Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Recovery

The most remarkable thing is that the boat is no longer moving.  I cannot even begin to explain how strange that is.  My legs are both sore from use and yet atrophied from only walking a maximum of 36' feet for a month,  I am covered in bruises affectionately called "boat bites" from zigging when I should have zagged and I can't believe I am writing this blog post before taking a shower since I have only showered once a week since we left Mexico.  We left the fuel dock in Ixtapa on Sunday, April 13th at 20:20 UTC and we put our anchor down Sunday, May 11 at 21:47 UTC making the trip about 28 days, so our estimate of one month was pretty close.  In general the crossing was excellent.  We had relatively good weather, moderate winds, only occasional large swell and most importantly the boat and its sailors are still in one piece.  We entered Hilo harbor on a drizzly Sunday morning just as the sun was melting back the morning rain clouds.  Even though I have always been a fan of environmental regulations, having left
Our V-berth shortly before departure!

Zihuatanejo only days after government agents posted "playa contaminado" signs along the beach and then pulling into a busy Hawaiian harbor that was still clean enough that you could see the bottom 35-40 feet below the boat, I have a renewed conviction about their importance.  After anchoring in Radio Bay we did a deep clean of the boat and spent the first night celebrating with a good dinner, a bottle of wine and listening to the luau going only feet from our boat.  Unfortunately, we were confined to Moments until Customs and the Harbor Master could clear us officially into the country today but the beautiful sounds of the Hawaiian language and ukuleles were a more than pleasant welcome.

Fresh food from the sea
There were many exciting times on our adventure across the ocean, a few of which I covered in my other posts but here are some of the highlights!

Provisions: We were carrying 110 gallons of diesel, 110 gallons of water and 50 gallons of gasoline.  We still have more than 50% of all of these quantities.  Still, I wouldn't do it any other way. Even though we ran our refrigerator most of the way across, we didn't have to run the generator or engine nearly as much as we thought we would because we made plenty of wind power.  We did make some solar power but the sky was cloudy except for a handful of days, the wind power is really what saved us.  When it comes to food we were very well provisioned and didn't even have to break into our canned/boxed supplies.  I still have about 35 onions and a few pounds of potatoes!

A little serenade before sunset
Casualties: Our biggest problem was chafe on the Monitor lines.  We had to move the blocks running the lines thought the cockpit, rotate the lines, wrap them in tape, and many other measures to limit, distribute or control chafe and made it here just in time.  All of the sheets will probably have to be replaced before we head anywhere long distance.  We also chafed through one of the belts for our wheel pilot, the electronic autopilot, but we had a spare so that was no big deal.  The most important item to break was the gooseneck, the large hinge that connects the boom to the mast.  It did not completely break and we were able to support the cracks that developed by rigging up a webbing harness.  Our best guess is that it bent and cracked when I (rather violently) accidentally jibed the boat during one of the brief periods of heavy swell and wind that we experienced.  Luckily we had already reefed the sails (decreased their size) so the damage was nothing we couldn't deal with.

Fish count: 7 dorado (mahi-mahi) and one tuna

Notes on wildlife: We were surprised that there were birds with us the whole way across.  Neither of us thought that we would see birds way out in the middle of the ocean, but there they were every day.  We also didn't see any whales, turtles or dolphins once we cleared the Mexican coast and have yet to see any in Hawaii.  Lastly, flying fish can fly an impressive distance!

The best part of for me is that we were literally sailing into the sunset every evening and believe me, there were each different and spectacular!

Would we do it again?  Yes!  Yes, we are sick of sailing, we have been dreaming of steak and Taco Bell since about day 15, and we are planning to spend the next two hours in the shower, but we wouldn't give up the experience for anything.