Log of the Vessel Tenured
San Diego, CA to Sydney, BC via Hawaii and Alaska
May 26, 2001 to September 21, 2001
San Diego to Hawaii
Location: N32 24.6 W117 36.4
Status: All is well, no major mechanical problems
Radio Communications: 8A at 7pm and 8pm Pacific Local Time
Dagley, All interested Parties, and All ships at Sea,
The first day has gone well. We got away from the dock with wonderful and appropriate fanfare and attempted to start sailing early. Four hours later we were 2.6 miles from point Loma and 2 miles closer to Hawaii. (Motors are such great things and we chose to use ours. After all, God created diesel and who are we to scoff at the work of God. --- We are now a mere 2228 NM from Hawaii on a heading of 249M. I think that God also created autopilots.) The wind was annoyingly from the direction in which we planned on going so with no other choice, we decided to head out toward the real ocean (somewhere past San Clemente) under the power of our trusty diesel.
I am now writing a book to be entitled "Sailing IS for Dummies."
We have decided we will motor no further than as far as we get by noon tomorrow. Hopefully, we will find some wind a that distance.
Our one problem thus far has been an unexplained water overflow from the radiator. After some time, it seemed to stop and we are hoping that it does not come back.
Well, that is all for now. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful hopes, great gifts and caring thoughts. It is hard to leave so many of you behind even with the prospect of grand adventure ahead.
Captain of the Vessel Tenured,
May 27, 2001
This morning at 8:10 local the vessel tenured was under sail at N32 20.58 W 119.07.2 heading 174 degrees (desired heading 248) making four knots.
(NOTE: We plan to try to contact downwind marine at 1700Z (10 local) on 8A and we will monitor 8A for voice communication at 6 and 7 pm local.)
By the way, the crew discovered that no one had matching Zulu clocks. Thanks to the time ticks and the GPS we were able to resolve the time question without mutiny.
All doing well. No seasickness (yet).
We dined on an excellent meal of homemade sauce with spaghetti, drank the bottle of wine from Martha and Tony (thanks to them) and had a wonderful time.
Then it got dark and we saw all sorts of scary and completely imaginary things but we survived the night. (No moon and overcast is a bad combination.) There was incredible bioluminescence in the water. (Did anyone see the episode of the twilight zone with the guy on the wing of the plane? If you did, you understand our night.)
This morning we are having a great time. Good winds since 6AM but they are from the wrong direction so we must choose between sailing south or heading northwest. I think that we will sail south for a while and if the winds don't improve, we will head northwest and try to find the trades. Also, I want to get away from the big seas coming down from conception.
All systems working well although Keith did learn that coffeemakers don't work well on a heel. (Pat has finished cleaning up the mess.)
More later from the radio room of the vessel Tenured.
May 27, 2001
Here we sit broken hearted, came to sail yet haven't started....
No winds at all since last email. We are sitting on a glass calm ocean with no hint of a breeze. Crew is enjoying the sun but we all want to move!!!!
May 28, 2001
To Dag, Joan, and All Ships at Sea,
The vessel tenured found the ocean today. We are at N31 42.083 W119 42.157. The seas are as rough and as confused as the captain. Winds are 25 gusting higher and we are getting hit pretty hard but all are doing fine. All equipment is working well. Light rain separated by hints of blue sky. Weather report suggests that this will continue for about 100 miles. All welcome the change and we are making really good time. Current speed approaching 8 knots.
Vessel has finally found its heading of 249 but is still close hauled. We are heeling a bit uncomfortably. Will reef as soon as is convenient.
Message from Keith to Thorne and Linda: Thanks for calling Raymond. It means a lot. Please continue to keep in touch.
Message to Rachel Flathmann: Congrats and happy graduation.
Last night was a challenge for all. In very light winds we headed south and slightly west and around 1 started motoring. We wanted to get out to the "REAL" ocean and we did.
Unfortunately, all are now exhausted and we are using the time to recover and recharge.
NOTE TO SELF: Throw all garbage off the downwind side of the boat.
Anyway, will continue sharing our saga. Have a great day and enjoy your holiday picnic.
Mike from the Tenured Radio Room.
N 31 27.06
W 120 30.77
Speed 4-6 knots
It is pretty crappy out here. We have reefed twice and pulled in the headsail and dropped the mizzen. Seas are big. Trying to move more south to get away from building gale off conception.
Crew holding up OK. They were all happy to hear Joan's voice and will look forward to continued communication. (NOTE TO JOAN: Anytime we speak, lets give you an oral position report also.)
Sometimes you get what you ask for. We asked for wind.
Date: May 29, 2001
Position: N 30 25.0 W 121 01.5
Time: 17:04 Utc
Speed: 5-6 knots
Sea state: Big seas bad waves, high winds
Observation: Since yesterday we have had winds pushing 30 plus and seas of 6-8. It is kicking the mucous out us.
All in all, everyone is doing fine and everything is OK. The rough seas have made it difficult to do normal things like shower and eat. We have had some seasickness on board but mostly we are just hanging on for the ride.
We anticipate another day or two of this before it calms down. Last night we headed due south all night to try to get away from the worst of it. Even fully reefed with almost no sail we were making 6 knots. (So, we wanted an adventure....)
Thanks to all for your kind and sweet messages and thanks for taking the time to let us know that you care.
Special thanks to Dag and Joan for ground support for this little mission. We appreciate your staying in touch and relaying the messages.
Also, to all who sent messages to the satellite phone, they have been received and appreciated.
I will try to be more funny when I am less green.
Mike (holding on to everything including my lunch.)
May 30, 2001
Position: N 29 46.7 W. 123 17.5
Time: 21:53 UTC
Speed: 4-6 kts
Sea state: 6 foot but well spaced
Observation: Gorgeous day. Sunny and Comfortable
Hi from Tenured:
We are rapidly approaching 1800 miles form Oahu. The weather has turned favorable and the seas are gorgeous. Large rolling swells spaced by long enough periods to be comfortable. We are back under full sail and the day is too sunny for good description. Crew is getting along great and all are lounging about. Keith even cooked a loaf of bread today and tonight we are having a memorial day picnic. (We will stay on the boat for it.) Everyone seems to have found their place and their own routine. Frankly, this is how I hoped this would be.
I have learned all sorts of things about this kind of adventure. Being the captain, I find myself having all kinds of tasks that fill my day but none that really seem bothersome. Our day starts with Keith making coffee and Pat waking while Frank comes off his watch. (By the way, he snores enough to scare the fish away for hundreds of miles.) I do a deck inspection and then start the generator to make electricity and water. (We still have 350 gallons on board but that may be because no one was able to shower for 3 days.) Break feast has largely been trail mix and nutrigrain bars. (Again with the better weather, we hope to eat better.) Last night we had MREs (meals ready to eat) for dinner. After break feast, I send our morning report and email and then I take my turn standing watch (although there is little to watch). Keith and Pat do galley things and Frank snores. At lunch, it is time to download the weather faxes. They are a godsend. You can't outrun weather but sometimes you can outsmart it. At least you can prepare to be afraid. Then, it is on to hors doeurves (sp) and dinner. Yesterday as the weather improved so did the food available to eat. The highlight of the day is the voice message from Joan. The crew gathers to listen. It makes us feel at home even though we are now further out to sea than we have ever been before. After dinner, we head off in our separate directions (funny thing on a small boat.) I do my watch from 9-12 while others sleep and then each crew member stands one night watch (the least fun of the trip.)
For those who plan to do this kind of thing, I offer the following tidbits of advice:
Be equitable in all matters but take the captain's watch early since you will be on call for all other watches. During our first few days, I spent time assisting on each watch and then stood my own watch from 3-6 am. (It is even worse if no one on the boat knows how to sail but that will change quickly.)
Finally, never mount your autopilot motor next to your bed. It is sleeping with a hand grinder by my head.
SPECIAL MESSAGES FROM THE CREW:
Pat and Frank asked to let their kids know that they appreciated the information about the INDY 500. Also, special thanks to Art Silver for all his pre-trip help. Thanks to Pat and Randy for this evenings wine and to John and Lynette for the run punch. Also, thanks to Gislene for her great gift and to Pat and Susan Richter for their pre-trip help. Finally, thanks as always to Dag and Joan for everything.
Keep those letters coming. They mean the world to the crew. It is great to feel loved.
May 31, 2001
Position: N 29 10 381 W 124 04.193
Time: 16:29 Zulu May 31, 2001
Speed: 3-4 Kts
Sea state: Calm
Relative Wind: 270 and light
Observation: What the hell is the matter with this freaking ocean? When I hit Hawaii I intend to speak to the manager. Last night we were becalmed yet again. I bet that if they would privatize the ocean it would run smoother.
This morning I awoke to the sound of the boat sitting still. I arrived on deck to find Frank playing dress-up. He was dressed in some sort of big red thing with the word coast guard on the back. No winds and warm temps and Frank is looking like Santa after the draft. We dropped the main and just waited. After a few hours, the wind finally came up. (NOTE: Find Frank a good therapist. His problem with civilian to military cross-dressing needs to be worked on.)
Last night we had a wonderful picnic courtesy of Keith and Pat. Hot dogs and Pat's famous potato salad (almost as good as Grandma used to make) and rum punch (courtesy of John and Lynette.) This morning it is pancakes. At least we are eating well even if we aren't moving.
Our hope is that today we hit the trades. They are out here somewhere. The ocean is so calm that it is scary. You can hear wisps of wind quite some distance off. It is eerie.
Today's thanks go to all who have sent us emails. I apologize for not responding to them all individually. I don't want to overburden Dagley but know that they are appreciated. Special thanks to John and Lynette for their radio contact yesterday. (Your radio sounded great. I regret not getting an insulated backstay.) Good luck to Mike Vigil in his new job. Hi to Jeanne. (Are we kayaking this Sunday?)
May 31, 2001
Position: N 29 06.1 W124 16.9
Time: 23:35 UTC
Speed: 5 knots
Wind speed and Direction: Who cares because there is no wind out here
Sea state: Flat
Observation: Sailing out here is like sailing in the middle of the summer at 10AM in San Diego
Not much to report. We sat becalmed for most of the day. After reading the weather faxes, we decided that we must be about 100 miles east of the trades so we lit off the old perkins engine and off we headed. Will let you know when we find either work or wind.
NOTE: Congrats to Chris and Angie on winning the Auto De Fe. I am sure the trophy looks better on your boat.
June 1, 2001
Dining with Elvis, Marilyn, Jim Morrison and a few locals this evening.
June 1, 2001 (The real log for the day)
BECALMED --- DAY 2
URGENT NOTE: Disregard last position report. It was sent by a crew member gone mad from the effects of overeating while becalmed. There is no need to go to the location last reported to see if TENURED is so located.
Position: N 29 17.9 W124 26.5
Time: 12:59 UTC June 1
Speed: 1.5 Knots
Wind speed and Direction: Light and from the west
Sea state: Flat
Observation: We remain becalmed
Wind is like air to a sailor. If you are not moving with it, then you must be passing it...
The crew is getting a little punchy. I found Keith tossing oranges over the side. When asked why, he responded, "We don't have breadfruit."
Frank remains the only normal one aboard (except Pat who really is normal.) He constantly is putting his training as an Auxilliarist to good use. He does things aboard this boat which I am sure no one but a highly trained para-militaristic auxilliarist would do. For example, I found Frank naked on deck searching for wind. Unexplainably, he had both hands in his pockets and was pointing in the direction that he thought we would need to go to find wind. He mumbled something about a divining rod... (Only Pat would know.) I ran away. (NOTE TO COUNSEL: Frank signed the waiver agreeing not to sue for libel.)
Still among this insanity, I remain normal. Lacking wind, I realized that I needed to order the crew to the longboats to tow us out to sea. (I learned all I know about sailing in Kindergarten by watching 1930's B Sea Movies.) Frank noted that two kayaks won't give enough horsepower and Keith who remains ever insolent suggested that we just start the diesel.
I spend my days glad that there are no pets on board. Among all this, the last thing that I need to worry about is having a "mutinous dog" to deal with. (Question: If there are rabies shots after being bitten by a rapid dog, then are there mutiny shots... Never mind it was too stupid even for me.)
More later after the medication takes effect.
As always, thanks to all who write and thanks to Joan and John and Lynette for their radio communications. Even if we don't speak it is better to hear voices from home than to just hear voices.
NOTE TO SUSAN RICHTER: Go girl!!!!
NOTE TO CHRIS AND ANGIE: Last night we ate your cherries for desert and they were delicious.
Captain Mike of the Good Ship Tenured Signing Off for Now
Date: June 1, 2001
Time (GMT): 21:15
Position: N29 12 W125 06
Speed (kts): 3
Wind speed and Direction: Light and off starboard bow (close haul)
Sea state: Calm
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1818
Observations: Nice day but overcast
We are proud to report that after motoring 30 miles, the vessel tenured appears to have entered the trades that lead to Hawaii. (We hope.)
June 2, 2001
THE NIGHT WATCH:
(14:07 Zulu, June 2, 2001 N 29 00 W125 24. Speed 3-5 Knots, Heading 249 -- Oahu Channel.)
As quickly as the trades began sweeping us toward Hawaii, they came to a sudden stop which left us adrift in a glass calm sea, in eerie darkness, with only the wonder of when the wind would take us forward again.
Watches on a moving boat are a fluid part of the operation of the vessel. You tend sails, you check the radar, you monitor the GPS and compass, and you adjust the autopilot. The boat slides forward and the world seems somehow right. You can savor the silence of your solitude at night because you are never spending the next instant in the same place where you spent the last and you are always just a little closer to your destination than you had been before. Even the sounds on a moving boat at night seem right. The water rushes by the hull and the propeller makes a comforting sound as it is rotated by the water passing through the blades. The sails are full and silent. The rigging creeks just enough to convince even the most insecure boater that the world is safe. The sounds on a moving boat seem somehow healthy and reassuring.
Night watches on a becalmed boat are a different animal.
Night watches all begin with putting on your gear. Being alone on deck hundreds of miles from shore is serious business. Jacket, personal light, auto-inflating life jacket, harness, tether, flashlight, whistle, and of course personal stereo. You step onto deck and get instruction from who ever is finishing their watch and then you are alone.
The radar is clear but nonetheless your eyes strain into the darkness to see the scariest things that you can imagine which you absolutely know must be out there. The boat rolls with each swell. The stability created by forward motion is gone. The sails make this terrible popping noise at the end of each roll. Things creek and bang about. Loose lines slap against rigging. Loose gear shifts below deck. Every sound seems somehow significant and every sound tells you that you are stuck in the molasses that is a windless ocean. Even the motor in the radar has an uncomfortable grind to it. The sails fill and pop again as they strain the lines that hold them in place. The rigging shudders and you are sure that the sails will tear away from the mast and that the rigging will be ripped free of the deck. Intellectually, you know that the night is getting the better of you but still you are sure that until that boat is moving again, you are vulnerable to the wind, the sea, and to whatever forces of man and of nature exist just beyond your ability to peer into the darkness. The two hour watch lasts for a week and then you can go below and leave your fears on deck for the one who stands watch next.
Among the best advice ever given to me by a more experienced boater was that whatever you do, look like you planned it and whatever occurs, never let your crew see your fear. Standing a night watch on a becalmed boat 500 mile from shore and perhaps hundreds of miles from another boat tests the bounds of that advice. Still, I would do this trip again even if I knew that every night watch would be like the one that I just came off of. After all, how dangerous could it possibly be to be in a 47 foot boat floating in total darkness thousands of feet above the ocean floor on a windless night in a place where the worst demons are the ones that live within ones own mind...
EPILOG: At 6am when I returned to watch, the boat still sat becalmed. By 6:05 the winds were blowing again and we were off to Hawaii yet once more. Keith describes the winds as union winds. I think of the winds more as government winds. No need to work too hard and no one to complain to if they are not doing a good job. Frankly, I think that Keith wants to bring in scab winds to get the job done.
June 2, 2001
Date: June 2, 2001
Position: N 28 55 W126 02 (I think that we miss our exit)
Speed (kts): 5.0
Heading (magnetic): 250
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 from NE
Sea state: 4-6 feet spaced 8 seconds. Comfortable.
Observations: We have been making better than four knots since about 6 AM. Weather is good. Skies slightly overcast. Winds are in our aft quarter. I will buy a whisker pole next time we stop for fuel.
The trades seem a pleasant place. We drift along at what we hope is a constant speed with constant comfortable winds. The weather faxes have been remarkably accurate. We only hope that the winds stay up at night in the future.
We haven't seen a boat in days. Yesterday we saw a whale. (It was delicious but we are having one heck of a time storing the leftovers. We will have whale jerky for a month.) Today we were surrounded by a gang of dolphins but all they wanted was to know if we had seen any whales. We said we hadn't. Frank has been fishing but thus far, no fish know about it.
NOTE: TO THOSE SENDING SATELITE EMAILS, PLEASE START WITH YOUR INITIALS OR NAME OTHERWISE I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THEY ARE FROM. ALSO, THEY MUST BE BRIEF AS THEY DO GET CUTOFF. SPACES COUNT IN THE 120 CHARACTER LIMIT.
I wanted to continue thanking everyone for their emails. I apologize if I miss your name in my gallery of thank yous. So as not to overburden Dagley, I will be responding to emails in the text of the daily log.
ROB AND CICI: Special thanks for your last minute help. (Especially Rob for going above and beyond the morning of the trip. You are both true friends.)
DARYL AND SCOTTY: Thanks for the thoughts. Could you recommend a good place to stay out here? We have been unable to find a suitable hotel. They all seem to have sunk. Also, we wish you would have left a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow. We are so lost.
MOM AND DAD: Thanks for the radio. Today I spoke with a fishing boat 1000 miles west of San Francisco. Mostly we send emails and speak to Joan. It brings a sense of home far out to sea.
Billy Flathmann: Just wanted to say hi and wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts.
Cindy Roadman: A belated happy birthday. Hi to you, John, and Chelsea.
John and Lynette: RE: Rum punch. Do you deliver? Supplies running low.
Captain and Mrs. Barnapkin: Mike, it was great speaking with you yesterday. You sounded great but the picture was fuzzy. Any advice? Thanks for the bubbles. We used them as mini-weather balloons to determine wind speed and direction while becalmed.
Thad, Hulya, and the Auburn Crew: Thanks for your thoughts and wishes. Remember, we are still looking for crew in Hawaii and then in Alaska. Kiss Dave Irwin for me. This is what a faculty member should be doing on their sabbatical. (By the way, my cabin is full of research materials.)
Bob: Thanks for thinking of us out here. Keep an eye on our dock and feel free to sell Keith's boat while we are gone.
Maryanne: Thanks for all your thoughts. Say hi to the family in PA.
Raymond: Even though you don't have email, just wanted to say hi from the crew and from myself personally. I hope someone relays this message to you.
Calling all Robertsons: Thanks for your many emails. We have enjoyed them. Of course as I read them to Keith I change the words to make them more amusing to me. Keith will accept your apologies upon our return.
Jeanne: It is not too late to join the crew in Hawaii. This is a great de-stresser and the kayaks are never too far away.
Marguerite: If you leave now in Chimera, you can intersect our course on the way to Alaska.
All the Auxiliary: We have Pat and Frank and we are holding them hostage until such a time as you stop wearing those funny life jackets and you all get real jobs. Take care of yourselves and we will attempt to take care of Pat and Frank.
Captain Mike signing off and wishing all on land just a little more ocean in your life.
Date: June 3, 2001 (Day 8 of our adventure)
Time (GMT): 17:49
Position: N28 44 W127 59
Speed (kts): 5.5-6
Heading (magnetic): 249
Wind speed and Direction: 15+ Abaft our beam
Sea state: 5-7 confused and badly spaced
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1664
Observations: Seas are a bit rough and we are taking a good beating out here. Sky is gray and overcast.
Hi From Tenured:
Yesterday was a great day. We sailed 110 miles on course to Oahu. Throughout the day the seas stayed calm and the winds built until around 5 pm when we started approaching 7 kts so we decided to depower a bit. (This turned out to be a good choice.) The crew and I were having a meeting to discuss handling emergencies at night. (I am on call always.) We discussed sudden squalls and as if on queue we looked up to see a line of nasty cells coming in our direction. Keith and I put on our gear and headed out on deck where we dropped and tied off the main. We then reduced the head sail and figured we would ride out the squalls which we expected to pass quickly. What we read as squalls turned out to be a storm system that was more than 50 miles wide. The winds came up and the Tenured with only the mizzen and a reduced head sail was pushing 8.5 knots. We reduced sail further and were able to hold the boat down to below 7 knots overnight. For the hours of darkness the boat rolled and pitched but all handled it well. We even had to divert slightly to deal with a tanker crossing our path.
Come morning we had slowed to between four and five knots so we put out the headsail and are now making about 6 knots. The main is still down although I am thinking of raising it to the first reef for stability. (We are being rolled around pretty badly out here.)
In the next installment, time permitting I will discuss life aboard ship and how each crew member deals with it. (All are doing well.)
Date: June 4, 2001 (day 10)
Time (GMT): 14:22
Position: N 28 25 W130 07
Speed (kts): 5-6
Heading (magnetic): 247
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 Abaft our starboard beam (Broad reach)
Sea state: 2-3 feet Gentle rolls
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1549 (714 NW from San Diego)
Observations: All going smoothly. We are still sailing on just the head and the mizzen. We covered 134 NM yesterday in comfortable seas.
It has been a good and thankfully uneventful day sailing. Weather has been much better and the winds are quite constant. The trades are a sailor's dream. (The trades are too a sailor like an all-you-can-eat early bird special with free parking and free drink refills would be to my father.)
I wanted to let you all know that the highlight of the day is the download and the reading of the daily emails. It is wonderful to have such friends (and family) who are following our adventures and care enough to take the time to write. Even if we don't respond directly know that your thoughts are appreciated and add considerable joy to our day.
When I envisioned this trip, I saw it more of a romantic adventure to be shared with one special person. Both sadly and to some extent happily, that is not what this has become. For all its romance, sailing across an ocean is anything but romantic. It is easy to succumb to the ideal of warm breezes and calm seas but the reality is that this is hard and tiring work and requires a crew up to the task.
When Keith, Pat and Frank signed on I imagined that this trip could be entitled "The Adventures of Three POWER Boaters and Mike" or perhaps "Mike Single-hands to Hawaii with Three Close Friends." Nothing could be further from the reality. All are proving to be excellent crew and even in this tight prison cell like space, we are doing great after 9 days together.
There is FRANK who is probably the smartest guy on the boat. He is a veracious (sp) reader and vastly knowledgeable on a wide range of topics. Always ready with a suggestion or an idea and most are pretty damn good. Frank is something of a cross between a Teddy Bear and a chief executive officer. For all his attempts at portraying himself as a gruff New Yorker, he is more likely to be caught showing his genuinely kind nature and willingness to make this trip succeed. Whenever Frank starts a statement with "You know what I think WE need to do", I know that I have a project ahead of me.
PAT is the mom on the trip. She works endlessly and is as diligent as anyone who has ever crewed for me. (On the Rachel Tenwolde scale of crew she is a 9.5) I have tried to convince her to relax a little but that would not be our Pat. If she is steering a course, she is not happy unless she is right on the heading. (I say what difference could a few degrees make on a trip this far....Hawaii, Marquesas, Japan...they all have beer.) She is an incredible cook and an unbelievable organizer. I have watched her work for hours on organizing the provision database, then go and work in the galley and then off to yet another task. Pat is fiercely protective of Frank which has led to her picking up some of his workload. Frank was assigned the task of doing the dishes but honestly, I have not yet seen a dirty dish on this boat. Two minutes after the meal is over Pat has washed them. Pat wins the BEST CREW MEMBER AWARD!"
Now, there is KEITH who has been my friend for almost ten years. All that time I would never have suspected that he is a closet sailboater. Well, Keith you are out now. We all know that you are a sailor at heart. The world now knows and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Some of my closet friends sail. Keith has done very well at boat handling and whenever there is deck work, Keith has been out there with me (often in some scary conditions.) Beyond that, Keith has mastered the art of cruising. When not standing watch, Keith tends galley and has prepared some excellent meals. I would say that the smell of bread baking makes me feel at home but certainly, that would not be my home...
I suppose that I could attempt to describe myself but I will leave that for my crew in their journals and upon their return.
Signing off until tomorrow,
Time (GMT): 13:43
Position: N28 05 W132 11
Speed (kts): 4 kts
Heading (magnetic): 246
Wind speed and Direction: 10 From NE (Broad Reach)
Sea state: Gentle Roll
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1437 (823 from San Diego)
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 114
Observations: It is a beautiful day.
Note to Dag,
Weather has dramatically improved and seas have settled down. No need to use the drogue although if things got worse I might have considered it. Let's try to talk on the radio when you are in San Diego. Joan and I have been speaking daily.
Today special thanks go to:
Art Silver -- We are glad that you are following us.
Bryan Noar --- Our sympathy and deepest condolences to Kelley and her family
John and Bailey McAvoy --- Wish you guys were here but will accept cash in place of your presence. Thanks for writing. Take care of the jeep. Are you coming to HI to buy a round or two?
Sean and Tammy: Even at this range they are magnificent!!!
Dominic: Pat and Frank are always happy to hear from you.
Jeanne: Looking forward to seeing you in HI.
Illya: Thanks for the nice goodbye.
Sandie: Great choice of words in your email.
Maggie and Julie: Thanks for your email. Are you guys joining us for the next leg of the trip?
Thad and the Auburn Crew: The trades were right where you said they would be. Once we found the big arrows like on your national geographic map, we knew we had arrived...
What an incredible morning! I stand the first night watch and the first day watch and both gave us spectacular firsts. Last night the moon broke through the clouds and lit up the ocean with a gentle luminescence (sp) that could only be described as mystical. The peak of each wave was alive with light. It was literally bright enough that we could see clearly off to the horizon. As if not to be outdone by the moon, the sun gave us our first spectacular sunrise this morning. Our trip has been in total overcast since leaving San Diego (with a few brief exceptions) but this morning the cloud cover has broken around us and with it came the beauty of an ocean sunrise. (This is so romantic but alas, all I have is this laptop ... which is starting to look pretty good to me...) Boy, I would love to have break feast at the Red Sails this morning.
It is hard to imagine that we are over 800 miles out to sea. (Of course we now know that June Gloom is a global phenomenon.) I keep expecting to see Catalina on the horizon. The weather report is for more of the same with light winds but slightly greater seas. The serenity out here is well worth the trip.
I have taken to putting notes in bottles and tossing them over the side. This will certainly get me a date. (Of course, to get the bottles, we must empty them first.)
On-board, the crew is doing well. Almost everyone reports hearing voices. Pat's voices are telling her to kill the captain. My voices are telling me to hide the knives and lock my door. (At least we have equal opportunity voices.) Actually, the sounds created by water at the scuppers are a little unnerving at first but ultimately become a friend in the night and finally they take control of your mind and dictate your actions....
I guess that hurricane Adolph has stopped goose-stepping its way across the Pacific and we are safe from its windy totalitarian wrath. It is a good thing that it wasn't named hurricane Caesar.
Still no fish for Frank but we can only hope that sometime in the next six months we catch something. Our food supplies are more than plentiful and Pat and Keith work endlessly at food preparation. (I suspect the next leg will be a little more basic.) Each day, weather permitting we have an excellent meal, home baked bread, and dessert. (To Mike Vigil: I would try to spell HorsDouerves (sp) again but I am sure that once again, the spelling police would harass us even this far out.)
Well, that is all for now. I wish that all of you could share this with all of me. Maybe in the future live streaming video will be possible but for now, take my word, it is incredible. I do note the red sky in the distance.... What is that they say, "Red sky in morning, sailor drink a beer." Oh well, it is pretty for now.
Date: June 6, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:24
Position: Upright (N 27 44 W133 51
Speed (kts): 2-3 kts
Heading (magnetic): 240
Wind speed and Direction: 5-10 directly or slightly south of stern
Sea state: 1-2 slight roll
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1346
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 85
Observations: A sailor exists at the whim of the winds and at the will of God.
SPECIAL NOTE TO: Mrs. Little's Class in Michigan. The Captain and Crew of Tenured say hello from the middle of the Pacific and thank you all for following our adventures. (Ask Mrs. Little to sing our jogging song from England.)
Thanks to Kim and Matt for your excellent sailing advice. It is profoundly appreciated.
Nikki: I am looking forward to meeting your friends at the dock and yes I will drink a MaiTai in your honor.
Don, Larry, Judy, Rick, Etc: Email received and thoughts most appreciated.
Boyzz for Illinoiz: Thanks. We have taken your advice and we keep Frank away from the compass. He seems to cause some sort of magnetic perturbations. (Something about always wanting to face north...)
Susan (Stocker): Great to hear from you. I am still hoping that you will sign on for Hawaii to Alaska.
Ethel and David: No matter how far we may roam, I will always think oxford is better than that other place and I will always miss you both.
Rusty Lencioni: Thanks for the email and for following us. Have a great summer.
Rocke: Your emails mean a lot to Keith and we all enjoy hearing from you. Thanks for the kind words about my log.
I had written my log entry yesterday evening (it follows) but after the experiences of last night, I decided to write the following:
I have learned two things out here:
First, sailing is 99% boredom and 10% terror. (Yes I did the math but I am one of the lucky few who can be both bored and terrified at the same time.)
Second: There are no atheists at sea. I have asked GOD to damn so many things in the last 11 days that I am sure I will be receiving a bill for services rendered.
Last night we were on a comfortable downwind run (wind on our ass) drifting along at 3-4 knots with the boom as far out to port as it would go. Two preventers held the boom from backwinding and doing one of those incredibly scary jibes where the wind catches the boom and swings it 180 degrees in a matter of a second. (Jibes don't kill people but booms do...) Within an instant, the wind shifted 45 degrees and the boom was backwinded and both preventers were strained to their limits. The helm was overpowered and suddenly a calm night of sailing was punctuated by one of those wonderful moments of terror that tells you that you are alive and makes you believe that if you are not careful, that may soon change. Frank was first on deck and Pat followed shortly. (I think Keith slept through the whole thing.) The team we have become really showed itself. There wasn't time for politeness but there was no yelling either. Frank took the helm we brainstormed a solution. Pat arrived and took her position at the mainsheet winch. The preventer cam cleat was jammed and we were unable to release the force on the boom. A little leverage and little dangling just below an overpowered backwinded boom and it was free. Next we needed to neutralize the boom. Pat on the winch, me on deck, Frank at the helm. That done, we got the boat back on heading, reconfigured the preventer so it would not jam again and then positioned the boom out the other way and returned to a night of slow cruising boredom.
Sailing works the body and challenges the mind. Today I feel invigorated and thoroughly reminded of the fragility of being human in a world that is beyond human control.
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE:
Today (June 5) was a working day aboard TENURED. We had some electrical problems which had to be managed. Also we tore a headsail and all crew had to do a sail change and then repair. Keith was at the rollerfurling winch. Frank handled lines, I was on the bow and Pat steered. It was poetry in motion. (Ed Wood sort of poetry but we worked as quite the team.) The sail change was completed successfully.
Our days are becoming comfortable routine. We each stand our watches. Everyone has their tasks and everyone seems to have found their spot to relax.
NOTE: Frank is actually doing dishes and doing a great job at them. When he returns home I urge that you not tease him about his particularly soft girly dishpan hands... (Palmolive is really making a difference in his life.) Tomorrow we can discuss his creative use of fabric softeners.
It was hard not to stop and notice the beauty around us today. The water was a deep cobalt blue that seemed to define infinity as you looked into it. The sun reflected from the calm ripples as we lumbered slowly forward. The day was warm which somehow complemented the calm ocean. The wind shifted around behind the boat and we reconfigured the sails for a slow run. It was the slow kind of lazy day that we all needed. We just drifted forward and that seemed somehow OK. Life really should be this comfortable and simple all the time. We have every piece of canvas up that we can hang because the wind seems to have taken a bit of a break. (Sailing is feast or famine and both have their advantages.)
Date: June 7, 2001
Time (GMT): 13:49 (6:49 AM pacific time)
Position: N27 degrees 30 minutes latitude, W135 degr. 19 min. longitude
Speed (kts): 3-4 Knots (nautical miles per hour)
Heading (magnetic): 243 Magnetic (256 True)
Wind speed and Direction: 5-10 directly astern
Sea state: Following seas, 1-3 feet. A little rolly
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1267 NM (see definition of nautical mile below.)
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 83.5
Radio Schedule for Today: 16B 5pm -6pm Pacific Time
Observations: Comfortable seas, overcast skies, good (not great) winds
THE MEANING OF LIFE: When there is wind you sail and when there isn't you sit. (This a simple reality and it cannot be altered.) Oddly, having too much wind and too little wind have the same effect --- you pray.
MILESTONE: In approximately 1-2 hours we will be 1000 NM from San Diego.
SPECIAL NOTES TO/ABOUT SPECIAL PEOPLE:
To Dan and Jeanne: Lets all take some time to celebrate Dan and Jeanne's engagement. I have been asked to officiate at their wedding. (Captain and wedding guy for a day) I consider this an incredible honor of which I am most proud. Say where and when and I am there.
Birthday wishes in the next week:
Carey Handley, Susan Stocker, and Randi Albertson. Happy birthday from the crew of Tenured.
Yesterday was a comfortably uneventful day. We creeped along at about 2 kts for the first 9 hours making only 19 miles in that time. The winds finally came up and we covered a reasonable distance though. We are sailing "Wing and Wing and Wing" which means that our Head sail is out to port, our Main out to starboard and our Mizzen to port. (This is only possible with the wind behind you.)
I thought that I would use today's log to define some things and to answer a few of the questions that I get asked most often by my non-nautical friends and also to talk about things on-board Tenured.
How is a nautical mile related to a land mile? A nautical mile is like a Baker's land mile. It is one mile and then just a little more. (1.1 land miles = 1 nautical mile) One nautical mile is equal to one minute of latitude. (Latitude is your north-south measurement on the globe.) There are 60 minutes of latitude per degree of latitude and there are 60 seconds per minute of latitude. If you were to circle the globe once from around the poles you would go 360 degrees. (At the moment, we are 27 degrees and 30 minutes north of the equator.) Knots of speed refers to nautical miles per hour. (Pat who knows all, says that 1 NM = 6076 feet.)
What does it mean when I say a heading (direction in which the boat is pointing) is Magnetic? That is the number we read from the magnetic compass. This differs from the TRUE heading by a number called the Variation which is different for every place on the globe but which is shown on all navigational charts. (Pat is reading from her coast guard book and being a navigational snob at my loose use of terminology.) The variation where are today is approximately 13 degrees east which means the True Heading equals the Magnetic + 13 (If you look at a map, the true heading is one that is represented by the vertical and horizontal lines.)
What do we do at night? Watch TV and sleep. So long as there is wind, the boat never stops. 24 hours a day, there are people standing watch. During off hours you can do whatever you want and when you are on watch you drive the boat and look to make sure that we are not going to hit or be hit by other things.
(Time permitting we would be happy to answer other questions about life aboard.)
TECHNOLOGY ON TENURED: (Prioritorized by importance)
-Three TVs and Two VCRS
-5 GPSs (Global Positioning systems) for navigation.
-One sextant which I hope someday to be able to use.
-Three laptops and a one desktop computer
One is for navigation
One is for my sabbatical research
One is so Frank can check my navigation (no trust)
(The desktop is unused)
-Three Generators (One large diesel, one baby diesel, and one hand start gasoline.) We use the baby diesel 5-10 hours per day to keep all three banks of batteries charged. The large diesel and gasoline generator are purely backups. The baby diesel meets all of our energy needs and burns approximately one gallon of diesel a day. (We left the dock with 225 gallons of diesel on board.)
-Two inverters: Inverters convert battery power to AC so we can run our TVs, Microwave, and Refrigerator. I have a small inverter as a backup to run AC battery chargers and a TV/VCR if the main inverter fails.
-Watermaker: A power hog that converts saltwater to fresh at the rate of 1.5 gallons per hour. We left the dock with 350 gallons of water on board. We have used about 15 gallons of water per day and we have used the watermaker to keep the tanks full.
-1 Emergency Watermaker: A hand crank unit that is used to create water (1 qrt per hour) in an emergency.
-2 Autopilots. One is a low power unit that drives the boat when we are running on batteries in light seas. The other is a power hog but will drive the boat in even very bad seas.
-1 Radar: We use this to peer through fog and into the night looking for big moving metallic things.
-2 VHF radios (not including handheld units: Used for short range coastal communication
-1 Single Side Band radio: Used for sending and receiving emails, voice communication with shore, and getting weather faxes. It is the lifeblood of our contact with the dry world.
-1 Satellite Telephone (Irridium): Used for receiving brief text messages and for making and receiving important phone calls ($1.50 per minute to use.)
-2 High Frequency Epirbs (406 Mhz): In the event of an emergency, the Epirbs are triggered and will tell satellites who we are as well as our latitude and longitude within a matter of minutes.
-1 Low frequency Epirb (121 MHz): Used as a homing beacon when someone comes looking for us.
-1 Life Raft with Hydrostatic Release: Located on deck, this is our escape pod in an emergency. It contains all sorts of life support equipment and along with our bailout bag has enough food for 10 days.
There are probably tons of stuff that I missed but I hope this gives you an idea what kind of things we have taken to sea with us to help us make this voyage both safe and possible. (No matter what, we hope we have everything we need and please don't let us know if we don't --- There are no marine stores or home depots out here.)
Date: June 8, 2001
Time (GMT): 13:49
Position: N 27 12 W136 57
Speed (kts): 4-5
Heading (magnetic): 244
Wind speed and Direction: 10 kts from the NNE (Beam to broad reach)
Sea state: Flat - 1 (Very comfortable)
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1178
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 86
Observations: Last two days winds have been strong early to late night, weakening toward dawn. There has been a mid-day calm and the winds pick-up around dinnertime.
Today we hope to pass the halfway point on this great voyage of self-discovery. Hence, I think that I have found about half of myself.
NOTE TO MIKE AND AMY: "MICROSOFT!" (Now everything Mike reads has that word in it.
JASON PATEL: Susan Stocker says that she will be crew if you will come along and massage her feet. Thanks for following our adventure.
ART SILVER: Pat showed us the St. Christopher medal that you so kindly sent along to protect us at sea. I know that it must have been difficult to part with even for the duration of our crossing and again, we thank you for all your participation and good thoughts.
MARGUERITE: I swear we are not hiding anything and no, the boat is not anchored in mission bay or off Catalina. (That is my story and I am sticking to it.)
JOSE: Right back at you buddy.
CLAUDE: It is still not to late to sign on. Bring PAM and we will declare the boat a sovereign nation and offer sanctuary.
In the civilized world, we work to change what we can not accept. At sea one must accept what they cannot change. I have spent the last two weeks trying to force wind into sails when there was none and trying to make the boat go in directions that it could not go. If I walk away from this voyage knowing that I must utilize nature because it will change me before I it, then I am a better captain and certainly a better person.
We talked of superstitions yesterday. For example, it is bad to have pork on board the boat which none of us knew and coincidentally, which we had for dinner. Almost as soon as the pork was out of the freezer, things started happening. (Apparently it only becomes bad luck when defrosted.) We noticed a bolt missing from the boom and then when we dropped to main to make repairs we discovered that the halyard shackle was just dangling open. Then we discovered much of our two week old veggies were rotten and then Keith had a hard time getting a can of corn opened... Does anyone see the issue with superstitions like I do here? Had we not seen a minor problem with the boom, we would never have learned that a major one was brewing (halyard failure at the top of the mast) and well, two week old veggies are supposed to rot and frankly, Keith has had problems opening more than just one can on this trip. I think that pork is good luck and the luck only increases as does its temperature. By the way, it was delicious and all pork related crises seem to be under control.
One other note (mostly to Joan): Yesterday, I practiced celestial navigation. Got the correct location within a reasonable error. Not all that difficult once you get the hang of it. (Note: I only did a noon sight.)
I have begun trying to encourage crew to contribute to the daily log. Pat has written some beautiful things which I hope she will offer to our website and I know that Keith is keeping a log. Frank mostly just scribbles with the dull crayons that we gave him.
That's all for today from me.
LOG FROM THE CREW:
Some of our readers requested to hear from the crew as well as Captain Mike. I have invoked the Wind Goddess, named a sea bird that I believe has followed us for several days and just knew I saw a sailing vessel on the horizon which turned out to be nothing more than a white cap. Both the captain and crew thought before I lost it all together, I should be the first to share some of my experiences. Here goes. It's 0900 Zulu time (2:00 A.M. California time), I've just been relieved from my two hour watch and I am wide awake. During the watch, the wind died and the foresail was slapping against the spreader over and over again. Just a couple of days ago we damaged a sail for that reason. Although Mike has repeatedly told us to wake him up if we have any problems, I made an executive decision and thought I would try and adjust the sails before screaming. Mike's a pretty busy skipper with three stink potters on board and he certainly needs his rest. He has however, been a patient teacher and his accelerated hands on training has been wonderful. I have marveled at the way he very quietly thinks about what he will do and then proceeds to go about doing precisely what needs to be done. Tonight, I remembered what I had observed, shortened sail and got the boat back under full control. To my amazement, I didn't have to SCREAM. This has been my latest happening aboard the "Tenured". There have been many others within the last 13 days but that would take a book.
Oh my gosh, I am turning into a rag-flapper!!!
Let me end by saying that I never thought I would use half of what I learned in my Auxiliary classes. I must admit that I wish I had studied a little harder and listened even more to some very good advice from some very knowledgeable people. I also wish now I had involved myself in the sailing class.
"Unknown Bird" by Pat Muraglia, 6 June 2001
Each morning, there you are faithfully. You seem to survey our surroundings for awhile as if searching for anything that could harm us. Around the boat you fly in expanding circles. Then as if by magic you are gone again. Have you been there in the darkness all night keeping watch or are you just a morning wake up call?
Date: June 9, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:53
Position: N26 39 W139 30
Speed (kts): 5-6
Heading (magnetic): 243
Wind speed and Direction: 15 gusting to 20
Sea state: 2-3 A bit rolly
Distance to Oahu Channel: 1037
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 130
Observations: A great day of sailing and the most beautiful starlit night.
Yesterday (June 8 at 23:07 UTC) we reached the midway point of this voyage. Location N27:01 W137:51 Under a sunny sky we toasted our travels with a bottle of Dom Perignon (smuggled on board by the captain.) Pat will have the honor of writing the not to be put in the bottle. Although our accomplishment is only half complete, I think that we all feel a great sense of accomplishment.
At this distance out, there are many things that one can claim boastfully that they cannot claim on dry land. For example:
Pat is now the hottest babe within 500 miles.
Frank now has the best beard within 500 miles.
I am the most eligible bachelor within 500 miles. (Keith has recently removed himself from the eligibility list) I can make this claim even without a shower in the last 24 hours...
Keith is the best cook within 500 miles. (He has some tough local competition from Pat though.)
Not much else to write today. The sailing has been excellent with strong constant winds that seem to build around sunset and settle around 2am. Last night at dusk we were moving over 6 kts and by my 10pm watch we were over 7, occasionally hitting 8. Even with the headsail shortened and the main detuned, the boat was moving at the edge of its envelope. (NOTE TO SELF: If one thinks they might need to reef, they should reef.)
I hope to transmit some writings from crew for the log later.
Captain Mike aboard Tenured signing off until tomorrow.
June 10, 2001
Less of a vacation and more of a unique experience. Blue water cruising is certainly not for the faint of heart or stomach. As a vacation is a holiday, this experience is a mental and physical challenge which taxes both mind and body 24 hours a day. Perhaps the most striking observation is how dependant we are on ourselves. Despite technological wizardry which makes our lives more comfortable on the high seas is the ever present knowledge that we must always be prepared for a life threatening emergency and have only ourselves to rely upon. When you are over 1000 miles from the nearest piece of land the concept of the world becoming smaller seems ludicrous There may be 6 billion people inhabiting the Earth but as far as we are concerned there are only four and our survival depends on our collective strength, will, and acquired skills which we have brought from Terra Firma. In a sense, we are no different than Columbus, Cortez, or Cook who preceded us on our planet's vast oceans. They, like us relied on winds and sea conditions for comfort and progress. Out here there exists just us and God. It has been said that there are no atheists at sea. Even when we humans arrogantly believe that we have acquired control of the earth with centuries of advancement, mother nature quickly lets us know who is really in charge and who always has been. Time away from civilization puts a whole new perspective on our meager little beings and anyone who is feeling crowded in their land-based environment should venture into Neptune's domain for a little therapy. One final thought. For anyone who thinks that man is destroying the earth, trust me, she is still very much in control...
Date: June 10, 2001
Time (GMT): 1600 Zulu
Position: N26 15 W141 34
Speed (kts): 5-6
Heading (magnetic): 245-250
Wind speed and Direction: 30 NE
Sea state: 6 feet and confused
Distance to Oahu Channel: 923 Miles
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 117
Observations: We have reduced sail as we are being pelted by local squall lines. Running only with tight mizzen and reduced head sail.
Today’s Acknowledgements go to:
Bob and Laurie, Pat and Randi, Sandie, Phillip H. Rapp, Marguerite, Kim Bock, Angie, Nikki, Ray and Peg, Bryan, Helen and Gerry, Susan and all Flathmanns everywhere, Jena, Ted and Michelle Cook.
Your thoughts and kind writings warm and days and linger into our nights.
Special Thanks to the States of Florida and Georgia whose patronage has made our comfort level possible. (Thanks to Ken Nunnelley)
After days of calm easy sailing we are getting hit a bit again. Last night in six foot following seas the boat and the crew both were tested to some extent. Following seas at night create an interesting sensation for one in their bunk. First the boat lifts from behind as the wave rolls under it and then there is a momentary lull, followed by that inevitable twist and the boat rolls downward before the next wave hits. No place in the bunk is comfortable because with each wave you are moved in several directions. Weather report suggests this for next 48 hours.
The change in people out here is interesting. I came out on deck to find Pat and Frank very seriously discussing sail handling. I heard phrases like "broad reach," "beam reach," and "point of sail." It was an experiential discussion with each teaching the other some of what they had learned on their watches. One would have thought them real sailors but I guess after two weeks at sea they are. I will bet that next time they take their boat out, they feel uncomfortable with no lines to pull and no sails to adjust. Maybe I will lend them a sail.
I think that we are all glad to be on the last half of this voyage but I also think this is an incredible experience punctuated by the almost endlessly changing beauty out here. The sea is a dynamic work of art and we are honored to be visitors.
Mike from the Tenured
Date: June 11, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:48
Position: N25 19 W143 18
Speed (kts): 5
Heading (magnetic): 220
Wind speed and Direction: 20 (Just south of east)
Sea state: 6 foot+ on our stern. Very uncomfortable ride
Distance to Oahu Channel: 818
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 110
Observations: It is pretty sloppy out here.
NOTE TO JOAN:
We heard you last night and tried to respond without luck. Before we abandon the effort at voice communication, lets try the following
It was at least good to hear your voice.
Well, we are no longer squall virgins. Yesterday we met our first line of real pacific squalls. Fifteen minutes of total hell breaking loose. Big seas, high winds, confused ocean and then suddenly they are gone. I had been warned to watch for squalls and to be prepared to reduce sail at a moments notice. Now I understand why. Since at the moment winds are blowing 20+ and the seas are six foot and a bit confused, we have been running for two days with reduced sail anyway. Yesterday, we went to running only the headsail and the mizzen. The theory is that we can reduce the headsail quickly (unlike the main when held far out by a preventer.) The problem with this configuration is that as we roll off each wave, the headsail collapses and snaps and the rigging shudders. (We have moved our heading south to keep the headsail inflated.)
The boat hasn't been comfortable for over 48 hours. Everything is shifting about and even the simplest tasks take a lot of energy. The weather faxes suggest we will be in this for at least another day, maybe two. It really isn't all that bad but it makes everyone realize that we are on a boat and there is no escaping it even for a little while. The good news is that we continue to make good time toward Hawaii and I think we are all ready to step on dry land again.
Not much else to report. I am waiting on more log entries from crew but I don't want to be pushy.
Finally, as I continue my quest to learn celestial (self-taught), I completed another noon site and very accurately located the boat just where it is. Should the government ever choose to shutdown the GPS system, there is a pretty good chance that I will be able to find North America (It is the big continent on our right.)
I am really starting to miss some things out here. I miss my friends and I miss showering in non-earthquake conditions. Actually, I probably would miss showering with my friends in non-earthquake conditions also...
Have a great day on dry land.
Date: June 12, 2001
Time (GMT): 17:26
Position: N24 37 W145 24
Speed (kts): 5
Heading (magnetic): 235
Wind speed and Direction: 20+ Slightly south of stern
Sea state: San Francisco Earthquake
Distance to Oahu Channel: 697
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 115
Observations: Very rolly and fairly rough night.
Last night I was hit by the Perfect Storm. This unfortunately was followed by Mutiny on the Bounty and Something About Mary. The boat took a bad roll and all of my videos rained down on the bed with me sleeping in it. Oddly, instead of waking, it all just joined into my dream. What a surprise when I awoke this morning to find myself covered with videotapes. I had been planning on putting my cactus collection, my non-safety razor blades, and my collection of curare tipped darts on that shelf. The videos proved a much healthier second choice...
Actually, I never cease to be amazed that you can hang some old rags on the front of your boat and get dragged along at a scary pace by the wind as the ocean does all it can to stop you. The winds have been blowing hard for the past few days and the seas building to about 8 feet. (Not quite the History Channel video of the North Atlantic but still pretty scary to watch waves significantly higher than the boat charge up from behind and then sweep under you as if this boat was little more than a cork.)
This morning we had some excitement. We had been watching a tear develop in my 20 year old head sail. For two days we waited for the seas to let up so we could swap sails and make repairs. In a building storm, the sail finally started to give up in a second and then a third place. We toyed with the idea of dropping it but the winds were too high and the seas too rough so we developed a plan B. (We stood on the deck and yelled help as loud as we could.) OK, plan C was to raise the main to its first reef point (second if you are dropping it) and to shorten the headsail beyond the tears. It all sounds so easy as I write it now. Pat handled the helm, Frank handled lines and Keith and I headed for the deck. Teamwork made it all happen but there were a few scary moments out there as we got the sail up, got the reefing lines set and put the ties on the reef points. Danger averted, we went on with our casual sail westward. (We still need to drop the headsail but will now wait until it is convenient to do.)
So much more to say but I will save my philosophical wanderings for a later time.
From Pat's Log:
I'm not old enough to remember having to go to the water pump to get water for the house, but I can certainly relate to stories I have been told about that chore. I don't have to leave the house (boat) to go down the dale to fetch the water, I just have to bend over in front of the kitchen (galley)sink and siphon sea water from a hose to wash and rinse the dishes. It's quite a task when you are moving from side to side and up and down but I reckon that's the alternative to walking down and up the hill to the outside pump. Lifting the half-gallon container from the floor (deck) to the sink relates to carrying the water up the hill. Thank God for indoor plumbing, I don't have to carry the dish pan outside to dump it. For you boaters following our voyage, can you imagine trying to carry a pan of water through the boat? It's really not too bad because I figure, it helps me keep my figure.
Date: June 13, 2001
Time (GMT): 17:21 (Delayed since I slept after my watch)
Position: N23 40 W147 13
Speed (kts): 4-5
Heading (magnetic): Varies 220-245
Wind speed and Direction: 15-20 Port stern quarter
Sea state: 4-6 Rolly
Distance to Oahu Channel: 587
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 109
Darkness: The total absence of light. AKA my watch. I have the first evening watch (10-12 pacific time). With the time change, I get to watch the sun leave for the day and for the last many days, the moon has not yet risen during my watch. I find myself staring into the most dense darkness I have ever seen. Paint your eyelids black and then wrap your head in duct tape (don't really do this) several times and then go drive your car --- you will understand what it feels like. On cloudy nights it stays that way but on most nights, the darkness is slowly pierced by the light of a zillion stars. I crane my head from the cockpit to admire the kind of spectacular site invisible behind the lights of civilization. There is a purity to the night sky unsoiled by manmade luminescence.
Today if all goes well, we will pass the 3/4 point on our voyage. I personally am finding the trip to be fun and an incredible learning experience for the sailor within. I think the high winds and rolly seas have the crew somewhat disheartened but as I keep pointing out, this is the real ocean and it really isn't all that bad. In fact, I would have to say that it is beautiful out here (even if you can't move across the salon without understanding the plight of the ball in a pinball game.) Pat calls it the "Tenured Dance."
The days here are becoming warmer. The air is balmy and the weather has been predictable for the past several days. Having said that, I am sure it will change tomorrow. Each morning the winds are light and we typically find ourselves surrounded by weather cells that cause us concern and some annoyance. Throughout the day, the winds build and then sometimes lessen into the afternoon. The evening brings the strongest wind. It starts at around dusk and by the watch following mine, the winds are howling and the sail must be lessened. By dawn the winds are light again.
Just a few observations from the deck of Tenured.
Date: June 14, 2001,
Time (GMT): 81:09
Position: N23 08 W149 13
Speed (kts): 5
Heading (magnetic): 246
Wind speed and Direction: 15 from the stern
Sea state: 2-3
Distance to Oahu Channel: 473
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 112
Observations: A bit rainy and very balmy.
THANKS FOR YOUR EMAILS:
Susan Stocker, Bryan, Julie and Maggie, Shane Moser, Larry Morris, Mike and Amy and BB (congrats on your medal), Pat and Randi (loved the box of goodies.), Lynn Mottl-Zerrenner (AKA DB), June Davison (Eric and Cathy) I am so glad that you are on-line and following our adventures., Dominic, Mark, Jen and Mike, Jeanne H. and Bob Foster, and of course Dr. Kavookjian. (AKA the lovely Jan)
Yesterday was just another day at Sea. Of course, everyday at sea has a story. The sea calmed down a bit and the winds dropped so we managed to execute the long awaited headsail change. It sounds like almost no big deal to mention it here but when confronted with the prospect of dropping a giant sail to the deck and then getting it below without it catching wind and dragging someone (or itself) overboard, one realizes that sailing great distances can never be viewed as trivial. We had practiced lowering and replacing sails but never under these conditions. Still all went well. We dragged the sail through the forward hatch into the cabin and then managed to fold it below deck. I did mention that all went well up until this point. We raised the new sail by dragging it up through the hatch and reversing the process. However once up, it caught wind and started getting tangled as well as beating the wholly fecal matter out of me on the deck. Poetry in motion and fine teamwork all went to hell. My Irish temper flared (which leads me question who my father is since I know my mother is not Irish) and is if lighting off a months worth of trapped trepidation gas, everyone if only for a brief instant joined in the flash of anger. Silence, the pressure valve released, we all returned from our corners a little later as refreshed as if just showered (although everyone could have used a shower also.) We all kissed and made up, did a thorough post-mortem on what had gone wrong and all agreed that stuff happens and moved on to enjoy the rest of the day together which included a fine meal by Keith (shepherds pie with real shepherds) and watching re-runs of soap. (Does anyone know who killed Peter? Pat was flogged after we learned she had left the critical episode on shore.)
It is a good team that can deal with the stresses of this kind of closeness and this kind of a task and still come out as good friends. Twenty days into the adventure we all seem to be working well with one another and for that I am both grateful and pleased. Also, the flatter seas seem to have helped raise the spirits of most everyone.
Totally changing gears: This morning I came to watch and Keith noted that we were becalmed. I played with the sails and still nothing. (I reduce sail at night and often we appear falsely slow in the morning.) I noticed what looked like a swarm of bees on the radar. In fact, what I was seeing was a squall line behind us and what we were experiencing was the calm before the storm. Within minutes the Tenured was moving like that famed flying mammal exiting purgatory. Winds, rain and lots of speed and then it was gone and we resumed our quiet trek forward toward Hawaii.
If I was to make one last observation about the events of yesterday, it is that I regret that my crew did not mutiny. I could use the rest. (I even put Mutiny on the Bounty -- The Charles Laughton version on the video but they refused to take the hint.)
FROM PAT'S LOG:
From the roving mind of Pat. In an e-mail the question was asked, "Who is Gale?" Earlier in the trip if you can recall our log there was a lack of wind. For those of you who know me, what else would I do but summon the Wind Goddess. I didn't realize that she would send her daughter Gale to be with us the rest of the trip. When she arrived I thought, "How nice, Otto will have a friend." (Otto being the nickname for auto pilot.) He has been quite lonely since Lorraine is no longer around. (Lorraine being the nickname for Loran-C.) However, Otto was not turned on by Gale and immediately turned himself off. Fortunately for Otto, he has a son who was willing to show his dad what he was made of and who took over for the elderly Otto the first. Gale and Otto (the second) have been getting along very nicely ever since. CAPT Mike can't get any sleep at night because of the noise they make. (Captain's note: Otto, the 2nd lives below my bed.) The job is getting done and we are now 475 miles from Hawaii.
Date: June 15, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:34
Position: N22 35 W150 55
Speed (kts): 4-5
Heading (magnetic): 240
Wind speed and Direction: 15
Sea state: 1-3
Distance to Oahu Channel: 374
I went to sea a man and will return home a boy. All children dream of adventure and most outgrow those dreams before they can be foolish enough to try to live them. My own chronology has somehow not prevented me from being the fool that so many wish we had the freedom and the energy to be.
Yesterday the spirits of the crew were all at a new high. We had calm seas and beautiful weather most of the day and the knowledge that we are just a few days out seems to have everyone quite excited. The boat mostly sailed itself. The movie for the evening was Captain Ron. I have to admit that he is my idol and one after whom I have modeled myself as a captain.
I like to think about all the daily fun on-board but I rarely write about it in the log. Hardly a day goes by when Pat at some point during her watch does not point out that the oil pressure is still dangerously low. (NOTE TO POWERBOATERS: The engine is off and we are sailing.) Frank and I will sometimes sit for long periods reading charts and discussing (sometimes loudly) aspects of boating. Keith has tended to be much more to himself during our crossing but even he was in rare form yesterday and he and I shared one of those special moments of overly sensitive male bonding and reaffirming what has been a friendship of almost ten years.
NOTE: I promise to try to put the humor back in future writings...
FROM FRANK'S LOG:
(NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEW OF THE MANAGEMENT AND HAS BEEN DISAPPROVED BY OUR CENSORS.)
Whoever said that sailing was quiet never actually left the dock. After listening to the cacophony of noise coming from the deck, I can tell you that a stinkpot is a morgue compared to a sail boat. It makes no difference whether the wind is blowing or not. When the wind is blowing a steady 25-30 you can hear it in the rigging. It makes an annoying, moaning, whistling noise. The waves passing along the hull hiss and splash as they lift the boat and make her roll. After 2 days of this everyone starts to talk or sing to themselves to offset the CONSTANT DRONE IN YOUR EARS! All this for 5.0 knots. When the winds are light the fun really begins. As the waves move the boat from side to side the air spills and then fills the sails. There is a regular rhythm to this particular dance. As the wind dies, first the headsail starts to snake into a series of S's. This is so it can get all the air out. As soon as it's empty the sail SUDDENLY FILLS UP and with a loud SNAP expands again. Of course the lines went loose when It dumped and now suddenly find them selves 10' short of being tight. As they tighten, they take the slack out of the snatch blocks which are laying on the deck attached to a stanchion. These are moveable pulleys that can be placed wherever you want the lines to turn. Well, they come to attention with a load BANG! Now it's the main sails turn. Since this sail is tied down pretty tight it tries to lift the boom. The boom of course is attached to the mast. The result is an outstanding KABLANGGGGGG. Next the mizzen, being the tail end, can't figure which way to go so it goes both ways with a nice WHAPPP followed by a lovely rattle because there is a cable inside the boom that is not attached to anything and is put in there to insure you know the mizzen boom just jibed. This is followed by the steady slap of the internal halyards and radar cables inside the mizzen mast. They are put in there to keep the skipper awake since he is between the mast and the steering wheel. So the song goes something like this. (to the tune of McNamara's band), Oh the jib goes snap and the blocks go bang and the mainsail goes kablang. The mizzen whaps and rattles so the skipper stays awake.
Now this is an art. First you put up every rag you can find to make the boat go as fast as possible. This theoretical speed is governed by a formula, 1.34 times the square root of the water line length of the boat. Translation, 8 miles an hour. The problem is that 8 miles an hour is too fast so we have to adjust the sails to go slower. This is accomplished by letting sails in or out depending on which way the wind is blowing. This is determined by the wind indicator which is located at the very top of the mast. You view the arrow by placing your head over the compass then rotating your neck 105 degrees until you can see the top of the mast. This has nothing to do with the direction you want to go. That is determined by another theorem, "the wind never blows in the direction you want to go". After careful adjustments, a chicken sacrifice and an offering to the god of winds we are off. Of course, the minute you turn the wheel the wind Is on the wrong side of the sails ensuring the crews mad dash to switch sails, lines, sheets, preventers to get back up to speed so we can decrease it back again. The criteria for doing all this is to regulate the knot log. It's aptly named, NOT. It's not ever where the skipper wants it. It reads in knots and tenths of a knot. All this adjusting makes one loose sight of the fact that WE ARE DOING 6 MILES AN HOUR! I found myself congratulating myself on picking up two tenths of a knot. Then I thought, what are you thinking? I can't get my boat to idle below 6 miles an hour.
Another winner. The only time you need to switch or reef sails is when you don't want to. More rules. The wind must be over 30 knots, it must be extremely rough, (waves over 15 feet), and it must be the biggest sail. This exercise makes one realize that the designers of sail boats have planned obsolescence in mind. In this case it applies to the people on deck and not the boat.
This hull would make a hell of a power boat. Any hull that can lean over 35 degrees and come back without rolling over every time is my kind of boat. It has a power boat roll rate. The ride is soft and comfortable. No pounding or slamming. The only problem is that it NEVER STOPS ROLLING. If we installed a pair of stabilizers and some trim tabs this could be a great ride. The perfect solution is to install a 375 horsepower engine with a 2000 gal fuel tank. I'm thinking of adding a 10,000 lb keel to my boat when we get back.
Running at night is very similar to getting in your car, painting the windshield black, putting it into gear and driving 60 MPH. You can't see anything, no sails, whales, wind direction, waves, nothing. You break every rule by running blind. I can understand why some sailors just go to bed and hope for the best. Of course, we have radar and GPS but it still makes you strain to see.
So far we've seen whales, dolphins, 2 or 3 either shearwater or stormy petrels and a couple of flying fish. We've had a fishing line out on 2 occasions and both times the line has been chewed off. I don't think that we want to catch anything that can chew through an 85 lb rest line.
Date: June 16, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:21
Position: N 22 00 W152 41
Heading (magnetic): 235-340 (Heading to Oahu 250)
Wind speed and Direction: Unchanged
Sea state: Unchanged
Distance to Oahu Channel: 270
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 109
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE:
We are under three miles out and almost 2000 miles from San Diego.
- We have taken the boat more miles than it would go in two years of use.
- We have sailed the boat more than I have since I bought it in 1994.
- Frank is pleased to note (with a sigh of relief) that we are now in range of helicopter rescue from Hawaii.
- We have enough fuel on board to motor the remaining distance. (Again this makes Frank happy and I keep having to rescue the keys away from him.)
- We are seeing jets flying toward Hawaii at night. (Every 13 minutes they cover one day of our travel by sail.) Right now, the Pilot is having everyone raise their tray tables and seat backs to an upright and locked position... At least, I got to take an unlimited amount of luggage and my own mattress.
SOME SAD NEWS:
It is with a very sad heart that I report that Keith has decided that the rigors of long range cruising are not for him. He will be leaving this adventure in Hawaii. Even more sadly this may send my dreams of watching glaciers calve (from the deck of Tenured) in Alaska crashing onto the rocks of reality absent a bailout by new crew. IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE EVEN REMOTELY CONSIDERING JOINING THIS INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE, I IMPLORE YOU TO STEP FORWARD AS I NEED YOU NOW, The window to head for Alaska from Hawaii is very narrow. Once missed, I will have to wait until next April if I wish to follow my dream. More likely, I will be forced to turn the boat around after a summer stay in Hawaii and return to San Diego, my time and my investment lost.
A LITTLE REFLECTION:
When we were 270 miles off San Diego, we were further off shore than any of us had ever been. It seemed an infinite distance from shore. It now seems that the remaining distance of 270 miles is small and will be covered in just a few days (if all things go well.) There are so many things on this trip that have been wonderful and things which I will forever savor in my memory of my first crossing. The seas have been friendly (for the most part) and I have gotten to know Pat and Frank better than I could have imagined. They are wonderful people. Pat stands watch after me. She always comes on deck with a cup of hot chocolate for me and we spend the first few minutes of watch solving the worlds problems. I think that I am in love with Pat. (Don't tell Frank.) Now, Frank on the other hand I love but I am not in love with. Heck, he is old enough to be the Grandfather of well, ... someone who I might date.... they have grandkids don't they... excuse me, for I digress. Frank and I often sit on deck and butt heads over any of a variety of subjects and I have loved every minute of it. His wisdom and at points guidance have made this trip a real pleasure. I will miss seeing them leave but I will look forward to seeing them again in San Diego. They will not just be the old people next store with the cheap but free wine and good cooking. They will forever be incredible friends.
Date: June 17, 2001
Time (GMT): 19:40
Position: N21 21 W154 49
Speed (kts): 5
Heading (magnetic): 248 (256 to Channel)
Wind speed and Direction: 15-20
Sea state: Same old same old
Distance to Oahu Channel: 148
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 105
Observations: We are about two days out from Hawaii and we now sit on deck and wait for the first glimpse of land. For all, it will be very welcome.
Special thanks to all who have sent us email recently and to all who are working hard to find crew for the next leg. Particular thanks to my brother Robert for his prayers. (Everyone on board wants to Know who Tom Chase is as no one recognizes the name but thanks for your email.)
I have learned a lot about myself on this trip. For example, I have learned that I cannot stand on one foot and tip my head back and close my eyes and touch my nose while underway. (If we were pulled over right now, I would fail the field sobriety test.) I have learned that duct taping oneself into their bunk is no better in the morning than a bikini wax using duct tape. I have also learned a lot about the things that count in life and who my friends are. I know for certain that everyone on this boat is definitely a real friend.
I haven't wanted to write too much about Keith's discomfort with ocean sailing but I thought that I would break my silence for a moment. From early in the trip, we noticed that Keith was uncomfortable with the feel of the boat (the constant rolling and the difficulty in doing things that seem so trivial on stationary land such as showering and acts of personal hygiene.) Still, he hung in there. He never missed a watch and he never failed to provide deck support when needed. Finally, as if hiding a grand secret obvious to all on board, he shared his constant discomfort with us. He gave it his very best and anyone who has done this can so easily understand what he felt and truly applaud and respect his efforts. What makes Keith special here is that his concern was not for himself but rather for what he perceived to be his responsibility to his crewmates and our mission, and my dream. To him, honoring his word to me was and remains more important than his concern for self. (I know many who I can't be so polite about.) He was willing to suffer endless discomfort to be the friend that he is and in choosing to leave before the next leg (a choice that had to be pushed upon him), he made it clear that he would not let me down and that he would do whatever it might take to see that the voyage continues and that my dreams are lived. If in my life, I have only one friend as good as Keith then I have been blessed. (I thank God that I have been blessed with many.) And, while I have learned that many give their word lightly, Keith is not such a person and today I honor Keith for being the awesome friend and incredibly fine crewman that he is.
Date: June 18, 2001
Time (GMT): 18:09
Position: N21:30 W156:39
Speed (kts): 3
Heading (magnetic): 235
Wind speed and Direction: Unchanged
Sea state: Unchanged
Distance to Oahu Channel: 45
Observations: First view of Maui at dusk last night
We are less than one day from landing at the Alawai. Because I don't want to pass through the Malokai channel (the channel between Malokai and Oahu that I have wrongly called the Oahu Channel this whole trip) in the dark we have reduced sail and are doing a bit of local day sailing. Our plan is to enter the channel at 4AM local tomorrow and hopefully to see Diamondhead at sunrise. (I sense that no one is particularly happy with my decision but we are beyond daytime motoring range and I would think it unsafe to enter a strange harbor in the dark, let alone to traverse highly trafficked areas at night with no experience in this area. Safety first!) For today, we will just have to torture ourselves with the beauty of Hawaii as a backdrop to slow sailing.
June 19 and 20, 2001
Date: June 20, 2001
Time (Aloha Time): 10:55 AM
Position: In or about the bars in Waikiki
Speed (kts): None (We don't need no stinkin speed today)
Heading (magnetic): Point me in the direction of the bar
Wind speed and Direction: Again, who cares if the beer is cold
Sea state: Did I mention there is cold beer here?
Distance to Oahu Channel: It is now behind us.
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: No further than a casual walk to the beach
Observations: We are now here!!!!!
I am sober again and the hangover is almost gone!!!!!
Sorry for not sending a position report yesterday but there other more pressing issues. (By the way, as I ready the trip for the next leg, I will keep writing a log --- probably every day or two --- so please keep reading as our adventure continues to unfold ----- We should start heading for Alaska in the first week of next month!!!)
On the morning of the 19th of June in the year of your lord, 2001 the vessel Tenured pulled in the Ala Wai boat basin on the Island of Oahu. There is no such thing as an easy last day. Sensing my crews desire to feel land under their feet, I made a somewhat foolish decision to surprise them by arriving early. I wanted them to see the lee side of Oahu at dawn so I decided to risk a moonless crossing through the channel that separates Oahu from Malokai. (A dumb idea born of good intentions.) A mere 25 miles separated us from our destination and it seemed so easy and harmless on the chart. The winds had been great all day but I had held the boat back to wait to do my crossing in the morning but at dusk I sat at the entrance to the channel. (From experience, we learned that the winds are worse at night.) I was alone on deck and I decided to go for it. (NOTE: I heard many stories of boats who were dismasted or wrecked on their way through this channel. The perfect end to a great adventure. Still, that was others and not me.) Off we went. Suddenly, the winds were howling and the seas building but still we had seen worse. I detuned the sail (reefed twice) to reduce speed. (We only had the main out.) We were always at the brink of a jibe and being attentive was everything. By the time Pat came on watch, we were 10 miles into the channel and when Frank came up, we were almost through and then it happened.... (pregnant pause for effect) .... My tired 20 year old main shredded --- blown apart after 20 years of use and then 23 days of incredible service ending within sight of our destination.
The sea had sent us a message. You can win but lest you forget that winning is only if the sea so chooses.
Again, the crew performed with incredible finesse. We dropped the sail, got the situation under control and finally in the light winds of the lee side, we drifted until dawn with just a reduced head sail. (NOTE: There was plenty of traffic on this side of the island to add to our tension level.)
I finally (after a 20+ hour day) collapsed in full gear and my wonderful crew allowed me to sleep through most of my watch.
At dawn, we saw Honolulu and by 8 we were tied to land and by 12 we had a Tahitian mooring (bow at a dock) with a wonderful view of the expansive pacific behind a very protective breakwater. Mission completed. By 3 Keith and I were swimming at Waikiki and Pat and Frank had checked into the Hilton. (Wink wink and wink) and by 5 we were all friends again and by seven we were the guests of Captain Bar Napkin for dinner and shared many great sea stories at Kobe's.
Sailed to Hawaii ---- Been there, done that!
June 22, 2001 (AM)
Special thanks today to the IFUKU RADIATOR SHOP of Honolulu for their quick work. (By the way, that is the correct spelling.)
As Hawaii is probably among the most common place traveled by many who read this log, I will not bore anyone with my impressions except those that somehow seem pertinent to this adventure.
When one arrives here by boat, it is natural to jump off the boat and immediately claim the bragging rights of having sailed across a great expanse of the great pacific. One need not even go 50 feet to realize that they are not the coolest hot feces (excuse my choice of words) in town. Everyone else here has sailed across and many have gone much further in much smaller boats under much more adverse conditions. (I thought I could impress Midwest tourists with my great feat but frankly they seemed much more interested in the faux Polynesian dancers. Perhaps if I had grown a really big hog on the boat or something Midwestern...) NOTE: The locals are interested but not impressed. I am a little humbled. Maybe I should tell everyone I sailed here with three power boaters...
The transient dock at Waikiki is an interesting place. It is home to a very very few, very fine boats (mine actually being probably the biggest), but mostly it is populated by A-8ish types. (A-8 is the anchorage in San Diego where one takes their boat when they have hit bottom, have no money, and have no where to go.) Most boats here look like they have been worked past hard and like the owner ran out of resources long before their last crossing. It is somewhat of a sad place at the foot of paradise. I have been surprised at how standoffish people are and how worn everyone here looks. (Not the typical dock.) There are some people on this dock that look flat out scary. (Here I reference the book "And the Sea Will Tell" by Vincent Bugliosi which is the tale of a couple that leave San Diego in HIS dreamboat only to be murdered on the Island Paradise of Palmyra by a derelict couple from Hawaii who are finally apprehended in the stolen boat at the Ala Wai boat basin --- Buck and Jennifer.) There are a lot of Buck-like people on this dock...
The contrast between the haves and have-nots is so obvious as to be scary here. Two hundred yards away are the luxury hotels of Waikiki beach and the throng of wealthy tourists enjoying the plastic corporate creation of faux Polynesia and here sits people stranded in paradise, broken masts, broken engines, broken spirits. A slum tainted by the image of wealth.
While my spirit is not dampened, I will be happy when the new crew arrives (more on that in a later installment) and we head on off for the next part of these travels.
For now, I have repairs to make, preparations to complete and well, just a few miles of beach to explore and time permitting, I hope to be a tourist for a day or two. Best to all back home. Today as I sit alone on the boat, I feel a tinge of homesickness.
Jun 24, 2001
If I have learned one thing in this adventure, it is that cruising requires patience and a willingness to alter your schedule to fit the circumstances. No one should ever leave to go cruising if they have a set date by which they must return. No one should ever involve others in this sort of thing when there are airline tickets and target dates to meet. It just induces stress. I often find myself immensely stressed and frequently for no other reason than I feel I will not meet some artificial self-imposed deadline or I will let my friends down.
As to the deadlines, it has always been my nature to set goals linked to chronology and then to pursue them. Case in point --- preparation for the next leg. I am in this gorgeous wonderland and I am working myself to death to prepare to leave in a week or two. Plans have been made, crew will be here shortly, the weather window for Alaska is limited... Need I go on? Of course, I will. All seems to be going smoothly but I am having problems with the heat exchanger for the engine --- I should have left it alone but no!!! I took it off because it wasn't working right and took it to the IFUKU (that really is the spelling) radiator shop who in 24 hours returned it to me with a new set of problems. After reinstalling it, I found several pinholes so off it comes tomorrow and back to the radiator shop... I can't describe the stress of having a boat that can't be moved.
If there were no deadlines, real or otherwise, it wouldn't matter. It would eventually get fixed and I would eventually move on and in the mean time, I could watch the gorgeous sunsets from the deck of the boat here or wherever.
Now as to disappointing friends, therein lies the worst mistake that a cruiser can make. Anyone who involves themself in this should be willing to accept the reality of the circumstances no matter what they may dish out. I note that even if they do (and I leave it to my crew -- past and future -- to figure if they freely accept(ed) those limitations), I am still very much oriented toward trying to please. The result in the last leg was a blown main sail and for no purpose other than to please crew who wanted the boat to arrive sooner. (I note with some amusement that if the wind had blown as hard as the one who ultimately caused me to seek to arrive sooner, we might have gotten here days earlier.)
Cruising is testimony to patience and to going with the flow. It is testimony to learning to accept and also learning not to be bothered when others don't accept. Still, tomorrow, I am renting a car first thing to get that heat exchanger back to the radiator shop and I am then off to the Perkins (the maker of my engine) dealer to see about a few other things. Then it is off to get more provisions and finally perhaps a moment of sightseeing.
Today I vent my stress. Perhaps tomorrow I will tell you about some of the fun that Mike Barnapkin and I have managed to have here in Honolulu when I wasn't dragging him around in search of parts and supplies. To all who are thinking of an adventure like this, I suggest only that you think it through and structure your adventure so the stress of artificial deadlines doesn't exist.
Signing off, the very tired and worn thin,
PS I think that I will have a beer and watch the sunset now but I couldn't do that until I had written the log. It was a goal today to write a log entry...
June 27, 2001
I am sure after the last log entry, you probably think that I have totally lost my mind and my will to move forward. UNTRUE. Just a moment of weakness and exhaustion. I did what anybody in my position would do. I rented a bright yellow convertible Mustang and took a day off and visited paradise.
Actually, let me back up. First Mike Barnapkin and I wandered around here together for a day or so. Like any good sailors, the first thing we did was leave our DNA on the island. That's right, you guessed it, we went out and got a hair cut together. Then it was off for a hike in the woods. Mike aptly named the hike, the Botanical Death March... Being the men we thought we were, we hiked 4 1/2 miles over a muddy trail through some of the best and prettiest terrain but did it as fast as we could. Then we re-lived Mike's misspent youth by having pizza at his high school pizza hangout. (I am sure that no one really cares about my sightseeing so I will move on shortly.) NOTE TO AMY B.: Mike wants to share his speed hiking techniques with you when you get out here...
Next day, I rented the car to return the heat exchanger which was ultimately repaired by the IFUKU radiator shop and now it seems to be holding its water. A drive once around this gorgeous island and I was refreshed. Wow, this place is pretty.
I then met my two neighbors, Valerie and Betsy, two 23 years olds just graduated from San Luis Obisbo off on their own adventure. (Hi to their Moms and Dads. You raised some nice kids who I am proud to report refuse to act as immature and irresponsible as me.) Yesterday, they kept me company as we visited the Arizona memorial and later we shared pizza for dinner.
Still, I am exhausted getting the boat ready to go. Tomorrow Cici (crew) and Jeanne (guest for a few days) show up and we will put the final touches on provisioning and hopefully in a few days it is off to beautiful Kauai before picking up the rest of the crew and heading north to Alaska. In the next log, I will reveal the names of the crew for the next leg and talk about the somewhat arduous task of getting the boat ready for the turnaround. For now, another beer and another sunset.
July 1, 2001
Alawai Boat Basin Hawaii
Special thanks to Leonard at MCs (the Perkins diesel engine parts dealer.) Also special thanks to Rob Keller for his remote technical and diagnostic assistance and to Cici Sayer and Jeanne Manese for helping with every aspect of the turnaround.
Well, after dealing with engine problems that proved far more serious than originally expected (including a totally clogged water jacket on the exhaust manifold) and other little problems too numerous to mention, it looks like tomorrow the Tenured will be setting sail for Hanalei bay on Kauai. We will be leaving behind Waikiki, land of wild herds of free-range grain fed mid-westerner and New York tourists (sorry to all the folks I just offended but you know who you are...) We (being Cici Sayer and me) will anchor for a few days and will be joined by our crew of Jay O'Bannon (a highly seasoned sailor with numerous crossings under his belt) and Scott Simpson (AKA brother-in-law Barnapkin.) The plan is to then head North (I hope it is North) to Alaska. The excitement of finally being on the move again goes beyond words. I am ready to go and with a fresh crew, the adventure will continue. (I am not sure if I can sail this boat without power boaters on board.)
A little about the turnaround: In a few short weeks, I have been faced with the task of finding that which broke and replacing it with new, rebuilt, or repaired. Add to that that the boat is moored five minutes from the nearest parking space and tied so everything must be carried on over the bow or delivered to the boat by dinghy and one realizes that this is not trivial. Thank God that Pat, Keith, and Frank left behind a detailed description of provisions on board so at least I was able to start the task of reprovisioning from way above ground-zero.
Three hundred miles on a rental car on this little island and numerous trips on
the bus and a few thousand dollars on the credit card and the Tenured now sits
ready to go --- I hope. My biggest fear is that we will get just past the
breakwater and find out just what we didn't find out before and then it will be
back to the dock or the yard for repairs.
That which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. I think some moron who had never been near a boat and who probably spent his life in middle management uttered those words when referring to the difficulty of adding toner to the copier. The reality is that which tries to kill us only us makes drink. Everything else is just part of the scenery. Getting a boat ready to head out to sea is hard enough but doing a turnaround in such a short time not only tries to kill you but serves as a boater's form of natural selection. The fact that I am not dead from this effort maybe in some Darwinian way means that if I ever breed, the species might be a little stronger but all this effort has probably made me way too weak to breed...
This leg is the big one and certainly the one that should prove most challenging. I am excited to have the experienced crew that I have (three licensed captains and a Barnapkin in-law) Stay tuned...
Date: July 4, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:54
Position: N22 12.26 W159 30.01 Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Speed (kts): Anchored
Heading (magnetic): NA
Wind speed and Direction: Calm
Sea state: Flat
Distance to Sitka Alaska: 2343
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 100+
Observations: PARADISE FOUND
IMPORTANT NOTE: I no longer have cell phone access and I cannot check the main email address so please contact us only through the website. THANKS.
The time had come to travel again.
With Cici as crew, the Tenured departed Alawai at 9:30 am on July 2nd. (NOTE: I had not been killed by any of the Buck wannabes. For the record, the scariest looking of my neighbors turned out to be a decent guy and he waved goodbye as we left --- at that distance, maybe he was just taking aim.)
We headed west along the Island of Oahu. The ocean was gorgeous and flat calm as we followed the line of the island. Under full sail, we sailed comfortably at about four knots and worked our way along the coast past Barbers point where the coastline turns northward and we would enter the channel between Kauai and Oahu. (I admit a certain amount of fear about the channels between the islands given my last experience.) The pacific lived true to its name and stayed glassy calm as we continued the slow move northward toward Kaena Pt. (the last point on Oahu that we would pass.)
Around mid-day the winds died and I decided to use my recently repaired engine to motor forward to look for more wind. We motored and we sailed (mostly motored) on and off for the next thirty miles. It seemed that someone had shut off the trades and the ocean had laid down as flat as (put your own example here.) It was flat flat flat.
Finally around 9 pm we found wind outside the shadow of Oahu and it was perfect for a reach to Kauai. Off we went. The channel was relatively friendly (compared to what it could have been). A bit choppy and ultimately with more than enough wind. Around 11 pm I (Cici was sleeping so she could take the next watch) reduced the headsail and we were making 6+ knots on our course. At 12:30 Cici took the watch and I hit the sack until 3 when I took the watch until 6. Kauai was in sight just past dawn and by noon on the 3rd after several planned and controlled jibes we sailed into Hanalei bay (which can only be described as a gorgeous paradise.)
In Hanalei bay we were immediately met by a friend of Jay O'Bannons (Jay is joining the crew on the next leg in two days) --- Glenn who kayaked along side, came aboard for some wine and invited us to his house and out for dinner. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, soaking in the incredibly beauty of Kauai, swimming off the boat, and enjoying the company of Glenn and His wife Jena. A near perfect day in Paradise.
I close today's log by noting how I found myself sitting on the deck of my boat yesterday amazed that I was actually sailing in Hawaii. It finally soaked in. I had crossed an ocean and here was the dream in all its glory. I wish that time permitted me to stay here in Hanalei Bay longer but soon, it will be off to Alaska and the real goal of this adventure, the inland passage. For now, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this paradise Island.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 5, 2001 (225 years and 1 day post independence)
Time (GMT): This place is timeless
Position: Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
Speed (kts): At anchor
Wind speed and Direction: Calm
Sea state: Calm
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): Same as yesterday
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 0
Observations: The north side of Kauai is the personification of natural beauty.
DEFINITION OF CRUISING: Working on your boat in exotic locations (Cici Sayer quoting Rob Keller.)
NOTE TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE SAYER FAMILY: Susan (Cici as she has been renamed by the natives of California) says hi and is glad that you are following our great adventure.
Yesterday Cici and I enjoyed a spectacular day in one of the most incredible places I have ever been. (Perhaps next to Fiji and the Caymans and maybe parts of the BVI but it is certainly better than most of New York City and all of the Mid-west and Texas.) We beached the dinghy and went into the town of Hanalei. We were pleased to learn that the locals were fluent in English and that U.S. currency is accepted here. (It seems funny but it really is hard to remember that we are in the United States. It feels very South Pacific. I recommend the north side of Kauai but come here soon because you can see that tourism is starting to take its toll -- we spotted small herds of those damn grain-fed Midwesterners but absent a McDonalds, it is likely they will starve by winter. NOTE: You can distinguish herds of New Yorker tourists from Midwesterner tourists by seeing how aggressively they respond when you get between them and any souvenir store with the word "Discount" in the window. However, ever since the New Yorkized Midwesterners accidentally were released from a lab in Indiana, they have been spreading across all of Florida -- mostly Miami -- and all tourist havens so this test may not work.)
Much of our day was spent walking about town and wandering in and out of shops and of course we did have to sample the Mai Tais (sp) at Zelos (a local hot spot.) We were quite pleased. The highlight of the day was a dinghy trip up the Hanalei river punctuated by spectacular scenery and the sense of being alone in a true tropical wonderland. Flowers lined both banks and in many spots the dinghy parted water literally blanketed with incredibly colorful blossoms. One could easily lose themselves in the beauty.
We concluded our day with a BBQ on deck, a swim from the boat (one of many during the day) and then we watched the fireworks on shore. (There also seemed to be some traditional ritual whereby a Midwesterner is sacrificed to the god of tourism.)
Today, we expect Jay to arrive but while we wait we will rent motor scooters and see the sights. (OK, I admit that I am doing the tourist thing too...)
Aloha and Mahalo,
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 8, 2001
(Tenured at Anchor in Hanalei Bay, HI
PART I -- Sightseeing on July 5
July 5th was spent enjoying the north side of Kauai. Cici and I rented motor scooters and throwing safety to the wind, we explored many beautiful beaches, took a hike up the cliffs on the Na Pali coast, visited caves (including a spectacular one known mostly to the locals -- called the Blue Room), and just generally enjoyed ourselves. Of course, no day is complete without Mai Tais at Zelos and several swims off the boat in the pristine water of Hanalei bay.
One of the highlights of this anchorage are the many large sea turtles that swim among the anchored boats. It is almost impossible to not watch with childlike awe as one of these slow giants passes within 15 feet of you. (Of course, they seem to have some form of camera shyness -- the moment you pull out a camera, they dive.)
PART II: Jay Arrives
Our third crew member, Jay arrived late in the day on the 5th. Jay arrived by outrigger canoe (with a motor) and seemed to be known to many around here. Bear in mind that I write this on the 8th after having known Jay for a few days. Jay is a definite character who I would describe as a clothing optional version of Captain Ron. He seems to have his own sense of where clothes are necessary coupled with an odd belief that almost anyplace is an acceptable bathroom. At least he understands the concept of the downwind side of the boat... If half his stories are half true and the rest were all false, he would still be an interesting guy but I suspect his stories to be all true. He has led a nautical life taking him (and his wife of 17 years, Paula of whom he speaks quite constantly and quite devotedly) to the tropical paradises of which most of us only read and dream. He has visited Palmyra Island (land of Buck and Jennifer) three times and even did a stint in the Marshall Islands seeding giant clams --- rather seeding the reef with giant clams. One gets a real sense of this man's competence as a sailor and a real enjoyable comfort at having him on board. (I have no doubt that there will be reason to write more about Jay as the trip progresses.)
Part III: Some observations about paradise
I took much of the 6th to myself as Jay and Cici went out with Jay's friend Glenn. I wandered the beaches and swam and sunned and I realized that while paradise alone is still paradise (if you want it to be) it does accentuate the word ALONE. I am more single now than I been in many years and watching all the couples of every age and every description being so in love in this place left me with a bit of sadness. I vowed to return here someday with the love of my life (although the love of someone else's life might also be acceptable).
A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE TO ANY INTERESTED PARTY OF THE FEMALE GLAND:
So, if there is anyone out there who would like to get married (to me), I am offering it now complete with a rather substantial and spectacular honeymoon package including a week on the beach at beautiful Hanalei bay... The good news is that I think this cruising thing is working its way out of my system so we can fly here and stay in a real place on real land. Oh yeah, don't accept unless you are willing to partake in ALL that is considered a part of marriage. (Family members, although they live in the south may not apply...)
I have noted with some amusement that Cici and I are like an old married couple. Let me explain. She speaks, I ignore more than 50% of what she has to say and we have no physical relationship to speak of but I still do love her. (For those of you who may not know Cici, I borrowed her from her boyfriend and true love Rob to be crew for this trip. More about Cici in a future log.)
Part IV: The locals
I did finally make friends with one of the Hawaiian locals. OK, it was more like just barely avoided a race riot but I am sure we still bonded. It all occurred while I was on the payphone at the beach. A very nice beer swilling (Coors in a can) local on probably her second sixer decided she wished to use the phone and was willing to offer any enticement to make me end my call. This included standing close to me and starting numerous sentences with that fine F-word which by the way does not sound any better when spoken in Hawaii. She offered herself to me repeatedly by saying F-U over and over again. I was shocked by her forwardness but did respect and even admire the Polynesian sexual openness and freedom of which I have heard so much about. A crowd started to gather and it seemed that several were making the same offer. Being one not to engage in such sexual frivolity, I felt that discretion is the better part of valor and got the hell out of Dodge but I do thank the locals for their kind offer and say perhaps next time I am here, I will be more liberal...
PART V: Waiting
It is the morning of the 8th and we are ready to pull anchor but are waiting for our fourth and final crew member, Scott, who was delayed in Honolulu by a plane that arrived too late for him to catch a flight to Kauai. Sadly, we were forced to spend yet another night in paradise and enjoy yet another sunrise and yet another rainbow. As soon as Scott arrives, we head for Alaska.
Aloha from Tenured and Aloha to Hawaii.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 9, 2001
Time (GMT): 18:11
Position: N23:53 W159:13
Speed (kts): 5.7
Wind speed and Direction: 10kts 090True
Sea state: 2-4
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 2244
Miles Traveled Since Hanalei Bay: 99
Observations: It is a beautiful day with a beautiful sunrise and the crew is still talking to (not yet about) me and to (not yet about) each other.
Thanks to everyone for the emails. Particular thanks to Keith for his kind words and to Dagley for his quick posting of the current logs. A special hello to Ashley, Bianca and Patricia from the crew of the Tenured out at sea. NOTE TO FRANK: I put everything back the way it was so you will only have to come up to Alaska to put things back. (Thanks for reminding me of things that needed repair.)
Jay, Cici, and I had readied the boat to go and needed only to wait for Scott (Brother-in-law Barnapkin --- crew member number 4) to arrive. Our plan was to leave on our trip to Alaska at sunset on the 7th. Well, the best laid plans...
Cici and I sat out by the dock waiting for Scott to show so we could wisk him to the boat and head out but along came a stranger (Bob Layer) to tell us that his friend Scott had been delayed and would be late but still it looked like we could leave later in the evening. Well, best laid plans... Later Bob came by the boat in a friend's dinghy to inform us that Scott had not made the last flight from Honolulu so we would see him first thing in the morning. Did I mention the best laid plans?
Next morning we grabbed a bite and I took up my position on shore but still no Scott. As noon rolled around we began to wonder if Scott had found something (or perhaps someone) better than us. We called his sister, Amy Barnapkin who seemed to take some form of genetic offense at the suggestion that her brother had perhaps blown us off for well the kinds of things that sailors seek in strange ports... But then as if by magic, there he was Scott, his entourage, and my new best friend Bob Layer but oddly, there was no luggage. The explanation for the delay was nothing as good as we had imagined. No, the airline had lost every last piece of gear that Scott had brought for this great adventure. After some discussion, Scott was convinced to leave all his carefully chosen gear to the baggage handlers and take a brief shopping trip to get some undies and a few sundries and take all that we could loan him. (He doesn't really look all that good in Cici's nightly but he cuts a nice image in Keith's harness.)
A bit late but nonetheless in good spirits we all finally set sail for Alaska at 2:00 local time on the afternoon of the 8th. Some neighbors and Scott's friends came to wish us well and loan Scott some more gear and then off we went. We started the engine, hauled anchor raised the Mizzen and let out the head sail and then within 15 minutes we were in the trades pointing north.
Here it is 18 hours later and the crew has the right feel to it. Everyone is getting along just great and the boat has been sailing like a comfortably weighty sled on a beam reach. We have managed to cover approximately 100 miles and all is beautiful. Tomorrow, I will write about our strategy to reach Alaska and will tell tales of the fish that Jay intents to catch today.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 10, 2001 (Day 3)
Time (GMT): 17:11
Position: N25:51 w158:31
Speed (kts): 3 Knots
Heading (magnetic): 16
Wind speed and Direction: E Light with local squalls
Sea state: 2-4 Gentle rolls
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 126
Observations: Still fishing but still no fish know about it.
This morning the boat has the right feel about it. Everyone has gone through their watch twice and we seem to functioning really quite well as a crew. Even with three holding Captain’s licenses (Cici, Jay and me), we work exceptionally well as a team. Of course, Scott is being worked to death as the only crew. (If he does well this trip, we will promote him from swabby to mate -- reference Captain Ron.) In fact, the boat is running just as it should be. Each person takes his turn at watch and everyone has handled their responsibilities as if we had all done this before. I think everyone has left their egos at the dock. (I hope no one in Kauai trips over that big messy pile of egos.) Better than that, we are all getting along great as friends. (NOTE: The guys voted to hold a competition to see who can come up with the best recipe to cook Cici. Winner gets to actually cook her. We will tell her only when necessary.)
A little about the crew:
Jay with all his experience is proving an invaluable asset to the trip. I seek his wisdom regularly. (I will perhaps stop seeking his wisdom on fishing if we continue to catch nothing --- of course, this means Cici may be on the menu sooner. By the way, my recipe is Cici Au Gratin cooked in a light wine and cheese sauce with a garnish of mango and corn.) Further, Jay is a very funny guy who constantly has a joke or a story or some personal weirdness from which we all find amusement.
Scott, comes to ship as the greatest unknown. He signed on last after only a brief phone conversation. He is Amy Barnapkin's brother and I had met him once before at a new year's fest --- a week totally gone from my memory. Scott is an incredibly pleasant guy who brings some cruising experience and plenty of sailing and racing experience to the boat. An excellent conversationalist and a sharp dresser in all that he could beg, borrow, or steal at the last minute. Given the rush with which we dragged him on board and left I was concerned about getting off on the wrong note but quite the opposite --- he is a member of the crew as if he was chosen from a pile of contestants. (I envision a FOX type show entitled "Who Wants Crew for a Thousandaire" with the winner ultimately being forced at knifepoint with only their clothes on their back to sail across the pacific...)
Now, Cici, who I have not spoken enough about, is one of my oldest and dearest friends and will make a darn good stew. Cici brings a ton of experience to the boat. Although this is her first crossing, she has bunches of coastal experience --- everything from chartering plastic boats full of mid-westerners (Is the ocean really wet?) to delivering boats along the coast to a cruising with her beloved boyfriend Rob (a close friend --sorry that we must cook Cici) in the California Channel Islands.
Simply put, it is a good crew and coupled with good winds, good luck, and favorable seas, I hope this will be a great trip.
Date: July 11, 2001 (Day 4, 2001)
Time (GMT): 18:18
Position: N28:01 W157:49
Speed (kts): 5.5
Heading (magnetic): 001
Wind speed and Direction: 15-20 Beam Reach
Sea state: 2-4 Comfortable roll
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1985
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 133
Observations: All is going quite well.
Radio Schedule: 8130Khz 1800 GMT and 0500 GMT (We are communicating with two other boats making the crossing: Deviant and Startracker) If anyone is interested in talking from shore, I would like to suggest 16531 KHz and sometime after dark on the east coast. Send me an email and we can go from there.
To Steve Sayer: Thanks for the e-mail. I am sorry to miss you in San Diego, but I am glad you are following this little adventure. You should call Tiffany so she can follow along too. See you soon I Hope.
Thanks for your Emails:
Rocke -- We are thrilled that you are still following the adventure.
Keith -- Yes dear, no dear... I got it. I looked back but if you are really following us, why can't I see you?
Ron and Phil --- Mahalo and Aloha from HI
Lynn -- To my favorite DB from hopefully your favorite DH.
Linda -- Scott says hi
Susan Stocker -- Come sail away with us. It sounds like you need to join this adventure.
Mike and Amy: MICROSOFT --- There I said it again. We love Scott and he is fun to dress up in our clothes. (By the way, there are only two MUST-HAVE-BEARDS aboard.)
Jason --- Thanks for being there with us.
Hi All from the Deck of Tenured:
Another day has passed and we are having a great time out here. The seas have been perfect (not flat) and the winds great. Yesterday we all got a little boobie on board. (A red footed boobie landed on the bow pulpit. We need a recipe if anyone has one.) Our watches are all becoming routine and everyone has taken a turn at cooking and we seem to be getting along just fine. Everyone seems to have found their spot on board and we all are in great spirits --- even Cici who as you may recall is about to be cooked.
A little on our strategy:
Sailing in the pacific this time of year is controlled by a weather pattern called the "Pacific High." The winds form a giant clockwise racetrack from the West Coast of the US south and then West to HI and beyond. The center of the High is located North East of Hawaii. To sail to Hawaii, one need only catch the winds rotating around the High (the trades) and run straight to Hawaii. To come home, one cannot sail directly because the center of the high is a giant calm. Our strategy is to head due north to stay West of the center of the high. North of the center, the winds are (coming from) westerlies. The result is that once we are far enough north, we can make course direct for mainland North America. Still, Sitka is far enough West that we almost hit on a direct course from where we are.
There is so much more to write but I will save that for tomorrow as I will turn the rest of today's log over to Cici. More later. (At least, I don't need to waste any space talking about all the fish we are catching...)
From CiCi's Personal Log
7/10/01: Today is my first "galley day", a day that I have looked forward to with mixed emotions. As anyone who knows me well can attest to, I hate to cook. However, with some careful planning, I have managed to construct a few menus that are elegantly simple to make and actually taste like something you might want to eat.
After careful and lengthy consideration I decided on my famous zucchini/sausage recipe. Now, mind you, on a boat in a quiet anchorage this takes all of 20 minutes to prepare. Not so on a boat tipped sideways 15 degrees and moving up and over an endless expanse of 4 to 6 foot hills!
First one must subdue the various vegetables that are trying to escape from your grasp. After chasing an errant onion around the counter top, I finally stabbed it with a kitchen knife and threw it in the sink. Meanwhile, little wheels of sliced zucchini were leaping merrily off the counter and running wildly around the galley floor. But by now I was on to their little game and immediately corrected them by picking them up and throwing them into the pot with the now chopped up onion. I gave no quarter and allowed no such foolishness from the sausages. They were allowed out of their packaging one at a time and went instantly from the chopping block to the pot.
Finally feeling like I was gaining the upper hand, I mistakenly took my eyes off the open box of RICE. Need I say more? Yes, it was everywhere you didn't want it to be. Thus began the great rice roundup. That task successfully completed I sat down to wait for the meal to cook. I had started (wisely) at 3:45 and by 5:00 dinner was proudly served. My next galley adventure will be in 4 days. I can't wait!
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 12, 2001
Time (GMT): 17:18
Position: N30:03.5 W157:37.7
Speed (kts): 6.9
Heading (magnetic): 354
Wind speed and Direction: 15-20 Close hauled
Sea state: 2-4 Rolly
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1870
The days are starting to blend seamlessly around the watches we keep and our chores between watch. Every other day I stand two night watches (8 pm-10pm and 4am-6am local time alternating daily with one midnight - 2 am watch. Each day I stand one day watch (8am-11am). Everyone has a similar schedule. There is no democracy in that I set the schedule but there is equality in that we all stand the same number of watch hours. I start my day by checking our location and seeing if anything out of the ordinary occurred while I was sleeping. I then write and transmit the log, start the generator and the watermaker (our lifelines to a civilized existence), engage in radio communication with other boats crossing to the mainland, download and read the weather faxes and then pursue relaxing tasks such as watching old movies or reading until my first night watch or until I sleep. If anything is broken, I fix it if I can and I also inspect the boat both above and below decks. Every fourth day (today being one of those days) I have galley duty all day which consists of getting everyone odd and end food throughout the day and cooking our one evening meal and leaving the galley clean for the next person. (Today's meal will be pepper steak served at around 4pm local.) Anything that is stew-like that one can ultimately cook in one pot seems to be acceptable and for that matter prudent. (ADDENDUM: I suspect that given the fish we just caught -- see next paragraph, the pepper steak will have to wait a day or two.)
NOTE: I was interrupted by noise on deck as I was writing. MY LINE had hooked a 20 pound mahi mahi. Scott saw it first and Jay landed and killed it. (As I write, Jay is cleaning and preparing the fish.) Cici is relieved that she will not be the steak in this evening's meal (although Jay did offer to fillet her if she asked any further questions about how to clean the catch.)
Still, even with the excitement of catching a fish, there is a consistency in our day that is obvious to me and soothingly comfortable as well. The wind and seas have stayed constant for days and with few exceptions our sail configuration remains unchanged. We sail North changing course and adjusting sail only for the several squalls that punctuate the day. (The squalls are largely more of a pleasant distraction than an annoyance. They are a topic for conversation in a day that is otherwise beige.) Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. Quite the opposite. It is beautiful out here and each day seems more so. Existence is simplicity which I don't want to change. I could sit on deck for hours and watch the world pass. I savor the beauty of the sky, the ocean, and the silence of night watches as I savor my own existence and try to figure out what to do when I grow up which hopefully will not be anytime soon.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 13, 2001 (Friday the 13th)
Time (GMT): 17:36
Position: N32:08.6 W157:30.000
Speed (kts): 5.4
Heading (magnetic): 355
Wind speed and Direction: 15 Close Hauled
Sea state: 2-4 Rolly
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1754
Distance to San Diego: 2033
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 120
Observations: Today we pass DUE WEST OF SAN DIEGO but we are far closer to SITKA, ALASKA.
Jay thanks his loved ones for their messages and the crew is still desperately trying to figure out how they are encrypted.
Cici says hi to Ellen and Bob Wilson and hi to Rob who if you do not write soon, you will get none upon her return home.
Scott wishes to note to all that the fact that we suggested that you keep email short was not to suggest that you not write to us. (He does point out that his crewmates are boring, smelly, and ugly and he would like to hear from real people on earth.)
We urge everyone to go out to Pt. Loma today at around 2-4 your time and look due west for you shall see the Tenured pass at your latitude but a mere 2030 miles out. Today we really start heading North from San Diego and tomorrow we pass around Pt. Conception...
A few facts to amuse:
From Hawaii, it is almost the same distance to Alaska, Portland, San Francisco, and San Diego but because of winds it is actually a shorter sail to Alaska.
We are now on the top of over 18000 feet of water. We would like to continue to keep it that way. (Jay, our most experienced sailor to whom we all look for wisdom says, "there is a lot of water out here.")
Crew consumption of fresh water has been approximately 10 gallons per day total including showering, cleaning, and cooking. (I wonder if this means that the food tastes like we smell?)
Jay and Cici have come up with the squall rule: Squall passing behind gives you a lift (and separates) and squall passing in front heads you and knocks you up ... and then wind dies. (They said it. I just typed.)
Not much more to write today. All continues to go well and everyone is getting along great. We are fishing again. Tonight we will eat the fish we caught yesterday. (I hope they make deep fried fish sticks like Mrs. Pauls.)
That is all from the Tenured sailing off of San Diego.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 14, 2001
(The anniversary of the birth of the baby Gerald M)
Time (GMT): 17:03
Position: N34:06 W157:23
Speed (kts): 5kts
Heading (magnetic): 350
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 Close Hauled
Sea state: 2-4
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1645
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 120
Due west of: Point Conception California
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAD, GERALD WHO TURNS 71 TODAY AND HARDLY LOOKS A DAY OVER 70. WHAT TIME IS IT DAD?
HAPPY WEDDING TO BERNADETTE AT USD.
NOTE TO PAULA: We were all on deck with binoculars when you spoke to Jay as we passed by and we all saw what you did at the window. Jay is a lucky man...
NOTE TO ROB: Send an email to Cici quickly. She is starting to get a little testy and frankly, my insurance rates will go up if we lose yet another crew member over the side. (Also, is there any way to wake her for watch without her trying to hurt you?)
RE THE COOK CICI CONTEST: Since Keith has submitted a closed bid entry recipe, we are opening the contest to anyone reading this. Submit your entries via email. The winner of the best recipe will be announced shortly. (NOTE: I am thinking that Keith may have it all sewn up.)
MORE FISH CAUGHT: Yesterday at dusk (which would be dark in your local time zone), we (meaning Jay and "Eagle Eye" Scott -- the hook watcher) managed to bring in two Ahi Tuna. We threw the little one back and they gutted and filleted the other one right over my cabin. (YUM) We are in a fishing competition with the two boats behind us and we are winning without having to lie (although it was our original plan to win by deceit.) Personally, I will plan all future adventures so the only thing we catch are steaks. NOTE ABOUT NICKNAMING SCOTT: He vetoed the first choice of calling him "Fish Eye" in favor of "Eagle Eye." I want all bird lovers to know that it is not our intention to catch any eagles no matter how clearly Scott may seem them. NO birds will be harmed in the completion of this adventure --- besides, bald eagle tastes like chicken anyway.)
SOME HOMESPUN WISDOM: My dad has always said; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." (Thank God that I learned grammar from my mom.) I say: "If it ain't broke, then it ain't on my boat..."
It seems that virtually anything that I did not replace before leaving is showing signs of a lifetime of wear at this point. (Good thing I did not have a girlfriend to bring along.) I replaced the second of three bilge pump switches yesterday and my completely overhauled roller furling system is starting to get temperamental. Numerous other old items seem to require spit and gum and the occasional kick to continue working. (Not referring to crew -- they merely need to be kicked.)
Still, with superstitious caution, I say that the boat is performing well. (Knock on wood, lexan, and fiberglass.)
One final note from the perspective of owner and captain: One of the hardest parts of an adventure like this is that one must come to trust their crew. When sailing coastally, I rarely would leave my boat in the hands of crew while going below to nap and I would almost never go to sleep. (There was that incident with the Crew-CAM that led to a near mutiny in the Channel Islands last year but that is another story.) When spending weeks at sea, one must sleep and one must come to trust their crew to keep good watches and to do the right thing. (NOTE: In the case of at least one crew member, the right thing seems to mean parading about naked on deck...) On the first leg, I knew my crew well, so trusting them was of course impossible (uhmmm, I mean easy and they did a great job.) Other than Cici, I don't know Scott or nature naked boy (Jay) from the proverbial hole in the sea. Still, after just a few days, I would trust these folks with my largest possession and my life --- and I do. Simply put, thus far, the crew is proving excellent and we are rapidly becoming a real team. WE ARE TEAMALASKA!!!!!
In closing, we have a pool going on board. (Yes, if we are far enough out to cook Cici then we are also far enough out to gamble.) We have each written down a date and time of arrival in Sitka, Alaska and sealed the entries in a highly protected plain white envelope with the results to be tallied by Price-Waterhouse upon our arrival. (Mike Vigil are you out there?) Winner gets to buy a round of drinks for all the losers. (I have estimated our arrival for January 6, 2002 --- why should I have to buy drinks?)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 15, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:04
Position: N35:57.3 W157:08.9
Speed (kts): Averaging 5
Heading (magnetic): 345-350
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 Close Hauled
Sea state: 2-3 Comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1542
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 120
Coastal Reference Point: South of Monterey California
Observations: Another beautiful sunrise following a comfortable night
I am writing during my watch this morning. As we move north, my night watches coincide with sunrise and sunset. I get to enjoy as the light drains away from the day into a darkness too deep to even imagine on land and then after a very pleasant sleep, I get to savor the first light of the morning. These days it is anything but darkest before the dawn as my watch starts by moonlight and ends with sunlight.
Each day we move about 2 degrees North. The weather seems to be changing but even at this latitude, the air is still balmy as if the tropics are being sucked along north with us. We still contend with daily squalls but their nature seems somehow different and somewhat less encapsulated and less explosive as they pass. Even the sky seems different. It is less blue and more gray. (Kind of a inverse shift from the Union to the Confederacy.)
As we move North, the signs of humanity are much more obvious. On the trip to Hawaii, we typically averaged one piece of garbage passing by the boat per day. Out here, the frequency of garbage is up to about one piece every hour or two. We have started to categorize the garbage by color. Green trash seems to be the most rare with red and yellow trash coming in second. Typically these include nets, lines, and buckets. Now, white trash (Styrofoam and the like) is everywhere yet oddly, we are thousands of miles from anything that even resembles a trailer park. Go figure...
Even as I write, the day becomes brighter and more spectacular. The sun is rising through a dense deep gray cloud bank off on the horizon. The tops of the clouds are now peaked in red. The serenity of a dawn watch when all sleep goes beyond words.
Our strategy at this point is to continue due North while staying west of the high. We have to thread a bit of a needle though as there is significant weather associated with lows building to the Northwest. The high is centered at latitude 42 North and 150 West while there are gales predicted at latitude 47 North and 57 West in 96 hours. Our plan is to continue North for another three days which should put us due West of the high and then to use the winds that sweep Northeast around the high to move us East of the weather created by the low. (That all made sense to me.)
A rarity as I write, we have just been joined by a small pod of dolphins. (I admit that I expected to see more life out here. ) I guess the ocean really is a dessert with its life underground...
Anyway, where was I? Weather ... and other boats out here. There are two boats following behind us by just a few degrees. Neither has weather fax so I have gotten to do the daily predictions for all three of us. I have come to enjoy my twice daily conversations with Chuck on the Deviant and with John on the Startracker. I believe that Chuck is single-handing and that John has one crew. I feel humbled when I think of how much is aboard this boat. Chuck caught a fish but had to eat it immediately since he had no refrigeration. We had to finish the macadamia vanilla ice cream to make room for our fish... There is a sense of comfort in having other humans within a few hundred miles. (Strangely, on land, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable if I thought that the nearest humans were over a hundred miles away and that it would take them at least one or two days to get here. Frame of reference is everything.)
Well, my watch is nearing its end so I think that I should finish this entry. A few closing thoughts and a bit of paraphrased plagiarization from the magazine Latitudes and Attitudes in which cruising was described roughly as the following:
Imagine taking your friends and asking them to sleep in your car while you take turns sitting on the hood to keep watch for traffic and then just to make things really fun you ask them to rotate the tires every twelve hours...
or perhaps even better:
Cruising is like standing in a rocking shower for days on end while tearing up a 100 dollar bill every eight hours.
How could you not love it?
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 16, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:50
Position of TENURED: N37:58.3 W156:57.9
Speed (kts): 5.3
Heading (magnetic): 345
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 Broad Reach
Sea state: 2-3 Comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1427
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 118
GENERAL NOTE: Once or twice a trip, I transfer copies of my daily log to a larger WORD file and it is then I realize all the typos that I have made. (There is no spell-checker in the email program.) My apologies for appearing so dum!
NOTE: Welcome back Joan! Have a great trip to NH and best to all your family there.
NOTE: Welcome to friends of Chuck on Deviant. His position as of 0500 was N35:54 W156:34 and all was well aboard. He reports having caught at least one fish too big to keep followed immediately by one that was just right.
SPECIAL GREETINGS TODAY TO:
Jennifer Smith: Glad to hear that you are following us and that you are settled into your new home. Call an exterminator about the chickens.
Ron and Phyl: Great as always to hear from you.
Jeanne: Hi and we want more details about your stay in Kauai
Stuart: The whole crew enjoyed your message.
Mark Miller: Glad you are following us.
Pat and Randi: We miss you and wish you could be here. xxx ooo
Bob Veillette (and Soph): I applaud you for your pride and willingness to step forward and proudly declare "I am a grain fed Midwesterner." Anyone who can quote Seuss from memory is still my idol! It made my day to hear from you.
Janet: Got your emails and hi from Scott.
Linda: Scott says hi.
Lee and Theo: Emails received. Hi from Scott
Pat Muraglia: Where are the spare containers of sugar?
Dr. Jan K: Hi and I hope the move to your new life is going incredibly well.
AND NOW THE DAILY LOG:
Yesterday was another darn near perfect day at sea. We saw a giant herd of dolphin. All were dancing the jig and singing loudly. We also saw a mahi mahi chasing flying fish in and out of the ocean. It was quite the spectacle to watch. Jay noted that being the very bottom of the food chain must really suck. We all agreed and decided that the world really needs affirmative action for flying fish and others delegated by natural selection or oppression to the bottom of the food chain. (A moment of silence please for the loss of those flying fish to that oppressive mahi mahi.)
The amount of garbage that we pass continues to increase. Apparently, the current of the pacific high is like a giant blue hole that sucks garbage from all over the Pacific into its grasp. This of course leaves me feeling sad since I have continued my practice of tossing wine (and now beer) bottles overboard with notes in them. Actually, to be exact, I have taken up the practice of putting personal ads in the bottles:
"SWM with boat and one less bottle of wine now enroot from Hawaii to Alaska wishes to meet eligible adventuress with whom to drink next bottle of wine..."
I am sure you get the picture.
Around mid-day we were becalmed briefly so the wind could shift from a close haul position to a following breeze. We are now running the main and head configured for a broad reach (almost run) and making about 5 knots. (Does anyone from leg one remember how much fun that was?) This shift was anticipated by the weather charts as we start to approach the west side of the high. In one to two days we should be due west of the high and then will start our swing to the northeast. Of note is that we have come 16 degrees north since leaving Hawaii and have another 19 degrees to go. We anticipate the halfway point of the trip in two days.
On my night watch last night, I awoke (just kidding) to the sight of a green flare about two miles to the west. I immediately was concerned that there was a boat full of leprechauns (that's one of those words that demands a spell checker or a box of Lucky Charms) in trouble. Immediately thinking that a small green woman might not be so bad, I prepared to divert my course to save them but was quickly assured by Jay that a green flare indicates submarine operations. Having no interest in meeting men happy to be alone with other men on a small phalically cylindrical submerged tube thrusting through the ocean, we went on and I finished my watch and went to sleep.
That is all from Tenured today.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 17, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:57
Position of TENURED: N39:54.5 W156:51.3
Speed (kts): 6
Heading (magnetic): 358
Wind speed and Direction: 10-15 Very broad reach
Sea state: 1-2 very comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1329
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 125
Coastal Reference Point: Pt. Delgada, CA (About 1511 miles east)
Observations: It is starting to get cold out here.
NOTE: Chuck on Deviant was located at N37:47 W155:07 AT 0500 GMT. He is planning to shortcut the corner of the high and motor. Hello from Tenured to any of Chucks friends who may be following us.
JOIN TEAM ALASKA: If anyone is interested in vacationing in Beautiful Alaska or the Pacific Northwest, there is still room on board in September. Our schedule is roughly as follows:
July 28-Aug 1: Arrive Sitka
Aug 7-13: Explore Glacier Bay
Aug 14-15: Drop off and pickup crew in Juneau
Aug 16-Sept. 1: Explore passage south to Ketchikan
Sept 1- Oct 1: Continue South toward Seattle
Time and weather will dictate the rest but there is a good ferry service to get out to the boat so all you have to do is get up here and we can coordinate arrival and drop-off points.
RE: MAIL BUOY 136-A
All vessels arriving in the Gulf of Alaska have to clear through MAIL BUOY 136-A. This buoy provided and maintained by the US Postal Service is a drop-off and retrieval point for cruiser mail. All on board are already writing their letters home and the post office advises that mail should be sent at least 5 days in anticipation of vessel arrival at the buoy if you wish the cruising boat to receive it. Postage is standard 34 cents. Letters with pictures or flat inserts (no packages) may be sent to:
BY WAY OF (BWO) Mail Buoy 136-A
Special Delivery: N53:33 W140:06
US POSTAL OCEANIC SERVICES, ALASKA
QUIZ: At this point in our voyage, what would be our closest landfall? (Answer at the bottom of the log.)
Cici says hi to Mom, Dad, and Steve.
Larry: I certainly hope that we will be able to catch up as I work down the coast. Perhaps you can take a few days and join the crew for part of the ride south.
Amy and Hula Mike: Glad you are back in the fold. We missed you. I hope you have a great vacation in Hawaii and don't hike too little...
Keith: We will let you know as soon as we can fix an arrival date in Sitka. Best thing to do is follow the site. Once we are around the high, we will be able to predict better. (By the way, we tried the spice rub and it was too much fun so we never got to the cooking part...)
Also, as to September, lets figure that out as we get a little closer. I need to start coordinating things so there will always be at least one other person on board. What does your time frame look like?
Jason: I hope the schedule posted helps. All in our travels is flexible and I certainly hope you are considering joining the adventure for a while.
AND NOW THE LOG:
We have noted a distinct change in the weather. The tropical squalls are gone and the boat is definitely much colder at night. The sky is more gray and has a slightly ominous pale to it. Toto, I don't think we are in the tropics anymore (but hell, this is certainly better than Kansas.)
Yesterday was a great day. We caught yet another Mahi Mahi which everyone (but me) thinks is a delicacy. We spent hours lounging on deck in the warm northern sun, observed a pilot fish riding our wake, and humpback whales in the distance. It doesn't get much better than this. All on board continues to run smoothly. Dinner (which I cooked) was steak, baked potatoes and squash. The movie for the evening was King Kong.
A little more about Jay: I have to say that he continues to impress me. He has a vast knowledge of the sea and cruising and constantly is amazing us by proving what seems to be utter B.S. to be absolutely true. He predicted the pilot fish in our wake and has made numerous other observations and predictions, each of which has occurred absolutely as predicted. He should start a nautical psychic hotline on his return home. (Call me now!!!)
Cici impressed us all yesterday by crawling into the small compartments under the couches looking for rice and sugar, both of which she found. Upon our arrival in Sitka we will have emergency services remove her from the compartment in which she now lives.
Our plan today is to continue north and to be west of the center of the high by tomorrow. It is then that we must change course and head northeast to Sitka. I am hoping that we get the westerlies in the next two to three days. The big concern is the low to the northwest. To avoid gale conditions, we must be east of 150W by the time we reach 50N. (I love talking nautical)
If you guessed Hawaii, you are wrong: Hawaii is 1073 miles in our rear view mirror. No, it is not the California (or even the West) coast, that being about 1500 miles. It would be the Aleutians. At a mere 900 nautical miles away, the islands of the Alaskan Peninsula are closest to us. Kodiak, AK is just over 1000 miles away and of course, our destination is slightly farther at 1325 miles away.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 18, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:41
Position of TENURED: N42:14.8 W155:56.1
Speed (kts): 6.0
Heading (magnetic): 10
Wind speed and Direction: 15 gusting to 20 (Broad Reach)
Sea state: 3-6 with occasional 8
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1184 (1215 from Hawaii)
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 138
Observations: It is now getting colder during the day.
NOTE: At 0500 Chuck on Deviant was at N39:10 and W153:10 experiencing low winds as he motors into the high.
NOTE: To LEE ROVERSI -- Scott asks for your EMAIL ADDRESS.
THANKS FOR THE EMAIL TO: Jeanne, Dave Lehn (Carbonated water gets out blood stains), Jerry O'Bannon, Jen and Mike, Our beloved Keith, and also to Janet.
NOTE: TO ELLEN WILSON --- Thank you for the cards. I am now on week number three since I have lost track of time. You cannot believe how much fun it is living with three guys. (Cici) (Three guys cannot believe how much fun it is living with one Cici.)
NOTE: Hi and all my love to Maggie (Cici)
NOTE TO PAULLA: The scorpion will be engulfed by the lobster at midnight but only after the chicken crows. The spark was spectacular here... (Mike)
ADVICE FROM JAY REGARDING MAIL BUOY: Given Jay's experience with Mail Buoys around the world, he offers the following one word suggestion --- LAMINATE. (At the very least use ink that does not run.)
QUESTION FROM KEITH REGARDING MAIL BUOY: Is it OK to send CDs and diskettes with pictures? CDs, yes but diskettes are too bulky and will get ruined.
GENERAL NOTE ABOUT THE MAIL BUOY SYSTEM: In response to some of your questions, Keith was the first to tell me about mail buoys. He read a discussion of the one in the Grand Banks. The one out here is identical to that one. For those of you interested in learning more about the system of Mail Buoys, read "The Hungry Ocean" By Linda Greenlaw.
We are all feeling the cold north. Blankets have come out at night. We have started wearing long points. (Jay has started wearing pants and is now even threatening shower indoors.) Watch last night was somewhere between very chilly and freezing ass cold.
Yesterday was a busy day. We saw a small commercial vessel and later a huge container ship. Also of note was the significant wildlife including a booby resting on our spreader --- sure it is juvenile, but I have waiting all day to write that we have a booby resting on our spreader. We also saw a sea turtle drinking from a plastic 7up bottle and we even caught a small albacore tuna.
Last night, we reduced sail as the winds continue to build. We are now running a slightly reduced headsail and a double reefed main.
Our strategy is now becoming quite critical to our trip north. The low to the northwest has compressed and distorted the high and is causing it to move to the southeast. The result is that we moving down an alley that is being pinched off. To the northwest are seas of 14 feet and winds of 35 plus. (Gale is not a pretty name when you see it on a weather chart.) To the east are light and variable winds and calm seas. Our plan is to move toward the eastern outer edge of the low as it is predicted to be in the next 24-96 hours and use the winds to move ourselves toward Sitka faster. As you can see from our distance traveled, this plan seems to be working. As an analogy, we are like a banana being squeezed out of the peel as we ride the conditions between the two weather systems. (I had another analogy but then decided that the word sphincter is just not appropriate for the log.)
Beyond that, all is well. There is little paper and no postage stamps left on-board as everyone has written no less than five letters to be dropped at Mail Buoy 136-a. Receiving mail out here is all the crew talks about when not teasing Cici about her hair. Crew is happy and well fed. Cici is working on hatching a mango. Jay and Scott both seem to be having a great time doing the sailing thing. Me, I am running out of movies to watch.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 19, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:48
Position of TENURED: N44:28 W153:49
Speed (kts): 6.5-7
Heading (magnetic): 25
Wind speed and Direction: 20 Gusting higher (Broad reach)
Sea state: 8-10 feet 8 seconds from the SE
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 1025
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 160
Coastal Reference Point: Cape Foulweather (S. of Portland)
Visibility: 500-1000 feet in fog
NOTE: Chuck on Deviant was located at 39 47N and 150 20W motor-sailing at a good pace direct for cape Flattery
NOTE TO JANET: Thanks for the penthouse letter style email. You made Dagley blush but he wants your picture. We guys envy Scott and want to meet you. Even Cici is now considering changing teams... (By the way, nothing transmitted is secure so half the Pacific cruisers are probably talking to the other half about you today.)
NOTE TO ELLEN WILSON: Tell cousin Julie that her fruit cobbler is just as good out here. (Cici)
The sea has turned inhospitable today. As anticipated, skirting the low brought a record run for this boat for one day but with it came some pretty annoying oceanic slop. With substantially reduced headsail and two reefs, we are still making seven knots. This coupled with weather that is now really unquestionably cold and moisture falling from everywhere, we have decided that this is the kind of boating fun that makes good stories later. The good news is that the seas are following so as we watch waves higher than the aft rail approach, we just get lifted and they glide underneath. As Jay says, "a tap on the butt is much better than a slap in the face." (Translation for landlubbers: Seas on your ass are better than diving bow first into oncoming ocean.)
Yesterday was a great day aboard Tenured. All seemed to be having fun. To begin with, we passed the halfway mark before dawn. (This now means that if we are rescued, they will take us to the mainland.) Of course, we had to have a halfway party. (Cici baked a cake but regrettably there was no chocolate sauce topping as I have known with cakes baked in the past.) We actually celebrated after dinner with the cake and some cheap champagne, some good stories, and toasting ourselves and our adventure thus far.
The movie for the day was the African Queen shown in full leecharound. (As we got to the famed and personally disgusting leech scene, I dropped a cold, slimy, wet carrot piece down Cici's back leading us all to amusing ourselves as Cici jumped about, threw things at me and called me names --- how did she know the truth about my parentage anyway?
We also caught one more albacore tuna (which we kept) and saw one large container ship in the distance probably enroot to San Francisco.
All in all, a fun day in an adventure that continues to be a great experience and one where each day we as crew seem to become closer as friends and companions.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 20, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:03
Position of TENURED: N46:07.3 W151:31
Speed (kts): 4
Heading (magnetic): 041
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Broad reach
Sea state: 2-4 Rolly
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 890
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 125
Coastal Reference Point: Cape Disappointment (N. of Portland)
Observations: Visibility is 50 yards and it is cold
NOTE: Deviant appears to be out of range on the agreed meeting frequency. We heard him in the static but were unable to get a position report.
After yesterday's record run (finally measured at 171 miles), there was a sense of disappointment among the crew at returning to a normal day of boating. Perhaps the disappointment was the product of the mix between the cold, the rain, and the total lack of visibility. (NOTE: A fog bank is reported to extend from 43 North up to 53 North.) For me, the hardest thing is not knowing where other traffic is. We run the radar and every crew member now spends much of their watch looking at the little screen trying to recognize the echo of anything within 12 miles. Still, with all of the noise created by waves and rain and the added motion of the radar antenna caused by the roll of the boat, even the biggest targets may not appear clear until they are 6 or 7 miles out. Other small boats may be completely lost in the noise. One would think that out here there would be nothing to worry about. It is a giant ocean --- what are the odds of meeting with other humanity? Well, to answer my own question, yesterday we were passed closely (within two miles) by two large ocean going commercial vessels (we know that one was a tanker.) In each case, we had radar contact and then voice contact with the vessel (via the VHF radio.) In each case, we watched as the vessel moved down the bearing line toward our boat as it approached only to pass shortly behind us. In each case, we never saw a vessel several hundred feet in length as it passed by masked in anonymity behind a wall of fog.
As I stood my night watch last night, I had a real sense of the enormity of this endeavor in the context of the fraility of this vessel and those aboard. The visibility was below 50 feet as I could not even see the wind indicator at the top of the mast. There I was alone (all others slept), responsible for my life, the lives of three others, and for my boat almost 1000 miles offshore with only a 6 year old piece of electronics standing between me and total blindness. With each continued sweep of the radar, I could noticeably feel a sense of relief at knowing for another fraction of a second, with some accuracy, what lay out there beyond our view.
Life on board continues to be good. Yesterday, was cult movie day. We watched "Reefer Madness" followed by the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and had a fine meal of rice, corn, chicken ala king and of course fresh fish, all cooked by Scott.
As to our sailing strategy, it is looking like we need to develop a plan to cross the gulf of Alaska to Sitka. We are now north of the high having used that low to sweep us to this location. Unfortunately, that same weather system seems to be moving into the Gulf to block our path. The prediction is that a low with high winds and very high seas will sit directly in front of us when we are ready to cross the gulf. We could move Southeast of the low and try to use the winds of the low to sweep us to the coast. The likelihood is that since there is no high to hold the low back, the low will overrun us and we will experience some really bad ocean. Plan B is to wait on the curb for the light to change and then to sail on the winds following the low before the next weather system sweeps across the gulf. (I like plan B.)
For now, we move slowly along awaiting the westerlies, which have not yet come. We stand our watches, read our books, watch our movies, cook our meals, curse the cold and the lack of visibility and the lack of a lack of dampness. Yet, I think that secretly we are all loving the adventure and the experience of doing what few others do --- cross oceans in small boats and sail to Alaska!!!
Mike, Captain of Tenured.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 21, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:29
Position of TENURED: N47:06.9 W149:45.8
Speed (kts): 4
Heading (magnetic): 019 (On course to Sitka)
Wind speed and Direction: 10 kts (Westerly -- beam reach)
Sea state: 2-4 feet Comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 798
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 110 (A bit of dog leg)
Coastal Reference Point: Cape Shoalwater (Mt. Rainier)
Observations: It was light at 3:30 AM
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: From captain to friends of the crew. Emails received out here are valued like gold. Each morning the crew very eagerly wait for me to send the position report and download the morning e-mail. Rarely does five minutes go by following the download before the crew form up around the computer (often with high hopes and sometimes with knives) waiting for the morning email to be read. The reading of email is like Christmas morning and those who receive nothing are noticeably hurt. (Personally, I have recollections of receiving socks and underwear on Christmas which I find almost as bad as nothing -- but that is my issue.) So, if YOU are not sending email regularly to your loved ones, you are letting them down and hard as it may seem from dry land, YOU are leaving them to be sad and lonely out here. If you are not heard from, they believe that perhaps you are not following their adventures at sea. So, please write a few words. Your gift of time at the keyboard will be appreciated. We are now over 10 days at sea and writings from home would really help a few of those with whom I share this little boat. (Janet, your words are appreciated by all...)
NOTE TO Pat Richter: The crew is near mutiny over the fact that in the pile of books that you so kindly sent along, you left out the third book in the American Book Series trilogy (Forbidden Land of First.) Why would you taunt the crew so? They ask that you mail it to the Mail Buoy. Classis example of no good deed going unpunished. (I think that the crew is getting a we bit punchy.)
NOTE TO KEITH: We would love to see the Whitbread challenge video. If you get a chance, give it to Joan to send up with the next person coming this way.
Not much going on right now. We finally have the beginnings of the westerlies which should bring us north to Sitka. They are light and we anticipate that they will stay that way for at least the next day or so. We are also still watching the lows moving into the gulf of Alaska. It seems that they tend to dissipate up there near shore so we have our fingers crossed and hope that the rest of our crossing will be comfortable. (I did note that in the entry notes to Sitka, they advise against approaching from the sea.)
Each day, the crew adds things to a notepad that they wish for me to include in the log. (Apparently, many of the crew haven't the ability to write so I scribe their thoughts for them.)
Cici wants me to note that even though it was not his day to do so, Jay cooked breakfast yesterday and also did the dishes. (I note that Scott, who is now standing multiple night watches in his underwear while tied to the bow, left me an excessive number of dishes to clean the other day.) I would like to commend Jay on his excellent culinary skills. He made me a superb Lucky Charms burrito in place of the mahi mahi burritos that he made for the rest of the crew. (I really do not like fish and I love those magical marshmallows.)
OUT THE KITCHEN WINDOW by Seymore Trash:
We send our biodegradables out to sea every day. (Plastics we store to throw out at shore.) This practice is both legal and accepted. The procedure is to open the galley window while cooking and to toss biodegradables over the side. One must judge the wind and the roll of the boat. Poor Cici, even on her toes, must throw blindly. Except for the absence of a rusted mid-70s Chevy with no tires, the deck outside the galley is starting to look like the front yard of an Appalachian trailer park. (I know I have offended no one unless someone in an Appalachian trailer park is lucky enough to have a friend who can read.) Personally, if we keep missing the ocean with our trash, any day I expect a camera crew and Sally Struthers to show up to do a "Save the Boaters" info-mercial. Unlike in the bowels of the blue ridge though, at least once every day or so, someone goes out on deck to complete the unsuccessful garbage tosses. Of course, they then report what they have found and we have a rousing conversation about garbage that can take us into the wee hours of the morn...
Actually, garbage collection is now about the only time that anyone goes on deck anymore. It has gotten cold out there. I consider this God's little tease. He (perhaps she as we all know my luck with the fairer gender) gives us more hours of daylight and makes it too freezing ass cold to enjoy them. This ranks up with the idea that the best way to sail to Alaska is via Hawaii. No need to taunt the crew with tropical warmth before sending us to the freezing north.
Am I complaining? Not really. Each day this adventure becomes more fun. We as a crew are all enjoying ourselves and we are having more fun and experiences than I can write. Actually, since they are holding me at knife point and are near mutiny, I can't write much.....
Signing off from sea,
Captain Mike of the frozen north
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 22, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:42
Position of TENURED: N48:30.8 W149:01.2
Speed (kts): 4.4
Heading (magnetic): 005
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Direct from Sitka (NE)
Sea state: Calm
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 713
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 85
Coastal Reference Point: Strait of Juan De Fuca (No. of Seattle)
Observations: Our visibility has come back up but the winds are unfavorable for our travel.
NOTE TO PAULLA: Try #13477 Look up www.doitforless.com
There is an old adage in boating that says that it will always be impossible to sail in the direction that one wishes to go...
That certainly holds true here. The westerlies died as quickly as they came and yesterday (in contradiction to the weather fax) we found ourselves sitting becalmed on a glassy sea in the north Pacific. (Although I do not like using precious fuel without good reason,) I made the decision to motor and we did so for a few hours until we started getting some wind. Unfortunately, that wind was blowing direct from Sitka. One cannot sail in the direction from which the wind blows. (I know this is obvious to those who sail and to many who don't.) While we have been making better than four knots with these winds, we are now heading to someplace northwest of Sitka and will have to correct as soon as we get more favorable winds or will have to take to reach our destination. (I hate tacking -- it seems so very wasteful.) Our track resembles a drunkard's walk home from a good night of imbibing.
Still, we sail forward and so long as the boat is moving, the crew all seems happy.
It continues to get more cold each day. Everyone is now wearing long pants and shoes. I finally replaced my bedroom slippers with real shoes this morning and put on long pants yesterday. BRRRRRRRRR!
The generator runs a small heater but it is only on when the generator runs and the boat is pretty cold in the morning. I knew it was cold when I went to brush my teeth and the toothpaste was solid in the tube. Even worse, it gave me brain freeze when I actually put it in my mouth. The good news is that we are now getting ice water from the watermaker. (Boy howdy, life is good.)
As to our life yesterday, it was pretty typical. Crew is getting a little loony but we don't know how much without some land bound reference point. When we hit shore, if we get dragged off in jackets that button in the back, we will know the answer. Still we continue to laugh, joke and have lots of fun and also eat well. Scott is convinced there are bats living in the hanging locker. Cici has been using fruit boxes as weapons or at least was until she had a small fruit box accident on the floor. Jay seems somehow wrong in clothes. Of course, thinking as a captain, I showed an old John Water's classic flick to try to calm the crew to normality.
On the seas we saw one container ship yesterday and all else seems to be status quo.
Wishing those in the warm and the dry a happy today.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 23, 2001
Time (GMT): 16;18
Position of TENURED: N49:36 W147:59
Speed (kts): 3
Heading (magnetic): 38-40
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Direct from Sitka
Sea state: 1-2 and calm
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 633
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 70
Coastal Reference Point: Vancouver Island
Observations: Still no westerlies
NOTE: Chuck on Deviant was located at 43:53 North and 139:22 West as of our 0500 communication.
We still continue our quest for the westerlies. The winds are light but we are making headway toward Sitka. I have to admit an incredible sense of frustration at not having the westerlies as shown on the weather fax. Of course, right at our location, there are other weather phenomenon that are probably creating the effects that we are realizing. Since last night however, we have been getting winds from the northwest that I hope will increase in force and clock around to the west.
I was going to write a humorous log today but today is really not a day of humor if I judge my crew right. Several days of light winds have taken their toll on the crew's collective psyche. I can sense their frustration and I am sympathetic to it but at the same time, I think the crew fails to sense my frustration or afford me the same sympathy. Frank (who after leg one, I still consider a great friend) put it best when he expressed his anger at my decision to slow down on our way past Molokai by saying something to the effect of 'your the captain, deal with it!' I guess that the making of unpopular decisions is part of my job. (Still, I wish that people who I view as friends would be a little more understanding of my position and accept my choices more graciously.) The choice, of which I speak, is the decision not to motor unless absolutely necessary and the rule of thumb that we shall use the motor to go no more than 50 miles in a day. (All rules are meant to be broken but I am not yet ready to break this one.) The fact is that we are making headway to Sitka and so long as the boat is moving forward somewhat comfortably, I feel strongly that we should sail and preserve the fuel for a time when it might be needed.
I do understand the crew's sense that if the winds were better and as predicted, Sitka would be an easy five days away but at this rate, it could be a difficult 8 or ten days. Still, I believe in the weather faxes and feel that good winds are not far off.
Although I will share the humor at a later time, Cici has written a list of her ten most annoying noises on the boat. I think we all tune in to some of the sounds as the boats moves slow and at times wallows and find those sounds as annoying as nails on a chalkboard. (Believe me when I say that I understand the silent frustration.) The problem is that you can't get away from the source of the annoyance and that takes its toll.
It is my hope that today the winds we seek will come to us and that the good spirits of the crew with which we (I) have been blessed for most of 14 days return for the few days that remain on our voyage across the North Pacific.
Mike (Now hiding anything that can be used as a weapon.)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 24, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:47
Position of TENURED: N51:09.7 W146:15.3
Speed (kts): 2.7
Heading (magnetic): 11M
Wind speed and Direction: 5-8 From the south
Sea state: Very sloppy
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 520
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 115
Coastal Reference Point: North of Vancouver Island
Observations: We are in the middle of a low which is creating bad seas and storm conditions which we hope will pass in 24 hours.
SPECIAL NOTE: It is with the greatest sorrow that I learned this morning that my brother-in-law, Billy Flathmann passed on after an incredibly courageous fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Billy was a wonderful man who has often been in my thoughts out here. Nothing that I have endured and no challenge that I have faced in this adventure or for that matter in my life could even begin to come close to what he had to live through for the last several years. No matter what his pain, no matter what his discomfort, Billy was a man who always had a smile and always was willing to share a joke. He was a man with strength and character beyond that of anyone that I know. There are not words to adequately express my sadness at seeing one so young taken from life in such a terrible way.
I feel for my Sister Susan and my nieces Rachel and Jessica. To them I send my sympathy, my concerns, and my love. Always hold in your heart the knowledge that Billy will live on through you and that his legacy will be honored in the paths that you follow.
I ask everyone to spend a moment in silence for Billy and then I urge everyone to count their own blessings and to realize that life is finite and that we must each strive to live it to maximize the grand gift we have been given. I ask everyone to celebrate life today in some way that celebrates themselves and in some way honors a young life ended too soon.
To you Billy, I dedicate this adventure.
(Today's log will be posted tomorrow.)
Brother-in-law to William Flathmann
LOG FOR July 24, 2001
Chuck on Deviant was located at N44 50, W136 29 at 0500 GMT.
Special Greetings To:
Ellen Wilson -- Your emails and cards make Cici happy.
Thad and Tammy Roppel (and whichever friend of yours can read): We have diverted to China and will bring back the child. We will leave her for you at the mail buoy.
Matt Dominick --Glad you are out there. You are my favorite republican --- not difficult considering how I feel about most of them. Sounds like you had a great summer.
Steve Sayer -- Cici was thrilled to hear from you.
And of Course our beloved Keith -- We live to hear from you and of course when we don't we sit around the campfire and tell Keith stories.
Jena -- Yes cooking is required (also)!
Keith Resch -- Come to Alaska and join the team. It is more than an adventure, it is a job. Bring Kiyoshi to stand watch. No one Kiyoshis things up like him. (Best to the wife, Cathy.)
Jeanne Manese -- I know which Jeanne you are and although there are other Jeannes there is only one of you.
Karen Beck (Valerie's Mom) -- I am so glad that you visited our website. (Let us know if you get this message.) Best to your daughter. I hope her adventure is going great also.
Rocke and Barbara Robertson -- As always, so glad you are following us.
Deborah Forester -- Enjoyed your email but please don't send jokes. Our bandwidth is very narrow and we can only receive a little text every day.
Susan Stocker --- So, are you coming to Alaska or what?
AND NOW THE LOG (Reflections of July 23rd written on the 24th):
When we got down below one knot, I decided it was time to give in and gratuitously motor for my promised 50 miles. This seemed to appease the crew who seemed to be a little happier after a small amount of venting following the daily reading of the log. (By venting, I am referring to diverting the engine exhaust into the crew spaces which works wonders as a sedative.)
Being on a boat is a bit like being trapped on our own little survivor island for the duration of the trip. (Not an easy task even with the best of friends given the best of winds. NOTE: I have concluded that wind is a boater's valium.) As the only one who cannot commit mutiny, I am also the only one who has permanent immunity to being voted off the island.
Yesterday (the 23rd) was glass calm most of the day and we were treated to the site of Orcas several times. Personally, I think it was the same gang or Orcas each time and they are stalking us and trying to lure us all out on the deck at once. Nothing good could possibly come from animals with Killer in their name.
The night of the 23rd however was quite the experience. After a day of near complete calm and a few good evening hours of sailing, the winds started to build real seriously. We double reefed, dropped the mizzen and then pulled in the headsail. After dark (and I do mean dark -- cloud cover, no moon, no stars, no sky), it started to rain and then the seas started to get sloppy. Scott went on deck and tightened the preventer and then together we brought the boat under control and spent the next hour running through one shower after another before the seas finally started to settle. (The weather fax seems to indicate that we will be hit by a low which will no doubt bring bad weather and big waves.)
We are now above 50 north and it really is winter most of the day. Gloves and jackets are worn all the time. Yesterday, I went to get a coke and could not decide if I wanted one of the cold ones in the frig. or wanted one of the frozen ones on the floor in front of it. Actually, I was thinking of climbing into the refrigerator to keep warm while drinking it.
SIDENOTE: We all think it unusual that the watch schedule is held up with a refrigerator magnet on the frig. door. (Sailors should immediately see the humor -- others should laugh along like they understand...) I have also added some of my own personal artwork to the refrigerator door -- on the par with "Man Behind a Duck" and Cici has posted one of the cards from Ellen.
We continue to head north and with some luck in just a few days we will be drinking margaritas in Sitka. (It is never too cold for a margarita.)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 25, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:33
Position of TENURED: N52:08 W144:16
Speed (kts): 2.5
Heading (magnetic): 22 (Sitka)
Wind speed and Direction: 5-8 Westerly
Sea state: 1 foot comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 426
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 92
Coastal Reference Point: Queen Charlotte Strait, BC
Observations: Nice morning
Keith -- What I wouldn't give for a cup of your coffee...
Amy Kirkpatrick -- Welcome back. Tell Mike not to drink and email.
Mike Kirkpatrick -- Don't drink and email. (We did love your dissertation on the history of the Navy and the mail buoy. Were you ever one of the young lads on the bow?)
Kevin Robb -- Res ipsa loquitor
Dave Lehn -- Hi from all at sea! We are taking good care of Scott!!!
And now, the Log:
CRAP!!! Yes, excuse my language but that is the only word to describe the conditions of yesterday. Let me say it again .... CRAP!!!! Bloody freakin CRAP. (To my students reading this, please note that this is creative writing and while appropriate here to drive home a point, it would be inappropriate language -- although protected by the first amendment -- for technical reports. I have on occasion thought of driving home the point on some of the papers I grade...) But I digress... CRAP!!!!!
After hours of torrential rain, we found that the boat had leaked like an old person. Water had come in from every orifice and everything we had on board was soaked. (All my poor videotapes...) Scott needed some dry pants (he had not leaked like an old person) and I found that it even rained in my closet.
We knew that the rain of the prior night had signified entry into a low pressure system crossing over us on its way to shore. Still the seas behind the rain were remarkably good and the winds comfortable. Then it happened .... CRAP, boy did it happen!!! We got hit by the outer ring of the Low as it completed its passage over us. Big seas (BIG SEAS) and winds gusting up and probably beyond 30. For most of the day we were pounded by mother nature (who apparently has some sort of a personal issue with fiberglass rubbing against her ocean.) We took heavy spray as high up as the windows on the pilot house. Water continued to seep in from the ports and the overhead hatches. (Apparently a few thousand miles of ocean sailing weakened some of the aging seals around things.) We dramatically reduced sail and we just took it. Everyone used all their energy just to hold on -- to try to stay in one place and be comfortable. As if to add further insult, every so often a wave would hit the boat square abeam. The boat would shudder and cabinets would fly open and things would fall out and then move about willy nilly. Watching Cici catching things falling out of the galley cabinets was a bit of sporting event. We would watch as things would roll back and forth across the floor often opting to not expend the energy necessary to stop it. (I think we were all hypnotized by a rogue Pringles container --- I bet we all cluck like chickens whenever we see one now.) And then around five it was over and the sea calmed and we sailed peacefully into the night.
The weather faxes predict light westerlies all the way to Sitka but who knows, there may yet be one more good sea story (maybe two) before we arrive. For now, we are all in good spirits and happy to be sailing smoothly on our path to the inland passage.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 26, 2001
Time (GMT): 16:45
Position of TENURED: N53:24 W142:44
Speed (kts): 4
Heading (magnetic): 22
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Westerly
Sea state: 2 feet and comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 333
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 93
Coastal Reference Point: Queen Charlotte Islands
Observations: Generally a nice day on a cold sea
NOTE: Deviant was located at N46 25 and W131 33 at 0500 GMT. He reported more wind than he could possibly want and was making good speed toward the straights.
Special Thanks: I want to thank all those who have sent me their thoughts, wishes, and condolences on the passing of my brother-in-law. It is hard to mourn out here at sea under my circumstances of space and responsibility. The warmth of your words make it easier.
LOG FOR JULY 26th, 2001
Each morning when I awake and check our position, I find great pleasure in our growing proximity to land. Frank would happily note that we are coming within range of Helicopter rescue today. The winds have been good for sailing but we are certainly being teased by the speed that we can make. A little too high to start the motor and a little too low to keep all the crew happy. (I am trying to compromise and shoot for a distance of 100 miles per day even if it requires motoring but then again, it was my goal to sail and all signed on to be part of my adventure.)
Cici asked me to note the following:
A. We saw a dead whale yesterday. (I am now pleased to be able to answer the age old question of whether whales float face up or down. Yes, it is face down. I also note for the record that ocean pickled whale meat is not tasty.)
B. Cici's list of most annoying noises:
10. Flatulence (worst when from her.)
9. The whiny noise of the watermaker.
8. The radar alarm (she has learned to ignore it.)
7. Cabinet doors that open and bang back and forth.
6. Cans rolling back in forth in half empty cabinets.
5. Mike's evening "CHIN WAG" on the SSB radio.
4. The static on the SSB while we wait for the weather faxes.
3. The lazy jib sheet whacking the cabin top (during the night).
2. The jib popping for lack of a WHISKER POLE.
1. MOST ANNOYING: Mainsail TWACKING back and forth in NO WIND.
Accepting the challenge, here is my list of most annoying noises aboard ship. Almost all can be easily eliminated at the next port of call:
Crew whining about things I cannot change (weather, wind, etc.)
Crew whining because I came to sail and not motor.
Crew whining because I didn't spend more of my life savings on
this trip by buying something they would certainly see as
essential (whisker pole). (I say break out your checkbook)
Crew whining about how they would have done things differently
(and of course better.)
Crew whining about noises that are typical on a moving boat.
Crew whining about almost anything else.
The whine of the watermaker (and of the autopilot.)
Frankly, I have decided to buy a ranch in Montana and then to Kidnap Pat Muraglia and Scott Simpson to be used as breeding stock to create a herd of free range non-whining crew which I will then rent out to people such as myself making ocean crossings.
With no whine in my voice, I bid those on shore a very good day today from the deck of the Tenured.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 27, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:05
Position of TENURED: N54:27 W140:58
Speed (kts): 4.2
Heading (magnetic): 025
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Westerly
Sea state: 1-2 Comfortable
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 248
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 99
Coastal Reference Point: Dixon Entrance, ALASKA
Observations: Another good day at sea
Yesterday we continued our slow but comfortable trek toward Alaska. The weather faxes suggested that the winds would remain light for the day and possibly start to build into the next day (today.) Over night, our average speed climbed from slightly over 3 to slightly over 4 knots. At this speed, we are less than 60 hours out of Sitka. I would venture to say that this will please the crew as much as it does me.
There is little to report about yesterday. It was one of those pleasingly uneventful days at sea that one can easily savor for its calm. The crew all seemed in good spirits and everyone just enjoyed watching the world go by. One highlight of the day were a few moments of sunshine bright enough to cast shadows. (Cici made shadow puppets.) The winds were just behind our beam, creating a comfortable tack for the boat. Everyone passed the day in easy relaxation. Cici and Jay spotted a large piniped of some kind while Scott and I were off watch and sleeping. The only other thing of note was a large freighter that passed ahead of our bow on Scott's last night watch. (No big deal as it passed almost two miles in front of us.) No movie for the day but dinner was homemade chili using near the last of the frozen meat in the refrigerator.
I thought I would finish the log by sharing a few interesting facts and observations about our latitude. Today we will enter Alaskan waters. According to the sea temp weather fax, the water temp below the boat is about 50 degrees F. (Survival time in water that cold is less than one half hour.) I have noted that on my midnight to 2AM watch, the horizon starts to brighten at about 1:30AM. One can read unassisted by about 3:30AM and the day remains bright past 9PM. (Actually, we are still using the Hawaiian-Aleutian Time Zone. It is probably an hour later in Sitka.) The days are uniformly cold and gray out here but still there is a natural beauty that one cannot deny and which I think we are all savoring for it is unlikely we will be here again.
From my morning watch,
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 28, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:55
Position of TENURED: N55:37 W138:43
Speed (kts): 7 (Iron spinnaker set)
Heading (magnetic): 27
Wind speed and Direction: 10- Close Hauled
Sea state: Calm
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 141
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 100
Coastal Reference Point: Prince of whales Island, AK
Observations: It is like sailing to Catalina today
BIRTHDAY WISHES: To my aging brother ROBERT who will clock another year tomorrow.
Hello to Illya, Paulla (and the bush), The one known as "CAPTAIN BARNAPKIN", Ron and Phyll (do you consider yourselves leaky old people?)
WARNING: The long range pomposity alarm on the boat keeps ringing with the indicator arrow pointing to San Diego. Make it stop!
As if uneventful is the theme, we passed another uneventful day slowly inching in a snail-like, sluggishly paced manner with sloth-like consistency toward Sitka, AK. Our days of going 130 miles are long in our past. Now, we are happy if we can squeeze 100 miles from the day. The city is so damn close, we can taste it. It is just over the next hill and slightly to the right. We are no longer making a crossing so much as we are coastal cruisers heading to port. I for one am still glad that the gulf of Alaska is being kind to us. We have tasted a small storm out here and no one wants that -- even with the wind that it brings.
With 140 miles to go and the desire not to spend more than one more night at sea (which carries added risk this close to shore), I have made the decision to motor. The estimated time on the GPS is 21 hours which should put us off Sitka around dawn.
The only excitement for the day yesterday was a failed cotter pin on the main boom. (This time, it was a cotter pin that was new at the beginning of the trip but undersized -- by the designer -- for the loads it would take on this kind of adventure.
As to activities on board, everyone lounged about, slept, and generally just enjoyed the day. We had a little sunshine and lots of beautiful ocean to admire. At dusk we motored for two hours.
While most sat about wagging their chins (an inside joke that is not an insult to anyone), I spent a good part of the day studying up on Sitka and the inland passage. I am ready to start the adventure of which I have spent so long dreaming. For now, we look for the first sight of land in the distance and the last sight of our crossing of the Pacific.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At the crew's request, I have been asked to add this special addendum to the log. All on board wish to express their hurt at the unfortunate lack of mail that we found at the MAIL BUOY last night. Other than an add for Jenny Craig and a photo of Captain Barnapkin at Mail Buoy 127a (South Pacific District), we received nothing. After this many days at sea, it came as real blow to those on board. After much discussion, all mailed the letters they have written just to make you feel guilty...
Log of the Tenured Part IV (Alaska)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 29, 2001
Time (GMT): 13:41 (4:41 AM Sitka Time)
Position of TENURED: N56:54 W135 38.9
(Entrance to Sitka Sound)
Speed (kts): 5
Heading (magnetic): 020
Wind speed and Direction: 10 Broad Reach
Sea state: 2-3 Rolly and abeam
Distance to Alaska (Sitka): 10 miles
Miles Traveled Last 24 Hours: 120
Coastal Reference Point: (Sitka Alaska) Read Below
Happy birthday to Robert M and Lisa Cobbs-Hoffman
Happy Anniversary to Pat and Randi Albertson
At 12:12 UTC (3:12 local), team member Scott sighted Biorski Island at the entrance to Sitka Sound from our location of N56:49.8 W135:48.8. We had planned our entry into the middle of Sitka Sound for Dawn and arrived as planned.
At this point in our voyage (as we are but hours from tying to a dock and touching Alaska), I would like to note that the vessel Tenured has sailed almost 5000 miles since May 26th, when we left San Diego. Of the last 63 days, I have spent 46 on board ship away from land. I have shared my home and little space with Pat Muraglia, Frank Muraglia, Keith Robertson, Scott Simpson, Cici Sayer and Jay O'Bannan for the two legs of the voyage.
Since leaving Hawaii, we have traversed more than 1/3 of this hemisphere (22N to 57N) and now are as far north as the garden land of Latvia and our latitude is a mere 180 miles south of Greenland. (Yup, it is cold up here.)
Lots to do, so I must end the log for now but I offer the following:
THE ADVENTURE NOW BEGINS!!!!!!!!!!
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 30, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:09 (7:10AM Local)
Tenured is located at:
SLIP 5, DOCK 8 of the NEW THOMSEN MARINA
in Sitka, AK. (This is information for Susan Stocker who will be joining the trip on July 1st.)
Well, we are here!!!!!!!!
Upon our arrival, we were met at the dock by our new best friends Dave and Meta from the vessel Aurora. (They are doing the inland passage on their incredibly beautiful 65 foot Nordhaven) We had hoped that all of our old best friends would fly up here to welcome us to shore but alas, they must have slept in and missed the plane from San Diego to Sitka.
One cannot describe how much you savor land and the pleasure of a long walk after so long away from it. We all took showers (not together) and everyone found some way to savor our accomplishment.
The celebration began with a bottle of Champagne at 7AM. (It was the bottle from Chris and Angie that crossed the ocean twice.) Then sometime later we all converged on the boat (I took a walk, Scott did Laundry, and Cici and Jay made friends with the locals at the Pioneer bar where apparently strong drinks are served.) Our plan was to have dinner but Scott and Cici found a store that sold the makings of Martinis so they instead opted to drink their meal (just like astronauts). Jay, who seems to have friends everywhere, disappeared for hours but when he finally came home he had bags of food that he had been given by the crew of a 100 foot charter boat. Clearly, this was the perfect example of getting your appetite elsewhere but coming home to eat. And the party continued. Sometime into the evening, some local fisher-people were looking into one of our ports so we invited them aboard for drinks. Since they were very blurry, I dozed off. All-in-all, a good arrival party for a great crew. (NOTE: My apologies to all who we called last night and my regrets to those who we didn't...)
Today we clean the boat, make repairs, reprovision and start to look toward glacier bay and the future adventures of the vessel TENURED in the Southeast (the name used by locals for Southeast Alaska).
NOTE: Among the casualties of the trip was Jay's new CK brand Silk Watch Cap complete with ear muffs and eye holes. I guess the flimsy material could not handle the cold north Pacific. (Paulla, perhaps next time you can give him something warmer to wear.)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: July 31, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:21 (6:22 AM Local)
Thank you to everyone for all your warm thoughts and congratulations on our arrival and the completion of the crossing.
If I thought Hanalei Bay was paradise, it was only because I had not yet been to Sitka, Alaska. I kid you not, this is the most spectacular place that I have ever been. One cannot help but soak in the incredible beauty in every direction. Green mountains, accented by streaks of snow meandering seaward from their peaks, dormant volcanoes rising majestically through the fog in the distance, islets on lake-like water for as far as the eye can see. All this touched by a dewy dampness that I kid you not, only makes it more beautiful. It is not uncommon to see bald eagles in the treetops and we have even seen them on the spreaders of boats in the marina. The climate here is not what one would expect in Alaska. Cool, but never too cold and damp but not really wet. All day is like a dreamy mountain morning and I am told that even the winters here are moderated by the ocean presence.
Still, this does not define paradise. There is more, much much more. No, if rustic beauty was all that there was, I could think of many places I have been that come close or give one the same sense of awe and natural beauty. There is something special here and everyone here seems to know it.
The feeling starts as you glide between the small tree covered rocky islands of Sitka Sound toward the Sitka breakwater. The mist lays on the water and you share the calm with a few small Rockwellesque fishing boats heading to sea. Then from the moment that you contact the harbormaster upon entering the harbor, you can absolutely feel that there is something special here. It is the people and the place that somehow come together to be paradise. It is a secret that no one is trying to keep secret but which by virtue of the distance to this outpost will most probably not be easily corrupted by the hoards of grain-fed Midwest tourists of which I often muse.
I have been to many places where the people greet you with a warm "hello" as they pass you on the street but never have I been to a place where there is such sincerity in the greeting. In even the most casual passing, there is a genuine concern by strangers for all that they meet. It is almost hard to walk the half mile to downtown if one is in a hurry because I guarantee that you will have a conversation with strangers along the way who will be friends before the walk is done. We have had an endless stream of visitors congratulating us on our voyage and wanting to hear of our adventures. (Some dream of making a crossing, others have done it, and still others just want to know a little of our experience.) From all, you get the sense that they are welcoming a friend home.
Perhaps it is because Alaska is the kind of place that requires strangers to rely on one another or perhaps there is some natural anti-depressant in the water or the air or perhaps this is just a place that attracts good people -- I don't know but it is incredible here.
In tomorrow's log, I will continue to try to impart a sense of what it is that makes this place so incredible. I doubt my words do it justice but take me at my word when I say that Sitka is a place that goes beyond words...
Mike (A visitor to the gates of heaven)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 2, 2001
Time (GMT): 21:09 (1:10 pm Local)
Position of TENURED: 57:23.6 135:35.3 (Schultze Cove)
Today's Destination: Deep Bay or Annie's Pocket past the Sergius Narrows in the Peril Strait.
NOTE: Today we welcome Susan Stocker to our crew. She proudly reports that she has not yet seen a mosquitoes (that she didn't like) and that she is wearing flip flops (and little else --- oh yeah, she is wearing socks.)
As I was saying, Sitka is something incredibly special and for more than its beauty. Perhaps it is the people. They are an interesting lot. The locals (all 8800 of them) seem to carry all the colorful animation of a Norman Rockwell painting. This is a fishing port and one sees an endless stream of folk from little boys to old men and women wearing high boots and jeans stained from their trade. Their faces show the weathering but not the sadness one might expect from a lifetime of such hard work in such a hostile ocean. The ZZ Top style of beard is very popular here (even among the men.) Few people pass without a smile and rarely does one get a sense that people are less than happy here. The fishing boats come and go all the time and one cannot help but see beauty in how the people weave into the rusticness of their town. Among the fishing boats are the cruisers. People like me, longing for a little safe adventure and a story to tell when they get home. At the Alawai, my boat was among the biggest but here I am the small fry. Multi-million dollar boats speckle the harbor. For the many, the product of a lifetime of hard work is the pleasure of cruising the lake-like waters of the inland passage in a boat capable of withstanding the worst the sea can dish up while maintaining a level of luxury that should live behind a locked gate. No matter your status and no matter your dream, all seem welcome here and all seem to accept and to meld together into the friendly community that I describe.
Today at a little after 8, we motored out into the inland passage. It is the perfect day. Sunny and warm and the waters are calm. Our route took us past Middle and Gavanski Islands, through the Olga and Neva Straights, into Salsbury sound where we diverted to Peril Strait. At the moment we are sitting at Anchor in Schultze Cove behind Piper Island waiting for the current to slack so we can cross through the Sergius Narrows which have currents during ebb and flow that can run over 5 knots.
We have seen numerous bald eagles and all but me have seen Sea Otters.
Tomorrow, I will let you know how our passage through the straits went.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 3, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:14 (7:15 AM)
Position of TENURED: N57:26.8 W135:32.9
Today's Destination: Warm Springs Bay
NOTE TO GINGER: I was able to purchase the snipe hunting outfit and I will purchase one for Dagley with the check that he sent me when it arrives. Unfortunately the snipe guns were all sold out. Tell Dagley to purchase a few snipe guns. To keep them safe he should conceal them on his person as he goes through the Airport.
We arrived at Sergius Narrows just 20 minutes before the slack tide. The narrows are only about 300 yards long but one could see the eddies and the confused currents rushing from them in our direction. A fishing boat went ahead of us and radioed back that we should hold off for a while. Then another boat went and we watched as he was turned sideways in the current. Finally with just ten minutes before slack tide, we decided to shoot the rapids in the wrong direction. It really wasn't too bad but at one point we did record a 3 knot difference between the knot log and the GPS (indicating that we were driving into a 3 knot current.) The boat was buffeted but did just fine. The keel held us fairly straight in the current. Next time, I will wait until I see the tide slack before trying a rapids.
Three miles further down the Peril Straight we set anchor. We decided to pick Annie's Pocket (a pun brought to you by Cici) as our anchorage for the night. It was a tight little hole, just out of the current, surrounded by a shoal and a gravel beach. The boat sat at anchor in perfect calm and the silence was deafening. Of course, we had to do the echo test --- we have amused ourselves by standing on the deck and yelling at the top our lungs to hear the unbelievable echoes that resound back off the hills. (I am sure we are either amusing or annoying someone out there.)
Dinner consisted of Pasta with sauce seasoned with reindeer meat and of course there was wine. (The good kind.)
Scott slept on deck and used an age-old technique to keep the bears away. He has mastered the technique of using intensely pitched low frequency emissions to make the bears think there is a bigger bear on our deck. He can do this all night and as we found no bears on deck in the morning, we commend him for his successful effort.
Today we will continue down Peril Strait, Goose Cove, Hanus Bay, and then South in Chatham Strait. I am keeping the final destination a secret (unless you look above.)
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 4, 2001
Time (GMT): 17:34 (9:35 local)
Position of TENURED: Baranof Hot Springs (N57:05.3 W134:49.9)
Today's Destination: Either Angoon or Tenekee Springs
Greetings to my cousin Carrie who has just starting following our great adventure.
Close your eyes and imagine a world where you awake to silence and where your first sights are bald eagles flying free, towering mountains with snow capped peaks --- a world where everyday you see whales and dolphins on a pristine ocean and a place where you can find rushing rapids on towering waterfalls with sea otters fishing for fresh salmon. That is "Southeast."
Last night after a run of 53 miles among some of the most spectacular scenery, we tied to the float (dock) at the small village of Baranoff. Our first stop was the natural hot springs next to a raging waterfall. The springs, with their warm massaging sulfur waters, provided the perfect end to a perfect day. I do note that we had hoped to see bears fishing in the waterfall but instead saw bare asses in the springs as the slightly large couple from another vessel saw fit to shed their manmade skins. (I also note that only one member of our crew chose to go au natural -- or politely put, butt ass naked.)
Dinner on board consisted of broiled fresh Salmon (cooked by Cici)given to us by Janice and George (a couple who have a fishing boat in Sitka) after we invited them aboard for drinks. As if to top that, for breakfast this morning Cici cooked berry pancakes with locally collected wild berries. Scott and Cici headed off for another dip on the hot springs while Susan and I hiked up to enjoy the incredible scenery at Baraboo Lake.
It is hard not to keep calling this place spectacular and if I bore you with my redundancy, I do apologize but life here is something special. People here keep their existences simple and they make their interactions meaningful and genuine. Whatever pictures I take away from Southeast will not come close to doing justice to the true beauty which goes far beyond that which is visual.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 5, 2001
Time (GMT): 14:25 (6:26 AM Local)
Position of TENURED: 57:49.9 134:59.7 (Freshwater Bay on the Island of Chicagof)
Today's Destination: Hoonah, Chicagof, Island
NOTE TO JASON: Thanks for trying.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE CREW:
On the subject of men in Alaska: Susan says "The odds are good but the goods are odd."
On the subject of life in general: Cici Says "If you don't get off the wooden walkway, you won't find the best berries..."
REVISTING THE HOTSPRINGS IN BARANOF:
On the subject of crew nakedness in the hot springs, at least one crew member returned to the springs to go sans fabrics. One could say they were "bare enough in Baranof..." This gives us a 50/50 ratio of naked to suit wearers.
Yesterday we headed out from the hot springs around 11AM. It was difficult to leave such incredible beauty but with Glacier bay over 100 miles away, we knew we must leave. Fog hung very low on the water but kindly lifted as we pulled away from the float. Our original destination was Angoon (Admiralty Island on the east side of Chatham Strait) but was abandoned when we could not raise the harbormaster on the radio. (Also, one of our cruising guides reports that Angoon does not have dockage for transients.) We headed north in the Chatham Strait, crossing back to the west toward Chicagof Island with either Tenekee or Freshwater Bay as our destination. Both were far off and we knew it was going to be a long day. (Our attempts at sailing were somewhat thwarted by the lack of wind.) Although Tenekee springs sounded most interesting, it was 9 miles into a bay --- 9 miles which we would have to backtrack on our way to our next destination. (Given our schedule and the lateness in the day we opted for an anchorage right at the entrance of Freshwater Bay -- a choice that proved quite fortuitous.) At 7 PM we set anchor in Wachusett Cove, an anchorage open to the East and facing the waters of Chatham Strait.
Although the day was long and a bit tiring, it was punctuated by a few of the kinds of highlights inevitable to cruising these waters.
While we have seen many whales (yawn, there is another humpback), we were overwhelmed by the sight of a while breaching (twice) off of Angoon. To see such a giant animal launch itself out of the water is a sight beyond verbal description. (The national geographic does not do it justice.)
Along the way, Scott banged his head for the third time while exiting the companionway. We as a crew decided that he must wear protective headgear (aptly labeled the Klutz hat) for a two hour training period. (He shed the hat at the earliest opportunity.)
As we continued our trip up the channel, we saw an incredible double rainbow off to the Southeast. In all this beauty, even rainbows are still noteworthy.
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHT was still to come. When we arrived at the anchorage, although beautiful by most standards, I commented that it seemed somewhat bland for Alaska. That of course was until we had our first bear sighting. (Thank God it was not another large bare ass... This time the BEAR ASS that we saw was actually attached to a Bear.) Ultimately we saw three bears running along the beach just a few hundred yards away from where we set anchor. (I thought that it would make a great photo to set a crew member rubbed with jelly on shore but no volunteers were found.)
Dinner was prepared by Susan and was an excellent Veggie Chili. We dined after happy hour and before watching the movie, Captain Ron. Scott continued his anti-bear attack night watches and all slept soundly.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 6, 2001
Time (GMT): 15:53 (7:54 Local)
Position of TENURED: Hoonah, AK (58:06.8, 135:27.2)
Today's Destination: We are not moving today
Total Miles Traveled Since Leaving Sitka: 174 miles
Sitka to Annie's Arm: 34 miles
Annie's Arm to Baranof: 53 miles
Wachusett Cove to Hoonah: 39 miles
(Engine 789.2 hours at Hoonah -- 30.5 hours run)
We arrived in the beautiful town of Hoonah around 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Our only reason for being here is to wait for our permit at Glacier bay which is across the Icy Strait at a distance of about 24 miles. Hoonah is like a bit of West Virginia in Alaska. I wanted to joke that I was impressed how much a town could do operating on only a single strand of DNA but to be fair I think there may be two strands here. It is a fishing town that had its start as a Tlinget Indian Village which has now come to be made up of sadly tired buildings and a strange desire to attract tourism. If there is something to do here, I cannot find it. The pleasant walk through town takes about 15 minutes. There are three small restaurants, a liquor store, a bar or two, an auto parts store, a hardware store and a post office. It is quaint for its rustic nature but if it has beauty it comes more from its drab appearance contrasted against the incredible scenery than from anything else. The other contrast that I note is that the people here are not like the folks from Sitka. They are pleasant, sometimes even talkative but the warmth and the overwhelming happiness seems less.
I do want to note that the weather has been spectacular. Yesterday was 70 degrees and we even got to see Susan in a bathing suit on deck. She has shown pride in the fact that she is continuing to wear her flip flops --- something she wants reported in the log to her friends.
Me, I am a bit tired and I need a vacation from the rigors of cruising. It is my hope that once we hit Glacier Bay, I can slow the boat down to a pleasant meander through all this beauty. Days of running between 6 to 10 hours each through waters requiring constant navigational attention are taking their toll on me. Still, I am never to far from noticing all of the beauty around me and from being aware that there is no better way to see Alaska than from the deck of a small boat.
I hope to mail off some digital photos to Dagley today so we can share a bit of what we see and as always I want to say thanks to all of you who have been constant support and silent companions to our adventure.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 7, 2001
Time (GMT): 19:07 (11:09 AM Local)
Position of TENURED: N58:30.9 W136:05.5 Glacier Bay, AK
Today's Destination: Shag Cove at Geike Inlet (Pronounced Geeky -- An inlet known for having a high population of wild engineers.)
NOTE: It is pretty darn cold out today.
Special Thanks to Rachel at Tideland Tackle and Marine for helping Cici become the fisherman she was meant to be.
ALASKA FACT: Alaska has over 3000 homes with no indoor plumbing. This is down from 29000 a few years back. My congratulations to the toilet lobby of Anchorage.
Quotes From BEAR FACTS, A guide for what to do when one encounters one of Alaska’s Brown (Grizzly) or Black Bears:
1. "Identify Yourself" (NOTE: The crew has been practicing appropriate greetings for when we meet bears. I am going with, "Hello, I am Mike, eat Cici she is more tender." Scott plans to identify himself as top of the food chain.)
2. "Don't Run" (NOTE: I know that upon meeting an 1100 pound grizzly, I intend to stand still and not run... My plan is not to outrun the grizzly, only the people I am hiking with.)
3. "IF ATTACKED -- If a bear actually makes contact, surrender!" (Yeah Right. I just happen to have a white flag.) "Fall to the ground and play dead. Lie flat on your stomach or curl up in a ball with your hands behind your neck. Typically (typically?), a bear will break off its attack once it feels the threat has been eliminated." (I am glad to know that while not playing dead, I am a threat to an 1100 pound carnivore.) "Remain motionless for as long as possible." (That won't be a problem.) Now, here is the good part --- "In RARE instances, an attacking bear may perceive a person as food. If the bear continues biting you LONG after you assume a defensive posture, it is likely a predatory attack. Fight back vigorously!" (Fight back with what, the arm that the bear has not already eaten?.)
Someone with a great sense of humor obviously wrote this just for the grain fed Midwesterners...
I would like to retract my commentary on Hoonah being a two DNA strand town. Yesterday, the locals were far less standoffish and even went out of their way to help us. Still, it is a strange place populated with an odd mix of people (all 800 of them). This of course leads to the age old legal question of whether a couple married in Hoonah who then move to the big city of Sitka are still considered brother and sister? (Does Mississippi law apply in Hoonah?)
I have been trying to avoid analogies to the show "Northern Exposure" but that would be darn near impossible when describing Hoonah. It is a town of characters. People off in the far ends of the human behavioral bell curve --- but then again, how could it not be? Who else would choose to live in a small town with almost nothing to offer but a limited income from fishing and a lot of cold weather? Still, like all else out here both the place and the people have a charm that can't be denied. Try as I might, I just can't get away from liking the people (no matter how much they might be welcome in the employ of a circus).
FOR MORE ON HOONAH: ci.hoonah.ak.us (NOTE: set your computer to 1950 and hand crank slowly.)
Last night we had drinks with some other cruisers wandering the Southeast. There was Julie and Steve, a couple on a 40 foot boat doing a circumnavigation and who have been out wandering for two years. (They started on the Island of Jersey -- although I think they were lying since they could not identify what turnpike exit... and they had an accent that sounded a bit 1640 Connecticut.) There was also Dennis, who with his dog is out exploring for three years aboard his Nordic Tug "Mama Toot."
Today we entered Glacier bay (after leaving Hoonah at first light (4AM.) After checking in and watching the "don't tease the whales video" we are now underway with our first destination to be Geike (Geeky) inlet. I hope to report tomorrow on our first sightings of wild glaciers.
POSITION REPORT --- TEAM ALASKA
Date: August 8, 2001
Time (GMT): 0:38 (Local 4:39 pm)
Today's Destination: Reid Glacier
NOTE: Today's log will be sent tomorrow since the captain has been partying with the crew since arriving at the anchorage in front of Reid Glacier. (Special Thanks to John and Lynette for their rum punch which goes exceptionally well when cooled by glacial ice.) Peace and Love from the crew of Tenured! By the way, we have seen some really incredibly stuff even before we started partying.
NOTE: Susan says: Congratulations to the captain and crew of Miss Ali on their first place in the San Diego Wednesday Night Beer Can Series. She is having plenty of Rum Punch right now in your honor. A great skipper, a great team and it is fun to moon passing cruise ships in your honor!
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 9, 2001
TIME (GMT): 15:43 (7:43 local)
Position: Reid Glacier N58:51.7 W136:49.0
NOTE: Our main computer failed so we have lost all old email and the boat's log. I would like to ask anyone interested to save the log daily so we can have a copy on our return to civilization. I will continue the daily log so long as this computer continues to work.
NOTE: Also, please assist Dagley by including your name and email address in the body of your email.
A belated happy anniversary to my parents Helen and Gerald
Today the Crew of Tenured sends all their, energy, love, concern, and prayers to a dear friend in need.
We have finally reached our destination of Reid Glacier (the reason for the trip) and yes, I have now watched a glacier calve and yes, we have had drinks (perhaps a few too many) cooled with glacial ice. Yesterday we arrived and set anchor around 1:30 in the afternoon. It was truly the perfect afternoon and an absolute anomaly for Glacier Bay. It was warm and clear and sunny. Actually, it was hot enough to wear bathing suits on deck -- so we had a beach party complete with John and Lynette's famous Rum Punch and Scott's signature martinis. (We thank Joan for including the nutmeg so necessary to do the punch correctly.) Scott and I, demonstrating utter insanity, did take a dip in the freezing glacial waters surrounding the boat. (One could stay in for about 30 seconds before needing to warm in the sun on deck.)
A note on getting glacial ice for drinks: One must pick their iceberg carefully. The 9/10 below the water rule is not a myth. Actually, while I was able to rope a big chunk, it did not tow well so we had to abandon it for a piece that we could drag into the dinghy.
The sights here are so spectacular. The glacier is about 1/2 mile forward from where we are anchored and the water from it has an odd green color made milky by silt. It is a picture postcard.
Before I move on to the events of the evening let me back up to the day before yesterday for which there was no log. The night before last we anchored in Shag Cove of the Geike inlet as I had anticipated in the morning log two days ago. The anchorage was surrounded on all sides (except the entrance) by towering mountains. Waterfalls cascaded down from high above and a stream fed into the cove. We watched a bald eagle fishing for salmon and if that was all the beauty, we would have been satiated but as seems the rule here, there is always more. A black bear wandered from the woods and began fishing the stream. We watched as this fellow (an apparent swimmer in the shallow end of the bear genetic pool) tried desperately to catch something. Finally as if to foil natural selection, a Salmon flopped from the river and landed helplessly on the rocks behind the bear. Still, Yogi did not have the sense to look over his shoulder. We were cheering and yelling "behind you" and then it happened that dumb old bear found the near dead salmon on the rock and wandered off into the woods with his catch, probably to lie to the other bears about how hard he worked to catch it.
Speaking of fishing, we are not doing too well. We have tried crabbing with no great luck. Apparently, we just don't know the right speed to tow the trap... We did catch a tiny halibut in the trap but nothing else.
Back to yesterday. While still lounging in our suits, we noticed some kayakers (Monique and Dave)out in the inlet in their arctic wear. I hopped in the dinghy and while taunting them with my summer attire, invited them for drinks and dinner. Then, we were hailed on the radio by the Ranger's boat who was patrolling the cove. Being the good host, I invited the ranger over. (The rangers, Lena and Judith visited for sometime and drank only coke.) Then a group of kayakers (Charlie, Tom, and Phil), seeing the growing party Kayaked over and they were willing to drink beer. Finally, Murray a kayaker being filmed for a History Channel documentary and John, an ex-ranger turned Wilderness guide, came over and joined what was now a substantial party in front of the Reid glacier. Dinner, drinks, good stories and lots of fun were had by all. Anyone who has doubted my abilities to throw a party in the middle of nowhere and get people to come and have fun can now set that doubt aside.
There is probably more to write but it will have to wait as we have much important glacial hiking to do today.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 10, 2001
TIME (GMT): 14:38 (6:41 AM Local)
Position: Reid Glacier Anchorage
Destination: Grand Pacific Glacier, Margerie Glacier via Tarr Inlet and then either back to Reid or Blue Mouse Cove for overnight anchorage.
Hello to Jay and Paulla: Cici will be bringing your flip flops home but only after the scorpion flies east on the first wind.
NOTE to Sandie and Pat: All is go for meeting on Monday at Barlett Cove.
Reid is listed as one of the most popular anchorages in the park. We are virtually alone out here. It is just us, the occasional passing boat, and a few Kayakers.
NOTE: I observed the Kayaker's setting up camp on shore by one of the many streams. Thinking of Yogi fishing for salmon the other night, I came to realize that a TENT IS NOTHING BUT A BIG FOOD STORAGE BAG FOR THE LOCAL BEARS...
Susan wants me to note that for those in civilization, the concept of getting nine people together in one place for a party is almost as difficult as finding a square mile where you can be alone in downtown San Diego.
Yesterday was just another perfect day in Alaska. It was as sunny and clear AS ALWAYS. I awoke to find the crew on deck watching a Minke whale playing in the inlet in front of the glacier. The whale was our neighbor for most of the day. (NOTE: We have finally gotten fairly good at identifying whales. We now realize that we have seen Humpbacks and Minkes but no Orcas. We have also seen Dolls Porpoises which are colored similar to Orcas.)
We started our day with a hike up Reid Glacier. It was low tide so we were able to visit the mud flats in front of the glacier. Giant chunks of ice, compressed so much that they were deep blue, were everywhere. The glacier, formidable a 1/2 mile out at our anchorage, towered hundreds of feet above us. What a rush. We then skirted the glacier and scrambled up the rocks along the glacier's edge. No matter where you stopped to look back, each view was more incredible than the last.
Cici and Scott hiked the beach while Susan and I moved the dinghy back to the boat. Our plan for a picnic lunch was upended however when winds topping 20 knots started whipping off the glacier. The anchor held but for a while, it looked as though we might have to abandon the anchorage. In short chop, I dinghied to shore to pick up Scott and Cici. The winds died and all became flat calm again for the rest of the day and night.
Later, Susan and I went into shore to visit the remnants of an old miner's cabin. We also visited a stream, packed with Salmon all trying their stupidest to head upstream. (Talk about type A and driven.) Who ever invented salmon must have had one heck of a sense of humor. What must they be thinking when they decide to batter themselves against rocks on a torturous swim up a river only so they can die? (Of course, it is probably no different than going to the mall the day after Christmas.)
Anyway, there is much more to do and much more to explore. Today we visit a few more glaciers in the hope of seeing more active calving.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 11, 2001
TIME (GMT): 15:45 (7:45 Local)
Position: Blue Mouse Cove, Glacier Bay N58:46.7 W136:28.9
Miles Traveled Recently:
Hoonah to Bartlett Cove: 30 miles
Bartlett Cove to Shag Cove: 24 Miles
Shag Cove to Reid Glacier: 22 Miles
Reid Glacier to Grand Pacific Glacier: 14 Miles
Grand Pacific Glacier to Blue Mouse Cove: 24 Miles
Total: 114 Miles since leaving Hoonah
Imagine the fulfillment of a dream that you have held for many years. Yesterday will live forever in my world as such a day. We left Reid Anchorage and to the lilting peaceful tunes of Enya glided North through the glassy waters of Tarr Inlet to where the Grand Pacific and Margerie glaciers meet the sea. We carefully navigated among the icebergs drifting toward the ocean and pushed through the bits of bergy (each making an interesting banging reverberation noise as they bounced off the hull). We arrived at Latitude 59:02 North (the northernmost point of this adventure.) We sat less than one half mile off of the Margerie glacier and for quite some time watched the magnificence of this giant glacier as it shed its outermost skin into the sea. (I missed the best single instance of calving while taking a shower.) Giant chunks of ice fell into the sea and cast forward incredible waves (quickly damped by the depth of the channel) and yet, it all seemed somehow effortless.
As a cruise ship sat about 1 mile away, we appreciated our own personal solitude as we watched 1000s of tourists vying for deck space to view what I think can only be savored properly in a much more private world than that afforded on a floating city filled with well fed strangers.
Susan and I celebrated the day by donning bathing suits and dancing on deck (hopefully to the amusement of those on the cruise ship.) NOTE: Bob Marley is perfect calving music. Perhaps one of us even mooned the cruise ship as it left the passage but I shall to protect myself not say who...
What an incredible experience to be as far north as I have ever been and to be there in my own home, soaking in the warm sun (even though the day remained cool) and to be listening to great music, sharing one of natures most awesome experiences with great friends. "WOW" probably does not do it justice. (NOTE: We were at the latitude of the Bering Sea, the Middle of Hudson Bay, Sweden, and North of Great Britain.)
On the way to our anchorage for the evening, we were again reminded that the best may still be in front of us when we watched a charging grizzly bear on the shore. (A very scary sight at any distance.) There were Kayakers nearby but we think he was after food and oblivious to all of them but the one he ate. (Just kidding, he ate them all...)
The crew has requested that I share some of their thoughts and observations about this voyage -- things that we all agree describe the magnificence through the simplicity of our daily lives:
Cici shares how incredible it is to wake up to the sound of a whale blowing next to the boat (Reid Inlet).
All on board have taken to looking at icebergs like clouds. Each seems to have an image frozen in time. We have seen ones that we labeled "The Swan", "The Brooklyn Bridge", "The Canoe", "The Sea Otter" and so many more.
Susan and I came upon a baby Bald Eagle (all 50 pounds of it) just as it took flight from its nest while we were hiking the other day. (So many other things had occurred that I forgot to mention it in the log.)
Everyone wants me to mention what we have come to call our "rustically warm showers" aboard. No one stays in too long so we conserve water.
Finally, the food. We eat well out here. The other night we had a Steak and Salmon BBQ. (Can you believe that there is so much salmon that people keep giving it to us as gifts?) We also have lots of comfort food made wonderful by the location and the backdrop of Alaska. Even our lunchtime meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup on deck was among the best I have eaten.
LAST NOTE: Still, the movie "See you in the morning" with Farrah Fawcett and a homely youthful Drew Barrymore could not be improved by Alaska. I would rather be covered with Jam and chained in the middle of a salmon stream than watch it again...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 12, 2001
TIME (GMT): 15:20 (7:20 local)
Position: North Sandy Cove, Glacier Bay N58:43.1 W135:59.0
Thanks to everyone for their continued email. The crew and I still enjoy hearing from friends and family, so please continue to write when you find time. Just remember: KEEP EMAIL BRIEF AND INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE BODY OF YOUR EMAIL. Thanks.
Just another day in Alaska. Yawn!
We moved the boat the 17 miles from Blue Mouse to No. Sandy, a cove which has picture post card vistas that exceed even my grandiose efforts at overstated verbiage. On one side, mountains with snow covered peaks tower into the clouds and a salmon stream empties into the anchorage. Towering green forests climb skyward only to end in granite cliffs that continue to rise to the snow line.
Perhaps the highlight of the day beyond all else was that Cici finally caught a Dungeness crab. She estimates it cost roughly $60. (A little more if you include the cost of getting a boat to Alaska.) It was delicious and no one seemed to have contracted PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning), a slightly deadly disease that comes from high concentrations of algae based toxins found in the viscera of shellfish. (Good thing that we had only one crab and that we didn't have enough to make a big bowl of viscera soup...)
Oh yeah, we saw a grizzly on shore and later Susan and I saw a black bear while Kayaking to a local island. (We chose to kayak to the next island over, the one without a bear.) Sure, next to the crab it sounds like nothing but we also saw our very first wolves on shore. Scott and Cici got in close to get some photographs but the wolves seemed disinterested. Next time perhaps if we put Wolf Chow in Cici's pockets... I almost forgot, there were Harbor Porpoises (small dolphins that grow to less than 6 feet) playing around the boat for large parts of the day. It is playing like nature bingo out here. Everyday, you get to check off one creature on your bingo card. Once we catch a Salmon and see a moose, we can finally go home...
Dinner aboard consisted of crab appetizer (did I mention that it was the PSP free crab that Cici caught?) and chicken and pasta. The movie was Mutiny on the Bounty (again) and if a day could be described as perfect, it was certainly yesterday.
Today, we head to the park headquarters at Bartlett Cove.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 14 (and 13th), 2001
TIME (GMT): 5:50 pm Local
Position: Swanson Bay Anchorage (N58:12.7 W135:06.5)
NOTE: We bid goodbye to Cici and Scott, both of whom did a great job as crew and we welcome Sandie and Pat who will be aboard through Ketchikan.
Hello to Ranger Pauline (from the great state of Tennessee, accent and all. Our conversation about places both our relatives have lived and visited was one of the highlights of the trip.)
This morning we left Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay after a two day stay. Although I have been to many parks, this visit may be among the best. I have already reported on the sights and the scenery and discussed meeting some of the rangers, so before I move on, I will conclude by noting that for a few shining instances, the Glacier Bay Lodge was one heck of a happening venue. OK, perhaps, maybe I went over the top when I took to hugging "Nametag People" -- you know, those who are in tour groups and wearing nametags and are generally from the Midwest, and perhaps we got a little too raucous after seven hours on their deck but how could one conclude such a perfect visit without celebration? Of course, we caught up with our newest best friends, Dave and Monique and they helped us to party until after Alaskan sunset...
Yesterday, all on board agreed that a quiet day was a very good idea. However, upon bringing in the crab trap, we had our legal limit of crabs and we celebrated with an incredible Dungeness crab-fest breakfast. Then Cici and Scott (who had not been in a car for close to 40 days) headed off to catch their flight in Gustavus and Susan and I took a hike up the Bartlett River. We were then joined by Pat and Sandie who had spent the day on a boat touring the Glaciers. (More efficient than our trip -- they completed our six day adventure in 8 hours.)
Today we covered the 40 miles to Swanson Harbor. Along the way, we had crab omelets with Glacier Bay Dungeness crab cooked by chef Pat. (They were amazing.) Perhaps the highlight of the day was when we got to watch a semi-psycho grain-fed marine mammal (whale) breach repeatedly. (To answer the question of one who shall remain anonymous -- breaching has nothing to do with giving birth...)
We are now tied to a "dock to nowhere" in a pleasant little anchorage. Tomorrow, we head to Auke bay outside Juneau to reprovision.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 15, 2001
TIME (GMT): 8:12 pm Local
Position: N58:22.8 W134:38.9 Auke Bay, Juneau, AK
NOTE: We bid goodbye to Susan who we sold to Steve and Natalie on the vessel Ambiance for the paltry sum of four halibut cheeks. (This is not a joke.) If she is not back in San Diego soon, call the police... Susan will be missed or at least her abilities to hunt and gather seafood will be missed.
NOTE: My apologies to Larry Morris for making fun of circus people.
NOTE: Best Alaskan Beer -- Kodiak Nut Brown Beer from the Midnight Sun Brewing Company (www.wildales.com)
NOTE REGARDING FISHING: We have learned that the best way to catch fish is to beg. If you teach me to fish then I might have to eat fish for life but if you give me fish then I only need to worry about eating it until the novelty wears off.
NOW THE LOG:
The community of Auke Bay is an eclectic mix of caricatures. Upon arriving I was immediately turned off to this place. After weeks in the wild, the idea of touring the big city (Juneau, capitol of Alaska, has a population of 33000) was not all that appealing. Auke Bay is an outlying community with a stunning view of the Mendenhall glacier. (NOTE: once you have seen one glacier, the rest all look alike --- same goes for whales, bears, towering mountains and bald eagles. We can only hope to see an alien riding a moose if we are to find any excitement at all in the rest of this trip. ) To top it all off, we arrived to a virtual seaborne traffic jam as this week is the beginning of the Salmon Festival. (They actually sacrifice someone from the lower 48 during the pagan salmon ritual dance.)
As always, first impressions are somewhat deceiving. To start out with, we met Steve and Natalie who keep their boat in Auke Bay. They are certainly among the kindest people I have ever given a crew member to. Then there was Ellen in the harbor master's office who gave up her lunch 1/2 hour to drive us to get propane. Yup, this place is like the rest of Alaska. The people here are so nice, it scares one like myself who responds to niceness by covering his wallet. (Did I mention that last night our neighbors on the "dock to nowhere" gave us fish and crabs which they cleaned and prepared before sharing. This place is amazing. I had nothing to give them but Susan.)
I was in the post office having one of those deep and lengthy conversations with everyone in line as well as the postal clerk (who seemed un-medicated, unarmed, and happy) when the topic turned to the weather and how much it is bothering everyone. They are having what will this Saturday be the longest run of sunshine in August in recorded history. (Of course they only started writing anything down here in the early 1990s.) Twelve days of sunshine without rain and everyone is ready to kill the weatherman. It seems that everyone was afraid that someone might actually get a tan... No one owns summer clothes and it is fun to watch the locals deal with the warm weather. They roll up their pants legs and roll down their knee high boots. Yes, I do love it here.
By the way, we are getting sick of eating fresh crab. We have now it everyday for the last three days. I wish someone would give us a fresh caught steak...
That is all from Alaska. A few more weeks up here and I will start to look like a Brit (high and my apologies to David.)
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 17, 2001
TIME (GMT): 14:32 (6:34 AM Local)
Position: Auke Bay (Juneau)
Today's Destination: Taku Bay
NOTE: Hello to Blanche, Sandie's mom. Blanche is concerned that Sandie is not getting mentioned enough in the log so here in the first few lines, I decided to mention Sandie and Blanche three times.
Yesterday had all the culture shock of being raised by wolves and then being let loose in a polar bear cage.
Our first stop -- we rode the city bus (where we enjoyed a friendly talk with Moses, the bus driver) to Mendenhall Glacier. For all the glacier's incredible beauty, for me, it had all the appeal of being dipped in ice water. Three cruise ships were in town and 6000 tourists were converging on this landmark. I don't begrudge anyone anything for not having the honor of seeing Alaska as I have but, it was just too much. Literally, dozens of buses and thousands of people all trying to take the same picture. No, these were not the grain-fed faceless Midwesterners of whom I like to joke. (Although, they did seem well fed and many did seem to come from the Midwest and well, also New York...) These were Mom and Pop and Grandma and Grandpa and they were all seeing the natural beauty of Alaska, the best way they could. I still couldn't take it.
I then hit the bus and headed downtown. (I thought that I could take an urban setting full of tourists.) Downtown Juneau is cute but it is there mostly to amuse the residents of the many cruise ships that visit. It is San Diego's Seaport Village done up to look Alaskan. The highlight of my stop was a visit to a cyber cafe (Great NETspectations who gave me a discount for mentioning them here), where I had an email from a stranger (Don Long) who had taken some incredible photographs of my boat in front of the Margerie Glacier. (NOTE: The pics are on the web and I have asked Dagley to capture them so they can be displayed on our site.)
Back to Auke bay, which now seemed quite quaint. The place was getting quite manic and boats were tied two and three deep in anticipation of the start of the Salmon Derby. (There is a tagged Salmon worth 100,000 dollars to some lucky fisherman.) Personally, we need to leave before they crown the Salmon Queen and this place really gets weird. Anyway, no day is complete without a personal story so here is yesterdays --- I met two fisherman, who were just drifting by admiring the Tenured, so I invited them to raftup for a beer (Alaskan Pale Ale) or two. Chris Fredell and "Salty Joe" Sibbett taught me the secrets of Salmon fishing and crab catching but they made me swear the fisherman's secret oath not to tell. Apparently, there is a way to do this without offering beer, selling off crew, or begging... Of course, they then gave me a few crabs -- cleaned and ready to cook -- and off they went with dreams of catching the winning fish. Best of luck to my new best friends, Chris and Salty Joe.
Hopefully, the next log will be from someplace where the tourists are little more than blurry dots through the binoculars.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 18, 2001
TIME (GMT): 14:41 (6:43 AM Local)
Position: Taku Harbor, AK N58:04.1 W134:00.7
Destination: Tracy Arm
NOTE: Welcome home Dagley. We hope your diving in Belize was exceptional.
We left Auke Bay right at the start of the Salmon Derby competition. Literally dozen's of boats shot by us, all hoping to catch the 100,000 dollar Salmon. Once in Stephen's Passage, we had to thread our way through all of the boats slowly trolling for the award winning catch. Much to our surprise, we saw Steve and Natalie aboard Ambiance and there was our long lost crew member, Susan. (I guess she prefers Salmon fishing to cruising.) We wished them well and headed south down the Stephen's strait.
Right at the intersections of the Gastineau Channel, the Taku Inlet, and Stephen's Passage, we found ourselves among a sea of sticks and logs. Sandie stood log watch on the bow and Pat and I took turns navigating and driving. Once clear of the debris, we headed around Pt. Arden and then east of Grand Island before being navigated into the safety of Taku Harbor by Sandie. We tied to the public float, hiked to the remains of the old cannery, shared stories with some fellow cruisers, and had a dinner of fresh crab. We then set the crab trap (which came up empty this morning).
Today it is off to the anchorage at the entrance to Tracy Arm.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 19, 2001 Part I
TIME (GMT): 18:39 (10:42 AM Local)
Position: Sawyer Glacier - Tracy Arm N57:52.9 W133:11.6
The vessel tenured is happily adrift in front of the North Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm Alaska. We have retrieved a 100 pound chunk of glacial ice for drinks and will be having hot chocolate before leaving the arm. Crew is well. Detailed report to follow this evening.
Mike of Alaska
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 19, 2001 Part II
TIME (GMT):2:24 pm Local
Position: Tracy Arm Cove N57:48.5 W133:37.8
Titanic 1, Tenured 0 (And that is a good thing)
This morning we set out on an errand. The goal was to get ice for our drinks. Seven hours later, we are happily anchored back at Tracy Arm Cove with enough glacial ice on board to last at least another 7 hours.
In fact, the trip up Tracy Arm was quite spectacular but very tiring. Tracy Arm is a 20 mile fjord that has walls towering thousands of feet on both sides. The guides warn that in the fjord, both your radio and GPS are likely not to work. It is absolute isolation (except the three baby cruise ships and numerous other cruisers that passed us coming and going.) NOTE that I sent the first part of this log from the far end of the fjord. The tiring part is avoiding the icebergs along the way. Many of the bergs were significantly larger than my boat and seemed to know little about the rules for right-of-way. At the head (or is that foot or perhaps fingers) of the arm are two active glaciers. (Neither erupted while we were there so we took our ice and left.)
We have now returned to the same anchorage where we spent last night. It seems somehow wrong to motor all day to get nowhere. (I guess we can enjoy the ice anyway.) Last night we saw a black bear on the shore and we are hoping he returns tonight. (We intend to offer him some ice in exchange for Salmon. In fact, our fishing continues to go poorly. Yesterday, Pat and I trolled for some time only to catch nothing. This morning the crab trap was empty. We are forced to rely on the kindness of strangers and perhaps even passing bears.)
That is all from here. I will write more when I have time to make up some new stuff.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 20, 2001
TIME (GMT): 21:51 1:53 PM Local
Position: N57:24.7 W133:26.3 Hobart Bay, Entrance Island Float
TODAY we send our prayers and wishes to Illya's dad. Get well soon.
Some days you should just stay anchored.
We checked our trap this morning only to find an ugly fish so we threw it back. Then we pulled anchor and left Tracy Arm Cove for the Stephens Inlet. On the way out, we passed over some shallows with the safe channel marked by range markers and a red and green buoy. I knew it would be interesting when I noted that that red buoy kept being dragged below the surface by the current. The current through the opening sucked us along at about 5 knots before spinning us left and right in an area marked rather unassumingly on the charts as "swirls." (If anyone asks, the Tenured is now capable of speeds in excess of 12 knots.)
Our plan was to head south to Fanshaw anchorage but this plan was quickly ended by the small craft warnings. (No one bothered to mention them to me. Out here, the coast guard keeps the weather a secret. In many coves the weather radio does not work.) I radioed the coast guard and inquired whether there was a safe anchorage nearby but was pleased to learn that they keep the safe anchorages a secret also. They said they would rescue me if needed but were unwilling to advise me as to what to do so I might avoid the need to be rescued. I do so love authority. We ultimately found a state dock in a quaint little cove, only feet away from a cabin owned by the individual after whom the characters in "Deliverance" were probably modeled. We have decided to stay here until we either catch a crab or the weather improves. I doubt we will leave before next April...
Back to yesterday.
The highlight of the evening (other than pasta seasoned with "potted meat food product") was watching a snooty rich person anchor. This little megayacht with its four or five paid crew sent is tender into the anchorage to survey the bottom. (I guess the rich don't use charts.) We heard them on the radio discussing "tearing out" a crab trap in their way. The crab trap belonged to a "little" 55 foot sport fisher already happily at anchor We then were treated to over an hour of watching "Laurel and Hardy go Sailing" as they maneuvered this boat about while ordering the tender to take depth readings before finally attempting twice to anchor. It gave me hope for apparently even dumb people can become rich... (Note: We have also watched smart rich people anchor without putting on a show.)
For now, I am happily tied to a dock and the world is good.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 21, 2001
TIME (GMT): 16:37 (8:37 Local)
Position: The confluence of Stephens Passage and Frederick Sound South of Cape Fanshaw (N57:10.5 W133:36.1)
A NOTE ABOUT LOGISTICS: For many armchair nauticians, understanding the logistics of this adventure might be a bit difficult so let me try to explain. We are sitting in Alaska as the weather window is about to slam shut on us. I am torn between enjoying the spectacular beauty and knowing that I must constantly move the boat south (averaging at least 30 miles per day) if I am to get to the safe waters of Washington before the weather turns treacherous or locks me in up here. (As an example, yesterday, we were forced to seek safe shelter as the weather quickly turned on us. We had traveled only 25 miles.) The experts advise that we should be south of Dixon Passage by September 1. (At the earliest, we will get there by September 5.) We should be in Washington by mid to late September. (We probably won't get there until almost October.) This is complicated by the fact that moving the boat more than 30-40 miles a day consistently exhausts both captain and crew. A mechanical breakdown could trap the Tenured up here for the winter. Add to that, safe ports (to take on or let off crew) can be as much as two to three days ahead of you (farther in British Columbia) and this trip becomes a logistically nightmarish problem that I am constantly tasked with solving. Thus far, all crew have graciously understood the problem and have gladly flexed to fit the logistic difficulties. To those who have refused, I say sit at home and follow this from your armchair. To one person who bluntly and very hurtfully let me know that they felt that I was selfishly refusing to accommodate them, I say, if time, boat speed, and available safe ports permitted, I would have happily done anything possible to accommodate you but frankly, my first priority is the safe operation of this boat and the safety of those already aboard. Demands to slow down or speed up or wait, all serve to compromise the safe operation of this vessel. I hope that explains it.
Yesterday, because of weather we ended up at another dock to nowhere to wait out the passing weather system. It proved to be one of the most quaint and tiny little pretty anchorages that I have visited. We all took the day to relax and hike the 100 foot length of the dock. (These docks, which are placed here by the state, are set off as islands probably to keep the bears away or to keep the boaters away from the bears... We were 50 feet from shore...no bear would swim that far.) I caught two slimy starfish in the crab trap but still no crabs. (They must know that I am a sailboater.) Pat baked a delicious pizza with potted meat food product sauce and Sandie baked cookies. It was nice to sleep soundly without worrying about dragging anchor.
Today we are heading for the port at Petersburg. It is a long run (10 hours) because of yesterdays weather problems. So far we have encountered rain and fog and floating logs but at least the seas have been good.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 22, 2001
TIME (GMT): 7:13 PM Local
Position: St. Johns Harbor, Sumner Strait, South Of Wrangell Narrows N56:26.4 W132:57.6
So many things to write today:
Yesterday on our way to Petersburg, we were joined in our travels by a large pod of Humpback Whales. It was amazing how these mammalian behemoths (not from the Midwest) encircled our boat and played and sounded as we watched and listened in incredible awe. I was so taken by the beauty of these animals that thoughts of eating one never even entered my mind.
After leaving the whales, we were forced to navigate around big logs and icebergs as we continued down the Stephens passage and then entered the Frederick Sound. You would think that in a world where one must pick up after their dog, there would be laws preventing people from leaving iceberg droppings everywhere.
Then off we went to Petersburg, a small town located about a mile down the Wrangell Narrows. We entered the narrows on a "flood" (rising) tide and were whipped down the channel at speeds in excess of 10 knots. Like exiting the interstate, we diverted away from the current into the Petersburg transient harbor. A few moments of terror and we were safely tied to the dock.
Petersburg is a fishing town (and it does smell like a fishing town) of Norwegian Heritage named after some guy named Peter. It is a quaint little place with friendly folk and a good Alaskan bar and a mediocre Mexican Restaurant and scary stuff from the canneries floating in the harbor. We walked the street, visited the traffic light, and toured the financial district which had two banks each with its own ATM machine. The place was no Hoonah but it did have a certain hip-wader wearing kind of charm.
This morning was highlighted by having coffee with new friends Jim and Sue off of "Heart of Gold" -- another sailboat cruising Southeast and originating in Hawaii. They are highly seasoned cruisers on their fourth trip through Southeast. They provided us with incredible insight and suggestions for the rest of the trip. (NOTE: We all also owe them a debt of gratitude as Jim is one of the individuals behind Sailmail, the email service that makes this log possible. In fact, all of my emails recently have been transmitted to a radio literally located in his garage before being sent on to Dagley.) We also met up with Mike and Linda from "Integrity", another cruising couple who we have been playing tag with since meeting them first in Honolulu, then Hanalei Bay, Sitka, Glacier Bay and now Petersburg.
We intended to stay longer but tide and timing dictated that we must head down the narrows today. Currents in excess of seven knots can run in the narrows so it is essential to time your exit from Petersburg just right on the flood so you will catch the ebb halfway down the narrows. The narrows are the main highway from north to south and we heard scary stories of the many heavy boats that run the passage at high speeds to maintain steerage. All went well mostly because of the excellent navigational and watch skills of crew Pat and Sandie. They safely brought the boat around over 60 navigational marks as well as numerous floating logs and even handled a sudden blinding thunderstorm before exiting the narrows into Sumner Strait. In heavy rain we crossed the strait and are now happily anchored in St. John Bay.
Tomorrow our destination is Wrangell.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 23, 2001
TIME (GMT): Written morning of the 24th
Position: Wrangell Harbor (N56:27.9 W132:22.9)
NOTE and THANKS: I realize that I have not been mentioning people by name who send emails but your emails are absolutely appreciated and I really do want to say how grateful crew and I are and also thanks. This would be a lonely voyage without all of your contact and support. (I only appreciate the nice emails which have been all but one.)
BYE TO SANDIE: After doing a superb job as crew, we said goodbye to Sandie last night. She caught the Alaskan State Ferry to Ketchikan. (We did not sell her off for food even though we are out of crab and low on fish.) Hello to Blanche.
NOTE TO FORMER CREW SUSAN: Thanks for the bear story. The crew is now sleeping up on the roof of the pilot house and refuse to come down. Glad you made it home safely.
Trapped in Wrangell -- The weather has turned and predicted gale force weather is blocking our path. We and fellow cruisers are all hunkering (Is that a word?) down where we are until this passes. (See you after the winter.) We expect "Heart of Gold" here today and have made new friends Kathy and Ross on 37 foot Pacific Seacraft "Pilgrim."
Wrangell is a small harbor with limited transient docking so boats are stacked two and three deep against the dock. (So far no one has tied next to me.) If you stay more than four days, the rest of the month is free but I think that then expect you to marry a local to freshen the gene pool. (Pat thinks this is a good thing.)
It dawned on me yesterday that I have spent a good chunk of my life savings and risked my house and my own being crossing the ocean twice so I could spend a month visiting northern versions of El Cajon. What I keep enjoying as local color here would be slums, rundown neighborhoods and old trailer parks at home. Of course, everyone has a great view.
Wrangell is a great town although the fine folk from Petersburg said it wouldn't be. (We have experienced the local ethnocentric competitiveness between these two towns located only one island apart.) I keep expecting to see locals on shore lobbing rocks across the water at each other. It really is funny how each side sees the other town as not worth visiting.
Someone needs to explain to me how each of these towns can support numerous taxis. A one block town with 2500 people, no traffic lights, and one stop sign cannot possibly need two taxi services. I have this theory that all vehicles have Taxi signs on top and the locals pick up a few extra bucks whenever any passing stranger needs a ride. (It legitimizes hitchhiking.) I won't even get started on trying to understand the need for three ice cream parlors in any town in Alaska but Wrangell has three and among them there are at least five flavors of ice cream. (I think that I will pass on the whale blubber float with sprinkles...)
We visited the petroglyphs next to the trailer court. (Is that where one goes when they have committed a trailer crime?) There was a beautiful overlook and a display pondering why the Indians created these rock scribblings. DUH! The answer is simple, this is nothing more than prehistoric graffiti. If only kids 10,000 years ago had more to do with their time... (Of course, I think that DaVinci's drawings were little more than the product of doodling while on the phone.)
That is all for now.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 25, 2001
TIME (GMT): 14:53 (6:55 AM Local)
Position: Still in Wrangell, AK
NOTE TO DAGLEY: The term "grain fed Midwesterner" is actually a term of endearment honoring the Midwesterner tradition of growing and eating grain. I cannot understand how anyone might think otherwise. (Besides if they read it fast, they don't even know they are being made fun of.) Yes, I know that it is a thin line between wit that is acerbic(sp) and acidic.
NOTE TO LARRY MORRIS: I am scared from my kneecaps on down. Send on those circus people.
NOTE TO MIKE THOMAS: I will be there right after we sail through central Texas.
And we sit!
"90% chance of rain turning to showers..." (What does that mean?)
The high winds and small craft warnings continue south of us so we continue our lives in Wrangell. Last night we had happy hour on Pilgrim with Kathy and Ross (who kept the box of wine flowing freely) and we were Joined by Jim and Sue of "Heart of Gold" who are now side-tied to my boat. (We are their fender and they are our breakwater...) Much like in my youth when my family camped and people got together around the campfire to share their adventures traveling about the country, we spent a few happy hours last night sharing cruising adventures only without the fire which is a good thing considering the amount of stuff that can burn on a boat. Jim and Sue are an incredibly interesting couple and they held us spellbound as they matter of factly shared the tale of their eight year circumnavigation (all done without benefit of a Moyle...) Try doing that in a motorhome. Ross and Kathy shared their adventures cruising the coast for many years (all done without benefit of sail.) I shared my adventures crossing an ocean with three power-boaters. Fun and an excellent fresh smoked salmon dip was had by all.
Invasion of the California Snatchers!
When I left San Diego, I wore shorts and no shoes and I was clean shaven. When I arrived in Alaska, I had sort of clean clothes and I noted how there was a common theme of beards (even on the men) and the dresscode consisted of stained pants and high boots. Well, yesterday the transformation was complete when I proudly purchased Black 16" rubber "Buffalo Boots" with "Lug Soles" (whatever the heck a lug sole is). Hell, I stood in front of the mirror and noted that my beard had gone out of control and that from all the work and not enough fresh water and too few clothes, my jeans had that sort of stand by themselves, permanent time to throw out look to them. As I strutted proudly about the docks in my new boots, I realized that I have gone Alaskan and I kind of like it...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 26, 2001
TIME (GMT): Does it really matter after a few days in Wrangell
Position: Wrangell Harbor (My new home)
BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES: Happy Birthday John McAvoy and Claude Martin
After just a few days in Wrangell you have the option of going crazy or starting to love the place. It is a very picturesque community with great vistas of the Sumner Strait and an easygoing lifestyle. There is not much to do but plenty of time to do it in. Unlike Petersburg, the economy here is showing signs of weakness. There is far less activity among the fishing boats and a few of the businesses in town are going out of business. Still, there are two large well stocked markets and two hardware stores, all seeming to do well. (We did note that produce prices here seemed unnaturally low and we could not figure out why.) Also unlike Petersburg, cruise ships are welcomed here and the economy likes the influx of tourism but from what we could see, only small ships stop by and the impact is not enough to ruin the place.
Places like Wrangell and Petersburg are insulated from (and have not fallen victim to) the homogenizing influence of evil giants such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and McDonalds. It is refreshing to visit a local hardware store and see items that were chosen specifically by the locals to fit the needs of the local community. It is plain old fun to visit a small family run department store that reflects the market philosophy of a local merchant. At to Burgers, I still prefer McDonalds but it is nice that even the local fare lacks the influence of demographic studies to determine what will sell best to the mass market of vacationers. The fact that corporate giants have turned their backs on places that are too small and isolated to generate adequate profit margins may make these communities in Alaska the last bastions(sp) of true Americana. Although I have lived in small communities, none have been that far from a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot and unfortunately all quickly were swept up in the purchasing power of large scale corporate decision making which leads to all homes having the same front door, style of locks, faucets, and almost all else.
As I write this, Heart of Gold has headed out and Pilgrim is soon to follow. Their plan to beat the winds to an anchorage about 30 miles from here. My plan is to stay tied to the dock and avoid the stress of a windy anchorage at night. Winds gusting beyond 50 knots are predicted later today but for now it is calm and gorgeous. We hope to catch up with them in just a few days in Ketchikan.
For now, it is just another lazy day in my new hometown of Wrangell.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 27, 2001
TIME (GMT): 16:06 (8:08 Local)
Position: Wrangell, Alaska
With predicted winds of 60 knots blowing in Clarence Strait (50 miles south) and winds gusting at our dock to 30 knots and a triple-header of low pressure systems moving through, the Tenured sits in Wrangell safely tied to the not-so-transient dock. This morning we discussed moving to Meyer’s Chuck, a safe harbor with another dock some 50 miles south of here at the entrance to Clarence Strait. The idea seems to have passed in part because the weather is so uncertain and in part because I am blocked in by the boat in front of me. At best, the weather south should subside a bit this afternoon only to rebuild as the next low moves through. Seas of 18 feet were predicted in the Dixon entrance and seas of 6 feet were predicted along the path to Meyer’s Chuck. (We need to cross the Dixon Entrance after leaving Ketchikan.) For now, I guess that I will stay tied to a dock until the weather becomes more friendly. It is still too early for the season to be over so I am hoping this is only an isolated storm system that will pass before opening up the passage south again. If not, I will become a winter resident of Alaska. (At least I have my Southwest Tennies --- my fine black rubber lug-soled boots.)
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 28, 2001
TIME (GMT): 4:49 PM Local
Alaska is like so much of the country in some ways. This morning I awoke to find another boat double-parked overlapping mine. As a matter of fact, boats were parked five deep at the dock. Our plan was to try to beat the next weather front by heading the 50 miles to the float at Meyer's Chuck so we awoke at 5:00 AM only to find ourselves nearly parked in. With some careful maneuvering and with Pat's incredible assistance, we managed to slip the boat out and then off we went.
Our intended path from Wrangell was down the Zimovia Strait, past Waronkofski Island, past Etolin Island, past Deer Island, into the Ernest Sound and then the Clarence Strait and finally into Meyer's Chuck. Small craft advisories were issued by the coast guard for Ernest Sound and Clarence Strait and big seas were expected. Not even so much as a breeze blew for the whole trip. If there was a wave, we missed it. (Some dolls dolphins played in our wake and made a few waves of their own.) It was one of the calmest days I have seen here in Alaska. Then it dawned on me... The Wrangell Chamber of Commerce had broadcast false weather reports in the name of the Coast Guard to keep us there long enough to spend some money in their depressed little town. I realize now that all the small communities in Southeast must do this so I have decided to ignore the false weather reports and head on forward as I choose. (They were reporting seas of 22 feet in the Dixon Entrance. I intend to ignore it as I am now sure that it must really be flat calm there...)
Well, we arrived safe and sound at the beautiful little community of Meyer's Chuck. (I have no idea what a Chuck is nor do I know why Meyer has one of his own but we are here and it is very pretty.) Within ten minutes of venturing out we met the one-room-gallery owner who we later learned is having a feud of some kind with the postmistress. (There are 20 homes here and the mail arrives once a week. The post office also sells handmade wooden bowls and has a pool table in it but I digress.) There was a one-room schoolhouse but it was closed when they got down to only four students. (Talk about being noticed when you play hooky.) Now, the postmistress gave us a tour of the town which has no roads and we were warned to watch the tide because some parts of the town are not accessible from others at high tide...but I digress again. The postmistress then invited us to her home for some homemade huckleberry raspberry wine which we drank before I sat down to write this. (Pat says, "It was kind of like ripple. It was good but it was like ripple....")
Because the town was so busy we had to side-tie to an boat aptly named "Blue Whale." We had Nick and his crew member Molly over for happy hour and swapped stories of our adventures. They had been out cruising since Easter and had been as far a Kodiak. (The closest that I have come to Kodiak is using one of their cameras...)
All-in-all, another great day in Southeast with just a few more fun adventures and stories to add to the many we already had. Even more important, we are safe and happy in the little haven of Meyer's Chuck where we intend to ride out the bad weather that is predicted for tonight and where we intend to spend tomorrow before going on to Ketchikan.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 30, 2001
TIME (GMT): 21:36 (1:36 PM Local)
Position: Ketchikan (North Bar Harbor, Dock 8, Slip 25
NOTE: A special hello and thanks to Scott Simpson who will be our Webmaster while Dagley is on board ship in the month of September.
REMINDER: Please remember to include your NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS in the BODY of any email that you send to TENURED.
More about Meyers Chuck -- Pat and I spent all day yesterday exploring the little community of Meyers Chuck. Meyers Chuck is a "must visit" in Alaska. Once a prosperous fishing village with a whopping 100 people some of whom were not related by blood or marriage (or both), it has now become the home to retirees and telecommuting executives who want good fishing and isolation from busy cities like Juneau and Ketchikan. We mailed some stuff from the post office (little more than a mail buoy) and bought some homemade wooden bowls. We then hiked the surrounding and quite spectacular rain forest before taking the dinghy and exploring the "Back Chuck" to where it meets a Salmon stream where the water was literally churning with thousands of Salmon all waiting their turn to batter themselves against rocks, mate, and then die. (Kind of like Saturday night outside the Naval Training Center. I am so glad that I am not a salmon.) Finally we returned "up-chuck" to the boat where we met some neighbors having mechanical distress with a Uniflite they were delivering to Seattle. (Big surprise, right?) After the loan of a hacksaw and the gift of a few bolts our new friends Chris and Christy brought over fresh King Salmon, smoked Black Cod (a real deep water delicacy) and Dungeness Crab. Needless to say, we had an incredible feast and the wine flowed like beer...
This morning we headed out into some pretty crappy Alaskan weather and made the thirty miles to Ketchikan, at points running against moderate seas and high winds, rain and low visibility. Pat, as always did a great job at the helm. After navigating the Tongass Narrows we arrived in the Bar Harbor Marina where the lure of electricity and hot showers was (and remains) quite overwhelming. Much like Salmon, we cruisers swim in the direction of fresh water. Right across the dock from us is "Pilgrim" and we hope to see some of our other friends as we wait out the next set of gales before heading south to Canada (and begin the international part of the adventure with all new crew.) For now we need to finish off all the potatoes and alcohol which we can't bring across the border...
Tomorrow, I will offer my assessment of the big city of Ketchikan (population 16000 and once known for having the largest red-light district west of the Mississippi.)
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: August 31, 2001
TIME (GMT): 16:32 (8:32 AM)
Position: Dock 8, Slip 25 Bar Harbor South
HELLO to Susan on WOODEN SHOE. I hope that we will soon have pictures of both Pat and Sandie to post on the web. It has been great hearing from you. Happy cruising.
Before I berate Ketchikan, let me tell two more Meyers Chuck stories, forgotten in yesterday's log.
1. While in Meyers Chuck, we learned that even in wooded paradise, vandalism has been a real and continuing problem. However, the problem in Meyers Chuck was neither gang related nor caused by rogue backwood youths (like the petroglyphs of Wrangell). In Meyers Chuck, it is caused by an 8 1/2 foot hungry grizzly (brown) bear who visits town after the salmon run ends. This little fellow apparently likes to break out all the windows in cabins and then tear off the door before raiding the kitchens while looking for food. Last year, he hit 11 of the 20 cabins causing varying degrees of damage. The state troopers unfortunately are not authorized to do anything until the bear becomes a REAL MENACE but don't seem to mind if the locals solve the problem. I suspect on my next visit to Meyers Chuck, we will see this fellow as a rug in the last cabin he vandalizes. (It is good to see citizens taking a personal interest in dealing with crime by adequately arming the local crime watch. Self-help is the Alaskan way.)
2. On our visit to the post office, the tide was rising. After only 15 minutes we found our path back to the boat blocked by about 6 inches of cold water. Pat had failed to wear boots (as I now am in the habit of doing.) Chivalry not being too dead, I gave Pat a piggy back ride across the narrow shallow strait while she held our packages. I bet we must have provided some amusement for those lucky enough to see the show.
ON TO KETCHIKAN:
Someone told me that Ketchikan is aptly placed at the bottom of Alaska and I think he was right.
I awoke this morning to the sound of a police siren and realized that Ketchikan is just another city. While there is the usual Alaskan quaintness and a McDonalds, it is not going to be a highlight on my tour. Even the people here seem to have city-like characteristics. They don't wear boots which makes me dis-like them right off. They are also as friendly as city types tend to be. People don't say hello when you pass them on the street and they make city person type eye contact -- little to none.
Add to that, that there were three cruise ships here (6000 tourists G.F.M.W.) and there is a thriving business in making the town look like you are really in Alaska so as to amuse those too lazy to really visit Alaska ...(breath in the middle of this run on sentence) and I have to give Ketchikan a rating of only one Halibut. Everything Alaskan seems to be stamped made in China making me wonder if there is such a shortage of stuff left in China that everything there is made in Alaska.
There is a lumberjack show by the cruise ship dock and we were told it was worth seeing so we decided to go until we were told that tickets were $29. (Actually we also realized that there was a hole in the fence so we saw the show for free.) Pat was rooting quite heavily for the "Pretty Lumberjack" on the American team (named Brian). I thought the Canadians had better boots. Nothing phallic at all about men rolling logs and climbing trees, hey!
Pat has said that since she struck out with fishermen, she will now turn her sights to lumberjacks. (Editorial note: We must all root for Pat in this most difficult quest since everyone knows how difficult it is to catch the attention of men who live in camps full of other men alone in the woods.)
Safely back at the boat we had happy hour with Mike and Linda from "Integrity" and fun was had by all -- even in Ketchikan.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 1, 2001
TIME (GMT): 21:25 (Local 1:25 PM)
Position: Slip 25, Dock 8, Bar harbor, Ketchikan, AK
First came the rains and did it ever rain and then came the winds and boy did it blow. The winds howled for hours topping 30 and maybe even 40 knots at times and then it continued to rain. We are now in day three of non-stop bad weather. It is time to go home as Alaska is starting to let us know that the season has ended...
Pat and I ignored the weather and ventured out to visit Ketchikan again. There were four cruise ships in town and by my estimate that is approximately 1,400,000 pounds of tourists on shore. Consider for a second that when it rains the cruise ships give the tourists (those that are too dumb to bring raingear to Alaska) big plastic garbage bags with holes cut out for their arms, legs, and if they have one, head. Now consider seeing all these garbage bags full of tourists on the wet streets of Ketchikan and you can perhaps understand why I kept praying it was trash pickup day. Alas they simply dripped their way back to the boats and left.
We took the walking tour which brought us by "Dolly's House" which is listed in the historic register as an important historic site. If you wonder what Dolly did, well, she was to put it politely a brothel keeper during the days when Ketchikan was the city of brothely love. Now for $4, you can tour Dolly's house. I bet in her day you could get the tour with full service at that price. Today, all you get is just a tour and the opportunity to buy souvenirs. We passed on Dolly's house (as I would have even in the olden days) and continued our trek through this place which perhaps would better named "Alaskaland Amusement World."
Moving on, we visited the fish ladder where we saw zillions of salmon crowded together all trying to swim upstream. I reflected on what a ridiculous sense of humor God must have in creating salmon and then I found even greater amusement in comparing the throngs of tourists with the salmon and then I felt sad for insulting the salmon.
About the time I was ready to downgrade my rating of Ketchikan to 1/2 halibut (with cheeks removed), we visited the Arctic Bar. Because the door was closed and there were no flashing lights or shiny objects for sale, the tourists seemed to stay away. In this little smoke filled sanctuary from tourism, only feet from the cruise ship dock, we met some old-timers who, through their drunken haze, seemed to be reliving the glory days when this place was a haven to burly whores and to burly men seeking burly women. (When it really was a part of REAL Alaska.) One of the old timers told me that "in Alaska, the men are men ... but then so are the women.)
Crew (Angie) arrives tomorrow and Monday (Dagley) and then weather permitting we are going to head south to the great land of Canada where it remains to be seen if the men are men and so are the women...
That is all from Mike in Ketchikan.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 2, 2001
TIME (GMT): 17:36 (9:36 AM Local)
Position: Trapped in Ketchikan
NOTE ABOUT THE ARCTIC BAR: Pat and I were actually lucky enough to be there when someone rang the bell which by Alaskan custom means you MUST by a round for the house... and he did.
It continues to rain. This morning when I went out I noticed a conspicuous absence of thickness to the air but then it started to rain again. Sunshine in Ketchikan is by definition merely a lack of rain.
Several cruisers tried to make for the Dixon entrance at 4 this morning but were apparently back by 8. Alaska is becoming weather challenged and the word on the street (waterway) is that if you don't get out soon, you may be here for a while. (Since Dagley is on-board until the 27th, my travel window is even further reduced. I must get the boat to someplace south and safe before he leaves.) Do I sound concerned? If not, go back and re-read this log. I have tried clicking my boots together three times and saying "I want to go home" each time but I keep ending up in Kansas which is no place for either me or my boat... I would have told Toto that "We are not in Kansas anymore" but he blew away...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 4, 2001
TIME (GMT): 11:14 (3:15 AM Sept 4 Local)
Position: Ketchikan, AK
NOTE: Yesterday (September 2) we said goodbye to Pat who has been excellent crew. She and I brought the boat by ourselves from Wrangell to Ketchikan. Pat gets my highest rating as crew (7 Halibuts with cheeks included.)
NOTE: As Pat left (on the same plane), Angie arrived safely and we welcome her as crew for the next two weeks.
NOTE: Dagley arrived safely yesterday (Labor Day) afternoon and will be crew through September 26th (or until he can unlock the shackles and jump ship...)
It continues to rain and Ketchikan continues to suck!!!
Our plan is to leave at first light this morning (Tuesday) and head direct to Prince Rupert via the Tongass Narrows to the Revillagedo Channel, DIXON ENTRANCE, Chatham Sound and possibly the Venn Passage.
Wish us luck as the weather reports are anything but appealing but there does seem to be a weather window that will be uncomfortably open for the next 12 to 14 hours which happens to be the exact length of this trip. Lets just pray that Murphy is sleeping soundly today...
The Trip South to Sydney for the winter
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 5, 2001
TIME: 4:36 PM Pacific Time
Position: Prince Rupert, Canada (N54:19 W130:19)
NOTE: The vessel Tenured is safely behind Canadian lines and all but our potatoes have been admitted to this strange and foreign, English speaking (well sort of) land.
Arrived safely in Prince Rupert -- 6:30PM HEY. Perfect day light winds weather report wrong HEY. Dixon Entrance friendly 5 foot seas HEY. Left Ketchikan 5AM in dark and rain HEY. Total run 85 miles (136 kilometers) HEY. Only difficulty was Venn Passage to Prince Rupert HEY. Late in day HEY. Like navigating one's own small intestine but with worse navigational markers HEY. Crew did great and stayed focused through narrow poorly marked passage HEY. Only problem of the day was captain's totally poor performance on docking at Prince Rupert Yacht and Rowing Club HEY. Amused other boaters but did not crash HEY. Will head south tomorrow HEY.
HEY FROM CANADA FROM THE CAPTAIN AND CREW OF TENURED HEY!
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 6, 2001
TIME: 2:59 PM PDT
Position: Kumealon Anchorage (N53:51.6 W130:01.5)
NOTE: Hello to my Mom and Dad. I have been enjoying your email messages.
NOTE: Hello to Jeanne M. Got your email and looking forward to you joining the crew.
NOTE: Keith, it sounds like you really have to watch where you sit around the marina these days.
NOTE: Susan S. Loving the soap opera. Perhaps you need to come up here again.
We are on the move again although I could have easily spent another night in "Cow Bay," a suburb (.1 miles north) of Prince Rupert. Prince Rupert gets high ratings for not catering to tourists while still maintaining a cute yet functional town. They failed to get a perfect score (7 halibuts with cheeks) because the Safeway grocery store uses those 25 cent deposit locks to keep from having the carts stolen and thus succumbing to the urban blight of distrust for humanity. (I would have stolen the cart to get the groceries down to the boat but a quarter was too much of a loss for me to become an international criminal. Besides, I have not yet gotten any Canadian money.)
Still on the subject of the Safeway --- the produce guy somehow singled us out as being from out of town and very politely introduced himself into some shared verbiage by inquiring from where we came. (He singled out the folks on Integrity later and made the same inquiry.) Perhaps its that BC-ites are blessed with States-dar. (A radar like ability to pick our those from the lower 48 in a crowd.) Perhaps it was that we were all wearing all of our winter clothes while the locals were dressed for Northern summer. Or, perhaps it was Dagley's hat which I believe the rabbit did not give up willingly... (Note that his hat coupled with his banana yellow fluorescent foul weather gear gives him the look of rugged flamboyant outdoorsman suitable for being led in dance by many a lumberjack...) In any case, we are apparently marked as not being from around here.
The day was spent enjoying all that Cow Bay had to offer which was mostly one restaurant, a few cutesy shops and many things painted in cowmaflouge. (We never were certain if we did see any cows.)
And then it was happy hour. Jim and Sue (Heart of Gold) and Mike and Linda (Integrity) came on by to eat, drink, and be merry while also continuing to tease me about my fine attempt to hit all their boats at the dock yesterday. Being in good spirits and consuming some good spirits I took the friendly chiding in the spirit intended ... and cut their dock lines while they were sleeping (just kidding.)
This morning arrived all too soon and off we went (avoiding the evil Venn Passage) south across the open water of the Chatham Sound, past LAWYER ISLAND, down the Malacca Passage, the Arthur Passage and then into the Grenville Channel where we are happily at anchor at the moment. The plan is to relax, get a good nights sleep and then continue our ride south to a scenic waterfall in the Lowe inlet.
That is all from Tenured at anchor.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 7, 2001
TIME (PDT): 4:27 PM
Position: Verney Falls (Nettle Basin) N53:33.6 W127:34.08
HELLO TO JEN S.: I think the bonsai cat is faking just to get attention. Perhaps she should be threatened with sailing.
Two perfect days in Canada so far. We continued our run down the Grenville channel after leaving our pleasant little anchorage of last night. The channel is as pretty as anything I had visited (except Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm) in Alaska. The weather has also been great for two days now and we have been soaking it all in. I had forgotten what sunshine felt like. (I had come to think that sunshine merely was an absence of rain.)
Grenville channel is an exceptional passage that traverses forty-five miles and at points narrows to little more than a wide river with steep sides punctuated by rushing waterfalls. Our passage was also punctuated by some very active whales. Among the many possible anchorages, today we chose to anchor in the Nettle Basin, in front of Verney falls, a spectacular bowl with a fast rushing waterfall at its mouth that provides a current which holds the boat absolutely stable with bow toward the falls. Our first sight on shore was a black bear at the mouth of a neighboring salmon stream. If we catch crabs, then this place may become my new home forever.
The crew are doing well.
We have gotten used to Dag's rabbit headed banana look and we were surprised to find that not only do we have a Texan on board (Dagley hails from the great country of Texas) who can read, but we were very impressed when he quoted from Hamlet in that wonderfully ethno-Texan accent that we have all come to love.
Today for whore-derves (I have given up on correctly spelling that word so I decided to spell it Fin-et-ik-lee), we had Alaskan shrimp (bought in Ketchikan.) Angie wished me to note that she ate and enjoyed the little crustaceans. Her mere eating of these things is apparently quite log-worthy.
As I write, Dag is off Kayaking. I wonder if the bear will be able to smell the open jar of honey that I hid in the Kayak. (I am hoping for a great picture, not that his rabbit fur headgear isn't enough...)
Tomorrow we are off to the Bishop Bay Hot Springs to sooth our tired souls in warm Canadian spring water.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 8 and 9, 2001
TIME (PDT): 10:23AM
Position: Fraser Reach N53:16.5 W128:52.2
NOTE TO JEANNE: Port Hardy looks like the next crew exchange spot. If all goes well, we should be there on time. (Actually, I figure it is 3-4 days from here.) I am definitely looking forward to you joining the adventure.
I love Canada and I think Canadians are just the best!!!! (More on that in a moment though.)
The last two days have been among the best on the trip... warm weather, sunshine, gorgeous vistas, great anchorages.... yada yada yada but you have heard it all before so let me move on.
As I recall, in the last installment, we were anchored in front of Verney falls and Dagley was off Kayaking. Well, Dagley returned from kayaking ... sort of almost. You see, as he tried to return, he almost made it back to the boat before doing a little experiment to see just how long the survival time in 50 degree water really is. Of course, once he rescued himself and was safe back on the Tenured, he was very quick to point out to "Skippy" (the nickname he has assigned Angie) that the correct call when someone falls in the water is "MAN OVERBOARD" not "GET THE CAMERA!" He was a good sport about it all.
So anyway, yesterday we headed down the Grenville Channel to the Wright Sound, McKay Reach, and then diverted North up the Ursula Channel. Along the way, we were treated to the sight of several whales including one breaching not too far ahead of us.
Our reason for heading north again was to visit the Bishop Bay Hot Springs -- a worthwhile deviation of some 10 miles. We arrived at the little float and were pleased to see that it sat empty in a beautifully pristine and secluded little bay. Our only other companions in the bay were seals and a somewhat noisy whale who breached only a few hundred yards from the float. We noted what a wonderful, quiet and private spot we had found as we took full advantage of the Springs just a short walk up a wooded path. (The bathhouse for the springs sat right on the water's edge.) Then the helicopter arrived and set down on an exposed rock. (Apparently the pilot stops here regularly on his way home from work.) Then Integrity arrived, followed close behind by Heart of Gold. Then the party began. Integrity and Tenured filled the dock and Heart of Gold side-tied to Integrity. Then more boats arrived until at the peak of the festivities there were three fishing boats tied outside of Heart of Gold and one in front of each of our boats.
Of course, we had to have happy hour with Mike and Linda and Jim and Sue who supplied a virtually unending flow of wine and munchies (a word I can spell). There was dancing (good thing Bob Jones University was not nearby) and Mike (of Integrity) demonstrated why one should stay at Deck level when one drinks --- he fell off his hard top but the real bad news is that he spilled some wine... oh yeah, the rigging broke his fall and he is O.K.
Then the party moved to the dock and we met our Canadian Neighbors.
(Now let me explain why I love Canadians...)
These guys were great and we had just an incredibly fun time drinking and laughing with everyone from all the boats. The fisherman invited Dagley to come back and go sport fishing with them. My new friends Maurice, Rose, Nikki, and Carey took pity on my pathetic inability to catch crabs and gave us some of their extras hot from the pot --- as they pointed out, the crabs are everywhere and easy to catch. (My trap came up with yet another giant slimy starfish this morning and no crabs.) They even put some in the fridge for later.
Even better, they introduced me to a drink called a "Sneaky Pete", the recipe for which is:
Milk and Ice
We were also introduced to some Baja Luna (black raspberry cream liquor made with tequila).
Frankly, the drinks were great but I think Pete snuck up on me from behind as I suddenly found myself waking up the next morning. We were joined by our new friends for coffee and then off we went (a few hours later than planned.)
Today, our goal is Klemtu with a stop at Butedale. (Buttdale is a ghost town falling into the sea. I wonder if many ghosts have drowned or been washed out to the ocean.)
I only hope we meet some more Canadians like the ones we met yesterday. Crabs aside, I do not think we could have met a better group of people or had more fun than we did in the last 24 hours.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 10, 2001
TIME (PDT): 3:16PM
Position: N52:03.7 W128:00.8 (Fancy Cove -- Lama Passage)
CRAB TRAP REPORT: This morning our trap had three giant mult-legged slimy starfish in it. No crabs!!!
CIVILIZATION AT LAST!!!!! I AM PROUD TO REPORT FIRST RECEPTION OF DIRECTV SINCE LEAVING SAN DIEGO. LAST NIGHT AT THE PUBLIC DOCK IN KLEMTU I GOT TO SEE SATELITE TELEVISION AGAIN AND IT WAS GREAT! (I say who cares about natural beauty when you have television. As a matter of fact, given that everything I have seen on this trip could more easily have been seen in many a documentary, viewed from the comfort of my own home, I am still not sure why I ever left the dock...)
Yesterday we motored from the Bishop Hot Springs to Klemtu with a stop at Butedale. It was a long day but we covered about 65 miles and passed some fairly incredible scenery along the way. The stop at Butedale allowed us an interesting walking tour of an old abandoned cannery town with two dogs and a cat as our guides.
The highlight of the day however was Klemtu. The cruising guides don't really recommend going to Klemtu largely for a lack of dock space, services, or good anchorage. (We ended up on a dirty old dock hanging 20 feet out past the end. Did I mention that the town has real wide shallows and it would be easy to run aground? Our landing was excellent and the crew did a great job. However numerous locals came to assist and the result was that it took three times as long to get tied up but I did still appreciate the help.) Klemtu is an Indian village that seems largely comprised of 1970's style homes and at first glance, beyond being a BC ferry stop, is pretty much unremarkable.
That is why a second glance is essential.
The town is thick with its own history and Indian culture and the bay was alive with salmon. As we walked through town, I was impressed to see the contrast of vinyl sided homes with Totems rising skyward on the front lawn. The town is also home to what was at one time the world's longest boardwalk (as reported in the Guinness Book of World Records). The boardwalk was funded with government money but was a collective local effort. Perhaps most impressive were the children who were all fishing for Salmon. Their catch would have brought a grown burly fisherman to his knees and made him cry. No bait is used since the salmon have other things on their minds right now. All the kids do is cast a hook (called a buzz bomb) and reel it in until they snag one of the 15 pound or so fish. (Part of the reason that the fish are there is an ongoing salmon hatchery project sponsored by the government but run by the tribe.) Impressive is an understatement. Dagley got involved in helping one of the local boys bring his catch in. (Then in a manner uncustomary to our ship, he turned down the offer of free fresh salmon. I thought that he should have grabbed it and run. I am sure that he could have outrun the kid.) We visited the local grocery store where Angie learned that it costs a lot to get even basic items this far out into the wilderness. (She also learned that in Klemtu the American dollar is pretty weak. The exchange rate in Klemtu was 1 for 1...)
After some rest and TELEVISION, we left at around 7 AM with Bella Bella as our intended destination. (Bella Bella is another Indian village and is also a BC ferry stop and is considered a more favorable cruiser stop. Having already seen Klemtu, we changed our mind and viewed Bella Bella from the deck as we moved south.)
To describe the weather as perfect would be an understatement. It was warm, clear and perfectly sunny after the morning fog lifted. The run to our current anchorage was beautiful and calm punctuated only be the many boats clogging narrow passages with their annoying fishing nets (spiced by the presence of a cruise ship in one of those channels.)
As I write this, we are anchored in an out of the way hole in the forest enjoying the quiet of solitude for the first time in a few nights. Dagley who seems always to be seeking more adventure donned a dry suit and went snorkeling. (He should probably wear it if he intends to kayak again.) We placed the crab trap but have largely given up hope of ever catching one. Angie is baking cookies and me, I am just trying to decompress from spending too many days working to get this boat south. I suppose that if one needs to decompress, this is a pretty place to do it in. (If all goes well, we should be in Port Hardy in two days....if all goes well.)
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 11, 2001
TIME (PDT): Midnight
Position: Duncanby Landing, BC N51:24.3 W127:38.7
The pristine beauty and insulation from humanity that have been the theme of this trip were doused by the evils of reality as we sat helplessly watching the horrific images of New York played again and again, brought at us in this vast northern cocoon through the wonders of technology. Dag summed it up when he said that it felt like we should be home doing something. The simple truth is that distance and international boundaries do not prevent us from feeling the pain of the loss of so many of our citizenry. Insulation and isolation do not prevent us from mourning and praying. There is nothing more that we can do but feel deep sorrow for those lost and visceral hatred for those responsible. In my quest to hide from the evils of man's inhumanity to man, I have come only to be more sensitive to how violent the world is when viewing it from this vantage. There can be no further log today as all beauty is lost for the moment...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 13, 2001
TIME (PDT): 2:25 PM
Position: Port McNeil, BC 50:35.5 127:05.3
NOTE TO GINGER: Dagley says to let you know that he has mailed you a letter so stay be the mailbox and wait until it arrives. (He misses you!)
The vessel Tenured is safely tied to a dock in the thriving city of Port McNeil. We arrived here via a stop at the (scuba) dive resort located in "God's Pocket" on the Christie Passage in the Queen Charlotte Strait. Our arrival in Port McNeil (located on the northwest end of Vancouver Island signifies two things. First, we have completed our second open water crossing which was apt to be hindered by weather at this time of year. (The crossing from Duncanby Landing to God's Pocket takes one around Cape Caution, an area known for bad weather and seas as the season closes.) Second, this is a point where once again, we will exchange crew members. (Angie leaves as Jeanne arrives. Dagley will stay on board until we park the boat for the winter -- hopefully around the town of Sidney on the other end of Vancouver Island.)
In the midst of all the turmoil at home which reaches us daily on television, we all continue to feel as though there is something wrong about our enjoying too much. It is as if it would somehow be wrong or disrespectful to those who are suffering. Still, even in the presence of the somber mood that one now feels among the American cruisers and the sympathy that one feels from the Canadians, it is hard not to count one's blessings for being where we are. It is hard not to find solace in the beauty and it is difficult not to try to dive back into the idyllic innocence of our surroundings. When one finds themselves in a place that is as pretty as the name "God's Pocket," it is hard not to let the beauty sweep you away from the reality of the world beyond our horizon. I intend no disrespect or disregard for those who are now in pain as I continue to share our travels with you.
Before closing for the day, I wish to include an excerpt from Dagley's personal log:
Dagley’s Log Sept. 12, 2001
God's Pocket, BC
Our adventure continues but we are overwhelmed by the news from home. Air traffic has been suspended, the borders are closed and we hear that our port of San Diego has been shut down. The magnitude of this thing is incomprehensible.
Mike was successful in getting his satellite TV to work. We sat in disbelief as we watched video of aircraft slamming into the World Trade Center.
I can't help but wonder if the perpetrators of this horrible thing have any real concept of the magnitude and fierceness of the beast that they have unleashed upon themselves. I expect they will find out soon...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 14, 2001
TIME (PDT): 6:17 PM
Position: Port McNeil, B.C.
Port McNeil is a wonderful little community. It is a small town populated by some very friendly folks all of whom seem interested in welcoming the cruising community to their docks. As a matter of fact, it seems that the town's economy rests very heavily in the provisioning and repair of boats and in welcoming tourists traveling through on the B.C. ferry. The docks are extremely clean and the marina is surrounded by a green area park. They even discourage the dumping of sewage in the harbor. That is big stuff. (Personally I love it when you hear a harbor master say that you needn't worry about paying until you leave. I like to feel trusted -- unlike in Hawaii.) I give access to the docks a very high rating.
Like most of the small towns along our route, it takes about an hour to see all there is to see. (My father would take a day or two but he finds joy in visiting such things as the fence post and barb wire museums...) After the initial walk about, the charm then comes from meeting the locals and just from wandering and people watching. All of which are great here. I will admit that I did enjoy pondering the purpose of the giant antique "steam donkey" positioned by the harbor. Of course, I just can't seem to get enough of that wonderful Canadian accent. It really is quite beautiful.
Also like many of the communities along our way, they take pride in some quasi-bizarre claim to fame. For Port McNeil, it is having the world's largest Burl. (Personally, I thought that the worlds largest burl was Burl Ives. Milton was a pretty small Burl...) After a half hour walk up an old logging road, one can find a big wooden gazebo under which is placed a 22 ton burl that was found on a tree some 40 Kilometers away and moved here by the local lumber company. This remarkable burl is 45 feet in diameter and was at the base of a 175 foot tree that was over 300 years old. I guess, if I was that old, I might have a burl or two. (What is a burl, you say? Well, it is a big tree goiter.) The town was so concerned that their burl was going to be lost to moisture that they covered the whole giant thing in form-fitting fiber glass so it will be here for generations to come. I even had my picture taken in front of the Port McNeil burl. Anyone who doubts the excitement of this adventure should think what it must be like to visit the world's largest burl. WOW!!!
On that note (and not wanting to over-excite our readers), I will end this log for today. (Tomorrow if I remember, I will discuss how Dagley has brought gambling to Tenured and how he has entertained us with his drink mixing, singing and guitar-playing skills. Even if I forget, and with luck I will, suffice to say, Dagley has added his own brand of Texas amusement to this adventure which I do admit has been quite a welcome infusion into the life of this little trip. While I remember, I do want to say that he at one point had taken over a bar at an old fishing camp and got the bartender so drunk on Dagaritas that they could not calculate our bill.)
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 15, 2001
TIME (PDT): 4:53PM
Position: Port McNeil, BC
Today we are sitting and waiting to see if the borders will re-open and if planes will start to fly again. Tomorrow, if planes are flying, will be the day of the crew swap with Jeanne arriving and Angie leaving. Plan B is to move the boat starting tomorrow and shoot for the crew change 100 miles from here (two days) at Campbell River.
Today while we were waiting, Angie and I caught the BC Ferry to Cormorant Island so we could visit the town of Alert Bay. Alert Bay is an Indian village and fishing town that boasts the world's tallest totem (173 feet). I will admit that I am not sure if many other places are competing to hold the title of town of the tallest totem. If only they had made the world's tallest totem from the largest burl, we could have cut a day off this trip and saved 11 dollars Canadian. Still, Alert Bay was fun to visit. It had its own quaint going-out-of-business kind of style that made it sort of a ghost town waiting to happen. The other sight that we had hoped to see was the Indian Cultural Center but for some reason, it was closed as was their new long house. In other words, we rode a ferry for an hour each way to look at a tall carved tree trunk and a lot of businesses on the brink of extinction.
Upon our return to the boat, we found that Dagley had gone domestic and had cleaned the boat, rearranged the galley, and gotten fresh flowers for the dining table. He had also tried to save us the trouble of having to drink most of the beer on board and we applaud him for his heroic efforts. He seemed a bit tired and was napping in his rabbit skin hat on the floor in the salon. It was a good thing that he had cleaned the floor first.
For now, we sit and wait and hope that the world will find some sense of normalcy for us to return too. In the mean time we continue to count our blessings for this isolation and we continue to be thankful to our Canadian hosts for their genuine concern for all Americans and the state of America. Everywhere one turns, you see collection cups with the proceeds to be sent to the families of the victims in New York. Last night, was a day of mourning in Port McNeil which culminated with a local prayer service. To our Canadian friends, I say thank you.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 16, 2001
TIME (PDT): 4:10 PM
Position: Port Neville, BC (N50:29.5 W126:05.2)
LOG: The vessel Tenured is now located at the public float in the town of Port Neville. (Other than a public float, the town consists of a General Store -- closed since 1960 -- and a Post Office which keeps very irregular hours. There is also one log cabin surrounded by a pretty yard and gardens and a gallery which we did not find.) It is a one of those picture postcard pretty places which have been such a pleasure to find along our route and it represents a nice end to a pleasant day moving the boat south (actually more east now.)
This morning we learned that Jeanne could not catch her flight out but that Angie's flight home was flying so Angie headed home leaving Dagley and me to move the boat to our next crew pickup spot. (We anticipate that Jeanne will meet the boat in the town of Campbell River tomorrow.)
Although off to a late start, the run for the day turned out to be very pleasant and finally I can report that I have seen Orcas in the wild. Actually, we saw many of them but the best were three that were literally surfacing and diving within only a few hundred feet of the boat. (Now all I need to see to complete my adventure is a moose. Interesting fact: There is documented proof that a pod of Orcas killed a moose out for a swim in Icy Strait, AK) Since we are not mooses and have little to fear from the free range Canadian Orcas, we slowed down long enough to snap some pictures and to take the obligatory video before moving on toward our destination for the day.
By late afternoon the winds were howling a bit so we were glad to find a safe haven at the conveniently empty float in Port Neville. With our now practiced team docking skills Dagley and I brought the boat to a comfortable stop and tied up for the night. We enjoyed a pleasant but not romantic walk on the first sandy beach that I have seen since leaving Hawaii and have now settled in for the evening.
Our plan tomorrow is to head further along Vancouver island and to hopefully catch up with Jeanne in the town of Port Campbell.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 17, 2001
TIME (PDT): 2:27PM
Position: Plumper Bay, BC (N50:09.5 W125:20.3)
LOG (PART I):
Yesterday we saw a caravan of three slow moving cruise ships heading south in the Johnstone Strait and we could not figure out why. Today, we know the answer. What we did not realize yesterday was that along this relatively wide channel used by the cruise ships is a narrows that may be the most difficult one that we will have to navigate on this whole trip. The currents are predicted to run as high at 13 kts (over twice any narrows that we have passed before) in the Seymour Narrows which separates the Johnstone Strait via the Discovery Passage from Southeast Vancouver Island. We now know that the cruise ships were lined up so as to time their passage through this potentially very dangerous passage so as to coincide with the slack current. We are now sitting at anchor less than 1/2 mile from the Seymour Narrows for the exact same purpose. It stands between us and our destination for the day of Campbell River. Like a barrel waiting its turn over the Niagara falls, we wait our turn to run the narrows. By some reports, the window of opportunity for the transition is fifteen to 20 minutes. In part two of today's log, I will tell you how it went...
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 17, 2001
TIME (PDT) 6:56 PM
Position: Campbell River (N50:02.1, W125 14.6)
LOG: Part II
At exactly 40 minutes before the slack tide, there was a sudden exodus of vessels and the vessel Tenured joined the rush to beat the current through the rapids. Due to the exemplary planning of both Dagley and myself, it was pretty much a non-event. We had waited long enough for the current to subside. In fact, the current was about 1-2 knots and we had encountered far worse eddies earlier in the day during our transit of the race passage.
With the sun about to set and the current turning to slow us from 9 knots to 5, we ran the final five miles to the town of Campbell River where upon our arrival Jeanne Manese joined the crew of Tenured. All-in-all, it was a long and tiring day.
Dagley decided to try to bring some cheer to the boat so he rented the Mel Gibson version of Hamlet. One cannot help but smile at the endless Simpson's like humor that Shakespeare threw into that fine piece of work.
With way too much exhaustion, I sign off for the day.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 18, 2001
TIME (PDT): 8:51 PM
Position: N49:40.1 W124:55.5 COMOX Harbor
CONGRATULATIONS: Special happy anniversary wishes to Ginger and Dagley. On this, the day after their 10th anniversary, we thank Ginger for loaning us Dagley so he can help with my adventure.
NOTE: There is now a telephone on board the boat. Anyone who misses me can now call me at 250-886-2368.
SPECIAL THANKS: To Jenny and Jill at the Staples in Campbell River. Jenny in particular went far our of her way to help me get my new phone working and for that, I am quite grateful.
Like the priest who hits a hole-in-one while playing golf on Sunday and then can't share his success with anyone, I had the best landing of a lifetime at the dock in Comox and no one but God and a few locals were there to really enjoy it. (Sure, screw up a landing at Prince Rupert and everyone I know was there to watch.) My landing was so good that the harbor master and several boaters came over to praise my boat handling. No word from God on how he (she) felt about it. I had to bring the boat in a narrow crowded fairway and then place the boat in a space between other boats that was barely longer than the boat itself and in the process, I turned the boat around and did my best Captain Ron landing. (Really, I am not exaggerating. I am sure that I will make up for this tomorrow or perhaps I will hit a boat or two when I leave here in the morning...)
Other than a landing of note, not much to report today. We had hoped to get out of Campbell River earlier but were delayed for several hours as I bought a new Canadian cell phone and then learned that getting it activated was not an easy task. (Finally, it now works so feel free to call me. I would love to hear from my friends.)
Our travels for the day included a 30 mile run in the rain and then a careful crossing of the Comox bar before entering the Comox harbor. (I had once vowed never to pass another bar and then against all odds I passed the California Bar and now I find myself crossing bars. I wonder what sort of action I will take against bars in the future. I think that I may limit myself to visiting bars and I hope to avoid being behind bars although technically, we are all behind the Comox bar as I write this.)
Comox is quite a pretty little town and as always, the folks around are quite impressive for their niceness.
We are now traveling along what one might characterize as a rather boring piece of coast. For about the next 50 miles or so, we will be running along the Vancouver coast where it is separated from the mainland by the rather wide Strait of Georgia. Our plan is to head for the protection of the Gulf Islands where we will be able to enjoy the local beauty and get away from the open water effects that we are now experiencing. For now, I am just happy to be in the protection of a nice harbor.
From the deck of Tenured.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 20, 2001
TIME (PDT): 10:10AM
Position: Newcastle Island Marine Park, Nainamo, BC N49:10.7 W123 55.7
I know that the end of this adventure is near. (NOTE: The end as far as going to park the boat for the winter. I still need to figure out how and when to bring it back to San Diego.) Suddenly, and as quickly as the flipping of a light switch, I find my boat back among the trappings of civilization. When I went into the Staples store in Campbell River and was shocked by its size, I realized that I had not been in anything resembling a "superstore" since Hawaii. I should have known then that my trip was nearing a point of conclusion. Yesterday, we made the run from Comox to Nainamo and somewhere along the way we stepped from the wilderness into a world populated more by people than by creatures. Nainamo harbor was quite the shock. It is a truly urban harbor with numerous ferries and barges operating and the anchorage that we sought at Newcastle Island Marine Park had no less than 50 boats anchored near the shore. Hardly any shoreline is left on the local islands that does not show the presence of humans. Houses, docks and boats are everywhere. My new cell phone works all along our route and all throughout the islands up here. This morning Jeanne and I took a hike in the park (along the neatly groomed trails) and as we passed the camping area, I was hit by the reality of human influence when I noted that each campsite was marked with a neatly placed and sequentially numbered stake. My adventure in the back woods is over. Up until days ago, besides a few cruisers, all we saw were working fishing boats and all harbors seemed to be working fishing harbors. It was rustic and it was rugged. Now, we are back in the world of pleasure boaters. Docks and marinas are everywhere as are the casual weekend boaters we have not seen in months. The beauty is not gone, it has just changed color. For all intensive purposes, I could be in Southern California but there are more islands and the trees are taller. I am not sure if I am complaining or just observing but whatever, I need to do some personal attitude adjustment so as to accept that which I cannot change. I certainly cannot change the urban nature of these very pretty cruising grounds but I do find myself longing for the privacy and simplicity of the empty miles of shoreline which after a while we so took for granted up north.
Position Report -- TeamAlaska
Date: September 21, 2001
TIME (PDT): 3:39 PM
Position: Sidney, BC
And so it ends...
May 26th seems like a lifetime ago. For years I had dreamed of Sailing to Alaska and then I decided the best way to get there would be to go via Hawaii and then I did it and now it is done.
In the past (almost) four months, I have moved my boat around 6000 miles of which almost 1400 miles was spent motoring in the Inside Passage. (FACTOID: I estimate that the average speed for the trip was a very slow 4.8 knots.) I have shared this adventure with 12 crew and with all those who have been so kind and caring as to read my daily log. Sadly and perhaps with some exhausted relief, it is over -- with the exception of figuring out how to get the boat back from Canada. It is now all but the seed of a memory upon which I hope to draw for the remainder of my life. It is an adventure that I am glad that I have done but in the same breath, I doubt that I would ever repeat the same way. Whatever it is, this is my final log. I offer my most profound thanks to all who have followed the adventure and to those who have participated. I particularly thank Joan and Dagley as they have been there throughout and have proven the breath and depth of true friendship.
(NOTE: I will be posting contact information on this site in the next few days which should include a phone number and information regarding email contact while I am in British Columbia.)
Today the vessel Tenured arrived in the town of Sidney, BC. It is here that the vessel will sit for the winter and it is Sidney that defines the end of my cruising adventure in the "Inside Passage." Sidney is a community that is used by many cruisers as a place to leave their boats for the winter. With the season almost over and the risks of running into bad weather along the coast rather great, I have decided to leave the boat here until next season when I will bring the boat home to San Diego. (Frankly, I am thinking very seriously of having the boat shipped south or maybe selling it and moving on to a powerboat. Any boat that I buy will have a limited range so I never accidentally set out to cross an ocean again.)
I have thought very long of what final impressions I would like to share of my adventure and the truth is that I find myself conflicted. On the one hand, I am sad that it is over, yet on the other, I am glad to finally be able to stop the boat somewhere and to not have to constantly feel the need to move forward. (After four months of running just ahead of seasonal weather and travel windows, I am very tired.) On yet another hand, I wish that I could have done more and on a final hand, I think that I may have done too much in such a short time. I have seen the very best and in a few instances the very worst of some of those who I know and if hindsight is truly 20/20, I can clearly see the totality of my accomplishment and still I feel that I have not accomplished enough. As great of an adventure as this has been, it truly was not the trip that I set out to have and was definitely not the trip of which I had dreamed. It was neither the adventure of romance that I wanted nor was it an adventure of self-discovery that I had hoped for. It moved to fast to be either and I was too consumed keeping the show moving to find myself or for that matter to really appreciate another. It was more a marathon dedicated to seeing some of the most incredible sights in North America and if beauty visited is the currency by which an adventure is measured then this trip was a total success. It is not necessarily bad that this ends as something different than the stuff of my dreams because looking back, it was still pretty darn good and besides, I have now learned enough to be able to do it right and to live my dreams next time...
From the deck of Tenured,