Had an uneventful motor sail today to Kupreanof Harbour anchorage off Pual Island. This is a very safe anchorage, will be good sleeping this evening. Tomorrow the plan is to head further ENE to Necessity Cove for one night to break up our passage to Chignink.
The wild weather has started to ease so we pulled out of the pen and ducked around the corner to Baralof Bay to check out the old cannery. Now this is an interesting place. You go around to the western side of the dock and raft up against a couple of derelict freighters to attain the most wonderfully protected spot. You then clamor across those wrecks to get to the dock and are greeted by an affectionate Husky with the most stunnign light blue eyes and the sole inhabitant of the island; namely "Rick" the Caretaker of the old cannery. He maintains the place and the museum he has set up as well as rebuild all sort of equipment that has been salvaged by the cannery's owner. To call it a museum is actually not right as it has a full working machine shop run by old bet driven drive systems and welding shop. Given all the raw material and old parts here you could make anything you need if you have the skills. All up this was a cracking spot to visit; one we'd highly recommend.
Well Bear Bay is not an anchorage we recommend. You anchor on rock that is poor holding and you get an almighty fetch from the east if there is any east in the breeze at all. So we picked up our hook and sailed east to Sand Point yesterday. The sail was as expected, thanks to local advice, which was if the forecast is for 10-15 expect 30-40 and that is what we got. So we arrived in good time after a rough sail and slept like babies. Took an opportunity to refuel this morning in the most benign of conditions. Its the cheapest fuel we've got in so long I cannot remember; it cost a mere USD383 for 125 gallons. Will take the time to catch up on sleep and boat jobs here as a blow is coming that will keep us here in Sand Point until at least Sunday.
Got up early this morning to move from Kitchen Anchorage around into the next bay to an anchorage called Bear Bay. Had a pretty unwelcome easterly breeze that kicked in shortly after arriving. Thankfully the wind has eased. Looking like we'll have a settled evening here. We'll be up early again tomorrow to head east into Sand Point Marina, where we're hang out until some nasty forecast easterlies pass through hopefully by the weekend.
We moved out of the marina yesterday to an anchorage to the east just around the corner called "Kitchen Anchorage". Wow what a top spot, we took the dingy for a spin into the head of the larger bay our anchorage is off and were pleased to be greeted by a couple of sparring bears that took broke off their dual to check us out. Plan is to chill here for one more night then head further east to Bear Bay, which will be our last anchorage before we head into Sand Point to tie up in the marina there and do some reprovisioning in the Safeway supermarket.
0nms to go to King Cove, yes we have arrived and are safely tied to a great slip in King Cove Marina. Some stats from the trip are: - total passage time was 14.5 days - max boat speed was 10.4kts - average boat speed was 6.6kts - max wind gust was 30kts (i.e. yes we did not experience a single gale) - engine hours were 145 (i.e. 5 days, this is the most we've motored on any passage) - genset hours were 7.7 (well it stopped working 1000nms out of Hawaii) - water consumption from 3 of us was 96 gallons - gear failure was limited to our genset deciding it no longer wanted to produce AC current All up it was a good passage, despite the excessive engine hours which were due to the sea state being not conducive to sailing in the direction required rather than there being insufficient wind. In the end it was all worth it. We had the most stunning introduction to Alaska yesterday afternoon on approach via clear skies yesterday, calm seas and 6000-9000 foot snow capped mountains visible from 70nms offshore; wow wow wow! The winds eventually rebuilt from the north around midnight last night resulting in a boisterous yet slow progress towards King Cove. It is so nice to be here. The hospitality has already revealed itself. We were only in for a few hours, felt like we met most of the locals, were given enough king crab to feed a family of four, as well as freshly caught and smoked salmon with capers plus the crackers to put them on. We're told we should see bears from the marina on the hills nearby. The facilities are basic but there nonetheless. There is also a reasonably well stocked super market at the marina. Looking forward to hiring a car and exploring all the area has to offer.
59nms to go to King Cove; which will make this a 15 day passage. The last few days have been tough; as we've been battling northerly winds and swell whilst trying to go north. The sea state got so bad last night that we could not sail close hauled or tight reaching in 12-15 knots of breeze due to a 1.5m swell with a mere 3.5 second interval which kept killing our speed and ability to point into the wind. This morning however we sighted land; a couple of 6000-9000 foot snow capped mountains. As we exited deep ocean water and got up onto the Alaskan shelf the adverse current collapsed, the sea state improved remarkedly and we were sailing again; this time doing 8.5 knots at 60 degrees apparent wind angle in 12-15kts from the west. We once again found ourselves having the most glorious of sailing conditions with clear skies and stunning views. Alas as we now get closer the wind has died so we are motoring the final leg into King Cove; our ETA is sunrise tomorrow morning. All is well aboard, spirits are high as the scenery is truly spectacular, and the colour of the water here is not blue rather it is a rather odd shade of olive green; go figure hey?
167nms to go to King Cove. This is turning out to be the most frustrating part of the passage. The last three days are full of northerly winds and swells which has ground a progress down to a snail's pace. With only 167nms to go we could normally do that within a 24hr period, but this will take us two days as we have 10-15kts of wind from the north, with three short interval northerly based swells (NNW, N & NNE). We cannot sail northwards in these conditions, so we are motoring WNW, hopeful that a forecast wind change to the NW will play out sooner rather than later. That said, we can't complain as our batteries are fully charged, we've all had long hot showers, our water tanks are full, and we've all been well fed & read. All is well aboard.
296nms to go to King Cove. The winds finally eased for us around 4am, had some glorious light wind sailing up to 10am when the wind died and went north so we're motoring now. We are hoping to arrive late on Tuesday
412nms to go to King Cove. Quite a different 24hrs to yesterday. Late in the day the winds built to 25-30kts from the W-WSW, seas built back up to 2.5m from the NW / W / SW, and we've been experiencing swarming squalls. All up a rough wet ride! That said we're making good progress averaging 7.6kts to our destination and the winds and seas are forecast to begin abating in a few hours. All is well aboard.
584nms to go to King Cove. After a slow night of light wind motor sailing, the breeze kicked back in late this morning resulting in some extraordinary sailing conditions that were further enhanced by a vastly improved sea state. Whilst we're pleased with our current conditions, there is a small low pressure system further north that will stunt our progress. We'll either face stiff northerlies or little to no wind if we decide to head NNE towards its centre instead of maintaining our current rhumb line to King Cove.
764nms to go to King Cove. We're hoping this will take 5 days, but the winds in 3-5 days will either disappear or turn northly; if this is the case it will take us another 6 days to arrive. We had a boisterous ride again, whilst roughish it has allowed us to make good progress, averaging almost 7kts SOG despite an adverse current. The temperature has been dropping fast. Water temperature has fallen from 25 in Hawaii down to 8 here. We woke up last night shivering of cold despite three layers of clothing and a blanket. Now that we have switched to our sleeping bags as a blankets instead we're all nice and toasty again. Whilst the nights have been very cold, the skies have been clearing by noon making our enclosed cockpit nice and warm.
Only 913nms to go, yeah! This translates into roughly 6 more days. We had a windy night and a squally start to the day; we've never seen squalls move so fast. The skies have cleared though and we have some glorious sailing conditions at present.
We find a common observation with most passages, generally a mix of good and not so good. The good over the last 24 hrs is the winds have steadily abated to 15 knots, the seas have settled somewhat and we are still sailing. The not so good is that our Northern Lights 6kva generator is no longer producing AC current so we cannot use it to charge our batteries, heat water, or any other AC purpose. We've checked the manual, which is of course silent on this issue in the trouble shooting section. We've also checked for loose wires, tripped breakers etc. All to no avail. If anyone has any suggestions do please drop us an email. All that said, we are still able to charge our batteries, heat water, make water, run AC appliances etc via our inverter, solar panels, wind generator and engine. The cooler water here
The forecast winds finally kicked in last night a little after midnight. We've been having a boisterous ride in rough seas with 20kts from the WSW gusting to 25-30kts at times. Given the emergence of these winds we reduced sail area last night, then again around lunch-time by going from 3/4 of a reef in the main to 1.25 reefs, the heavily furled genoa has been fully furled and replaced by our staysail with a couple of wraps. Whilst the ride is rougher than we'd hoped it is still preferred to motoring. We've been surprised by having to motor 2.5 days already in this passage, which gives us only another 3.5 days more motoring before we risk running out of fuel. Last night's forecast suggested we may have 3-4 days of motoring at the end of the passage; which caught our attention. Fortunately this morning's forecast now suggest this is more likely to be 1-2 days of motoring at the end. Either way we have no doubt we'll get into King Cove just fine.
"What a difference a day makes ..", as the song goes. At dawn this morning the skies were clearing, the wind was shifting to the west, we were able to pull our genoa back out, albeit still motor sailing. As I type though the winds are slowly filling in, so we have just turned off our engine and are cruising along in blissful silence. The forecast is for these light winds to hold until tomorrow morning when they are due to build up to 15-20 from the SW-WSW; which is a forgiving angle given our desired course. The longer term forecast is looking okay except for two potential glitches. Firstly all models suggest the wind will die on us around 2 days out of King Cove, so we are expecting to motor for the last 1-3 days of the passage. Secondly the GFS model is forecasting the wind to briefly shift to the NNE and build to 39 knots around the 3rd June just prior to the winds falling away to nothing; which is odd as none of the other three models are showing that spike nor did the GFS model's previous update, so we're hoping it will disappear when we download our next weather update tonight.
We knew there was a front that we had to go through, and upon exiting that front we would experience northerly winds for a day or two. That is pretty much how it played out over the last 24hrs. As yesterday afternoon unfolded the clear skies were no more, we had 100% cloud cover by late afternoon. At around 8pm we entered the front and were forced to bring in the genoa and motor sail with the main sail only. Apart from the normal rain and high variability in wind strength and direction, it fortunately packed no punch at all. Late this morning we started to exit the front. As expected the winds were northerly around 10 knots. What we didn't count on was the 1.5m southerly swell turning northerly which undoubtedly resulted in the creation of a northerly based current of 1.0 to 1.5 knots. That has slowed our progress north considerably. The good news is that as I type this update the skies are clearing; which we hope means the forecast westerly based winds may arrive sooner than forecasted
Another day of okay sailing conditions, particularly after we jibed this morning as the prior tack had the swell hitting us on the aft quarter which caused an uncomfortable motion and the genoa to flog as we were pinching somewhat. Now that we've jibed the swell is directly astern and the motion is much improved. We were aware of one other yacht that left the same day as us from the same port, namely a 60ft French boat heading for Kodiak, in the wee hours of the morning we sighted a second yacht also heading to Alaska. This one was a 69ft Italian steel boat that left from the Hawaii Yacht Club Aloha Dock on Ohau; they are making their 6th return visit to Alaska. Its nice to know that we are not alone out here. All is well aboard and we are happy with the progress we are making to our destination.
We're back into passaging mode. Last night bang on queue there was the mandatory sail changes between midnight and 3am during a cloudless squall, no point complaining though as its all part of the fun
Woo Hoo! We are well and truly under way. Threw our lines off a little after 4pm then had to motor sail for the first 8hrs in order to make any meaningful progress north. Around midnight last night the wind clocked to the ESE at a steady 10-12kts, which enabled us to turn the engine off and settle into a comfortable beam reach averaging 7-8 knots.
We're almost ready to depart for Alaska. We're currently tied to a slip in the Niwiliwili Small Boat Harbor on Kauai in Hawaii. If the current weather forecast holds we may depart tomorrow or the day after, with the aim of making it as far west as King Cove on the Alaskan Peninsula. Apart from weather, the only potential snag in our plan at present is if a part we ordered arrives late or doesn't fit. We had an unfortunate case of butter fingers when up the mast a few days ago which resulted in our tri-colour assembly falling and smashing on the deck; that was a USD500 mistake! Our replacement part is due to arrive today, so long as it fits, we're good to go again. This passage will be the first time we'll have a crew member. Kate's oldest friend [way back from primary school] Michael will do the passage with us to King Cove then east to Seward; which will be fantastic!
Yeah we know, its been a long time between posts; which means yes we are testing systems as we get ready for our passage to Alaska. We're currently anchored off Kaneohe Yacht Club in what is the best anchorage in Hawaii. Its dead flat here, well protected, and the yacht club facilities are sensational, awesome showers etc which are free and unlimited unlike NZ! There is a bar, food, swimming pool and two tennis courts. What's not to like. We also have our guests from Australia, Michael and Alison, aboard. Michael is going to join us for the passage to Alaska, which will be the first time we've had crew, we are looking forward to having company and being able to get more sleep than we otherwise would on passage.
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