Island of Hawaii to Fort Langley BC, Canada
by Newest to Oldest
Comments on the Leg
The Island of Hawaii
is an amazing place and somewhere Laurie and I will definitely
go back to. The big scary North Pacific did not live up to
its reputation this time around. The crossing was incredibly
long and slow. The one major concept that came out of this
trip is that were going to do it again. Laurie wants the boat
refitted to make it more comfortable and once done (with some
money in the bank) were going to go on another trip. A wonderful
dream to keep us going through the next few wet and cold winters.
17 Aug 07 - HOME
Home again after
11 months away and tied up to the exact same slip position
we had before. It seems a bit surreal, almost like we never
left as the same boats surround us.
trip from Hawaii to the Vancouver Island was long and at times
very difficult. Why because there was no wind for most of
the time we were out there. Our boat is very comfortable making
140 to 150 miles per day but on this leg our best day once
outside of the trades was 135 miles and our worst was 18.
It is very dishearten to be able to see the same place you
were 24 hours before. At left is the kids on the foredeck
as were leaving Hilo Harbour, sigh!
we knew we had to go quite far west to get around the Pacific
High Pressure area usually sitting at 35 Lat and 155 Long
and we certainly did that. At one point we were less than
800 miles from Midway Atoll which is at the western end of
the Hawaii archipelago (800 miles is not far in this area
of the North Pacific) and of course the plan only partially
worked as the high promptly moved west and over us bring all
sailing to a stop. This was a pre curser to things to come.
The trip up until this point, about 1 week, had been beautiful
with strong trades blowing from the East with warm days and
nights. Once into the high the warmth stayed but the wind
was gone for good.
day we crept North and and hopefully beyond the highs affects
but with no avail. When we did get above it another high developed
to our West or East and sometimes both moving around below
us or above and then overtop of us continually. Pictures at
left and right are sunsets with little or no wind somewhere
way out there. We were now out of the tropics and into the
cold waters of the North Pacific and the combination of no
wind, warm air and cold waters meant fog; days of it! Prior
to the fog we had seen a few freighters and some quite close.
I had two radar reflector up but I knew that out in this area
of the ocean they only man a radar watch and what if someone
sleeps through the alarm!! We could only see about 200 yards
to a 1/2 miles most of the time and we didn't have the electrical
power to keep the radar on all the time.
Why were we low
on power? About 1600 miles from home I noticed that the contents
of the crankcase of my little engine had doubled in quantity
overnight. A crack in the exhaust cooling manifold was allowing
sea water to get into the engine. It actually happened twice
before I figured out what was going on. I had brought quite
a bit of oil for such an eventuality and managed to get the
tainted stuff out both times and new oil in. Once the engine
sat over night full of cold salt water and to be honest I
didn't truly believe it would start after the second episode.
This meant no power for the remainder of the trip including
no autopilot as we had not seen the sun for quite some time
to power our solar panels. Amazingly after cleaning everything
out with new oil the engine did turn over (with some protesting)
and continued to run for the remainder of the trip. I did
have to jury rig a new cooling system but you get very creative
under that sort of pressure. Diesel engines are incredibly
tough little things.
Just about three
weeks into the trip and with only a few days of any serious
movement we were still 1200 miles from home. Our Northerly
movement had put us at almost 50 Latitude which meant that
any movement would have to be dead East and what wind we did
get was slowly pushing us North. At this point we really tore
the boat apart to get an exact inventory of food stuffs left
and then knew that we had to be at a port in 14 days max or
people were going to be seriously hungry. A possibility that
gave Laurie a headache for most of the remainder of the trip.
In reality the closest port was Alaska and we then made plans
to head to Ketchican which was only 700 miles away but slowly
the wind changed and started pushing us East.
days of inching our way to the West Coast of Vancouver Island
later and finely we could see land again. Luckily the air
tempurature had dropped enough that most of the time during
this period the fog was not too bad or even gone, however
it was always grey and cloudy. At this point the closest port
was really Tofino but I had no charts on this area and decided
that Ucluelet, which I did have some charting of, was a better
option because I
had been there by boat many years ago. The wind got us to
within 10 miles of the coast by last light and there we were
hove to and watching vessel traffic moving up and down the
coast all night long. At left is Ampitrate Point at first
light and at right is the kids just as were entering Ucluelet
Harbour. As much as we wanted to get to a restaurant I was
not going to try and enter a unfamiliar west coast harbour
at night. The next morning the waves breaking onto the very
rocky entrance of Ucluelet Harbour confirmed that this was
a prudent decision. The one good thing was we were able to
call the family using the cell phone and let them know we
were ok. They got the word out as I know many people were
getting very worried.
All the kids could
do was talk about the type of food they were going to eat.
Sadly the little town of Ucluelet had changed much since my
last visit with the influx of very rich tourists and the sky
rocketing real estate prices;
the town turned out to be the most expensive place we visited
in our entire trip. A modest lunch for four people that would
have cost less than $10 in Mexico and around $25 at the burger
stands in Hilo Hawaii cost over $50.
We knew then that the stay here was going to be very brief.
After two nights of sound sleep we pushed off and headed for
home past the unbelievably beautiful Broken Islands Group
at left and down into the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The picture
at right is sunrise at the southern end of the island. This
was our last night run and due to a strong flood tide pushing
us around the end of the island we made Oak Bay Harbour and
had the anchor down by supper the following day. Fort Langley
took another 2 days with stops in Ganges Harbour, Saltspring
Island and Captain Cove on the Fraser River.
Click the picture
to see why I'm grinning like an idiot!
At right is Sherringham
left is our slip with balloons decorating and waiting helpers;
a lovely site.
For all the difficulty
and hard work on this crossing we did see some wonderful things.
About 1200 miles off the coast a pod of Killer Whales swam
by the boat. They played around the boat for a minute or two
then proceeded west towards Asia. It seemed that they were
in the middle of no where in that incredibly cold water but
obviously it was home to them. Albatrosses and small deep
ocean sea birds always spent time flying around the boat each
day. In tropical waters flying fish constantly glide away
from the boat in a shimmering silver fan. Close to the coast
again I did see early in the morning the biggest Sun fish
I had ever seen; about the size of our cockpit, ghost past
the boat. The sea itself to me is ever interesting to sit
and watch although you will get an argument over that from
Laurie or Billy. The best times have always been and continue
to be the simple things we do together as a family. Combat
Scrabble and Rummy games, the nightly family meals and the
interaction between the family during the changing of watch
or if something unique is spotted. But we're home now and
soon the pressures of work and school will start!
It is funny how
much I already miss being out there.
Cheers for now
and thank you for all your encouraging emails and calls. It
was lovely to hear from everybody and we will get back to
you just as soon as we can.
15 Aug 07
Vancouver Island BC
We made it!!! Actually
we got to Ucluelet on the West Coast of the Island on the
11th of Aug. 31 days is a record of some sort but definitely
not a speed record. Were on our way home to Fort Langley and
our old dock slip. As soon as I get a chance I will update
this site with lots of stories and pictures. Suffice it to
say that the trip had lots of adventure, good times and some
bad. Cheers for now.
10 July 07
Radio Bay, Hilo
just a day or two away from leaving for home. The big island
of Hawaii is a magical place but it is time to return to reality.
Our trip should last 20 to 25 days but with the Pacific High
moving around as much as it is right now who knows how long
the trip will take. Our spare autopilot is being delivered
today and the boat maintenance is just about done so time
to push off.
There are about
15 cruising boats here and all are serious cruisers from around
the world. We have actually learned more about cruising in
the short time we have been here than we had through out the
rest of the trip.Perhaps our crossing from Mexico has focused
our minds. Anyways the rest of the crews here have been wonderfully
The weather here
is just about perfect everyday. It rains during the night
and early morning after which it is sunny and hot for the
afternoon. The cruise ships come and go regularly and we tag
along on the free shuttle to and from town. Laurie is right
now buying out the grocery store using the lessons from our
A number of other
boats are leaving tomorrow for the North Pacific also but
it is a vast ocean and we will most likely lose sight of them
the first day. Were monitoring SSB for weather and hopefully
will also pickup weather reports from boats ahead of us (others
left this weekend and nicely placed to let us know what is
ahead). The trick is to stay south of the big lows (gales)
and north of the high (no wind). Of course that is the plan
but we will see what happens. No matter what the crew is looking
forward to getting home and is more than capable of handling
what ever comes.
Wish us luck and fair winds. TTYL
29 June 07
Radio Bay, Hilo
love this island! It is simply the most beautiful place we
have ever been. We rented a car for 5 days (not cheap) and
drove around the island as much as we could. The changes in
geography and biology over such short distances is mind boggling
One minute you're in tropical rain forest with the most exotic
plants and a few miles away you're in desert with cactus;
very weird. Eleven of the earth's 13 climate zones can be
found on this island. The windward side as they say here (at
left) is the side where it rains each and everyday, and where
we are in Hilo. Mostly at night or in the morning squalls
come through and drench the area. On the leeward side where
Kona is it rains quite a bit less and in the NW where the
largest private ranch in the world is, the Parker Ranch, it
very dry (at right); all over a quite short distance. In between
these areas there are large lava flows which dominate the
spent a day over on the Kona side trying to find a marine
store to help with the Autopilot problem, finally gave up
and just around the corner went snorkeling at Honokohau Bay
(at left). It was the first time we have seen a coral reef
and were blown away. Once outside the little reef, we swam
over hundreds of the most incredibly colored fish in crystal
clear water. On the beach docile as can be or out on the reef
swimming around us were sea turtles, amazing sight to us that
close but quite common here.
next day we did the Kilauea Volcano. Portions had been quite
active and we were only allowed to drive the Rim road as the
Crater road was closed. It was a cold rainy day and of course
us cruising people did not even bring a windbreaker with us
let alone proper shoes. Never the less it was very impressive.
The pictures are looking down into the Kilauea Caldera which
last had lava flowing in
it in 1982. Left is looking east towards the Halemaumau Crater
in the Caldera which was lava in 74. Right is the west side
of the Caldera. Tommy at right standing on a 1974 Lava flow.
following day we drove back to Kona around the south end of
the island where we discovered the black sand and lava beaches
on the island. We stopped at Punaluu Beach Park and watched
the crowds disgorge from the multitudes of tour busses, rush
out to the sand, take some pictures and rush back to the bus.
That day was sunny but the trades were kicking up something
fierce and we were glad our boat was in the nice snug secure
After seeing the
wild and rugged south coast we made it around to where supposedly
the best snorkeling on the island was and they weren't lying.
At Puuhonua O Honaunau Historical Park (Place of Refuge) we
parked just beside the park and stepped off the lava rock
beach into wonderland. The kids and I were amazed! The coral
there was astounding and went out until you could not see
the bottom anymore which was very deep as the clarity was
at least 50 ft. The fish were varied and not that scared although
we didn't see any sharks (Billy was disappointed and Tommy
relieved). Turtles came right up into the tide pools to feed
on the algae right beside you. A long day but completely worth
After that it was
all work as the car allowed Laurie to get to all the big box
stores and start the re provisioning. I managed to get the
Autopilot fixed today (We will head towards Honolulu and see
if it lasts). A bit more work on the boat and she will be
ready for another go around. I think it will be another week
here (we hope).
left is Banyan Trees just a little ways away from the harbor
with their huge root structure. Right is Pineapple growing
in someone's back yard.