Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

I like this picture of spinner dolphins because it demonstrates a cookie cutter shark bite. The dolphin in the lower left of the picture has a circular wound on its' right flank. These small sharks swim around and take a chunk out of whoever passes by....we've seen wounds on dolphins and lots of different fish. I've never seen a cookie cutter shark, they are really ugly and only about 1 foot long.

The engine is still out. Tranny is still in the UK. Whatevers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Epic Fail (and why I love turtles)

Daily turtle sightings are the norm in Kona. This mature adult swims by the boat multiple times a day, and helps me forget that Pau Hana's engine is now lying about in a nearby garage. In short, the transmission repair was a failure. The mechanic tried to force the repair and in so doing seized the engine. Sad day for the little swede (and for us).
But the turtles! They truck on, the mature ones get these barnacles on their shells and one local "barnacle bill" has literally 100 of them adherent to his back. He doesn't seem to mind these non-performing clowns coming along for a ride. He's not worried that they're slowing him down. He just accepts his fate. He's got some serious aloha.

The visibility is fantastic and the butterfly fish abundant.

Freediving at Two Step.

Boy, dog, turtle. Wildlife trifecta.

Good scenery, Pololu Valley, north shore.

The reality of our engine situation. Tranny is now on its' way to England. Damaged engine is in multiple pieces. Good thing there's some local distractions.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers

So now the flywheel is attached to the transmission again via some Canadian ingenuity. Hopefully Pau Hana will be tugging at the docklines shortly

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Liquid Aloha

On our passage to Hawai'i we had a passenger for a night. We were at least 300nm from Nuku Hiva when this sea bird (Dave, can you ID this guy for me?) landed on our bimini and stayed there all night. He got a free ride north. He left at dawn the next day, but not before leaving a nice present for us in the cockpit.

We had some challenging conditions on the passage, not to mention the death of the transmission, for which we are currently awaiting replacement parts. It's been more than a week since the order, and where are the parts? Well, they're "on their way." So I'm trying the aloha way and having faith that they really are on the way. Smokin' hopium is what my dad calls that. I'm goin' with it. It's all I've got.

This is not the boat you want to see off your bow. But we were glad for the help. And Rob (the tow boat captain) had us over for Thanksgiving dinner. Glad to be back in the USA!

We drove up to Volcano National Park and saw some pretty good petroglyphs. I don't think they brought the artists along from the Marquesas, though.

Local snorkeling, lots of Pacific Sea Turtles.

We heard there was snow up on the volcano, so, hopeful, we drove up to 9,200 feet and hiked up to this point. Alas, no snow in sight.

At least Mart got to wear his Possum hat from NZ!

12/7/16 UPDATE: So after 2 weeks our transmission parts are still in Seattle! Mart's been on the phone this morning with the manufacturer (in British Columbia) and the supplier (Seattle) after getting nowhere with the local aloha diesel dealer. He's arranged for it to be shipped directly to Kona on an Alaska Air flight tonight and it will be here in the morning. Go Martin! Aloha that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Arrived Honokohau Harbor

We sailed slowly through another night to reduce our towing expense, and the towboat met us 1.5 miles from the harbor entrance.
We're safely moored at the dock and waiting for the customs and border control staff to clear us in.
2100 miles, 17 days. Back in the USA almost two years to the day after we left Beaufort, NC
Nap time.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Land Ho!

[pos]19 13n 156 00w
[sp]1.2 kts
[w]E 4 kts
[s]Safely in the lee of Hawaii awaiting for sea breeze to build for the final push to Kona. 26 miles to go. Rowdy night last night with sustained 30+ knots while rounding south point. Dolphins came out for inspection at sunrise.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

1920 miles behind us

150 miles to go to Kailua-Kona and the Honokohau Harbor. In about 90 miles we'll sail into the lee of the big island and the swell will be much reduced. We will also be away from the steady power of the NE tradewinds that have brought us so far. We'll ride "wind wrap" as far north as we can and then hug the coast to use the sea breeze generated by the warming air over the land.
The Kona Vessel Assist operator is aware of our approach and is standing by to help bring us into the marina.
Early this morning we sailed near what I believe to be an ODAS bouy. These weather data collectors are huge and made of steel and certainly tougher than Pau Hana. There will be many buoys along the coast called FADs, whose sole purpose is to provide structure as a Fish Aggregating Device. We will have to stay alert and perhaps troll a lure.
17*57' N
154*28' W
course 310*
speed 6 knots

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Friday, November 18, 2016


Clear bright sunrise as the wind blows on. 300 miles to go. We should be able to see Mauna Loa before too long if it stays clear.
The Hydrovane has steered continuously for more than 10 days straight. It is truly one of the most impressive inventions I've ever seen.

16 25 N
152 25 W
Course 310 T
Speed 6.5 kts
Wind NE 20 kts
Waves NE 2.5 m

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 14

After many days of hard effort, the ocean catches her breath during a relaxing morning. Most of my coffee made it into my mouth.
Many kamikaze flying fish on deck this morning.
A few mild-looking rain squalls ahead. I'll don't seem to mind being wet from rainwater.
Another sailboat has joined the Pacific Seafarer's Net. Jan on Narida has departed Victoria, BC and is bound for Victoria, BC in a non-stop solo circumnavigation. We are the only two boats currently on the roll call. Two other boats we know are waiting in the Line Islands for a favorable wind shift for their crossing to Hawaii.
1627 nm down, 457 to go. We hope to see some marine mammals as we sail up the lee side of the big island towards Kona

[pos]14 50n 150 18w
[sp]6.0 kts
[w]NE 18 kts

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

only 600 miles left!

Steep seas, but good progress through day 12. Mainsail is double reefed and storm jib on my new inner forestay that we added while in New Zealand. We had many hours of 30 knots in the last bit. It's backed off a bit now. Last night's full moon was above the clouds but created an ambient light that made for unique visibility through the night.

[pos]13 18n 148 23w
[sp]6.0 kts
[w]NE 20 kts

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

beginning day 12

1350 down, 750 nm to go. Good sailing. Periodic showers.
90% cloud cover provides welcome relief from the hot sun.
We saw a ship that was about 15 miles from us on the AIS transceiver, but no visual sightings of any traffic in 11 days.

[pos]11 50n 146 22w
[sp]6.0 kts
[w]NE 15 kts

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Catch up with the sun...

After 10 days of sailing north, we've made our long awaited course change and are now headed NW towards the southern end of big island.
There are still a few squalls about but we're mostly sailing a fast reach with the wind just aft of the beam.
We've almost caught up with our original projected pace regardless of our two slow days and the time spend adrift in the ITCZ.
I'd like to open the hatches and get some fresh air in here, but there's still quite a bit of spray coming on deck.
I'm very thankful that the va'a has not been on the deck the past few days.
10 13 N
144 20 W
Course 310 T
Speed 7.0 kts
Wind NE 18 kts
Waves NE 2 m

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 10

We sailed up through the squalls of the ITCZ until we were becalmed for several hours. We packed extra diesel fuel just for this situation, but our transmission is dead, so purists we must be. After several hours of wondering how long the calm would last (some sailors report being stuck in the ITCZ for weeks) we could hear the wind coming before it arrived and blasted us north on 25-30 knot easterlies! Midnight rodeo aboard Pau Hana! We charged full speed through the swell in total darkness and pouring rain with the clouds obscuring the moon. This morning our wind prediction model and synoptic charts from NOAA agree that we are clear of the ITCZ and should have steady conditions all the way to the big island, 1000 miles ahead of us.
08 20 N
143 11 W
course 345
speed 6.8 knots

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Inter Tropical Convergence Zone

In between the northern and southern hemisphere trade wind belts lies the intertropical convergence zone. Home to variable winds and lots of convection, there are many rain squalls about. We're getting pushed along and rolling through the waves that don't seem too organized. Today's task will be to adjust the gear shift mechanism on Pau Hana's transmission. The Lil' Swede is having a senior moment. It seem we have about 130 miles of this ITCZ to reach the NE trade winds on the north side. Not too bad.
[pos]06 21n 142 52w
[sp]4.0 kts
[w]SE 10 kts

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Magic Carpet Ride

[pos]04 15n 142 57w
[sp]7.2 kts
[w]E 12 kts
[s]Strange progress. We're going much faster than it feels and also being set to the east by the equatorial counter current.
Sadly my water speed sender is clogged, so I only have speed over the ground data. Approaching ITCZ.
We hooked a giant fish yesterday that just about stripped almost 500 m of 20 kg line of my reel. As I tightened up the drag, the #5/0 hook straightened out and it was gone. I wonder what it was. Big yellowfin tuna? Marlin?

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Going Bananas

The wind came up for us last night, so we put a reef in the mainsail and charged along a 7 knots through the night.
This morning the wind eased back down to the previous conditions and we're back under full sail at 6 knots.
Comfortable sailing. We're one third of the way, and our water and fuel supplies are good.
We're going bananas today. Banana bread and Choco-banana loaf. This may be the end of the fresh bananas. We have lots of dried bananas as well.
I've branded the dried bananas as "shrunken monkey fingers"
The bananas in the Marquesas are the best I've ever had anywhere. Papaya too.
current position:
01 37 N
142 51 W
Course 350
Speed 6.1 knots

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Crossing the equator today

My RSS news feed reported that the immigration websites of Canada and New Zealand were overloaded after the election results.
Special times. How embarrassing. Hopefully the "Millennial" demographic will organize to create something better in the future.
We're making improved progress today in comfortable conditions.
It was actually cool enough last night to generate dew on the deck. I had to put a shirt on for the first time in 5 days.
Many boats that are underway to New Zealand are getting pummeled by fronts spinning off of a high latitude low pressure system. We got knocked around a bit getting in to New Zealand last year. I remember it well. Good luck to our friends.
Pau Hana is at:
S 00*37'
W 142*21'
Course 000*
Speed 5.0 knots

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The wind is DEAD!

After slowly diminishing last night, the wind just gave up this morning. It evidently didn't get the forecast.
Even our spinnaker couldn't stay full enough to support it's own weight.
We have too far to go to burn fuel thoughtlessly, but we're motoring none the less. If the current forecast holds true, we chould get back into some wind in about 18 hours.
Today will be devoted to banana pancakes and fishing.
22% complete
Current Position:
01 53 S
141 45
C W 350 T
S 5.0 knots

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Monday, November 7, 2016

got that swing...

We're almost done with day three, and it feels like we're settling into the routine. All donuts and brownies are long gone.
The first two days usually feel uncomfortable as we're getting used to the sleep schedule and living at 15* of heel.
Conditions are good. We're running parallel with an American couple aboard the sailboat "Serenity," although they're about 1000 miles to the west of us.
They also check in to the Pacific Seafarer's Net on 14.300 MHz. The HF radio is really a nice widget for these conditions. We get all of our weather info, send position reports, and chat with the neighbors too!
At midday the sun feels like it is about five miles away and set on "high." We're staying in the shade as much as we can. It's quite pleasant to be up in the cockpit at night, however. We will get to watch the moon wax to full while on this passage. We will cross the equator in about 36 hours an get a glimpse of Polaris peeking up over the horizon. We've been in the southern hemisphere since March 12, 2015.
[pos]03 17s 141 27w
[sp]6.0 kts
[w]12 kts NE

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Free Loadin' Frigate Bird

Last night at dusk a frigate bird maneuvered for several minutes trying to land on our solar panels, where it sat quietly through the night. Just as the dawn brought some vislble light, it gave a croak and set off for another day in the life without land.
We had a clear night with the moon setting early, so the stars were very bright and felt quite close.
Today brings more bright sunshine and mostly easy wind and waves. The wind should shift more easterly in another day which will allow a more comfortable angle for us.

[pos]05 10s 141 23w
[sp]6.0 kts
[w]12 kts NE

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Deep Blue Sea

We had to motor a bit to get clear of Marquesas but we are now sailing well more or less along our intended route.
There are no more charted hazards between us and Hawaii.
We've traveled 130 nautical miles in our first 24 hours. Good enough for me.
Today is bright, sunny and about 85 degrees. It's fairly hot in the cabin
We are currently at:
S 07*18'
W 140*58'
Heading 336*T
Speed 6.2 knots

Friday, November 4, 2016


After almost 6 months in French Polynesia, Pau Hana is headed north to Hawaii, USA!
We will be in daily radio contact with the Pacific Seafarer's Net and posting our position reports here.
Any comments on the blog get forwarded to our radio email, so feel free. We'll be right here for the next 16-18 days.
The outrigger is sold so the foredeck is clear. We've got 100 gallons of water, 50 gallons of diesel, a pan of brownies and a fresh bag of donuts.
Here we go!
S 08*55'
W 140*15'
C 320*T

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nuku Hiva

We've been in Nuku Hiva for 10 days. We're getting Pau Hana ready for the crossing to Hilo, Hawaii. There we'll clear back into the USA, rest, and then sail to Honolulu, where we'll keep the boat in a marina adjacent to Waikiki Beach for the winter. It's 2000 nm from here, we're estimating about a 16 day passage. Today we're provisioning, checking the rigging, and starting to get packed up. I'm guessing we'll leave on Thursday or Friday. The hardest part always seems to be getting away from the house (or the island, in this case).

I was psyched to get to dive here in Nuku Hiva. We had a fantastic sighting of about 8 hammerhead sharks. They were curious and swam right over to see who was checking them out.

There are lots of stone tiki here. The anchorage is in the background.

Local singletrack.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Our next leg will be from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas to Hilo, Hawaii. At our typical rate on passage, it should take 16 days. Polynesians that populated Hawaii made this passage in handmade boats over one thousand years ago. They had no compass, map, gps, nor ipod. Respect.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Exotic tropical beverage...

This is actually a nasty cocktail of water and diesel bugs. Luckily it gets trapped in this separator bowl before getting delivered through two filters and on to our injector pump. The Lil' Swede only drinks the purest fuel.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fatu Hiva, Tahuata

Fatu Hiva- population 600, no airport, supply ship comes 2x/month. Martin traded some rope for this Marquesan carving into his canoe paddle. 

We were the only boat in the bay for a couple days.
We stopped for a few days at Tahuata enroute to Nuku Hiva. Passed our 19th wedding anniversary in this bay, Hanamoenoa. Dinner menu: Spaghetti Alfredo with shelf stable cream, canned chicken & mushrooms served with a green papaya and pamplemousse salad. Started it off with the last bottle of NZ prosecco found rolling around in the bilge.

Monday, October 17, 2016


A speedy 40nm daysail has brought us to Hanamoenoa, Tahauata!
No fish caught, but we're chilling our Prosecco for celebration of our 19th wedding aniversary!
S 09*54.5'
W 139*06.3'

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fatu Hiva

Nice catch!

Lexi Gulbranson M.D.

Arrived Fatu Hiva

Pau Hana is back in the Marquesas.
Fresh Mahi in the fridge
Anchored at
S 10*28'
W 138*40'

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Sorry, Charlie

[pos]10 33s 138 59w
[sp]5.5 kts
[w]10 kts NNE
[s]Underway from Fakarava to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.
70% clouds, 1m waves. Fatu Hiva in sight. 20nm to go. Hopefully we'll be anchored around 10AM
Saw another vessel at 0400 this morning; the only one of the entire trip.
Caught a little tuna yesterday afternoon just before dinnertime.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

four days becomes five

[pos]11 12s 140 53w
[sp]4 kts
[w]10 kts E
[s]Underway from Fakarava to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.
20% clouds, 1m waves. Barometer up 2 mb overnight. Hoping to arrive before wind goes light, but alas. The lil' Swede will save us.
We had originally planned that this passage would take four days. Sailing up through waves and current has slowed our progress by 25%. I cannot imagine how the early Polynesians traveled against wind, waves, and current.
I'll try to catch a fish today. I didn't even try earlier when the oncoming waves were as big as a two-car garage
Last night I had good radio communications with shore stations in Hawaii and in California.
Good times.

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

five steps forward, three steps back...

[pos]12 18s 142 12w
[sp]5 kts
[w]14 kts E
[s]Underway from Fakarava to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.
50% clouds, 1.5-2m waves. Better progress today. 235nm to go. Noticeable current set against us.
Marquesas maintains a 30 minute time difference ahead of Tahiti and Hawaii. Given that I have no appointments, I'll likely not change my watch.
The sailor in distress that we were listening to has been picked up by the Fiji Coast Guard. His sailboat was set adrift. Bummer.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Birthday Boy

I'm 46 years old today. Pretty old. But alas, I'm happy with where I'm at.

We have been listening to a distress situation on the Pacifc Seafarer's Net. 14.300 MHz
Some solo sailor 150nm to the NW of Fiji has a large open infected wound on his foot and can no longer operate his boat.
He has good radio support from all the ham operators, but the Fiji search and rescue is taking several days to respond to his distress call.
Best of luck to him. I'm thankful we have good radio communications.
[pos]13 18s 143 28w
[sp]5 kts
[w]18 kts E
[s]Underway from Fakarava to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.
50% clouds, 1.5-2m waves.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Pau Hana is underway

[pos]14 30s 144 26w
[sp]5 kts
[w]18 kts E
[s]Underway from Fakarava to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas. Strong current set against us last night while leaving Tuamotus. Better sailing now that we're out in the open.
15% clouds, 1.5m waves. The current was pushing us back off our course by 14 degrees! I can see why many ships wrecked in the Tuamotus during the 1700s-1800s.
Slow and steady. 416nm to Fatu Hiva.
All's well aboard.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Still in Fakarava

At the Pink Sands beach, South Fakarava
From the aptly named Wall of Sharks, South Fakarava
We can't seem to leave Fakarava. The lagoon and oceanic wildlife here are just making it hard to go, easy to stay. We've been sailing in the lagoon in perfect conditions: flat seas, full sail, 15-20 kts of wind and great visibility, hard to beat. The dinghy engine didn't like being towed behind the boat for 20+ miles and thus staged a brief walk-out, but Martin was able to coax it back to life. I'm lucky because my boat comes with a handyman- Martin's does not!

Conditions permitting, we're looking at heading north-east to the Marquesas in the next week. It will be a 4 day, 500 nm upwind sail. We'll be there about a month getting ready for the crossing to Hawaii in November.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Aqua Pig

I knew immediately there was trouble when Mart returned from a paddle in the outrigger, tapped on the hull with his paddle, and said, "I've got a present for you." I was initially hopeful (he found a black pearl??) and then suspicious (a present after paddling?) Then I heard the scurrying from inside the foot box of the canoe and understood that this was definitely not a pearl.

Martin reported that about 200 yards away from shore and 4K south of our anchorage he saw a dozen sea birds circling and diving at something. Curious, he paddled a bit closer and saw that it looked like something was swimming, something was trying desperately to keep its' head above water. He paddled up next to the fracas and found, with surprise (and immediately named) Aqua Pig! The little piglet was swimming for his life. Somehow, he had fallen into the ocean and decided to try to swim to Tahiti. He was, without Mart's help, not going to make it. So Martin gallantly scooped him up, put him in the canoe and brought him home. Home, to our boat. 

We quickly found a local gal who liked the little guy ( Oh!!! Couchon!!), and adopted him to grow big and strong and probably someday become a merry feast for many. Poor little guy. 

The rest of the week has been just diving; barracuda, grey sharks and big eye fish. We're also enjoying the local fruits, including melons. The last pic is of laundry day on Kauehi, lots o' good times in the tropics.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Kauehi recap

Kauehi was like a 10 day dream. We had the atoll to ourselves and anchored at an ultra protected spot. We stayed a bit longer than planned so we could do some diving outside the pass and enjoy the solitude. Now we're back in Fakarava, land of decent wi-fi, stores with some fresh veg and... more diving.