From the Captain’s Log
Our time in Hawaii is rapidly drawing to a close as ESTELLE will leave Hilo Bay in the morning, bound for the Pacific Northwest. Our primary destination is Cape Flattery, then the Strait of Juan de Fuca, through Cattle Pass and back to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This passage should take the better part of three weeks, depending on the weather and overall sailing conditions.
While we are busy with final preparations, we are not scrambling at the last minute to get things done; the pre-departure stress level is quite manageable — I am even taking time to write this update! We have been systematic about re-provisioning and victualing, stocking and loading food, diesel fuel, propane, and necessary equipment since our quarantine expired a week ago.
Stowing everything in the right place and in the right sequence in part of the puzzle, if not part of the fun. Take the cockpit locker, for example. This is a space that is roughly 3-feet wide, 4-feet long and 2-feet high; into which must go all manner of equipment, easily accessible in case we actually need it while underway. This includes:
Staysail with sheetsStorm jib with sheetsPlastic bin with storm drogue and 150’ of 5/8” lineVarious spare lines and webbingTwo 50’ sections of water hoseBag with two 50’ shore power cables and adaptersFull size scuba tank, wetsuits, snorkel gear, 50’ hooka hoseFour-gallon oil changing tank, hose and connectorsPlastic bin with spare engine parts / lube oil / filters, etc.Bag with life jackets / harnessesStainless steel grill (hauled 10,000 miles, used twice?!?) Mainsail cover
How do we prioritize packing all this stuff? Ideally, we would probability-weight the likelihood of needing something and multiply that by a criticality factor; the same way an insurance company might manage risk. We won’t need the mainsail cover until we get where we’re going — and it’s just a mainsail cover — so it can go anywhere. Same for the water hoses. But if the weather gets rough, we want easy access to the staysail and storm jib — keep them on top and near the front. Of course, in practice, the pieces fit where they can we’ll just have to deal with conditions as they present themselves.
And then there is the galley and all the food stuff, which is the domain of Wendy Bitner, our Chief Galley Officer (aka the Galley Wench.) This is such a special topic that I will defer to her to tell the story. Suffice to say that she has somehow managed to stow two months of provisions for five people, into a relatively small space. In cupboards, in hammocks, under floorboards, behind the settees. And the best part? She knows where everything is!
While it has been a busy week of preparation, we even managed an island tour on Wednesday — up the Saddle Road to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center (closed, of course), down to the Kona side, lunch with our good friend Elena, down to Captain Cook, around the south side and back to Hilo. Beautiful beaches and scenery, amazing diversity, The Big Island is truly special. We had dinner with our friend Dan and his family last night — a special shout-out for hosting the crew during the quarantine, THANK YOU!
ESTELLE is ready, the last of our crew arrives this evening and the weather looks good for a Monday departure. Our initial course will be N to NNE, as discussed in a previous blog post. We hope to ride the back of a high pressure system going north, then gybe and squirt through the convergence with a low pressure system, heading a little more easterly later in the week. We will provide updates along the way.