Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Monday, August 30, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Suwarrow

UTC/Local Time: Monday, August 30

Anchored In Suwarrow
Latitude: 13.149.904 S
Longitude: 163 06.475

Calm Seas, Clear Water, Paradise on Earth

Rough Seas outside the Atoll

We are surrounded by Park Rangers, Appi and James.

Update:  Days 1-6 in Paradise

We have been enjoying Suwwarow for six days now and have no inclination to leave, but know we must be on our way sometime this week. Originally, we planned only a few days. Suwarrow atoll with its motu islands is a very special place on this earth. We are so privileged to be amongst the handful of earthlings to experience this oasis in the sea.

Day 1 - Wednesday, Welcome committee of James and Appi visit our boat. We sleep the afternoon away.

Day 2 - Thursday, All the cruising boats come together to help rebuild the coral/rock jetty. We make an impressive work party. Fishing parties have caught a bounty of fish. Sharks on the east side of the island thrash wildly eating fish parts. James calls them at sunset and they arrive to be fed. We are anchored on the west side. The sharks are being trained to eat away from the crusiers. At 6:30 the 18 cruising boats supplement the fish with a potluck. We are the survivor reality show.

Day 3 - Friday, Russ and I walk around anchorage island during low tide finding beautiful shells, fossilized castings in the coral, boobies, terns, noddies, bosun birds, frigates, warm water pools filled with sea slugs. We take GPS coordinates as we walk the island looking for a place to hide our geocache. A sperm whale and her calf have been spotted in the lagoon along with some female turtles looking to nest.

Day 4 - Saturday, We are going coconut crabbing and trash collecting on Turtle Island. After a 45 minute dinghy ride and a 2 mile trek around three motus and three shallow crossings where the incoming tide flows like a river, we arrive on a petite jungle island where giant coconut grabs live. They scurry backwards, not knowing where they are going, but hope to find a hole to get away from the hunters. The hunters have big sticks that they tease the crabs with. Often the sticks are used to dig the crabs out of their holes. The crab grabs with his giant claw (just on one side) at the stick and holds on sure that he is injuring the predator stick. A second hunter grabs the crab from behind and drops him into a bag.

Throw him back.  He's a Baby!

Gene polks his stick into the ground and disturbs a wasp nests. He and another cruiser get stung. Of course we had left our knap sacks on the beach before trekking into the jungle. A small party without our guide return to the beach for some antihistamine...eventually. Thank goodness it is a small island as we are hopelessly turned around in the thicket. Even though we can hear the surf and know the direction to go, we can't find an easy opening, so we head where there is less growth and wind up on the opposite side of the island, then hike back around the beach.

We return to the dinghies late in the afternoon, laden with crab and trash. We stop on the way back to snorkel on a bommie (raised coral garden). The water is crystal clear. There are purple, aqua, black, and periwinkle lipped clams, plump starfish, and a kaleidoscope of coral and reef fish. Small light blue fish explode from coral heads like fireworks and then flutter aimlessly like snowflakes until the collective brain turns them simultaneously and in a flash they are gone.

Tonight, another shark feeding, crab potluck, bonfire, guitar and singing by Appii, and announcement by the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind that the Treasures of Suwawrrow geocache has been hidden on the island and that the first clue is in the hermit Tom Neal's shelter. There is a scurry of excitement from the children as they want to be the first to find.

Day 5 - Sunday, We take the opportunity in the absolutely still lagoon to work on the boat. The water is glassy smooth. We re-furl the main and repair the hydrovane. We watch geocachers hiking the beach looking for the treasure. The kids from Silver Lining and Kamaya are successful! Late in the day, we snorkel on the bommie close to the anchorage. The moon is slow to rise giving way to brilliant stars in the night sky. A gentle southeast wind rocks the boat and us to sleep.

Day 6 - Monday. The day is young and has yet to unfold, but James has offered to show me how to make coconut cakes. There is a lobster catching party tonight and another potluck scheduled for Tuesday. We love it here!

Suwarrow, Suwarrow
Gem of the sea
You provide the weary sailor
Peaceful tranquility.

Inside your protective reef,
Sea tossed sailors get some sleep.

Blue green lagoons
Abound with fishes
Starlit nights inspire wishes.

Our senses glory in the
Coral gardens and
Coconut trees,
Endless sky,
And southeast breeze.

Hospitable rangers and
Fellow cruisers too
Share kindness and fun in
This latitude blue.

Suwarrow, Suwarrow
How hard it will be to leave.
I love thee for
You restore my soul with
Both beauty and humanity.

Calm Waters in the Middle of the Pacific


Cruisers Pitch In to Rebuild the Dinghy Jetty

Thank you Suwarrow.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Worrall Wind Periodic Position Report - Arrived Suwwarow, Cook Islands

Hello!! Here is a quick position report. For more details, go to WorrallWind.blogspot.com.

UTC/Local Time: Thursday, August 26 0130/Wednesday, August 25 2230

Latitude: 13.149.904 S
Longitude: 163 06.475 W

Update: Arrived in Suwarrow, Cook Islands

We have safely arrived in Suwarrow in the Cook Islands. Overall we got here in 748 nautical miles from Bora Bora. The course line is just short of 700.

This is a tropical oasis right in the middle of the South Pacific. There is a coral reef surrounding the atoll with a several islands on the reef. We are currently in the lagoon anchored in 38 feet of water tucked behind a coconut palm island, and have seen a couple of black tip sharks of five feet swimming around our boat.  Just outside the reef and lagoon, the water is 4,00 feet, the winds are blowing 20 knots, the sea swell is 2 meters. In here, the wind close to the island is so light that our wind generator is not moving and the waters are calm.

Suwarrow is a national park, and we have met the caretakers James and Appi who came aboard this morning to clear us in. They are most hospitable and take yachties crabbing, fishing, diving, birding, shark feeding, etc. Last night there was a coconut crab feed which we hope will be repeated while we are here. I spoke with James today about establishing a geocache here. He is agreeable to watch over it. It will be be a level 5 in difficulty due to the islands in-accessibility to only those in private boats, not to mention that it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

There are currently 15 other boats anchored with us. Again we are right next to Pincoya. Other boats in here at present to name a few are Pickles, Scream, Kamaya, Endless Summer, Active Transport, and Zenitude, Liquid Courage, Silver Lining, and Skylight.  

Endless Summer is from Emery Cove Marina. We wonder what the odds are of two boats from the same Marina meeting up in Suwwarow? We are looking forward to meeting the other cruisers who are sharing this little place on the planet with us. We will be here for 4 or 5 days before moving on to American Samoa.

All is well on Worrall Wind - From the 2 Sail R's - Russ and Roz

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 7 to Suwarrow

UTC/Local Time: Wednesday, August 25 0200/Tuesday, August 24 1600

Latitude: 13 27.081 S
Longitude: 162 01.507 W

Course Over Ground: 285 @ 4 knots
Wind Direction: E 88, <14 knots
Sea Swell: 2 meter swells ENE
Sky: 80%
Barometric Pressure: 1013
Temperature: 85 degrees
Humidity: 68 percent

Update: Day 7 to Suwarrow, 60 miles out

Yesterday was another lovely sailing day. The winds and sea conditions were remarkably calm and pleasant. A couple of squalls passed by to our starboard side a few times helping our speed to accelerate which was a bonus. We had already decided to slow our speed down so as not arrive in Suwarriw until the morning of August 25. But the winds were so light that there were times when our calculator started to estimate an arrival of two days later than that. We wanted slow, but not that slow. Are we never happy?

By dusk, the moon was rising and there were clouds building behind us indicating that we might be in for squally evening. For no apparent reason that we could see, the north east swell was building in size and frequency. The wind was still pretty light which means that the boat with her reduced sail begins to roll more as there is less counter wind pressure to keep her heeled. The Honda generator that had purring along for the afternoon was beginning to need more starts as its kill switch kept doing what it was supposed to. Russ had tried to find and disable the kill switch earlier in the day and finally decided it must be a float in the gas tank, as it was not electronic as he had hoped. Oh well. He is very patient, and each time Honda would die, he would start it up again.

We sat on the bow absorbing the magnificent beauty of the evening sky. The moon cast a golden ribbon of undulating satin from the horizon across the sea right to the stern of our boat. Moonlight sails are absolutely the best. After the nets were over and the sails readied for the night, Russ went to bed. I promised to tend Honda, but am not as patient as Russ. After donning my life jacket, clipping in, making my way to the fan tail, waiting for the seas to calm down, and starting the generator at least 12 time within 1 hour (that's every 5 minutes of big beam rollers), I had enough already! It was almost midnight and Russ would be up in a couple of hours. If it was still rolly and we needed power, we could turn on the motor.

Night watch was uneventful. Russ's was too, with the exception of the continuous rolls. And once Russ was up he started the generator. When I got up, there was a weather front starting to creep up behind us. We could see the grey sky and dark clouds on our starboard side. It took several hours to pass us by. By noon we were clocking winds of 25 knots and were moving between 6 and 7 knots reefed. The rollers didn't seem nearly so bad with wind in our sails. As the afternoon wore on, more blue started to show, the winds died down, and we were back to rocking and rolling. The cloud cover and light winds meant that Honda had to come back on.

Russ is napping and asked that I keep Honda running. He can sit outside for hours starting it every time it stops. He said he propped it up and should stay on. "Ok, but if I have to keep pulling that string more than six times, I'm done." Well, I didn't even last that long. After I had pulled the string 3 times in 10 minutes I was sooo done.   Even propped up on the rolliest of sides, the darn thing just doesn't like working when the boat is rolling, and I could see a train of swells coming for miles. The wind was starting to shift around, and I had other things to tend to like keeping the boat on course and preventing the sails from back winding.

When we get to Suwarrow, Russ hopes to give Hydie a temporary fix until we reach Samoa. He bought some sort of universal bolt material that he used to fix the gooseneck that he thinks might work for Hydie's bottom strut. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that a temporary fix will allow Ray to rest and stop consuming so much energy, and we can put Honda to bed.
We are now only sixty miles from Suwarriw and should arrive sometime tomorrow morning. Gene and Gloria on Pincoya were trying to get there by this afternoon, but after the light and variable winds and rolling seas, they weren't comfortable with their gennaker flying through the night, so they too reduced sail and are planning on arriving tomorrow morning as well. They were about 30 miles ahead of us this morning, so they will most likely heave too outside the for the pre dawn hours.

Tomorrow night, we look forward to being on anchor and getting a full night sleep in our bedroom.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 6 to Suwarrow, Two more days

UTC/Local Time: Tuesday, August 24 0100/Monday, August 23 1500

Latitude: 13 58.150 S
Longitude: 160 32.643 W

Course Over Ground: 4.0 knots
Wind Direction: ESE 14 knots
Sea Swell: 1.5 meters from the east, 2.5 meters from the south
Sky: 30% clouds
Barometric Pressure: 1014

Update: It's another beautiful day. Two more days to go.

If we could maintain a speed of over six knots we could get to Suvorov by late tomorrow, however, this is not the kind of pass we want to come into unless we have good lighting. It is usually advisable to enter waters with coral heads just before noon. In order to time a morning arrival we are slowing our speed down. We cannot get there by tomorrow morning in any case, and we don't want to arrive late tomorrow or in the wee hours of August 25 and heave to until sunrise.

Suvorov or Suwarrow (Lat: 13 14.381 S; Lon: 163 05.921 W) is the Cook Islands' only national park and is reportedly a nature lover's paradise with colonies of seabirds and marine life (including a lot of sharks, so don't know about snorkeling). Originally named Suvorov, after the Russian explorer Lazarov's ship the Suvorov in 1814. When the Cook Islands gained their independence, the name was changed to Suwarrow so that it more closely resembled the sounds of Cook Island language. Most cruisers seem to call it Suvorov. When we pronounced it as Suwarrow, we have been corrected by people who say, "You mean Suvorov?"  If the Cook Islanders don't call it Suvorov, I don't know why cruisers continue to do so.

Other than the two caretakers that seasonally reside here (population of 2), there are no other inhabitants. Suwarrow is an atoll that is 4 sq km of land but 11 miles across (the reefed lagoon) in the middle of the Pacific and is the southern most island of the northern Cooks. Tom Neale, a New Zealander - hermit lived on Suwarrow off and on between 1952-1977. He wrote the book of his experiences in the book An Island to Oneself.

Since this is not an entry port, we will not be subject to New Zealand's rules and regulations regarding food products brought into their agricultural jurisdiction. We understand the meats, produce, flours, grains are confiscated and destroyed. I have a lot of non-gluten flours. grains, and meats (even canned) on board that we are not yet ready to surrender, so we are taking this northern route to Tonga and will bypass the other Cook Islands for now. The trade off will be to visit the islands of American Samoa and Samoa to which we are looking forward.

We have had lovely sailing conditions the last two days and are finally doing some reading, napping, and lounging about. Pretty nice.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 5 to Suwarrow

UTC/Local Time: Monday, August 23 0000/Sunday, August 22 1400

Latitude: 13 54.866 S
Longitude: 158 46.844 W

Course Over Ground: 275 at 6+ knots
Wind Direction: East South East, 18 knots
Sea Swell: 1.5 meter seas, occasional side rollers 2.5 meters
Sky: 20 %
Barometric Pressure: 1014

Update: Day 5 - So Far...a Nice Day!

Sure glad yesterday is over. We weren't the only ones dealing with the rocky rollies, variable winds. When we got on the Sea Farer's Net last night, our friends on Pincoya didn't respond to roll call. They had been behind and below us about 60 miles and we surmised that they were busy managing a squall. There seemed to be more of a squall line in that direction. We were getting a little anxious and listened to the end of the roll call. Finally, Pincoya came on the radio.

Indeed they had been caught in a super squall with 50 knot gusts of wind. Their whisker pole that dropped into the water the day before, broke its internal line collapsing the pole and wrapping the jib. The winds also lifted their staysail off of the deck and unwrapping that too. They had had their hands full. It took them 2 hours to clean up the deck. They are now running their sails a little more conservatively. It only takes a couple of scares like that to double and triple reef when squalls are about.

There was only one small rain squall at 4:00 a.m. this morning. We had run pretty slowly all night with a triple reef and a small jib. Russ was on watch. We changed watches about 2:30 A.M. If I am not too sleepy, I'm trying to let Russ sleep a little longer, and then I sleep a little longer. It's easier for me to sleep a couple hours later in the morning than trying to take a nap in the afternoon. Russ seems to be able to drop off in the afternoon for a power nap.

We tacked northwest all night. I saw one lighted vessel last night on my watch. It wasn't a sailboat, and it didn't have an AIS identification. At first we thought it was one of the other sailing boats with which we left Bora Bora. It seemed to be standing pretty still, so we surmised it was a fishing vessel.

By morning we were about 30 miles above our course line, but it looked like a gybe to the west - southwest would angle us back to our next waypoint. Over the course of the morning, the winds have become a little more constant, and the swells have calmed down a bit. Little by little we have let out more and more jib so we are now running between 6-7 knots. If we can keep up this pace (Ha!) we should get to Suwarrow in two more days. It's been so pleasant, I fixed breakfast burritos this morning and have a hamburger-eggplant stir fry planned for this evening if I can stand still long enough in the galley. Plan B is leftover soup. That's we had last night when the seas were so rough.

We've spent most of the morning listening to Master and Commander. It's been pretty uneventful today. It's about time.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 4 to Suwarrow - Half Way There

UTC/Local Time: Sunday, August 22 0100/Saturday, August 21 1500

Latitude: 14 35. 738 S
Longitude: 157 13.908 W

Course Over Ground: 302 T @ 6.5 knots
Wind Direction: East North East 20-30 knots
Sea Swell: 6-9 feet, confused from east, north, north east
Sky: 50% cloud cover
Barometric Pressure: 1014

Update: Half Way There

Yesterday evening, we needed to turn on the engine for awhile to charge out batteries for the night. Our auto pilot was consuming a lot of energy. We had really have not used it much so were not that familiar with the sensitivity settings It was set at 9 out of 10 which means that it was very sensitive to the course degrees we set, so it was working continuously with the strong stern and side swells that were constantly rolling us off the set course. Once Russ turned the sensitivity down to a 3, Ray quieted down, and stopped consuming so much energy, letting us ride a little of course and then gently swinging us back.

We needed to make some water and that also consumes energy, so we ran the engine from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Russ got to bed a little later than we had planned, overlapping my watch which started at 8:00 p.m. I take first watch from 8-1:00 a.m. and Russ 1:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Last night however, I let Russ sleep an extra hour until 2:00 a.m. so he would get at least five hours. I hadn't had a nap all day and was really sleepy, so I turned on my dance music and pranced around trying to stay awake, but also making sure I wasn't kicking anything and breaking toes while I was at it. Russ reciprocated, by being very quiet and allowing me to sleep until 8:30, getting six hours of sleep. I feel so much more refreshed today.

Before we went into dark last night, we set our course and sails for anticipated squalls. There were none so we poked along with sails reefed until mid morning. The seas seemed to calm down a bit, so we each rested peacefully when it was our turn to do so.

Russ had a little repair work to do this morning on the whisker pole that holds our jib out. The pole was rubbing again one of our stays, sawing through the pole (not much, but a warning to do something about it). We also noticed that the topping lift that helps to hold the whisker pole upright had come free. The small line that forms a loop and that goes around the whisker pole and to which the topping lift attaches had worn through and vanished.

When we talked with Gene and Gloria on Pincoya the night before, they too had lost their topping lift off their pole and their pole fell in the water. We weren't sure how they were rigged, but it caused them an hour of angst retrieving their pole from the agitated seas. Russ was pretty sure that our jib would still fly and the and the pole would stay up without the topping lift. At any rate, we would have to wait to do the work and hope everything held together until a lineup of the squalls we expected last night came through this morning.

In between the first two squalls that were somewhat benign and the third which was stronger, we got outside to do the work. Generally, when a squall passes, it sucks the wind out of the air leaving a vacuum and sometimes light swirling winds. These conditions confuse the auto pilot, making it necessary for me to hand steer while Russ took care of the necessary maintenance, by wrapping tape around the pole to prevent sawing and reattached the topping list to the pole.

We unfurled the jib part way and retreated to the pilot house just as the third squall hit. It was much stronger than the first two, but it too wasn't bad in terms of wind although it dropped a little rain. We looked behind us and saw what looked like one more squall. We were so reefed down that in between squalls we were only traveling about 3 knots. We decided to let out the jib completely and keep our triple reef in the main and see what happened. The fourth squall came through with some higher winds, up to 30 knots and we sailed through it just fine.

We expected the vacuum after it passed, and then the wind and seas kicked up again...this time no squall in sight. The wind was shifting all over the place and was variable between a slow 10 knots to 28 knots OK, so this was unexpected, certainly not in the forecast. Once again Ray required close attention. Unlike the hydrovane wind steering system that works with the wind, Ray requires frequent adjustment in shifting winds, particularly as we are running between a beam reach and down-wind run. Shifting winds and swirling seas could easily back wind our sails. We sailed this way for nearly two hours, running almost 7 knots the entire time.

After a couple of strong gusts over thirty knots which coincided with some big rollers dipping our bow low enough to take water over the port toe rails, we decided to pull in some jib. Now we are doing 5.5 - 6.5 knots, still respectable, but a little less of an adrenalin rush. The swells are still quite large. We can tell this when our bow is up in the air and we can see the rollers two feet above the bow. We are taking 90% of the seas on the stern, but a few rollers have slapped the side. We have been very careful to keep the doors shut tight. Russ had left a two inch gap in the starboard door as he ran up to the rear deck to retrieve his book, and of course a wave broke just then on the starboard side sending a couple of buckets into the pilot house soaking the carpets and turning the hardwood floors into slippery mess. At least this time all the ports were shut tight.

Russ had been out earlier to keep our Honda generator working. Honda is lashed on to the back deck. Because the generator has a tip-kill switch, Honda kept knocking itself out with the continuous rolling seas. After 30 attempts at keeping it going he gave it up and will try again later or we'll turn the engine on again.

We are really looking forward to a day when we have about 20 knots of constant wind, mild seas, lots of sun, and no squalls. In the meantime, we're dealing fine with what we have even though it isn't very conducive to relaxation. I keep thinking one of these days it would be nice to pull out my water colors and do a little painting...obviously not this trip. So for now it is audio books. We just started listening to Master and Commander. Seems appropriate enough.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 3 to Suwarrow - Hydie Out of Commission

UTC/Local Time: Saturday 8/21 0100 UTC/Friday 8/20 1500 Tahiti Time

Latitude: 15 09.471 S
Longitude: 155 35.490 W

Course Over Ground:270 True 6 knots
Wind Direction: ENE, 18-20 knots
Sea Swell: 2.5-3 meters East
Sky: 50% cloud cover
Barometric Pressure: 1015

Update: Hydie out of Commission

We had an unwanted, exciting morning today. Last night just as it was getting dusk, we trimmed our sails to a triple reef and small jib. The skies from which the winds were blowing were clouding up with big uglies. We knew we were in for a squally night. Our Hydrovane, wind steering system, "Hydie" was set for a beam reach and she was dong an excellent job keeping us on course.

When the winds picked up to 30 knots, we were glad we had in the triple reef. Hydie maintained all through the night. The only time she needed some help was when a gust was also accompanied by a huge side roller, back winding our sails. The squall winds were a benefit to our course and speed. Often we were cruising between 7-9 knots. I had first watch and only had to deal with one big ugly squall around midnight. Russ had several through the course of the night with quite a bit of rain. The squalls weren't as bothersome as the big 6-9 foot rollers usually coming in quick succession of 3-7 in a row that come through about every 5 minutes rock the boat from toe rail to rail.

When this happens, the contents in all of the cupboards shift and thud from side to side, anything loose include the occupants are thrown from side to side, and the boat creaks and growns. We could hear Hydie bang against the bimini top trying to turn the boat back on course. All in all it was a pretty uncomfortable night.


Just as I was waking up at 6:30, we heard an unusual "POP", and Hydie started to veer off the wind. A squall was just passing, and we finished off that passing squall with hand steering. Russ went out to check on Hydie and reported that we had a big problem. The hydrovane's main supporting strut is held on with huge upper and lower bolts that screw through the hull. The bottom bolt sheered off, leaving Hydie out of commission. The bottom part of the strut that holds the wind vane's rutter was torquing in the the agitated sea state and the speed of the boat. We were worried that the pressure just might snap the top bolt as well and we would lose the whole steering system overboard.

We turned on our mechanical autopilot steering system Ray so that he could hold course, and pulled in the jib to slow down our speed while we figured out what to do. The winds were blowing 25 knots, the sun was coming up and the skies behind us were starting to clear. Russ took off the vane's wing and stowed it away, then lashed the Hydrovane's strut to deck cleats with some line to try and give some stability to the strut and to capture it should the top bolt snap as well.

Yipes.  That's the only solution?

The only solution to save the vane was for us to pull Hydie's rudder out of the water as soon as possible. This is not an easy task even in calm waters. To do this maneuver whenever we want to remove the rudder (usually while in port so it doesn't get barnacles built on it), we lower the dinghy in the water, Russ climbs down the swim ladder, unties the safety line we have on the rudder, takes out a cotter pin, ties on a rope, and then I pull the rudder up and out of the water using the rope to hoist it over the top rail and on to the fan tail stern deck.

After some discussion, we suited up in our work clothes. Russ tied his diving knife onto his life vest with a longer lanyard to cut the rudder's safety line, and wore a double harness, the one on his life vest and another which one was a simple line around his waist. There was no way we were lowering the dinghy in the water so he would have to squeeze himself between the dinghy and boat stern down the swim ladder. If his harness got wet and automatically inflated, there would be no way he could squeeze back through the dinghy and stern up the ladder. The secondary harness would allow him to take off his life vest and still have some protection. He would also use my harness to strap around the swim ladder so that he could lean out to free the rudder. I would secure myself by tying a line onto a cleat and onto my life vest.

We decided to turn on the engine and put it neutral just in case Russ fell overboard, and I had to quickly maneuver the boat into position. Turning on the engine first requires that Russ go into the engine room and open up the through hulls for exhaust and cooling water. It's not a simple key-in-the ignition process. We would keep the engine in neutral until the rudder was up and secured because any forward propulsion would put too much pressure on Hydie's dangling rudder. We temporarily turned off the auto pilot, and I brought the boat up into a fore reaching position. With as little sail as we had out, we knew the boat could not completely come about. Fore reaching is when the boat is almost into the wind, off by 15-20 degrees, and the rudder is hard over holding her in that position.

By fore reaching we were able to stop forward the motion of the boat and put the stern of the boat in a lee position. We would still have to watch for side rollers, but it would be far safer to work behind the boat if it weren't going anywhere. Now we were ready to retrieve Hydie's rudder. Russ tied one end of a rope to the port cleat. He would take the loose end and thread it through the rudder's handle, hand it back up to me, and I would secure the end of that line to the stern cleat on the starboard side. When Hydie's rudder was free from the strut, it could hang in the water on a roped triangle until I could pull it up.

The wind was still blowing 18-20 knots when Russ went down the ladder. When he was down on the bottom step, the stern of the boat was rising and falling enough where he was up to his thighs in the water. When the hull would rise out of the water, the engine exhaust would spew water into his face. Darn, we thought we had it all figured out. Goggles would have been nice. After about 3 attempts, Russ was able to thread the rope through the rudder's handle and hand it back up to me, and I secured it. He then took his knife and cut through the rudder's safety line. The whole time he is doing this work, he has his left arm hooked around the ladder and he is doing everything with just one hand as the boat continues to rise, fall, and rock from side to side. He has a commemorative bruise on his left arm and another knick on his head that trickled blood down his face while he worked.

The last step was to release the pin. He released the pin, but it didn't want to come out. He hammered it with his foot as much as he could, but he was going to have to lean way out and pull the last part of the pin through the hole to release the rudder. Just he was doing this a roller came through and he momentarily lost his grip swinging much farther away from the ladder than he intended. His eyes just about popped out of his head. Fortunately my harness that he had wrapped around the ladder and his back kept him from falling off.

With one last tug, the pin came off! The rudder was free. I hoisted the rudder up and over the rail and Russ got back on board. I am so grateful we left the swim ladder on the stern. When we installed the hydrovane, we had considered removing the ladder as it was in the same location that the hydrovane needed to be, but then decided to just move it to the side so we could still access the dinghy after it had been lowered into the water from the davits.

What a nerve racking experience. But it was well planned and executed, just like the space shuttle.   :-  And this was all before I had my morning coffee!

We got the rudder lashed down on deck. Back at the helm I tried to fall off the wind using just our triple reefed main, but Worrall Wind was quite comfortable staying where she was. Now that Hydie's rudder was off, I could use the engine for some forward propulsion, so I did. Within just a few minutes, we were back on course with main and jib, and Ray our autopilot whining about it.

The mechanical autopilot is not quiet. It has an irritating whine like a mutant mosquito on steroids every time it turns the wheel. Russ and I were back in the pilot house, having missed the 7:30 Eastern Polynesian Breakfast Net, but in time to catch the last of the 8:30 Eastern Poly Net to check in. We left the engine in neutral to charge up the batteries. Hydie uses wind power, Ray gobbles amps.

With our adrenalin still in high gear, we put it to good use cleaning up the boat and fixing other little projects until lunch time. The winds have calmed a bit, the seas are still rolly, and Russ is fast asleep outside sitting on the deck of the fan tail. Worrall Wind is cruising along between 5 and 6 knots. From the looks of the sky, it's going to be another squally night. Putting the boat in a trench in Fiji rather than taking her to New Zealand is looking better and better. Hydie will need some work, but other than that....

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 2 to Suwarrow

UTC/Local Time: August 19, 2300/August 19, 1300

Latitude: 15 45.976 S
Longitude: 153 42.733 W

Course Over Ground: 266 @5.5 knots
Wind Direction: 15 knots ENE
Sea Swell: 2.5 meters from ENE
Sky: 50%
Barometric Pressure: 1017

Update:  Day 2 to Suwarrow

It's about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 19. We are now tacking south back to our course line having had to tack more to the north last night. Our course line is straight downwind, the seas are a little to lumpy and the winds a little to gusty for us to want to run straight wing on wing. We had a nice moonlit sail last night. A few ugly clouds passed over, but with no problems.

We are a little tired today as we have yet to get into our watch, awake, and sleep cycles. Russ is napping and I'm on watch at present. Not much to watch except for seas rolling under the boat, occasional white caps slapping at the hull. In the last 24 hours we have traveled 110 miles, only 574 more to go if we stayed on the course line. Tacking puts a few more miles on the odometer. Since we left San Francisco last Labor Day weekend, Worrall Wind has logged 6,100 miles under her keel. We both finished reading our books that we started in Bora Bora. We plan to start listening to an audio book this afternoon.

We had a nice surprise last night. A Berkeley Yacht Club and Emery Cove neighbor, Bill Wright, said hello to us via the Ham Radio during our check in session with the Pacific Sea Farer's Net. That was way cool. Glad to hear from you Bill. Were you connecting from Oregon or California?

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Day 1 Heading to Suwarrow/Suvorov

UTC/Local Time: Thursday, August 19 01000/Wednesday, August 18 1500

Latitude: 16 21.869 S
Longitude: 152 07.124 W

Course Over Ground: 290
Wind Direction: East, 10-12 knots
Sea Swell: 1 meter
Sky: 40% clouds
Barometric Pressure: 1017

Update:  And We're Off!  Goodbye French Polynesia

We released the mooring line at 11:00 a.m. this morning to start our 700 mile crossing to Suwarrow also spelled Suvorov on some maps if you are looking for us. Our friends on Trim were directly in front of us. As we came out the pass trim set sail to the southwest for Palmerston, and we set sail plus our motor to the northwest to go around Maupiti Island. We had heard that Endless Summer took off from Maupiti this morning and Zenitude was taking off a little after us from Bora Bora, both headed to Suvorov. Pincoya, Freezing Rain, and The Road are planning on leaving tomorrow with FR following Trim's route and Pincoya following ours. The Road is heading for Tonga directly and may stop somewhere if something presents itself. Where they can stop is limited because of Rubbish, their parrot.

We had farewell cocktails last night at the Bora Bora Yacht Club, promising to catch up in Tonga.
We motored the first 20 miles because of the light winds and because we wanted to get a good charge on the batteries.. We are currently five miles off the northern shores of Maupiti Island, having raised the sails about 1 hour ago. The wind, what there is of it, is coming from our starboard stern quarter. We are running a broad reach with our main and poled out jib and are now moving about 4.5 knots, not bad, but not terrific either.

The day is absolutely gorgeous. We have a gentle breeze and seas of less than 1 meter. We are hoping for a nice evening sail with a waxing moon. We miss having Garyn and Jessica on board.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Leaving French Polynesia

Getting Ready to Go - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All good things must come to an end, and our time in French Polynesia is coming to a close.  Our visas last until the end of the month, but with the moon a waxing gibbous, winds 10-15 knots, and six foot seas in the forecast, we think we will be leaving tomorrow for Suwarrow (an atoll in the Cook Island group). It is about 700 miles from French Polynesia.  

Suwarrow is a little over half way to Samoa that is 1,100 miles from Bora Bora.  Our plan right now is to head for Vava’u, Tonga (1300 miles), via Suwarrow and Samoa.  We have signed up for the Vava’u Regatta in Tonga beginning September 22.  We would like to spend October in Vava’u group islands which are purportedly beautiful with many excellent anchorages, and then head either south to New Zealand (if we have some crew and more courage) or west to Fiji to put Worrall Wind in a trench for the season and fly to New Zealand. We have already reserved a spot at the Vuda Marina in Fiji.   We’ll see how the wind blows when we get to Tonga.

In the meantime, we are getting the boat ready for her passage, cleaning the bottom, changing zincs, doing laundry, shopping for produce, downloading weather information, checking out with the Gendarmere, topping of gerry jugs of water, gas, and diesel, etc.  

Many of our cruising community are leaving Bora Bora this week as well.  Freezing Rain, Trim, The Road are heading South to Palmerston-Beverage Reef-Niue;  Pincoya, Worrall Wind, Zenitude, and most likely some others are leaving for Suwarrow.  We met for cocktails tonight and shared radio net information so that we can all stay in touch.  There is the Polynesian Breakfast Net on 8164 (eastern transmission at 7:30 a.m. Tahitian time, western transmission at 8:30 a.m. Tahitian time), the Penguin Net on 8104 at 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., and the Pacific Sea Farer’s Net at 14 300 at 0300 UTC or 9:00 p.m. Tahitian time.  We will be checking in with these Nets as we go along.  The Pacific Sea Farer’s net is a Ham Net and the most formal.  If you miss a check in with this group, they put out an alert for you.

This will be the last of the Internet – picture uploads for a while.  And with as slow as the Internet is here,  these last blogs may be without pictures as well.  I am posting the text first and filling in with pictures as the Internet permits.

We will be sending updates, via our radio to the blog for the next month.  Keep in touch with us.  Family members and sailing friends have our radio sail mail address.  You are welcome to ask them for the address and write to us.  Please keep your messages fairly short with no attachments or forwards.  We only get 90 minutes of radio time each week, and sometimes reception is painfully slow, gobbling the minutes.  Nevertheless, getting messages from friends and family while we are at sea is one of the highlights of our day.  Stay well and be happy.

All is Well on Worrall Wind

Maupiti Express

Sure Glad We Weren't in Our Boat - Saturday, August 14, 2010

When we got together with Freezing Rain, Trim, and Pincoya on Friday night, we posed the question whether our day trip to Maupiti on the express ferry was going to be a rain or shine event.  Even though it was raining as the question was posed, Ken assured us that the weather was forecasted for light winds and clear skies.  Hmmm?

It rained almost all night and was still dark and dreary when we got up early Saturday morning.   Visibility was about 1 mile.   Ken and Lori opted out as did Don on Freezing Rain.  Despite the rain and much discussion, Russ and I, Gene and Gloria, and Marie with backpacks and snorkeling equipment made our way to shore and got in the taxi that was picking us up at 8:00 a.m. and taking us to the ferry dock. 

The Maupiti Express was a small bullet-tank ferry that makes the trip over to Maupiti from Bora three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Since we planned to be leaving French Polynesia the following Wednesday, we knew Thursday was out as was Tuesday (provisioning and stowing day).  The trip took about one and one half hours to travel the 25 mile distance. The bounding, rolling motion of the ferry during the crossing was not a pleasant one.  Gene and Gloria were both lamenting that they hadn’t thought to bring their sea sickness pills. Marie was hanging in there.  Fortunately, Russ and I weren’t bothered, but there were buckets being passed around for those who were.

The seas got progressively bigger as we got closer to Maupiti, close to 9 feet or 3 meters, not huge but big enough that when we went through the narrow pass it was quite a rush to see breakers on either side with tons of green water and white spume on either side of us, some in front, and our skipper surfing the ferry through the opening.  We were glad to be aboard the ferry and not on our own boats.  We came through the pass around 10:00 a.m. in the morning.  It is recommended that sailboats come and leave around 7:00 a.m. in the morning when the swells are generally at their lowest.

By the time we reached the ferry dock in Maupiti, the grey clouds were blowing away and we could see blue skies.  Looked like the forecast was going to be correct.  In Polynesia, weather forecasting is not very accurate as the islands tend to create their own systems without regard to the forecast.

Our guide book suggested a two hour walk around the island, stopping to see the petroglyphs, a climb to the top of the rock by the ferry dock, and a swim in one of the lagoons.  Maupiti is a small, very non-commercial island with about 1200 inhabitants. The single road around the island was cement, and it reminded us of the quaint but sturdy roads in the Marquesas islands.  Small, tidy homes with gardens lined the streets of the Vei’ea village. 

There were some micro-small grocery stores (an open half-door with the proprietor standing between the door and a few shelves behind him/her).  Customers request items and the proprietor retrieves them.  Since customers cannot really see what is available, it is a guessing game whether you will get what you want. 

It took us nearly the whole day to walk around the island as we stopped and enjoyed the views, rediscovered other cruising friends, took pictures, had lunch in the river ravine where we found the petroglyphs of sea turtles, and snorkeled in the lagoon.  The views from the top of a ridge that we climbed to get from one side of the peninsula to the other were spectacular. 

We returned to the ferry dock about three thirty with plenty of time before the ferry took off, but not enough time to climb to the top of the rock behind the ferry.  The only reason people do this is to get the view, but we had already climbed the peninsula ridge and gotten some great panoramic shots.

The clouds had come back in, the wind was whipping up, and the swells coming in through the pass as we were going out of the pass were enormous.  We had met up with Steve and Monjula on Endless Summer during the day, and they told us of two boats that had left early in the morning when the seas are supposed to be their calmest.  One of the boats was a catamaran that was pitching straight up and down getting through the waves.  The other was a 65 foot oyster that was awash with waves. 

Steve and Monjula had a hair raising experience that morning as well.  They took their dinghy inside the reef in the channel that leads to the pass to explore the waves for possible surfing.  The outgoing current seemed to be getting the better of them even though their motor was on.  Steve tipped up the motor to discover that the propeller on the motor had fallen off!  The current was too strong for them to paddle.  They had no radio with them.  It was very, very scary as they cold see the monster waves looming in front of them and the current pushing them closer and closer.  Fortunately, a local inhabitant in a fishing boat saw them and came to their rescue, towing them out of harms way. 

Needless to say, the afternoon waves were much larger than the ones earlier in the day.  We stood on the top deck of the little ferry (not sure that was the wisest thing to do) as we went through the pass at full throttle.  We were airborne, in deep troughs, crashing through swells, getting soaking wet. It was a caldron of white water. The swells on either side of the pass were easily 20 feet high.  The boat was only about 20 feet high so these waves were at our height or higher. What a rush!  It took us several minutes to get through the swirl and far enough away from the reef before the seas calmed down to 12 or less feet.  I took some pictures from behind the ferry cabin as I was trying to keep the camera dry.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t capture the tumult from that direction….but the camera stayed dry.  I was damp, but those directly on the bow were soaked.  Oh yeah!  We can see why some boats are stuck in Maupiti until the waves calm down.  There is no way we could have made it out in any of our boats.

Our trip back to Bora Bora took about two hours as we bucked the waves and head wind at full throttle.  Again, it was an awful ride for those who got sea sick and cold for those that had gotten wet.  By the time we reached the ferry dock in Bora Bora, our earlier plan of going out to dinner when we reach land had evaporated.  We were all anxious to take a taxi back to the Yacht Club, take hot showers, eat soup, and go to bed…..which we did. 

All is Well on Worrall Wind

Bora Bora - Bicycling around and Climbing to the Top

Bicycling Around - Friday, August 13, 2010

Both  our friends on Trim and Freezing Rain took a bicycle ride with electric bikes around the island and suggested that we would enjoy the ride too, especially if we started in the morning and cycled clockwise around the island, we would arrive at Bloody Mary’s around lunch time.  Sounded good to us.

We ferried our folding bikes to shore, assembled them, and got on our way by 9:30.  We saw Gene and Gloria on Pincoya leave on their bikes about an hour before us.  Since we hadn’t checked with them, we didn’t know which direction they had headed.  We met them half way around the island peddaling in the opposite direction.  Gloria shared with us some hot mapes....chestnuts she had purchased from a local resident.

Bora Bora is a beautiful island.  The lagoons are rather shallow which creates the varied spectrum of aquas and blues that we associate with the waters of a tropical paradise.  Because of the shallow lagoons, a deep draft boat like ours has a limit to where we can travel without going aground.  We made a decision to stay moored in deep water and visit the rest of the island either by boat, foot, or bike.

Wash basin in the lady's room

The Famous Bloody Mary
Indeed, we did end up at Bloody Mary’s at lunch time.  Of course, I had to try the famous Bloody Mary. Russ had beer.  Both were good and relaxing, but we sure didn’t feel like bicycling the rest of the way back afterwards.  Bloody Mary’s has a sand floor.  Sandals are optional.

We returned to the boat in the early afternoon with enough time for swim and a little rest before joining the group on the Bora Bora Yacht Club dock for a bar-b-que potluck and an evening of dominoes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – See Separate Blog – Maupiti Express

Climbing to the Top - Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today was the day that Russ, Lori, Ken, Gene, and Gloria planned to climb to the top of the peaks on Bora Bora.  This is a difficult climb and slippery. Hand-over-hand climbing up ropes to the peak is a part of the experience. I was happy to forgo the experience and spend a relaxing day on the boat backing up the computers and reading a book.

The views are supposed to be spectacular from the top, and climbers need to pick a day when the mountain is not shrouded in clouds.  Nothing would be more disappointing than working so hard for the view and then not having it.  The crew left about 9:00 a.m. and they didn’t return until dusk.  Since I didn’t go, I can’t describe the climb.  I can only tell you that when the crew returned they were bruised, battered, and muddy from head to toe.  They looked exhausted, and indeed they were. I’ m sorry I didn’t get a picture of all of them upon their return.  Russ stripped and showered outside and finally gave up on washing his shirt and socks and threw them in the garbage.

Indiana Jones (aka California Russ) Climbing up the vines through the jungle.
Spectacular 360 Degree Views

All is Well on Worrall Wind

Good Bye Tahaa - Hello Bora Bora

Russ and Roz on our 41st Annieveray

Good Bye Tahaa, Tuesday, August 10, 2010

After several days of resting and recreating on Tahaa and Raiatea (snorkeling, walking, and making a few short shopping trips over to Uturoa  on Raiatea), our time was winding down. 

Uturoa Port on Riaitea

We formally celebrated our 41st anniversary the day after our actual anniversary at the Taravana Yacht Club at their Polynesia Dinner show with other sailing friends moored in the Apu Bay. 

It is hard to believe that a year ago, we were celebrating our 40th at the Berkeley Yacht Club.  We called it our Triple Triumph Party – Retirement, Anniversary, and Bon Voyage all rolled into one big blast.  This year we are having a blast in a Polynesia.

Earlier in the day, we presented the proprietor of the Taravana Yacht Club,  Richard with a Berkeley Yacht Club burgee.  He had had one previously, but it had blown away during the last hurricane.  It now is displayed behind the bar.  So BYC is once again proudly represented.

Photos from Dinner and Dance Party:
Taravan Rum Pumch

Young Musicians

The Feast

The Dancers

Russ shaking his booty

Good Bye Taravana and Tahaa

We had a terrific evening.  Tahaa has been a lovely place to visit and being at the Taravana Yacht Club made it extra special.

Hello Bora Bora, Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We arose early, stowed our gear, loaded the water tank from the hose on the TYC dock, said our goodbyes, and were headed out the pass by 9:45 a.m.  We had a lovely sail over to Bora Bora, making the short passage in a little over 5 hours.  The wind was farily mild and the few squalls helped us pick up our speed.  Naturally, there was a squall coming through the pass at Bora Bora which kicked up the adrenalin, but we managed fine and were glad the pass was on the western side.  The swells and breaking surf on the southern reef were far more daunting. 

We arrived and moored in the bay in front of the Bora Bora Yacht Club.  Our friends on Trim and Freezing Rain were expecting us and Pincoya (about ½ an hour behind us) to arrive.  Don on Freezing Rain was in his dinghy passing up the mooring ball to us.  Ken passed up the mooring ball to Pincoya.

Marie on Freezing Rain was waiting for all of us to come over for an extended happy hour.  The Margaritas were already being mixed and on ice.  I had purchased tortilla chips and two big avocados in Uteroa a few days before.  The avocados were perfectly ripe for guacamole.  We had a nice Puerto Vallarta reunion and catch up evening.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Calm Morning

Russ and I took the dinghy over a couple of miles to Viatape (the only real town on Bora Bora) from our mooring. 

 There was a nice tail wind all the way which also happened to be a soaking head wind on the way back.  We spent the day exploring the little town, visiting shops, checking out the grocery stores, and reserving tickets for the Saturday express over to Maupiti, a small island west of Bora Bora.

Maupiti can be very difficult to get in and out of because the pass through the reef is quite narrow and the swells approach from the south.  Sometimes these swells can be quite large making it very dangerous if not impossible for boats to get in or out of the pass.  As we are basically cowards when it comes to going through narrow and possibly dangerous passes, but didn’t want to miss Maupiti, taking the Express from Bora Bora seemed like a perfect solution.  It would be a nice day trip.

Ken and Lori on Trim came over for dinner on Thursday evening.  We had purchased a roasted chicken in Viatape earlier in the day. Lori made a salad.  With garlic bread, wine, and brownies, we had a feast.  After dinner, Ken and Lori showed us how to play mahjong.  We only played a few hands so that we could get the basic idea.  It is the kind of game that seems simple enough in the beginning, but actually requires strategies that take a lot of practice and experience.  Kind of like sailing, and we are still learning that!

All is Well on Worrall Wind