ProjectPacific: Day 18


Ever since rounding Cape Flattery we’ve been on edge.  Every whitecap could be one.  Every crashing wave against our hull could be its’ spray.  When planning this trip, I imagined it a certain way and just like anything my expectations don’t always meet reality.  I wouldn’t have even imagined I would be reading a book a day, I didn’t realize how many days would be cloudy not sunny like I had hoped, and I didn’t anticipate that we would see more garbage in the ocean than marine life.  But I guess I hadn’t lost hope yet, as that whitecap that caught my eye this time was in fact a dolphin.  The large creatures didn’t seem to be in a rush as they playfully glided around us, following the sleek lines of Fenwick Light’s hull.  Underwater they looked green but revealed their shiny grey skin as the leapt up around us.  About 10 minutes passed as they played with us before all turning away at once again becoming one with the whitecaps.  There is nothing like a visit from the dolphins to leave a smile on my face.  That and a day of sunshine, I guess my expectations weren’t so far off!

Christine’s note:  I continue on wind watch … hurricane Blas is not a threat in any way and peters out but it is followed by Hurricane Celia.  I am really hoping the course shifts as right now it is expected to hit Maui when I am there.  Not my idea of a fun time!  Perhaps it will alter course as that prediction is 10 days from now so typically would not be highly accurate.  I will keep my fingers cross and keep you posted.  The Windyty image below shows the position of Celia on Wednesday, July 13th – the date of my flight!

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ProjectPacific: Day 17


Me again, still here in the middle of the ocean.  We are slowly making progress. Now that we are under 1000nm (902nm to be exact) left to go to Hawaii, we can’t help but to get frustrated when our sails flap when the wind dies or when we can’t seem to get our course direction to go where we want.  Our conversations have been around the prospect of seeing land and what fresh food tastes like.  Mmmmm grilled pineapple and shaved ice.

We are still making progress and are definitely all learning the lesson of ‘we can only make the best of what we’ve got.’  Whether that’s wind or the lack of showers!  We have really started to notice that we’ve changed the time zones, as it isn’t light until after 7 and dark around 10:30.  We’ve decided to keep our clocks the same as back home, as our sleeping patterns are far from normal anyways.

We are just about to indulge in a movie and some hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.  Right now, I’m regretting not packing that jiffy pop that I had contemplated bringing.  Perhaps I’ll have some more exciting news for you tomorrow;  however, a movie seems pretty exciting to us at the moment!

Christine’note:  I’ve promised them that the wind is indeed coming and boat speed will pick up in the next few hours!  That will make them happy!

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ProjectPacific: Day 16


It has been an eventful day full of an endless amount of sail changes, a rain squall and a fix on the main sail.  The winds couldn’t make up their minds minds today, which of course got Farrell frustrated and lead us all getting out best work out yet!  Nothing like yanking on some sheet lines in the sun to get a sweat on.

While flopping around at a low point, we noticed a rip in the main sail.  I only poked myself with the massive needle about a dozen times.  I think my handiwork will have made my sister (thread and mom proud!

We officially passed the 1000nm left to Hawaii mark.  These 15-20 knot winds will hopefully blast away our somewhat dismal 100 nm average days we can’t seem to break free of.

Christine’s note:  A few texts today had me chucking in the middle of some school related meetings.  Rather than focusing on plans for the fall, I was imagining Kayleen or Farrell trying to fix that sail.  Usually that’s my job!

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And keeping an eye on the storms … Hurricane Agatha is now down graded to a tropical depression.  You can just see it here.  The bigger system is Hurricane Blas.  This is Wednesday’s projected position.  All still looking fine for the FWL crew.

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ProjectPacific: Day 15


We were asked yesterday if we are having fun.  The question threw me off.  I should be having fun shouldn’t I?  But my immediate reaction was no.  I mean of course when I’ms sitting on the bow being thrown up and down while singing Celine Dion, that’s fun (don’t judge me!)  But overall, I wouldn’t call this fun, I would call  it an experience and most of all, a challenge.  If I wanted fun I would have just flown to Hawaii, or even stayed home and sailed the local waters on weekends.  In the past few years, I have been yearning for adventure that is bigger than weekend trips on the island.  This has more than satisfied it, if not sparked the desire for more.  As we are now quickly approaching the 1000 nm mark left to Hawaii, I realize the fun is just beginning!

What is your idea of fun?

Christine’s note:  Happy to see a picture today of Farrell, who I am missing beyond imagine.  I have to chuckle because that Tilley he is wearing disappeared overboard in the first week!  Good thing it was near the end of its’ life and he has a spare on board, which I had just purchased the day prior to their departure.  I must have known!

Distance left: 1075nm

Distance covered in 24 hrs.: 97nm

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And keeping an eye on the tropical storms …

Tropical storm Agatha, I told you about is not a threat at all, but the next one, Tropical Storm Blas is heating up.  They will be well in port by the time it reaches their area.  This image is its predicted position on Wednesday.

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ProjectPacific: Day 14


Two weeks at sea!  I am finally getting better at relaxing without feeling guilty about it.  Our days are filled with napping, snacking and reading.  We are starting to get really good at all of those activities.  The sun has started to come out and we were even in shorts and tank tops today.  I sat at the bow for about an hour today, letting my toes dip in the warm seawater as we launched up and down over the following swells.  We hope the sun is out for good now as we just entered the trade winds and are averaging around 5 knots headed straight to Hawaii!  I decided to pull out my ukulele the other day and have started serenading Danielle and Farrell on a daily basis.  I am truly regretting not printing off more than 4 songs.  Bets on how long it will take them to throw the ukulele overboard?

Christine’s note:  106nm in 24 hours – all in the right direction.  Yes!  Life is good.

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ProjectPacific: Day 13



Happy Canada Day!  We’ve had a double celebration here, as we have reached the halfway point between Victoria and Hawaii!  We are hoping the next half will be the shorter half.  That’s how it works right?  Although we miss the lush green trees, the jagged mountains and the green sea that our lovely home has to offer, we made the most of our surroundings with our half way celebrations!  Even Henry the friendly neighbourhood bird was invited, the flying fish, and of course our turtle friends.  Although we didn’t share our beer with them.

We are back on a westward tack after the successful 24 hours of southing.  Turns out there is a potential hurricane forming off the Baja peninsula so it is just as well.  We should be well clear of it by the time it has the potential to wreck havoc.  I think I just heard Fenwick Light sigh in relief.

Christine’s note:  I am feeling really good about where I have them positioned relative to the high (no wind zone) and  I am expecting this to be a faster half indeed.  Tonight I book my flight!

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And here is the tropical storm starting to form … this is the Windyty prediction  for Monday.  If I am not worried (and I’m not!) you shouldn’t be.  They are well north of this and by the time it shifts north, Fenwick Light and her precious cargo will almost by there and well clear.  I will keep you posted. CVdR

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ProjectPacific: Day 12


What does a typical day aboard Fenwick Light look like?

6:00 –  Wake up to Danielle apologizing for having to wake you up while shaking you and repetitively calling your name.

6:01 – throw on your harness, most likely forget to brush your teeth, , make coffee while desperately trying not to wake anyone or spill the boiling water.

6:10 – sit down and watch the GPS AIS for oncoming ships, drink coffee, watch the sunrise.

sometime between 7:00 to 9:00 – make oatmeal or pancakes, run engine to charge the batteries if needed and join Farrell in adjusting sails and course.

between 9:00 and 17:00 – take turns alternating between napping, reading, steering, eating, and staring into the ocean contemplating life’s great questions such as:

  • Danielle – what are we going to do with the extra potatoes when we get to Hawaii?
  • Kayleen – where do birds sleep at night?
  • Farrell – how long will these bloody large swells last?

17:00 to 18:00 attempt to make dinner without spilling it.  So far Farrell’s favourite was a chicken macaroni casserole.

18:00 to 21:00 – take one last nap before the night shift starts, try not to break into the treats cupboard, dream about king sized beds that don’t move, proceed to contemplate  why someone would want a waterbed.

Night shifts – three hours of reading, looking for ships, trying to keep your eyes open, look at the stars, contemplate how you can break into the snack cupboard even though it’s above Danielle’s head, and countdown the minutes until your night shift ends.

Counting down:  1400nm to Hawaii!

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ProjectPacific: Day 11


The fishing line snapped free of its clip, jolting Danielle and I to attention, and signalling to us that there’s something on the end of the line.  I curse as I realize Farrell is in the bathroom.  I have no idea what to done once we get the fish on board.   Is there a spear I can hook him with?  I pictured the fight I would have shortly with the giant Tuna, Dorado, Marlin?  Who knows … as I pull in the line, hand over hand.  Finally I see a streak of colour in the water, a flash of yellow and green.  Must be Tuna.  I do a final tug to get a better picture of him out of the water.  I flinch, expecting to lose control of the thin line in my hands.  He jumped out revealing that in fact, fish tacos would have to wait another night.  I pulled in the tangle of old fishing line and rope realizing my identification error, that the Tuna was in fact some snagged Pacific Ocean garbage like we had been sailing by all day.  Looks like it is lentil soup tonight.

Christine’s note:  I have been pestering the crew for reports on how it is going with food, water, power, sleeping etc.  Looks like I provisioned them with too many carbs (though not enough Farrell cookies.)  They are really hoping for some fish!  Water is holding well and they have started on their second tank of four.  They have run the engine to charge the batteries only a few times.  It is quite overcast so the solar panel isn’t working to its max.  The v-berth is fine for sleeping as long as the earplugs are in.  Night watches are currently 3 hour which has helped to increase rest for the day.  Not sure what they were doing before this.

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Wind conditions … as requested!

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ProjectPacific: Day 10


I didn’t know Fenwick Light had a poop deck until today.  Usually a poop deck is described as the deck behind the wheel on a vessel, typically found on a galleon ship.  On Fenwick Light, our poop deck is found on the port side below the vent that leads from the toilet.  We literally have poop on our deck.  Turns out a valve was installed too low and now sprays little bit of poop out of the vent every time we flush.

In other news, we are over 500 nm offshore and after a long sleepless night on a port tack, are now heading SW on a much more comfortable starboard tack.  We seem to be in a bit of a shipping lane, perhaps coming out of LA and have been dodging ships all day.  They have made us feel a little less lonely today in this big ocean.  1580 nm left until Hawaii!

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ProjectPacific: Day 9


Christine’s update:

I wondered when this day would come.  The social media guru, Kayleen, has shifted fully into ocean cruising mode.  She texted me a short while ago to say, ‘I forgot to write a blog post!  I am too busy reading.”  She then listed the three books she has read over three days and described the brownies they had just made on board.  Reluctantly she said I could give you the update as she was busy hand steering on her watch for the evening, so here it is.

They have had another good day on board.  All is well, and the crew is the most rested they have been since their journey began.  I spoke with Farrell a short this evening  and discussed route options over the next 24 hours.  He was certainly feeling good about their progress.  After down loading some weather faxes on the SSB he was better able to understand and feel confident about my course suggestions.  Just one more day and we think they will be in the trades.  That is what they have been working towards.  They  continued all day with some wing on wing sailing which was very comfortable for all on board.  The seas seem more settled with the gentle big ocean swells rather than the cross seas  which had been constantly jostling them.  They are looking forward to me telling them to ‘go for it’ and just head for Hawaii, rather than to keep zig-zagging south.  They are now south of SanFrancisco.  Below their position image, is a screen shot of Windyty – which shows the winds (or no winds) in the area they are travelling.  I thought you would like a glimpse of that as well.

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A peak at the winds!

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