Mal de Mer

Here’s a quick update on our journey this past week. We saw only light wind as forecast on the lee side of the island last Thursday. There was just enough time for a quick snorkel in Kealakekua Bay before dark. The quiet continued until we rounded the southern tip of the island and met with the strong trade winds and rolly seas. The rough conditions continued through that Friday and Saturday. Paul was never seasick but the rest of us had varying levels of illness and recovery time. For one of the crew it was too much, despite any treatments we tried. We hove to on Sunday evening for a rest but on the next afternoon she still wanted to go back to land. We turned around and sailed back to Hilo. The other crew member decided that the delay would leave her with too little time in the Marquesas and also chose to disembark. After a quick touch-and-go drop off on Wednesday we headed straight out again.

We are now making good progress in pretty favorable winds. Weather reports show that we might even stay on this tack the whole way there, or at least until we turn south to cross the equator. In the meanwhile, we are eating lots of fish thanks to the large skipjack tuna we caught on Tuesday. There were also three flying fish on deck yesterday morning, but they were too small to eat. Watch for more posts on the SV Serenity Facebook page as we make our way across the 2000 mile expanse of ocean.


The time has come to slip our cable, drop the mooring, and once more put out to sea. This is the big one, the one we’ve been working up to. With any luck, in a month’s time we will be arriving in French Polynesia. We have ignored the naysayers, and will continue to do so. We will take our journey as it comes and adapt with every tack.

Our time in Hawaii has been pleasant on the whole. It is true that in some ways Hawaii is a difficult place for cruisers. Our cat has had to sit in quarantine, the holding in the one anchorage we’ve managed to visit was a challenge, other anchorages we’ve tried have been too exposed or failed to offer appropriate sea bed for good holding (without damaging coral), the harbor masters here seem to rarely answer there phone and when they do they demonstrate their practiced art of discouragement and dissuasion. All of that said, however, we’ve had a great time. Reed’s Bay was a wonderful anchorage, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Hilo. Our excursions on shore have been a lot of fun and a well-needed break from life aboard. And even Kailua Bay surprised us. After reading that there were no moorings for transients and that the sea bed was a mix of rocky or coral and not good for anchoring (this I confirmed by donning mask and snorkel), we blithely picked up a vacant mooring after the harbor master proved unreachable. For a while this had me very nervous as the owner could show up and kick us off at any time. Luckily, as I was bringing one of our new crew members out to the boat I saw a commercial vessel picking up a mooring and stopped to ask them if they knew who owned the one I was on. It turns out they did, and *they* did! And after a brief conversation about our boat and our plans, they said it wasn’t in use and we could stay. They also told us there were at least two other moorings that were vacant, closer to the pier, and regularly used by transients. Who knew! Hawaii may be a challenge, but I believe it would be very rewarding to those with the wherewithal to learn its secrets.

But now it is time to move on. We have our new crew, we’ve got our cat back, and nothing remains between us and our dreams but the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Fair Winds!

Sea Madness

This and the next few posts are being added significantly delayed because Paul forgot the email address he set up to post to this blog by email.

May 26th, 2016

In addition to health precautions such as showering at least once a month, sailing the open ocean requires constant vigilance against Sea Madness. At least, that’s what the Voices say. So to put you all at ease about our mental health, here is a rundown of how we’ve remained masters of our sanity, and of a few other people’s as well.

Captain Red Beard (a.k.a. Ahab) has focused on the sailing aspect, especially using our new spinnaker. His love for it goes beyond flying the sail during the day; he’s started sleeping with it in his lee cloth. We only barely talked him out of flying it inside the cabin. To counter his disappointment, he has taken to fishing. Not only does he keep lines out all day, but he started hallucinating fish chasing behind the lures that no one else could see. In between watching them he scrubs imaginary scales from the cockpit, which seems to be prep for lighting a large bonfire made solely of beer bottles. We tried to tell him there were no scales or swimming fish, but we haven’t had the heart to break it to him that the cockpit seat is not an imu pit.

Noge the Sandwich also plays fishmonger by checking on the lines constantly and trying to change out the lures every 5 minutes. With the lack of fish to eat he’s resorted to calling all food sandwiches. Alternately he suggests that we put all dinner leftovers in omelets the next morning. The taco meat tasted great, but we had to draw the line at spaghetti. This led to more use of his favorite phrase, “I can throw myself on that grenade,” to indicate that he wants eat up excess food after meals. However, after too many repetitions he seems to be convinced that the boat is actually covered in grenades. Needless to say, he’s become a bit twitchy, and also insists on being called Lord Sandwich. We’ve tried to placate him with plenty of reading material, but he may just be eating the books. That would explain why no one’s seen Scrotty Jon’s Kindle since he shared it..

Machete Jen is doing well by referring to herself in the third person. Since she stowed every single last food item in the entire boat, she is the only one who knows where all the ingredients are come mealtimes. It became clear that the sheer volume of information was overwhelming the first time someone asked where some food was. She suddenly went bug-eyed and wisps of smoke began drifting out of her ears. As a result we’ve been eating whatever random things she pulls out, such as last night’s meal of salami, five dried apricots and a can of corn. While that may seem like an odd grouping, it was far better than the canned clams, peanut butter crackers, and mayonnaise combination we had last week. Don’t even ask about the thing with the non-dairy creamer.

Scrotty Jon stays mentally fit by conversing with his newest friend Frank, who is a large purple conch. At least, that’s our best guess based on his nightly serenading. In their many adventures, he sings of sailing to the Pacific garbage patch and conquering it for his own. We think this may be a reference to the salon table, or possibly the drawer of serving spoons. The cat has been avoiding him since he called her Sir Furry Pants and tried to put origami hats on her head. He still thinks of Zara as his minion and snacks on her kibbles when he thinks we’re not watching. Frank apparently insists that he play music most of the day as a tribute to King Triton. We don’t mind him acting as DJ, but refuse to let him strap the pole spear trident on his left fist. Instead he taped on a mound of gummy cherries which he ritually washes in salt water every morning.

As you can see, we’re all in great shape mentally. Now that we’ve assuaged your fears about that, it’s time to await the arrival of the swallow/seabird that brings the coconut deliveries. Allons-y!

Halfway Party

This and the next few posts are being added significantly delayed because Paul forgot the email address he set up to post to this blog by email.

May 24th, 2016

This morning our distance from Hilo and main land US were the same, so that makes it Halfway Party Day! We are officially more than a thousand miles from anywhere, which is about as lonely as you can get sailing on the oceans of this planet. The past few days have emphasized this solitude; after catching our first fish we saw no other signs of life for several days. Recently a white seabird circled us on a few occasions. But there have still been no radar contacts besides the rain showers that sometimes pass through.

Coming up with something notable to post about has been a challenge. Our journey has been an exercise in averages. Sometimes there’s a little more wind, sometimes less. Sometimes the swell is mellow, sometimes more rocky. We eat, nap, play cards, and listen to music. Our supply of fresh produce is slowly diminishing, and we’re making similar headway on our reading materials. Amidst that routine sameness, simply spotting some flotsam in the water can be the highlight of a day.

This mundane state is still much better than the alternative of things going wrong. So far we’ve never hit true extended doldrums or storm conditions. Our list of broken gear is limited to a rip in an outdoor cushion and a shackle that simply needed to be bent back into shape. And despite the spotty rain showers of the last few days, the weather is trending warmer and clearer. Night watches now come with nearly uninterrupted moonlight and the daytime skies have turned mostly sunny and as blue as the sea.

Fresh pizza in the middle of the pacific. It's a rough life.
Fresh pizza in the middle of the pacific. It’s a rough life.

Tonight we’re planning a victory feast of pizza and other treats to celebrate our progress. The forecast ahead looks like more of the same good weather as we slowly traverse the remaining miles. Stay tuned for exciting reports of the sea madness we definitely don’t have, and continued SPOT tracker posts from whatever time zone we decide to be in. Seriously, we have no idea what longitudes officially mark the zone borders, and we mostly don’t care 🙂