Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fata Hiva day 2

I must have sounded depressed with the last update. I was not really. The "Puddle Jumpers" group wanted a compiled list of most of the info I sent, how much/long were things, what broke/didn't, what was good/bad all for an article in the magazine "Latitude 38", and to share with the Puddle Jumpers of 2008.

It is beautiful here. Tall, sharp mountains and cliffs all very green. It is a volcanic island, so lots of volcanic rock, pillars and such but old enough that there are trees, palms and grasses everywhere. Bread fruit trees, but it is not in season so I don't get to taste it yet. They are supposed to have giant great fruit, but we didn't see any of them either.

There are about 650 people living here in 2 towns. We are at the smaller town. We walked quite a way up the hill and met several people. There was a store, kinda like the Mexican tiendas, just a small room with the things for sale that come by barge once or twice a week. Eggs are $1 each egg, but he closed before we got back to buy some... He said tomorrow, but then today is Sunday and he said "Oh, tomorrow I'll be open". He was only 2 houses away from the store. They seem fairly well off and not
hungry for American dollars, or Euros, for that matter.

There are 18 boats here. One lady was quite impressed that there are 2 boats each from Switzerland and Austria, which have no ocean front! Several French, German, a Japanese, Dutch, and 3 American boats. No Canadians today, I am surprised.

Trinda traded a couple pair dollar store earrings for a stalk of bananas, a dozen large mandarin oranges, a dozen limes and a coconut. We are not sure whether the bananas are plantainas that have to be cooked, or the chaqita one that you just eat.

Then we traded a 6-pac of Mexican beer for a full half set of pork ribs, although it was a small pig. They will make pasole later.

We are leaving for Tahuata tomorrow morning, early, maybe 5:00 AM. But that is 7:30 AM in Seattle. We are GMT - 9.5 hours. We are to meet Peter and Ginger on "Marcy" for supper and snorkeling before they leave for the Tuamotus. It should be about a 9 hour sail if things go OK.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Anchored in Fata Hive

We made it. We anchored at 11:30 AM on the 28th day.
so we have:
27 days 3 1/2 hours
3120 miles from Zihuatanejo, Mex to Fata Hiva, Marquesas
120.9 hours on main engine
30 hours on the water maker/generator
500 gallons of water.
2 fish caught, several lost!
and untold hours of sleep lost with us and apparently some of you! Ha!

There is no internet here, so photo uploads are not happening yet.

2 wind vane steering oars
6 blocks for wind vane
1 rope for wind vane
1 remote control for tiller pilot
1 tiller pilot almost worn out
1 cabin window
1 load of antifreeze when the watermaker overheated due to barnacles growing in the water intake
1 GPS remote antenna
1 Fishing pole holder
10 inches off top of fishing pole
8 lures
1 stanchion base
1 propane valve on grill out back for steaks

I'm sure there was more that broke, but I can't remember now. Maybe some time I'll do a better summary. Off to bed, and some "anchored sleep"!

Day 27 - Land Ho!!

126 miles for 3147 and 20 to go at 10 13S 138 32W

The sun came up (sorta, behind lots of clouds) to show Fata Hiva dead ahead and Hiva Oa 90 degrees to starboard. The GPS worked!!! First dirt in 28 days! It is just grey shapes on the horizon so far. It looks like you should be able to see Hiva Oa from the anchorage 45 miles away.

We are about 15 miles out with an arrival time of 10:20 to the first waypoint to round the island. It will bee about another hour after that to Bay of Virgins where we intend to anchor. It used to be called Bay of Pinuses, but somebody changed it. There are a row of rock pinnacles just up from the beach that inspire the thought.

It was a long night. It started with a little too much wind. We didn't sleep well night before last because of the strong wind kept auto from steering too well. Ever 30 minutes or so we had to reset it. So when we could see, we reefed the main. That slowed us down a little. All day the wind kept slowing, but so gradually that I didn't notice. We left the sails short all day and through the night. At first it seemed OK cause I didn't want to arrive in the dark. But now it will be after lunch before
we get there and anchored. Oh well, at least we can get some "arrival" photos, which we would not have, in the dark.

Instant oatmeal for breakfast. It sure is not as good as the regular 5 minute kind. Maybe they sell it here? Then canned roast beef, instant mashed potatoes, corn and rolls made with regular flour (sorry Donnie didn't get any) for supper. Trinda made jello again, but we ate too much of the other to eat it. Maybe today.

No fish although Trinda did get one on the line for a few minutes. Long enough that Donnie had time to go get the net ready, But it got off before any of saw what it was. Maybe we need some new hooks?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Day 26

155 miles for 3021 and 141 to go, at 08 40S x 137 09W

Record day, our most distance yet, with 149 the previous record. We are getting close.

Squalls at sunup and sundown. 20 knots of wind on the beam all day. We have been making 6-7 knots. Then 25-35 knots all night. Auto just barely keeping up with a reset every 30 minutes. Next to the worst night so far as for tired, too rough to sleep, water leaking in everywhere and the boat rolling over too far so you can't move around without getting thrown down.

More gear failures. The water maker engine overheated today when I first turned it on. Seems that there is no cooling water or raw sea water coming in to make fresh water from. I could not find the problem. We have plenty of water to get us there. So after we anchor I'll have to look at it and make water soon afterwards. It has been 6 days since I made water so the membrane will need something soon.

We had another of Donnie's instant wheat-less meals. It was cheeseburger-macaroni. Trinda put in a can of that good roast beef instead of the hamburger meat it called for. It was purty good. We are both craving good ole bread though. Maybe tomorrow. The boat is leaning and bouncing too much to try to make it here, and the French are known for their breads! We are hoping to find spelt flour for sale here some where. Any body know the French word for spelt?

Not much else today.

No Fish, although Trinda fed another lure to one this morning. Her line ran out and as soon as she tightened the drag, the line snapped.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Day 25

148 miles for 2718 with 291 to go at 06 24S 1136 00W

Almost a record day. 7 knots most of the time. Auto held course without adjustment for over 18 hours in a row, then got confused with a 25 knot wind in a squall.

With continual fatigue and sleep depravation, creativity seems to wane... Again we sat a read most of the day.

Corn meal mush again for breakfast. A failed attempt at pho soup, the Vietnamese noodle stuff. We have canned roast beef, and I put in a Mexican "rib juice" bullion that over powered it the wrong way. We had bean noodles and oriental vegetables and wanton soup mix. But no fresh basil. It was OK I guess. We ate it all.

One more failure, the spare water jug that was supposed to be tied to the rail, fell over on a wave with sufficient force to crack another window. Now we have 2 cracked windows in the main cabin. It is safety glass, like car windows, with the plastic film between 2 layers of glass. Both cracks are in only one of the pains of glass, so they don't leak,,,yet!

No Fish. Maybe one bite, but he sit it out before we could even get to the pole.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day 24

123 miles for 2670 and 439 to go at 04 38S x 134 27W

Not much today. We mostly sat and read books all day. Nothing new broke, nothing broke got fixed.

I made corn meal mush for breakfast. It is much like grits or malt-o-meal. Chicken, pickled beats and rice for supper.

ARE WE THERE YET??? We are all getting ready to be there! The GPS now is close enough to be able to calculate an arrival time. However, it is in the range of 120 hours to 80 hours depending on the speed. At 2.5 knots this morning it is 2 days longer than last night at 5.5 knots! ARG!

During the night shifts, we motored on and off. We hit several squalls. They mostly had very little wind or rain, but they showed up on the radar like big storms.

No fish.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Day 23

119 miles for 2547 at 02 33S x 133 58W 550 miles to go

I made an apricot cobbler and we ate it. Donnie tried it too even though I had to use wheat flour and he is still allegoric.

We have motor sailed off and on all day. That's where you put the sails up and then run the motor fast enough that they look full. Gives the impression you know how to sail! Ha!

Actually, with 5 knots of wind we can sail about 1 knot, but with the motor running in gear at a fast idle, 1600 rpm, we get 5 - 6 knots. Worth the fuel as I probably get .5 gallons per hour at 1600 rpm. About 6 PM the wind came up again. And continued through the night! It is only 9 -12 knots, but we are averaging 6 knots all night. Flat seas, it is real nice. Maybe the toast to King Neptune was worth it.

Trinda sewed some more on the dodger canvas. While the boat was in storage, a tarp rubbed on the edge and wore through in one place. She is putting a patch on that place.

Donnie has discovered the invincible Dirk Pitt from the Clive Cussler novels. He has finished 2 and working on another.

Need I say yet again, No Fish???

Monday, April 23, 2007

Day 22

86 miles for 2428 at 00 52S 133 01W

We were sailing along and this long white line appeared in front of us. It took a few minutes to realize that it was the equator! On all the maps and globes I have seen, it is a blue line, not white. It threw me for a minute.

Hello from "Down Under"!!!! We are no longer polly-wogs!! We are now officially shell-backs. We crossed the equator at about 2PM local time.

Because it is so up hill the last mile or so to the equator, the boat kept slowing down. Finally we had to motor the last 2 miles! And now it is down hill all the way to the Marquesas!

We had a little celebration. First we photographed the GPS showing us at the equator. Then we took some pictures in our party hats. Trinda wanted to swim at the equator, so we all did at 2376 miles from Mexico and 725 from the Marquesas. Next we drank a toast to King Neptune and asked for fair winds and following seas, with a PS. that they appear on days that we need them. Our best libation aboard turned out to be a bottle of White Zinfendell from a winery in Baha California. Neptune got a whole
glass. Then a few more photos and since the wind was completely gone, started the motor and motored for 7 more hours.

In preparation for the big event, we spent a couple hours making crowns and a scepter to wear during the festivities. All of our tablets no longer have that nice thick cardboard backing! But we did have a crown each. You'll have to just imagine what they look like for a few weeks til we can get to a high speed internet.

The wind speed instrument display came loose from the bulkhead so we had to re-mount it.

We tried one of Donnie's "MREs", meal-ready to eat. It was scrambled eggs with bacon bits. You mix with water and then scramble in pan, just like normal. They worked just fine and were even purty good. We had corned beef and cabbage for supper. I burned the corned beef and the cabbage was under-done, so on average, as Donnie said, it was OK.

No fish, I think we need to be going faster than we usually are for the dorados to chase lures in the water.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Day 21

112 miles for 2342 at 00 29N 132 32W (at 8:00 AM April 22)

We seem to be getting very close to meeting the famous King Neptune! Maybe after lunch of the 22 day!

Donnie put more eyes in ropes for me and made a new anchor snubber ( a pair of ropes to take the strain of the anchor chain).

Trinda worked on her needle point and the dodger windows some more.

We made water again. Seems a faucet got knocked by something and came on for a while. Trinda also did some more laundry, which uses water pretty fast. Then we changed all the house water filters. I had been almost a year this time.

I made a pot of beans and cornbread. Very tasty!

We tried taking some movies with the digital cameras to see if we could capture the motion of the boat. It was very calm so I can't tell much. I'll figure a way to post them if we ever get to a high speed internet.

We motored most of the day and the previous night. we are at a total of 97 engine hours. About 6 PM we turned it off and have sailed about5 knots since. Auto had trouble holding course through the night again, so it took more paying attention during the night watches than usual! Ha!

No fish! as if that were new. Trinda did se a sea turtle, about 2'x3' just swimming along the other way.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Day 20

94 miles for 2230 at 02 02N 132 01W

At sun-up the wind came up again. We sailed a slow beam reach till about 3PM. We were making 4 and 5 knots most of the time, then it died. We put the sails away and were getting ready to motor again when:

Something new, Donnie and I went for a short swim 2165 miles from shore! Of course it is closer to Fata Hiva, only 983 mile from that shore. I don't know how deep it was as the depth finder only works to 1500 feet and it was just beeping. The water is about 82 and clear blue. I could see Donnie looking at the rudder, while I was at the bow as plain as if the boat was out of the water. It was so clear that when you look down it was still blue, not black!

Trinda made us chicken casadillos with salsa for supper. From the Mexican corn masa flour, Mexican caso seca cheese and canned chicken. They were good.

Trinda worked on the dodger canvas some more. I got the sewing machine out for her and oiled it. Not too much rust this time.

Donnie learned to splice double braid rope and put an eye in two of my dock lines. Now if I can get him to splice an eye in a couple of 3 strands for anchor snubbers, we'll be set to anchor again, assuming we'll eventually get to someplace the 300 feet of chain will reach the bottom again. I'm beginning to feel like Columbus' crew... we may have sailed off the edge of the world!

Just at the end of the day I saw a whale blowing about a 1/4 mile away. I only saw his back twice, but he blew 8 or 10 times. Also saw a medium sized Manta Ray about the same time. We haven't seen much wildlife this passage. Maybe we aren't looking out as much??

Friday, April 20, 2007

Day 19

98 miles for 2136 at 03 19N 131 14W

We had a nice clear day. Around noon we had a 10 minute shower, but no winds. We were able to sail from 9 til 8 in the evening OK. Not fast, but 4 to 5 knots. Then it died and we motored through the night gain.

Rust had started eating on the corners of the solar panels. Donnie and I scraped and painted them.

With the rain, we dug out all the canvas and plastic windows for the cockpit. Some we haven't needed since leaving Seattle! They need a little maintenance. Trinda is re-working them.

Since the weather was so nice for a change, we grilled the last of the T-bone steaks for supper. Sure were good. Trinda fried the last 2 potatoes and onion to go with them. And we opened a can of green beans. I guess there will be lots of opening cans now.

Yesterday was laundry and shower day. Trinda washed all the dirty clothes and we hung them on the lifelines. I moved the spinnaker out of the shower stall and we all had a nice shower. Since we had been running the motor we had hot water in the shower! Of course, with the ocean at 82 degrees, hot water is not really that exciting, hehehe.

When I checked into the Pacific Seafarers Net Last night, they said a boat was near us who had engine problems. We tried to get more details, but no one on the net had any info. We marked the possible position on the GPS and swang by, but saw nothing on radar. It must have been old info. I hope that if we have a problem reported on the nets, they do better about collecting the pertinent info.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Day 18

108 miles for 2038 at 04 37N 130 24W

More rain squalls and low wind between them. About 2 we finally gave up and started the motor. We motored all afternoon and through the night. Sails up again at end of day 18 (8:00).

No fish.

I thought we had another problem with the GPS. It did not agree with the compass by about 150 degrees. We went through all the electrical and found a 1/2 volt difference in the batteries and the instrument bus, but that was not the problem. When we finally started the engine and moved faster than 1.2 knot, the GPS corrected right around and worked fine. We just weren't moving fast enough for it to figure out which way we were going.

Otherwise a quiet day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Day 17

98 miles for 1930 at 06 06N 129 27W

Well the excitement for the day was the weather. We had 6 rain squalls during the daylight hours, with 3 having above 30 knot winds involved. And lots of rain. Every thing is wet and now hot and sticky with the humidity. The wind dies back to almost nothing between the little storms. They are 4 or 5 miles in diameter by radar and last about an hour.

Eating is becoming more and more a hassle. It seems that every time I sit at the table, my glass of water finally gets dumped in my lap! Not Donnie's or Trinda's! Just mine! Since we turned more south, we are going down wind. The waves come from behind and the boat rocks violently from side to side at least once every 3 minutes. I made yakasoba noodles for lunch and we managed to eat them from plastic bowls and not spill anything except a glass of water. However it was so wet from the rain, nobody
noticed much. We ran out of propane in the first tank. So we must be using a good deal more gas underway than we do at anchor, as we usually get about 2 months. This tank (2 gallons) lasted only 20 days. I have another 2 gal and the standard 5 gal one on the BAR-B-Q.

More failures, last night Donnie woke me in the middle of his watch to report that the GPS had no numbers! Well sure enough it didn't. I do have 2 other spare ones, though not as nice as the built in one. One of the old ones has a removable antenna. We tried it's antenna on the good one and it works! So another save. And one more thing for the next store. It seems like I'll need a whole marine store in the Marquesas!

Part of the problems we have been having with the auto pilot and the wind instruments is they seem to be sensitive to low voltage. The new auto pilot uses more power than the old I think, and the radar is being run more. I had to run the generator last night during the squall to get the batteries up enough to keep auto online!

No fish.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Day 16

67 miles for 1832 at 07 19N 128 23W

Well it started as a nice day. We have been trying to get a little further south to start heading for the equator crossing. I guess we found the ITCZ.
About noon we got hit with a squall that had 20 knots sustained with gusts over 30. We had up too much sail, the main and the big jib poled out. It took over an hour to get them down. The sails kept wrapping around the stays and blowing hard. Then we motored till it settled down some, then put out the jib on the pole again and about 6 PM the wind and rain did it again so we had to take down the sails again. By then we were so tired that we just heaved to again. So it was another short day.

During all this it was raining hard too. Everything is wet, but clean and it is drying out some today.

We moved the clocks back 2 time zones, so now our 24 hour travel day ends at 8AM local time. We will have to adjust the clock 2 more hours when we arrive in the Marquesas.

No fish and nothing exciting in the cuisine either.

No casualties either, but lots of new bruises.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day 15

147 miles for 1765 at 07 45N 127 35W

No more fish, but a few bites.

We sailed due west for the last few days because of the wind direction and the inability of auto to deal with the correct direction. It keeps getting over-powered when just a little off course to windward. We had up to 29 knots of wind during the night. We have a large sewll from the wind too, maybe 10 feet, but not too steep. Auto got lost only about 6 times. We turned south at the end of the day. Just a few minutes ago.

Donnie and I worked over the whisker pole all afternoon. It is in much better shape now. It had some screws wearing out and such.

We are the only boat that left Zihuatanejo together that has not crossed the equator. Three are there anchored and one is about 6 days ahead of us. They all were 10 days ahead.

Trinda is making cornmeal flapjacks for breakfast.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day 14

143 miles for 1618 at 08 10N 125 15W

Our second best day. I failed to make a big deal about it yesterday???

Fishing was better. We thought we both hooked up the same fish. My line wrapped around Donnie's line but I reeled in faster, so we didn't realize he had something too. When I got the fish up, a small dorado, to the boat, it was off the stern because it was wrapped around the other line. He was dangling about a foot out of the water with the lines getting caught on the solar panels. Before we could get the net, he managed to break the line and steel my lure! Then we realized that Donnie still had
a fish. He and Trinda got it in OK. It was a nice yellow fin tuna about 18". The first we have caught. Other people seem to catch them lots, but we never had before. It is a light colored meat and very tasty.

Donnie and I tried a little sashimi. My wasabi powder was bad, and the new tube of already mixed wasabi paste was not very good but we enjoyed a small helping anyway. We baked/broiled one fillet for supper, saving the other for today. It was really nice. Donnie thought it was a little better cooked! Ha!

Auto did fine for several days, but last night it started acting up again. If we could only pull into a marine store and lumber yard for a few minutes, I'm sure we could fix it up. But we have to figure a way to make it 13 more days.

No more rain. The wind is up to 15 to 20 steady for a couple of days now. Maybe this is the trades? The seas still seem confused though. I had thought that in the trades the waves would steady out and be fairly consistent. We seem to have a large swell about 12 feet from the NNW that only gets here every 20 seconds, with a 6 foot wind chop from the north and a 4 foot chop from the NE both at about 4 seconds, but not in phase!!it all makes for kind of a bumpy ride. Every now and then they all get
together at the same place and make a splash the comes on deck or even in a hatch. Trinda and I both got soaked once good last night, her in the cockpit during her watch and me in the aft cabin bed!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Day 13

149 miles for 1475 at 08 51N 123 05W

Not much doing today either. I ran the generator/water maker. I pumped the second tank full again then made enough water to almost fill the first tank, so we have about 200 gallons again. We have used about 150 gallons in 13 days! This was the third time to make water and charge the batteries.

5:00PM: We just got our first rain since we left San Carlos, sometime before last Nov. It was not enough to was the boat, but got the decks all wet. Auto is working and the wind has been nice, 10-15 knots, so making 5 to 6 most of the time.

8:00AM Rained again, really just a sprinkle.

We haven't really changed any sail setting for 48 hours. Talk about a long tack! We should soon though as we are going almost due west and need to cross the equator about 130W. So we need to be going about 220 instead of 270. Maybe some time today.

A little reading and a little sudoku and sleeping. The rest of the time is cooking, eating and cleaning up. I just made a pan of "Jim Williamson biscuits. They should be ready in 30 minutes.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Day 12

132 miles for 1326 at 9 04N 120 39W

I thought we were going to have a record day, but no, that is still day 4. Our friends on March had several over 160 miles!

Since the fish got all of Trinda's special lures, she didn't put out a pole today. Therefore, no fish. However we are continually throwing the little flying fish off the boat. About 15 today plus a 2 inch squid. I didn't know they could jump that high. It must be 3 feet up to the side of the boat.

The wind came up after midnight. We got up to 8.5 knots and then tripped up the auto. It took us 1/2 an hour to figure out why we couldn't get auto to hold a course. Finally I went back and looked over the transom and there dangled the oar! Duh!. Hooked it back and in minutes we were racing along at 7.5 again. But by Trinda's watch the wind fell off again, so we only finished the day doing about 4 knots.

Just relaxed and had a nice day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Day 11

130 miles for 1195 at 09 38N 118 35W

I decided that we weren't going to work on anything today. The auto pilot is holding a course of 240 OK all day. So we took a day of rest.

1062 miles from Zihuatenajo, Mexico and we see a bottle floating in the water??? We are apparently not the first to cross here.

A LOT of dolphins came to see us in the afternoon. We all stood on the bow for 10 minutes or so while they frolicked in the bow wave. We are only doing about 5 knots, so not a big wave but enough I guess.

Something caught a fishing line. Donnie went to get it, but by the time he got started at reeling it in, it got off with the hook and lure. I saw it back a ways in the crystal blue water, it was not a fish I recognize, so we'll call it our first missed wahoo.

We later fed them another and last of Trinda's special "Buzz Bomb" lures with no eatable results.

Auto steered all night with no resets. Things are looking positive!

We put Donnie's special wheat free Spelt flour away when h arrived. We can't find it any where. So this morning I attempted to make "Jim Williamson Biscuits" using Mexican cornmeal (Masca for tomales) instead of flour. They didn't rise any. We are trying to eat them anyway.

Our friends on the boat Marcy made it to Nuku Hiva Yesterday. They left 10 days ahead of us and had lots of good wind and no auto pilot problems!

Day 10

103 miles for 1065 at 10 52N and 116 58W

Things look much better today. And we passed 1000 miles! WaHOO!! only 2000 more to go!!

Fish!! Trinda caught a smallish dorado on a little silver thing. Maybe 24 inches but 4 "larger than restaurant sized" fillets. We grilled it all and ate all but one serving. It was really good. Maybe there are more out there some where. Each day we go around the deck and pick up all the flying fish that missed the water. they vary , mostly 2 to 3 inches, but a few 6 to 10 inches. When Muffy left, I thought I was done cleaning the deck every day!! Ha!

After spending the night heaved-to and resting our minds as well as our bodies some, we had better luck fixing the auto pilot stuff. We had gotten up about 7:30 and spent til nearly 11 still heaved-to working on getting the auto pilot right. The ropes connecting the wind vane to the rudder had worn itself and some of the pulleys it went through so much that it had too much resistance to function.

About 11AM we started again. We set the jib poled out and ran down wind, wing-n-wing all day and through the night. We had to steer about 200 degrees instead of 245 but maybe we'll make it up later. Auto held up all day and night, with only one hiccup!. It is still 900 miles to that imaginary turning point where we will turn south to cross the equator and the ITCZ or the doldrums as people used to call it. So there is room to make up for the course changes.

We changed the tiller pilot back to the old one. I thought there might be some tuning difference, but it seemed the same. The remote control for the old one quit for good this time. We were able to completely change it out without turning off auto! The new remote control was labeled "pin compatible" which explains why it had a 4 pin connector and the old one had 6 pins. We had to change the wire and socket too.

We found the last bag of romaine hearts so we had a salad with the fish. The only veggies left are hicoma and a Mexican cactus-like veggie sorta like potato - hicoma cross. And then only canned stuff. We are out of oat meal for breakfast, just the little instant bags left. Lots of canned stuff though.

No temper flairs, generally a good happy day and made a few more miles.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Day 9 sucked

63 miserable miles for 962 at 12 23N 116 16W

Well after spending all morning trying to figure out how to balance the sails, about noon, I decide we should just turn Auto on while we eat lunch and ..... It won't hold a course at all. I look back to the back to see if it has tripped up again, and THERE'S NOTHIN' THAR!!! The new oar we made from the sideboard has broken off! So it's back to the drawing board again. This time I find a piece of nice plywood(Trinda's sewing table) that we keep under the mattress of the front bunk. About 5 we have
it made again. In the water to test. No!! It still won't steer. I doesn't even try.

Finally so disgusted! I hand steer half of my watch then we heave too and just sit there for the night. Just pull in all the sails, set the radar alarm and we all went to bed. It was purty rocky and rolly, but we did get some sleep. This morning we went through the whole system and found 2 more of the turning blocks were bad. The bearings were gone or flat.

No fish. Maybe there aren't any here!

Tempers flared. Bad day in general!

Things are much better now, but that's day 10's story.

Day 8

114 miles again today for 897 at 10AM Central time at 12 43N 115 18W

Auto seems to have forgotten how to steer again! Down wind, wing-n-wing was OK, but not the direction I want to go.

Trinda hand steered most of the day (3 hours and 45 min she says!) while Donnie and I tried installing the new replacement tiller pilot. It didn't seem to help any either.

No fish.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Day 7 Happy Easter!

114 Miles today for 783 at 10AM Central time at 14 13N 114 14W

The Easter bunny found Donnie and me. I suspect Trinda helped, that's why she didn't get a basket too. They were plastic disposable bowls with a ribbon handle and green material inside. We have some Cadbury chocolate cream eggs with the whit cream and yellow spot that make it like an egg. We are coloring the eggs Trinda boiled yesterday too. The pictures will not make the web for quite some time, but they do exist.

Auto steered fine all afternoon and evening, the about 2AM the wind changed and it couldn't hold the course. We were too tired to figure out the sails and the batteries were low, so we motored for 4 hours. I thought we could get some quality sleep, but no, without the sails up it flopped back and forth so much that I am tired-er than if I sat up! This morning, running straight down wind wing-n'wing, it is holding course just fine.

We have been seeing lots of flying fish lately. Sometimes whole schools (or flocks, do they change when they are in the air??) leap from the water and fly as far as 50 yards in one flight. Occasionally they even turn in the air.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Day 6

Only 90 miles today for 669 at 14 41N 112 28W

We celebrated all the work with steaks. When we had the hamburgers, the wind kept the grill too cold to cook. This time it did OK. We had some scallions that weren't quite gone so I grilled them too.

The new steering oar did not work as well as I thought. any time we got over 5.5 knots, it tripped up. We decided on several things, to replace the tiller pilot with the spare new one, to re-shape the 1x6 to look a little more streamlined and smoother. As we were finishing the re-assembly, we noticed the "Main nut" was loose. Maybe the whole problem! Ha! Murphy strikes again.

This seems to have helped so far. It has not tripped up for about 5 hours, although we haven't gotten much over 6 knots during that time. We still have the new remote control for the auto pilot to install. Maybe tomorrow.

Still no fish! We changed lures to a silver spoon, but nobody likes it either.

Tomorrows Easter. I think Trinda is planning on boiling some eggs.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Day 5

We made 103 miles for 579 total at 15 07N and 111 06W

Well we had our next failure. Since I strengthened the bungees on the wind vane, it takes a lot more force to pop it loose. About 3AM we hit something and it broke the whole wooden part off. So it was hand steering again. Until 10AM. Trinda helped me clean the "extra junk" off the boat in Zihua before we left. Guess what was junk? You guessed it, the old oar for the wind vane. Oh well, it was too small anyway.

This morning I went looking for a 2x6 aboard the boat, as there are no islands with a lumber yard close. I spied the side boards that we tie the extra fuel jugs on deck. We took one off and shaped it with a spoke shave. We now have an oar and self steering with auto again. Although it still trips up frequently. Twice in the last hour. I can't imagine what it is in the water that we are hitting.

Still no fish. We heard that our friends on Marcy just caught a 5 foot wahoo. Peter said that if he had known how good they were he would have been fishing a lot more. They also crossed the equator yesterday.

I cleaned up the wiring around the radio. Bad Idea! By re-arranging them, I got it so that it got feed back into the computer. I couldn't get e-mail for 2 days. I just re-cleaned up, and it seems OK so I am writing again! Ha!.

Trinda says she is getting tired, sleepy and not enough sleep. Its noisy all the time during her off-watch times. With not much wind a lot of the time the sails have been banging a lot too. The water is a beautiful azul (blue ) color. Looks very clean. We have "caught" 2 flying fish, one about 1 inch the other about 7 inches. She put the big one on a hook and drug it till it disappeared, but no luck.

Day 4

We made 132 miles for 476 total at 15 36N and 109 24W

We were having trouble keeping the windvane from tripping up out of the water. I was up every 30 minutes from the end of my watch at 11PM last night till 5 AM when the wind died. Every time we got to 7 kts, it tripped. Finally I pulled in the jib and slowed down so I could sleep during Donnie's watch.

I decided it needed stronger bungees holding it. After about 2 hours of hand steering this morning, I got them put on.

Still no fish. We made hamburgers on the grill. The wind was blowing enough that they seemed like they would never cook.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Day 3

We made 130 miles day 1, 90 miles day 2 and 124 day 3. Not good but acceptable. We have motored a total of 28 hours. We have had wind 10-15 forward of the beam making 6 knots about 8 hours and 5-10 on the beam making 4-6 knots 16 hours with all 4 sails out.

We had our first mechanical failure last night, about 3 AM the windvane quit steering. After some investigation, under the mattress of our bed while healed at about 20 degrees and rocking, I found the problem. A pulley had worn out and then the rope that was running through it wore out. There was just enough rope left to hook it back up. I found a spare pulley too. So Trinda steered by hand for the hour it took to fix it. It had been making a loud squeaking that we couldn't locate. So life is better
now that it is fixed.

Still no fish. We have had a line out the whole 3 days but only caught the 2 skip-jack tunas that we threw back. My pole was on a plastic pole holder mounted on the hand rail. We must have "almost" caught a big one, because the pole holder is broken off. The line was all the way out and the pole and half the holder was caught on the life ring. Good save! So we put my pole away for a while. Early this morning we also rolled in Trinda's pole too. With no hit in nearly 2 days, we are just wearing out
the lure.

I made a big pot of pasole before we left. We finally finished it off last night. The bananas are gone today too. The lettuce and cabbage are still good for a little longer. The alvocados are going fast too. We had bagels and locks yesterday.

No body has been sea sick yet, though we ate the bananas too fast, hehehe.

There has been no land in sight for 1 1/2 days now. Sunny all time. A few sun burned areas.

We chalked the deck some more. I think we got the leak over the bed. No more wet Donnie. He would be really happy if he wern't so sore from banging around as the boat rocks with the waves.

I am getting used to checking in to the radio nets. Pacific Seafairers Net checks roll call every day at 8:30 MDT, and there are some local gossip nets for us out here.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Katie Lee Update

Hi all,
This was generated on 4/2/2007 at 2:37 PM local time.
17°30.85'N 104°02.63'W 5.8kts @ 265T

First day and still motoring. A little breeze on the nose, but can't seem to sail less than 45 to 50 degrees off. We tried to sail for 1 1/2 hours, but no use. We had planned to motor about 2 days to start, so we are still on schedule.

We have caught 2 skip jack tuna and thrown them both back. Dolphins have played in the bow wave several times. We just now discovered that something large hit my fishing pole. It broke the plastic pole holder off and the pole was snagged on the life-ring. When we pulled it in, there was no fish! darn.

The fore deck leaked a little water on Donnie. We are trying to chalk it some more today. We chalked around the deck-lights before we left, but that doesn't seem to be where the leak was.

More later,
Larry, Trinda and Donnie