Monthly Archives: June 2011

Walk On Noonsight // Wednesday 29 June // 28.52N, 161.30W

22.00 UTC (Zulu), Noon, Hawaii time

Position / Posicao: 28.52N (norte), 161.30W (oeste)
Course / Rumo (COG): 346 degrees true (346 graus
Speed / Velocidade (SOG, GPS): 5.5 knots
Wind: ENE 8-12kts
Sea: very light seas, boat very stable, very comfy
Weather: trade wind clouds and otherwise sunny, around 25 C / 77 F, trade Barometric Pressure (BP): 1019 mb and steady

– – – –
Noon to Noon: 150 nautical miles
Nautical Miles sailed since Hanalei Bay: about 415
– – – –
Short and sweet, more so than usual. All is well. Wind and weather are light. Making good progress. Studying the weather carefully – it will start to get tricky in a day or two. Not feeling all that prosaic today, so I’ll get back to doing some little underway projects. Crew is fine. Cheers,


Walk On Noonsight // Tuesda 28 June // 26.25N, 161.02W

22.00 UTC (Zulu), Noon, Hawaii time (22.00 UTC)
Position / Posicao: 26.25N (norte), 161.02W (oeste)
Course / Rumo (COG): 346 degrees true (346 graus
Speed / Velocidade (SOG, GPS): 6.5 knots
Wind: ENE 15-20kts
Sea: swell and chop from the east, swell period increasing, chop diminishing a bit (a more comfy ride!) Weather: trade wind clouds and otherwise sunny, around 25 C / 77 F, trade Barometric Pressure (BP): 1019 mb and steady

– – – –
Noon to Noon: 153 nautical miles (avg of 6.375 knots)
Nautical Miles sailed since Hanalei Bay: about 265
– – – –

Short and sweet guys: the weather and the sailing are FANTASTIC! Good daily run, gorgeous seas and blue skies. We’re happy and making good time as we head north.
I wanted to share a tidbit about the Coast Guard / Navy episode from yesterday. My brother-in-law googled it and found some info
As he said, “there is a “Zone” in the area of 22 to 24 north and 162 to 159 west where the Navy disposes of warships. YOU’RE RIGHT IN THE NEIBORGHOOD! According to the information, they (the Navy) has sunk and identified 15 ships right in your present back yard.”

From the internet:

One way of disposing of decommissioned and stricken warships is to use them as targets during sinking exercises (SINKEX). The Navy conducts most of these exercises at four major locations: north of Kauai, HI; off California; off the US east coast and off Puerto Rico. The exercises are focused on honing weapons firing skills and proficiency.

Before a SINKEX, everything that might harm the environment is removed from the target ship. On November 25, 2003, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Bill (HR 1588 Sec 1013), allowing appropriate decommissioned ships to be donated for use as artificial reefing. This will result in the increase of the number of ships used for this purpose and is
intended to reduce the size of the inactive ships inventory in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

Midnight Musings on the high seas: the Navy stands down for Walk On!

DISCLAIMER: the remark is tongue in cheek, though there may be some truth to it, as the text below will attempt to show.

Same boat, same table, same passage-making state of mind and same ‘dog watch’, which for the moment is 23.00 to 03.00. The only reason the following watch, Bryant’s, isn’t the dog watch, is that he gets a sunrise out of it, as he’s on watch from 03.00 to 07.00. Any-hoo, both he and Lara are snugged away in their bunks, sleeping while the blue lady shakes a leg in boisterous seas and good ENE trades of 20 knot average. We’ve simplified life to the fullest, with the main double-reefed from the outset (experience is the best teacher) and flying only the full staysail for a headsail. Yes, we sail out boat conservatively, but what the hey, we’re still doing 6.5 on the midnight watch AND the crew gets to sleep in decent comfort. Can’t say that about all boats.

Anyway, we’re somewhere just north of 25N,and just sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiightly west of 160W. In other words, though our goal is obviously NE of us, the winds demand we make an almost north way for the moment, and so we’re doing pretty well maintaining 340 to 345 degrees true. We’ll be doing this for at least 3 or 4 more days. I know, it looks on Spot like we’re going the wrong way, as if we wanted to go to the Aleutians or something, but this is the way it is for the moment, and it’s completely normal. Ask anyone who’s done this passage during June/July, or ask Greg and Camila on Willow, about 350 nautical miles in front of us – they are in the same boat, or at least on the same course heading. By the way, we spoke with them by Sat phone at noon and then again on the SSB at 20.00 and they are well. They are closer to the famous high than we are and so are experiencing lighter winds and calmer seas.

But back to the title of the post

At about 14.30 today I was on watch, and I noticed that the Coast Guard C-130 was circling the area again, not us, but the area. Pretty soon they hail us on the radio and ask for our position, course and speed. Once they’ve relayed that to someone else that we can’t hear (but we know it’s the Navy), the get back to us a few minutes later with the following question: ‘The Navy would like to know when you plan to make your next tack to the East’. Now, I was a bit flabbergasted by this question – first, because our earlier ‘tack’ to the east was only because they asked us to do so. We don’t plan to tack for quite some time yet also because the Navy person(nel) behind the question might have been looking at a chart or something and assumed that we’d be sailing the most direct route to San Francisco (which we’re not, of course), and that would mean tacking over and over and over to windward in order to make way to the NE, i.e. in the direction of San Francisco, as we’d already communicated as our final destination. My response was calm but firm: ‘Negative Coast Guard, we have no intention of tacking to the East, at least not for 4 to 7 more days. Our inention is to remain on current course until about 37 or 38 degrees North’ (that’s at least 420 nautical miles from here). They replied that they’d pass the message along and more or less flew away. In the meantime I was steering the boat to the west through an afternoon squall that brought some pretty good rain.

About ten minutes later they came on the radio again and relayed the message that the Navy had asked if we could hold our current position, i.e. NOT MOVE, until 18.00, and then continue on with our desired course. That was another two and a half hours, give or take. Flabbergasted again, but smiling anyway, I replied to the Coast Guard that even if I hove to and did absolutely nothing to make way, I would still naturally drift to the West with both wind and current. Boats don’t sit absolutely still when a current is running and 20 trades are blowing, as I assume they know too.

It was getting to be about 15.00 and I guess they thought the day was getting late or something. The Coast Guard plan came back on the radio once more to report: ‘Yes, vessel Walk On, please continue your current course and speed. The Navy has decided to cancel the second launch (missles, I assume) for the afternoon and will be standing down. Have a safe journey to San Francisco’.

And that was that. Some Navy Commander, god bless him, was likely saying to someone else ‘Damn Civvies, sailing their boat through our exercise’, or ‘Thank goodness, a perfectly good reason to head back to port for a cold one and some R&R’. I’ll never know, of course, but we were pleased and relieved. Pleased that we could continue when and where we wanted to go (the wind rules the route of a sailor), and relieved that we didn’t have to do make a move to the east, against wind and current and using valuable diesel fuel.
It was an experience none of us will soon forget. The Navy had stood down for us!

Hat’s off to the Navy, and the very polite Coast Guard personnel in the C-130! More soon.

Walk On Noonsight // Monday 27 June // 23.59N, 160.13W

22.00 UTC (Zulu), Noon, Hawaii time (22.00 UTC)
Position / Posicao: 23.59N (norte), 160.13W W (oeste)
Course / Rumo (COG): 096 degrees true (096 graus) – read below to find out why. Speed / Velocidade (SOG, GPS): 4 knots
Wind: ENE 15-20kts
Sea: swell and chop from the east, mostly in the 5 or 6 foot range, occasionally bigger
Temp: Around 28 C / 82 F, trade wind clouds (puffy cotton) squalls here and there on the horizon Barometric Pressure (BP): 1019 mb and steady

– – – –
Noon to Noon: (tomorrow we’ve only been at sea 20 hours)
Nautical Miles sailed since Hanalei Bay: about 120
– – – –
Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I wrapped up that post last night, where I sheepishly mentioned squalls here they came! The first one at about 12.30, the second shortly after 01.00 and the third about 02.45. I felt like I was passage from the Marquesas to Hawaii again: leaving a beautiful north-facing bay, headed slightly W of N, rolling along in ENE trades same scenario! I guess the only difference this time was that it’s colder, or slightly cooler anyway. The squalls were moderate, and I never saw over 31 knots of wind. I ran with them, as we always do when there is sea room (plenty up here!). Wind pipes up, loosen the sheets, put the autopilot on standby, and then fall off the wind, putting it on the stern quarter at about 140 true wind angle (this time it was to starboard). I’ve said it before, and I don’t mind repeating myself this boat rocks! Alone, in the dead of night, I can loosen the sheets and fall off in less than 30 seconds and be rocking along at 8 knots, and the steering is light, responsive, and firm. Thanks DVD, you know exactly what I mean – I hope someday you can take the helm and feel it too!

Bry came on watch after the last squall and had a pretty good ride I think, as the wind stayed up in the low 20’s for most of his watch. Lara was up at 07.00 as planned and so I jumped off the couch and into the aft berth, time for some real sleep! At about 08.00 Lara woke me as we tried to see the whale she’d just seen jump 3 times! I didn’t see it. 9 Back to bed. At 09.45 she woke me up again, saying that the Coast Guard was on the radio and that I had better talk them hmmm, the Coasties? And me, trying to sleep!!!

As I made my way into the cockpit, I heard the plane it was a C-130, and it was close. They circled us and hailed us on the radio again. At first they seemed interested in knowing simply in where we were headed and so on. We gave them our course and speed, vessel name and length, as requested. Soon they came back to ask our intentions for the afternoon I replied that we were headed to San Francisco. Then they asked how much easting we could make. This went back and forth and in turn they were clearly back and forth with someone else on some radio channel that we don’t receive. To make a longer story shorter, we were asked kindly to make a course of 50 degree true, for six nautical miles, and then resume our previous course. We can’t make exactly 50 true, because that is exactly where the wind is coming from at near 20 knots, not to mention a good running swell against us so we’re motorsailing to windward at a snailish 4 knots, mostly less. No fun, and burning diesel I didn’t want to. But it was the Coast Guard, and they asked nicely. What’s a sailor to do in this modern age? It’s some kind of live fire or military exercise and while the Navy seems to be calling the shots, the Coast Guard is handling the surveillance and communications with the public. At least that is what would seem to be case

In a little while we’ll talk to Greg on the Sat phone, as well as check the latest forecast and upload this blog post. After that, we’ll resume our NNE course, and keep on Walking On. Hope this finds everyone well! M&L&B

“and on the midnight watch I realized…..”

Hey gang – midnight watch captain here, underway…

I think I’ve used those words to start a blog post before. It doesn’t really matter, but it seemed somehow appropriate to start out that way – after all, David Crosby was sighted on the beach today in Hanalei Bay. I actually saw him from a distance but didn’t realize of course it was him – then a lady we met, original Woodstock goer from ‘fifty yards out’ as she put it, told us that she’d walked up and down the beach with him, chatting. So, there it is – and ever since she told me that, I can’t get the song Southern Cross out of my head.
But we’re not making way for the Marquesas this time, more’s the pity, and we certainly don’t have 80 feet of waterline (if you don’t know the song, google the lyrics), but we are nicely making way (weigh?), thank you very much!

Yep, the fabled Hawaii – San Francisco passage got under way today, as we left the lovely, magical Hanalei at something like 16.00 local time. It was a stunning exit really, a gorgeous sight astern on a perfect trade wind day, great temperature outside and great temperament inside the hearts and minds of the crew. We were ready and it felt good to get the sail up, the boat moving along again, breeze in your face and all that. Heck, even the dolphins at the mouth of the bay were happy to come celebrate the moment by dancing on the bow for a while.

I won’t begin to guess how long this passage will be, in days or miles, but suffice it to say that we are headed in a northerly direction (SF is NOT directly north of Hawaii, the Aleutian Islands are). Actually, we are slightly West of North in terms of course over ground, so every swell, every gust, and every mile that slides by under the keel, all take us and Walk On further West and further North than we’ve ever sailed. Exciting stuff. I will start to work out some estimates in terms of mileage and weeks of passage time, but for now suffice it to say we expect 3 to 4 weeks on this passage. A lot remains to be seen like the weather. (Refer to my earlier posts last month talking about the Pacific High and all that blah blah blah).
I will begin, in upcoming posts days and miles, to reflect on this passage and what it means, vis a vis the whole trip, life, and all that – but no big rambling tonight. Gotta keep an eye peeled for squall activity. Those suckers always seem to come in the middle of the night, when you’re on a quiet watch and everyone else is slumbering in their bunks

We did speak with Greg and Camila on Willow during our 20.00 (06.00 UTC) SSB radio chat. Our reception (or his transmission) was really sketchy so we didn’t exactly chat – but I did gather that all was well with them, and they were making about due north at the moment in light winds (10 to 15 kts). At the time of the call, they were at 28.40N, 162.05W. That put them 380 miles in front of us, exactly. I hope we can get a better connection tomorrow, or a better frequency to work with.

So I’ll keep this short and sweet tonight, while Bry gets a few more hours sleep before his 0300 watch and Lara just getting to sleep after her 1900 to 2300 watch. For now it’s just me, Walk On, and the sea, making about 6 or 7 knots under a moonless sky. There are some stars peeping about, when the scattered clouds aren’t in the way

Thinking of the family and friends who did the well-wishing by calls, texts, blog comments and facebook messages – thanks guys!

A domani.

Last burger in Paradise, onion ring and jalapeño included!

Well gang, Sunday is the day. We’ll be off tomorrow before noon, taking on some water and veggies before weighing anchor. Looking forward to it!

Spoke to Willow tonight as well on the radio sched and all is well with Greg and Camila. They seem to be making about 130 n.m. every 24 hours sp Greg is pleased. Tonight, at 0600 UTC (Sunday morning), they were at 26.39N, 161.35W, about 290 nautical miles from here on Hanalei Bay.

With the satellite working again, we also had sailmail access and learned that Mike and Anne on Shadow were making good progress on Shadow – that as of last Sunday on Fateher’s Day. The track we have of their few position reports puts them on route for the Tuamotus and certainly they’ve crossed the equator by now. Shellbacks no longer.


Here Lara got a pic of Bry and I enjoying a fine last supper of grade A Americana – a big juicy cheeseburger on the last night before the passage.

I think we’ll manage to get at least one more photo posted tomorrow before sailing out of AT&T range… After that, it will only be Iridium, sans photos.

Time to relax and rest up.

Ciao gang!

This message was sent from the iPhone of


All’s well, Willow is well also, and the stage is set

well gang, this will again be brief, as we hope to write more and better explain the recent events, the delay in our departure and all that –

However, suffice it to say that all is well! We had our radio sched (chat) with Greg and Camila and they report good conditions north of us and great sailing. They’ve made 170 mm from Hanalei, just slightly west of north and all is well aboard.

We spent some quality time today taking care of our girl’s undersides as it were…. Bry and I scraped her bottom of barnacles and slime, whitened her boot stripe waterline, and thoroughly cleaned the prop and shaft. The boat feels better and should scoot along a tad faster after our efforts, so we are very pleased indeed.

The big news of the day of course was receiving our replacement satellite phone, dispatched a mere 36 hours ago from New York. this means of course that we’ll have weather again underway, our primary concern. I need to explain these events in greater detail for sure, but first and foremost a bit hats off to Sue and all the folks at Mobal ( for turning our crisis into a short delay, a customer service dream come true, and 3 very happy people on this deep blue bound boat.

The other savior of course has been Bry’s iPhone, allow us to problem solve, communicate, blog, check the weather, and otherwise make the important connections.

We plan a few last minute checks tomorrow, some fresh meats and veggies for the trip, and them enjoy our last Hanalei sunset for awhile… Heading north and chasing Willow on Sunday. Hope everyone is well!

Aloha from the most picturesque anchorage in the Hawaiian islands. 🙂

Did NOT leave Thursday

We aren’t leaving today because we’re waiting for a replacement sat phone, which is already on the way FedEx priority and should be here Friday. I’ll write more about it all, but just to let know all is well on Walk On and with us. We did say bon voyage to Willow a little while ago, so they are barrelling north en route to Seattle.

More news soon gang, we’ll be on the road soon enough (likely on Sunday)

Provisioning and lunch @ Costco – a special photo for Lucio!

Another one – aloha and great memories