Marcy Chilly Again
As we stowed gear and prepared for sea, Hanalei Bay displayed Hawaii at it's best. Attractive women in skimpy clothes fished nearby as colorful sailing canoes glided past.
A catamaran anchored next to us. As we watched the athletic efforts of the crew putting on the mainsail cover – on a long and high boom – we resolved never to complain about the process on Marcy again.
Squalls moved in as we left the bay and Marcy was saluted by a rainbow. We ghosted away from Kauai in very light winds.
Light winds continued. Our passage, although slow, was very comfortable. Conditions were ideal for spotting wildlife. Boobies were everywhere.
At one dawn a week into the passage, a group of dolphins raced around Marcy hunting fish.
Our route was busy with commercial traffic. This big container ship appeared on the horizon headed directly for Marcy. It looked like we were exactly in their track as we sailed along at a slow 3 knots. The officer on watch answered Ginger's VHF call immediately and graciously offered to alter course. Ginger asked, “How shall we proceed?” and the reply came back “Why, mam, you are a sailing boat and you need do nothing! We will pass your stern by a wide margin.” It is a pleasure to encounter alert and responsive watchkeepers at sea. Too many times our calls go unanswered and we wonder if we were seen.
As usual, small maintenance jobs kept us busy. Ginger re sewed some tabbing on the jib that had come loose. UV damage, chafe, and corrosion took their constant toll.
The wind continued to be light, but sometimes the breeze increased a bit and Marcy would accelerate to fishing speed – about 5 or 6 knots. We'd put the line over (if we needed fish) and it seemed like minutes later we could pull dinner (usually 3 or 4 dinners) on board.
Comfortable though we were, the passage seemed to be taking forever. Instead of the usual 130 or 150 miles per day, we were sometimes sailing only 60 or 80 miles. So we welcomed the drop in temperature that signaled our approach to Alaska. We found ourselves sailing along silently in dense fog for a few days, peering at the radar screen because nothing else could be seen, then on our last day at sea the fog lifted and the wind finally filled in briskly. Icy cold spray was flung on deck and in the cockpit.
A few miles from Sitka, we were greeted by enormous humpback whales breaching.
Passing small islands left and right we made our way into town. The water was gray and absolutely calm as the wind died. We motored the last quarter mile into a spacious marina, and were directed by the harbormaster to a spot among the fish boats.
Our friends Jim and Fran of Cape St James were on the dock to greet us. It was a fitting end to the last open ocean passage of our circumnavigation, as they were our neighbors at the dock in Shilshole when we were preparing to depart four years ago. Circumnavigators themselves, they were wonderful inspiration to us as we wrestled with the myriad of details that can bog down a departure. Now as we are returning, they are outbound on the next adventure - so goes the cycle.