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New Look

by the First Mate

If you are seeing the same old look be sure to hit the refresh button!

May we ask a question?

by the First Mate

The leaves have turned color and are starting to fall. We have comfortably settled into the house with our 4 cameras, 4 back up drives and 3 computers spread out and plugged in.  Work has begun.  

This time last year we posed a question about which social networks you use?  If you only checked our website for updates or if you also visit our Facebook or Google + pages? Based on feedback we focused on increasing our web presence through social media.  

This year our website is due for a facelift.  In the next few days we will be making changes which should improve functionality for mobile users.  We would appreciate your feedback along the way about performance, how well does the website load or display on your phone, pad, laptop, or desktop. Do you have difficulty reading the articles, is the font size too small or does it take an overly long time to load? 

As always we look forward to hearing what works and what doesn't. 

We are also thinking ahead to next year and what our goals are.  Do we reach for the next level in video production by spending money on equipment or do we just do our best with what we have, like we have been, and keep it real. We currently have no special sound equipment or helicopter thingies (Yah, Drake we are jealous.) but, realistically, nothing takes away from spontaneity quicker than setting up cameras and sound equipment. Not a pressing issue but one we still need to consider. 

Chuck has been busy this week finishing the new trailer for our YouTube Channel.  Lots of fun stuff coming up but it just takes time....and lots of computing power.

Thank you again Tim K. 

Fall is here.

by the First Mate

Hard to believe it is October already.

Once again it is time to settle in, edit video and get some writing done.  Many thanks to Tim K. who helped with our computer woes.  We are very appreciative and expect the improved reliability will make life much easier for us. 

Annual Humpy 500 go-cart race.  King Crabs take the lead!

We have moved into another house for the next two months. The residence also doubles as the local Humane Society which houses a number of cats looking for good homes. Dogs very rarely come up for adoption here but cats are another matter.  Several of the "inmates" have been here for years. It will be fun getting to know them.

(The living quarters are seperated from the cat house by the two car garage and is accessed via it's own entrance.  There is only one "House cat". Chuck)

We posted a Real Time Update to our YouTube Channel yesterday after taking a walk. Chuck has been going through early videos taken when we got our first video camera.   Prepping Lealea for her first passage, the haul out, the near sinking, installing our watermaker, culling clothes and tons of other stuff.  Not sure at this time how it will be presented, depends on how much usable footage is available but it sure has been fun looking back at how much we have done and how much we have learned along the way.

Hiking along Raven Trail which begins a short distance from Sandy Beach Park.


by the First Mate

I need to charge camera batteries before I can post any pics from the Humpy 500 go-cart race held in town yesterday.

This morning we are off to the KFSK's annual pot luck fundraiser.  Chuck will be doing his radio show tomorrow morning at 8:30am.  

We had a brief slowdown of the rain yesterday for the race but it has returned again this morning.

Chuck Robb, please say Happy Birthday to your dad for us. Chuck has owned his Camillus Marlinspike rigging knife for many years, he has others but this is the one that gets the most use. 

Carney, thanks for the link, very cool!

Sal, we are going back and forth on doing a re-fit here in Petersburg or waiting until we get to Port Townsend.  I think it will all come down to how cold of a winter we get since we need to do some fiberglassing work.  Stay tuned.

Manning, yes, we have found a snug harbor, in more ways than one and yes, you are correct about this being our third winter here but we are not yet ready to permanently drop our hook.  If all goes well we should be in Washington this time next year.    

Fancy Bits

By The Skipper:

One of the (Many) winter projects on the list is renewing or refinishing some of Lealea's fancy bits.  That got me to thinking about whether to remove and replace some of it, rather than just slap on another coat of paint, now that I can do a prettier job of tying the knots.

Turk's head on tiller

The tiller was the first thing I did on Lealea and is very simple.  I just wrapped it with 1/8 inch cotton clothesline and finished off each end with a basic three strand running turks head. I put matching ropework on the teak boat hook and on the two tube holders on the stern (Turning two ugly but functional pieces of PVC pipe into beautiful conversation starters).  Look closely and you can see how practice improved my results. The learning process is ongoing fed by my interest in historical methods used by sailors during the classic age of sail.  I started, probably like most sailors, with a whipping on a new sheet, moving up to putting an eye splice in new three-strand dock lines, and on to making practical gear and decorative stuff for the boat.  Learning the skills has been a "One piece at a time" process, each piece adding a new knot, bend or splice, or combination, to my repertoire. 

Using a book, “The Marlinspike Sailor” by Hervey Garrett Smith, it took me about 45 minutes to come up with the first useable turks head for the project (Whipping the tiller)  The second, and of course subsequent ones went more quickly.  I would say, the whole project took two hours to complete, after I mastered the turks heads. (It is finished off with high gloss white paint and of course that takes a little longer) You could say I learned how to do half the decorative work on Lealea in an hour.  More complex projects really do not take much longer to learn, one knot at a time from diagrams and instructions in the several good books on the subject.  Rather it is the time required to complete a project that keeps you from seeing fancy ropework on more boats. Marlinspike seamanship seems such an arcane art to most people but it is rooted in the practical necessities of running merchant ships under sail at the lowest possible cost.  In today’s “Time is money” world where sailing is a leisure activity, many of the things we now think of as decorative art on old ships have been replaced by patented manufactured gear we normally just purchase at the local chandlery. 

French hitching on handrail

Which brings us to… 


The same philosophy that informs us that:

It is cheaper, but more time consuming, when confronted by a slippery stainless steel handrail, to pull a spool of tarred seine twine out of your ditty bag and clap on sixteen inches of French hitching capped with running turks heads, than to jump in the car for a run to West Marine to buy a roll of friction tape.  

Also insists: As long as the hitching is doing it's job I will maintain it with a new coat of paint rather than cut it off for vanity's sake.


By the way, our latest video, Wrangell to Petersburg, Part 2, is up.

Now we are off to the Humpy 500!

Here comes the rain...

With a big happy sigh we are back aboard Lealea.  This is our first week-end together since Chuck got back from his trip down the Inside Passage.  Between house sitting, voyaging, pet sitting and travelling we have both had a busy summer. Getting back on the boat and sleeping in our own bunk was heavenly.  We both slept in for a ridiculous amount of time our first morning back and we both remarked at how deeply we slept.  It is good to be home.

With that being said it will only be a few weeks and we will be house sitting again. Both of us have lived aboard for quite a while, Chuck for 25 years and 19 for Laura. We've lived aboard during two major re-fits and many haul outs over the years but have to admit living aboard during the winter while gutting the interior is a tad more than we have the desire to contend with, especially since there are more comfortable options.  Off the boat, we can spread out our computer gear, plug into multiple electrical outlets and both be on the computer at the same time.  Summer is over and it is again time to get serious about producing material for our website. We generally do this every Winter, spending 6-8 weeks writing, adding content and having fun editing pictures and video. 

Chuck finished two more videos last week - Zarembo Island to Wrangell and Wrangell to Petersburg  and says there is only one more in the Alaska series of our 2013 summer cruise but he is already working on several other projects. "Williwa Southbound" will chronicle his trip with Tom S. and Gary H. bringing vega 385 down the Inside Passage to Port a few other things.

Laura has been working as crew aboard the veterinary vessel Hallie.  She only completed two rounds this season serving pets in the remote S.E. Alaskan villages of Coffman Cove and Thorne Bay but there were enough cats, dogs and beautiful scenery to make it exciting.

These next few weeks we will be busy getting the boat cleaned up and preparing her for winter, sorting, organizing and going through stores to make certain nothing goes bad. We will also be moving the boat as we now have a slip assignment in the newly built North Harbor.

Making Rounds

by the First Mate

Leaving this morning for another voyage aboard the veterinary vessel Hallie. Dr. Hill and I will be making rounds in Coffman Cove, Thorne Bay and, if time and weather permit, Whale Pass.  Internet access is spotty in these areas but I will try to post some pictures along the way.  You can also check how the voyage is going on the Waterways Vet Clinic FB page.

I know Chuck will be editing video while I am away.  Latest YT video - Point Baker to Zarembo - is up and another is baking now and will probably be uploaded later today.

WooHoo, off to play with puppies and boats!

The Hallie

by the First Mate

It is pouring rain outside which makes it the perfect day to work on videos.  I just got back from Coffman Cove on a working trip aboard the veterinary vessel, Hallie.  I hope to acquire enough video to make a new series for YT and finished the trailer for it this morning.  


by the First Mate

I just got back from a trip to Coffman Cove aboard the Veterinary Vessel, Hallie. Three days of a constant parade of dogs, cats and one bird coming down to the boat for annual check ups and vaccinations, several spays and one life changing surgery.  I will be writing a full report of the Coffman Cove trip but if you are interested in learing more about Waterways Vet Clinic and the travels of V/V Hallie please visit their Facebook page. More voyages are being planned for this year.

Winter approaches and Chuck is back into edit mode. Continuing our journey from last year -Warren Island Cove to Point Baker- has just been uploaded to YT and he is working on a longer length video of his trip with Tom Straughn down the Inside Passage aboard Williwa.

It will be a busy winter as we have a lot of projects in mind between working on the boat, editing video and working on the website to make it more user friendly to iphones and portables. 


Daunting Project


By The Skipper:

Boat maintenance is an ongoing chore. Every few years there has to be a major refit. We have had several in the 25 years I have owned Lealea, now 40 years old. She needed a new engine in 1993 and a major engine overhaul In 2010. The standing rigging was replaced in 1996 and again in 2007. She got an Awlgrip paintjob in ’96 (She’s definitely due for a new one now – *next Summer) and we replaced much of the interior furniture in 2007. 

Now the old girl definitely needs some TLC. The mast support beam is showing signs of deflection and the main bulkhead has visible water damage. The remaining original sapele veneer plywood is finally beginning to show its age, peeling and chipping, looking shabby next to the newer sections replaced just 7 years ago. The bulkheads you can’t see are worse.

Basically, I have to take down the mast and gut the hull then put it all back like new.

Here is the plan:

First I have to secure a place to do the work. An empty two car garage will do. I think I have that part covered.

Next figure out how much and what type of materials to order (We are in SE Alaska so it is not as simple as driving to the nearest lumber yard)

Then, when the materials and tools are assembled in the workshop, take down the mast. Easy enough with the deck stepped mast mounted on a tabernacle. It is a one man job, though it is quicker and easier with two.

The interior of a Vega has been described as “Ikea furniture” – very simple. It can be removed and reinstalled with nothing more than a screwdriver.

It sounds easier than it is. But it is not complicated.

Keeping it a simple as possible, I intend to use the old pieces as patterns, fabricate and finish the new pieces in the workshop. Then reinstall the new interior in the boat.

What I am not sure about is what to use to seal and finish the new furniture. I intend to use marine plywood but have not decided what veneer to choose. (Laura has the deciding vote). The original furniture is sapele, aka African Mahogany and is the default choice.

Now that I have written this out and tried to visualize actually doing it, I realize that I do not know if the hull will compress/deform with the main beam and bulkhead removed. Glad I thought of that. It is not something you want to learn when you are trying to put it back together. Anybody know? 

Then, also, of course, there is the inevitable "While we have it apart we might as well...."

On the Move

by the First Mate

With Chuck's safe return to Petersburg it is time for us plan the rest of our summer.  I have mentioned my job at Waterways Vet Clinic many times since we've been here and I wrote a few months ago that Dr. Hill was preparing to take M/V Hallie out on her rounds servicing remote communities throughout S.E. Alaska.

The boat is ready enough to set a departure date which is next Saturday. Hallie is a 50' Aluminum Trawler which has been converted into a mobile veterinary clinic. A last minute staff change almost put a hiccup in this years trip but everything worked out and we are forging ahead. There are still many details to work out but the goal is to visit Coffman Cove and/or Thorne Bay and spay, neuter, vaccinate and treat as many animals as we can when we get there. 

Boating in Alaska combined with an ever revolving door of dogs and cats.  Does it get any better.  Chuck will be writing/editing wherever we are and I will post on the Logbook when I can.  Waterways Vet Clinic has it's own Facebook page and I will be posting there as often as I can.

Chuck is working on his journal from Williwa's trip while reviewing pictures and video from his trip down the Inside Passage aboard Williwa but getting Lealea cleaned up and ready to move is priority. We will both be busy this week, weather permitting.

Chuck and I received a wonderful gift from the Duprees as a thank you for watching their horses for a week.  Captain Farwell's Hansen Handbook (copyright 1951), they are kind of hard to come by.  The book descends from the original handbook of Captain Sofius Hansen and allows the user to navigate from Olympia, WA thru to Attu Island, AK. The tables correct all magnetic courses for changes in variation and it provides every aid to navigation along the way. 

Being a large fishing community we have seen several copies in the houses we have sat for, the oldest one was very fragile in it's original leather binding and and had handwritten notes on several pages.  Very cool.

Captain Farwell's Hansen Handbook (copyright 1951

Better things to do

By The Skipper:

After a couple of days of "Welcome to Petersburg" rain, the weather has turned fine with bright sunshine, clear as a bell skies and temperatures near 70f. Yesterday I finally put the pedals, seats and fenders on our bicycles so Laura and I could go for a ride down to the Harbor to check on Lealea.  We reinstalled the trim pieces Laura had removed during her painting project then had lunch and a pint at Kito's Kave. After riding back to the house and cat we are caring for we relaxed on the porch. The bikes, polished aluminum GT triple triangle hardtail frames, ca. 1994, by the way, are like new thanks to friend Jim, proprietor of Petersburg's "LifeCyclery" who brought them back from the dead after more than two years stuffed in the lazarette. Jim by coincidence, is the former owner of Williwa, the 1969 vintage Vega I recently helped take to Port Townsend.

The bikes are a delight to ride.  We are glad we decided to bring our full size mountain bikes rather than give them up for heavier, less capable, albeit easier to stow, folders.  Laura took off on her bike just now for the veterinary clinic. I am having my second up of java, listening to KFSK and planning (Yes planning) the rest of my day. First, of course, I will ride down to the harbor to check on Lealea.  I need to shop for project supplies. I have to go to the Post Office sometime today. Then there is that new  trail recently completed while I was gone.

The point of this, other than to thank Jim again,  is to say that it is another rare dry, warm day in Petersburg and I do not intend to spend it at the computer. 

Chuck's GT Hardtail Mountain Bike

Petersburg to Port Townsend-Six weeks. Return trip 12 hours

By The Skipper:

On Wednesday, August 13th, Tom had Williwa hauled out for a bottom job and replacement of through hulls and sea cocks, then to be put on a trailer for shipment to San Diego. I boarded the shuttle bus at the Port Townsend Boat Haven for SEATAC and my Alaska Air flight back to Petersburg. In the end, it took us five weeks to get from SE Alaska to the San Juan Islands in NW Washington and another very enjoyable week to complete the voyage to Port Townsend. 

We lost a crew member in Prince Rupert, BC due to delays caused by weather - just goes to show you have to allow more time than you think for a trip like this. We learned a lot, met some wonderful, helpful people, had a great time and a little adventure along the way. While we were in Friday Harbor I had a health issue that got me a helicopter ride to Bellingham and an over night stay in the cardiac ward but I was released in time for us to attend the annual Pacific Northwest VEGAtarian Rendezvous at Port Browning, BC, enjoy a reunion with several old friends and introduce them to the newest member of the Vega fraternity. 

After the Rendezvous, we returned to San Juan Island, then made for Port Townsend Boat Haven and the end of the voyage. Now, only two months after buying his first boat, Tom has logged cruising experiences most people only dream of while I am thinking maybe Laura and I will make the trip down the inside passage to the Port Townsend Boat Haven next year in Lealea. She (Lealea, not Laura) needs a coat of paint anyway.

PS:  I took copious notes and a few photos and some video along the way.  I will be working up a full report soon.

Journey Complete

by the First Mate

Williwa arrived safely in Port Townsend yesterday afternoon.  After a two month trip down the Inside Passage the first leg of her journey is over and she will now be hauled out and transported by trailer to her new home in San Diego. I look forward to Chuck's post and can't wait to see video and pictures of the trip. 

It is a rainy day here in Petersburg and we are expecting nearly two inches of precipitaton in the next 24 hours. I had hoped to install the interior trim pieces this afternoon but when I went to pick them up I decided they were in need of a fourth coat of varnish. I am using the back room of the vet clinic as a work space so it is no surprise but as I was applying the last coat I was thinking of our "Cat Hairs in the Varnish" video and of Bree and I was thinking there wouldn't be any hairs this time when one drifted down out of no where and landed perfectly in the wet spot. I miss our cat.

Trying something new with the MinWax Polycrylic.  I did not want to use Cetol for the 
interior and I didn't want to buy a whole new quart of interior varnish, turns out I barely used a third of an 8oz can for this job.  It went on differently than varnish which is why I needed four coats but I am happy with the results.....except for that one hair. 

Leaving the trim pieces to finish drying at the clinic I headed down to the boat.  I was able to re-install the wooden trim in the v-berth and remove all of the blue tape but found everything too damp to get much else done and I need a dry day to proceed.  I still need to put new weather stripping on the forward hatch, wash all the cushion covers and curtains and stow everything back in the v-berth.  With any luck the boat will be squared away by the time Chuck returns.


Checked out.

by the First Mate

Good news.  Chuck is out of the hospital and on his way back to Friday Harbor.  

Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes, they were very much appreciated.

Chuck and Tom expect to be in Port Browning for the Vega Rendezvous on the 5th.

Minor Scare

by the First Mate

Chuck was medivaced out of Friday Harbor this morning to a hospital in Bellingham. Atrial fibrillation is the initial diagnosis. He willl be staying overnight for observation but at this time it looks like he will be released in the morning pending results from his EKG. 

Luckily he was around good friends who took very good care of him. 

I will post more tomorrow when we have the results and I know anything more.


By the Skipper:

We have simply missed the window that would allow us to reach Lopez Island in time for the Vega Rendezvous.

Once the Rendezvous is removed from the equation, knowing that the weather is not likely to get better as we get into September, the question is reduced to: How badly do we want to go back to NW Washington? Bad enough to endure a 700 mile beat to windward with the possibility of encountering southerly gales? When we think of the opportunity to continue cruising Southeast AK for a while longer the choice is simple.

We are heading back to Petersburg taking the "Scenic route".  Once we settle in there we will resume uploading videos of our travels and adding content to the web site.

The best laid plans....

By the First Mate

Checking the weather daily and it is not looking good.  We had thought yesterday might be the day but after checking PassageWeather again that morning it became obvious we would not make it far enough South before unfavorable winds set in.  The boat is ready to go, we are ready to go...but at this point we are looking at our options. None of them are bad, just not what we had planned.  

SE Alaska had a mild winter and a beautiful summer, the best in 25 years according to some locals and it is possible our luck has run out.  After six years of cruising we are used to having our plans disrupted by the weather so we will take it in stride.

The winds are always fair if you go where they want to take you.

Waiting in Craig

Waiting in Craig

By the First Mate

Our transit through Wrangell Narrows and El Capitan Passage were both uneventful and amazing.  The wildlife in Sea Otter Sound was abundant and we found many quiet and scenic anchorages along the way.  We got some great video along the way and can't wait to share. 

We arrived in Craig a few days ago and are beginning to prepare Lealea for another open water passage, hopefully a short one.  From here to the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is just over 700 miles so wind and weather permitting we should take anywhere from 10 days to Two Weeks. LOL! We are hoping to make it in time for the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. 

PassageWeather is predicting light Southerly winds through Friday. Not what we are looking for but it looks like Saturday the prevailing NW winds start up again. If forecast remains the same over the next few days then Sat will be our departure day. 

Meanwhile there is lots to do....

IPA in Auke Bay, Alaska

By the First Mate

Arrived in Auke Bay on Friday (Juneau).  We have spent the last few days doing some grocery shopping and sightseeing before we begin making our way South again.  Looking at the calendar we have decided not to proceed any farther North or we run the risk of having to stay another winter in Alaska. Not necessarily a bad thing but the boat is in need of a haul out and we would rather do that in Port Townsend.

At the moment we are sitting in the "Squires Rest" taking advantage of their internet access to make a quick post to the Log Book and upload a short video update. Most likely we will not have internet access for another month when we swing through Petersburg for one last grocery run before heading out Stevens Passage and down the coast.

We have so far been blessed with a perfect summer. Meeting other cruisers, finding amazing anchorages and taking hours of video.  We have lots of fun stuff to share....hint, another grounding....

Thanks to everyone sending emails, we enjoy reading them all.

And finally, many thanks to Captain Dan and the crew of F/V Liahona for the tea and cookies!

No. We have not been et by bears.

By the Skipper:

No. In fact we have only seen one bear so far this season on the beach at Kuiu Island.  We are still happily cruising in some of the more remote, wild and beautiful parts of Southeast Alaska.   After spending a day or three each in deserted anchorages along the mainland coast North of Petersburg (Depending on the number of deer flies), we called at Kake for water and groceries.  Thank you to Roy, M/V Peacemaker, for sharing a couple of favorite anchorages not in the guide books, fresh fish, several ounces of good Canadian whiskey, good fellowship and hot showers aboard his boat at Honeydew Cove in the Keku Islands.

After Honeydew we made our way to Baranof Warm Springs where we tied up with the seine fishing fleet. Thanks to F/V Redemption, F/V Anita and F/V Miss Roxanne for the fresh King Salmon and crab. Beginning to see why we prefer the seine boats as neighbors over the many motor yachts? From the fishermen we learned about a secluded and secure anchorage at Ell Cove where we spent the next two nights.

We needed fuel so we went to Angoon where we learned that the guide books, including the 2011 edition of the US Coast Pilot, that indicate that fuel is available at the easily approached village pier in Chatham Strait are out of date by fifteen years! the "New" fuel dock is in Kootznahoo inlet.  After a brief conversation with the harbor master on the VHF he told us "Oh yeah.  You won't have any trouble getting in". (The guide books, including the Coast Pilot, all say "Don't try it without local knowledge"). We won't bore you with details but rocks, reefs, shoals, eddys and a 7 knot current made the entrance an interesting exercise in piloting. Nevertheless, we managed to get fuel and find a mooring alongside with only a minor scuff on the side of the boat that cleaned off easily with a little scrubbing.

Now we are in the village of Tenakee Springs.  The official population is said to be 100 souls although the locals tell us it is more like 40 people and 60 dogs. We like it here so we are planning to stay over the July 4th weekend and enjoy the celebrations.  We even volunteered to help with the cleanup effort after the parade.

Meanwhile, we are having the time of our lives!

Aloha no ka'kou, a hui ho!

Tenakee Springs, Alaska

By the First Mate

Arrived in Tenakee on Saturday night and after speaking to several of the locals we have decided to stay for their 4th of July celebration.  Where else could you have the opportunity to participate in slug toss or a slug race?  We have been hiking and taking advantage of  the natural hot springs nearly every day.

We plan to leave on the 5th, weather permitting, and make our way to either Hoonah or Auke Bay to do some reprovisioning.  To our dismay the summer is slipping away and we won't have time to travel as far North as Haines but instead we'll make the turn into Stephens Passage and allow ourselves more time to explore Tracy and Endicott arms.

It has been a beautiful trip and so far we have had many days of sunshine.

Will post again when we can.  

Wind and Currents

Port Alexander public float

Today is bright, sunny and dry.  The wind is blowing 25 knots from the north against the current setting up 5 ft wind waves and effectively pinning us in port for another day or two.
Main Street, Port Alexander, AK

But Port Alexander is not a bad place to hole up for a few days. (above: looking up "Main Street" in PA)

More about Port Alexander

By the Skipper:
After leaving Sitka, we motored down the outside (West) coast of Baranov Island to Whale Bay where we spent two nights in a small bight called Kritoi Basin.  We put our inflatable kayak in the water and spent an afternoon paddling around the perimiter of the basin, stopping for a picnic lunch on shore before retuning to the boat.  The next morning we saw a mama brown bear with two cubs on the far bank! Next day we went farther down the coast to Puffin bay and another small cove where we anchored near a stream outlet surrounded by salmon making their way upstream to spawn.
We are now in the little fishing village of Port Alexander, Alaska.  The cruising guides do not have much to say about PA.  Understandable with no amenities usually sought by yachties like fuel, dockside wi-fi, 30amp and 50amp power, restaurants, washrooms, shopping or entertainment.  There are no roads or motor vehicles.  The only way in or out is by float-plane or boat.  There are about 35 full  time residents (All very colorful and friendly) and a small fishing fleet.  The village is served twice a week in the summer (Once a week in winter) by a supply scow that brings in the mail and fuel for the fishing boats.
That is the reason we are here: we needed fuel.  We arrived yesterday and found a tiny snack shop at the head of the single float called The Problem Corner, Ember, proprietor, where we were told that the Eyak, supply scow, was due in "Probably tomorrow or the next day" and they might sell us some diesel fuel.
It was noon and the fishing fleet was mostly out so we asked if there might be an internet connection somewhere.  There is;  in Bear Hall, a sort of combination community house and library up the boardwalk next to the small K-through-12 school that serves the eleven children in the village.
Continuing up the boardwalk we found the Laughing Raven Lodge, a family charter fishing operation, and met TJ, the cook and Molly the manager and her father Pete of whom we inquired if we might find showers and maybe a meal.  Since they were under booked this week they had a room available at a very reasonable price. The menu that evening featured fresh halibut caught by their other guests.  The result was that we enjoyed a wonderful meal, served family style with Pete, Molly, her husband Ryan who captains the Albin 31 sport fishing boat, and their four car-dealer guests from Florida.  The talk was mostly about fishing and the car business.  One of the guests was wearing a Harley-Davidson T-shirt so of course we talked a bit about motorcycles too.
After supper, the guests, exhausted by a full day of fishing and facing a 6am departure for another of the same, departed for bed while Molly, Ryan and us stayed at the table talking about the best places to cruise in this part of Alaska.  Out came the charts and Molly and Ryan shared their favorite anchorages with us. Pete, having brought the family here in 1974 in his steel ketch, Blue Jacket, and Ryan were a fertile source of maritime knowledge (and sea stories).
The Eyak arrived today and the friendly crew, curious about the tiny sailboat from Honolulu, was more than happy to sell us 15 gallons of fuel at a surprisingly reasonable price.
We would love to stay in Port Alexander a while but time is getting short and we have to find a place to spend the winter. We will let you know as soon as we figure it out. Once we are settled in for the winter, assuming we have good internet access, I will get working on the web site again.We will update here as often as possible meanwhile.


Port Alexander

By the Skipper:

Now in the little fishing village of Port Alexander after stops in Whale Bay and Puffin Bay on the west coast of Baranov Island.  Using a public computer now so I will have to keep this brief.  Laura took a lot of photos and video that should be pretty spectacular. I will hike back down to the boat and put together a more detailed post later.

Farewell Bree

It is a sad day aboard Lealea.  Our Boatswain of 16 years is no longer with us.  She was our loyal companion for every voyage but, alas, an old cat will develop health problems no matter how well cared for.  Bree started getting ill a few weeks ago and we took her to the veterinary hospital in Sitka when we arrived for a check up.  She stayed in the hospital overnight and was diagnosed with kidney failure.  We made the difficult decision to put her to sleep before she suffered too much.

We have shed a lot of tears but we have a lot of fond memories.  We know she is happier now that the Rumble Monster will no longer trouble her.

Safe Arrival, perfect landfall

Arrived Sitka, AK 35 days from Nawiliwili, HI Yesterday, August 3.  Had a great trip! Battery a bit low so will fill in details in a day or two.  Lots of video to edit and upload so it will take some time.  We will be in Sitka for about 5 days and cruising SE AK for the next few weeks.


Chuck and Laura
and Bree

"The High"

ByThe Skipper:


Still waiting for weather. We missed a 24 hour window last week, perhaps being too timid, but we judged a snug mooring preferable to bashing to windward in marginal conditions.


So we wait. Best guess for departure is now possibly Friday or Saturday. The North Pacific High, which governs all sailing decisions in the North Pacific, is uncharacteristicly far to the West of its usual location and is causing all sorts of mischief with the weather this year.


We will depart when the wind turns favorable. Soon,we hope.

Kauai (Weather)

by The Skipper:

After receiving updated weather reports at 1800 and experiencing increasing winds and seas in the Kauai Channel, we decided to make for Nawiliwili rather than coninue Northward off an increasingly dangerous lee shore.  We put Lealea on a broad reach in front of winds clocking 25 to 30 knots and ten foot seas on the starboard quarter, making for Nawiliwili harbor at 8 knots.

Once again, we find ouselves passing the time, waiting for favorable winds.  Forecasts indicate that may not be until next Thursday.


By The Skipper:

We were too exhausted to depart as scheduled on Thursday so we decided to delay long enough to get rested so we could be fresh when we set sail.  It being bad luck to depart on Friday, a Saturday departure it shall be.  So log our sailing date as June 16, 2012

Cruising the Islands

By The Skipper:

For the past month or so we have been cruising the quieter parts of Hawaii, although we did visit Lahaina briefly.  First we sailed to Hale o' Lono (Lono Harbor on the chart) on the Southwest corner of Molokai.  Lono is an abandoned barge harbor  with no amenities whatsoever - no water, no restrooms, nothing but crumbling wharves and what we call "Kiawe" here in Hawaii, better known as Mesquite in the Southwest.  Lono is almost always deserted save for an occasional cruising boat.  The harbor also serves as an assembly point for the escort boats that accompany the outrigger canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard races from Molokai to Oahu.

After a week at Lono, we sailed to Manele Bay, Lanai.  While at Manele, we took the ferry to Lahaina for a day, ate lunch at the Lahaina Yacht Club and strolled around like the rest of the tourists then returned to Lanai at sunset.  During the three weeks we stayed at Lanai we enjoyed plenty fresh fish and, a real treat, venison steaks courtesy of the friendly locals.

Now back in Honolulu for just three days, we did our Costco run this morning; Laura is busy repackaging and stowing provisions for our voyage to Alaska.  She prefers to perform this task herself, mainly because a second hand is just in the way.

Scheduled departure is Thursday Noon...

Weather permitting.

Is that brownies I smell?

By the Skipper:

lealea with true blue

Lealea Rafted up with True Blue and the Cruising Grannies.

You meet the nicest people while waiting for weather.

Never Carve Anything in Stone

By The Skipper:


Departed Ala Wai at a little after seven yesterday headed for Molokai.  We sailed out of the harbor (No engine) in fine style, set all plain sail and proceeded out toward the Diamond Head Buoy.  On clearing the headland we ran into 25kt East winds and 9 ft seas, also from the East.  After a time of pounding to weather, bearing off, reefing and finally taking down the main altogether we decided that there would be better ways to spend the day than beating ourselves up trying to get to windward in these conditions (Predicted to persist through the weekend).


We considered running down to Ko'Olina or Overnighting to Kauai; conditions being perfect for running West.  In the end, however, we elected to return to PBYC where we rafted up with True Blue, also waiting for an opportune time to depart.  The Weather forecast is for the current conditions to continue through the weekend.  That being the case, we will not be departing for any destination to windward until next week.Since we are now in full sea mode, the computers and AC power cord are stowed.  We are posting this from the public terminal at PBYC.


On the plus side, this weekend is the monthly Marine Swap Meet at the Fuel Dock and the Hawaii Waterman's Challenge and we are comfortably ensconced at the perfect vantage point.


We will try to post daily updates here until we set sail, weather permitting.


We plan to be casting off in a few hours so this is just a quick post to let everyone know that we will be out of touch while we explore some of the more out of the way places in Hawaii.

For anyone that hasn't heard.....

By the First Mate

Congratulations to Matt Rutherford, who last week completed his Solo, Non-stop circumnavigation of the America's in an Albin Vega 27. 

And we thought we were low in the water...visit the  VODA Magazine for photos of the boat and a full account of Matt's arrival.

Last BBQ on the lanai tomorrow night.  We are finding ourselves mentally saying "goodbye" to all the little things.  Trades are blowing and the surf is up.   There is a surf contest being held today at Kaisers.

Grocery run is set for Saturday.


Countdown Begins

By the First Mate

Chuck gave our notice at the Fuel Dock this morning. 

We have been busy working on small projects here and there but really we are ready.  All that is left is a grocery run.

Our plan is to leave the Ala Wai sometime between Sat. and Monday, weather depending and head for Molokai. 

Lanai, Maui and Kauai are all possible other stops.  We will post along the way depending on internet connection. 

Weather (What else?)

By The Skipper:

We are now down to groceries and weather.  Our new sail arrived Monday morning and we wasted no time getting it up to ensure that the fit was correct.  That accomplished we re-stowed the sail and began putting things away.  Now it is time to call Les and have him clean the bottom and retrieve our anchor from the tangle behind PBYC.

Of course there are always chores to be done and little projects of minor repair or improvement but we are essentially ready for sea with nothing more than the usual getting under way evolution to be accomplished.  Our intent is to sail to Hale Lono on Molokai and decompress in the anchorage there (Shouldn't take long).  Then we may make our way upwind to Maui or go back to Manele Bay.  We will make one last stop in Honolulu for groceries on our way North at the beginning of June... least, that's the plan.

South Swells

By the First Mate

It is another beautiful day in paradise.  We spent the morning drinking coffee and watching the harbor activity.  South swells are making the surfing in front of Waikiki most excellent for this time of year.

Chuck has taken a walk in search of the correct type of lighter refill which will fit our Ancor Torch so he can complete the wiring on our new stern light today.

Some disappointing news on our new sail.  We picked it up yesterday and made to hank it on but 4 of the new hanks did not work properly. The sailmaker sent someone over to pick it up first thing this morning so we should have it back shortly.

There are other small chores on our list to be completed before we start North but nothing that can't be done while at anchor somewhere.

Our set of Alaska charts have arrived.     

Today's "A" List Project

By The Skipper:

Replacing all of the deck level running lights.

We got an early start on this rainy morning.  Laura polished the surface rust off the pulpit and anchor roller.  Of course the new housings do not fit the old brackets (Stainless steel plate, welded to the pulpit and stern rail). Solution: Scrounge up an odd shaped offcut of teak and cut three four-inch squares, 3/4 inch thick. Shape with a rasp, sand, apply three coats of Cetol Marine sealer and attach new lamps. After lunch, or when ever it stops raining, I will attach the teak blocks to the old mounts and finish off the wiring.

We came up with a couple of other possible solutions to the problem of the new lights not fitting the old brackets, but this seems the easiest, cheapest and probably best looking option.

New Running lights on Teak mounts

Now on the "A" list....

By the First Mate

A simple light bulb.  Murphy loves boaters.

Moving from the "B" list to the "A" list.  The seemingly simple task of changing a lightbulb turned into a $140.00 trip to West Marine.  The screws on our Starboard side navigation light would not come out even after several treatments with WD40 and, of course, if you change one light fixture you may as well change the other....and so it goes.

Chuck is finishing our next video on the Navigators role in Voyage Planning which should be done in a few days.

Other than that we are simply waiting for a call from the sailmaker.  


By the First Mate

Chuck and I continue to check items off our respective lists while adding a few new ones. 

On the First Mates list items checked off: Remove, make and re-stitch the leather coverings on the Head and Tack of our #3 jib. Alter the companionway canvas to give it a more secure fit and a handful of other small sewing projects that should make our next crossing a bit more comfortable. Along that thought, we've decided its time to replace the foam cushion on our bunk in the main cabin.

Our Alaska Charts and Pilot books are on order and on their way.  Chuck added our waypoints into the computer yesterday and will mark the charts when they arrive.  We have one light bulb that needs replacing and one masthead light that might yet see the wrath of Chuck (possible replacement).  

The monthly Swap Meet at the Fuel Dock is tomorrow morning, maybe we will find something we need...then we will take a stroll on deck, drink a cup of coffee and go through our check list one more time.  

All that is left is the arrival of our new sail and milder weather.


By The Skipper:

Having gone through the vessel checklist and identified a few things that need attention we have been pretty busy the past few days.  We are well into the "B" list now, as far as the boat is concerned.  Time to turn to navigation.
I got serious, today, about the navigation phase of voyage planning.  I got on line and located what looks like three likely pubs within one NM of the transient docks in Sitka.  I have had the weather patterns, currents, shipping lanes and the Japanese tsunami debris field in mind for some time now but had yet to turn to this most important detail.  With this out of the way, I can enter final waypoints and lay off a course.
We will  continue preparing the boat - you can never be truly finished with that task - and when the new genoa arrives, we will do our final provisioning run and wait for fair winds and favorable weather.


By the Skipper:

I thought we had two burned out fans and figured to replace one of them today.  I had ordered a new fan assembly from Jamestown.  I thought the new unit, although different from the old one, would fit close enough to work but no such luck.  On the other hand, in disassembling the old set-up, I discovered that the problem was not the fan motor after all.  It was the switch!  Easily fixed. I cleaned up the wiring in the forepeak and got rid of the non-functioning fan. Other than ending up with a new fan that I have no use for, not a bad day's work.

Lessons in Sailing: Always attach a messenger line

By The Skipper:

The sail maker came by to measure Lealea for her new genoa.   Remarking that he usually attached a messenger line but would forgo it this time, he attached his tape to the jib halyard and hoisted it to the masthead.  When he pulled it taught, the tape came down leaving the halyard at the masthead.  I could not help but laugh out loud.  Embarrassed, he fetched another tape from his truck and, after attaching a messenger line, sent it aloft on the spare halyard and got his measurement.

I told him not to worry about it; that I would go aloft and retrieve the halyard myself.  Unfortunately, I was unable to haul myself up the mast with the four-part tackle we have for the purpose, a rather depressing surprise to me.  I will have to make a rope ladder for the purpose.   Meanwhile, I will have to ask the sail maker to come back and retrieve the halyard.

Just one more way to spend money....

By the First Mate

Off to visit Art Nelson Sailmakers this morning. After reviewing our stock of sails we decided it was time to replace the Genoa. Chuck is fairly certain it wasn't made for this boat but it was on board when he bought Lealea.  In our travels we have only used the Genoa a few times but it's so out of shape it really only works when poled out.  We expect some downwind sailing on our way to Alaska and there is no point in having a sail onboard that does not perform properly.  Our number three jib also needs some minor repairs but Laura can take care of that.
Order sail-Check

Morning Coffee

by The Skipper:

We have come to enjoy and look forward to the gathering of PBYC neighbors every morning for coffee and conversation on the back lanai.  The group includes Annie and Coco who likes to play with Boo.  Surfer Ann will be trading jibes with the Commodore before they head out to Kaiser's for a morning surf session.  Sam and Ian have gone to the mainland but Mike is back from California.  Lin moved her boat over to the state docks and flew back to the mainland to work.

So it goes.  Does John need help with his mast today? Chuck, Laura, Sam, Wally and Albert will be available and others will pitch in.

Anyone racing this Friday need crew? Ask Curtis.

Ann has a car and is driving to West Marine.  Does anyone need a ride?  

Is anyone going to the Jimmy Buffet concert next week?

No one?


Winter in the Tropics

Drizzly rain, temperature is 72 degrees.  Coffee flowing by the buckets at the Fuel Dock today. I was up early this morning to thunder and lightning in the distance and we heard reports of hail in Kaneohe this morning.  Another Flash Flood Warning has just been broadcasted and is in effect until 5pm this evening. The Friday night racers will be out this evening.  Another front is expected tomorrow morning with expected winds of 20-25 from the East. 

Reflections in weather

By the First Mate

Heavy wind and rains into late last night.  We have been hearing rumors of several boats sinking and read in the paper this morning about a 50' Catamaran which sank after being struck by lightning in Keihi Lagoon.  I am glad we were tied up at the dock.

The sun is out this morning.  The water is a bit brown but the surfers are back out.  More weather expected Thursday.

Reflections-Waikiki, Hawaii photo by Laura Wong-Rose

Answering some questions:

Yes, Spike Africa was Sterling Hayden's First Mate on Wanderer.

Given the popularity of our "D Minus Ten-Preparation" video, Chuck is working on a series of articles and videos covering planning and preparation.

We do not have access to any new weather information at sea so we rely on seasonal trends and the latest forecast we can get.  After that we just deal with it.

We might.  We have found several Burgoo recipes that are not quite so weird as Jones'

We never really know. Some pressure to head South but we really want to visit Alaska.

When the wind is fair.

Rainy Sunday

By The Skipper:

Unusual for Honolulu, it has been overcast and rainy all day.  Even in the Winter rainy season the usual weather is occasional showers on the windward side and mountain areas with sunny periods between showers.  The rain put a bit of a damper on the first Sunday of the month marine swap meet at the Fuel Dock but Curtis sold more coffee than usual.  Laura ordered up a "Trash Can" omelette for us to split for breakfast.  We ate at the picnic table on the back lanai and chatted with crews from a couple of other cruising boats that were waiting for weather to head North.

This afternoon we have been hanging on the boat, listening to big band swing on the radio interrupted by the occasional flash-flood warning. One of our neighbors commented "Just like Seattle!"  No, we point out.  We are barefoot and it is eighty degrees; and we know that the sun will come out tomorrow.

This is the Log of the Sailing Vessel Lealea, recounting the sail cruising life; voyaging, sailing and living aboard a small boat in the Pacific Northwest,  the San Juan Islands, the Canadian Gulf Islands, Alaska, British Columbia, Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific. Cat and crew set off in 2007 to voyage and live aboard at sea seeking a simpler life in harmony with nature. We seek to avoid the crowds, complication and stress of life as we have known it in the business world. City society is just not for us. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to sail away from it all, follow us on our journey across the seas. Subscribe to our video logs on YouTube and check back here frequently for the latest updates. 

We will be voyaging to far away destinations that interest us, far from the cities and civilization, as we search for peace, health and the simple joy of living with nature rather than trying to bend her to our will. Our Motto: Quality of Life is inversely proportional to population density. Our operating philosophy is “Go small. Go simple. Go now.” Our vessel is the Albin Vega diesel auxiliary sloop Lealea, 27 feet on deck, 8 feet beam and 4 feet draft. The well seasoned and harmonious crew consists of Captain Chuck, First Mate Laura and Boatswain Bree T. Cat. There will be log entries concerning life at sea and in port; cooking, eating, watch keeping, maintenance and seamanship and how we manage the challenges our chosen life presents. Updates will be frequent when we are in port but we will not update this page when we are at sea.

d1 Month EasyPrep Food Storage
MREs from The Ready Store
MREs from The Ready Store