Archive | Domino RSS feed for this section
|Fooling around with grandchildren in Vanuatu|
|Grandaughter Zoe and her best friend Q: thank you. parents, for trusting us and giving your kids this amazing time!|
|In Fiji: These girls will never forget that Grandpa can actually provide coconut milk!|
|Celebrating our 47th anniversary, all alone, in Rongelap, Marshall Islands|
|Walking the rim of a live volcano in Vanuatu… unforgettable!|
|Boat was sold… we thought… and off we were to our new home, The Villages..
oops… shouldn’t have counted our chickens!
|Kiribati (AKA Gilbert Islands)… so remote!|
|Family in Tucson helped us load the MDX with a full load!|
|King JP in the Marshall Islands….|
|Marshall Islands, Rongelap Atoll – JP confiscated my paddle and is towing me back to the boat…
our 47th anniversary celebration
|47th anniversary celebration… all by ourselves|
|Our adventurous grandkids in Vanuatu –|
|We never had a wedding cake-cutting … on our 47th anniversary, it was a must!|
|So many sunsets!|
|All 45 flags out… feeling the joy in Majuro, Marshall Islands|
- at 10 kts (1050 rpm), less than 5 gph (better than 2 miles/gallon)
- at 7.5 kts , 1.8 gph
- at 20 kts (2100 rpm), 24 gph
- Galapagos to Marquesas and beyond (3,000 NM)
- Marshall Islands to Midway to Hawaii (2800 NM)
- Hawaii to La Paz (2800 NM)
|If anything else, we ate healthy foods! Say, ‘Poke?”|
It took me a while to recover from our season in Hawaii, possibly the most difficult in the last 9 years of cruising. As I mentioned in my first Hawaiian blog, protected anchorages and few and far between and marinas are full, unable to accommodate large transient yachts like ours (except for a few very expensive private marinas, some of them not even allowing stay-aboard.) So we kept a weary eye on the weather and kept hopping around.
|Checked that on my bucket list: Learned traditional Hawaiian quilting!|
|yep, one of the 7 Hawaiian quilts I had time to finish… bad weather has some good aspects!|
|The Lanai coast|
|Kalama Bay… rocky spot!|
|Our favorite eatery: Mala Tavern|
|LANE is headed for us|
|Our nephew looked out for us, keeping us appraised of all the hurricanes’ tracks.|
|Reuniting with Judie, such a sweet moment!|
|After LANE, it was OLIVIA!|
|Smiles at last, as Miles, our Hawaiian son, joins us for a sleepover . Nothing like breakfast!|
|What could be sweeter than time with your grandchildren… Luau at the Marriott|
|LANE killed our flag and our port side navigation light.|
|More family fun, our nephew and niece and their spouses….|
|Kona harbor… not as big as it seems|
This said, Kona is a lovely town and of course we tasted the coffee and visited the quilt shops and the beautiful Hawaiian quilt museum. Yep, I was happy!
|My happy place!|
|The very protected anchorage at Cook Bay|
|Coasting along Molokai|
|More MOLOKAI raw beauty|
|Hanalei Bay, on a misty afternoon|
|The best Poke in town!|
What we missed, though, was a bike ride up the coast, since the road was still closed after last springs’ torrential rains. We just delighted in the views from the anchorage, short-lived as it turned out to be, since Hurricane WILLA was coming our way!
|Smack-dab in the middle!|
|Saying goodbye to Kim, our sweet friend on BLAZE II|
|Heather Brown Art… the essence of Hawaii|
|Leaving Hawaii behind, sunrise to the east|
|The fuel dock in Ala Wai no longer sells fuel to the public. It is now privately owned.
BUT.. for a fee ($200) the owner will let you dock and fuel up from a truck.
We used the Fuel Man
Going upwind, 13-18Kts of wind, 10.5 Kts boat speed
|Five-day outlook: we knew it was going to be close|
|Arriving Cabo: we need to keep on going!|
|Our daily recon: WP14, we clocked 283 NM that day|
By the numbers:
- Distance: 2,661 NM
- Time: 10 days, 18 hours
- Average speed: 10.3 kts
- Fuel used: 2,000 Gal.
- Reserve: 600 Gal.
|Arriving Cabo ahead of WILLA|
|The beautiful white rocks at Cabo San Lucas. We arrived with drizzle and flat seas, no wind|
|Would you know there is a hurricane coming?|
|Rounding Cabo San Lucas, the cave.
Nobody on the beaches, the Port Captain has shut down the beaches,
restricted navigation to wharf-to-wharf only.
|Bahia de los Muertos (rebaptized Bahia de los Sueños)|
|WILLA to the South… we are just at the edge of the weather system|
|Marina de La Paz: Great docks, spa time for DOMINO|
|Hawaii in Summer… Dodging Hurricanes… HECTOR|
|Kewalo Basin and Ala Wai Boat Harbor, Honolulu. No transient docking available|
|The sad state of Ala Wai Boat Harbor|
- Few protected anchorages. The Eastern coasts are, obviously, exposed to the trade winds and unsuitable. The Western and Northern coasts are made of steep cliffs and rocky shores, steep drops, and count very few natural anchorages.
|The work dock… we nudged Domino next to the SWATH|
- Decrepit harbors. I hate to say it, but it is true. The yachting population is not a State priority and the State-controlled harbors are in dire state of disrepair. Take Oahu, for example. It took us 4 days to find a berth at the Ala Wai in Waikiki, and only after we got denied by all of the other State-harbors, private harbors and yacht clubs.
|Riding HECTOR on the lagoon|
Keehi Harbor (State-owned), by the airport, is another enormous harbor, with fair protection. We called, and there is NO berth or mooring for a 65’ boat, and there is NO anchoring in the enormous Keehi lagoon. Yet, when we took a peek at the harbor, a good 30% of the docks were destroyed, and of the boats present, I’d say a good 20% were derelict. Some weird traffic goes on at night too, making you wonder what’s going on under the nose of the harbormaster! However, when hurricane HECTOR reared its head, we anchored in the lagoon anyways, and beseeched permission as soon as the harbormaster’s office opened. After some back-and-forth, we were allowed to stay until it was safe to cruise again.
|Friday Night in Waikiki’s Ala Wai Boat Harbor|
|The perk: Fabric shopping!|
|The Ala Wai Boat Harbor – So many derelict boats that should not be there!|
|Learning the Hawaaian quilting with the pros… the real deal!|
|Ukulele and Hawaiian Quilting!|
|Thank you, my Captain!|
|How can we not love these amazing creatures? Spinner Dolphins|
|Zebra Moray (Photo Graham’s Island.com)|
|Fourth of July at the Ala Wai… we have 40 flags out!|
|Ahi Poke, anyone?|
|This is definitely NOT Alaska! Aloha Waikiki!|
|June 11 GRIB – We are at the green marker… 31* North – planning on going SE|
|Plan A: Run south and double back to the west
Plan B: Run south, wait, and run back north
A&B impossible, of course!
Plan C: Stick to the northern border of the reserve
|When in doubt, cook!|
- 2 leeks, steamed, sliced thinly, sautéed with onions and ginger (see Wahoo recipe in Week 1)
- 6 slices of turkey or ham (sliced or cubes)
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 Cup milk or light cream
- 1 Cup grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese
- Salt, pepper.
- Herbed Pie crust for 9” pie (250g flour, 120g margarine, pinch of salt, 1 Tbsp thyme or Herbes de Provence, 1/4c water)
|June 12 GRIB|
|June 13 – We gotta get out!|
By mid-morning, we are zooming at 15 kts toward Kauai. I’m amazed to see how squeezed we are, the wind at times from the SSW, at other times out of the SSE, trying to make up its mind, sometimes in the teens, sometimes in the 20s, the seas small but incredibly confused.
|Our final course|
|June 14 GRIB forecast… need to be as far as possible|
|Glad to be safe in Honolulu and not on our way to Alaska!|
|Four days later: should we go now?|
|Nah… let’s play!|
June 4-11, 2018
- 2 heads of cauliflower, steamed
- 2 cups Bèchamel Sauce
- 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 3 hard boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
|The beefy commercial bunkering dock in Majuro.|
- 2 1/4c water
- 2 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
- 3 Tbsp powdered milk
- 1/2 Tbsp organic gluten flour (gives added structure to the bread)
- 1 1/4 Tbsp yeast
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (white or black)
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 Tbsp Chia seeds
Day 3 – June 6 – 0100 UTC – Engine check: OOPS! Coolant, a lot of coolant is leaking under the Starboard (STB) engine, something like a gallon in the bilge… not good! What possibly could be leaking? JP’s brain revs up, now in high gear. On thorough inspection, he finds out that one of the four bolts holding the turbo is missing, the stud broken, the bolt shorn off. This has to be fixed immediately. We are at risk of the turbo completely breaking off, hot, dry exhaust gas coming out and setting the boat on fire. “Not good,” says JP, biting his lower lip. “Gonna be a bitch to fix! Dunno if I can do it. Gonna need to help me. Gonna be hard to do!”
|The culprit: shorn-off bolt #1|
|Always a good idea to have an extractor set on board. Got the broken bolt!|
From here on, it’s all back-tracking, taking advantage of the situation to replace the exhaust manifold-to-turbo gasket. All done? Check for extra parts left on deck? None? That’s good. Fill up with coolant, settle it, top it off… restart the engine, check for leaks, shift into forward, check for leaks, throttle up, check for leaks, all good.
- 4 Cups cooked macaroni, still hot, salt and pepper
- 2 Cups grated Swiss Cheese
- 1 1/2 Cup chopped ham
- 1 1/2 Cup sautéed mushrooms
|A perfect day… (we are the white dot)|
Day 4 – June 7 – What a perfect day! Yesterday’s repair of the turbo is holding, no leak, and the weather is as calm as one could wish for — gentle seas and 5 to 10 Kt. wind, and even if it’s on the nose, it remains quite pleasant. Domino unleashes her long stride, running an easy 10 Kts. at 1180 rpm, burning 6 GPH, a bit hungrier than normal, but expected in head seas, contrary currents, and a full belly. We lucked out on the weather window, really, since the area we just covered in the last 48 hours is now buffeted by 20-25 Kt. trade winds. At last, in the afternoon, the winds shift to the SE, giving us a push, and we are now running at 10.8 Kts. at 1100 rpm, 5 GPH… yes, that’s more like it.
|On quiet crossings, JP loves to tinker with boat design.|
|2 nice fillets!|
|Uh-oh… We are the bottom-left white dot, on our way to the green marker…
Let’s keep an eye on this baby
Two large storms are forming NW of us. If we can dodge the first storm, there is serious doubt as how to dodge the second storm which looks very powerful already. So, we remain on the straight course, a bit south of the rhumb line, waiting for the next weather report. From our current position, the rhumb line affords a distance saving of 121 NM, not worth committing to it if we need to turn away from it later, so we remain on a straight course. In the morning, the weather report is daunting. This large storm is headed straight into our intended path and our NE route is now unthinkable. There is nothing better for us to do but alter course to the ESE, remain below the 31st parallel, and keep an eye on the weather. The storm is supposed to dip very low, possibly south of the 30th parallel. This means also that we must drop out speed, not only to let the storm pass us, but also to save fuel. This new course means an extra 500 NM, or about 250 gallons of fuel, which is well within our 500-gallon security margin.
|We are at the green spot… this storm is picking up steam.
Plan is to duck southeast till the storm passes.
There is nothing wrong with steaming at 7.5 knots on one engine, 900 rpm, burning barely 2 GPH. We are in no rush to get to Alaska. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy these warm, tropical days, traveling on flat seas and preparing meals for a stormy day!
|Quick easy lunch! Marinated wahoo.|
- Origin (Dan Brown) 5 stars
- The Black Book (James Patterson) 4 stars
- The Fallen (David Baldacci) 4 stars
- Red Sparrow (Jason Matthews) 5 stars
- Palace of Treason (Jason Matthews) 4 stars
- The Kremlin Candidate (Jason Matthews) 3 stars
- At the Edge of the Orchard (Tracy Chevalier) 5 stars
|Our lady friend in Abaiang, south village|
|Sitting on the Equator|
|Tactical error on landing: choosing a neap-low tide to land the troops|
Betio Beach – 1*44.453 N, 171*01.795E – As we dropped anchor at Betio Beach, it suddenly dawned on us that this was the infamous Tarawa of the previously-named Gilbert Islands. This very beach is where Operation Galvanic took place, one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, where, from November 20th to 24th 1943, a total of 35,000 U.S. marines and soldiers attacked this 3,800 yard wide strip of land, decimating the 4,500 Japanese soldiers, making the battle of Tarawa one of the bloodiest in the history of American landing assaults. It was also the first American victory over the Japanese, and the turning point of war in the Pacific. The cost to our forces? 1,113 dead Marines and 2,290 wounded.
|Taking a nap underway, I can always see the islands|
|No wonder that a large tuna fishing fleet loiters in these waters|
|So many islands… one of them|
|Abainag, South anchorage – talcum-powder sand|
|Typical home conatruction. The COCONUT tree is the life of these island|
|Our favorite couple.|
|Tabuaro: The loveliest, cleanest village we’ve visited,|
|Every home is fitted with running water|
|A typical food storage shed|
KUMA VILLAGE (Butaritari) – 03*10.539N, 172*57.242E – 7m – sand. Did you say HEAVEN??? We dropped anchor just short of the shallows that fringe the village. Yes, another place impossible to reach at low tide! But what a reception. If there is heaven on earth, this has to be it. Never have we encountered people so warm, happy, simple, absolutely at peace. The community (just a few families) is strong.
|Our host in Kuma, speaks English, served on a ship for many years…
His trunk is behind him, the key around his neck, and that’s about it!
|A typical “window blind,” lowered or raised to provide shade or protect from the rain|
|The local kids are always ready to tag along|
|“Thank You America”|
|How to wash your hands!!!|
|Year 5 school room|
When one of the village elders stood, all went quiet. The old man waved away the microphone, and his stentor’s voice retold the story of the liberation of Butaritari, when thousands of Marines landed and defeated the Japanese. A scared 5-year old boy never forgot, and to this day keeps reminding the islanders that “Without the Americans (he points at us) YOU and I would not be here today.” In a very emotional moment, he walked to us and shook our hands.
|Bettina… my little friend|
|Children everywhere, laughing and happy.
But parents are concerned that the island may not be able to sustain so many lives.
Family planning is sporadic, with accent on” family,” not so much on “planning” as the health worker often runs out of BCP
It’s true. A recent survey determined that the islanders of what used to be known as the New Hebrides are, indeed, the happiest people on earth. We could debate whether they absorbed their joie de vivre from their early French colons or retained the phlegmatic cool of their English tutelage. Certainly, it was unsettling to land on a beach and address the villagers to the North in French, those to the South in English, observe how the twain didn’t meet, each happy in their identity (French-Catholic vs/ English/Protestant).
|this 5-year-old already wields his dug-out with mastery|
|In the lush valley, the village lay still|
|Cynthia, Fred’s wife, works hard, as all Vanuatu women.
When she is not at the garden, she weaves mats and handicraft
|The bath house and shower stalls|
|Farmers Market – Never used… perhaps when the supply ship comes?|
|Very traditional, with dramatic backdrop|
|The key to the crater|
|The receptions committee|
We arrived 2 weeks after Cyclone Donna had done a ravage on the island: ruined the gardens, decimated the coconuts, uprooted and brined the taro roots.
|Shells – great game pieces!|
|Papa Fred and his brood|
|Fred and Cynthia’s home… for a couple and 6 children|
|JP Inspects the damages, and John is very eager to learn, under all the men’s supervision|
|No 110v power on the island? Just paddle the panga over to our stern and start grinding away.
John gets a lesson in wielding the grinder
|A thank-you gift from the fishermen|
|6-month old Fred loves his quilt|
|1-month old Katrina
Named after the anthropologist who lived with the village for a year, an honor for Katrina.
|The supply boat keeps on its schedule, in spite of the dismal weather,
18-20′ waves outside!
|John’s canoe, super light and fast|
|Shy, Sweet, Resourceful Bettina|
|Chickens roam free all over the islands|
This incident, of course, had to be immortalized in a quilt, “Island Chickens.”
|Flower crowns, AKA Leis|
|Served kava on bended knees|
|The Shaking of the Hand|
|John’s brother gives JP a ukulele lesson|
|Time to say goodbye|
|Fresh scallions and Island Cabbage (tastes between spinach and taro leaf, yummy!)|
|Pamplemousses, limes, and we are very grateful|
|This beautiful hanging flower is actually a nut|
|The nut, incredibly hard to crack|