Out of the infamous Bering Sea (as seen on Deadliest Catch etc) after what ended up as a really nice little passage. We thought we might have to motor most of the way but sailed much of it mostly in light winds. It only got a little more sporty towards the end when the winds went hard on the nose in the mid teens. Nice early morning sail in light air downwind - so quiet I could hear the ducks taking flight to get out of our way and then a whale blew about 100 feet beside me which just about made me spill my coffee. Unfortunately also saw a dead small humpback floating (friends called it into the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline for us). Occasionally able to see the 9000' snow covered volcano and some glaciers during the transit. Now on the dock at False Pass/Isanotski to wait for the weather to turn in our favour for pushing further east. Very much a commercial fishing dock.
After a nice visit to Dutch Harbor we are underway again with a freezer and fridge full of fish we received as gifts. A great time out shooting and fishing with our new friends. We motored for a few hours today and then for most of the day close hauled or close reaching in a relaxing 4 to 8 kts of wind. Just passed and slightly passed through a fleet of 16 fishing ships ranging from 90 to 200' long. So much easier here where the fishing ships have AIS and will talk to us on the radio (and are really friendly even though we are wandering on a varying course following the wind close to their operations).
Fluenta is on the dock at Dutch Harbor waiting to clear Customs. First dock since December and, if we can make it work, first proper shore power since 2014. Lots of bald eagles, a few sea otters and friendly people. On the dock with the designer of our anchor (Rocna).
Fluenta has left the Pacific and is now in the Bering Sea. Sailing in light air along the Bering Sea towards Dutch Harbor. ETA Dutch Harbor Monday morning Alaska time. Lots of snow covered volcanic mountain peaks including an active one in the distance. Plenty of birds and seals near the floating kelp patches. Nice to be sailing in flat seas. Weather forecast has a small craft advisory for this stretch of water tomorrow so glad we should be tied to a dock tomorrow morning.
Heading on a broad reach toward Samalga Pass in the Aleutians. We decided to take Samalga Pass vice the others as appears timing slack water for the currents in the pass will be less of an issue. Just starting to see some of the mountains on RADAR at 35nm. ETA Dutch Harbor Monday afternoon Alaska time. A few whales sighted as well as our first sightings of kelp. Many more birds too.
Good progress today sailing deep downwind with following seas surfing NE. Wind has recently eased a bit so now headed up to a close reach towards Umnak Pass
Pretty bouncy and rolly last night until we made it to SE of the low but now Fluenta is galloping towards the barn. From mid morning we were able to gybe over to port tack and since then have been averaging boat speeds in the mid to high 7's with surfs up to 10 kts with SW winds 20-25 kts tucked to the SE of the low. Nice to be on a broad reach again with following seas. Somehow that had not been a frequent situation since our 2014 Pacific crossing. We were heading for Umnak Pass to enter the Bering Sea but now debating Samalga Pass as less tidal current and can better use the west wind to sail closer to Dutch Harbor.
Sailing since last night making good progress straight towards Dutch Harbor with the settled seas - boat speeds from 7 to 8.5 kts. Less so this afternoon as the steep waves picked up and the wind strengthened to about 28 kts. We have turned downwind a bit to get a more comfortable angle to the waves as well as down to a heavily reefed main and staysail. The low to our west should keep moving north east ahead of us giving us some SW winds tomorrow to push us all the way towards Dutch Harbour. Less than 500 nm to the Umnak Pass (where we intend to pass through to the Bering Sea and then it is about 95nm to Dutch Harbor). No fishing today. Pretty cool watching the albatross swooping down the wave troughs though.
A relaxing day motoring towards Dutch Harbor since 1600Z today as we cross a high pressure ridge. Kids excited they can see their breath in the cockpit. Wind expected to fill in this evening. Over 3/4 of the way there by mileage from Majuro to the pass into the Bering Sea.
There was an error in the latitude in last night's update. Making good progress toward Dutch Harbor as the sea state calms. Lots of traffic as we ended up between six Japanese fishing ships.
Cold front was mild - just some rain and a change in trend upwards on the barometer. By the afternoon the wind was heading us southward and the large swells had caught up with us so gybed over to port tack to put the swells on our quarter and, thankfully, a better VMG to the destination. Still sailing deep downwind for comfort but intend to aim closer to Dutch Harbor by the morning. Decided not a good day for fishing. Getting a bit chillier.
Still sailing due east to mitigate the incoming low. Very consistent winds from SSW all day with a bit of wind against current so somewhat bumpy. Still being visited by dolphins and albatrosses. Hope to start pointing more towards Dutch Harbor tomorrow. Less than a 1000 nm to go so 2/3's of the mileage completed.
Sailing due east to mitigate the incoming low. Sailing again since early afternoon in increasing winds from the SSW. Still being visited by our dozens of dancing dolphins (and more albatrosses). One small bird flew into our cockpit last night. Preps for heavier weather completed today but looks like it will be not as windy as initially expected as we are making good progress east.
1160 nm to go to Dutch Harbor - slightly more than a NZ to the Tropics passage. A fickle day of sailing in NW winds 4 to 10 kts. Recently veered to NE as forecast. Aiming to the south of the rhumb line to mitigate some forecast weather. Sailing where we can to conserve diesel. Still being visited by our dozen dancing dolphins (and some albatrosses)
Making progress ... 1250 nm to go and getting colder. Finally a fish caught today - our worst fish/nm rate yet. Lots of dolphins came to play by the bow for quite awhile just before supper. For folks watching the Predictwind Tracker on our blog note it appears to be working again.
Turned right towards Dutch Harbour as should be clear enough of the high. Moderate fog but amazingly consistent winds from the SW all day. Predictwind current data shows a strong band of favourable current so we are following that giving us a helpful 2+ kts of push. An easy motion on the boat so we took the time to catch up on maintenance. The kid seized a dynmea chafe sleeve on the staysail halyard while I did some more indepth rig, engine and autopilot checks plus other odd and sods maintenance that needed doing. Over half way there by mileage: 1390 nm to go !
Under sail since 0130L today in SW winds ranging from 12 to 17 kts. Feels like the doldrums are done. Came across our first fishing net(s) with AIS. We "saw" the first AIS contact 35nm away and then as we got closer another three AIS contacts popped up. Two were labeled "Net Fishing" and the other two were clearly labeled as buoys and they were spread out 20nm across our path. No ship answered hails or acknowledged DSC calls. We could not see any vessels on radar or visually. I think all four contacts were net buoys but no ship within radar distance which seemed odd. Rather than diverting 10nm around the buoys - rather a pain as we would need to gybe away and back as we were already on a deep broad reach - we approached the line carefully as it was just daylight by then. Nothing could be seen until we were about 100' away when we saw little white marker buoys in a line perpendicular to our path. Turns out the net must be weighted as we managed to sail over it without incident. More fun was seeing a pod of large dolphins followed by a school of tuna beside the boat (hiding from the dolphins ?)
Happy Canada Day from this side of the dateline. Was making decent enough progress northward under power and spinnaker considering stil winds less than nine kts but now a massive tear in our light air spinnaker. Will see if we can move the snuffer over to our 37 year old backup spinnaker and get it into play tomorrow when light again. Now on a broad reach with the the genoa on a running sheet. Mostly light southerly winds today. Crazy currents not helping today. I heard a whale blow nearby in the quiet as we slowly worked our way downwind under spinnaker. Several whales sighted including one that dove a few boat lengths from Fluenta. Still lots of garbage in the water. Canada Day hamburgers onboard. No fireworks.
Mostly under sail since the last report: SE winds for most of the day and then SW later in the afternoon. Wind dropped an hour ago to almost zero so spinnaker down and engine on. Based on barometer, wind shift and the latest surface analysis possible that we were at the crest of the ridge. Need to push further north as forecast shows ridge will widen and form a separate high pressure area about here.
The forecast for a large, persistent area of light winds is changing to be a larger, more persistent area of light winds ... Not fast but very comfortable sailing. We have not seen over 8 kts of wind over the last few days and today the winds have been 2 to 7.5 kts TWS. We flew the A2 spinnaker most of the night before switching back to white sails. After a few hours of motoring we were sailing again on a close reach before 0800 and have been undersail all day in winds 4 to 7 kts. No whale sightings today but a far amount of jellyfish. Calm conditions to do some repairs to the spinnaker and transfer diesel from jerry cans to the internal tanks.
Busy nature watching day: sailed very close to two sperm whales on the surface (while we were under spinnaker), we have named the tuna that has adopted us "Sashimi" and the the birds are keeping us amused with their antics. Unfortunately also seeing the most garbage in the water than we have seen on passage before. Motored through the night with very light winds and then sailed all day so far with our light air spinnaker with winds from the SW and occasionally SE from 3 to 8 kts TWS.
All is well onboard. We struck sails last night and bobbed/rolled for several hours as insufficient wind to keep the sails from slatting with the leftover swell. From this morning we have managed to sail, albeit slowly in NE, NW, SE and SW winds never above 9 knots for much of the day including a stint with our light spinnaker until the true wind was below four knots - thanks NIRVANA crew for the spinnaker. Kids kept busy with sails in/out up/down tacks etc. Motoring again now in glassy calm. One fish hooked but it tore out the split ring - classic weakest link fails - I finally treated myself to split ring pliers in Majuro and they came with extra rings ... the pliers are nice but noticed that the rings are not robust enough for handline fishing. Luckily I have a good stock of robust hooks so back into fishing tomorrow.
All is well onboard. Light shifty winds for most of the day making for slow progress under a grey sky. Lots of squalls and lightening for most of the morning. It felt more like the ITCZ than doldrums. Presently motoring to charge (not a lot of solar or wind generator charging today).
All is well onboard as Fluenta leave the tropics in nine miles. First time north of the tropics since the Baja Ha Ha 2012. Liz has been writing lots for the blog which you can check at SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca
All is well onboard as we progress slowly north through a large region of squalls. Based on miles to go from Majuro and miles to go now, we are approx 1/4 the way through the passage. About 2250nm to go.
All is well onboard as we progress north. A busy morning for Liz and Victoria with playing "Frogger" to dodge the squalls but they managed to miss most of them. Winds were ranging from 6 to 20 kts. No fish yet. We should pass Wake Island tonight.
All is well onboard as we progress north. We have mostly been heading north or NNE but recently the winds have backed a bit and so heading NNW. We could sail a but harder on the wind but a long ways to go so keeping with a conservative sail configuration. Presently heading towards Russia but not intending landfall there !
A quiet night last night in 16-18 kts close on the wind with just a staysail and reefed main to keep it comfortable as everybody gets back into passagemaking. Winds down to the 13 to 14 kts range and sailing with reefed main and genoa at 45 degrees to the apparent wind. Mostly heading in a northerly direction and we intend to worry about getting our easting once out of the NE trades. Interview with CBC today. Apparently we will be on a morning show in Alberta this weekend. No fish yet. We did not fish passing the reef as the reef fish are reputed to have cigatera and the large number of sharks. We hooked a shark going into Rongerik and a sailboat we talked to near there hooked three in a short period of time.
Fluenta is on the move again. In a few minutes we intend to weigh anchor and head north. Rongerik is a beautiful uninhabited spot - if rumoured to be haunted - and we were fortunate to spend time here working on a bunch of boat projects and waiting for the 'right' weather to head north. Yesterday we finally went out snorkeling and visited one of the small islands: Boobie chicks ashore and big turtles, giant clams, curious sharks and lots of fish around the reef.
All is well onboard but have diverted to Rongerik to make a few repairs and then head north when a good weather window. For anyone looking at Predictwind Tracker, take our position reports with a grain of salt. It appears our Iridium Go is having some issues with its GPS. No fish but, for our first time in seven years of cruising, we caught a shark (we have had many sharks eat fish we have caught but never have hooked a shark directly). We managed to pull him up close enough to remove our lure and set him free. An interesting exercise for sure.
All is well onboard. No fish (yet). Beautiful starry night.
On passage again after a few delays.
A quick trip down to the MIYC moorings for a break from the city and for one of a birthday party on one of the other kid boats.
Arrived Majuro 2130L today after a bumpy and wet 36 hour passage from Majuro. A nice size mahi mahi and wahoo in the, now working again, fridge. Fun filleting with the beam seas in 20+ kts of wind.
Departed Ailuk Thurs mid morning and heading towards the big city of Majuro after a nice two month stint in the outer atolls. Conditions were a bit bumpy close reaching once out of the lee of Ailuk but nice now that we are slightly further off the wind and in the lee of Maloelap.
A lovely time at Enejelar village again seeing friends from our 2017 visit. Now back in front of the main Ailuk village (population approx 200) for a feast with Anious and Emily. We saw the pig for the feast being loaded into a sailing canoe yesterday at Enejalar - not a happy sailing pig.
Back up to Enjelar village where we spent so much time in 2017.
and now back to the "Kid's Kite School" location but with Sweet Dreams in tow (not literarily though) ... Pretty good for bonfires as well.
and now back to the southern end of the atoll to welcome Sweet Dreams to Ailuk. Excited kids.
Moved back to the "kite school" anchorage in the north of the atoll. Nice visit to the village for Anious's birthday feast.
Had a great stay at previous anchorage kiting plus catching up on maintenance projects and school. Back to the south end of the atoll for Anious's (aka Pumpkin) birthday feast tonight. Supposed to get some boisterous weather tomorrow so will likely head back north again.
We have moved a little further north in Ailuk to find a combination of adequate protection from the winds and seas outside the atoll and a good place for the kids (and grown ups) to kiteboard. A quick recce ashore yesterday - looks like a good spot.
Moved further up the atoll in Ailuk for better protection from the building wind and seas. Nice time visiting Enious and Emily again in Ailuk (and fixing his generator) and kiting near the village. Kids making good progress with the kiteboards even in the mid 20 kt winds.
Returned to Aliuk after an overnight passage from Wotje. Fishing report: no fish landed and one beast stripped the hook off one of our lures and bend the two treble hooks on the other.
Moved Fluenta to a potential kiteboarding location behind Bikanol Island.
Anchored in front the main village in Wotje. Relatively quick passage close reaching the whole way in TWS 14 to 18 kts. Winds only turned to the north in the last few hours. One mahimahi caught and in the fridge.
Fluenta and crew has finally escaped the gravitational pull of the city of Majuro and heading towards Wotje.
Anchored at Majuro at noon and all checked in just before 1700. Ashore for the first time in three weeks and prepping tomorrow for a potential tropical disturbance Saturday night (GFS says yes, ECMWF says no, Joint Typhoon Centre expresses concern, official weather report does not ...). Caught another mahi mahi and a wahoo yesterday making it 1 fish per 290 nm (I removed the 300 nm or so we did not fish due to the bouncy weather from the stats). Stats would have been much better if we did not lose both mahi mahi that hook at the same time just before entering the pass to Majuro. Full stats to follow in a blog post but that is rather further down the "to do" list.
In the first time in three days we have eased the sheets a bit and are not hard on the wind as rounding - at a large distance - Mili Atoll. Much more comfortable now. Thankful for our little tough hank-on staysail that has pulled this far to windward. Still a fair amount of wind averaging in the low 20's peaking so far at 28 kts.
Still heading north ... After days of light winds we went through one big squall and as if we had gone through the Alice in Wonderland looking glass the winds changed. Fluenta has been hard on the wind since 31 Dec (our time) in true winds from 15 to 27 kts. Rather bumpy and wet as we blast through the waves plus amazing amounts of torrential rain. The most dense concentration of squalls and electrical storms we have ever seen so we have been stowing some of the electronics at night including the Iridium Go so you may notice the tracking feature on our blog stops working. Appears we have made it north of the ITCZ so hopefully a bit less squally but stronger winds are forecast. 215nm to go (less than a Marblehead-Halifax race)
No blogs available for this yacht.