Sailing North to Alaska
Sun. July 15, 2012 - Day 16
Course 020 degrees Speed 5 knots
Seas 4-6' SE
Winds 10-15 SE
Genoa - Reefed main
Baro - 30.3
Temp 80 degrees
1500 Miles to Sitka
Made very good distance last night generally making 5-6 knots in nice flat seas. Swells coming out of SE 4-6 feet, winds also out of SE 12-15 mph. It's going to be another sunny day. Chuck is already putting on his sunscreen. All the oranges are gone. We had one this morning that was barely edible and reluctantly decided to toss the rest. Bummer. I figure we've tossed almost half of those we brought. Sea conditions this afternoon do not allow good trash observations. The water is too choppy and the lighting is bad. We are still seeing stuff but not nearly as much as we would if the water were calmer. Bree came out last night and spent most of Chuck's watch visiting and accepting scratches. We are going to start calling her "Skeletor" soon, she is dropping weight fast. So far, the solar panels are keeping up with our power demands, yea!...they are still working!!! Found three good size flying fish on deck this morning, the biggest we've had aboard yet.
Mon. July 16, 2012 - Day 17
Course 020 degrees Speed 4 knots
Seas calm 2-4' with NE swell
Winds NE 5-10
Working jib - reefed main (4)
Baro - 30.3
Temp 80 degrees
1403 miles to Sitka
Another peaceful night. Seas remained flat and the winds consistant. I think our average speed for the night was 4-5 knots. We passed two good size squalls earlier. We got lightly kissed by one giving us a boost and the second, which I was sure we were going to hit dead on, passed harmlessly in front of us. With the rain comes the cool but even wearing a rain jacket we are still comfortable wearing shorts. Will start the trash count at seven after I make a cup of coffee to help pass the time. The button covers are finished for the tiller pilot cover and I should finish stitching it sometime today, weather permitting, and then I'll be able to start on the man overboard line holder next. Chuck got his lanyard finished for his knife, a project he has had in his ditty bag for a while. Chuck said Bree was out and active during his 2-5 watch. One thing for sure that girl is getting a bath as soon as we arrive, whew, stinky! Yesterday's breakfast -oatmeal, lunch, tuna quesedilla and dinner of sauteed onion added to a can of chili and Naan bread grilled with salt and dill. Ginger cookies and instant coffee for desert. Hoping for good flat water this afternoon as we need to run the engine and I would like to take more garbage video. Sitting on the step drinking coffee and having a couple of graham crackers for an ealy snack. Amazing the difference between this trip and our first. The weather has most to do with it but we are so much more comfortable and relaxed this trip. Chuck is starting to enjoy sleeping in the v-berth. Will have to figure out how to pack the genoa when it comes down (see bear wrestling) so we can maintain the space. It is bouncier sleeping forward but over all much more comfortable.
Tiller pilot off at 8, Chuck is handsteering. Seas and wind NE and winds have increased to 15-20 again due to nearby squalls. Winds light, sea conditions not condusive to trash counting. Coffee, that is another story.
Clouds gone, the seas have flattened out and we are moving along briskly. Plugging in both camera batteries to charge. Nikon has seen a lot of use and neds to be charged often. Mostly because of pics and video of trash. Breakfast of oatmeal with cranberries, pine nuts and maple syrup, seems to be the best combination so far. Sunscreen for both of us today. Lat 38 and we are still in shorts-amazing!
Beautiful afternoon, same as yesterday. If anything we have to be careful about getting too much sun. Garbage count down today, mostly due to earlier condioions in the am, generally after 3 it is difficult to see anyhing in the water due to the angle of the sun. Nikon and Sony batteries are fully charged. Watermaker run for 2:10. Ran into a bit of a front just before 2pm so we pulled the genoa and put up the working jib but it looked worse than it actually was and the majority of it passed in front of us anyway. Psyche! At least we got a chance to drop the jib and check the halyard for chafe which we had planned on doing anyway. Lunch was Naan in a pan with cheese and Kamuela tomato topped with sauteed onions and pine nuts. Only one Kamuela tomato left, we are going to miss those. Made 97 miles yesterday-sweet.
Tues. July 17, 2012 - Day 18
Course 020 degrees Speed 4 knots
Seas 2-3' NE
Winds 10-15 NE
Working jib - deep reefed main
Baro - 30.4
Temp - 76 degrees
It got chilly last night. Fleece pants and rain jackets, but we are still barefoot. Winds started increeasing last night slightly and there was a very large squall area coming down on us at sunset. We deep reefed the main, still perfecting that skill, and put up the working jib. First watch was Chuck's and he had nothing but finicky winds. The main was being slapped around constantly by motion of the waves because of the lack of pressure on the sail. Chuck woke me late, around 1:30am and my first half of the watch had the same frustrating winds but they gradually increased and the wave size flattened out. Checking the GPS, our speed was averaging 5-6 knots. The second half of my watch I spent lying on the floor in the cabin watching the stars and tiller through the companionway. The tiller pilot continues working, as expected, however the well nut keeps working it's way out. Where did we put the Gorilla Glue? Looks to be another bright and sunny day. Batteries are down slightly after running the tiller pilot all night. We ran the water maker and fully charged the camera batteries yesterday. If we don't get back up to a full charge by this afternoon we might have to run the engine again. Coffee with a few Hawaiian Cream cookies for an early morning snack. Dinner last night was shared out of the pot with Chuck sitting on the top step. We had the always, reliably good, can of pork and beans. Tea and one square of chocolate on a cookie for desseert. Increasing swell size from NE... we'll see what it brings...
Uploading Sony, the hard drive is full. Charging batteries on the Kindle and the spare Sony battery plus my computer. Electronics, they are greedy little things. Rain keeps threatening but Chuck keeps putting his rain gear back on...so it doesn't. Seas flattening out but we are surrounded by overcast and currently have no wind. At least it is still warm. Lunch of canned lentil soup with a half can of corn added and some soda crackers. Chuck pulled out the G-Flex and mixed up a small batch to repair the well nut for the tiller pilot. Engine on for 1:45, topped off the watertank.
Wed. July 18, 2012 - Day 19
Course 020 degrees Speed 3 knots
Winds NE 5 knots
Genoa - deep reefed main
Baro - 30.5
Temp - 76 degrees
1221 miles from Sitka
Slow and uneventful night. Made burritos for supper with tinned mutton and re-hydrated beans mixed with corn followed by a cup of tea and a whole chocolate bar (split)for dessert. We stayed up late with the lanterns lit talking about our plans, trash, future re-fit and Vermont until late in the evening. I hit the bunk just before 11 throwing our watch schedules way off. Now kids! Stop talking, it's time for bed!! Chuck woke me at Midnight and he slept until 3. I was served coffee in bed this morning, my honey does love me! We had to decide if we should put up the genoa as there were some ugly cloud formations to windward, we were only making 1.5-2.5 knots with the working jib. With the idea to speed up and get ahead of weather we put the Genoa up at 8:30 and now the sun is shining and the clouds to windward have dissapated. How quickly things change. Chuck had a hot pot shower this morning and I will try to take one after breakfast. The well nut for the tiller pilot still keeps trying to creep out but the epoxy did help, will let it come all the way out and try again. Bree spent all night sleeping in her hammock and had something to eat but when we were preparing for sail change she peed in her hammock and scooted back into her hole again, sigh.....
Bath in the cockpit felt wonderful. The sun is shining, coffee in hand, shorts , tank top and barefoot..SWEET! Oatmeal for breakfast with cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup. Chuck is below trying to catch a nap, he is still not sleeping well and getting, at most, one or two hours at at a time. We haven't seen any trash in the water so far today, at least it is not floating by every minute or two...or is it? Out of the zone? If you can't see it is it really there??
Under 1200 miles to go. Flat calm, just enough wind for us to ghost along. Once again the genoa is doing a fantastic job. Small birds flying around the boat hunting up their supper. Cloudless sky above and harmless looking ones all around. Black ball on the bow..gotta run.
Winds died down again with the sunset. Flat calm. We are drifting with the current roughly in the direction we want to go. Sails are hanging complitely lifeless. Supper was left over from lunch, I sauteed half an onion and tossed in the remaining half can of corn along with some of the canned mutton. (Globe-Corned Mutton) All this was added to a Mountain House Rice Pilaf and served with a grilled slice of Naan. Very tasty. Naan has lasted a surprisingly long time but we only have one piece left then we are down to tortillas and crackers for the rest of the trip. Need to inventory the veggies tomorrow, only a few things left. Mainteneance this trip seems to be tightening the odd nut or bolt, everything is holding together surprisingly well. So far we have had enough sun to keep the solar panels happy and our batteries topped off. We have under 10 hours on the engine so far this trip and I think we would have been fine not running it at all. Dessert of cookies and a few squares of chocolate with a cup of coffee. We had a fantastic evening, probably the highlight of our trip. I convinced Chuck to take a full night's sleep forward in the v-berth. I got a few hours sleep this afternoon but I know he didn't. AIS is on as well as our anchor light. We checked the pilot charts and we are just on the edge of two of the great circle routes. Brrr...Sun went down and it has started getting chilly. Lanterns lit and for the first time the canvas in the companionway is down for the night making the boat snug and warm. Chuck actually had to put on his shoes tonight so he wouldn't get his socks wet steppping out into the cockpit. Bree slept on the setee cushion almost all afternoon and has now slipped back into her hammock after hitting the head...and missing again. So much for evil Mom's idea of a quaranteen area, I give up. I know she would only be miserable and I don't want to make her life any more difficult. Will alternately sip on coffee, read and cat nap all night. We are not moving so I just need to be some what diligent and check outside every 15-20 minutes. Pray for another clear day tomorrow. We are expecting Westerly winds any day.
Thurs. July 19, 2012 - Day 20
Course 020 degrees Speed 4 knots
Winds NW 5-10
Baro - 30.5
Temp - 76 degrees
1185 miles to Sitka
Just got things moving. We were up at 6 but there wasn't a breath of wind so crawled back to bed. Up again at 7:30 and saw we had a bit of wind but it was more N. Westerly. It was enough to get moving but I had to tack the genoa by hand. Our new heading is 40 degrees on the port tack. The wind is very light and Chuck is having a hard time getting the boat to point in the right direction. Sighted a black ball immediately ahead of us as soon as we finished tacking. Bree slept on the settee all night but as soon as we tacked and got underway she retired to her hole. Conditions cool, but not cold, and overcast. Blue sky ahead and to windward. Coffee is on....
My watch was reasonably warm through most of the afternoon. Cranberry, walnut, pancakes for breakfast, sighted three whales just before noon then again around two when a whole pod passed us by but only a few came close. Chuck finished another lifeline today but we spent most of the afternoon reading. I need to remember to take a nap. Lunch was the remainder of the can of mutton with sauteed onion, half can of corn and instant mash potatoes. Supper of canned chili with half can of corn followed by a can of peaches, a few gingersnaps and a cup of tea for desert. We changed course several times over the course of the day. No sunset tonight, just grey overcast. The tiller pilot is working away outside in the misty cold. Will have to run the water maker tomorrow. It seems like we used a lot of water between yesterday and today and I have not filled the thermos yet for the evening. Bree is lying on her hammock where she stayed most of the afternoon except for one brief time when she thought we were going to change sail. The new genoa is getting a workout. AIS is on and we are moving forward at a steady 5 knots. Getting cool in the cabin, I had to break out my green turtleneck capriline to put under my flannel shirt. Waaaah!
Fri. July 20, 2012 - Day 21
Course 340 degrees Speed 5 knots (under motor)
Seas flat calm
Winds 5-7 NW
Baro - 30.4 and dropping
Temp 72 degrees
1091 miles to Sitka
Bree is huddled on my lap while I write. Temp has dropped markedly. Looks like I Will need to pull out the sleeping bag tomorrow night. The boat made good speed all night. It felt very rocky and rolly below but when you looked out, the sea state was good and wind was fair. Both of us were slightly uncomfortable leaving the genoa up all night but everything worked out fine. Misty morning, I hope we see some sun today but I won't hold my breath. Would like to grab the GPS and check our mileage for last night but there is a cat in my lap.... I need to find a better place to keep our harnesses, they live under Bree's hammock which works o.k. but not on this tack. They are now on the floor.
Coffee!! Mostly so I have an excuse to light the stove...
Battery on both. Engine start at 11:20. We need to run the water maker, top off the house batteries and charge the Nikon and spare Sony battery. Oatmeal for breakfast, LOL! We are starting to crave bacon and biscuits. Day is overcast but bright. Temperature is coming up and is back over seventy in the cabin. I'm wearing a turtle neck and shorts. We made good distance averaging 5-6 knots through the night. The distance is ticking down but still....two weeks....Praying for continued good weather and conditions. Morning chores; I changed Bree's box, added fuel to the stove and topped off the lanterns. Water maker is running and I need to sweep the floor and put away the bedding. Almost time to drag out the sleeping bag. Bree spent most of the night curled up with Chuck or I depending on who's watch it was. Getting colder so she is getting clingy again and there is no extra fat on her this time around.
Ran the engine for two and a half hours. Charged a few batteries and ran the water maker. Oatmeal for breakfast and a chicken and bean burrito for lunch.(made with Mountain House Chicken Breasts) Making a cup of tea to go with a few ginger cookies. Sun is almost out and the temperature is comfortable. Winds and seas flat, we are ghosting along at two knots.
"Fog of Doom" closing in.
Sat. July 21 - Day 22
Course 340 degrees Speed 2 knots
Seas flat Winds <5 knots S.
Genoa - deep reefed main
1047 miles to Sitka
Fog closed in and we had zero visibility all last evening. We turned the AIS and our tri-colors on and we both took in a full night's sleep. This morning there is better visibility but we are still ghosting along. Bree slept on the couch all night with me, a first for this trip. It is getting cooler so she is getting much "friendlier". Oatmeal, cranberry pancakes for breakfast. We are not moving or rolling much and I made them because I can! Chuck dug out Merkell's Weather Guide and is boning up. The boat is snug and dry mostly because the Solar fan is still working. We are getting a small leak from the mast. (I think?) One of these days we will completely tame that beast!
Took a short nap in the cockpit and enjoyed the brief and warm bit of sunshine earlier before the fog closed in again. Also warm enough for a quick shake out of clothes and a leisurely sponge bath. Lunch of Mac N' Cheese with corn and tuna. Winds shifting S., barometer falling we are hoping to see Westerlies any time. Bree seemed happy with my choice of tuna for lunch but barely touched the juice. Chuck noticed dark stains on her piddle pad this morning. Kidney failure can be my only guess. I am afraid she won't be with us too many more days. She is under the blankey on the couch and is comfortable, that is all we can do. Chuck is in the cockpit fiddling with the sheets trying to find our best point of sail. Currently making three knots, course 350 degrees. Seas remain calm and relatively flat. Temp in cabin is a comfortable 74 degrees (been cooking) and I am in a tank top and shorts.
Fog rolled in again around 4:30. Thick and cool. It cleared up around sunset enough that we had one. Foggy again by 9. Lunch of Mac N' Cheese with tuna and corn. Supper of V Camps beans and an excellent first attempt at my own flatbread. Lanterns lit and the three of us are comfy on the couch enjoying the cruise. Chuck had to give himself a rap on the head-DUH!,this evening. He was talking about starting the engine tomorrow so we could "hurry up". LOL! We've decided to use more water out of the main tank instead of running the water maker to fill the day tank so often. We are using more water this trip and going through the day tank in two days instead of our usual three. We have had more baths this trip. Pitch grey outside. Winds are very light, W or NW coming soon. The alterations I made to the canvas for the companionway is working out perfect. The boat is staying warm and dry with help from the lanterns and the solar fan. Dolphins! Chuck thought he heard the sound of water being churned up by a "prop". He looked around and saw a pod of dolphins heading at speed our way. Chuck says he was sure he saw a salmon leap in the air with a dolphin on his tail. They hunted near the boat for about 30-45 minutes then moved away. Hopefully we got some GoPro?
Sun. July 22,2012 - Day 23
Course 050 degrees Speed 4.5 knots
Seas 2-3' S.
Winds 5-10 S.
Baro - 30.4
Temp - out 72 degrees
in 65 degrees
1013 miles to Sitka
Chuck had the couch and I got the v-berth last night. Bree took turns sleeping with both of us. Tacked just before noon, new heading of 050 degrees, Chuck happy for the moment. Still reasonably warm. Bree got "dracula drool" from the comotion and is now on my lap tucked under the green blanket. Seas remain relatively flat and winds mild. Oatmeal for breakfast.
Sun is back, currently no clouds in the sky and we are scooting along at five knots, seas are relatively flat making for a beautiful afternoon. Chuck spent some time working on our Whale bilge pump as it deceded to take some time off. He found salt encrusting the diaphragms but nothing a squirt of fresh water and a few curt words couldn't cure. Lunch was a mountain house Lasagna in meat sauce with crackers. Bree snoozing comfortably.
Chuck has just gone to bed, his turn in the v-berth. Wonderful afternoon and a fantastic evening. Supper of Mountain House Chicken and Noodles with an extra pack of green beans added and I made a pan biscuit. Desert of cookies and a square of chocolate plus a cup of instant coffee. Lanterns lit and the stove is also on to provede some exctra heat. A very nice evening indeed. Boat is moving comfortably through the water. We are averaging 4-5 knots and boat is hardly heeling. Had a sunset this evening, nicest one we've had in two days. We are under one thousand miles now and will begin countdown...two weeks! Had enough sun today to keep up with outgoing power which is great. We've been running the tiller pilot nearly 24 hours for the last week, VHS and tri-lights at night. Battery is down one tick but fluctuates up more than down. We have been blessed this trip, everything working as expected and the Weather has been nearly perfect-what's a little fog? Chuck put a preventer on this morning using the downhaul line but since we tacked he is using the second main sheet as usual. I will spend the evening dozing, checking outside and talking to the cat. Praying for smooth and consistant wind and seas throughout the night so Chuck may get a good night's rest.