First Mate's Journal  

Sailing North to Alaska
Days 31-35

Mon. July 30, 2012 - Day 31
52.16N 142.17W
Course 030 degrees magnetic Speed 5 knots
Seas confused 2-4' with occasional 6'
Winds SE 10-15
Baro - 29.7 and falling
Temp - in 58 degreees
out 53 degrees
373 miles to Sitka

Up early. Winds increased from 0-5mph to 5-10mph SE. Barometer is down, which according to our "Weather Guide" means more rain, which we haven't had, or possibly increased winds. Seas are flat at the moment so we shall see. Meanwhile, we are cooking along at 5 plus knots.  Tiller pilot hardly working and the boat is only heeling over slightly. Sweet!. At this rate we will be in Sitka in another two weeks. Bree peed in my sleeping bag sometime during the night. We will have to lock her forward at night now. There is only so much Love and it's getting very hard not to get angry with her. Talking last night and again this morning, we will have to find a vet when we arrive. Instant coffee and a shared pack of hawaiian Creams, only one more pack of four left. We pray the good winds continue throughout the day. Looks like clear skies ahead.

Psych! Fog rolled in around 11. Seas started picking up shortly after and we decided to deep reef the main. Seas 2-4 feet, confused, with the occasional 6 footer rolling in from the SE.  Barometer continues to fall slowly, or quickly? We have spent hours pouring over our Weather Guide and the best we can determine is that we should expect more rain over the next few days....or maybe we can expect high winds? We will just have to wait and see. Pilot Charts indicate high winds in these lattitudes are "unlikely" this time of year but since we haven't been getting "normal" winds from the beginning, who knows? Winds today have remained constant with no major increase we've been running with the genoa for most of this trip. Sigh, I guess we will "hope" for more rain. We had an AIS contact around 12:30, 2.8 nm distance but did not get a visual. Bree continues to remain listless but will drink tuna juice now. Currently three cans open on the counter. I hate to waste them but it seems to be the only thing she will eat. More blood in her urine this afternoon, she at least made an attempt to use her box. Otherwise we are all comfortable and in good spirits.

Wind shifting SE to SW, new heading 45 degrees magnetic. Lunch of Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce with a half can of corn added. Finished off the last of the Diamond crackers but still have plenty of the Pilot Crackers left. Broke into the last bag of Beef Jerky this afternoon as well. Finished Atlas Shrugged...will have to read again. Barometer has dropped again to 29.6..great.


AIS contact, distance 5nm, "Ikan Bagan". Wind veering more Westerly and we will need to tack.  Toodles (Tuna, noodles and corn) for supper with tea and a few ginger snaps for desert.

To tack or not to tack? Winds are being fickle and not sure if we should. Chuck doesn't want to take us any farther away from our waypoint. The closer we get the more important it is for us to remain on course. Jib being slammed around by the wave action and tiller pilot working harder than we would like. Visibility seems to be better as Chuck was able to spot lights from a passing ship. Had a good amount of rain this afternoon and we are hoping that tomorrrow will bring clear weather. Solar fan stopped working in the v-berth today. 332 miles remaining.

To tack or not to tack?  Winds are being fickle and not sure if we should.  Chuck doesn't want 
to take us any farther away from our waypoint.  The closer we get the more important it is for 
us to remain on course.  Jib being slammed around by the wave action and tiller pilot working 
harder than we would like.  Visibility seems to be better as Chuck was able to spot lights from 
a passing ship.  Had a good amount of rain this afternoon and we are hoping that tomorrrow will 
bring clear weather.  Solar fan stopped working in the v-berth today.  332 miles remaining.

Tues. July 31, 2012 - Day 32
53.N 139.51W
Course 25 degrees magnetic (38 True) Speed 5 knots
Seas 5-6'with 6-8' SW swell
Winds 15+ Westerly
Barometer 29.4
Temp - in 64 degrees
out 55 degrees
286 miles to Sitka

Barometer down another half tick. Tacked and on a new heading of 0-10 degrees. Visibility 2-3 miles, wet.

10:10 am
Brought down the genoa and put up the #3. Winds were increasing as we were pulling it down and seas were increasing. That was an hour ago and now there is a big band of blue to windward and up ahead. The first clear sky we've seen in 10 days or so. Even with the #3 we are still making 4-5 knots. We'll re access after breakfast about any sail change. Good news...maybe...If sun stays out we won't have to run the engine and maybe the solar fan will get a charge. How quickly things change and always be prepared, either way we are always learning. Found two cans of Fancy feast on a locker. Mixed a quarter of a can with some tuna juice. Bree snacking on it and I hope she doesn't throw it up on the sleeping bag.

Blue Skies! For now...if we can keep this weather for the rest of the way in. I'll reserve
(curtail) my enthusiasm until it lasts for more than an hour. Some larger rollers coming in
from the South but we now have solid Westerly winds.

Winds veering more South again. Blue skies came and quickly went. Seas have increased in size 6-8 feeet and winds have increased 15+ gusts. Glad we decided on the #3. Getting bounced around pretty good and we have taken at least one hard knock.. Bree and Chuck dozing on the couch. I've just made a cup of hot cocoa and plan to work on the barn drawings while trying not to fall out of my chair. I think weather will get worse into the evening, if so we will heave to. Still foggy and with no moonlight it makes for an uncomfortable night not being able to see what is happening "out there". Chili with orzo for lunch with a few pilot crackers. Bree's urine bloody agian, it hasn't been for a few days. She does have more spark in her eyes and she has "talked" a few times today. No accidents today.

Wed. Aug 1, 2012 - Day 33
54.27N 138.23W
Course 12 degrees Speed 6 knots(under power)
Seas 3-6' W.
Winds 10-12 Westerly
Baro - 29.8 climbing
Temp - in 64 degrees
out 55 degrees
185 miles to Sitka

Barometer rising (happy, happy) to 29.8. Sun is, again, trying to peek out. Water on the boil for a cup of instant coffee. Both of us had a good sleep last night. Mountain House Oriental Style Chicken and Rice for supper with tea and a square of chocolate for desert. Bree had no accidents through the night. Maybe have to run the engine today, depending. Batteries were down thw and a half ticks this morning. VHF/AIS, tiller pilot and Tri-lights on all last night. Winds 10mph from the West, seas somewhat flat with a 2-3 foot west swell. Full moon tomight, I hope we will be able to see it.

Ran the engine for 2 1/2 hours and water maker for one. Put a short charge on the Kindle and small Sony battery. Amazing how just a few degrees warmer and a few sun breaks can effect morale. Cleaned entire cabin, wiped down with detergent and water followed by a good smather of lemon oil. Found a couple of areas getting moldy. Behind Bree's box up forward and down in the corner by where we keep the log book. Cleaned and disinfected all of Bree's area and food bowl. Loaded oatmeal and hot cocoa for breakfast. Minnistrone soup with half can of corn and a handfull of instant rice added for lunch which is on the stove right now. I think we will finish lunch and have a hot pot shower then see about putting up the genoa. We are still making 3-4 knots which is fine for now. Barometer is rising, outlook for the nexct few days is good. 177 miles remaining. Also re-filled the stove and lanterns today.

Just finished supper of Mountain House Mac N' Cheese. Opened a can of ham and fried some up to add as protein. Not bad. We both enjoyed a hot pot shower this afternoon and feel much better. Sad note: Chuck brought out more of his smart wool stuff and I put on a pair of smart wool pants, sneeze, sniffle, sniffle. I thought smart wool was supposed to be hypo-alergenic? Now what are we going to do? Thank goodness this has been a reasonably warm trip (compared to the first). Smart Wool is all we have. Bree more active today than she has been in a long while. She went into her hole while we were running the engine but was out quickly after it was turned off. She has had some of her kibble food for the first time in weeks and has exchanged a few "meows" with Chuck. She has been eerily silent during this whole trip. No blood in her urine this afternoon. Currently moving along at 3-4 knots, still under #3 jib. Seas are flat and there is very little wind. Drizzly rain and low visibility back. Is it getting colder again...? We will not be seeing the moon tonight.

Thurs. Aug 2, 2012 - Day 34
55.50N 137.38W
Course Due North
Winds 5-10 SW
Baro - 29.9
Temp -in 64 degrees
          out 64 degrees
103 miles to Sitka

VHF/AIS, tiller pilot working throughout the night. No AIS contacts. Seas 4-6 feet SW, winds 10-12mph also SW. Temperature outside is 55 degrees and wet. Grey, low overcast with no cloud definition. YUK! Cup of instant coffee, only 4 pks of Starbucks left, and we are already dreaming of burgers and beers. Barometer is rising, water is a wierd drab olive color.

Oatmeal for breakfast with chopped apples and walnuts plus a cup of hot cocoa. Sure does the trick of making you feel warm. Both of us feeling a bit hungry so decided to make a batch of pan biscuits. Swells are growing to 8+ feet, there are some big winds somewhere, hopefully not headed our way. We won't be able to get any weather reports according to the Coast Pilot until we are 40 miles out.

Tacked, gybed actually, and put up the working jib. Bang, bang, but we are moving along a bit faster. 8-10 foot South swells swinging us around and spilling the wind from our sails. New heading 70 degrees. The tiller pilot is working a bit harder. Hope the swells decrease by this evening. 76 miles left. Barometer has not moved again. Visibility probably 2-3 miles but clouds are dark grey and dull. No moon again tonight. Will have to tack again first light. Yellow flashing Bouy 56.36N 137.50W

Changed tack and found ourselves on a heading of 95 degrees (??) new heading of 0 degrees.  Dinner of Mountain House Lasagna with meat sauce and a half can of corn. Getting to be a favorite. Even with the overcast the full moon still gives some light. It was quite bright enough to get things done, just need the red light to see the compass. Boiling a pot of hot water to put in the thermos. Our first of the trip. We will be on constant watch throughout the night. Need to keep an eye out for the YODA which we will pass fairly close by. With our new heading our speed has slowed a bit. hoping the winds will steady out during the night. Still some large swells coming on our quarter- tiller pilot see-sawing noisily away. Tea and our last chocolate bar for desert.

Sat. Aug. 4, 2012

Arrived at Sitka Harbor (New Thomsen Harbor) last night. Engine off at 7:15 HST. Entrance was uneventful but you wouldn't want to arrive without charts. The channel is deep but surrounded by lots of rocks and shallows.  Arriving in the fog was all the fun we were looking for.  Talked to Tom, the harbor master, when we got in and were told to try the Bayview Pub for burgers and a beer.  Sliders and fries went down fast and tasted great . Caught a cab back to the harbor($6.00) and crashed for the night. We decided to eat breakfast out this morning as we only had the fixings for oatmeal, then we headed back to the boat to begin clean up.  Sails stowed, main covered, boat washed and spending some time cleaning up inside. The market is close by so we picked up some fresh groceries. The electric heater is on in the v-berth to help dry it out.  It is actually not bad, considering. The solar fan up forward made all the difference this trip. Rates here for transient are, as stated in Charlie's Charts, very reasonable at .34 cents per foot. (Note: Rates have changed since we stayed)

Mon. Aug. 6, 2012

Rain, rain and they are expecting more rain over the coming week. Luckily we don't have much to do on the boat, however, but most all of it is outside requiring dry weather. Spent the afternoon walking around town. Bree is acting better but still isn't eating. We called one vet but he hasn't yet returned our call, we will wait until tomorrow then contact another. I think everyone here must own a dog.

Thurs. Aug 9, 2012

"Be careful, I am an escape artist!" -Note taped to Bree's cage.

Bree stayed overnight at the Sitka Animal Hospital for observation and blood tests. She was diagnosed with kidney failure and tests confirmed 30% functionality. She was down to 5lbs and would not touch the food they were recommending for her. The vet confirmed that even with extensive treatment she was not guaranteed to regain her health and what time she did have left might not be comfortable or pain free. It was a very tough decision but in our hearts we know it was the right one.

Bree-you will be missed.