updated 2/25/16

First Mate's Journal  

Sailing North to Alaska
 Days 24-30

Mon. July 23 - Day 24

45.19N 151.20W
Course 45 degrees Speed 3.5 knots
Seas 2-3' S.
Winds 2-5' S.
Baro - 30.4
Temp - out 72 degrees
in 69 degrees
921 miles to Sitka


Another easy night. Chuck's turn in the v-berth. Winds and seas remained clam and steady throughout the night with the boat averaging 5-6 knots. Sweet! VHF/AIS, tiller pilot and Tri-colors on all night, batteries are down two ticks this morning. We are hoping for sun later today so we won't have to run the engine. Used water out of the main tank all yesterday. Not using any of that water for dishes so we figure the tank will last three weeks if that was all we had. In other workds, we'll run watermaker when we can or when we motor next but not before. Bree still hanging in. She slept with me part of the night, surprisingly not more since is was chilly last night. Instant coffee and graham chrackers for a pre breakfast snack. oatmeal and a cup of real coffee coming soon.

Sun is out enough and it is warm enough for another cockpit bath. Washed my hair and wetted down enough to be feeling very good. Chuck just taking the time to shave. We are making good progress. The winds have remained steady all day and have not died off. A pod of dolphins joined us just as we finished logging our noon position and were getting ready start the video log. Same ones as yesterday? Seemed to be about the same number of lthem. Lunch of chicken and bean burrito. Used the last half of onion. There is Only one tortilla left and just a tiny bit of cheese.

Afternoon fog is here. Visibility 50 yards, the winds have shifted slightly and our course is now 45 degrees. Winds remain 5-10mph steady.

Dinner of Noodles, tuna and corn-Fried the noodles lightly in olive oil. The fog has closed in even more. Green tea, hawaiian creams and a square of chocolate for desert. We've been reading our daily logs from the first trip. The contrast from our last voyage to this one is amazing. Chuck read me "The Edge" by Hunter S. Thompson tonight, very cool. Temp did not drop as dramatically tonight.

Tues. July 24, 2012 - Day 25

46.08N 149.55W
Course 10 degrees Speed 5 knots (under motor)
Seas 3-4' S.
Winds 10-15 S.
Baro - 30.4
Temp - out 66 degrees
in 67 degrees
833 miles to Sitka


Chuck woke me up with a cup of instant coffee ready and waiting. My turn in the v-berth and I slept very well. AIS contact last night, "wierd" is how Chuck describes it. Alarm went off at 1:15am but there was no visible contact on display. The alarm did not go off a second time but when Chuck checked the display again there was a contact showing within a five mile radius, then it disappeared? He heard people speaking in Chineese on VHF16 and he then broadcasted a Securite but got no response. Hmmmm, maybe we sailed through the middle of an invasion fleet?  LOL! Bree still with us but moving very slowly if at all. If she makes it to Sitka she will probably be at the vets a few days on I.V. getting rehydrated. She is getting very skinny. A little blue sky ahead, Looks like another beautiful day. We will still have to run the engine though. Day tank empty and we used the water out of the main tank all day yesterday. Chuck thinks we bumped into something last night but can't be sure. Temperature outside this morning was 59 degrees and inside the cabin it has been ranging 64 degrees(before lighting the stove for cooking) to 70 or 72 degrees. Still rather comfortable. I have on my fleece pants and a flannel shirt but am still barefoot. Need to drop the genoa, we will anyway if we run the motor, and check the halyard for chafe. Oatmeal and fresh coffee for breakfast. The water is a pretty green color this morning.

Engine on at 9:53, water maker soon after. Handheld VHF needs charging? Not sure why...Seems like all we are doing this trip is charging camera batteries. Sony needs a charge, Kindle needs a charge, nikon needs a charge, bloggie needs a charge, have I forgotten anything? Maybe get a larger inverter just so we don't have spacing issues for the plugs. Bree didn't pee when we started the engine but she has crawled back into her hole. Sin is shining looks like we are in for another beautiful day.


Dolphins are back but we only saw four of them. Just checking in? They didn't stay for long, I guess they don't like the engine either.

Weather changes in the last few hours have had us scratching our heads. Fog and choppy seas, fog and seas calming plus a temperature drop, fog gone and seas increasing, seas flattening and sun coming out. Barometer down from 30.4 to 30.3. Apparent winds have remained constant at 10mph.

And the fog returns...looking like another evening like the previous one. Lunch of Lasagna with meat sauce plus a half can of corn.

Sail chane from genoa to working jib. Finished a cup of hot chocolate and both of us kept
getting up to open the canvas or peer out the window. No substantioal change to the weather...yet we both felt the genoa needed to come in. Winds 10-15 Chuck measured a 16.7. Seas look like they have past evenings but swells are a bit bigger. Cold and wet, yep, it started raining. We both put on our foul weather gear but neither of us wanted shoes or socks. Better safe than sorry. Genoa tied on deck, what a monster. Bree snuggled comfortably in her blankey on the couch during it all. What to make for dinner? Chuck saw a seal while we were changing sail. We saw two planes this afternoon. Coming from Asia?

Wed. July 25, 2012 - Day 26
47.38N 148.37W
Course 020 degrees Speed 4 knots
Seas 2-3' with NW swell
Winds 10-15 N.
Baro - 30.2

Temp outside this morning 52 degrees. After turning the stove on and making coffee it is 62 degrees in the cabin. Wet gear now occupying the v-berth so Chuck slept on the floor and I took the couch. Neither of us slept well. Brrrr.  We made good distance last night at any rate and this morning we are 764 miles from Sitka. Bad First Mate. Went to bed without cleaning up the galley and packing away the stove last night. The cold makes one very unmotivated. Can't do that again. Dinner last night of Mountain House Beef Stroganof followed up with a cup of green tea, hawaiian cream cookies with a couple squares of chocolate. We have found a couple of leaks forward, although nothing serious, they will need to be addressed. Remarkably the main cabin remains snug and dry. No noticible moisture anywhere. Sleeping bag comes out tonight.  Early morning snack of graham crackers with instant coffee. "You realize we may never see the
sun again?" Asks Chuck....ever the optimist. Fog still thick this morning with quarter mile
visibility. At least it's bright. Hopefully it will burn off a little while later. Chuck
getting concerned about power consumption from electronics. Solar fan still running up


Course correction, now steering 35 degrees. Winds have shifted more NW, temperature has dropped to 51 degrees. Oatmeal and coffee for breakfast with Bree curled comfortably in the blanket between us.

10:45 am
Second seal sighting, lounging on the surface with it's flippers up about fifty feet off to

Tiller Pilot #1 is dead. Chuck handsteering as he has been all morning. Tiller pilot #2(backup) in place and will be used this evening. Trying hard not to think evil thoughts about Raymarine.

Just got off watch, winds were steady at 15mph, no signs of anything on the horizon. I had just gotten below and settled into a nice hot cup of tea when the winds started to pick up. Chuck is outside now and says we are getting gusts of 18-20. I expect to get called out soon to drop the main if it increases any more. We are sure getting bounced around. Bree has been droolong relentlessly all day and is eerily quiet.

Main down. Squall to NW, winds have completely died and we are waiting for it to hit. Hot
Chili on the menu tonight. We are watching Bree closely.

Wool again...maybe. I have been sneezy and a bit wheezy for the last few days and needed to use my inhaler last night. We were sitting here drinking tea and it clicked! Chuck had just pulled out his favorite wool sweater a few days ago. Hmmmm, Chuck immediately stripped it off and replaced it with a fleece. Bummer, we both love that sweater. Winds did not increase as much as expected. Made HOT Chili for supper and we well simply take the night off.  Reading our journals from our first voyage and remembering some of Bree's antics as a youth.  I have a feeling it will be a long night and I think another cup of tea is in order.

Thurs. July 26, 2012 - Day 27
48.00N 147.46W
Course 0 degrees magnetic eas 1-2' W
Winds 5-10 Westerly
Baro - 30.1
Temp - in 60 degrees
out 52 degrees
704 miles to Sitka

Yawn, stretch. Kitty is still with us although we really did think she had left us last night. There are strings of her drool all throughout the cabin. We both got a good nights rest. Pot of hot water for instant coffee then we will get ot work and get moving. 51 degrees outside and 56 in the cabin. Used the sleeping bag last night, luxurious sigh.

Sun breaks ahead,,,maybe, it changes so quickly. Psych! Bree has the monopoly on both the green and red blankets, anything to make her comfortable. Chores before breakfast. Main up just after nine, decided to stay with the working jib rather than the genoa. We are moving along nicely at 4 knots and we have unsettled looking weather ahead. Refilled the stove and lanterns, cleaned up Bree's area and tidied up the boat a bit. "There she blows!" Whale spouts off to starboard just on the horizon. Maybe we will have visitors later. Seems we are going through water and camera batteries at an unusually high rate. Both Sony batteries are down again as well as the Nikon. Water tank almost empty, will pull water out of the main tank for today. Will probably have to run the engine tomorrow. We ran anchor light and VHF last night and the batteries are down 2 ticks.

Cold. Lunch of Toodles (Tuna, noodles and corn). Chuck is at the tiller and has been for several hours. It's been raining off and on all day. I was able to get Bree to drink some of the tuna juice from lunch. Pulled some stuff out of the locker under the day tank and re supplied some of the canned good. Garbage-to which Bree has contributed heavily this trip- is now in a bag up forward. V-berth now too damp to sleep in, bummer. Barometer dropping slowly and is down another mb from noon. Slow moving cold front. one sweet potato, one Kamuela tomato and eleven apples are all that are left of our fresh supplies. Looking at the supply of instant coffee I wish we had brought another 24 pks. We have other instant coffee but compared to the Starbucks, yuk! All other supplies holding up well. So far we haven't run out of anything important. A few more onions would have been nice and maybe some more cheese but "oh well".  Reading Atlas Shrugged and finding myself getting horribly depressed.

Chuck gave up and put the tiller pilot on.  Both burners are lit on the stove to warm up the cabin and make a cup of tea.  Grey skies and barometer still falling.

Fri. July 27, 2012 - Day 28

49.34N 147.23W

Course 020 degrees Speed 5 knots
Seas 3-4' Westerly
Winds 10-15 Westerly
Baro - 29.7 and falling
Temp - in 62 degrees
          out 52 degrees
620 miles to Sitka

My head! Feels like it is imploding from being in a vice. Had a bit of a scramble this morning. Barometer dropped to 29.7 and the winds started increasing. Chuck called me out but by the time I got dressed and came out the weather, seas and winds had improved. Chuck made supper last night since I was in rough shape. Sinus headache? I'm feeling nauseus. Can't write, feel ill. Sucks!

Late breakfast. I slept until noon. Oatmeal with chopped apple and walnuts. Engine on at 1:45 and still running for another ten minutes or so. Water tank is full and the batteries charged. I feel a bit better except for the dull thud behind my eyes. Chuck has been outside all day. Bree peed on the sleeping bag....sigh, that didn't take long. We've been seeing more bull kelp. No hint of sun.

Sat. July 28, 2012 - Day 29
50.25N 145.17W
Course 44 degrees magnetic Speed <3 knots
Seas 4',confused
Winds <10 knots Northerly
Baro - 29.8
Temp - in 60 degrees
out 54 degrees
529 miles to Sitka

Hot water started for coffee and we are both eager for a cup. We both slept through the night again depending on the AIS to wake us if any ships came near. We had a contact around 1am and a freighter passed by about 3 miles away. Barometer rising slowly, temp in the cabin 58 degrees and 52 outside. Hoping the barometer fortells some pleasant weather ahead. Felt junk most of yesterday with a headache. Chuck has pulled most of the load for the last few days.  Cold has both of us reluctant to move from the couch. Bouncier water makes it safer to sit down anyway. Lunch yesterday of Mountain House Turkey Tetrazinni and dinner of Mountain House Beef Stew. About the only thing I want to be "cooking" with the boat moving around so much.  I'm lucky Chuck is so easy to please. Bree continues to drool continually. Still drinking lots of water but hasn't touched her food in days. She has been going outside to look around for several minutes at a time. Boat looking kind of trashed. I'll spend some time cleaning up today. Still don't feel well but better than yesterday. Winds have shifted more NW.  Continual overcast which sometimes gets lighter getting your hopes up. Sun, moon, stars, what friends they are and how you miss them after a long absence.

Shook the reefs out of the main and put up the genoa just after noon. Loaded oatmeal for breakfast, minnestrone soup with half can of corn added along with a handful of instant rice. Hit the spot! Fried up the last tortilla with salt, pepper and dill to make "chips" Winds have picked up slightly from this morning and we are sailing along at a good pace. Seems warmer out this afternoon. Don't know if it is because the sky just looks brighter or what?  Maintenance on the sails while swapping them out. I put tri flow on all the hanks to keep them lubricated and easy to use. Plastic protectors on hanks on the new sail are a problem. Just short/long enough to interfere with the hank closing fully. The working jib hanks are showing signs of wear, there are fresh grooves in the bronze. Bree seems to be more herself this morning. I opened a can of tuna for her and she drank most of the juice immediately. First time she has wanted any in a while. She finished all the water in her bowl last night.

Clouds seem to be getting thinner, maybe. Seas are flat and calm, whatever had them up and confused this morning seems to have blown itself out. Moving along at a solid three knots. My nose seems to have stopped running. Looks like we are going to have to shop for some new winter clothes, specifically, no wool. Hot cocoa with a handful of almonds for a late afternoon snack.

Just finished supper of Mac N' Cheese with tuna and corn. Can of peaches and a couple of ginger snaps for desert. We had the second (and last)Jiffy Pop this afternoon, first time it has ever popped well for us. Bree is sitting on the couch drooling again. She hasn't been doing it all day. Ghosting along at two knots, VHS, tiller pilot and Tri Color are on. Seas are calm and you can hear the water gently trickling along the hull. We are wondering if Bree had a stroke. She is just not being herself. Tonight shows promise of a clear day tomorrow.  We are hoping, maybe, for sunshine tomorrow. 508 miles from Sitka

Sun. July 29, 2012 - Day 30
51.15N 144.09W
Course 0 degrees magnetic (40 True) Speed 3-4 knots
Seas flat
Winds 5 knots NW
Baro - 29.8
Temp - in 64 degrees
out 50 degrees
463 miles to Sitka

We are to the right .43 off our intended course. Not bad. Working on our first cup of instant coffee along with the last of the graham crackers. Boat ghosted along peacefully through the night while Chuck and I slept below. VHS/AIS on all night with no contacts. Maybe we will be able to sleep through tonight but after that we well be to close to land to consider relaxing in such a way. Weather remains constant. Grey skies with no cloud definition to the horizon. It was light at 4:30 this morning. Summer in AK. Spent some time yesterday reading through the Pilot Charts and Charlie's Charts again to refresh our memories and excite ourselves about getting in. Sitka, Red Bluff BAy, Murder Cove....Entrance to Sitka sound straight forward enough, cretainly compared to say...Crescent City or Eureka. Tiller pilot steered agian through the night. Batteries are down this morning two ticks. We will see around noon if we will need to run the engine. Come on Sun! Bree sleeping in the blankets between us. Honestly thought we had lost her last night. She continues walking around but in a dazed state, staring at her food/water bowl like she knows she was there for a reason, but just can't remember what it was. She is usually very verbal but she hasn't been talking to us at all.

Ran the engine for 2:30 and the water maker for 2:20. We had not planned on doing so but the wind completely died and the sails were slatting, so why not? Saw a ship shortly after starting the motor. Hailed them for a possible weather update but got no reply. Down below, Bree managed to pee on the red blanket.... Chuck, I think, has hit his max. Rice pilaf with xtra chicken for lunch. Having tea at the moment as we are both a bit chilled from being outside. Will decide on what to have for supper after we warm up. Lanterns lit, some breaks in the clouds ahead. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow. Chuck managed to step in the white bucket which was full of seawater. "I just changed my socks!!"

"Supper" of canned peaches and ginger snaps.

Days 1-7        Days 8-15       Days 16-23       Next - Days 31-35