Friday, October 31, 2014

Cruising friends with books

Crossing the Pacific in 2006 we crossed path many times with Kelly and Kelly aboard s/v Moorea.  Kelly girl chronicled their 4 year world circumnavigation in her just released book you can find it at Amazon as a ebook or the real thing... Sailing the Waterhouse.   You can also follow their current adventures here & Front cover for web
The cover photo of s/v Moorea was taken in the Marquesas at Ua Pou island with the super cool spires. Our first cruising boat, s/v La Vie was there at the same time and you can see both boats in the background of this great photo.

Ray and Judy Emerson were out there in 2006 and Ray has a new book Sell Your House and Buy a sailboat (Then Sail Halfway Around the World)  I can't recall for sure, but there is a good chance they were anchored in Ua Poa at the same time.  It was pretty busy with most boats using a stern anchor to avoid swinging into their neighbors.

Ray is hilarious in real life, so I'm sure this book is a great read. You can also check out his website at:

If we know you and you'd like to be added to this post, send me a link.

Westport waiting for weather

October 31, 2014

Kathy checking out the Grays Harbor bar from a observation tower in Westport, Washington.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


October 30, 2014
Westport, Washington

LightSpeed arrived safely after an overnight sail from Neah Bay.

Underway, I took the first watch, but only made it to 8:30PM before hitting the wall of a long day.  Kathy took the helm until midnight and then I passed the helm back to her at 2:30, so I could get a few hours sleep before our early morning arrival at Grays Harbor.    About 5:30AM Kathy roused me as LightSpeed approached the first green buoy at the Grays Harbor bar.  I slowed LightSpeed down to get my bearings and wake up for a few minutes.   With large westerly swell, it's critical to time bar crossing for the flood tide and ideally near high slack.  Our timing was perfect, except for the fact that it was pitch black and raining sideways.  If we waited until daylight, the ebb tide would be in full swing and conditions on the bar could be restricted, so we wanted to get in before the ebb.

We proceeded south to the 'red' side of the channel (red on right returning), picked up the range and turned to the east to make our way across the bar.  Our radar was invaluable in identifying and confirming our position relative to the navigation buoys.   Between the pitching seas and driving rain, keeping track of flashing buoy lights is no small task, but made much easier by having a good navigation setup and excellent visibility through our glass pilot house windows.

We'll holdup here in Grays Harbor until Saturday when the weather improves, then make a run to the Columbia river bar and up the river 13 miles to Astoria, Oregon.

It will be our third time hauling LightSpeed at Port of Astoria, the first was for a repower in 2010, then a post Alaska inspection in 2011.  Our plan to repair some paint on the port hull, service our sail drives and renew anti-fouling on the hulls.  It's only a few days work if we have dry weather for the painting, however good weather is going to be in short supply this time of year, so it could take weeks.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Underway Washington coast

October 29, 2014
Underway off the Washington coast near La Push

Asked for permission to cross La Push bar... denied.  CLOSED TO ALL RECREATIONAL VESSELS.  But, open to commercial vessels and fishing vessels which gave us hope that the coast guard would give us special dispensation based on our vessel, coast guard licenses and experience.   Plus high slack tide was coming up so, seas were moderating, conditions were clear and the wind was less than 10 knots.

 So, we bobbed off the bar for 80 minutes while the Coast Guard evaluated conditions and raced in and out of the pass unfettered in their cool 47 footer.  In the end the coasties were worried about liability and could not let us enter as the bar was CLOSED TO ALL RECREATIONAL VESSELS and we are a recreational vessel.  I asked if it said fishing vessel on the side of LightSpeed could we pass?  Yep.  But, it didn't say that so we had to go by the book.

So, now it was almost 4:30 pm and the sun would be setting within an hour or so.  It was turn around run in the dark to Neah Bay or continue southvernight towards Westport 70 miles distant.  I sure hope the bar is open at Westport as to catch the tide we need to cross at 7AM in the dark.   I'm not happy about running at night based on all the logs we've had to dodge today nor crossing any bar in the dark.  Maybe we'll stand on for Astoria if the weather gives us a break as it's only 40 more miles to the Columbia river bar.

The deciding factor was the wind direction.  Since it's forecast for south or south east, both give us the option to run off or hove to if conditions get really bad. If the wind forecast for anytime in the next 24 hours was for onshore, we would have high tailed it back to Neah Bay.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crabby cat

October 28, 2014
Neah Bay, Washington

Just dropped the hook in Neah Bay, gusty winds, low scudding clouds and rain providing a Halloween like welcome.  

Our talkative boat cat, Shell was excited the anchor was down and just before dark we noticed her sitting inside the crab trap on the aft side deck.  When it really started to rain she somehow made a Houdini like escape and bolted for the front door.  

Weather for tomorrow looks decent and we're hoping the bar at La Push will be open.  Not the beer bar as I believe the small village is dry, but the river/ocean interface 'bar' that can get rough and or dangerous with southerly swell.  The USCG provides bar reports and regulates entry/exit across the bar, so we'll check in the morning to see how it looks 

No AT&T or Cricket cell or data coverage here... Verizon would be the way to go.  Lucky for us we found an open WIFI network.

Shell in a crab trap.

Heading for Neah Bay

October 28, 2014

Heading for Neah Bay from Port Angeles today

We might have a weather window on Wednesday to make a hop down the Washington coast, so we're headed to Neah Bay to be ready if the weather gives us a break.  We could be sitting out there or at La Push for awhile and we most likely will not have internet, so updates could be non-existent until we get to West Port or Astoria.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cleaning, wiring, varnishing and flying some sails

October 26, 2014

Port Angeles, Washington

Cleaning, wiring, varnishing and flying some sails.

Working on projects and cleaning house today.  Kathy tackled the sail locker in out port bow, giving the walls need a good wipe down with a mild vinegar solution.  Dave tracked down a fault with the starboard engine kill switch, cleaned up the workshop area and the started sanding and varnishing fiddles.  While Kathy had sails out on the trampoline, Dave hoisted a few to give them a good airing.

Washington and Oregon Bar reports, current conditions and live cameras

October 26, 2014

Port Angeles, Washington

Stormy weather persists offshore, so we'll continue to hold up here in Port Angeles.  Neah Bay is the typical jumping off point for boats heading south, but limited internet and phone service in Neah Bay would hamper our productivity and significantly limit our ability to monitor the weather further down the coast.   It's only 50 miles to Neah Bay, so if we catch the tide right and get a nice 8-9 knot ride out the Strait of Juan de Fuca it's only 6-7 hours, all the services here in Port Angeles far outweigh the benefits of waiting for an indefinite time period in Neah Bay.

Coast Map
Bar Cameras for the above harbors and current bar conditions can be found on a cool web page here:

Columbia River Bar reports and Bar report phone numbers can be found here:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Videos: Bikar Atoll Pass via dinghy and LightSpeed

Scouting Bikar pass via dinghy
Running Bikar pass at low water with 24' wide sailing catamaran LightSpeed.  Don't try this with your home!

Port Angeles, Washington

October 25, 2014
Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Yesterday we motored from Seattle out to Port Angeles.  Conditions were calm and the tide was with us most of the day.  We considered anchoring out, but the NOAA forecast was calling for NE 20 which would make for a bumpy night on the hook.

The Port of Angeles has a nice guest moorage dock for $0.75 a foot a night and that price includes WIFI internet.  Half the price of Shilshole or Port Townsend!  It stormed pretty good overnight and we were glad to be tied to the dock in the calm waters of the marina.

Today we analysed the weather forecasts and strongly considered heading out to Neah Bay to stage for the jump to Astoria, Oregon.  With gale winds whipping the coast and nary a break between storms, it's pretty hard to find a weather window.  Sunday shows some promise, but only if we're willing to leave in the evening and run overnight in pretty strong NW winds.  We're not in a hurry, so we'll probably wait for a bigger and nicer window that has more daylight.  

Two other sailboats are in Port Angeles waiting for weather to make the run.  s/v Fifth Season, a Fountaine Pajot Venezia 42' catamaran and now maybe 44' with hull extensions.  This boat has been places, having originated in the British Virgin Islands, they've been to New Zealand, Hobart, Australia and Japan, before sailing across the North Pacific to Kodiak and cruising Alaska.  They have doubled all their rigging, a novel approach to ensuring the rig stays up.

The other is a big, but beautiful mono-hull named s/v Captains Mistress, they sailed from La Paz Mexico direct via the clipper route to Kodiak, Alaska.

Pretty cool that these two boats and LightSpeed all sailed to Kodiak this year.

That's it for now.

Setting up Airmail telnet for use with winlink 2000

October 25, 2014

Airmail telnet settings for Winlink 2000

WL2K              (Remote Call Sign) (Remote Host)
8772               (PORT)
120                (Timeout in seconds)
CMSTELNET        (Password)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

OpenCPN beta 3.3.2222 is really cool

October 23, 2014
New Release of OpenCPN beta 3.3.2222 has some great new features

GRIB files now have a 'particle' feature that is super cool in visualizing the wind flow.

This is the brief on how to set it up:
First click on options/plugins/ and enable the GRIB plugin
Next click on the GRIB 'wind sock' icon on the tool bar
Now click on the 'Settings' in the dialog box and then click box for Particle Map
Download a new GRIB and enjoy!

If you need more instructions check out all the new changes to the 3.3.2222 beta and find instructions here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blake Island

October 22, 2014
Blake Island, Seattle area, Washington State, USA

With millions of people within only a few miles.  I could hardly believe I had all 475 acres of Blake Island State park all to myself.  I had a nice walk across the island and around the sandy spit on the NW corner.  In the thick forest I hear the call of eagles as I snacked on some huckleberries.  

Here's a link courtesy of Dave Bechtel that give some great insights in to the history of Blake Island.

Blake Island, NW Sandspit
 LightSpeed with small craft harbor docks all to herself.  At $0.60 a foot a night this is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city only 7 miles distant
 Geese, Deer and Raccoon were everywhere, but not a human to be found.
A ornately carved totem pole stands tall at the traditional camping spot of the Suquamish Indians.  Today, this this beautifully decorated Long House is a great place for Seattle visitors to take in a traditional dance performance and enjoy a delicious lunch of NW salmon cooked over a alder wood fire.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday cruise

 Aaron and Dave enjoying the incredibly nice October 'tee-shirt' weather.

 Aaron and Steve preparing the big spinnaker for a downwind run.

 Hollingbery clan says "Arrrh"
 Big thanks to Terry and Steve for bringing the great eats and drinks!
 On our second voyage of the day we sailed the Seattle waterfront

 Close up view of the big wheel
 Space Needle
 And we had to dodge a few nets.
Good times.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Loving Ballard nano breweries

Tasty Challenger IPA from NW Peaks Brewing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Warm welcome

We've been busy visiting with old friends and new over the last week.  Each visit was really worth it's own blog post, but darn it I've done a lousy job of keeping up.

We'd like to extend a special thanks to everyone who's made time to text, email, call, invite us to a meal, a stay at their home, offered us vehicles and rides, shuttled us to and fro and best yet made time to join us aboard LightSpeed for a visit.

I know this is a bit impersonal and after the fact, but a HUGE thank you for the warm welcome back to the USA.

Kathy is off to San Diego for a bio-tech conference for the next week  The weather looks poor for sailing toward Astoria and San Francisco, so it looks like LightSpeed will be kicking around the Puget Sound for another week.

Dave has a new phone (907) 738-0867

Dave & Kathy Kane
s/v LightSpeed

This is not traveling weather

October 16, 2014

Bell Harbor, Seattle

Just pulled the weather forecast for Cape Flattery, our first hurdle on the way toward San Francisco.

SE wind 25 to 35 kt rising to 30 to 40 kt with gusts near 55 kt after midnight. Seas 8 to 11 ft with a dominant period of 9 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening... Then rain after midnight.

Here's the storm that's slamming into the Washington coast tonight.

Looking at the longer range forecast, it looks like we might have a break in about a week.

At the moment we're enjoying another beautiful afternoon here in Seattle.

That's it for now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bell Harbor, Seattle

October 13, 2014
Bell Harbor, Seattle

Another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest.  From the decks of LightSpeed in Bell Harbor we're taking in a nice view of the Seattle water front.  A few things have changed like the new 175 foot tall 'Seattle Great Wheel' and the massive sea wall replacement project that's currently underway.  And a few things remain the same like the silhouette of Safeco Field lattice trusses adjacent to the towering 14,410' Mount Ranier.

Lucky us to find sunshine!

Front row parking on the Seattle waterfront

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Busy weekend in Seattle

October 12, 2014
Elliot Bay Marina

It was great to see old friends and new over the weekend.  A huge thanks for the warm welcome back to the USA!

We'll be around through Friday October 17, but after that all bets are off.  If the weather looks good to make miles to the south, we'll go for it.  If storms are on the horizon then we could be here another week or more?

Short term we'd like to lift LightSpeed out of the water for some routine maintenance.  With a 24'-3" beam we don't have too many cost effective choices.   From previous experience, Astoria, Oregon is one of the best deals, so Columbia bar conditions permitting we'll stop in Oregon.

Then we sail for San Francisco where we plan to live-aboard for the foreseeable future.

That's it for now.

Friday, October 10, 2014


October 10, 2014
Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle

We're on 'H' dock just in front if the giant bronze statue of Leif Ericson

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Port Ludlow

October 9, 2014
Port Ludlow, Washington

We had a great visit with Dave's god parents, Jim and Nancy in Port Ludlow enjoying two superb home cooked culinary delights.  We have a few photos on Kathy's phone and I need to get them posted here.

Nancy loaned us her car for a shopping trip to Trader Joes and yes, we did make a stop at Walmart.  I like to shop local and despise mega corporations that crush local business, but we wanted an electric blanket of all things and Walmart was the place to pick one up.

Yep, we're running an electric blanket every evening to preheat our otherwise freezing cold bed.  It runs through the inverter and consumes about 10 amps at 12 volts, so not too terrible.    

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Port Townsend

October 7, 2014

Port Townsend, Washington USA

Port Townsend was a real bright spot as we caught up with Dianna and Bob, sailing friends whom we hadn't seen since 2008 in Australia.  We enjoyed happy hour aboard LightSpeed with some tasty Port Townsend beers (thanks to Bob & Dianna) and then a great meal at the Banana leaf Thai restaurant, thanks for treating and the warm welcome back to the Pacific Northwest! .... and Shell is still thanking you for the red feather toy.
Bob and Dianna know how to party.

We anchored out off the old ferry dock, as Port Hudson marina wanted the catamaran rate of $1.50 a foot for a night on their nearly empty docks.  Yep, with tax that $68 dollars a night.  Port Hudson is one of the few places we visited in the world that charge an extra 50% for cats and a disappointment when the docks were empty on an off season weekday!

Monday, October 06, 2014


October 6, 2014

Just plucked a guy out of 52F water, later we found out he'd overturned his boat some 5 hours earlier.  All the symptoms of severe hypothermia including slurred speech, with the cold robbing all but the last of his metal acuity.  Getting him aboard was touch and go as his strength and motor skills were nearly paralyzed by the cold.

Surmounting 2 of the 3 stern steps was like the Hilary step of Everest.  We stopped to rest for awhile after those 2 steps.  I directed hot water from our stern step shower on to his core by shoving the shower nozzle down inside his lifejact, coat and shirt.  I' m no expert but I know getting heat to the core is critical and warming extremities is bad.

We attempted to take his temperature, but our digital thermometer only showed dashed lines indicating that Brian's temp was well below any normal sort of range.  After exhausting our hot water supply at the stern we pushed forward to the cockpit, another major achievement.  There we pulled off the outer most layers and boots and then made our way to the inside shower/sauna.

The heater in the shower was cranked up and we had 4kw of heat blasting into a very small space.  Brian protested a bit once he started to unthaw, but feeling his skin, he was still very cold.  In the interim Kathy had contacted the US Coast Guard and relayed all the details such as person in water for 5 hours and our current lat/lon position.

The discussion with the Coast Guard put a heavy burden on Kathy and I to make a medical judgement call on evac or continue to port with Brian onboard.  Reflecting on the situation, I believe the USCG  failed to appropriately respond to the information we supplied.  In hindsight I should have pressed for an immediate helo-evac.  Who was I to decide the level of risk of keeping Brian on board or airlifting to a hospital?

In the end it turned out all right as we effectively warmed him back up.

After several hours aboard steaming back toward Roche harbor it was clear he was going to be OK, but what if he wasn't?

After 9 years aboard in the third world, we may have become too self reliant with little expectation for outside help.  In the process of reentering the first world our third world attitudes may have very well endangered the person we were humbly able to help today.

 Boat capsized near Lime Kiln and drifted on the strong ebb nearly 6 miles to the SSE.  With the tide setting to the south Brian was quickly slipping away from any possible self rescue.
 With thick fog, we were lucky to see Brian waving an oar from atop the overturned Livingston.  Visibility was maybe 100 yards.
 After being in the water for about 5 hours, Brian had nearly lost his ability to move his legs.
 Wet clothes off and into our shower/sauna to warm up.
 I used our spinnaker halyard to right the Livingston, but made no attempt to bail it out and immediately put in tow at full speed ahead.
Brian looking pretty rosy after over an hour of warming up and getting into some warm clothes while he enjoys a cup of hot chocolate.
Brian and boat back safely to grandmas house.

That's it for now.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Back in the USA. Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

October 5, 2014

Back in the USA. Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, San Juan Islands, Washington State.

Made a nice stop in Nanaimo and had a spontaneous raft up with Wayne Gorrie and Jannie Bell of  Van Isle 360 fame.  We'd been in email contact with Wayne for some time  and much to our delight we sailed into the harbor just as Wayne and Jannie were finishing a Saturday afternoon regatta on their Farrier tri.  Wayne called us on the VHF radio and we dropped the hook for an inpromtu raft up.  After a nice visit, the tide was right for a run through Dodd Narrows, so we cut our stay short and went with the tide to spend the night in Pirates Cove.

 Today sailed back into US waters after a short 3 week visit to Canada.   Cleared customs in Roche harbor.  Met up with Camwest veteran Adam Eltinge and lovely wife Deanna for a beer in Roche.

Tomorrow we sail for Port Townsend to hopefully meet up south pacific cruising buddies Bob & Dianna and possibly the crew (skipper Greg) of f/v Duna?  Or (Joe)  f/v Western? And who else lives in PT?

Then hopefully Port Ludlow to visit godparents Jim & Nancy before heading to Seattle later in the week.

That's it for now

Friday, October 03, 2014

People make the place

October 3, 2014

Powell River, BC

New friends Ute and Tim are planning to cut the dock lines and go cruising pretty soon.  They'd been following our adventures via this blog and invited us to meet up for dinner in Powell River when we passed through.

People make the place.  Finding adventure and another perfect anchorage is easy in this part of the world, but what makes each place special is always the people.  A great big thanks to Ute and Tim for a great meal and wonderful conversation and the gift basket!

Gift basket of freshly baked bread, black berry jam, Swiss chocolate (hand carried from Europe) and some fine wine.  WOW!  We hope to return the favor when you pass through San Francisco on your way south pursuing your cruising dreams.

I guess we were too busy having fun to capture any photos from the evening.

Phillips Arm, Shoal Bay and Octopus Islands

October 2, 2014

Powell River, BC

Anchored last night in the Octopus Islands

 Phillips Arm
 Bald Eagle rests along the banks of Phillips river.
 LightSpeed at the dock in Shoal Bay
 Garden chickens in Shoal Bay
 Kathy in the garden.  In season, cruisers can harvest produce from the garden for a donation to the caretakers.  This late in the season everything was pretty well finished.
San Juan Yachting raft up in the Octopus Islands.  Raft ups like these are one of the many things we miss about the pacific northwest... this just doesn't happen in the south pacific.

Sharing another anchorage with Randy of m/v Empress in the Octopus Islands.

This section of the inside passage has strong tidal currents and plenty of narrows where the water accelerates, sometimes into rapids.  We pushed through 5 knots of head current at Hole in the Wall and then the next day rode 6 knots of ebb through Beazley Passage.  After the extreme currents and narrow passage of Bikar atoll these seemed very passe'.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Top 5 sailing apps for Android 2014

Android sailing apps for full time cruising sailors 2014

After nearly 2 years and 15,000 miles with an Android powered Google Nexus 10 tablet here are my goto sailing apps.  Since we are generally far form internet and data coverage all of these apps work offline, but many require pre-voyage downloads.

Cover art

#1  SailSafe Pro anchor alarm. The alarm is absolutely piercing and will wake you up 100% of the time.  Easy to use and a bargin for the price.   If you have cell service and this app can even call a phone number to alert you of a potentially dangerous change in your vessels position.  

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#2  MX Mariner chart plotter navigator.  For US waters it is superb as it uses free NOAA electronic charts.  The user interface is simple and easy to use, yet powerful.  We ran this from the Marshall islands to the Aleutian islands and throughout Alaska.  Far better than Navionics for Android and as a bonus you can overlay Active captain info on the chart.

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#3  Barometer Monitor keeps track of the pressure visually with a graph and also via a handy table.  

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#4 Pocket GRIB helps visualize GRIded Binary files or GRIB files.  I rarely use this app as I prefer to download GRIB's via ViewFax (beta) and visualize the data using QTVLM

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#5 Active Captain A powerful way to leverage crowd sourced cruising information.  No local cruising guide, give Active Captain a try to see what's nearby.  We used this all through Alaska and British Columbia.