Friday, June 20, 2014

6\20\14 Wandering Dolphin Hawaiian Adventure - Volcanos

The other day we packed up the whole family and our friends Richard and Chenoa into the little rental car and drove up to Kilauea..  Our first stop was the visitors center where we watched a video about the 1959-60 eruption and checked out information about the eruptions that have been happening ever since.  When we left the visitors center we drove up to the crater rim where there are steam vents all around the actual crater.  It is a little surreal to stand on the edge of a real volcano and feel the heat and watch steam rise all around the crater itself.  In the distance there is a crater within the crater where the lava lake is actually a broiling liquid lake.

We drove down the mountain to Kilauea Iki which is the site of the 1959-60 vent eruption.  There is a huge lava tube there which was formed when superheated, fast flowing lava was encased in hardened lava all around it.  Once the lava had all flowed out of the tube the tube itself was left and looks like a perfect tunnel.

We continued our drive down the mountain to the area where lava has been flowing into the sea for the past 30 years.  There is no lava flowing into the ocean on the surface now but we hiked down the road to where the lava flow has completely wiped out the highway.  It is quite a thing to see and sure makes you think about the insignificance of man.  Things we think are so permanent can be so easily wiped out by that volcano and other forces like wind and waves.  One serious hurricane changes the face of the planet.  Tornados rip paths through cities leaving nothing behind but ruin.  I cannot help but think that humans tend to overstate our own importance when it comes to our permanent effects on the Earth.

From the ocean we drove back up to the crater to watch the glowing lava lake after dark.  Our family has thin blood from years living in the Caribbean and after dark, at 4091 feet of elevation, we were FREEZING.  We had one beach towel to pass around as a blanket.  Needless to say, we didn't spend a lot of extra time up up there!  We were laughing about what wimps we were being in Hawaii at a volcano and shivering.

Our next trip was to Kona.  I stayed on the boat fixing the seams on our mainsail (by hand) while Richard, Chenoa, Rebecca, and the kids all drove up to Kona for the day.  They were amazed that on that side of the island it was dry and there were actual prairies.  They went to the buy some actual 100% Kona coffee but opted out because it was $50.00 a pound!

If all goes well we will leave tomorrow evening to sail to Maui for the next stage in our adventure.

Thanks a ton to Jim V. for lending us the whole Lonesome Dove series.  To those of you who used to send us messages everyday on the Iridium phone while we were offshore, although the sat phone is off while we are in port feel free to message us on Facebook anytime.  We still like to hear from you!

Remember, we still have almost 3000 miles left in our voyage.  We will save Alaska for next summer and head to Washington state in a little less than a month from now.

Stay tuned for our time in Maui!
Kristofer, Rebecca, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb and Benny 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

6/14/14 Wandering Dolphin Hawaiian Adventure Days 2-6

It has been a busy week on board sailing vessel Wandering Dolphin in Hilo, Hawaii.  We spent the first few days just decompressing, eating, eating, eating, and then we set about cleaning up the boat and doing maintenance.

Over a month at sea with six humans living in such a small space creates quite a mess.  We scrubbed the boat top to bottom and restowed offshore gear for now.  Beck and Benny washed ALL of our clothes (the clothes bins were empty and every stitch we owned needed to be washed.)  The next day we took all of the cushion covers off and washed them while we let the foam air out.  Some of the salon cushions had been repeatedly splashed with seawater and although we were always quick to clean it up before it soaked the foam the covers themselves were salt saturated and sticky.

The topsides were also in need of attention especially on the starboard side where, because the boat was healed over, the Awlgrip paint of the bootstripe and even above that had been submerged for weeks because we were on that tack for so long.  The growth was terrible.  There were little booger things and scummy growth that was super hard to remove.  Because we are an aluminum boat I hate to use On-and-Off.  The acid in it is VERY bad for aluminum so it scares me.  This time I tried regular old Lime Away and it worked pretty well and after lots of work the boat looks pretty good again.

We still have to repair the mainsail where a seam has let go and there is a rip in a spot on the luff.  We also need to rerig our boom vang where the rigid compression vang corroded through.  I had seen that coming for years so it was not a surprise when it finally let go.  For the rest of this voyage I will simply turn it into a regular boom vang.  I have a toping lift so I don't really need the extra support of the rigid vang.  It does help a lot when we use the boom to lift the dingy motor out of the cockpit and onto the dingy so we will eventually replace it.

Our friends fly in today for a visit so we will start to do some island exploring this week.  We all want to find a nice waterfall pool to swim in like we did in Grenada and the kids are pretty keen to see a volcano in action.

We have had a lot of people ask us about our plans for the rest of our voyage.  Because we had to spend so much time sitting in Panama waiting on the backstay, and then an extra week in Costa Rica while Beck flew home, we are about a month behind our planned schedule and really pressed for time if we want to make it to Alaska this summer.  Right now we are playing with the idea of spending more time here in Hawaii and sailing to Washington state from here.  If we do that we will plan on an Alaska trip next summer.

Thanks For Reading!
Captain Tofer, Becky, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wandering Dolphin Hawaiian Adventure Day 1



Yesterday as we approached the breakwater at Hilo we still couldn't see the Big Island in front of us until we were right offshore.  The whole island was socked in with clouds and rain, the constant drizzle had soaked the canvas, cockpit cushions, and we were all in our rain gear.  The various smells from the island attacked our underused, offshore, olfactory senses.  The smell of flowers, rotting vegetation, trees, cut grass and humans was amazing after over a month smelling only the sea.   Everyone had grins from ear to ear as we made our way past the breakwater and into the little, tiny, anchorage called Radio Bay.

Radio Bay is a little Coast Guard bay that is open for a nominal fee, $10.96 per day for about six or seven boats med- moored to the south wall and three or four boats anchored in the tiny bay.  From offshore we had called the harbor master and obtained permission to enter the bay.  He told us the wall was full but that we could anchor.  When we arrived there were two other sailboats anchored out so we dropped the hook and it instantly reminded me of the little harbor in Oriental, North Carolina.  Both are small and can only hold a few boats and you have to be willing to be close to your neighbor.  There was also not a bit of wind or motion on the boat.

Within minutes of dropping the hook we were chatting with the folks next to us.  This is a place where any boat that comes in from offshore just finished a significant passage so everyone immediately shows you some real respect.  To have arrived in Hawaii from offshore you must have passed a few real world sailing tests so there is no questioning your anchoring or anything.  It was pretty great to see Wandering Dolphin looking so dapper only moments in the harbor having sailed 4,556 offshore miles.  She did have some crazy little alien things growing on her stern where there is no bottom paint.  This area is usually above the water but when the boat is underway it squats and that area is submerged.  In this case it was submerged for 38 days so it was covered with ... Well things... Weird things that looked like... Becky calls them boat boogers.  Emily had to clean them off, she wasn't happy about it either.  The starboard side of the boat was scummy above the boot stripe because that was the side we were healed over on for 80% of the voyage.  It amazes me that all of that stuff is out there in the open ocean just waiting to attach to a bottom and grow.

Once the boat was ship shape we put the dingy in the water (we left the motor on board because the bay is so tiny).  We all rowed ashore to the little shower house where we cleaned up our bodies, donned our only clean clothes and then we made our way to the Customs office and Harbor Master.  

The customs guy here in Hilo was the nicest guy you could ever meet!  He did all the paperwork for us with a genuine smile.  The United States should be so lucky to have a first face of our nation in every harbor just like this.  We were a little concerned because I had refused to pay the crazy fees to clear out of Costa Rica and we just sailed without clearance.  I told him that right out and he smiled and said, "No Problem!  Just fill out a form I have explaining that, it's no big deal."

After clearing in we went to the Harbormaster and filled out a few forms so we could stay in the bay and once again we were treated with smiles and kindness.  What a great place!

Our cruising friends from Sailing Vessel "Salt and Light" told us about some friends of theirs who lived in Hilo.  We called Richard and Rita who insisted on coming right down to the harbor to make sure we could go to a great place to eat for our first meal.  Richard and Rita are cruisers who live here in Hilo.  They have owned the same Gardner designed a Choy Lee sailboat for 30 years and have cruised the Pacific.  They took us to "Ken's House of Pancakes" which is sort of a misnomer because it has EVERYTHING on the menu and it is all GREAT FOOD!   I ate the SUMO burger which was two 8 oz patties, bacon and all the fixings.  They even rang a gong when they served it to me so the whole place knew there was a fat guy having lunch here.  The kids were free to order whatever they wanted so there were a couple of triple decker BLTs for Kaleb and Ben, a double cheeseburger for Kanyon, a Triple Turkey Club for EmilyAnne and a Bacon cheeseburger for Becky.  We washed it all down with milkshakes for dessert.  During the meal we told Richard and Rita our tale and listened to their sailing stories.  It was the PERFECT landfall first meal with the PERFECT people!

After lunch they gave us a quick little tour of the town and we went back to the boat.  When we boarded WD Becky and I cheered our landfall with a bottle of champagne and orange juice and then we all decided to take a nap.... We woke up this morning!

It rained all night so the boat was clean this morning.  We decided to take the day off and start on chores like laundry, and boat scrub down tomorrow.  Breakfast this morning was back at Ken's, eggs Benedict..... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Thanks for all of the kind words on Facebook and Thanks for Reading!
Captain Tofer, Becky, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8 Position Report

6/8/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
19 28.91N 153 48.23W
COG 281T
SOG 6.5 kt
DMG 125 nautical miles
DTG 76 nautical miles

Wind: ENE 10-12
Temp:89 F
Pressure: 29.75
Sky: mostly cloudy, lots of squalls
Seas: 3-4 ft swells
Sails: double reefed main, stays'l, full jib

Landfall is probably the most difficult thing about an offshore passage.  Working out the set and drift of the current, wind angle and speed so you can make landfall during the day can be a challenge.  The wind was pretty weird yesterday, big squalls would pass and the wind would die.  A current had pushed us too far north to make landfall without a gybe, so we gybed for a few hours and now we find ourselves with only 76 miles to go, not a lot of wind.  We are still going to try to make it before dark.  Our other option is to slow down to 3 knots for the next 24 hours which I'm not opposed to doing I'm just pretty sure we couldn't actually do that with the wind and current we have here.  I guess you will all know what we decide because either way we will update Facebook.  Right now I'm leaning toward another gybe today, dropping the jib and slowing down so we get in first thing in the morning.  What is one more night after 37 days at sea?

It's pretty cool to be listening to Coast Guard reports from Hawaii!  The last ones we heard were from San Juan, Puerto Rico when we were on our way from St. Thomas to Panama.  You might think it strange that such a little thing hold such significance to us but think of it like this; there is nothing out here to really use as proof that you are where you think you are.  It looks the same now as it did when we left St. Thomas... Blue, blue, blue.  All we have for proof is marks on a chart and an icon on a chartplotter and although I know those are correct, the actual first physical proof we've had are the radio reports from Honolulu, Hawaii Coast Guard Station.

We are out of water in the tanks now so we use the watermaker to make drinking water for the day.  No one has sighted the island yet so there will be a lot of eager faces looking at the horizon this morning!


Denny, Thanks for the contact information, we will call them for sure.  It is always nice to have local knowledge.

Cave, Entering Hilo Harbor hopefully at  ETA 1600 GMT Monday morning.  I hope you will be able to see us on the webcam.

No land sighting yet, but that Snickers bar is mine! Bec

The last 1,000 miles was a piece of cake.  It seems the last 100 miles is being a bit tricky.  What's one more day of beautiful sailing after 37 days?

Jim V,
Good luck with the hair dye, it can be tricky at best and super messy.  And what is the video for?

We have the champagne in the refrigerator chilling for landfall.  72 miles & 24 hours to go.
Tofer, Becky, Emily, Kanyon, Kaleb and Benny.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7 Position Report

6/7/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
19 15.55N 151 41.67W
COG 281T
SOG 6 kt
DMG 154 nautical miles
DTG 191 nautical miles

Wind: ENE 12-15
Temp: 89 F
Pressure: 29.75
Sky: partly cloudy, squalls all around
Seas: 3-4 ft
Sails: double reefed main, full jib

Good morning,

Yesterday began with us removing our stove from its spot to replace the propane sensor.  Because it's in on a gimbal, Tofer had to lift one side at a time while I unlocked it.  Once it was off the gimbals Tofer set it down in its spot while disconnecting the propane line.  I prepared a spot on the floor with a blanket and a towel to set it down while he worked on the sensor itself.  Once on the floor I got busy on cleaning the stove and Tofer replaced the sensor.  We checked the sensor before replacing the stove, we have learned to do this from the events in the past.  It was in working order again so back the stove went.  It was now 9 a.m. and the crew was hungry for breakfast.  I fired up the stove top and damn if the alarm didn't sound again.  Tofer came back down, I turned it off and on again and this time it was working.  There for a moment we thought we were going to be eating cold beans out of the can.  Proud to say Tofer got it working, it was a challenge for sure, just think of working on your stove while your floor rocks from side to side.

We don't think of the motion much anymore, it's just living.  If I think about it I notice that I am almost always wedged in somewhere.  There are bits and pieces of each of us that are sore from use over this passage.  Working and living on a WD for the last month has used muscles that we normally don't use this hard.  Tofer's elbow aches always from the strain of line handling and winching.  Emily has a bruise on the top of her head from hitting it over and over again.  I have escaped muscle pains but replaced that with a few burns and cuts from the galley.

One day left until we stop in Hilo.  We will be anchoring out tomorrow so we can scope out the area and find the best place to settle in for a week or so.  I am sure there will be new faces to fill us in on the lay of the land.  I will be sure to take notes and pictures of the adventure tomorrow.

Highlights of the trip,

Tofer's night sighting of the whales
Tofer's sea monster sighting
Bec's pod of dolphins the day Grams passed.  We haven't seen dolphins since that day.
Em's night sighting of dolphins, their splash made the water twinkle like stars.
Em & Bec's whale spouting at stern of the boat in the dark

Benny wants to win the Snickers bar for spotting Hawaii first.  He has been for our voyages of the passed the boy that yells, "Land Ho."  Let's see who get to yell today.

Breakfast rice with milk and sugar
Lunch Johnny cakes with apple and lemon topping
Dinner pasta with pesto sauce and Mahi fish sticks

Almost there!  I finally can say 1 more day... 150 miles...

Thanks for Sailing With Us!
Becky, Captain, Em, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Ben

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6 Position Report

6/6/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
18 39.42N 149 04.69W
COG 281T
SOG 6 kt
DMG 147 Nautical miles
DTG 345 Nautical miles

Wind: NE 12-15
Temp: 84.4 F
Pressure: 29.75
Sky: mostly cloudy, squalls
Seas: 3-4ft
Sails: all sails set

I finally caught another Mahi yesterday.  My last lure had been taken a few days back so I got out my stuff and made a little lure with some pieces of other fishing stuff, some feathers, and a couple of pull ties.  It was smaller and it worked.  I caught a nice 3 ft Mahi Bull.  It was nice to eat fresh meat again.  I'll make some fish sticks later today.

It was sunny and beautiful all day yesterday but the weather went to stink again last night and is still dreary this morning.  The kids did school and then we all just lounged around.  The propane solenoid was giving me fits so we couldn't make a hot supper.  The water had put the flame out and that set it off, I'm not sure if it also spilled water down into the sensor or not.  We will know this morning if it still won't work.  That is one spare I actually have though so it's not a big deal if I have to replace the sensor.

It looks like we will be slowing down on purpose to arrive on Monday morning... I will decide today if I think I can keep the speed high enough to get in early enough on Sunday.  I prefer an early morning landfall if I can make it work.  The person on board who sights land first gets a Snickers Bar.  Those are like gold out here and we only have two left.

Galia:  Thanks for the message and NO we are not going to spend the winter in Alaska!  Brrrrrrr!  But we are going there from Hawaii and we will spend the rest of the summer there then make our way down to Bellingham, Washington where we have family.  We will need to work for a while to get some money back in the bag for our next trip to... Who knows where...

Jim V:  awesome on the Lonesome Dove loan!  We will get you an address in Hilo once we get there!  Thanks.  Also, the water line probably changed a little with the provisions for this voyage, all of the storage areas were full to the top with food.  Our storage areas are low and in the center of the boat though so they don't negatively affect the sailing of the vessel.  One side of the boat has more storage than the other though and we do notice a difference in the windward ability on the opposite tack.  When you sail a boat this much you can actually feel those little nuances.

Aline: Thanks for the D-Day reminder.  My Dad was one of the boys who at 18 went in on Omaha Beach.  He never talked about it and when I saw the opening scene in "Saving Private Ryan" I had to walk out in shock.  I called him from the lobby and just said, "Thanks..."

Hope Everyone Has A GREAT Day!
Captain Tofer, Becky, Emily, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5 Position Report

6/5/14 Wandering Dolphin POS

GMT 1600
17 55.26N 146 37.14W
COG 290T
SOG 6 kt
DMG 150 nautical miles
DTG 492 nautical miles

Wind: NE 14-18
Temp: 86 F
Pressure: 29.7
Sky: partly cloudy some squalls
Seas: 2-3 ft
Sails: double reefed main, full jib, stays'l set

Captain Ron said, "we are almost there.... because we are out of fuel!"

Good Morning, I know we are almost there because we our down to 20 gallons of fuel, out of butter, eggs & cheese, the laundry bag is overflowing & we are all saving one clean pair of shorts for landfall.  I am now strategizing the game plan for chores in Hilo.  Can you imagine not doing laundry for 40 days for 6 people as well as the laundry for your entire home.  I wonder if I will find a laundry Nazi there, haha!  Salt covers the decks and it is also everywhere inside, so we will need to do a full wipe down and air out of cushions.  Hey, it just came to me...we are going to Spring clean!  You get the picture, living out here isn't all sunny blue sky days.

However, today is one of those sunny blue sky days.  English breakfast tea in hand while we easily glide through the water as the sun starts to pump amps into the solar.  There are a few bundles of clouds in distance.  I hope that maybe we would get a good rain today to rinse off the deck, fill water tanks and it's a free shower.  Everyone aboard could use a rinse down too.

Thank you all from Kanyon for the Birthday wishes.  With your birthday wishes, coconut cinnamon rolls, homemade pizza and a James Bond movie night, he was grinning ear to ear.  Although he has to wait for his gift until our friends Richard & Cheona visit us in Hilo next week.  They are doing our mainland shopping for our electronic and movie needs.  Thanks guys for helping us.  By the way if anyone would like to loan us the Lonesome Dove mini series on DVD for our trip to Alaska you could mail it to us in Hilo and well get it back to you at the end of our trip.  If you're interested in helping with that send us a message to set it up.

This journey has not only taken us thousands of miles from our little Honeymoon Bay of warm water and sand beaches.  It will take us to glaciers, mountains, pine trees, rocky seaweed covered beaches, whales, Grizzly bears, and seals.  Our entire surroundings are about to change right along with the climate.  Tofer and I were talking about what everyone will need in order to be prepared.  We laughed remembering this story;  Three years ago the kids and I were stateside visiting when one of the boys came in saying, "Mom these socks don't work, my feet still get wet."  I looked down and said, "Where are your shoes?"  His reply was, "You wear shoes and socks together?"  He walked away grunting in irritation.

Another example;  Tofer and I went for months until we realized the boys were sharing one pair of crocs.  It wasn't until we took everyone to town and two boys were shoeless.  What a life we live, sharing one pair of shoes, not knowing socks go in shoes.  Let's not talk about tying shoes...let's just say one of our boys tied his shoes with a bowline knot...

We are all excited to see what this next fall brings us.  We look forward to the crisp cool air of fall, pumpkins, the first snowfall, maybe even a real Christmas tree.  Soon it will be time to introduce my guys to hats, mittens & long underwear and Wandering Dolphin to a wood burning stove...I can't wait to hear what they say.  I will have stories for sure.

Thanks again for following along on our adventure,
Bec, Tofer, Emily, Kanyon, Kaleb and Ben

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4 Position Report

6/4/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
17 15.55N 144 05.87 W
COG 285T
SOG 7 kt
DMG 150 nautical miles
DTG 642 nautical miles

Wind: NE 20-22
Temp: 83 F
Pressure: 29.65
Sky: mostly cloudy
Seas:4-6 ft
Sails: double reefed main, single reefed jib, no stays'l

It was sure nice to have sunshine almost all day yesterday.  We dried some things out and the batteries got a good charge.  It's cloudy again this morning but the wind is blowing from a good direction and we are sailing along nicely.

Someone asked me what type of boat Wandering Dolphin is.  She is a custom aluminum cutter built by Steven's Boatworks in Nova Scotia.  She was designed by the legendary Gary Mull who was known for his radical and fast hulls.  She is flush decked, draws 6'6", has three cabins and two pilot berths with lee cloths in the salon.  She is a fast boat and although there are some things I might add to her (an aluminum hard dodger with the main sheet traveler on top, and aluminum rails all around) there is nothing I would actually change about her.  If you are interested in the refit you can look at our older blogs.  We basically rebuilt her, including new hull plates in areas, a new Beta Marine engine, and countless other things.  If only we had bought a new mainsail... Oh well... Keep sewing... Patching...sewing.

When we moved aboard we had read all the books and loaded her to the gunnels with all of the STUFF they say you MUST HAVE on a cruising boat.  Her water line sank, we then drew 7' and had to raise the waterline, suddenly she didn't have the beautiful motion I remembered.  After a few years of living like that with the boat full of stuff we never needed, expensive spares for everything rusting ruined in storage, motoring everywhere because she couldn't go to windward with 300 ft of chain and 3 anchors on the bow, oh and we were waiting with all the other cruisers for that perfect weather window... You know the one?  No wind, flat calm, no seas...  I gutted the boat and dumped a ton of stuff that had never been used, changed my anchor system based on our REAL time use and needs, got rid of all the stuff stored on deck, and put our waterline back where Gary Mull intended it to be.  We no longer stored more food than we actually needed for the time we would be on the boat, we shipped personal stuff that was not being used back to land, I dumped almost 200 POUNDS of paper books and changed to a Kindle.  Suddenly our lighter boat could go to windward like a witch and we were seeing speeds in the 9 knot range often.  We actually reef just to slow down so she's more comfortable for Rebecca.

We also changed our mindset.  We made a rule that our engine was to be used only for emergencies and to assist in entering or leaving anchorages and docking.  That single rule changed our lives in a drastic way.  Offshore life became enjoyable.  We learned to live with slow speeds right along with the fast ones and most importantly we really learned to sail.

I have simplified wherever possible and we try to keep up with maintenance as a matter of course.

Well that was probably more info than you wanted but...

Today is Kanyon's birthday.  He is 15 today, 6'3" and still growing, he eats ANY leftovers in the pan and is often caught eyeing his brothers or sisters, or even my, plate of food before we are finished eating it.  He is one of the sweetest guys I have ever known and has a very tender heart.  He is also a little naughty at times and likes to get the ball rolling with his brothers and then sit back and watch the fight.  His favorite thing in the world is MOVIES.  He has whole movies memorized and his big dream is to make them himself someday.  Happy Birthday Kanyon!  Today we will be watching a couple of his favorite movies, Beck is going to make him a coffee cake for breakfast, Em will make him Mac n Cheese for lunch and cookies, and we will finish the day with homemade PIZZA tonight!

Hope You All Have A Great Day!
Captain Tofer, Becky, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 3 Position Report

6/3/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
16 46.72N 141 32.81W
COG 280T
SOG 6.5kt
DMG 149 nautical miles
DTG 792 nautical miles

Wind: ENE 15-18
Temp: 85f
Pressure: 29.7
Sky: mostly cloudy
Seas: 8-10ft Sails: double reefed main, full jib, no stays'l

It is the 3rd of June.  We left Costa Rica on the 3rd of May.  We have spent one full month at sea with no one but ourselves and our boat and water as far as the eye can see.  We have sighted 10 ships in that time, almost all of them along the coast.  The last ship we picked up on AIS was almost 3 weeks ago.  This month we used the water in our tanks, water we caught, and a very small amount of water we made with the watermaker.  Our Honda generator went through 5 gallons of gas, our engine used 100 gallons of diesel, mostly in the doldrums. The vast majority of our power needs were met by our two 135 Kyocera panels and backed up by our D400 wind generator.  We still have a lot of canned food and noodles and rice left in storage, probably enough for another twenty days of pretty miserable eating hahaha.

One month.  Less than one week until landfall in Hilo. To say we are excited would be a gross understatement.

Yesterday we had a pretty fun day.  Becky made bread and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and lunch and I made chicken with dumplings for supper.  We started up the generator and played Halo as a family.  There must be some catharsis for kids when they can hunt down their parents and see them almost helpless as they run in circles or drive cars off cliffs while the kids literally dance and bounce around turning invisible because they have special gear.  They laugh at us and with us but also they try their best to take care of us and help us, if one of the mean little offspring is being overly psychotic and won't let Mom or Dad re spawn the others hunt that sibling down.
It was my movie pick last night so I picked a movie from way back that I'm not even sure why we own.  I must have picked it up in the dollar bin and I couldn't remember it.  It is called "Proof" staring Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Glylynhall.   It's about... Math... Kaleb said,
"Oh man... Do people actually sit around and do that?"  It was pretty sorry entertainment I have to admit.  I have also been reading Patrick McManis stories to the kids. I always make different voices for all of the characters and the kids get a big charge out of it.

It's still cloudy today but there are patches of blue sky and the seas have died down a bit.  Maybe we can get a good solar charge and dry some stuff out on deck today.

Someone asked about my fishing stuff.  I only use hand lines and they are set up with 500 pound test for everything.  They have some dropped line pulled in with a bungee cord that stretches out if something gets on the line.  Because there is no way for a fish to run out like with a reel the test has to be that high and most of the time we have no problem and the fish are manageable but this time what ever is out there following us, and I am pretty sure it's a big shark, it's big enough to just bite through the steel leader.  It has only broke the line itself one time and on another occasion it took the lure but left a bent up ruined hook, all of the other times it actually broke the steel itself cleanly.

Hope you all have a great day!
Captain Tofer, Becky, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2 Position Report

6/2/14 Wandering Dolphin POS

GMT 1600
16 19.17N 139 06.91W

COG 285T
SOG 6.5kts
DMG 168 nautical miles
DTG 941 nautical miles

Wind: ENE 20-25
Temp: 83f
Pressure: 29.70
Sky: overcast
Seas: 8-10ft NE
Sails: double reefed main, deep reefed jib, no stays'l.

Just to let you all know, the position reports might be posted a little late for the next few days because our friend Mike who does our shore stuff will be on a business trip.  We just wanted to let everyone know so no one panics and thinks something might be wrong out here.

We are on day four of this cold front and it's actually growing on me.  It really is nice to pull a blanket over yourself to sleep and I don't miss the sticky, cloying feel of sweat constantly on my skin.  The grey sea and sky has a beauty all it's own and I sometimes forget the time and find I have been staring at it for an hour or more.  The confused seas have moderated so the boat is pretty comfortable now and that helps a lot.

We spent some time talking about why everyone is soooooo eager to be ashore now.  It is kind of interesting actually because most of our time out here we lay around like Romans, eating our meals prone with nothing better to do than amuse ourselves.  I have read at least fifteen books this month (my favorites have been "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak and the Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte) we have all watched old seasons of "Survivor" and "Rome" that I had stored on an old iPod.  We play games.  Yesterday Becky and I actually battled each other on Halo on the XBox while the kids cheered on their favorite parent... (Mom got all the cheers and I got, "Oh. .. Dad, that wasn't cool!") I have tried in vain to catch more fish.  We are convinced there must be a big shark following us (we named her Bertha) who has been eating all the fish that get on my lines.  I lost my very last lure yesterday, again bitten right through a high test steel leader.  I spend some time fixing little things but there really has not been as much of that as I anticipated.  We spend a little time everyday cleaning up the boat and Beck spends more time than she'd like trying to make tasty meals out of canned provisions.  But really life isn't bad at all so why this intense longing for land?  I think it has nothing to do with land but for the familiar.  One time I took a group of boys on a month long backpacking trip in Wyoming and we were VERY remote, far off the trails, and limited in our food and communications. In a lot of ways that trip was far more remote than this one and we found these same intense desires to be OUT.  
So we spend time every day just daydreaming about food and hikes in Hawaii, and swimming in waterfalls.
Jim V.  Thanks for the story this morning!
Aline:   Very cool to hear about your offshore trip, tell us more!
Brent G: answer,   Wandering Dolphin was named by its original owners while it was actually being built in Nova Scotia.  There is a little bronze plaque and an engraved Bible in the salon that was presented to the boat by the boat builders.  We are the third owners of the boat and when we saw the plaque and the Bible we decided not to mess with the name.  We have  now owned the boat longer than any of the other owners and have rebuilt her from the ground up and we have all grown to love the name, not only do we all have a special place in our hearts for dolphins, it seems that they do for us as well.  In our minds we think of ourselves as adopted dolphins.  It's pretty cool to be making this long voyage and actually "Wandering."  When you live on a boat you become the boats name, your identity to other cruisers is that boat so we have been known for years now as "The Wandering Dolphins". The kids have always been called "the little dolphins".  It has become an identity for us and we are happy to have made it our own.

Well, it's time to get this sent off and wake up my wife.  I am going to BEG for cinnamon rolls!

Captain Tofer

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1 Position Report

6/1/14 Wandering Dolphin POS
GMT 1600
15 39.82N 136 32.25W
COG 285T
SOG 7kt
DMG 168 nautical miles
DTG 1105 nautical miles
Wind: ENE 15-20 gusting higher, last night 30-35, higher gusts
Temp: 84 F (wind is cold, boat is closed no fans on, kids using blankets)
Pressure: 29.70
Sky: overcast, raining on and off, wind spray from seas constantly in the air.
Seas: confused 8-12 ft very uncomfortable
Sails: double reefed main, storm jib, no stays'l

Well, I was up all night again.  Sure wish we had known that we'd be dealing with this crap for 3 days we'd have planned for storm watches, as it is I that am up all night dealing with it.

When you spend this much time offshore on a boat you become almost in sync with the sounds and motion of the boat.  If there is ANY new sound you immediately look for what is causing it.  Usually it means something is broken somewhere.  The rattle in the boom meant a chafed through reefing line a couple of weeks ago for example.  Our boat is quiet offshore.  There are no rattles or shifting back and forth of cans or other stores.  If we hear something we investigate and restow the offending item.  Shifting cans or other things can prevent you from hearing a new, important noise and can also cause damage itself.  On our last delivery the owners decided we needed six 2 gallon water jugs as extra water even though the boat had lots of water stowage and a working watermaker.  They stowed those heavy water jugs under the salon table, wedging them in.  I asked specifically if they rode there ok in heavy seas and he assured me they did and had never been a problem.  All I can assume is that his idea of heavy seas and my own are not the same thing.  Sure enough when the boat was really rolling the water jugs slid back and forth on the floor and because they were cheap ace hardware jugs they also started leaking all over the floor.  It apparently wore through the varnish in a spot on the floor which we thought had been there before the trip.  It also soaked Emily and Benny's gear.  Again this illustrates and backs up my own belief that extra heavy jugs stowed around the boat is not a good idea.  And any stowed items need to be secured in a proper stowage area.

So last night I heard a new bumping on the deck and it turned out that during one 39 mph gust the snap shackle holding our primary preventer (we use two) on the main literally bent itself open so I called Beck up so she could be my spotter and light.  I put on my harness and tethered myself to the jackline.  The most dangerous part of going forward on WD in heavy wind and seas is the first part where you have to make your way around the dodger.  In this case I was going forward on the port side which is the low side right now.  It was pitch dark and the seas were over 12 feet and the wind was blowing spray right off the water into my face.  Once I was clipped into the jackline with one tether I clipped my secondary tether into the lazy running backstay which was just secured to the low side deck (the working running backstay is up in use on the starboard side).  Then I sort of crab walk / ass walked up the heeled over deck to the broken preventer.  I checked it to see what happened and then sent Becky below for the tools and parts I needed to fix it.  While I waited I just hung on and rode the deck like a bronco, occasionally a wave would wash over from the high side and I would just grit my teeth and hold on.  She came up with my tools and new shackles and I replaced the broken one, tightened up the preventer and then, since I was already up there and exposed, I had a close look at all of the standing and running rigging for damage or chafe.  It was all good so I crab walk / ass walked back into the cockpit.

We are really hoping for some sunshine today so we can dry everything out and get warmed up.  When ever we talk about landfall now we say, "Three more days!" And give each other the high five.  We figure in about four days it will be true but for now it makes us feel better.

Yesterday we had rice for breakfast, chili mac for lunch, and black bean and corn salsa over corn chips for supper.

Time for coffee.
Captain Tofer, Becky, EmilyAnne, Kanyon, Kaleb, and Benny