Monday, May 20, 2013

finally - day/night #18

we had (again) a great day and night sailing and covered a lot of miles.

06:00am - the wind eased off, the last 25miles to the waypoint just north of fatu hiva are going to be a bit slow (5,5-6,5kn). we are goose winging and maloo is rolling heavily and her sails are flapping noisily, but with an anchorage not that far away, it is bearable.
the first signs of dawn on the horizon....we should see land, when there is a bit more light!

07:04am - land ho! a massive lump of rock - coming up form over 2000m of depth, the tip of it is hiding in the clouds. can't wait to get closer!

08:14am - mhmmm, apple-cranberry muffins for breakfast. - another 12.84nm to the waypoint, then another 4nm to the anchorage. hopefully the anchorage is calm. after 18 days i don't fancy a rolly night without sails up ;)

10:17am - we passed our waypoint!!!!! exactly 18days and 47min after we left in Isabela, Galapagos.
an amazing time for over 3000nm - we are very very happy and proud of our maloo, who did more than just well! generally every trip without damage is a good trip....but also that fast!?
we've been pretty happy with our boat all along, trusted her and enjoyed sailing her...but after such a sail....what's to say! she's just the best ever!!! (and again, we also thank our friends Dieter and Monika who took more than just good care of her! without their preparations and maintenance things could have been very different!)

10:34am - we have arrived in the anchorage. pretty full here - another 15 boats maybe. the landscape is just amazing!

11:45am - after 5 times trying to anchor we found our spot. the anchorage is pretty deep (around 20-35m) - good we've got 100m of chain. it rained on and off, some gusts blow through this valley here - but it is very calm.
after 18 days of just horizon and blue it is quite a change to be surrounded by those massive high mountains - see goats grassing between coconut palms, cows and horses on the beach....the air smells a bit of campfire and wet moss - very nice!

2:25pm - maloo is cleaned up - we had a wonderful swim in warm waters and saw that we have grown a little reef on the back of the boat - lots of goose barnacles. a shame that we can't sell them here - they go for way over 200€/kg in spain.
we had a lovely cuppa and while doing another round we figured that we might have a tiny damage...the d1 shroud is making a bit of a noise - no visible damage though. we will check the rig tomorrow and just to be sure reinforce with a bit of spectra rope till we know whats going on.
worst case scenario is that we will have to replace it in really no big deal at all.

for now, we will enjoy a nice afternoon, have a good dinner and go to bed - can't wait to sleep more than 4h through!
we are very happy with the trip, had some rough days but mostly just a wonderful time.
great sailing, good fishing and a great time together....maloo must be the real "love boat".

thanks for crossing the pacific with us! the longest sail we ever did. from now on we will have nothing more than a 6-nighter.
we will go and explore the marquesas and update in a few days time when we have internet to upload pics.

big bussi to all of you,
mark &karline and maloo

PS.: sorry for posting this a day late - after catching up with chili cat that came in 3h after us, the bed seemed to have a magnetic attaction.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

are we there yet? day/night #17

the day and night have been rather uneventful...fortunately.
fast sailing, the odd squalls but nothing serious...simply great.

with less than 200nm to go we start to get excited about arriving: when will we smell land? when will we see land?
how nice will it be to sleep more than 3,5h uninterrupted and on a not moving bed? etc.

questions we hope to answer by tomorrow! so only one more night to go...maybe breakfast with a new view?
fingers crossed that the wind will stay with us for the last miles and stops as soon as we drop the hook...for a nice calm night ;)

Friday, May 17, 2013

day/night #16

back to nice!
the wind was still strong during the day, the seas still quite big...but with the sun out and a blue sky we had a great sail straight-lining it for fatu hiva.
the night was clear and without the squalls we got so used to.
definitely a good day - let's hope the wind stays with us for the last 400nm.
....can i smell land already?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

day/night #15

finally the rain stopped - even a tiny ray of sun came out again for a couple of hours and we could dry ourselves.
the wind stayed strong and variable through the night. it went from 10-28kn in a second and changed direction by 30°.
so both of us are now very fast in reefing the headsail.
in the later night hours a more consistent wind took over and we managed to do a good course and speed.
with the remaining distance under 500nm we are in good spirits and hope that the remaining days left will be fast!

...dreaming of islands

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

in the rough - day/night14 #

the days of picture postcard sailing are definitely over. fast things change from "wonderful" to "what the f..k"
ever since that squall yesterday morning it has been raining on and off - but mostly on.
the wind settled in the mid to high 20's from the east and the sea is now an amazing and short 5-6m wave - the odd ones higher.
during the night we even had a couple of hours with constant 35kn.
we are goose winging again with heavily reefed sails and sometimes ride those waves with more than 12kn.

a fast progress westwards, but also a very exhausting one.
we expect this kind of weather to stay for another couple of days....:(

the wet weather gear got so drenched - we got wet right through, the movement of the boat is quite heavy and the noise of the waves crashing around is scary when it is pitch black around you.
the bruise collection got some remarkable new entries and there is not one muscle left in our bodies that does not show us it's presence.
maloo is doing her best and going through it without showing any signs of wear (knock on wood!!!!) - we try to give helmi, the autopilot some well deserved breaks every now and then, but hand steering is quite an exercise in these conditions.

....why am i'm doing this again?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

day/night #13

day 13 turned out to be another good day for sailing to french polynesia.
even though with light winds in the first hours it allowed us to go on a straight line towards fatu hiva.
in the afternoon the winds picked up to about 15-17kn and we did good speed too, remaining unchanged during the night.
in the last 10 minutes of my 4:00-8:00 shift a squall passed through. as all the other squalls in the last days did not have a lot of wind in them, i was not too concerned and kept the sails out. it started to rain- usually a sign that the winds that come along with the rain have passed already - this time though after a few minutes raining the wind increased by ten knots within the blink of an eye. now with winds in the high 20's to low 30's we had way too much sail out and were a bit in trouble. helmi (our autopilot) simply lost it and was unable to hold course. i took over the rudder and tried to point the boat as downwind as possible - with the same result as helmi. with too much sail out maloo simply had to turn into the wind.
thank god, Mark was awake already and heard my calls. we reefed the sails in heavy rain and waited for the winds to pass.
since then we have 20-25kn and are flying along.
the squall was a reminder though not to take any passing shower too casual.
with the sails crashing heavily as they were, i am are lucky not to have damaged anything.

on the fishing side of things:
Mark caught a little mahi mahi in the morning hours that ended up as ceviche with coconut milk for lunch.
in the afternoon the reel went off again, and Mark could hardly get the break to work.
something big had gone on the hook . as the fish dove down we were pretty sure to have caught some sort of tuna, as the mahi seems to come up to the surface when reeled in.
after slowing the boat down and working for 25 min Mark landed what would have to be the biggest bonito i've ever seen - about 15kg. lucky for the bonito though, we are not starving and can be fussy. bonito does not taste good as we learned after catching our first one near gibraltar. in fact it got us off eating tuna for quite a while.
so the big bonito was released to get even fatter in the years to come.

hopefully it did not end up in the nets of the japanese fishing trawler we saw in the night.

Monday, May 13, 2013

day/night #12

we have less than 1000nm to go!
the wind only changed a little bit for the better in the morning of day 12, still enough for a sail change and a much more comfortable sail.
we had good daytime hours sailing and were slower during night hours.
the course was not optimal but ok.
most importantly though, the night was calmer and we caught up on necessary sleep.
as comfort beats speed, we stayed on a slower course until the morning hours.
unlike the recent nights, night 12 was crystal clear with not one cloud in the sky...made for wonderful star watching. apart from that, no real news.

let's see what day 13 has for us!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

in the roller coaster - day/night #11

during the day hours of day 11 we had a great sail, making good speed (between 7,5 - 8,5kn), covering a lot of miles.
unfortunately all good things have to come to an end, and as the night hours arrived the wind changed to a more easterly direction.

to maintain a good course and protect our headsail from flapping, we poled it out and killed the mainsail.
this sail set up also allowed us to react quickly to any fast wind changes we where expecting from passing squalls.
we had a few of these, but with short gusts up to 30kn only for short bouts they were not too much of a worry.
under headsail only maloo got thrown about in the messy seas, rolling from one side to the other (about 35°port to 35°starboard and back again) , making the ride hardly enjoyable and sleep really not easy to come by.

the last 100 miles where hard earned - pretty tired and achy from constantly propping ourselves, we wait how the wind will develop in the morning hours of day 12 and hope for a better wind direction and course again.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

half way - day/night #10

we're halfway there - or even a bit closer than that!
the wind picked up to 15-20kn ( a few gusts above) in the morning we had a great 24h sailing doing a total of 182nm.

and with the wind picking up (and the swell) we're back in "the gym" again, as the boat moves more than the last 2,5 days - still, the ride is not too uncomfortable.
the forecast for the next few days looks good and we hope for a fast second half of the trip.

of course half way had to be celebrated a little, which i did with watching a great piece of movie-art called "blades of glory" during my shift.

what else to say than "maloo, mark and i - we ARE sailing! - BOOM!!!!"

(....just watch the movie!)

Friday, May 10, 2013

day/night #9

another wonderful day sailing, another great mahi mahi (this time we had it in teriyaki sauce with chinese cabbage and rice -mhmmm!)

thank you, Neptune!

during the night the wind picked up and a few squalls passed through. unfortunately the wind turned more southernly, which would have been good, if we weren't goose winging again - so our course got altered to 280° - still, our speed towards the target was not too bad, so we waited with the sail change for the morning.

the day's biggest news was definitely a ship passing about 5nm from us. i know that does not sound too exciting, but if you haven't seen a ship since leaving galapagos and you find yourself in the vastness of the south pacific....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

day/night #8

what a great day!
in the morning we decided to change sails to goose wing. (the headsail is poled out on one side, the main sail on the other to go directly downwind)
with the very benign sea this turned out to be (and still is) a very comfortable sail.

we made good progress too and simply enjoyed one of the best days sailing ever.
but it does not stop here!
after numerous bites Mark finally caught a wonderful mahi mahi (dorade/dolphin fish) about 60cm long. quite a little one compared to the ones that have been biting before, but perfect size for us two. what a beautiful fish a mahi is.
funnily the poor thing jumped onto the hand line with the simple squid lure on it, not the proper rod - and as Mark and i were quite engaged into a game of cards we only noticed it a while later. it was very exhausted by the time we got him in and with a very quick cut mark ended his misery.
within 10 minutes Mark had him skinned and filleted with not one drop of blood on our boat - just how the smutje likes it!
we had it with a coconut-vegetable curry rice, a recipe that i found in a cookbook i got from my cousin Tina - and is one of the best recipes i came across in the last weeks!
the fish was done on the bbq with a bit of lemon pepper and lemon - this made for the best meal we had in months including restaurants.

with such great sailing, a smooth ocean and a boat that is flying along without having any issues it is easy to enjoy being out here, having a wonderful time dealing only with our simple matters at hand. on these days long passage sailing is just an outstanding experience - far from boring.

dear Neptune, if i had one little would be more days like this to come.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

day/night #7

wow! the first week is over!
and we're doing really well. with every day behind us we get into our daily routines and feel not nearly as tried anymore than we used to.
of course it's still not fun being woken up in the middle of the night, but the reward is a sky full of flickering stars and the most amazing shooting stars.

maloo is holding up just fine - the wind though was very very light the last 24h. we got the beautiful gennaker out in the morning and got good speed out of it, but with mostly around 6-8kn of wind, the sail collapsed only to fill up again a few seconds later. a constant banging and flapping for the whole day and night....and a bit strenuous, i have to say.
and our course was also not too great.
during the night we changed back to normal sail set up and sacrificed our westerly course to keep the sails full.
finally though yesterday afternoon, we saw a few whales!!!! i think some pilot whales.
and 2 h before sunset we had quite a few bites on the fishing line - unfortunately they all came off the hook, bending it almost straight. must have been, because we changed from the usual squid-lure to a hard one, which is not swallowed so well. some of those fish must have been a substantial size and luckily they just came off without taking our line and lure with, only leaving big teethmarks on it.

so - the wish for the next 24h is a bit more wind and more whales!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

day/night #6

the south pacific is treating us well - apart from the fact that it won't give us a fish to eat just yet.
instead it throws squids at us, unfortunately during the night and so quiet, we only find them in the morning, when they are too old to eat.

since yesterday evening we've been sailing with a poled out genoa (headsail) to be able to do a better westerly course. we even go a bit north again which is great, as the trade winds will come from the east the further west we get. this means we will have to go further south in order to keep the sails have a better angle to the wind later on in the trip, we will try to get as far west before we head down south straight line to the marquesas.

we've been asked a couple of questions and here are the answers:
1.whats the story with your AIS then? Shipfinder etc reports last pos at
panama canal. - well, AIS works over the vhf antenna, so we only have a range of line of sight similar to the vhf range (about 20-25nm) our signal is actually a bit weaker as we are a class B vessel (pleasure vessel) - so we would only be picked up by another ship about 10nm away.
the class A vessels (commercial) will send signals we can pick up about 50nm away.
however, in some areas close to land, repeater stations have been set up so we could for example see the whole shipping traffic of the mediterranean at some point near the coast of spain.
so at first the AIS range is very limited.
to shipfinder and marintraffic it has to be said, that the AIS information can only be put into the system if a landstation gets our signal. the further west we head, the more remote areas are and the less repeater stations are found that are connected with the internet. there was one in galapagos to enable us to see the traffic around these islands, but it was not connected to the world wide web.

2. Is your position entered automatically on the mailasail site every time you post?
no, we enter this information via sending an email over the sat-phone with our coordinates.
this is why it was not always up to date in the recent months, as we did not always get the sat phone going to send a position report.

3.And you should get some salt water soap and bath in the ocean, you poofs?
maybe!? - you go first!....but don't you let go of the line with the fender tied to the end! (otherwise we'll have to call couple of dolphins to rescue you!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

flying along - day/night #5

ever since we got the sails out the night before last we've been flying along doing 7-8kn - simply great sailing.
even though the boat movement isn't all that pleasant we find better sleep.
apart from that, no news - life on maloo is good!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

to shower or not to shower? day/night #4

don't worry - this title does not mean we had our first shower on day 4.

having a water maker means you can enjoy a shower every day - which mark and i do. and this adds a real quality to life, especially on passage.
but when the water maker fails you are all of a sudden confronted with not only loosing this luxury, but also with thinking about rationing the emergency water supplies you have.

as i tried to start our precious water maker on day 4, i noticed, that there was water coming out of one of the prefilters. i immediately stopped the thing, but because there was water coming out, it also meant that there was air coming into the usually closed system.
so the boost pump got drained and went dry. we once had that problem in the beginning of our trip. we could not get the boost pump to bring salt water up to the filters and finally to the membrane to be desalinated.
step by step we eliminated the problems. first we checked the prefilter - and even though everything appeared normal, we found that the filter itself was the issue. so we changed the filter.
still - that bugger wouldn't run.
we then tried to prime the boost pump by taking off various hoses and filling them with water, sucking out airlock etc. - no success.
to cut a long story short - we stuffed around for 4h in the heat of the back room next to the running engine. after discovering that one of the hoses must have got a little hole when we used it to prime the pump we at last fixed that - voilá: watermaker is running again! and we can keep on having showers, which by that point we desperately needed.

sailing-wise the day has been very low in wind - so we went under engine most of the time.
at around 21:30 i got the sails out to ride a couple of winds from passing squalls - 2h later, penta had to jump in again.
at around 1:30 mark got the sails out again and we currently sail with a nice speed of around 7kn westwards on a course of 270°.
let's hope that the wind is here to stay!

apart from playing with boost pumps, the bananas started to it will be "bananarama" on maloo the next days with banana-muffins, banana bread, banana pancakes - you name it.
the pineapples are close to follow - the papaya we had yesterday and was almost a bit too ripe though bought dark green - and the two melons will have to be eaten soon too.
i guess we should have some mac&cheese dinner to cancel out all these vitamines ;)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

day/night #3

up until 04:00am this morning we had quite a comfortable sail, moving with around 6.5kn.
from 00:00 onwards though the wind eased off too much to keep the sails up.
the waves caused the sails to flog heavily...a horrible noise.

we now keep the boat moving with our friend, the penta - even though without sails up the movement is not comfortable (the sails make the boat more stable) it is better then not moving at all.

the wind should come back to us saturday morning...lets hope.
apart form that the day and night have been quite uneventful - which is very good!
maloo is moving us towards the marquesas and we have a good time enjoying the view.

a friend reminded us that what we see is pretty much the same what all the sea farers before us saw - this is quite an interesting twist to it (thanks Cornelius!)
do we see the same as Cook and Darwin? out here i suppose so!

and now to a couple of answers to questions we've been asked:
1. how's the fishing going?
so far we haven't put the fishing line in, as neither mark nor i felt like fish. we have got a new rod though with a wonderful rapala-reel...i reckon, you would like our new set up, Michael.
Probably we'll have a go today!

2. are you in radio distance to Chili Cat?
at the moment we still are, which is unusual as we lost them on other trips after the first night. but this time we have about the same speed, which speaks for maloo to hold speed with a 44ft catamaran!, and we have the same course. it's nice to have a chat every now and then...let's see how long this will last for though. since this morning they are 6nm behind.

Friday, May 3, 2013

day/night #2

to start with: @chris - yes it works!

the second day was mixed - partly stronger winds, then a little too light, but we managed to keep going under sails the whole time.
we stuck our little camera under the water to make sure there is nothing stuck under the hull from previous night's fishing-line-cutting. thank god, all clear!
we both are pretty tired at the moment, but we're only in day 2 - so in a couple of days we should be used to 4h on 4h off and feel much better.
the night was great sailing - wind and sea was gentle...the stars lightened up the sky till the moon arrived around 1:00am.

we totaled about 160nm the last 24h hours - not too bad

winds are supposed to lighten up for friday - lets see if we have to get the gennaker up. we are are a bit reluctant to get it up as it is hard work (and a bit iffy too - as we have to work the bow to get it up - not nice in high seas) and with our genoa so big we hardly have to right conditions for it. if the seas are to high the light winds struggle to keep the gennaker full, resulting in a lot of flapping.
the light material is always in danger getting caught on the rigg...not good.

so - and now to more land-matters! i was asked if a steam-cooker (built in) is better bought with a water tank or the connection to the water-mains.
all you people out there working with white-goods! - send me you thoughts! this decision will determine how well we will be fed next i am not joking! let me know what kind of experience you have!

maloo over and out - standing by on VHF 16

Thursday, May 2, 2013

leaving paradise and get caught in spider webs - day/night #1

the last days were about getting ready for the biiiig jump.
we went to a farm where we got to pick our fruit and vegetables off the bushes/trees...just fantastic.
so we stocked up on tomatoes, capsicums, papaya, maracuja, melons, bananas, limes....good bye scurvy!

then - just to treat ourselves after 2h of "hard" work ;) we had a lovely lunch at hauser's - an austrian who settled with his equatorian wife on isabela and runs a restaurant that only opens for reservation.
"we" that is our beloved crew from Chili Cat and our new friends from Lateral Thinking.

but the time had come...we had to move on.

so at 11:30 GAT (galapagos time) on the 1st of may 2013 we lifted anchor and set off - together with Chili Cat and another 4 boats that we will see again in the marquesas
Mark and i were both a bit sad, at the same time looking forward to what's coming - and galapagos gave us a farewell from heaven.
we saw so many turtles and had manta rays just next to the boat.
most amazing were a couple of hammerhead sharks and dolphins swimming with us and just when we thought it can't get any better, we spotted a 10m whale shark and it's young right beside us!
Chili Cat topped us though by spotting a humpback whale!!!!

the sea was calm and so was the wind - we changed sails a lot of times to end up motor sailing.
as the night set in the winds slowly picked up, and the favorable current that kept pushing us, turned against us.
at 00:00 just after i woke mark to change the shift, we all of a sudden slowed from 5,5kn to 3,8kn - for no good reason.
as we where motor sailing i quickly disengaged the engine...thinking something must have got caught under our keel.
and sure enough, we dragged a long-line fishing line.
we simply had to cut it and kept going - only to find ourselves in another one just 1h later.
in total we had 3 lines, one snapped before we had to cut it - Chili Cat was not as lucky totalling 6 lines!
the couple of fishing vessels we saw do not respond to the radio...must have to to something with the fact that commercial fishing is not allowed in galapagos' waters extending 200nm around each island - we where hardly 100nm out.

the wind has picked up now and we have a lovely sail.
the first nights are always a bit rough as we have to adjust to our sleeping pattern and the boat movement - so trying to get into the groove right now.