Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas every one,

I hope this blog finds everyone well and spending time with there families this holiday season. Last weekend I was invited to go down to Homer to attend the Homer Yacht Club Christmas party. It was a good time had by all and I got to tell more Pacific adventure stories with everyone. I invited a couple from here in Kenai to be my guest at the party. They are buying a Westsail 32 that is moored in Kodiak this week. They found me on the Internet and were surprised to find someone so close to them. They have never sailed before so they had heaps of questions about Westsails and I thought I would introduce them to the sailing community in Homer. They plan to bring the boat up and make Homer their hailing port this spring.

Saturday night after the party I spent the night on the boat. It has been very cold here the last few days so with the engine, diesel heater and generator running I got the cabin warm enough to sleep in. I also put up some Christmas lights on the mast to give the half empty, cold harbor some holiday sprit. The boat is doing well resting in the cold water. I keep thinking how much warmer I was this time last year.

This weekend Mom and I will be heading for Anchorage to have our family Christmas with aunts, uncles and cousins. I missed the party last year so I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Enjoy the pictures above and Happy Holidays to everyone.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall in Nikiski

Hello All,
Fall has set into South Central Alaska with two big rain storms causing flooding in many areas and high winds in Anchorage. It is not uncommon for our area but seems to be a little early.
All is well here and I have been doing some projects around the house for mom. I haven't starting working yet but have had a few offers to do so. I just haven't got excited about the thought of work yet.
Last weekend I had a public presentation about the trip at a local Rec Center. Everyone that came brought some food and I had a picture slide show that I put together to entertain everyone. It was really great to see all of the people that have followed my trip over the years and had a awesome visit.
I have started to write my book of the trip and have finished the introduction so far, now I just need to figure out how I want to start it off. I hope to finish it in the spring provided I don't get to busy.
I have a few pictures of around the house so you can see fall in Alaska.


Friday, September 7, 2012

News paper articles

Hello All,
When I was in Homer last Saturday I was interviewed by a radio station and by a local paper Homer News. To my delight our local paper The Peninsula Clarion also picked up on the story. They gave me a whole page story with pictures in the recreation section. That really tops off my welcome home events and I will enjoy my 15 minutes of fame.
Mom and I went to Homer on Wednesday and I got most of the food and a few other things off the boat. I am amazed as to how much stuff I had onboard. I will be returning to Homer next week and gather up a few more things and start winterizing.
I have been slowly adding more pictures to the web site and when I receive my new computer I will add more videos .
I will post the Homer news article so you can read it online.
That's all I have for now.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Freestyle safely tied in Homer Harbor

I made it into Homer Harbor at 1400 today. I had friends, family and 2 Homer news reporters greet me at the dock. In reality I made it to Kachemak Bay at 0600 this morning but because it was so early I moored the boat across the bay at some family friends homestead. I got some well deserved sleep after the 20 hour crossing and headed across at 1300. Even the bay welcomed me home by giving me beam reach winds gusting 30 knots. It was a bumpy 30 minute crossing but I got to finish the trip by sailing right on in.
The crossing from Kodiak to homer was excellent, the weather in Kodiak was sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. As the day went on I saw the clouds coming and before night fall it was overcast. I had all the sails up and moving right along but I did have the engine helping just to make good speed. The area between Kodiak and Homer can be very fickle for weather turning into a gale in hours so I wanted to get through in a timely manner.
I am home with Mom at the moment, we have been visiting and catching up. This will be only the second time in 3 years I have spent a night off of the boat. I will have to adjust my self to the real world again, it will be good to keep both feet on the ground for awhile.
I will return to Freestyle tomorrow and gather up food and things I have collected for years and bring it back. She will winter in the harbor in Homer and next spring I will haul her out and get everything ship shape for weekend sailing when time permits.
I have a future adventure planned in 2014 so I will have to hit the bricks for the time being to make it a reality.
Thank you all for reading about my travels and I will keep the site and from time to time let you know what I am up to and keep you up to date on what I am doing with Freestyle.

P.S. I have heaps of pictures I still need to post but I need a new computer first so stay tuned and I hope to post them in a week. I will also update my route so you can see where I have been.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

13 hours out of Kodiak

These are the coordinates as of 10:00 p.m. August 29, 2012

58 54.59N 151 52.89W

Hope to rest across the bay from Homer Harbor before coming into dock about 2:00 p.m. on Thursday the 30th of August.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Still in Kodiak

Hello All,
I am still here, I missed a small window to head north thinking I had a few days of good weather. But the window closed and now I am looking at a Wednesday departure. In the mean time I have been visiting with my family here and last night the British boat I was hanging out with in Dutch Harbor arrived. They had some problems coming up here, blown head gasket on the engine and a ripped sail. I have been helping them out by giving them a ride around Kodiak and running errands in my cousin Burts car. They have been great friends and I am only happy to help. This afternoon I gave them a nickel tour driving around showing them the sights. It was a beautiful day but very windy. They plan on taking the engine apart tomorrow and taking down the ripped sail.
I have been doing a little work myself getting the boat ready for the last 24 hours of my adventure.
I cannot believe this is it, seems like yesterday I left Homer but as the saying goes, all things must end. It's been a great trip and I am looking forward to seeing my family but not looking forward to the real world. I have a much broader scope on life and will be jaded to the every day life of American lifestyle. It will be interesting to see how I fit back in. It will be with and outside looking in attitude I am sure.
That's all for now. I will let you know when I am underway.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Visiting Family on Kodiak Island

Hello All,
After getting the best nights sleep I have had since Sand Point I got up and called my Aunt and Uncle that live here. I told them I would walk up to the house but only after finding a cruising couple that are leaving there boat here for the winter. Nick and Jenny on Bosun Bird. I have never met them but they wrote some very nice cruising notes for the Solomon Islands and Japan. I found this info on a popular cruising website when I was looking for information to cruise the Solomon's. They were a year ahead of me but they spent a year in Japan so that put us both leaving Japan this season and they were headed for Alaska. The long and the short of it is I met them tonight and they will be leaving on the 26th to head south to Washington on an Alaska ferry boat. They are British but now reside in Canada and Nick works for the Canadian government and has used up his time off and has to go back to work for a spell. They are staying at a local hotel and we plan to have dinner together tomorrow night. We had a great visit at there hotel room and I look forward to having dinner with them.
After I found Nick winterizing the boat that is hauled out in the boat yard and to say hello and I would talk to them later I walked my way up the hill to my Uncle Carl and Aunt Nina's home. I worked here with my dump truck in 2001 and 2003 so I knew my way around. It has been a long time since I was here but like I told my family, it is like visiting an old friend. I had a nice visit with my family and my Cousin Burt loaned me his spare car to get around. I will go back tomorrow and let them know my plans and the dinner I have planed with my new cruising friends. After being absent from the Island for 9 years I was surprised to see my Aunt and Uncle haven't aged a day. They are just like I remember them and their home was the same. My Aunt Nina says "its the Island living". She was born here and very proud of, like she says, her Island. She told me, Rick, don't go telling everyone how nice it is here, then I will have to share the place.
This is most definately a special place in Alaska and I am really glad to make landfall here to see family and new friends and see Kodiak from a new angle from the sea which is how a person should see it from.
I will keep you updated and it looks like I could leave here by Saturday, weather permitting of course. I want this trip home to be smoooooooth sailing, that is asking a lot for a crossing that could be the worse sailing I have had. It is only a 24 hour crossing, so should be, watching the weather, not to bad.
Where the Cook Inlet meets the Gulf of Alaska is a in my lingo a "Bad ass piece of water" I will do my best to make it a mill pond.
I will keep in touch.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arrived Kodiak Island

Hello All,
Ben and I made it here to the boat harbor. I put him on the Alaska state ferry this afternoon to get him home to Dutch Harbor. He gets to see the same scenery with the exception of a few places we didn't stop. All in all it was not a bad trip up here, except for the gale force winds for one night, so I cannot complain. The waters we traveled have sunk heaps of boats but that's winter time, you have to be careful all the same. The weather here is fickle, one day is different from the next. The weather man does his best but cannot predict local weather, like by bays and passes. I guess that's what I get for traveling close to shore but I wanted to see it and I took some great pictures on some clear days. I will post them when I get home and get a new computer so when I finish in Homer there will be more, so keep up.
The weather sucks for going north right now so I will be hanging out with my family that live here. Also a Canadian cruising couple I want to visit that has hauled out of the water.
That's all I have for now, I will keep in touch.


Almost to Kodiak

Hello All,
Sorry I haven't been writing blogs, my Mac that I used finally decided it had been on the boat long enough and quit working. I have been using the Mac through my sat phone for weather and emails. My PC is set up for my sailmail through the SSB radio but this far north the reception is not very good. The only stations close enough are in Hawaii and Washington.
I will sum up the last few days, gale winds and very rough seas sums it up pretty good. I thought it was going to be a little easier going but as usual mother nature has her own ideas. I chose to stay inside to come up here to Kodiak and when the wind blows hard there is a very steep and close together wave that forms because I was only in a few hundred feet of water the whole way.
I am currently drifting in a bay on the West side of Kodiak Island. I am going through a narrow pass to get to the other side and I need to wait for the tide and daylight to make it through. I try to time these things better but it happens from time to time. I couldn't find a good place to anchor before dark so I found a bay close to where I need to go and I am just floating around. I have been setting my drift alarm so I can catch a few winks of sleep.
I will be in Kodiak Wednesday about noon I would say, so I will have more for you then.


Monday, August 20, 2012

56 53.85N 156 06.32W

Hi Everyone,

Above is the coordinates as of August 20th 9:35 p.m. Hopefully arriving in Kodiak sometime Wednesday August 22, 2012. The Tustamena Ferry will take Ben home to Dutch Harbor so he can start school a few days late.

That's all for now.


Update from Rick

Hello All,
We left Sand Point at 0830 this morning. It was a sunny calm morning as we left the harbor. A west wind filled in a few hours after leaving and so I am motor sailing with my yankee jib up. We are making good speed and the weather is overcast but pleasant. I am running with a fisherman based out of Seward I met when we arrived. He is faster than me but we have been chatting on the radio a little. He is done fishing for the season and on his way home.
All is well onboard and so far the weather is good for the passage.
That's all for now so I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Left Sand Point

Hello Everyone,

Left Sand Point 0830 on August 19, 2012. Motoring with some sail. Should arrive Kodiak sometime Wednesday weather permitting. Will write more when the computer works again.

Position 55 36.29N 159 06.55W


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leaving Sand Point Sunday

Hello All,
I decided to stay one more day for better weather. There is a small depression that is passing over then should be good wind and weather to Kodiak. I have met a few fisherman that have finished there season and are also heading my way to Kodiak. Everyone has been really friendly and have been asking about my trip. This town has an amazingly big fishing fleet, mostly purse seiner's and set net boats. The harbor reminds me of Petersburg in Southeast Alaska. As we were coming in the channel yesterday I saw they have 2 big wind generators above the small village. It is really nice to see renewable energy being made in such a remote place. Heaps of the fisherman that are done for the season are trying to use up there groceries onboard so I think there will be a big BBQ on the docks tonight.
We will leave in the AM and head north and east and hope to be in Kodiak on Tuesday afternoon.
I will talk to you soon.


Friday, August 17, 2012

55 20.03N 160 29.09W Sand Point, AK

Hello All,
We arrived here at 1700 today. We have already walked through town and we have only been here 1 hour. They have a very nice harbor full of fishing boats, a few shops and a grocery store. I only plan on staying here until morning so we may walk back to town and check out a Chinese food cafe.
The paasage through the Islands has been awesome. I am glad I decided to come inside instead of going offshore. The wind was very light so I motor sailed the whole way.
I will write more later, I just wanted to tell everyone I made it.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

54 39.10N 162 56.87E

Hello All,
We are officially in Alaska Peninsula waters. We just past False Pass which is a short cut into the Being Sea between the mainland and Unimak Island. Unimak is the the most eastern of the Aleutian Islands. The wind has been very light but I have the sails up and also running the engine. It has been overcast but 57 degrees and flat calm seas. We are moving right along and should be to Sand point by tomorrow night. We are suppose to have a little more wind out of the south tomorrow so maybe we can do some sailing only at some point.
All is well onboard and I will talk to you from Sand point.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

53 57.36N 166 09.91W

Hello All,
We left Dutch Harbor at 1500. The day was beautiful. We ran into a little fog once we were out of the bay but it has lifted for the most part. We are just south of Akutan Island at the moment and are getting a little boost of speed from the current. The wind is light out of the NE and the sea is flat. I have seen hundreds of puffins out here, they are everywhere. It looks like the fog is starting to set in as I write this so the visibility is not very good at the moment.
We just had a dinner of Caribou steak and some veggies. One of the fisherman gave me some Caribou meat he got out at Adak and it was wonderful. I have the first watch so I will make this short.
All is well onboard and we are moving right along under engine for now.
I will talk to you soon.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preparing to Disembark Dutch Harbor

Hello All,
The last few days I have been visiting on the docks with the fisherman and have been having great conversation with the British sailing boat couple. I had them on the boat the other night and we had a few beers and smoked pink salmon that was given to me in Adak. They invited me over for dinner on their boat Sunday night and had a great visit. Their rudder was just finished this morning so they are ready to head for Kodiak. They will be leaving in the morning and I will be leaving on the afternoon tide. They will be going offshore so we will see who gets to Kodiak first. Phil and Ben came down to the boat tonight and took me to dinner where we had a very good pizza at one of the local cafe's. I also did some last minute shopping for fresh stuff.
The weather looks very good for at least 4 days so I will push really hard for Kodiak. If all goes well we should be there by Tuesday or Wednesday. I will make the trip inside the Islands and make a few stops along the way. The mileage is about the same whether I go close to the Alaska Peninsula or go outside in the Pacific. If the weather is good it will be a very scenic passage.
I will send a position tomorrow night and let you know how it's going.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Old Friends

Hello All,
The last 2 days here have been uneventful,only rain and some wind. It looks like I should be able to leave on Tuesday. I will keep you up to date with my departure.
Yesterday I had an old family friend, Stan Huhndorf, visit the boat. He works for the phone company and was flown down here on business from Kenai. Mom let me know he would be here so I was expecting him. He came down to the boat yesterday morning and bought me lunch and a beer and we just hung out all day visiting. Stan has commercial fished his whole life so he loves boats. In fact he bought a Westsail 43 not long after I left on my trip and plans to do some cruising when he retires in a few years. It was really nice to see someone from home to visit with.
Tonight I have been invited to dinner at the Harbor Masters home. Phil and his family have been the best and his son Ben is counting the hours until we leave. I never intended on spending this much time here but everyone has made my stay very welcoming.
There is a 50 foot British sailboat here I have been visiting with. They are heading for Kodiak and then South East Alaska. They came up here from Hawaii and 600 miles off shore they lost there rudder. They managed to sail the boat without a rudder and got close enough to have the Coast Guard tow them in. They had a new rudder built here and plan to head out when I do. They are retired and have been sailing the Pacific for a few years now. They plan to sail off shore to Kodiak and I plan to sail inside so I hope to meet up with them in Kodiak.
That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Weathered in in Dutch Harbor

Hello All,
We have had very good weather here but now that I want to leave there is a big low coming in. As far as I can tell it looks like we will have to wait until at least Monday to move North. The weather man is calling for a gale, 34 to 40 knots, starting tomorrow night and East winds beyond that so I guess I get to see more of Dutch Harbor. Ben my crew can spare time until the 25th of August so I hope this passes and we can get underway. I have planed a few stops along the way but if weather permits I will make my way to Kodiak Island.
There is a British boat here and they lost there rudder a few hundred miles off shore. They have been here a few weeks. They were towed in by the Coast Guard and are fitting a new one as we speak. I have been visiting with them and we hope to leave at the same time. We will see what the weather holds for us.
I received an email from Stefan and he made it to Anchorage and will be on his way to Germany tomorrow.
I am actually home in Alaska but because we are so big I am not even close to where I want to be in Homer. I need more patience, can I have it granted in the next few hours.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day Sail in Dutch Harbor

Hello All,
I took the boat out yesterday with the Harbor Master Phil, his son Ben and one of his co workers Corey. The wind was light but we managed to sail all the way out to the head of the bay which is about 5 miles. The weather was overcast but no rain so for Aleutian standards it was a beautiful day. Everyone had a great time. Phil used to sail in Washington and misses sailing so it was a real treat for him. His son Ben is going to crew for for me to get me at least to Kodiak.
I am going to look at weather but I plan to leave here tomorrow, that is the plan anyway.
I just saw Stefan off at the airport, he is flying into Anchorage tonight and will be back in Germany in a few days. He was a great crew and friend so he will be missed. We had a great time sailing together and maybe we can do it again someday.
Monday we rented a truck and drove all over the Island. It was a beautiful day so I got some good pictures. I will have to post them when I get home because my computer is having some issues and I am lucky it is still working in some capacity. To many years on a salty boat I am afraid.
Today I will get the boat ready to go. I already fueled up so I will top off the water and clean up a little.
That's all for now. I will let you know when I can leave tomorrow.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

53 51.94N 167 59.13W

Hello All,
Today is a new day and we are 40 miles from Unalaska Island and 50 miles from Dutch Harbor. The East wind that was holding us up last night diminished about 0400 so since then we have been running the engine. The sea has been flat calm so we have been making good time. It was also a very sunny day and we could see the Island 60 miles away. We have seen a few Orca whales and many porpise also. There have been a few fishing boats from time to time traveling West to there grounds.
I forgot to mention that when in Adak we got a tour of a fishing boat that was tied up by us. They were set up to fish for Halibit and Black cod. I have been on these boats before but Stefan has not seen the way they work. The captain was very nice and showed us everything from stem to stern. The boat is based out of Sitka but the captain is from Petersburg Southeast Alaska. He knew my family that lives there so we got a kick out of how small the state really is.
The next time I write to you we should be tied up safe and sound in beautiful Dutch Harbor Alaska.
That's all I have. I will talk to you soon.


Crew Wanted

Hello All,
Stefan will be leaving the boat in Dutch Harbor. He has a flight out of Anchorage on the 15th of August and because of our long passage and and delay getting out of Japan he is out of time to get me home. So I am looking for someone to help me get the boat to Homer. It should take about 15 days with stops along the way including Kodiak. If anyone is interested let me know on my email or contact my Mom.
It will be a great trip up the Alaska peninsula so take some time off and come enjoy the last part of my grand adventure.


53 52.58N 166 33.04W Arrived Dutch Harbor

Hello All,
We made it to Dutch Harbor this morning at 0900 this morning. We are also now in the same time zone as Kenai. I contacted the Harbor Master as we were entering the bay, he and the Customs Official met us at the small boat harbor. I am officially back in the U.S.A. After a brief check in procedure the Harbor Master showed us around town in his truck just to get us familiar with the place. They have the biggest grocery here that I have seen since Guam. This is a very busy place with all of the fishing industry here so that was a bit of a culture shock after 40 days out on the water and Adak doesn't count.
We are just getting settled in so I will write more later.


Friday, August 3, 2012

53 34.03N 170 19.91W

Hello All,
Last night we finally got to sail the boat. The wind came up out of the South and had us moving right along. As of an hour ago the wind turned to North East which is the way we are going so for now I have the boat more or less stalled out so I won't loose any ground we have already got. The weather says this should turn around in our favor by tomorrow so for now we will just be sitting still. We are 125 miles out of Dutch Harbor and it looks like we should get there by Sunday afternoon, I hope.
I am pretty num to these set backs, it is just the way it is I guess.

That's all for now, I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

52 37.45N 173 30.73W

Hello All,
After all of our weather troubles over the past few weeks we finally got a break. Yesterday afternoon, last night and all day today has been awesome. Beautiful sunny weather all around. We can see Islands from as far away as 25 miles and it is 64 degrees. I got out my boardies and my flip flops just to say I was getting a tan in the Bering sea. It is a little chilly for that but I will take it while its warm. The only catch is, no wind. It looks like we will get a little wind tonight so for now I have to run the engine. I will take this over gale force winds any day. We have been making good time with a little current helping us from time to time. We have 254 miles to Dutch Harbor so we are looking at late Saturday early Sunday for an arrival.
All is good onboard and we are enjoying the day.
I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Left Adak

Hello All,
We left Adak Island at 1230 this afternoon. After the gale that we had for the last 2 days the weather finally cleared and has turned into a very nice day. The wind is very light but I planed it that way. It is suppose to fill in a little by tomorrow so we hope to get in some good sailing. We have 400 miles to go to Dutch Harbor so it should be a 4 day crossing. We will stay on the Bering Sea side as it makes it easier to get to Dutch Harbor that way.
We had a few visitors to the boat last night, a couple that we met night before last, Mugs and Phyllis came down to see the boat and say goodbye. Mugs works for the City working at the maintenance shop and Phyllis works at the medical clinic. They are both very nice people and we had a great visit. Elaine came down also and brought one of her friends that cooks on one of the fishing boats. Everyone in Adak was the best and they all hope I can return someday.
That's all I have for now so I will give you a position and update tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beautiful Windy Adak

Hello All,
We have had a great time getting to know all of the folks on the Island. Everyone has been so nice to us and helped us whenever we needed it. Elaine, the harbor master, gave us some fresh smoked salmon that she caught the other day and it was yummy. One of her friends gave us a tour of the fish plant today and showed us how they process the fish that are delivered here. There is only one cannery owned by Icicle Seafood's and they are trying very hard to create a market here so the fisherman fishing in these western waters have an option to deliver their catch instead of having to run all the way to Dutch Harbor 400 miles away.
Adak used to be a Navy town until the mid 1990's when budget cuts forced them off of the Island. There was even a McDonald's here. There are 100 permanent residents and housing left over from the Navy to serve 10,000. I would describe it as a modern ghost town. They have an airport that is big enough for a 737 to land once a week for freight and passengers and the biggest fuel dock capacity wise in all the Aleutian's. Dutch Harbor being the biggest fishing port in America as far as pounds caught can't even beat that.
Adak's motto is "where the wind begins" and after today I believe it. We had winds 35 gusting 50 today. I wanted to leave Tuesday but I think we will wait until Wednesday morning. A few fishing boats have come into the small boat harbor and said they are ducking and covering so we will wait to leave.
We have the boat full of fuel and water and did some shopping today so we are in hurry up and wait for the weather mode. Just another day at the office as they say.
I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arrived in Adak 51 51.00N 176 39.35W

Hello All,
After getting anchored we had a good nights sleep in the gale forced winds. The anchorage was very good and so glad we make it there for the night. This morning the wind came down and we make tracks for Adak Harbor. We arrived at 1400 hours and were greeted by the very kind harbor master Elane. She gave us some Adak coffee mugs and a Bristol Bay news paper and let us talk to the customs in Dutch Harbor on her phone to let them know we have arrived in the U.S.A. She then gave us a ride to her house so we could take a shower, it has been awhile. On the way we had to help her tie up a fishing boat that came into port and it happened to be one of the Deadiest Catch boats, Mavarick. That was really cool to see it up close and got to say hello to the skipper Rick. We had a very nice time visiting at her house and the shower was awesome. She gave us a nickel tour of town and let us borrow an old truck to drive. She took off fishing for pink salmon and we headed for the local cafe for some good home cooked food. Wow, it is so nice to be here, you have know idea.
We will be here until Monday or Tuesday so we will get to know the place and check it all out.
I have more but I will save it for later.
I am back home and it feels great. I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

51 50.28N 176 08.35W Tanaga Island

Hello All,
We finally made it to Adak. The catch is as we were entering the bay a forecasted gale hit us like a freight train only 6 miles from the harbor. We were forced east and found a very nice bay to anchor in for the night. The gale is suppose to pass by tonight and we hope to go back the 20 miles to Adak tomorrow. Even though we are not in civilization yet, it is really nice to have the boat sit still. The anchorage is very protected and as the night has progressed the sky has been clearing and we are surrounded by beautiful lush green mountains and a half moon.
It was a tough decision to run and find shelter but there wasn't many options and now that we are here I am happy about the choice I made.
We are going to watch a movie now so I will get going.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

51 09.16 179 09.40W LAND HO

Hello All,
We just spotted our first land in 30 days. We are just off the southern coast of Amatignak Island which is one of the southern Islands of the Andreanof Island group. Adak belongs to the same group of Islands. We had to get 2.5 miles from it just to see the beach because of the fog but it's land. We are 100 miles out from our destination in Sweeper Cove on the west side of Adak. The wind has been light so I have been helping with the engine at low RPM's. We have a 16 mile long pass between 2 Islands to get through tomorrow afternoon with the tide so I am pushing us to get there in a timely manner. The tide runs at 2.5 knots so I want to get there in time to have it help us through. There are currents out here also that have effected our speed for and against since this morning so I hope it doesn't mess with us to much on our approach.
We have also crossed over to the Western Hemisphere. This is the first time in 2 years Freestyle has been on this side of 180. We hope to be in Adak about this time tomorrow 1900, so we are really excited.
That's all for now so I will talk to you later.


Monday, July 23, 2012

50 36.42N 169 56.47E

Hello All,
Our sailing has been up and down the last 48 hours so I have been motor sailing to help in the calm air. Luckily we have been sailing more than running the engine so I have been saving fuel. The one nice thing about running the engine is heat. I have a cabin heater that runs off of the engine coolant so when it is running the cabin is nice and warm. The temperature hasn't been to bad, it got down to 50 last night and we have been getting a little sunshine in the day for a few hours. The fog at night is thick and very wet.
The weather is calling for stronger wind in our favor to start sometime tonight and it looks like it will last for 4 days at least. That should get us to Adak which is 500 miles away. I will not guess our ETA yet but I am getting closer to figuring that out.

With the calm seas and slow sailing speeds I have been reading. I have had books on the boat since I left home and I figure it time to go through them to entertain myself. It passes the time and is good for the soul and mind.

That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

50 14.41N 165 02.10E

Hello All,
We are finally back on course and have made some decent sailing miles the last 24 hours. I have done a little motor sailing but the wind always fills back in and I turn the engine off. These are not neck breaking speeds we are doing due to inconsistent winds but we are getting there a mile at a time. I still will not guess my arrival date in Adak but I will tell you that I will be beating my old record of 28 consecutive days at sea. That was my first Pacific crossing from San Diego to Marqueses Islands. That passage will still be the furthest I have traveled in the Pacific. We are now on day 25 with 650 miles to go. The Islands are getting bigger on the chart and we are more than ready to get there.

The weather has been pretty nice, partly cloudy with sun now and then. The temperature has been 48 at night and 52 in the day. The sea temperature has been around 56 to 57. I expect that number to get a little colder and the air temp warmer haha.

That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

48 39.54N 162 09.76E

Hello All,
We have finally made it through to the other side of the East winds and should be looking at getting back on coarse in the next 24 hours. We have made a lot of North with this system now we need to go East to get to the Islands. The wind has been very strong at times and it has been 3 days since we got into this. We are ready to start getting back on track and the weather looks good to do that by tomorrow night.

Stefan baked a cake today so that was a nice treat. It is Betty Crocker but still good none the less. All is well onboard, I have been reading to pass the time and since it has gotten colder we sit out side much less. We just take turns sticking our head out and look for ships. We have been lucky the last few days as there has not been a lot of fog.

That's it for now so I will talk to you soon.


Monday, July 16, 2012

21 Days from Japan

Hello All,
We finally got into some sailing wind the only thing is it is from the East which is pushing us away from Alaska. A front is passing in front of us and it is bringing with it 30 knots of wind. We are heading North as fast as I dare to drive ourselves out of it. It has been a pretty bumpy ride the last 24 hours and is suppose to stay this way for another 24 hours. The air is getting much cooler and the sea temp is in the 50s now. I hope this system only sets us back a day or to.
We have been on the water for 21 days now and we are getting excited to get to the Aleutians even with the little set back. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.
That's all I have for now. I am to busy trying to hold on here LOL.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

42 38.52N 159 45.49E

Hello All,
We did very good the last few days sailing, but as of last night the wind calmed down and I am now running the engine. The sea looks like a mirror at the moment with only tiny small ripples in the water. We have what I call a little flat spot in front of us then a Southeast wind in a day or 2. That will work okay for us, but then it is suppose to turn more to the East which will force us North. I guess we will see what happens in the next few days. The wind being up and down has us very frustrated at times but never get upset over what you cannot control. I have to keep saying that to myself.

We have been in the fog for 3 days straight now with only a hint of sun trying to shine through from time to time. This is the path of the great circle route from Asia to North America so there have been a few ships I have seen but not seen. I find them on the RADAR or my new AIS ship tracking system. The water temp is down to 65 degrees. I haven't seen water that cold in a long time. We are wearing all of our cold weather gear at night. It has been getting down to 59 degrees so far and it's only going to get colder.

That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Friday, July 13, 2012

41 05.39N 155 08.38E

Hello All,
We have had some good winds the last 2 days. Yesterday was a little light but we were making headway. This morning the wind came up a bit and now we are sailing along at a pretty good speed. The wind is on the stern so we only have my big yankee sail up and its doing a great job keeping us moving along. We have had fog off and on the last few days and the air temp is getting colder. It is getting in the mid 60's at night and right at 70 in the day. The water temp is dropping also at a cool 68 degrees.
We are pretty excited today, a few hours ago we passed the half way to Adak mark. I will make land fall in Adak because it is the closest inhabited Aleutian Island and a place where I can get the boat fueled up. We will head for Dutch Harbor from there. I hope with our good sailing at the moment that this next half of the trip will be a little better than the first half. It hasn't been to bad, I am just looking for more constant wind than we have had in the last few weeks.
All is good onboard and I will keep you posted.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

39 30.32N 152 48.71E

Hello All,
After having wind off and on the last 2 days it finally calmed completely. We sat adrift for 4 hours yesterday and I started the engine at 1900. I ran it until noon today when the wind filled back in and now under sail once again. The weather has been very warm and sunny off and on. A far cry from the rain showers we got 2 nights ago.

I have been looking at the weather and wasn't expecting anything until tomorrow so this was a nice little surprise. We were in the middle of a big high pressure but now I see it's falling again which means wind or rain or both. We will take what ever mother nature has in store to get me home and with 1400 miles to get to Adak we welcome it.

All is well onboard and I have been reading for the first time in a while.
I will talk to you soon.


Monday, July 9, 2012

37 54.24N 151 01.19E

Hello All,
After struggling sailing and light winds the last few days we are now adrift. The wind came down completely and are now waiting for a predicted South Easterly to fill in. It is starting to show a little now so we are just waiting for enough to move. I have been very patient in this passage so far but it is wearing on me a little. I have never moved so slow in the 3 years of sailing. I have about 150 hours of diesel on board but am saving it for the Alaska end of the passage. So through the middle of the North Pacific I will do it Captain Cook style. So far this is making out to be my longest passage at sea. The mileage is second shortest but lack of wind makes it difficult.

We are keeping our hopes up and you never know when a breeze comes along and gets you moving again.

All is well here, we have just been reading and cleaning up the boat.

I will talk to you soon.


Friday, July 6, 2012

36 58.54N 149 08.65E

Hello All,
It has been a mixed bag of light winds and flat calm the last 2 days. We have been making some miles, even though the winds have been light. Last night the wind came down all together so we pulled the sails down, made some dinner and watched a few shows on Stefans computer on deck. It was a beautiful evening and afterwards we both went to bed. It was very nice to have 6 hours of undisturbed sleep. It was still calm when I got up so I started the engine and started making our way North. At 0900 the wind started to pick up and we both got the sails up and we were sailing again. We have had good wind all day and I expect it will increase though the night. It may get a little rough but at least we will be moving along.
All is well and we are happy to be sailing again.
That's all for now so I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

35 06.70N 146 31.62E

Hello All,
We have been sailing pretty much the last 48 hours. We had a real nice south west breeze starting on Tuesday night then picked up to 20 plus knots. By last night it was blowing over 30 knots so I had my smallest sails up to keep us moving. The wind was in our direction so besides a rough ride we did very well. This morning the wind turned very light so we are motoring at the moment. I will shut the engine down in a few hours and hope something fills in. I only have enough diesel for about 1200 miles so I need to conserve, after all it is a sailboat,right?

I got in touch with a cruiser on the SSB radio last night. Steven from the U.S. We met in Guam and he went to north Japan to do some cruising. He is about 900 miles south west of Dutch Harbor so he is a few weeks ahead of me. We had a nice chat on the radio and I will tune in tonight and we will keep in touch.

In the calm sea I have been doing some light maintenance. I put 10 gallons reserve water in the tanks and took my on deck jerry cans and topped off the starboard fuel tank. I also put some small patches in the yankee jib sail. I am also reading a book Jon from Basque gave me. It is the history of Basqueland. Very interesting read.

That's about all I know so I will let you go.


Monday, July 2, 2012

33 59.10N 143 43.20E

Hello All,
We have had 2 great days sailing and are making East and North so we are getting a little closer. As we speak the wind came down and we are just crawling, in fact the Kuro shio counter current is pushing us south a little. The wind should fill back in tonight so we will be waiting for it with baited breath. When we get a little futher north the main current should send us East where we need to go. Days like these teach me a whole lot of patience.

All is well onboard and we have been enjoying the beautiful sunny day. I know these nice hot days are numbered so we will soak it up while we can.

That's all for now.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

32 22.40N 140 00.80E

Hello All,
We have had pretty light winds the last few days so I have been burning some fuel to get us off shore into more favorable winds. We finally got just that and have been sailing right along. Not really the speed that I would like but we will take it. We are hoping for more wind in the next few days so we will be holding our breath. Yesterday was beautiful sunny and today more overcast and rain off and on. So far it has been uneventful and I hope it stays that way.
All is well onboard and Stefan turns out to be pretty good at cooking.
I will write more later.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

31 48.66N 136 00.07E

Hello All,
We have had an interesting 2 days out here on the water. When I departed I knew there was a low coming through but after that there was suppose to be south to west winds. Well, we met the front and it offered gale force winds and what I thought was to be 12 hours turned out to be 24. It stalled right on top of us and offered lots of rain and wind. We were forced to make a southeast course. The wind finally settled this morning and we had a nice morning to afternoon sail in the right direction which is East. The wind came down a few hours ago and the sea is almost flat so I have decided to start the engine and start working our way off shore.
Weatherman predicts south to west winds in 24 hours so we will just toodle along until that happens.

All is well onboard and I am working on getting my sea legs back. Stefan is doing great and I am enjoying his company.

That's all for now, I will let you know what's going on as usual.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye Japan

Hello All,
We left Tannowa at 0500 this morning to catch the outgoing tide. A few of our friends came down to say goodbye and Kondo actually escorted us out the narrow channel to the outside bay with his sailboat. Every time I leave the places I spend a lot of time at I always feel so sad. We will be in the Pacific Ocean in a few hours and we have a little south breeze to help us along. I am motor sailing at the moment but if the wind predictions are correct we should be under sail only some time tonight.

Last night one of me friends Hirata took me out to dinner to a really nice French restaurant. He brought a friend along and we had a great time. He called it my last dinner in Japan. We were up really late getting last minute things done and put away so we are a little tired.

I had the time of my life in Japan even though I was only in a few places in Osaka Bay. The one thing that happens when you spent so much time like I did is you make really good friends and I want to thank them all for making me feel so welcome.

We are Alaska bound and I am very happy to be out sailing again.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Osaka Maritime Museum

Hello All,
I have been sitting here stewing over my decision to stick it out a few more days. A Canadian boat I have been chatting with on the email took my original plan of departure and headed out Saturday morning. They are much further north than I am so their weather is a little different than mine. They are also heading for Alaska, Dutch Harbor and Kodiak. It still leaves a feeling that maybe I should have went for it also. My gut told me to wait and now time will tell if it was the right thing to do. On a good note there are south and west winds coming the middle of the week so the old adage, stick stay and make it pay, will hopefully work out.

In the mean time Stefan and I took the train to Osaka and went to the Maritime Museum. It is a beautiful facility and heaps of Osaka Bay history and a real replica of and ancient Japanese tall ship. It is 120 feet long and actually sailed Osaka bay in the early 90's. It is the show case of the building placed right in the middle. I really have no more plans of touring around so I will just enjoy the local sailboat company that stops by from time to time and get my mind wrapped around jumping in the water to clean the bottom off. It has been 2 months since it was last done and it looks like it could use a little scrub. I really hate doing it but there is know one here you can even hire to do it so the job lands on me. I need the boat to move along as fast as possible without dragging along Japanese castaway growth.

Thats about it for now so I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aborted Passage

Hello All,
I was watching the weather till the last moment this morning. The last depression that came through changed my weather window to just a day and a half of favorable winds then it was going to start forcing us down instead of up. It was a really tough call to make but it is very important to me to leave with at least 3 to 4 days of sailing weather to get off shore.
For now we will just sit tight and keep watching for a day to leave. I will keep you posted as usual.
Bye for now.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Typhoon has passed

Hello All,
The Typhoon has passed and all is well. It started to pass over us about 1500 yesterday. Winds reached gale force but no more. Freestyle was well tied and no problems at all. A piece of the eye went over us so I could see blue sky and no rain. It gives you a false sense that it is over then you get the back side. You know this is happening because the wind changes direction. I wouldn't want to get a steady diet of these things but very interesting to observe, at least from a safe harbor.
We have one more small depression that will be here by tomorrow then it looks decent for a Saturday departure. I don't want to wait for anymore of these things and we have a decent westerly to get us off shore. I want to get East, then East North East and shape coarse for the Aleutian's.
I will keep you up to date and we will keep our fingers crossed.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Typhoon Guchol

Hello All,
Everyone here at the marina is putting extra lines on there boats and getting ready for a little wind and rain. Everyone I have talked to doesn't think it's going to be to bad because it is tracking off shore from us but is lining up to hit Tokyo pretty good. They are calling this a Super Typhoon with winds peaking at 180 knots and 60 foot seas. We should start feeling it by tomorrow night so we will see what happens. These Japanese harbors resemble bunkers so they are very safe for most all weather.
I am looking at a Saturday departure following in the heals of these lows coming. For now we are just hanging tough and see what happens.
I will keep you posted.


Busy weekend in Tannowa

Hello All,
This has been a busy weekend for us being entertained by all of our new friends. Friday we were invited to Osaka downtown to check out all of the shops and have dinner. We had a great dinner and sight seeing was awesome. We returned on the last train at 1130 pm. Good time had by all. Yesterday it poured down rain and was windy as hell. I just spent time on the Internet and was studying the weather trying to figure out when we can leave. If it was not for everyone keeping us busy I think I would be going crazy waiting. Today was a very nice day so I was invited to visit on a few boats and was taken to lunch by 2 members of the yacht club. When returning to the boat there was a few families having a BBQ right by my boat so they sat me down and we had a nice chat and had a little food and sake with them. Weekends at the marina are very busy and Japanese love a good BBQ.

The Typhoon should pass by off shore in 2 days so I will be looking at a weekend departure. I will keep you updated and let you know what's happening.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Koyosan Tour

Hello All,
We had a great time yesterday with our host Kondo. We met him with the group of people that payed us a visit last weekend. He picked us up in his car at 0900 and we headed to the mountain town of Koyasan. It took about 2 hours to get there through many country towns and a switch back ridden road that rises to 2000 feet. This is the first time I have actually been in the true country side of Japan. It was a beautiful drive with big Cedar trees and a very narrow road. Koyasan is the home for Monks that practice Buddhism. They have a University there that teaches the religion to young people that want to join the faith. Koyasan also houses many of Japans national treasures with buildings dating back to 816.

Our host Kondo gave us a very good tour of an ancient cemetery and many of the temples. It is a very small town and it was a Friday so not to many tourists around. I could not imagine renting a car and trying to find this place. Kondo brought us back before dark and dropped us back at the harbor. We had a great day with him and we were very grateful.

Tonight we are invited to Osaka to hang out with another yacht club member that will give us a tour of the downtown area. Busy, busy , busy. We are having a great time here and all of this adventure helps to keep me sane for not being able to cast off yet.

It looks like the Typhoon will make land fall on the South Island of Kyushu on the 19th so we may get to leave on the heals of it. Weather permitting as usual.

I added more pictures so take a look and I should have a few videos ready to post by this weekend.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Castle and Temple tours

Hello All,
We made the the trip to Osaka by train on Monday and visited the Osaka castle and the surrounding park. It was very beautiful and hard to believe that such a thing exists in the middle of a city of 9 million people. The castle it self has a museum inside which has many of Japans national treasures. On our return of an hour and a half by train we were invited for dinner aboard Kakiharas boat. One of his friends Mr. Morishita joined us for the feast of BBQ chicken, noodles and many other things. The dinner was out standing and had a great visit also. Yesterday morning we were invited for breakfast aboard Mr Morishita's boat not far from where I have my boat. He offered to take us by his car to Nara which is just north of Osaka to visit an ancient temple. An hour drive into Osaka we stopped by his home to pick up his wife and we set off for Nara. The temple and the grounds surrounding were fabulous and has one of the oldest buildings in Japan. When we arrived there we saw many deer roaming the park areas. They were very tame and we bought some cookies to feed them. That was so amazing, they would swarm you looking for food. You could just walk up to them and pet them also. Without food in hand they wouldn't give you much attention. The weather was not that great raining off and on but we still had a great time.
After the temple tour they took us to downtown where there is a huge market and a big tower like the space needle. We also had a wonderful dinner at a Ramen noodle shop not far from there home. They dropped us at the train station last night where we caught the 8 pm train home.
They were wonderful hosts and I hope to see them here next weekend.

We are invited on another tour of this area tomorrow by a boat owner we met the other day. I forgot his name but we will get reintroduced in the morning.

The weather looks like it could give us a window to leave by Monday, the only thing is there is another Typhoon developing to the South of us. The next few days will show which way it is going to track so we will hope for the best.

I added pictures of the last few days on the photo album so take a look.

Thats all for now.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tannowa bike ride

Hello All,
Yesterday Stefan asked the Harbor Master if he could borrow one of the many bikes here. He said no problem so I got my bike out and we went on a 4 hour bike tour of the area. There is a very nice coastal road to the south right along the beach. We took that trail 5 miles to the next town where we explored all over then returned along the main road inland. When we returned a few of the local boat owners came by to visit. I think about 20 people came aboard to take a look inside. One of the yacht club members named Kakihara invited us on his boat where he showed us a chart of his circumnavigation of Japan 6 years ago. He also keeps a Yacht book of passing foreign yachts and asked me to sign it. I will put together a picture to put inside and my travels. He also gave us some information about the area and places to see. Tannowa sees a few more foreign boats than Suma because it is a little cheaper and is closer to the Pacific Ocean for departure.

Today we have been invited up to the Yacht club for a late afternoon beer. Allot of the boats went out today across the bay for a picnic. They should be returning this afternoon.

The weather is not looking promising for a next weekend departure so we are in hurry up and wait mode. Tomorrow we will take the train into Osaka to see an ancient park and a castle.

It has been very nice here the last 2 days and is suppose to hold till Tuesday, then we are going to get some rain.

Thats all I know for now.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Tannowa Harbor, Osaka Bay

Hello All,
We made it across Osaka Bay to the south this morning. It was overcast but was not raining. The wind was light so I got to see how the new transmission worked by motor sailing. Not a great day for a crossing but we had to get out of Suma. It was also a little foggy which made it fun dodging all of the shipping and fishing boats. This place makes Long Beach California look deserted. We found the Harbor with no problems and tied up. The staff here are very nice and I get to stay here one week for free. I hope that's all I need to stay is one week. I have been watching the weather and there maybe some wind in our favor in 4 days or so, we will see. I also contacted another boat that I have never met. They are a Canadian couple that toured the Solomon's and Guam last year and are now in Japan looking to cross to Alaska this year. They wrote some very good cruising notes for both, Solomon's and Japan and I found them searching the Internet. They are a few hundred miles North of me but we will need the same weather to move East then North. We will keep in touch with each other and study the weather to figure out the best time to leave. I was hopping I would meet this couple here in Japan as they stayed a whole year but I have been a months behind there movements. Nice to know there is a few boats heading my way.

In the mean time I will try to be patient and enjoy my stay here. The harbor is and hour South of Osaka by train and is very rural for Japanese standards. I even heard birds chirping while we were looking around the very small town. There is a Post Office and grocery store pretty close by and just past that is the train station. As usual everyone is as nice as they can be.

Its late and pouring down rain so I will go now.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Awaji Shima bridge tour

Hello All,
I had a visit with the harbor master this morning and after the Typhoon had passed last night he asked me when I was going to leave and came with the bill. I looked at the numbers and thought, wow this is allot and I kind of said so, but I said ok and got on the internet for the exchange. As I was looking it up he came out and said I messed up and here is what it is going to cost. It was much cheaper and I was very relieved.

The weather still isn't really in our favor yet but I don't want to wear out my welcome here so we will move on to a marina across Osaka bay. It will get us closer to the Pacific and will give a chance to see more of Japan. I hope something is in our favor by next week. We plan to leave out of here on Friday morning and make the 21 mile crossing to the other harbor.

After all of the business was settled this morning we took a train to the big bridge that crosses over to Awaji Shima Island, It has the longest single span in the world and was amazing to see up close. It looks similar to the Bay bridge in San Francisco Bay but much bigger. We were just doing the tourist thing looking around and finding little shops to go through.

Tomorrow we will get the boat all ready to move on to the next place and my friend Toshi will come down in the afternoon to help us get a little more fuel for the trip. This place has been so amazing and the people are the best you could find anywhere. Since the news paper article came out I have had so many people come down and give me the news paper and also translate it for me. One of the boat owners that I have been visiting with actually laminated the article and had it translated it for me too.

Japan is an amazing place and if you don't speak the language I would recommend a trip here anyway. Of coarse coming by boat gives you a few extra cutos.

That's all for now , talk to you soon.

P.S. Stefan got some good pictures, I will post when I get them from him.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

News paper article

Hello All,
Kinny, the guy from the paper that interviewed me a few days ago came to the boat tonight with the news paper. It will be circulated tomorrow so I have the first one. I will give the address but you will have to copy paste it or you can google it by writing Rick Morris Kobe. You will also have to translate it with bing or something of the like but its pretty cool.

Here is the web site.

The battery is almost dead so must go.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Sailing day

Hello All,
Yesterday we got the boat out sailing. The wind was pretty light at first so we practiced reefing the main sail and tacked the boat a few times to miss all of the ships coming and going. We spent about 4 hours out on the water in total. On our return the wind had picked up and had a great sail back to the harbor. After we got the boat tied up two gentlemen came over to say hello. One of the guys has a boat in the harbor and after visiting for a few minutes he invited us both to join him for dinner at the yacht club restaurant. I have never had dinner there before because it is very expensive but he insisted to pay for our dinners and we had a very nice visit. They both spoke pretty good English so it made it much nicer for conversation.

It looks like the Typhoon will be passing off shore by tomorrow night so I will get back to figuring out the best time to leave. For now we will do more exploring and show Stefan around town.

That's all we are doing for now so I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Typhoon tracking

Hello All,
I thought I would add a link of the Typhoon tracking center web site. It should reach full strenth by tomorrow and they are predicting it to to start tracking away from the Island. Mind you that is only a prediction. The Harbor where I am is Typhoon proof or at least very protected so this is a good place to be. We will not see any of the wind for 3 days or so and I hope it tracks away from the Island as predicted.

Ok here is the web site but as usual I never did figure out how to link so you will have to copy paste it.

Talk to you soon.


Crew Arrived

Hello All,
Yesterday my new crew arrived here, Stefan from Germany. we have been visiting and getting him familiar with the boat. We met in New Zealand last year right before I left. He was crew on a boat heading for Australia. We have kept in touch since then and he wanted to make this crossing with me. He is a very experienced sailor and I am really glad to have his knowledge on the boat for this crossing.

We have a Typhoon that will be passing here in the next few days so we are just waiting for the right time to leave. It looks like Thursday but I will keep you posted. We will just sight see for the time being and hope to do a sea trial when the Typhoon passes.

Today my friend Toshi gave us a ride to the gas station to get the jerry cans full of diesel for the boat. He has been a great help and really appreciate his help.

For now we are waiting for a weather window then we will head out. I will let you know what's happening in the mean time.

Talk to you soon.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Famous in Kobe

Hello All,
It has been a few days since I wrote. I have been busy preparing for my crew Stefan, he will be arriving in the morning. I have been cleaning from end to end and getting the boat all ship shape. I think its as ready as it will ever be. I have been tracking a tropical depression south of us. So far it has not developed into a Typhoon but I will be keeping a watchful eye. Typhoon or not it will be off our coast by Sunday or Monday so the earliest we could leave the Country is Tuesday.

I had a surprise visitor today, Kinny, a local news paper reporter wanted to interview me. He was here covering the Yacht race a few weeks ago and saw my boat. He was amazed that there was a yacht from America here and thought it would be a good story to print. We visited a few hours and he took heaps of notes and took some pictures. He said this will make a good story because foreign boats never come here, at least to Kobe. He also told me it should print before I leave so he would bring down a paper for me. Kobe only has one paper for the whole area so this is a big deal. I will be the famous foreign boat of Kobe.

Saturday Toshi is going to give me a ride to get fuel for the boat. There is a fuel dock here but he said it is to expensive so we will make a few trips to the gas station with my jerry cans. If the weather is descent we will take the boat out for a cruise in the bay Sunday.

Almost time to go North, I am looking forward to the adventure of seeing Southwest Alaska, I hope I can see it though the fog anyway.

That's all for now so I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, May 27, 2012


Hello All,
Saterday I helped Toshi put some wood rails on his boat. I forgot how much work and time it takes to cut and fit wood on a rounded hull. He also hired a carpender to help out which was good because he had all of the right tools for the job. The carpender and I had a really good time working on the boat together. He spoke really good english and has done many ocean passages when he was young on ships, He has also sailed allot so we had lots to talk about. He was in Los Angeles 40 years ago and saw the Westsail fleet when they were new. He is very impressed with my boat and I will sum up his comments about the boat by saying " very strong".

Yesterday I headed to Kyoto in the morning. Misaki her 4 year old son and another guy I met at the festival last weekend, Naoki and his wife all met me at the train station. They had the day all planned as to what and see and do. There is allot to see there and one day is not enough by a long ways but they showed me what they thought is a must see for a tourist. They took me to 2 very famous temples both built at or around the 7th centry. I have never been around anything that old. Where I am from we talk hundeds of years. Here they speak of thousands. The temples are very carefully looked after and if anything is old or rotten they replace it just the way it was built back in the day. They are beautiful buildings and have withstood earthquakes, Typhoons and what ever mother nature can throw at them. It is a testament of the building skills and attention to detail. We also visited a fresh market that took up 6 blocks. There was a shop for just about anything you like to eat, Jananese food of coarse. We had a wonderful lunch at a very old Cafe in the market. They told me it has been in business for 80 years.

The highlight of the day was returning back home. Naoki said the regular train would take to long to get back so he told me we will take the fast train. I have heard of this train in the states, I called it the Bullet train. On long stretches it is capable of 200 miles an hour. It was an amazing ride and the inside looks like a jet plane. It took us a half and hour to get from Kyoto to Kobe, less than half of the time on the regular train. The Bullet train runs about a thousand miles of Japan connecting North to the South. It takes 7 hours to go from end to end, thats an average of 142 miles an hour.

I had a really good time hanging out with my Japanese friends and they were great hosts.

The next 2 days I will finish my varnish work and get the boat all ship shape for Stefan who will be here Friday morning. I have been studing the weather systems for the whole route and it is a mixed bag of wind and pressure systems. It will be like a box of choclates , you never know what your going to get.

I will get busy now so I will talk to you soon.

P.S. I will add some pictures to the album under Kyoto.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


Hello All,

I had a great time touring downtown Osaka and met up with Misaki and a few of her friends for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. They told me that even though it is walking distance from where they work they never eat there. I joked with them saying that its not a very Japanese place to eat with cheese burgers and french fries on the menu. They didn't have much time so our visit was brief. They did take me a few blocks to where they work and took me to the very top floor, 28 stories ,where there is a cafe for the workers and 360 degree view of the city. Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and number 3 for commerce behind Tokyo and Yokohama. They work for the largest leasing company in Japan and there building where they work is a year old now and very nice.

It took me one hour to get to Osaka from here which is about 25 miles away. The public transport system here is very efficient. It is not that hard to use even for the non Japanese speaker. I had to make 3 train switches to get there and didn't get screwed up once. For me having never used such a system especially in a foreign country I commend there transportation lay out.

Today I was suppose to help Toshi, my new sailing friend for those that haven't kept up on my blogs and help him put some new teak on his boat. It has been raining all day so we will try again tomorrow. Sunday I will take the train to Kyoto where I will meet up with Misaki and a few of her friends for a day tour of there famous city. I will get up there before noon so will will have the rest of the day to tour around. There is lots to see there so we will be busy.

I will add some pictures to the album I took so take a look when you get a chance.
Thats all for now so I will talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Osaka Tour and more

Hello All,
Things have settled down around here since last weekend. When Toshi took me to the marine store I found some varnish so today I put one coat on the cap rails. It has been holding up good but there were some thin spots so I will put a few coats on for good measure and hope it stays on till I get home. A few cruisers I have run into since I varnished the teak have commented about it, they always say you must not take the boat offshore, I say, I always take the boat offshore, there comment is , good luck keeping that varnish on. It is not easy but so far so good.

Tomorrow I will take the train to Osaka, I will be meeting a few people from the yacht club at the Hard Rock Cafe. They work close to the Cafe so they invited me to there lunch break. It sounds like an hour train ride to get there so I will get started early just in case I get lost. I have to switch trains in Osaka so this should be an adventure. On Sunday I will meet up with a few of the same folks in Kyoto. One of the girls, Misaki, lives there so her and a few friends will give me a tour. It is suppose to be very traditional Japanese and has 20% of Japans national treasures. That train ride is 2 hours inland so I will get started early so I can get back the same day.

Time is flying by so I am trying to see all I can till I have to leave which is less than 2 weeks away.

I will talk to everyone soon and let you know how everything goes.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Festivals and more new friends

Hello All,
The last few days have been a lot of fun. The sailboat race happened yesterday, it was very strong wind and wasn't a big coarse so it didn't last very long. It looked like 30 boats entered the race, the dock was teaming with activity. The festival that happened on Saturday night was a blast. A few of the yacht club members showed me around and introduced me to a lot of folks. They had a bunch of booths with all kinds of Japanese food. It was all for sale but was very reasonable. They had a live band and lots of activities for the kids including tug of war. I got to help with that and we won 2 out of 3 times. They also had a bingo game and gave away all kinds of stuff. As usual I didn't win a thing.
Last night I was talking to a few of the folks at the yacht club and after it closed I was invited to one of the members home where he put on a really big spread of food . Chicken, fish, raw fish, to much to remember. His house was walking distance from the marina and we didn't get out of there till 11 pm. It was a good time had by all. They were really impressed with my chop stick ability. I find it really easy to use them. All of that being said I over slept for the eclipse. It was suppose to happen at 8 am but I didn't get up till 9. As it turns out it was pretty overcast so I didn't miss much.
I managed to get all of the groceries put away. It took me about 5 hours reorganizing and packing it all in as tight as I could. It all fit but it was very close. I think I am stocked up good now. I also rebuilt all 6 of my line winches used to raise the sails and put in reefs. They were in desparate need of a good cleaning and reoiled. It's one of those things that you forget about but so important to have.
That's about all I know for now.


P.S. I will be adding some pictures to the Kobe album so take a look.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sailboat race this weekend

Hello All,
I got back from Toshi's house this morning. He picked me up at the marina yesterday afternoon and he took me in his car to Osaka where we found a marina store. I got a few rope blocks to replace those that were broken on the boat. Marina stores are few and far between here. If he has time Toshi orders parts from West Marine in California, because of the lack of parts found here. We also went to COSTCO wholsale, it was interesting shopping there. A mix of American and Japanese food all in bulk like at home. I loaded up on pasta and sauce to go with, olives, corn and a few staple items. The boat is pretty well stocked now between what I got here and Guam. I will go for fresh stuff locally when the time comes.

After all of the shopping we went and picked up his wife from her work and they took me to a very nice Sushi bar. Wow that was really good. They had me try a few things they like and it was wonderful. We went back to their home after that and visited and watched TV for a bit. They have a very nice home on the hill side that over looks Kobe and Osaka. We had a great time and they were very good hosts. They were very kind to invite me to stay at there lovely home. It is very cool to see how the Japanese people actually live.

We were watching the news last night and they were talking about a Solar eclipse that is suppose to happen on Monday. I haven't seen an eclipse since 1986. That will be cool to see again. Also there is a yacht race happening here tomorrow so lots of boats have been showing up today. They are setting up some big tents by the office and I think they are having some kind of feed tonight. I will go check it out later.

For now I am trying to find a place for all of these groceries. I figured if they were easy to put away I don't have enough so I will let you know how that goes.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Japanese People

Hello All,
We had a beautiful day here after the rain the day before so I climbed to the top of the mast and inspected my rigging. I polished all of the stainless parts and enjoyed the view from 47 feet in the air. I am not a big fan of heights but I couldn't talk anyone else on the dock to do it for me. I also replaced one of my sail lines that lift up the staysail. I keep a lot of spare line on the boat just in case I need such a repair. That took me most of the day, I did take a break in the middle and got a long overdue hair cut. There is a barber shop close by so I decided I needed to get rid of my mop I had for hair. Wow I feel so much better, the last time I had it done was in Port Vila, Vanuatu, that was in September.

I just emailed my friend Toshi and I am still on for hanging out with his family tomorrow night. This should be heaps of fun, I will get to see how the Romans live. The Japanese culture is so much different than ours when it comes to foreign visitors. Every one that I meet always asks where I am from and welcomes me to there country. They are extremely polite and offer to help in anyway they can. The language barrier makes it interesting but I can usually get the point across. Like in French Polynesia English is way down the list of languages spoken. Most of the yachties here speak some English but that's all you have to do is go a block into town and I am back to sign language and pointing to stuff that I want. I was at the store yesterday for lunch and I was looking for sweet and sour sauce. After 20 minutes of looking at 100 different types of sauce I finally decided I didn't need it that bad. You can't read the labels and who do you ask. It makes it a lot more fun to shop this way. You never know what your going to get. I will be interested to see what this COSTCO store sells tomorrow. I will bring a list and see if I can find the stuff I need.

I am heading off for lunch so I will talk to you soon.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainy weather

Hello All,
The last 2 days I have been using my dingy to go around the boat to clean the hull and inspect all of my rigging and polish the stainless. Not exactly exciting but it has to be done. I also ran into an issue with filling my propane tank for my cook stove. One of the local boats here in the marina did me a favor. He took my bottle to have it filled and they would not fill it because it needs to be pressure tested by Japan. So he did me another big favor. I gave him some money to buy a replacement bottle and he will have it here by tomorrow. They use the same fitting in the U.S. but I had no idea that it would be this big a pain to fill it up. I guess I will have a spare now , which is ok. I have survived by only having one bottle but that has been a pain to deal with also. Now I will have gas for a few months.

The weather today has been overcast and rain off and on so I have been busy in the cabin sorting things out and have studied my charts for the passage home. I also have been looking at the weather for the passage everyday just so I know what to expect. The weather up north is still a little unsettled and I hope it mellows out before I get there. I talked to mom last night and she said there is still snow on the ground and the lake still has ice on it. It looks like summer will be a little late this year so making landfall in the Aleutian's in July should work out good.

Tomorrow is suppose to be better weather so I will continue my deck work and get everything ship shape and this weekend I will be hanging out with my neighbor Toshi and his wife at there home.

That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

New friends and Mothers Day

Hello All,
I have been busy doing more exploring on the bike and I just finished patching up the dingy. A few of the seams in the back were coming loose and it was letting in water on the floor. I have been letting it dry out on deck for a week and I just put it in the water today and I think its fixed. I bought it new in Tahiti 2 years ago but constant use and the tropical heat has really taken a toll on it. I wont be using it much anymore but when I do need it at least I wont have frigged cold water coming in.

I have been visiting with my neighbor boat when he comes down to work on it. Toshi has a really nice Japanese built sailboat that he bought in disrepair last year. I helped him remove some rotten rails yesterday. We also had a nice visit, he speaks very good English and is a real character. Toshi and his wife invited me to there home next week for dinner. He will also take me to a marine shop where I need to get a small block for my rigging then after that we will go check out the new Costco grocery store that is close to where he lives. I am really curious what they will have in there. 100 pound sacks of rice and 50 pounds of sushi perhaps.

This week at the Marina there will be some sail boat races. They were having a small sailboat race today and the big boat races will be some time this week. A bunch of boats have already showed up for the big boat race so it should be an interesting week here in Suma.

That's all I know for now so I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ocean Passages

Hello All,
I thought I would take the time to write about ocean passages. I know I write about them on a day by day basis but they lack reflection, looking back on the passage as a whole. I look at it like a score board, one day you get behind just to make it all back up the next. In the end it all seems to average out. This passage was an exception because of my mechanical failure which, quiet literally changed the coarse of my trip. There has been only one other time this has happened. I had to skip a Cook Islands atoll so I could get to Samoa to fix my RADAR pole. This stuff happens so you just have to shape your trip around it. That's what makes this way of traveling so interesting. I say interesting now but when I am out there dealing with it I have a few different words to describe "Interesting".

Having all of the different people on my boat I will say that this way of traveling is not for everyone. 48 hours into the Guam to Japan crossing Stephen looked at me on a nice sailing day and said, I think I know what its like to be in prison now. I have never looked at it like that but i can see what he is saying. Days, weeks or a month without seeing any one but each other, only 32 feet of living area, no sign of life at all not even a bird. When you do finally see fish jumping or dolphins swimming and birds flying around it is a very exciting moment. Stephen was a big help on the passage but he did tell me this would be his last. You just never know if you will like it till you do it. I myself am not a big passage fan but it seems to agree with me just fine. I would say it would be easier to beam the boat to the next port but then you would miss out on the excitement of seeing land on the horizon and the feeling of accomplishment that it took to make that happen. I always use the old Alaska saying, "You would never appreciate spring in Alaska unless you spent a whole winter there".

Everything that you do on a passage is a challenge, making meals, doing repairs and even trying to sleep. I have never been so busy trying to hold on in my life. Your always holding on, I should have arms like Poppy. You work muscles that you never knew you had. I always lose weight on passages, not from lack of eating but because your body is never at rest, which burns calories. I should patent this and advertise, lose 20 pounds in a month guaranteed. Outside of the down falls I have just mentioned you will never see the stars at night like you can on a passage. My Ipod has an app for finding all of the stars and myself and my crew have spent hours at night finding all of the constellations, planets and stars you would usually never see. Making passages gives you allot of time the think also, maybe to much time.

I actually keep very busy between studying weather forecasts to figuring out sail arrangements to conditions, keeping up with log entries, speed and coarse corrections. Keeping track of where you are and where you are going. Even with modern navigation equipment you are always making sure that you are heading the right direction. It is a big ocean out there and just a few degrees off and you can miss an Island the size of Japan at a thousand miles out.

I mentioned before about sail arrangements, this passage was a big exception for that because once we got out of the NE trades the wind was irregular coming with gusts. I was under sailed 60 percent of the time because of the 40 percent gusts. It would hold at a steady 15 knots and then out of know where it would blow 25 knots for a few minutes just to return to 15 knots. Having canvas up for the 60 percent 15 would have your mast in the water at 25 so after making 20 plus sail changes in a 12 hour period i just settled for being on the safe side.

In conclusion I would say that if it was easy everyone would be doing it and that being said 80 percent of the time it is easy. it is the 20 percent that could be left out. A friend I used to work with said it best, "It is a fine life if you don't weaken"

I will leave you now with my fine rambling on Ocean Passages.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New picture and location updates

Hello All,
I just added heaps of pictures to my photo page. I also added more pictures to the Guam Album so check that out also.
Today it has been raining off and on so I have been just sorting through pictures and getting caught up on the Internet. A pretty uneventful day so far. I will take the bike into town later and see what I can find for dinner. The food here is pretty reasonable so long as you eat what the Japanese eat, pork, rice, sushi noodles and chicken.
I will be writing some articles on the the passage here and a few other things so keep tuned in.


Transmission installed and working great

Hello All,
I received my transmission yesterday afternoon and spent 4 hours installing it today. The verdict works great, no more bangy bangy, nice and smooth wow. That really made my day. That is the first time I have had to do something like that since I bought the engine new. My engine room has lots of room compared to other boats so the removal and installation went fairly smooth with out to much heart ache. I will take it out for a spin in the next few days just to give it a proper run in.
I took the bus into town yesterday morning and continued my tourist tour and got some good pictures which I will post tomorrow. I was also looking for a Hard Rock Cafe that I was told was in downtown Kobe but after doing some research I figured out that it closed. The only one left is in Osaka which is quiet a ways from here but I will take the train there before I leave the Country and get some souvenirs by request. I will spend a few more days just looking the boat over good and re polishing all of the stainless parts on the rigging and rails.
Outside of mechanical work things were very quiet around the harbor today. Everyone must be busy working.
That's all I have for now and I will get you guys some pictures tomorrow.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lots of bicycles in Japan

Hello All,
I got out my bike yesterday and started riding all over town. Japan is very friendly to bikes so it is very easy to get around. I also aired up the dingy and cleaned it all up. I have some seams I need to glue on it also, it is leaking water into the inside. Outside of that things are pretty quiet. Yesterday we had a beautiful day, It was flat calm and sunny. I think it got up to 75 degrees. The next nice day we have I will head back downtown and get some good photos. There are some really nice parks and lots of shops.
That is about it, I will write more later.