we only have to share our view with one other boat. Very peaceful and what a sunset...

Customs met us at the boat right after we dropped our anchor and checked us in - no more quarantine flag for us. It was an interesting crowd and we made sure that they all got some chocolate.

Doug is cooking dinner - grilled flat iron steak and brussells. We haven't had a real home cooked meal for awhile, so this is going to be a treat - plus some wine - yeah!

We are both pretty zonked (no nap today) and looking forward to both of us being back in our bed at the same time and not have to get up for our 3-hour watches. Plus, we won't be rocking and rolling. We are going to sleep great.

I will write more once we get rested - summarize our trip, plus share some details about Fanning Island. And, one of these days, post some pictures!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 7 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 05-58.24N
LONGITUDE: 158-53.99W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 135
Miles to Fanning Island: 136 (tomorrow - we hope - come on winds!)


After watching it rain so hard yesterday that we couldn't see the front of our boat and everything (almost) that we own was wet, we were wondering if it was time to open Karen and Ed's gift - The "Oh Shit" bottle of Pendleton Whiskey. Not quite yet, but we did decide to have an ice cold Longboard's beer. It tasted wonderful after not having anything fun to drink for a whole week - Aloha!

Then the doldrums hit - no wind. So we motored and charged the batteries for 6 hours. The rest of the day, we fought squalls, rearranged sails (again and again), cleaned up messes - the usual cruising stuff.

We had a wonderful sail last night - 15 to 20 knots of wind and the stars and moon were shining. We had a few small squalls come through, but nothing big.

4am we had a little "incident". Doug announces that our bilge pump was running, but not working. He had to explain that a few times to me. After some investigating, the bilge pump just needed to be primed, which he quickly took care of - my plumber running around in his underwear - very cute. Good thing. No one wants to think about water in the bilge - especially with all of this rain!

This morning, we had a few more squalls, but lots of sunshine. The wind has changed direction and coming more out of the east, so we are having to change our sails in order to make Fanning easily. Hopefully, we will have enough wind to get us there to make slack tide tomorrow, but I will be happy to just be anchored outside the island tomorrow. It will just be a wonderful treat to "not" be moving!

Hope all is well with our Family and Friends - thinking of you!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 6 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 08-24.35N
LONGITUDE: 158-47.77W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 130
Miles to Fanning Island: 271 (getting close!)


Yup, that would be the ITCZ. The area where the weather systems from the north and the south converge and they don't get along! We are sailing through it right now and Moondance is soaked inside and out. Plus, throw in some of that lightening. Fortunately, not a lot of that because sailboats don't like lightening around their expensive electronics. But, I did see a glow-in-the-dark bird. I swear!

Yesterday, we Hove To, which allows you to stall the boat at sea. You can work on projects, get some rest, eat a meal, etc. It is a very surreal experience, especially when you been constantly moving for 5 days. Moondance is sitting still while all of the waves are flowing past. It works!

We also got to do some "extreme" sewing yesterday. Our bimini (cockpit cover) all of sudden ripped out one of its seams. Doug attached me to the gallows and held on to me, while I sewed my Frankenstein stitches. Thanks Mom, I can sew!

Lots of squalls yesterday and one big around 5am this morning. I was tucked in bed and Doug fought her for 40 minutes - he was soaked, but still smiling.

Happy Birthday wishes to our Bestie - Carol on s/v Evergreen. Hope you are having a wonderful day and we look forward to celebrating in Fanning with you next week! Love from the crew of Moondance.

PS: I was a little disoriented late last night and got up thinking that we were delivering a boat for Brad and Kaki (Kokua Yachts). Why are we delivering it at midnight, Brad? Cuz you know you want to, Carla. Just exactly what Brad would say! Doug has been having funny dreams too - guess that is part of our weird sleeping schedule.

PSPS: The Milky Way was so big and bright last night. What a spectacular treat!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 5 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 10-29.25N
LONGITUDE: 158-40.36W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 146
Miles to Fanning Island: 401 (over half way!)


You can't have two good sailing days in a row - just can't happen.

The sun tried to make an appearance, the wind decided to get feisty, and the waves threw a party and invited all of their friends from all neighborhoods! Moondance and crew were drenched with waves hitting us on all sides - whack - but we all did fine. We took down the jib and put up the staysail (our double reefed main has been permanent). We were flying along with 32 knots of wind with no stars or moon to guide us - it was very dark. Early this morning, the waves corrected and smoothed out our ride - yeah - and we were able to get some rest!

Today we have good wind (mid 20's) and the sun peaks out around the squalls once in a while. That will help us dry out! The Grib files (weather) show that the winds are supposed to be calming down tomorrow. That would be nice. But, until then, we will make some miles.

We are still hoping to be at Fanning Island on Monday. If we miss slack tide, we will anchor out for the night and motor into the lagoon on Tuesday.

Looking forward to seeing this wonderful island that we have heard so much about, plus deliver all of the goodies that our friends and neighbors have donated. That will lighten our load for sure.

Hope our friends and family are doing well - miss you!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 4 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 12-53.53N
LONGITUDE: 158-36.28W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 143 (picking up speed)
Miles to Fanning Island: 540 (almost half way!)


It was beautiful - sun shined, the ocean sparkled, waves settled down, winds continued 18 to 25 - we made up some time and it was smooth sailing. I like that. If we are lucky, we just might have that kind of day today too.

So we rested, read, and I worked on my mani/pedi - which is way over due.

Already started to think about the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone). It is lurking at about 6 degrees. I am not looking for a Free Pass, but hoping that we catch it on a good day and it gives us a gentle ride.

Also, already starting to think about that first ice cold beer (or two) once we drop our anchor in Fanning!

I keep forgetting to tell you about the Cloud Trains - that's what I call them. Every afternoon, these long lines of clouds form and continue to grow bigger and longer and darker throughout the day following the sun as it passes. As the sun sets, they converge around it and create these amazing formations. I can't describe it well, but I got lots of pictures I will share.

As we pass under these Cloud Trains, we expect increased wind on the front side, a little calming in the middle, and increased wind on the back side. Usually, lots of rain too, but so far we haven't had but a few sprinkles.

It is hard to imagine the force that the sun and the moon have over the clouds and waves - very interesting watching them charge after the setting sun and rally around the moon. Hope you get to see it one of these days!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 3 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 15-05.24N
LONGITUDE: 158-35.04W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 122 (slow...)
Miles to Fanning Island: 683


Well, one jumped in to the cockpit and Doug sat on him and squished him (a horrible/stinky death).

One Doug caught on the handline. A 15lb Skipjack. We decided to hold out for an Ahi, so we gave him back to Neptune. But, it was some excitement - we love catching fish.

Most of yesterday and last night, we were sailing through big black squalls and big waves. The squalls are windy, but no rain, so that helps. So, we chose to leave up our staysail so that we could be comfortable. It worked; we both slept well and are functioning better.

Today, the sun is shining and we haven't seen a squall yet - big waves, but no squall. So, we put out our jib (reduced) and are making much better time, plus it smoothed out our ride.

Ed & Karen - did you see the moon and the planets that form the triangle? It was so crystal clear and beautiful - thought of you two. I will try and get a picture tonight!

My current social network: Flying fish, birds (boobies, terns, and seagulls), and Doug. Miss my Peeps!

Hope everyone are doing well!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 2 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 17-11.15N
LONGITUDE: 158-33.43W
Miles traveled in 24 hours: 116 (slow...)
Miles to Fanning Island: 805

Big Island Day -

I never realized how much the Big Island would affect our trip!

Yesterday, we had hazy voggy skies all day due to the volcanic ash. Which, meant a beautiful hot pink sunset, of course.

The Big Island blocked our wind for awhile. That was kind of nice - it gave us a chance to catch up on some sleep (wished we would have showered too!).

And, the confused/agitated seas and unsettled weather as we left the island behind us - just to make keep us from sleeping.

It is a Big Island, but we are over it!

Now we are just in squally weather. Last night, we reduced our jib a little since the winds were kicking up. Unfortunately, the jib sheet snatch block opened up and our sheet was out of control. We decided to save that for today and put up our staysail instead. So, we didn't make much time last night. Oh well. the jib is back in operation and we are cruising along through squalls and big splashes that go "whack" just before they soak the cockpit.

But, Doug and I are doing well and laughing our way through it - at least afterwards.

Don't you wish you were here. Hah!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 1 - Oahu to Fanning Island

LATITUDE: 19-10.91N
LONGITUDE: 158-12.02W
Miles traveled in 23 hours: 136
Miles to Fanning Island: 921

Woke up yesterday morning in Pokai Bay surrounded by spinner dolphins and tourists. It was an exciting way to start the day.

We have been at sea about 23 hours. The winds started at 3 knots and quickly gusted to 26 knots, which matched the forecasts. So, we double reefed our main and shortened the jib. Much more comfortable.

The waves have been a little more exciting than expected. The water flooding through the Hawaiian Island channels sure stirs things up. So, we are being bounced around a bit, but making good time. Captain Doug thinks it will be like this at least one more day.

Saw a sliver of the new moon last night followed by a gazillion stars - one shooting. Forgot how pretty the skies are out here.

Moondance is fine, but a total mess already. Crew are fine, but a little tired and wishing they would have ordered more pizza. Does the Coast Guard deliver? Just kidding!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Finally left the Marina - yeah!

We are anchored out at Pokai Bay. It is only 8 miles north of the Marina, but feels so much better. Anchored in a beautiful bay surrounded by the immense Waianae Mountain range. Pretty impressive and we only have to share it with one other boat.

We had forgotten how much we enjoy being "on the hook". It is a little rolly, but we are used to that and the sunset was spectacular. Dinner and a movie and then we turn in early.

Tomorrow, we start our sail to Fanning Island - approximately 8 days due south. As of now, it looks like we have found a good weather window. Hope it holds for the whole trip.

Cross your fingers!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, June 7, 2013

We are on the move again - finally!

After 18 months, we are finally ready to start sailing again. We leave the marina today and go anchor out. Saturday, we will sail away to Fanning Island, Kiribati. About 8 days due south. We are hoping for a good sail!
Beautiful Ko Olina - Place of Joy
Ko Olina has been a beautiful place to live and we have met some amazing people, but it is time to start our next adventure.

Our R&R Yacht Club buddies are like family and we know that we will see them again somewhere.  Looking forward to it!
R&R Yacht Club - going to miss you!
Moondance (and Captain Doug) got an "A" rating from the rigger, John Koon - Tradewind Marine Services. He was very thorough and efficient and we highly recommend him.

John pronounced Moondance ready to sail. Yeah! Plus, he shared some great tips, which Doug has already implemented.
Captain Doug is ready

We motored out this week and calibrated some equipment (spun circles) and topped off the fuel tanks. It felt good to be back on the water.

All lists have been completed and all Moondance's lockers are over stuffed. Food and spare parts are stuck in some unusual spots - good thing we keep a list.

Our bunk will be shared with some of the "extra" stuff that just couldn't find a home. Good thing we got a big bunk. Plus while we are sailing, only 1 person sleeps at a time - the other is on watch.  
Looking for the pot of gold

We will be updating our blog daily while we are at sea - sorry no pictures.

Since we are going to remote islands, we don't anticipate having internet for a couple of months.  But, as soon as we do, we will upload pictures.

And away we go! Hope everyone has a wonderful summer.  Come and visit us in Fiji!

Thinking of things we won't have for a while - in no special order:  fountain soda drinks, washing machine, big showers, draft beer, car, Costco, internet, and walks along the beautiful lagoons...
Nai'a Lagoon at Sunset

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yes it is Friday; Yes we are still in Hawaii!

We were supposed to leave the marina today, anchor out and wait for a weather window, and then start our slow journey south.

Doug on the flying trapeze
But... the rigger we have been waiting for is going to be here tomorrow (finally).  We decided it was worth delaying our departure date.  We would be ready to leave on Sunday.

Well, there is a big 6' swell coming up from the south.  We decided to wait a couple more days - no reason to beat ourselves up. 

Then, I got sick - sinus infection.  I need to be 100% for our crossing so heading to the Doc for some drugs.

We are now looking at Thursday... Cross your fingers!

When we finally head south, our first stop will be Fanning Island (Tabuaeran)  - about 10 days sailing for us.

Cleaning the rigging
We have heard that the supply ships don't have much in stock once they reach Fanning.

So, our dock buddies have donated a bunch of goodies for us to deliver:  food, toys, movies, clothes, shoes, pretties, and even a pair of crutches.

Cruisers are wonderful about sharing whatever they have!

Next, we plan on visiting Suwarrow, in the Cook Islands.  A cruisers favorite.

But, we might get sidetracked and stop at Penrhyn Island first.  Some fellow cruisers just sailed through there and said it was one of their favorites.  We shall see how the wind blows.

Next Samoa's and Tonga.  Our final destination is Fiji - sometime in August or September. Bula! 
Filling up the liquor jugs

Things have been a bit of a blur - too many boat projects.  But, we are getting close:
  • Rigging cleaned and tuned by Doug
  • Dock boxes cleaned out and stuff stowed
  • Boat cleaned - at least on the outside
  • Provisioning almost done
  • Got our Zarpe (exit out of the US)
  • And more...
We still need to do some more stashing - Moondance is full.  We don't anticipate finding a grocery store until the Samao's, so we are provisioning for 3 months.  That's a lot of stuff!
Beautiful Ko Olina
Plus, we are trying to balance the weight load so that we can sail out of here.  Not an easy job.
Delphinia starting their journey

There is also a lot of "goodbye's" happening - lots of our friends leaving the marina.

Steve and Debbie on Delphinia just left today.  They are sailing to California and then onto Mexico - their first big journey.  We wish them fair winds and following seas!

Lots going on and we are pooped and stressed, but still managing to have some fun and enjoy our last days here.

Good thing Doug and I work well together or we would have killed each other - just kidding.

We will keep you posted!