Really Close

At the moment , at 0700 on Sunday morning, April 28 2013, we are 29 miles from Honolulu. Motoring because the wind died yesterday. There were two delays yesterday as the engine fuel system shut the engine down. The first time took a couple of hours to diagnose and treat, but the 2nd occasion at 0200 this morning was much more quickly remedied. Some “crap” from the fuel tank clogged first the pipe leading into the racor filter housing, then, the second time it actually clogged the passage between the bowl and the filter chamber of the racor housing. This ‘crap’ looks a bit like very old paper towel, but the final pathology awaits further study. I have cleaned the fuel tank a few times, but it seems that it is time for another go. Fortunately the racor housing is on the bulkhead outside the engine room , so is easily accessed. A small hand pump was very good to get the system primed afterwards. As we worked we were escorted most of the day by a US navy aircraft carrier and attendant helicopters, very considerate and helpful. So, with any luck at all, we will be secured alongside at ALa Wai around noon today, having sailed 2230 miles in 15 days. Time to wash the salt and grime off persons, equipment, clothes, and boat. Time to eat some salads and fresh fruit. Time to walk or run. Time to sample the local brews. With Doug aboard we left Puerto Montt Jan 23 , 2013. We have sailed 7300 miles in the ensuing 3 months. He has dealt admirably with the task of adapting to a strange boat and skipper with many idiosyncrasies (the boat and perhaps the skipper, but not Doug) A week at Valdivia, a week at Juan Fernandez , a week at Mangareva, and 4 days at the Marquesas. Lots of light winds following ,and recently fresh winds ahead of the beam. Equipment problems were actually few: a corroded power wire to the antenna tuner, the sun protective fabric on the jib was shredded in a squall, and yesterday the fuel system issues. Nevertheless , before I leave Hawaii with new crew, there is a good list of jobs to do aboard over the next few weeks. Today for the first time in weeks I have the big slr camera out to snap some bird shots. It has just been too wet or rough for weeks to use that camera. Before that, in the full equatorial tropics, there just were very few birds. cheers to the crew of the Silas Crosby ,and to the doughty ship herself! ###

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14th Day

We are approaching the SW corner of the island of Hawaii in irregular seas and gusty winds. We are about 60 miles SW of the SW point on the big island Somehow I had the wrong day attached to the date, so my best guess is that it is now Friday April 26th, 2013 Therefore my best guess is that we will go into AlaWai yacht basin on Sunday April 28th. I hope the border is being protected on sunday, so that we can do the formalities required. We still have coffee and beer. The last pamplemousse got et yesterday. We’re ready. ###

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No Letup

” if we are lost, we are lost together” ( Blue Rodeo) ” won’t back down” (Tom Petty) This morning it’s back to the world of 25 knots + of strong tradewind on the beam with building seas. Sunny skies and nice warm weather. Ahhhh, for the days of gentle following breezes with the spinnaker pulling. We have 3 reefs back in the mainsail, the staysail , and a little corner of jib. Sailing on course at 6.5 knots. In theory ,the wind should lighten a bit and back more to the east as we approach Hawaii. 380 miles to Oahu, 16 13 N 153 52 W Our metaphor is this: we are being randomly pummeled around a small room while intermittently being doused with seawater. ” Stop, stop!” we say. The response : “only 3 more days, relax and enjoy it ” Mostly we sail along rolling and pitching and yawing and heaving, but every few minutes the wind accelerates and we heel over , head up a few degrees above a beam reach and start smashing head seas, with solid spray sweeping the boat. Then every once in a while, we feel a big lift as we are carried up the face of a 3 or 4 m wave. There is sometimes a loud thud and bang as the crest strikes our hull, knocking us over a few more degrees. Then, a moment of suspense, quiet, as the wavetop is launched towards us , rebounding off the hull. It arches high over the boat and descends onto cockpit and dodger with the thunder of 20 or 30 litres of water landing and surging in a confined space. But NONE gets below. This is very important. Fundamental. No rain for a few days, so in places the accumulated dried salt is like the first dusting of snow on an autumn day, sparkling in the sun. At night that same salt sucks in the moisture from the air forming a greasy slippery layer on everything. Treacherous. We move VERY carefully in the dark on the foredeck. But we do have a full moon now. We ran the engine for a half hour sometime last week, just for a few amps in the batteries, but otherwise it has been a windjamming passage. The batteries are getting a little low, reading 12.3 V in the morning after a night of no solar, and the masthead light, gps and AIS running. Additionally I usually have a few brief chats on the radio if possible , and we send and receive email at least twice a day. These activities all take power. The fridge runs half the time at 2.2 amps We have been on the starboard tack heading north for 2 weeks. That means the the solar panels are tilted away from the sun in the morning. In the afternoon when the panels are tilted towards the sun to the west, the sails partly shade the panels. Even so we are nearly keeping up, except that we both use a computer for a couple of hours each per day. We may whine, but we are already waxing nostalgic about this long trip, that we haven’t even completed yet. ###

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