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.