Saturday, August 8, 2009

Life at Sea en route to Marquesas Islands

This is the longest leg of the journey being almost 3000nM, as the boys are at sea I am (Lisa that is) enduring the anxiety of wondering how they are and where they are over the next 3 to 4 weeks. I decided the best way to record this time would be to include some of the notes/emails sent to me regarding their progress and their time at sea. They left on 21st July from Galapagos knowing that they needed to find the trade winds as soon as possible to conserve their fuel supply (we estimated it would last 10 days under full steaming).

Day 1: A message from 5NM offshore only 2945 to go!!!All is well and will stay in touch as often as possible.
Day 3: 2.40am this time and the 40m band works well at this time and doesn't interfere with the autopilot when TX.....I was sad when I looked back at Miami as we left Key Biscayne,just eager to get home now.Think we have the first of the trades, just turned off the motor and still making 5.5 kts under mizzen and staysail adjusted course to our rhumb line of 254 which takes us into the Marquesas.
Day 4: All is well,sailing now with staysail,mizzen and genoa at a pleasant 6 to 7 kts,massive swell but well spaced. We have some new creaks aboard here!Just missed a pro fishing boat approx 120',saw him ten mile out started hailing him about 5 mile out as we were on a collision course!Turned on our spreader lights shone a spotty at him ,started yelling into the vhf when he was a mile off,then virtually stuck the spotlight in his wheelhouse as he passed within 750' of us,no contact was made via radio and "no engaged in fishing lights" were displayed either. 310NM from land and they are still using us as target practice.
Day 10: Super huge seas out here at the moment very hard to do anything,had a whopper smack the Port side and punched out the laundry port light smashing it to bits!!That was fun to replace and mop up the sea water.Right now we have following seas at around 30' ,they are higher than the mizzen boom before they start to break!The old girl is handling it, as is the crew,but it is draining.
Day 11: The emails are getting hard to send and receive,like most things out here just bloody hard work.The seas today are massive at times 11m and just huge, almost on the stern so it's a bit like Adderley Cut for over 24hrs now and getting very tired of it indeed. We left the Galapagos Islands 11 days ago and still on the same tack, haven't touched the sails in all that time,the trades are certainly doing well, a big sea runs with them as well and makes it fun just trying to get dressed!Chris and I run 4 hr watches at night whilst his lordship Jacob will advise us at his leisure if he will be joining us on deck.He does however do a day watch along with a little school work and the daily fridge restock of juice etc and of course a couple of ales for the working crew.The solar panels I installed are first rate and keep the system 100% plus during daylight hours,at night I run the genset for about 3 hrs in total which is when I run the fridge as well.We had a port light punched out by a rather large wave the other day ,which gave me something to do ,smashed it in half!Other than that I read a 600 page book in two days.....throw approx a dozen flying fish off the deck each day then run the water maker to clean all the mess the fish make on deck and top off the tanks.......aah the cruising life for me!Stay tuned for more intense and exciting stories from the "Bay"
Day 14: All is well aboard,after yesterdays little drama,we had a smoke alarm go off!!!Ended up being a short of the main panel feeding the water maker,it had a old/bad resistive connection and got bloody hot and was smoldering!!Good job we fitted the smoke detector in the compartment under the microwave,Jake was ready with the extinguisher too.Fixed it today and all runs well.Saw a ship on the ,and had a pod of 40 dolphins playing with us for 3 hrs jumping and all sorts.
Then the emails became rare and the anxiety for the shore-based crew began to creep until:
Day 17 : ALOOOOO-ha from Garry. He has not had email for a couple day's. I am in Hawaii and am delivering a message from him:...All OK aboard.Please advise Shirley. 88's from Garry
via Randy, ham radio operator KH6RC
So, I was not anticipating any further emails or position reports until they arrive in Nuka Hiva, which should be around Day 21 and all we can do is wait for news of their safe arrival, however another connection was made.
Day 19: Very sorry about lack of contact HF has been awfull ,very hard to get anyone at all,hope you received message from KH6RC Randy from net control in Hawaii!?Right now I am using a pactor station in NZ so I guess we are on the way home.We have 344nm to go and cant wait to get of this boat for a while,the swells are still massive and everything is hard to do. Sending all my love....please let Shirley know all is well as it is still on and off with Pactor.
Day 20: We are getting slammed out here,lost a huge cooked breakfast today all on the floor due to a huge swell.Got woken up during the afternoon with the Genoa in the water....the halyard gave way and she dropped like a stone so a trip aloft awaits when we get to an anchorage!Looks like a ring broke on the lift!Otherwise all is well.
Day 21: The Genoa went for a swim yesterday when the halyard broke loose,loads of fun for sure,hope to sort it out on the anchor,just hoped its not ripped!It has cost us a day in speed and should be there early Thursday morning.Give my love to all.

and then first thing on Day 22..... the phone rang and it was Jacob to let us know all was well, they had arrived, cleared customs, paid their bond, bought fresh food and the adult members of the crew were celebrating with large quantities of the amber ale.


After 10 days at sea, some very large swells and generally unfavourable winds the crew and Biscayne Bay made it to the Galapagos Islands where they rested for a week. They refuelled, did some restocking of fresh produce before they set off on the next leg of the journey which was approximately 3000nM to the Marquesas Islands. Anastasia and Lisa killed some time in the USA and visited the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas before they embarked on the 36 hours in transit back to West Australia. Lisa of course is now enduring the long wait before she can rejoin the boat in Tahiti to complete the journey back to Australia. Anastasia has adjusted to life back on land and has returned to school, her pets and friends. She will remain in Australia with friends and family while we bring the boat to Australian shores, this will mean the family unfortunately will be split for a few months, but we will be reunited in Queensland with the hope of cruising the Whitsunday Islands for the summer months.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The one that got away!

This one did really get away and Chris was ready with his camera to record the evidence. Jake is into the big game fishing now and hooked himself a black marlin en route to Galapagos Islands. This was an occasion that it was a better option that it escaped rather than dragging it onto the deck.