SAILING INTO THE TROPIC OF CANCER

Looking at the log book for last night I see I was having a hard time.  Sails up and down, in and out, tacking, gybing and engine on.  Sometimes reducing sail as going too fast and others just no wind.  I was surprised to find we had covered 109 miles noon to noon, a commendable effort in such trying conditions.  It must be good for you, good exercise in the fresh air.

Since midday it has been easy street.  Sailing with just the jib poled out to port, making a steady five plus knots in sparkling weather directly towards our destination.  Also, an opportunity to catch up on some sleep from the night before.

Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson
Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson

Today we crossed the imaginary line into the Tropic of Cancer.  This line marks the furthest point north the sun will get before heading back to the south again.  If you stood on the line at midday of the summer solstice the sun would be directly overhead at noon.  The word tropic is derived from a Greek word meaning to turn (that’s what we learned in navigation).

The Greeks were quite good at maths and figuring out what the planets were doing.  The ancient Brits were also up to speed on all that stuff – just that being illiterate they couldn’t write it down – they had to explain it in big stone circles

This time last year Truce and I were in Sitka Alaska.  Sitka was a really nice place, one of the best towns in Alaska.  What a contrast sailing into Hawaii.  I am getting quite excited by it all now and really looking forward to getting ashore in Hilo, only three more days to go.

A small rum and coke will be appropriate for sundowners today, we are in the tropics after all.  Voyage distance 1,816 miles.

BACK IN NEW ZEALAND

I have been back in New Zealand for ten days now.  So good to see family again, but It’s difficult to transition from being a freewheeling sailor to the role of domestic slave, taking orders from the ‘Boss’ wife.  The creature comforts of home are however a welcome change, having a hot shower on tap is a true luxury.

Milford beach, North Shore City. Auckland
Milford beach looking out to Rangitoto. New Zealand

Truce is sitting on the hard in Canoe Cove Marina.  I put her to bed as best I could as I was hindered by my cracked ribs.  Everything is stowed away but I am concerned about the damp that may get into the boat over the winter.  When on the hard I will get a few maintenance works done so come spring we are in good shape to go again.

My health is excellent after the trip, I feel fit and relaxed but have lost about 6 Kg in weight and now weigh around 77Kg.  (170lbs).  I ate very well on the trip so my weight loss seems to be caused by three things, being overweight in the first place, burning up calories in cold weather doing physical stuff and not eating processed food and sugary snacks.

I suffered from some distress to my hands before they hardened up to sailing and a few aches and pains from using muscles not normally pressed into service.  My fall and cracked ribs I take as a (painful) lesson to plan better and complete one job at a time when single handing.

Now I am back in New Zealand I am looking forward to the summer and some warm weather and catching up with all the little odd jobs and other tedious bureaucratic pains of shore life.  Houses (like boats) need maintenance and there is some of that to do as well.  I also need to do some paid work and harvest some money for the cruising coffers, I will look for some ship delivery work which I enjoy.

Next I will post some thoughts about my trip to Alaska.

 

EL CAPITANO PASSAGE

We anchored overnight in Marble Bay, where there is a mine, marble I guess.  The day started flat calm and the sun shone.  The air was cool but by nine in the morning it was warm enough for shorts and t shirt.  Taking advantage of the warmth I opened up the boat, all hatches, carpet and bedding out in the sun, a good cleaning and airing and now everything is fresh again.

Prince of Wales Island.
Prince of Wales Island.

Also did a bake, had fresh bread with cheese for lunch, sitting in the cockpit, with a Lighthouse Special Bitter Ale.  Perfect.

Today was an afternoon sailing to transit El Capitano Passage.  This passage is little known and has a seven foot depth for a twenty meter width.  It seems a lot less than twenty meters wide but its well-marked, we transited at high tide so there was plenty of water.

Along the passage are numerous bays and islands with Sea Otters and Eagles everywhere.  We were the only vessel in the passage and I only saw one other boat, a fishing vessel, all day.  I really enjoyed this passage, a very beautiful and magical place, its one of the highlights of the voyage so far.

El Capitano Passage, Dry Pass. Feels less than 20m wide. Photo Ray Penson
El Capitano Passage, Dry Pass. Feels less than 20m wide. Photo Ray Penson

It was another motoring day, what little wind there was came from ahead.  This evening we have anchored in Sarker Cove, off a long abandoned gold mining town called Deweyville.  From the boat I can’t see much of the town, just a couple of rotten huts.  I will explore further in the morning.

Deweyville Anchorage where I hooked a wire. Photo Ray Penson
Deweyville Anchorage where I hooked a wire. Photo Ray Penson

When coming into the anchorage I was just about to anchor when there was a great commotion just astern.  A seal had got a fish on the surface and an eagle was trying to get it.  I am not sure who got the fish first, the Eagle I suspect.  Whatever, the seal won the prize and the eagle took off and perched in his tree just astern of where we anchored.

There are deer on the edge of the trees, they come out and munch on the grass by the shoreline and then retreat back into the woods.  I saw them doing the same thing in the early evening in Red Bay a few days ago.  Total voyage distance 904.3 miles.

Logged 8th June 2016