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The Logbook

Oktoberfest time again!

by the First Mate

Just got back from taking the dogs for a walk to the market and back.  

We seem to have put our thumbs in a whole bunch of pies this winter and are keeping busy. Dog sitting and house sitting by day where we have set up the computer gear and are doing our online stuff then sitting another house and cats at night.  

Oktoberfest this weekend with a bounty of events to choose from. We hope the rain continues to hold off until Sunday so we may comfortably walk into town and have some fun. First stop, the 38th Annual Oktoberfest Art Share at the Community Gym.  Local arts and crafts, Norwegian scarves and a ton of homemade goodies.  I picked up some homemade jam there last year that was fantastic.  

The emails we have gotten in response to our question posed on the Logbook a few days ago have made some interesting reading.  We have gotten some great feedback, mostly in support of us keeping things simple.  Decision made, no drones.  Thank you.

Another perk of house sitting is that we get to sit back and watch game 3 tonight. Another whooping like last night?  Or the night before?

Headlamps. Love them or hate them.

by the First Mate

Sailing at Night:  Can you see in the Dark.  If you have not had a chance to read Teresa Carey's article in Cruising World then take a few minutes.

Recently I took a trip aboard a 50' aluminum trawler and we made one part of our passage at night in the rain.  Although I was certainly more comfortable sitting in the Captain's chair in the heated cabin I found myself reaching a state of anxiety I have never felt before simply because I could not see outside.  Ambient light from the cabin and instruments reflected back in the window wiping out any night vision capabilities and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of relying solely on instruments.    

Chuck and I learned light discipline while we were aboard HMB Endeavour where there were no lights allowed on deck.  Period.  The compass was lit but kept covered and we steered by the stars when we could and the compass if we couldn't.  I distinctly remember the night Endeavour arrived in Hawaii as I was climbing to the Top Gallants to furl sail in the dark and we had boats coming along side that kept shining their spot lights into the rigging to "help" us see which actually made the situation much more dangerous.  

Aboard Lealea we use a single led red light, the kind you attach to a key chain, to light the compass.  We do not use headlamps.  In my opinion they are often used unnecessarily and create dangerous situations. I can think of several voyages I have made with crew who use headlamps and every time I have been completely blinded because the other person seemed to not be aware what happens when they look in your direction. 

Even on the darkest night we have never had a problem seeing or working on deck as long as there is no artificial lighting to ruin your night vision. 

Give your eyes some time to adjust, don't get in the habit of using a head lamp all the time and you will be surprised at how much more you can see.  


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.

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. 

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.

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.

It's the Week-End!

By the First Mate

A clear and comfortable Friday afternoon. Temp is 80 degrees, light trade winds blowing 10-15.  The Fuel Dock switched back to summer hours yesterday. The store is hopping busy. The laundry facility is full and boats are coming and going getting ready for the weekend. I would not want to be the owner of a power boat this summer.

Chuck has been busy writing articles and working on our sail plan. We have been checking the weather daily but it continues to be Winter in the Pacific.  

Wonder what kind of a sunset we will have tonight...... 

Fuel Prices 3/3/12   

Another Sailboat Lost

By The Skipper:

I have always said how dangerous the entrance to the Ala Wai can be, especially at night.

Friday night, after the races, a J24 went aground on the reef at the entrance to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.  In the morning, when the salvage effort began, the boat was still upright with the mast standing but hard aground and filled with water.  Amateur salvors managed to get her off the reef but she rolled over almost immediately and jammed her mast into the mud in the middle of the narrowest part of the channel.  They struggled with it for a couple of hours until the DLNR Enforcement boat showed up and chased them away.  A couple more hours went by before the Boat US Vessel Assist boat showed up with a diver and got the situation under control.  This makes two boats lost in the harbor entrance so far this year.

Meanwhile, hanging out at PBYC, watching the drama and having some fun, Laura bought some fresh Ahi from a local fisherman.  It was a good opportunity to play with our new camera.

Remembering old friends

By the First Mate

Shopping trip to Costco yesterday to top off food supplies. This morning will be spent labeling, stowing and shuffling food stocks. Chuck will spend the afternoon in the cockpit installing a through deck connector for the solar panels. Tick Tock 

Going through old pictures and came across my favorite one of an old friend "Spike Africa".  Link to the article I wrote in 2004 after crewing her from San Diego to Hawaii. Unfortunately the Save our Seas foundation was unable to get off its feet and Spike was sold then relocated to Friday Harbor, WA where she has been completely refurbished and is now being offered for charter. 

If you are in the area check her out.  
The Schooner Spike Africa-photo by Laura Wong-Rose

Eyes to the Horizon

By the First Mate

Boats coming and going.  Some leaving, some staying.  Chuck is on the lanai splicing a dockline which snapped a few weeks ago. The days have been mild and pleasant in port but there have been several boating incidents the last few weeks related to heavy weather.  We mentioned March for a possible target date to depart sailing around the Islands but we think we will wait a bit longer.   

Ala Wai Opera

By the First Mate

Boats that haven't moved in years, even before we left are now being worked on with a focused bustle that has been fun to watch. During the day boats all around are being worked on.  Varnishing, painting, masts being climbed and boats being outfitted. Then every night at sunset Chuck and I get to sit back and watch them go out and play. 

We have  been blessed to spend the winter here and have a ringside seat to the Ala Wai Opera, playing nightly. 

A day to recuperate

By the First Mate

Pancakes for breakfast.  Recovering from yesterday.  We had a great time driving the shuttle between yacht clubs.  The Waikiki Yacht Club shuttle is a pontoon boat that will hold 21 people. It gets really entertaining when at least half are drunk. We didn't lose anyone overboard so it was a good day. 
Chuck driving Waikiki Yacht Club Shuttle for Opening Day Feb 11, 2012

Opening Day

By the First Mate

Its Opening Day here in Hawaii....really. 

Opening Day races this afternoon. Both Hawaii Yacht Club and Waikiki Yacht Club participate and of course there are Yacht Club parties after. Chuck and I have volunteered to drive the shuttle between yacht clubs for the afternoon shuttling passengers to the parties. Great way to tour the harbor.   
Friday night races and fireworks followed by a BBQ on the lanai last night with music provided by the Commodore of PBYC. 

The days are ticking off and our departure time is getting closer.    

Kona Winds

By The Skipper:

"Kona Winds" in Hawaii, traditionally refers to the occasional southerlies but is also commonly used to describe any variation from the normal Northeast trade winds.  Yesterday, we were experiencing South to Southwest winds gusting to 25 knots.  This morning the winds are almost due West, though not as strong.  According to, the winds will diminish and swing around to the North, Northeast, then by the weekend, due East.  Next week is predicted to be dominated by light and variable conditions.

The prevailing Northeast or Easterly Trade Winds are what make Hawaii's weather so pleasant.  They also make for consistently great sailing conditions.  When the weather is "Kona" it makes for damp, clammy, overcast conditions; usually with little or no wind but when the wind does blow Kona it brings showers to Waikiki.  In trade wind conditions, the rain squalls blow in from the Northeast and hit the mountain range that runs the length of the island, dumping their rain on the windward side - Kailua and Kaneohe, leaving the South shore mostly dry.  When the wind turns Kona, those squalls from the South dump their moisture on Honolulu frustrating sunbathers on the beach at Waikiki and ruining fresh varnish in the harbor.

The hardships of winter in Hawaii: The temperature not yet 80f at noon, tanning session interrupted by rain showers, sailing conditions unreliable...

OTOH, Laura picked up groceries for a lamb curry for supper d8^)

Garbage Island

By the First Mate

Chuck and I found an interesting documentary on YouTube yesterday that I felt was worthy of sharing.  Garbage Island follows four students who are part of a research project whose goal is to verify the existence of the mythical "garbage patch" and investigate it's environmental impact.

We've both sailed across the Pacific several times and have seen a definite increase in the amount of floating trash plus the visible specs of plastic when you pull a bucket of water.  I have spent many hours in the cockpit on watch wondering how much was just below the surface.   

This was an eye opening documentary we would have thoroughly enjoyed if it weren't for the potty mouth geek dropping the "F" bomb frequently throughout the show and the completely unnecessary first kiss between crewmembers.  Be warned if you are sensitive.  Also remember the water samples shown are of what has been extracted from a trawl after being dragged behind the boat for 1 hour, not actual water samples. What we enjoyed most was watching four young people learn there is a life outside cellphones and ipads and how they coped with the "loss" of constant communication with the outside world.  Very entertaining.      

Enjoy-but screen before you share or let young ones watch.

Log of the Mahina

By the First Mate

Within a few weeks of moving aboard Lealea Chuck handed me a tattered and worn copy of a book called "Log of the Mahina".   It is a relatively quick read and takes the reader on a journey through the South Pacific in a time when sailing and navigation was not as simple as hitting a button on your roller furler or GPS.  I had much more respect for the Vega and its capabilities after finishing the book.
While recently sorting photos I came across a picture of "Mahina" whom we spotted during our stay in Friday Harbor.  The current owner is now teaching his children to sail in the boat his father bought  from John Neal.   The boat was in great shape and obviously well loved. 

Sunset sail

By the First Mate

I was treated to an evening sail last night by fellow cruisers from Australia on their Macgregor 65,' Rum Doodle.  It's always fun to go out on someone else's boat and see the different ways things are done. With a full array of electronics, self tacking staysail, and of course the ability to pop down below and grab a beer out of the fridge, we had a relaxing sail.  Since there wasn't much else to do we watched the sun go down with whale spouts blowing in the distance.  One could get spoiled living like that!


Puppy Drama

By the First Mate

While alternating between watching and helping our neighbor put his mast up yesterday, another tenant walked back to their boat to check on the dog.  I watched as she picked up the leash.  One end was still tied to the boat but the other was now dangling over the side.  When she lifted up the leash there was a tiny leather collar still attached... but no dog.  A courageous leap into the Ala Wai by his owner and Cocoa was found deep under the fixed pier having found a small ledge to climb onto.  Owner and dog are both perfectly fine. 

The mast went up with no problem at all.  None.  The crew celebrated with pizza and beer on the lanai. Just another day at PBYC.  


Monday, Monday.....

By the First Mate

Another beautiful day.  One of the tenants is putting their mast back up this morning after a mishap from the previous try.  Regardless, the mast is looking much better than when it came down and I know what a relief it will be to have their boat whole again.  

Research on Midway Atoll has begun.  Looks like a $1500.00 (deposit?) is required for the "monitoring device" required by Fish and Wildlife to visit the island.  Yikes!  We have an Aussie friend doing Tsunami debris research for UH.  Jim left before Thanksgiving and is due back soon.  His research took him by there so we looking forward to picking his brain when he returns. 

Just five days later and the last of FSOW's hull was chainsawed off the breakwater at Magic Island and hauled away via the water route by Vessel Assist.   Hard enough watching the boat run aground but to watch it be hauled away piece by piece.  Very sad.

But it is another beautiful day........


Kitty Drama

By the First Mate

You may have noticed the black kitten making an exit at the end of our video posted last week.  Boo, as I have taken to calling her, made her appearance at the fuel dock shortly before we arrived in July.  She was, even then, small for a kitten and had all the usual signs of being homeless.  Bald, ringworm, parasites, ear mites.  YUK, she had it all!  Now fully recovered she has assumed the role of PBYC mascot and is familiar with every regular who comes to the fuel dock.  She knows who can be sweet talked into sharing a bite of breakfast and who can be depended on for a good belly rub.  

Around Midnight I was awakened by something hitting the lifelines followed by the unmistakable sound of kitty paws scrabbling for a purchase on wet fiberglass.  I waited for the splash which never came but I didn't hear any thumps on deck indicating a successful recovery either.  Sure enough when I poked my head outside I could hear her attempts to climb out onto a work float in front of our boat but judging by the sounds she wasn't going to make it out on her own.  Luckily I was able to hop off the boat, onto the float and get hold of her. Once out of the water she was just happy someone had decided to come out and play.

So I'm going to have another cup of coffee and maybe take a nap later.  


Tweaks and fiddles

By The Skipper:

Working on a way to make our site more interesting and user friendly, especially the blog.  YouTube is changing formats soon so our YT channel will be looking different; not convinced it will be an improvement, but time will tell.  Look for changes to the Voyages page, possibly, to be replaced by our YouTube channel page.

Meanwhile, we are looking into ways to improve this blog to make it more flexible and interactive.  We may change site building tools or go to a different blog software.  I do not know yet - just beginning to get into it.  One suggestion was to try Wordpress. 

At this writing we are getting about equal traffic here and on YouTube.  I am not sure how much is duplication but it might be good to consolidate the feedback some way. One thing we are looking for is a better way to share Lauras photography while keeping it here on our own web site. We do not see good way for Laura to share her still photos on YouTube.  We just do not like slide shows on YT.  We go there for video and we think most other people do too.  We will be looking for better ways to present her photos here. Of course, as always, we welcome your suggestions.

Rough last few days....

By the First Mate

I have been a bit under the weather the last few days, possibly a stomach flu?  Chuck put up a video last night describing some of the events that happened around here and additionally we have heard a man broke his back that same day surfing at Pipeline on the North Shore.  Very sad.  

Chuck and I have been feverishly working on videos to upload before we take off.  We have ordered the replacement for our old handy cam which should arrive in another few days.  I can't wait to play with it and the Image Stabilization feature should be a relief for all.  In the mean time I'm having a great time just walking around Waikiki and playing with the Bloggie.  It has some serious limitations but for a small pocket camera I can carry everywhere, it does the job.


Armchair Sailing

By The Skipper:

Laura and I had a rather unusual Honeymoon when we were married in 1999.  We arranged to join the crew of HM Bark Endeavour, the Australian replica of the ship Captain James Cook sailed on his first voyage of discovery in the late eighteenth century, for a three-week voyage from Vancouver, BC to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  One of our shipmates on that voyage, Fran Taylor, aka "Fran the Gran" has traveled the world in tall ships and has written a book about her experiences.  Yes, Laura and I are mentioned.  It is a great read and we highly recommend Wind in My Wings for a wonderful first hand account of contemporary tall ship sailing.
Wind in My Wings

Creative Block

By The Skipper:

You may have noticed that Laura has been doing all the posting here recently.  I have been experiencing a sort of writers block the past couple of weeks.  I did manage to get a video uploaded but I have been frustrated in reaching my daily goal of writing 500 words and producing three minutes of finished video.

Walking around the harbor, taking photos and shooting video for the past week have yielded practically no usable material for what I had hoped would be our next project, a detailed look at the Ala Wai boat Harbor and the surrounding area.  We are about to run out of at-sea video so my usual formula won't work and I have not been able to come up with anything I would be willing to publish. 

Fortunately, Laura is not having this problem.  You can thank her for the photography she has been adding to the site and probably for the next couple of videos we will be uploading as well.  Meanwhile,I will try to polish up some of the articles I have written in the past and try to overcome this stumbling block.  I am sure it  is only temporary and as soon as we get to sea again everything will be fine.

Ending the Season

By the First Mate 

Regatta season ended yesterday for the canoe paddlers. This last race was six miles long and there were some very tired looking crews coming in.  We have enjoyed sitting on the lanai Saturday mornings and cheering on the paddlers, especially the younger ones. Paddling is a long standing tradition here in the islands and whole families will show up to cheer on a daughter or son.  Great excuse for a BBQ too!

Canoes waiting for the final race


Time is flying by

By the First Mate

We had coffee this morning with a couple visiting from Arizona who were catching "The Pride of America" later this morning to cruise the Hawaiian Islands.  When telling them about our trip it hit home that we have been here for seven months already.  The months have flown by and it is nearly time for us to be moving on again.  

In a few more weeks we will start getting serious about checking items off the "to do" list which is thankfully short.  In the mean time we will continue to work on our videos and sit back on the lanai and enjoy the warmth and the view while we can.

Friday Night races in the Ala Wai Harbor


A Walk in the Park

By the First Mate

We spent yesterday straightening the boat and washing the carpets.  One of our neighbors has recently made the jump from landlubber to liveaboard and expressed an interest in seeing our boat to get some ideas for her Catalina 27.  We don't often have visitors aboard so watching peoples reactions is interesting.  We've seen everything from undisguised horror to sheer delight.  We love our boat, it's our home.  Our neighbor left with a glint in her eye and a few ideas of her own.  Knowing her it won't be long before she is calling her boat "home" as well.   

Ala Moana Beach Park-"Tree Art"

Harbor Politics

By the First Mate

The Trades are back and the sun is out again.  We had both box jellyfish and Portuguese Man-O-War washing up on the beaches yesterday, hopefully I can get back in the water tomorrow.  

Yesterday also saw a further decline to the Ala Wai Harbor. There is a large homeless population, some of whom have moved into the public washrooms in the harbor making them uncomfortably impossible to use.  The State, having decided they are unable (or unwilling) to remove them, has simply decided to restrict the public washrooms to office business hours only and they will be closed on weekends.  This achieves nothing but to further reduce services to the public and "inconvenience" the homeless by making them move outside when the doors are locked. 

I don't have a good solution and am saddened by the increasing number of people I see living on the streets but I am certain closing the washrooms to all is not going to solve anything.

That's all I'm going to say about that. 


Battery Randolph

By the First Mate

We decided to take a walk through the Fort Derussy Army Museum yesterday, mostly to take advantage of the air conditioning and get out of the balmy weather.  It has been about six years since we last walked through and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the reception area.  It must have been a slow day...

Battery Randolph-Shining the light on another time.

Captain Crutch

By the First Mate

Chuck had an appointment with the VA this morning.  His knee has been acting up and giving him some grief.  LOL, he and came back in a knee brace and crutches.  He said he tried explaining to the doctor that crutches don't work well on a boat....landlubbers.

The Kona winds are expected to continue until Friday.  Yuk, hot and sticky weather until then.

Windy Sunday

By the First Mate

We are expecting Southerly winds of 15-20 with gusts up to 40 until Friday. Chuck and I spent the morning drinking coffee on the lanai watching boat traffic deal with the rough conditions.   None of the canoe clubs are paddling outside the channel after one of the first canoes out was swamped and had to be towed back in.  Mai Tai and Waikiki Rigger have also cancelled their "Booze Cruise" trips for today.

There are some folks who are happy though.....


Morning Walks

By the First Mate

I usually get up early to go for a walk and watch the city wake up, this being one of my favorite views.  I hope it starts your day off as well as it did mine. 


A sad state

By the First Mate

We haven't spoken much about the Ala Wai since our return.  I have been going for daily walks and taking pictures thinking of how to describe the decline of the largest yacht harbor in the state of Hawaii.

One of the major changes that occurred while we were away was the closing of the Ala Wai Boatyard.  The Boatyard was once the only full service boatyard within 2,500 miles and the closing of this yard leaves a huge hole which will probably never be filled.  Similar to airports, once they are closed there is no turning back.  The current plan for the property is to build a wedding chapel, restaurant and (to fill the terms of the lease) a small boat haul-out (under 20').  When I think of weddings and "something blue" my first thought should not be of bottom paint. 

Having just come from the PNW where boating is so popular it amazes me the State does not recognize the immediate value of their local boating community. Since the state needs to generate more income why not improve the facilities and encourage local and transient boaters to come and use them. However, with the exception of our stay in Lanai, we have noticed a pervasive negative attitude in the staff working the state run harbors. Transient boaters receive a cold shoulder upon arrival and locals are treated with often undisguised disdain.

A sad sign of the times when no one will take responsibility.  

Farewell AWM

Spring Cleaning

By the First Mate

O.K. so it's not spring yet but we spent all day yesterday cleaning the boat inside and out.
We have a pair of doves making a nest in our radar reflector and they make a heck of a mess but we don't have the heart to evict them...yet, and besides they provide Bree (and us) with some serious entertainment.  Chuck got to work with the deck brush and hose, then spent some time re-arranging items in the cockpit lockers while I emptied, cleaned and re-organized a few storage areas. 

I am going to toss a date out there and say we are thinking to head out at the beginning of March to start cruising the islands.  Weather permitting of course.....

Maynard G. Krebs

By The Skipper:

Work!?! Before he was Gilligan, he was Maynard G. Krebs on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis".  If you remember that, you are at least as old as I am.  If you never saw the Dobie Gillis show you really should check it out on YouTube.  Classic Bob Denver.

You may be noticing some changes around the web site.  While we are waiting for sea conditions to improve in the spring, we are working on this site and on our videos.  It does not feel so much like work but it is a productive activity that brings in a few dollars.

Laura is busy editing and uploading her photos.  She is also working on a new video series on cooking at sea and is recording her recipes so we can post them on new pages we will be adding to the web site.  Meanwhile, I am working on editing the video footage from our recent cruising in Hawaii (It is digital, of course, so there is no "Footage" but I do not know what else to call it).  Another project I am working on is sorting and editing articles I have written.  We will be adding new pages to the site to accomodate Lauras photography and recipes as well as my essays.  It is a lot of material so please be patient and check back often.

Please let us know what you think of the changes we are making.  Like the new banner?  We are wondering if we should put the individual page titles up there as well.

Lazy Sunday

By the First Mate

We enjoyed our morning coffee on the lanai chatting with several fellow live aboards at PBYC.  I think we are the only ones here who don't have a regular job so it's rare to see so many tenants at one time (unless there is a BBQ).  The monthly swap meet, held over from last week being New Years Day, only had three "vendors" so there wasn't the normal volume of fun stuff to look at.  We don't need anything but you never know what you may find.    

Everyone had on sweaters this morning and I heard several comments about having to drag out extra blankets last night.  Brrrr, it was 66 degrees this morning! 

Hilton's Rainbow Tower

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