Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hiking in Paradise

On Sunday we took a break from the administrative hoops that we're working on and went to have some fun. We sailed to the next bay over and hiked to the world's second (or third depending on what book you read) highest waterfall. Some other cruisers joined us with their kids, so it was lots of fun. The hike is fairly easy, not too steep, through the jungle. The river comes down from the falls to the ocean and we had to cross it several times. It's quite refreshing to get your feet wet after a hot hour of walking.

At first glance the trail looks a lot like a hike in the Cascade foothills. Viny trees like maples, criss cross the undergrowth. Rocks and roots mar the trail. But on on closer inspection, the leaves on the path are dinner plate sized and the ground is littered with huge flowers that have fallen from the canopy. Looking up, the difference is striking, instead of fir trees there are palms. Coconut husks instead of pinecones line the path. We walked about 2 hours in and had a picnic at the base of the falls. The kids did great, I almost couldn't keep up with them on the way out. Small lizards scurry out of the way with every step. The kids had fun counting them.

We finally finished getting the $4000 out of our acct that we need to get our 90 day Visa. Now we can go explore the other bays on the island. There is a vanilla plantation nearby that I'd like to see. Several more waterfalls are in the next bay and a pod of melon headed whales bask there. Sounds good to me. On Saturday the local dance school is having a performance, so we think we'll come back for that. Hopefully Peter V. will be flying out soon, as he is still not feeling well. Then we'll probably head south to the next island, early next week.

By the way if you haven't explored the rest of our website in a while, have a look around. Just before we left MX we posted several more picture pages under Log, and Boat. We will try to get a page going of the crossing and the island soon.

Thanks for reading, Kellie

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Each Saturday there is a public market on the pier. Other cruisers had joked that it's a "bring your flashlight" kind of market, and that it's all over by 6am... I wasn't sure how serious they were, thinking maybe it's a running joke played on newcomers. Anyway, I wasn't about to miss it because we're all out of fresh fruits and veggies, so I dinghied ashore in the dark at 5:30am this morning. Things were bustling and going fast! There were several tables with eclairs and home-baked goods, two trucks selling stalks of bananas, and 2 fruit and veggie tables. One of them was selling produce that had come in off the supply ship the day before yesterday. They also set up in front of the local grocery store each morning. They had carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, kale and cabbages. A small cabbage is $4-5 usd! The other vendor had a table about the size of a card table with home grown fruits. I got 2 pamplemousse (sp?), which are VERY large grapefruit, and 5 mangos for about $3.50usd - a good buy. I also got a stalk of bananas. You don't see stalks of bananas for sale back home. Picture a bunch of bananas. Now picture a 2" diameter branch with those bunches arranged all the way around it in a near solid ring. Repeat that every 10" along the branch and you're getting the picture. For $5usd I got a stalk with 3 rings of bunches, I figure it's about 15lbs of bananas... and it was by far the smallest stalk he had! Good thing we like bananas, as they'll probably all ripen at the same time!

Yesterday was laundry day. There's water hoses available on shore for the fishermen to wash with while they clean their catch each morning (it's not safe for drinking, and rather brown but fine for washing and showers). Each time we went to shore we'd bring our (4) 4 gallon buckets and haul them back to the boat full of water. We've got a big rubbermaid bin that we soaked a "load" of clothes in soapy water overnight and agitated by hand occasionally, then rung it out and packed it in the bin to take ashore to rinse. The rinsing is accomplished by lining up 3 buckets full of water. A handful goes in the first bucket, gets sloshed around, then rung gently and put in the second bucket, repeat for the third, then rung as well as possible and stacked in a bin. When the first bucket of water gets pretty scummy, it's dumped out and filled with clean water and becomes the third stage. The second becomes the first and the old third becomes the second... (We're really going to appreciate having a washing machine when we get home!) The clothes have to be packed in a bin with a lid because it'd sure be a shame to get a saltwater slop in the dinghy and have to start all over again with the rinsing. Back on the boat, all the clothes are hung on the lifelines, rigging and temporary clotheslines. We look rather festive with all the colored "flags" hanging! We should have brought more clothespins, tho! It's SOOO much easier when there's lots of water available than when we're using our precious freshwater supply from our tanks. From now on we'll have to jug all our water out in the dinghy to fill our tanks when good water is available... it doesn't take long to learn to conserve when you have to carry every gallon. -Pete

Friday, April 22, 2005

Nuku Hiva

We've had our first good night's sleep in 3 weeks and life is looking a bit better. Amazing what some rest will do to your outlook. We're having to readjust our time and schedule. We figured out what time it is locally and it's several hours earlier than we were used to. Also, the sun is well up by 6 a.m. and it's nice and cool until about 8:30. Then it's so incredibly hot that we just drip. The hills are high so the sun goes behind the mountain about 5 p.m. and then it gets cool again. I was worried that it would be too hot to sleep but it's just great at night and we slept like babies. So our theory is that if we want to hike or do chores we have to do that in the cool and just swim and read in the daytime. The locals seem to do that. If you want groceries you have to show up at 7-8 a.m. to get your fresh baguettes and vegies. Only a few things are grown on the island and they are not too expensive. Anything imported is outrageous and I'm glad I stocked up in Mexico so well. Peter got lettuce, a cuke and some tomatoes this morning for about $5. We're all anxious to have a salad and fresh bread for lunch.

There is another kid boat here for the moment. They waved us down immediately and the kids are really enjoying the company. There is a 7 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. The boys are having a squirt gun war on deck and the girls are playing Barbie. Doesn't matter where the kids are, some things are just universal. They are on their way to San Francisco delivering a boat. Part of cruising life is all the hi's and goodbye's.

It's absolutely beautiful here. It's so nice and green compared to Mexico. We found Mexico quite cluttered compared to what we're used to at home. Here it's absolutely clean and manicured. There is grass and nice trails and no garbage. The trees are all flowering. Ellie collected plumeria and made a necklace. It smells glorious

We're still working on the clearing in process. We have to put down a bond of $1200 each to guarantee that we leave. The trouble is getting the money. Cash machines don't give our that kind of money and apparently the bank can only run visa cards. Different people are having different experiences depending on their bank policy. After we finish that we can get a 90 visa for $30 each. When we leave the country we get our bond back minus or plus the difference in exchange rate when we leave. Every country has their hoops to jump through. There may be a way around it if we use an agent, but we haven't found out how much he charges yet.

No one is real anxious to weigh anchor again. We have a bit of rest to catch up on and are anxious to get acquainted with the boats that are here. We are hearing about great places to go though. Our next stop will be around the corner in Daniel's Bay. That is where Survivor was apparently filmed. Some other cruisers saw a hammerhead shark there and some huge sea turtles. The adventure continues.

love and greetings to you all, Kellie

Thursday, April 21, 2005


It's green!! All we've seen is blue for the last 3 weeks. We dropped anchor at 5:30 a.m. this morning and went to bed. Now we're putting the dinghy together and preparing to go to shore. Surprisingly the kids are in no hurry to get off the boat, they are just happy to not be moving. Another cruiser on a CSY stopped by this morning to give us all the local scoop on sharks, bugs, crooks and seafood poisoning. Welcome to the Marquesas. We have to figure out the administrative hoops to jump through today.

There has been a strike on the supply ships recently, so they have just had their first shipment. There has been no flour. We're all looking forward to french bread, so hopefully they start baking soon.

There is another kid boat close by too. We're also looking forward to Wyndeavor arriving in a week or so.

All for now, we'll keep in touch. Appartently there is internet here too, so you can write to us.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Land Ho!

We've sighted land! We're still about 40 miles form Nuku Hiva, and won't arrive in the anchorage until the wee hours of the morning, but still... pretty darn exciting to see something on the horizon other than clouds and waves!


almost there!!

It's interesting, we're only 60 some miles from land, but we can't see it, smell it or in anyway tell that today is any different than when we were half way across. Pete is pretty disappointed that we will arrive in the dark, as he's always dreamed of this landfall. We should be there by 2 a.m. or so and the moon is almost full, so I assume it'll be awesome. The anchorage is well marked and apparently easy in the dark. In the daylight the island is visible from 20 miles. I'm not sure if there are any lights on top, so who knows when we'll see it.

We talked to Wyndeavor this morning and Mike's mother is in ICU, not expected to recover. Please pray for the family. Wyndeavor is still only just half way across and he's feeling awfully stuck. We'll check into flights etc when we get there and let him know what the options are for getting home.

The boat is getting awfully dirty and disorganized. It's just too hot to be below for long, so we all do the bare minimum and then go back out for air. I can hardly wait to get some buckets of water to wash everything in. We are doing great on drinking water in our tanks, but will be glad to get more from land for laundry etc. The kids have been doing lots of projects with construction paper. Even though I sweep daily, there are bits of paper everywhere. At least they are staying busy.


90 miles to go!

Only 90 miles to go! We've travelled 2889 miles from Zihuatanejo, MX. Average speed 5.8kn, max speed 15.6kn (surfing down a wave). Looks like we'll make a 176 mile noon-to-noon today, which would be our record.

ETA is between midnight and 1am unfortunately... we auew have a knack for arriving in the dark!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

200 miles to go

I'd like to say we'll be there tomorrow, but maybe not before midnight, so I won't jump the gun. Today is our 3 week mark. I guess it'll end up being about a 22 day passage if you figure we took one day off at Clipperton. It'll be almost 3,000 miles in all. Nothing too exciting to report. Ellie lost a tooth and we saw a ship. It's her second tooth lost on this passage and her 4th on the whole trip. How many kids can say they lost one tooth off the coast of CA, one in the middle of the sea of Cortez, one in the North Pacific and one in the South Pac. Maybe I'm not feeding her enough vitamin C, and she's got scurvy?

It is our 5th ship sighting. Not much chance of being in the same square 5 miles of the ocean as another boat.

It's so hot here, we're just dripping. You can't move around much or it's intolerable. I'm looking forward to swimming!

Monday, April 18, 2005

In sight of the barn...

Well, not quite in sight of it yet, but we're getting close enough that we've started estimating time of arrival... 'course right now it looks as though we'll probably be arriving at Nuku Hiva in the middle of the night. Cruisers ahead of us have been able to get 90 day visas (as opposed to them only giving out 30 day, which was the rumor in Mexico). Good news, that.

Nothing much to report - the cloudy, squally weather that we'd been experiencing for several days seems to have left us. We've now got clear skies and about 18kn SE winds. The seas are up a bit again, with swell running around 10ft, but it's not too uncomfortable. We're catching up to Seanika (they're now 80 miles ahead), but probably won't catch them before we arrive... oh well. Yesterday thru today was our best yet noon to noon at 173 miles!

A school (herd?) of dolphins came by this morning and gave us a great show. They approached the boat leaping out of the faces of waves, then stuck with us surfing on the bow wave and nearby wave faces for about half an hour. There was at least one juvenile, about half the size of the adults. Probably 20 in all.

The kids are busy at the moment playing with a bunch of small plastic turtles, making elaborate habitats out of tupperware and construction paper. It's fun to see what they come up with to entertain themselves. The adults are having a bit more difficulty staying entertained. I've read several short stories out of Tim Cahill's "Please Pass the Butterworms" to everyone, and today I hauled out the sewing machine and made a French flag and a yellow "Q" flag in preparation for our arrival (a bit of a challenge while heeled!). Lots of just sitting in the cockpit staring out at the ocean. I'm finding that I'm not spending much time in meaningful deep thought as I hoped I would. I guess fatigue due to little sleep and the constant motion prevails. Kel and I (with the kids input, too) have been discussing what we want out of life when we return... nothing definitive yet, but good to realize there will be life after "the sailing trip".

Position 05 47S, 134 33W. 2607 miles from Zihuat, 368 to go. We're averaging over 7kn for 36 hours! Current ETE: 57 hours 15 minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Go Imagine Go!!

Kellie's Comments Go Imagine Go!! I figure a little encouragement never hurts. Currently we are making pretty good time so it must be working. We've had clouds and rain off and on for several days now. There is a stormy area about 1000 miles south of us which is maybe giving us some clouds and moderate wind. The clouds are a bit of a blessing as it keeps the temp in the 80's instead of the 90's. The wind is perfect to have another good mile day. We have 600 miles to go and are hoping to make it by Thursday.

Pete is celebrating his birthday today. It will be bit hard to make it special, but I'll make some dessert and we have some decorations. Peter V is still quite sick, so the sooner we get there the better. Carter is hanging in there great, but Ellie is really showing the strain. She is constantly acting up and is refusing to do any school. I'm tired but managing to cook, clean up a bit, think up activities for the kids and read a bit. I've also been asked to be the net controller for a single side band radio net for puddle jumpers. In English, that means that every day 11:30 all the boats crossing from Mx to the Marquesas come on the radio, give their positions and have brief conversations with each other. It is helpful to have one boat "control" the discussions, as it's confusing to have multiple boats on the same station. People end up talking over each other otherwise. Also the boats that have just left have a hard time hearing the boats that are almost there, so it's nice to have someone relay communications. We seem to hear everyone so I was nominated. I like being on the radio, it's something to do, so no problem.

I'm running out of original meal ideas. I'm trying to keep it interesting, as there is not much else to look forward to. I think I've run through my creative options and am now just going for easy. I canned some chicken and beef before we left. It's excellent. When it's rough, it's nice to heat up some sauce, pour it over the already cooked meat and viola, dinner. I did manage some tuna and rice last night, but since we were healed over about 15 degrees, I skipped the coleslaw. I figure chopping cabbage in the rough conditions was more dangerous than skipping a vegetable at that meal. We had oranges for dessert, since they are going bad. I still have potatoes, carrots, apples, cabbage and some tomatoes & kiwis. Not bad for almost 3 weeks out. I'm obsessing about a caesar salad, hope I can get some lettuce in the islands.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Equator crossing!

We're now a boatload of "Shellbacks", inducted into the club of equator-crossers.

We crossed into the southern hemisphere this afternoon at 128 degrees 50 minutes west. Kellie, the kids and I all went for a quick swim - somewhat unsettling when the bottom is 4,500 ft below, but what an amazing color blue! I scraped goose barnacles off the bottom of the boat with one eye out for critters sneaking up on us. It's amazing how quickly the barnacles grow. I'd cleaned the bottom completely (again) at Clipperton, and some of the new goose barnacles had stalks as big as my pinky finger!

We had a little party, videotaped the GPS counting down to zero then S. latitude, had some sparkling cider and threw confetti overboard to as an offering to King Neptune... The refreshment of the swim lasted about long enough to get dried off. Now we're all hot and sweating again.

There's no wind, so we've been motoring most of the night and all of today. Hopefully the wind will pick up soon!

Seanica is about 100 miles straight south of us and we're (we'll, at least I am) unofficially racing the last 845 miles.


whale of a time

I guess there wasn't much to report yesterday, so no one wrote. But then after dinner we had a visit from a whale. He surfaced maybe 12 feet from the boat, presumably to check us out. The spray practically came up around the rails. Peter V and I saw him, and then he was gone. We did see some more spouts in the distance but no more close encounters. I figure he was maybe 30+ feet. No idea what kind, as we only saw the back but not the tail.

We've cleared the ITCZ with no difficulties. However, now we have no wind and are motoring. No wind is forecasted for at least another 24 hours. So much for our 7 knot average days. We have 860 miles to go. I hate to think how long that is at our current speed. Hopefully the SE trades will fill in soon and we'll zoom the rest of the way.

Even Pete is starting to get bored, so it's really time to get off this boat. We've had some chats on the radio with other boats and everyone is starting to wonder how we're all going to get home. It's one thing to sail downwind 5,000 miles, it's another to turn around. We'll see how the month of May goes in Polynesia and then we'll have to make some definite plans for our future.

Everyone is pretty lethargic and sleep deprived. The constant motion of the boat keeps your muscles in use all the time. Even sleeping is not totally restful because of always compensating for the roll. Peter V. is still quite sick so is really not able to help much.

I promised the kids a party when we cross the equator, so if I can find the energy to make rice krispie treats, we'll have a little celebration sometime today we think. We have party hats, balloons and home made confetti. I got out all my paper punches and the kids filled up a yoghurt container with shapes. We'll use it to toast King Neptune.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hopefully across the ITCZ

We sailed all night, and think that we're clear of the ITCZ. There's still a chance it'll swing south and envelop us again, but each mile we make southward decreases that likelihood. Looking back on it now it's quite an interesting, frightening and dreary bit of ocean... makes me think of the 'Void' in Star Trek... that, and it's very damp.

Anyway, the sun is coming up this morning and we're making good time again in the right direction. Current position is 02 58N 125 39W. We'll cross the equator sometime tomorrow, and the kids are already planning the details for the party we'll have.

Peter V has abandoned his SCOP patch and gone back to Dramamine with much improved results. The ride has improved as well now that we're on a beam reach with plenty of wind. It's still a bit bumpy as we're getting the NE swell from above us and SE swell from below... oh well, it'll make that first anchorage seem all the more calm! 1829 miles from Zihuat, 1108 to go!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

rain rain go away

Yep, our tropical heat wave and our beautiful trade wind sail are over for now. The ITCZ has swung north to envelope us in rain and no wind. We still have the lumpy seas, so are motoring along slowly, rolling back and forth. No one is feeling good, so we're just sitting around like bumps on a log. It really helps control the roll when we sail. The good thing is that the batteries are all charged back up.

Energy levels and moral are slowly slipping. It was such a great feeling to hit the half way mark, but also overwhelming to think that we have a week and a half to go. Today is day 14. I handled the first week pretty well, and then the stop at Clipperton was rejuvenating. Now we're done with the second week and figure there is still 9-11 days to go. We're thankful for all the really fast days that we have had. Today will be more like 130 miles, which is still respectable but noon to day 'til noon tomorrow will be more like 100 if we keep motoring. We're headed due south to try to get across this zone as quick as possible.

We're doing fine on water, but might try to catch some rain for laundry. When we get there, the only way to get water is to carry it in jugs in the dinghy. That is time consuming work, so we might as well take advantage of the rain. We aren't going through many clothes. We only get a good wash about every 5th day, so why bother changing into clean clothes more often. My how our standards have changed. -Kellie

update: We're sailing again! Hopefully we're out the S. side of the ITCZ, but won't know for sure 'til we get to about 1 or 2 degrees North. We started motoring after midnight and just turned if off 16 hours later. So far we've motored 44 hours total. It's so much more comfortable to be sailing again! -Pete

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Half Way!!

Twelve days out, 1450 miles and we've made it half way. Pete had a good discussion with Don Anderson, a wonderful sailor out of CA who does weather for cruisers, and he has assured us that we are in a great spot. There is no bad weather coming our way, the trades are strong and the ITCZ is only 75 miles wide. We will keep going on our course of 240 degrees (SW) and when we run out of wind in the doldrums (ITCZ) we'll motor due south until we hit the trades on the south side. We figure that'll be in about 2 days. We're about 400 miles north of the equator so will probably cross that in a week or so unless we turn straight south sooner. We're still averaging 7 knots at present and are hoping that lasts.

We've taken the day off from school today, being Sunday. No one is feeling very well, so reading is low on the list. We'll try to do our usual bible stories before bed though tonight. Everyone has been quite quiet and lethargic today. The constant motion is taking it's toll on us. Peter V. is still quite sick and not eating, talking or moving much. He couldn't even eat his birthday cake yesterday. The kids spent all morning listening to headphones. Pete and I napped, since it was quite lumpy last night and we didn't sleep much. I plan spaghetti for dinner, I hope everyone can stomach it. It's an effort to at least keep everyone hydrated in this heat. Today it's about 90, but the bright sun is charging batteries so it's good.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

nothing new

We had our fastest day yet today, 170 miles. Yesterday was 159. We're keeping track of our miles from noon to noon. We've got our watches set on Central time still although we have technically crossed into Pacific time. Everyone we are keeping in contact with in MX are still later than us, so why bother changing our watches yet.

The weather is a combination of clouds and sun. The temp has been in the mid 80's the last 2 days, so it is a relief to be cooler. We've been joking about the wind chill factor putting the temp down in the 70's at night and how we're all going to freeze after acclimating to 95.

I am doing a bit of cleaning up today, those bathrooms still need cleaning and the floor still needs sweeping. Peter V. is celebrating his birthday today, so I'll also be making some dessert. He's not much up to eating, but he says chocolate is always good.

The kids painted sun catchers yesterday and played with stickers. We did have a nice dolphin show in the afternoon. That's the other thing we're joking about. Two days in a row we've had them come so we're not "scheduling" anything for the afternoon so we don't miss them. Peter V says this is more like a bus trip than sailing. Compared to his Hobie Cat at home, this isn't very thrilling. I'm not sure Pete feels the same, as he is always tuned into the boat and strategizing to get us there as fast as possible. We have hardly even tweaked the sails though in the last 2 days and the wind vane steers 24/7. Like Maggie on Aurora B said, passages are just living on a boat when it's moving. The only difference from anchor is we can't get off and we're always rolling back and forth. That's a big difference if you ask me.

Anyways, just I'm just rambling since there is not much else to do. We have friends who crossed the equator yesterday not too far west of where we are now. We might continue on in the NE trades for a bit longer before we make the right turn south. We're all pretty happy with the 7 knot average right now. We are on a course of about 240, so we are making south progress too.

All for now, if something exciting happens, I'll let you all know.


Friday, April 08, 2005

Fish for lunch

Kellie's Comments--We're on our way to a 160 mile day, Thurs noon thru Fri noon. It's still a bit rocky rolly and we are battling some tummy issues, but it makes it mentally tolerable to know we are speeding along. We passed the 1,000 mile mark at around midnight Thursday night. We're heading west southwest, making great time. When I remember that you can drive a car 160 miles in a couple of hours it depresses me a bit, but for a sailboat, we're doing OK. We haven't seen any planes, I guess that's good since then we'd seem really slow.

We caught a huge tuna on Thurs. We figure around 40 lbs, at least as big as Carter. Amazingly enough we fit about 9 dinners worth in the freezer. Luckily we've been eating up our food this last week and had just enough space. We had it for lunch with butter, garlic and limons. Yum Yum. We won't be doing any more fishing for a while. It was a beast to haul on board and we certainly don't have any more freezer space.

We had another spectacular visit by spotted dolphins as well. They seemed to just materialize out of the waves in groups of 4-5. Pretty soon we were surrounded. They fly right out the front of a cresting wave and are airborne for a second or two. It's great fun and we're so happy to have the video camera.

Today Ellie is not feeling great, but we're still trying to do some school. I've promised her a painting project if she does a good job. Carter is stamping with some sea life stamps and is quite content for the moment.

We've fallen into a fairly predictable routine. Pete has watch from 3 am until everyone gets up in the morning for the radio schedule at 7:45. Then we all eat breakfast (except Peter V. since he's still sick) and Pete goes back to bed. I do school with Ellie and keep Carter entertained until lunch. Then it's time for some fun and games. We're played Yahtzee, Go Fish, read stories, listened to CD's (stories & music), done art projects and watched wildlife. It's working pretty well. After dinner, one of the guys does the dishes and then they crash. I put the kids to bed and then enjoy a few hours of quiet. I've been listening to sermons on CD, reading and doing cross word puzzles. Peter V. takes the 11 to 3 shift and I get a full night sleep.

I'm realizing that for myself, the stress and depression that I had coming down to CA is gone and I'm much more adapted to boat life. The kids set me off sometimes with too much whining, but with 3 of us we can usually find some entertainment. The other thing that is hard is that I'm losing a lot of food to mold. Even my egg shells have gone moldy and I've cracked a few rotten ones. When Ellie spilled her chocolate milk yesterday as I was trying to deal with rotten eggs, I came unglued. This morning, after a good night's sleep, I'm feeling more chipper. I just better not find another container of moldy food!

It's still hot, but we have a breeze through the cockpit today and it doesn't seem as sticky. We all had a wash yesterday and that was a nice feeling before bed.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thursday and all is well

We've had consistent radio contact with friends in MX. Unfortunately, sometimes it's bad news. Iain on Loon lost his father last night to a heart attach. They will be trying to figure a way to get home and somewhere to leave the boat. It is complicated since they need a special permit to leave it unattended in MX. Wyndeavor finally got their motor and will be leaving Barra today.

Well, it's hot, hot, hot out here. Yesterday and the day before it was in the mid 90's. The water temp is 84. Today it is overcast and looks like maybe rain, so it is cooler, but by no means cool, since the humidity is very high. We feel constantly sticky. We have tried a recipe out of my can opener gourmet cookbook though. You put a can of fruit, like peaches, in the freezer for a day, and then process it in the blender or food processor to make a smoothy. Luckily I brought a tiny Cuisinart, so we are enjoying some frozen treats. I may try to add some cream next time and make icecream. The other trouble with the cloudy skies is power generation. We're down a bit and hoping to get some sun, or if we have to motor through the ITCZ then we'll make it up. Most of our power comes from our 4 solar panels.

Today we're making 6+ knots, so we're all pretty encouraged. We have 18-20 knts from the NE and a significant swell. It's pretty tough to keep everything from flying around down below. I need 3 hands to cook dinner. We did make 133 miles yesterday and hope to make the same or more today. We're 916 miles out, almost 1/3 of the way. Our average speed for the trip has risen to 5 knots.

The kids and I are doing well. The surprise bag is a good motivation to do school in the morning. Yesterday Ellie did pretend cooking in the kitchen and entertained herself quite nicely. I opened a bag of dried beans and emptied them into a bin for Carter to play with. He used cups and funnels and spoons to play for quite a long time.

I find it strange to think about our "home" sailing across the ocean. We have laundry hanging from the lines, dinners to cook, toys to pick up and dishes to do. But we're moving through the water, over the waves and rolling back and forth like a carnival ride. I wonder if people at home can imagine what it might be like. Probably not, I couldn't.

well, hope all is good at home. I miss spring gardening. I'm dreaming of houses and getting back into a normal routine. We'll be anxious to check the e-mail when we reach civilization.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Trade winds

Well, we left Clipperton under mixed emotions. It was great to stop and we all had a good nights sleep, it was tempting to stay. But we also felt the desire to move on and make some miles. We left around noon and are having our fastest 24 hours yet. We should make 135 miles, which is an average of 5. knots. We're currently in the NE trade winds, heading west. We're trying to stay above 5 N until we hit 130 W, so we can avoid the doldrums and the squalls. So far so good.

Peter V. has discovered that Dramamine works better for him, and he occasionally perks up. It's very rolly today, and no one slept much. Ellie tried to do some school this morning and ended up bowing over a bucket. Now they are listening to "Adventures in Odyssey" stories on CD. No one feels much like reading.

We had a spectacular dolphin show yesterday. They were Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. We had probably 20 riding the bow wave and darting back and forth for about 30 minutes. We all stood on the bow and enjoyed the diversion, as we sailed into the sunset.

It's terribly hot. Yesterday's high was 94 (35 C), the humidity is high, so we feel damp and sticky most of the time. Today it's already 86 at 11 am. We're nearing the Pacific Time Zone, but haven't changed our watches from Zihuat since we're still in radio contact with friends there. It doesn't really matter what time it is anyways, as long as the kids go to bed with the sun.

2180 miles to go, Love to you all, Kellie

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Kellie's Comments-Not much exciting today. There are less and less birds and no other sea life. We're a bit subdued today, as we settle in to the boredom and monotony. Our first rain came today, so we enjoyed about 20 minutes of diversion. The Peters took showers on deck and felt refreshed for a few minutes. The humidity is high, so the feeling doesn't last.

Our dilemma today is, "what time is it?" Seems like a no brainer, but as I study the time zones, they don't really follow straight lines, they are more for the convenience of the countries. So I guess we're currently in Central Time, but Daylight savings through us for a loop. The only reason that it matters is that we have scheduled radio conversations with friends in Mexico. This morning we were an hour late. So now we have our radio sched based on Greenwich Mean time (zulu). The Marquesas are on the same time zone as Hawaii, so we'll catch up when we get there.

We're about 570 miles out. If you draw a line straight south from Cabo and straight west from Costa Rica, there we are. We're still aiming for Clipperton Atoll, in the hopes of a diversion. We should be there tomorrow, but unless the wind picks up we'll pass it in the dark.

We have sailed all day today which is good. The sky is pretty overcast and the squalls are passing all around us. No significant wind associated with them, just rain. Last night there was lightening in the distance. The seas are still rolly, so we're rocking from side to side.

Wyndeavor hasn't left MX yet. They bought a used dinghy & outboard from another cruising boat, but at the last minute the guy pulled the outboard out of the deal. So they went looking for one and are still in limbo. They ordered on a week and a half ago from Mexico city, but apparently it never got shipped. Now they have to decide whether to leave without one, buy a different brand or wait longer. Loon had ordered the same motor, so they too are stuck in Barra waiting. Wyndeavor had planned to leave in mid march, so they are frustrated to be delayed so long. They hope to be on the move no later than Tuesday.

Ellie is currently on the foredeck stomping and shouting. The kids are starting to get a little nuts after 5 days of confinement, so that is a good use of energy. I thought about doing some Hokey Pokey and Father Abraham dances today, but was down with a headache all afternoon. Hope tomorrow I feel better. Peter V. is still seasick, so isn't eating or sleeping much. We really could use a break at the atoll tomorrow. We're going with the belief that slow and boring is better than dangerous and exciting. I'm still hoping for a happy medium.

My main concern is managing all the food I have on board. We are having to eat up the fresh fruit and vegies faster than I had hoped. They are withering in the heat. I'm not too motivated to cook today, since it's too hot to turn on the stove and we're not that hungry. Tonight we had some homemade chicken soup and the kids had fish sticks.