And That’s a Wrap

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Our Last Night Offshore and the Arrival (14 days and 23 hours)
Well, WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!! We arrived at the customs dock in Victoria around 1130am Hawaii time, 230pm BC time on Wednesday, August 17th. The first steps on land felt quite strange and even after a night on land in Victoria, it still seemed rocky into the next morning. But before we get into all of that… Let’s rewind to our last night aboard Turnagain.

Tuesday evening the wind and waves began to build going into the night, as forecasted. After making soup for lunch (worst idea, ever….lets make soup on the last day when it’s meant to be the biggest wind and seas for weeks they said…it’ll be fun they said….) and avoiding being scalded with boiling water, we decided to hold off on cooking our last dinner of pasta until things calmed down. By 430pm, the wind had picked up to 25 knots, with gusts up to 30 knots. The swells were quite large and rather close together. Travis warned of the high possibility of at least one wave coming into the cockpit over the night, and everyone was dressed in full foulies and clipped in to ensure they stayed “dry” and on the boat. Staying dry out there meant at least attempting to keep the salt water off your skin by donning as many layers as possible without overheating (this wasn’t a problem – it was FREEZING) and by ensuring your outer layer was fully zipped and functional.

The wind began to build even more and the swells threatened to toss Turnagain around wildly as we slammed through the waves and surfed down the troughs. Those off watch attempted sleep below, but with the boat heeled over and things flying around, it never really came. I was laying in my bunk on the low side when I felt us get slammed and the leeward side of the boat get sucked under by a wave. By the way the medical kit came flying and attempting to stop myself from rolling up over the leecloth, I knew those on deck must have been standing in water higher than knee deep. As we slowly became more vertical than horizontal, I knew it was going to be a long night. At least I was dry. For now.

Travis drove Turnagain all night through the wind and waves and kept us moving forward when it was too difficult for anyone else to even hang on let alone keep the boat pointed in the right direction. She wanted to round up badly and seemed to have quite the temper when we attempted to keep her at 60 degrees. The wind began to unzip pieces of canvas off the biminey top and with a great deal of teamwork we were able to get the piece unzipped and stored below without loosing it overboard. Without this piece, the entire thing shook violently and seemed like it was just going to be ripped clean off the boat. The Canadian flag began to do its snapping show again, as it did when we were leaving 14 nights ago. Funny how the first night and the last night were the most wild.

By midnight, the gusts of 30+ knots and crashing and confused seas began to calm down and the fog rolled in. After a lovely warm meal of pasta, within an hour, the seas were calm and the wind was nonexistent. It was an eerie and strange feeling to have to turn on the engine in order to get anywhere after what we’d just come through. For the past 14 and a half days we’d been at the mercy of the ocean, conforming to what it required and demanded of us. But finally, it seemed to realize that we needed to get warm, dry and needed a break. It must have known we were almost done with it, about to enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about to be home.

The smell of land became very apparent before heading down off of shift, and the air seemed to be full with the smell of trees, much like a Christmas tree lot in winter. The earth smelt pungent and the appreciation of our beautiful continent became existent again. It really was there! We weren’t just sailing into the great wide open anymore, we were almost coastal rather than offshore or on the ocean. Shortly after our watch ended and we fell asleep finally, Chris called “land ho” at 3:07am. First sighting of land in two weeks, gave a feeling of warmth but also uncertainty amongst the crew. What had happened since we’d been gone? Did the world just keep going? Was the wheel still turning and we’d just stepped off of it? The feelings we all experienced over the next 8 hours were a mixed bag of emotions.

In the early hours, some crew were treated to a wonderful show of orcas and humpback whales breaching. Morning came and although those who were meant to be off watch attempted sleep, everyone was too pumped to even rest. Slowly but surely, the multiple layers began to come off as we began to feel the heat coming off the land. You guys sure have been lucky! It’s so sunny and warm here!!!! As we motored down the strait and the fog lifted, the land became more clear and we saw people (people other than us!) for the first time in weeks as they fished off of their little powerboats. The colour change of the water was very noticeable and rather weird. I don’t think any of us will be able to appreciate the colour of the water here anymore after spending weeks in the brightest and purest blue ocean most of us have ever seen.

As we began to see the city come into view and the cell service came back, the music was cranked (not that it ever wasn’t…) and videos and pictures were taken as the crew sent texts and made calls to loved ones. As we cruised past the infamous Race Rocks and Victoria got bigger, it felt even more real. We were home. Coming in past the breakwater, waving to people on land, we were greeted by the flower display saying “Welcome to Victoria”. We reached the customs dock and all took a quick step on land while Travis made a call to get us cleared through customs. Devin instantly spoke pirate to some guys on a boat there waiting and we all knew the next few hours were going to be a lot of fun. After being cleared through customs, we headed for our spot at the causeway docks. Battle flags flying, we pulled into the dock and were greeted by some friends. Thanks for being there for the arrival – it was nice to see some familiar faces.

Turnagain quickly was tied up and drinks flowing, we began to clean and scrub a month of salt off of her. A lot of cheering and hugs were had by all and over the next few hours we were only told once by the dock boys to turn the music down. Once the boats around us realized what we’d just done, everyone seemed rather friendly and eager to chat. Our Americans (Arthur, Mike and Devin) caught the last ferry to Port Angeles and Dave took the last floatplane to the mainland. This left myself (Tonya), Travis and Chris, along with some friends to tear up the town for the night. The next morning, we set off to deliver Turnagain back to the Sunshine Coast. With an overnight stop last night in Kendrick near Gabriola pass, we set sail this morning to cross the Salish Sea. As we approach the coast, I currently have an uneasy feeling in my stomach of it all coming to an end.

It’s been one hell of a ride, some of the greatest feelings and sailing ever experienced for all of us. The wind and waves, marine life, magnificent sunrises and sunsets, never ending open ocean, delicious food and mad crazy crew love are just some of the things that made this journey the most incredible thing to ever be accomplished. Huge shoutout and thank you to Turnagain and Travis for getting us all home safely. You’ve accomplished something even greater than another ocean crossing, you’ve shown us what it truly means to become a crew of people brought together as one to accomplish something only most people dream about. I believe that most of us will return to cross more oceans and for this alone, we are all eternally grateful. The highest standards of safety and sailing put forth on this journey have shown us that things like this really are possible. All you have to do is want it.

Signing off for now, thanks for reading.

Turnagain is readying for a trip to Mexico and beyond in September. Be sure to follow along here as the adventures continue!

#tesmsail and Team Turnagain

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Honolulu

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Oahu, leaving the fuel dock

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Victoria

Fog, Swells, and the Pacific High – Days 12-14

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Well folks, we finally reached what’s been talked about since we started the trip – the ever present, dreaded at times, looked forward to at others – Northern Pacific High. The high is a high pressure region that brings low winds and relatively calm seas at its center… for us anyways. It’s bringing all of you landlubber’s typical sunny weather by pushing the lows above it. We’re sitting in dense fog throughout the night, overcast skies throughout the day and were motoring through it at 7.5 knots for over 38 hours. This seems like a long time, but from what we can tell – it’s a great improvement from the 2014 return trip.

We’re headed pretty well directly east and although we could have technically been sailing, we’d be going so slow that we could probably swim faster. We’ve decided to power through it and then get the backside with decent wind and be that much closer to home.

Saturday and Sunday involved a lot of sitting around, some cleaning and a pair of delicious dinners that included Cheesy Chicken, peppers and rice and a Thai Red Curry. Sunday was the usual, reggae Sunday, Cards Against Humanity and a tournament of Tic Tac Toe broke out. We began to prepare the cabin for the switch in heel – for the past 12 days we’ve been sailing on a starboard tack, meaning the wind is coming across the right hand side of the boat first, causing us to heel to the left.

By the time Monday rolled around, everything and everyone had gotten used to this tack and let me tell you, the switch was talked about and looked forward to…. Until we were able to get out of the High a day ago and now we’re on a Port tack, leaning starboard. Things have come flying off of shelves, cooking is completely insane and trying to stand up makes us look like a bunch of wobbley legged elephants on beach balls at a circus. Your body gets used to corrected movements quite easily and after constantly leaning one way for such a long period of time and then a sudden switch, it seems like it doesn’t know what to do.

While battling “the switch”, we continued to sail towards home, crossing lines of longitude quicker than lines of latitude and making good paces with another Vic-Maui return boat, Red Sheila, just west of us. The crew continued to dine on scrumptious food, such as chicken breasts stuffed with pineapple sausage, peppers and Gouda. We even got Arthur to make us more pannakoeken!! We’re running out of Nutella though so, good thing home is almost on the horizon!!! We’ve dubbed Turnagain as the vessel whose course over ground is not quite as good as the course on the table.

Today (Tuesday) marks day 14 on our journey home. We (allegedly) just saw a Fin Whale in the distance and were just followed by some Pacific white sided dolphins. The albatross are beginning to leave us, which is actually quite sad. These majestic birds have been a most welcomed highlight of the journey and to see them go is rather bittersweet. They soar above the crests of the waves and glide down the swells using sheer power and wind speed for momentum, never flapping their wings. Watching them is more than breathtaking and we all know that over the past 2645 nautical miles, they’ve guided us and followed us home, nothing less than perfect.

As of now, the swells are beginning to grow and the wind is really filling in. We are likely to see huge waves and big winds tonight, for our last night aboard Turnagain. The predictions are in and the arrival list to the Customs dock in Victoria is as follows: (Wednesday, Hawaiian time…..)
Tonya – 3:36pm
Mike – 4:22pm
Dave – 5:23pm
Arthur – 6:37pm
Devin – 6:46pm
Chris – 6:36pm

We are all excited to come home, but I know for most of us the feeling of arrival and ending this journey is becoming difficult. We’ve become a rather close knit little group on a ginormous open ocean with no sights of land or no other voices to hear other than our own over the past 14 days. It’s a world in which no one unless they’ve done it could ever understand and a world that is so removed from our regular world that at times it feels like it’s not even real. We’ve had a blast out here and it’s been a life changing adventure for all, we’re excited to see our loved ones and very excited for our arrival in Victoria. Look out, here we come!!!!

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Mike

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Dave

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Chris

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Devin

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Travis

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Tonya

 

Meteors and Phosphorescence – Days 10/11

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Meteor Shower, and Dolphins with Phosphorescence.  Illustrated meteor courtesy of Sylvia🙂

Thursday night gave us a fantastic evening of sailing with winds high enough to keep us moving at speeds of 8 knots throughout the night but also a very light feeling helm. As the wind pushed us along from our starboard aft quarter, Turnagain joyfully surfed down the waves while allowing whoever was at the helm to maintain their balance and not get too much of an arm and shoulder workout. Depending on the direction of the wind and swells, sometimes it’s a good thing we have our own gym and trainers on board because it certainly is a lot of work keeping this vessel on the proper track. She wants to round up or down and will always come back to where she needs to be but getting her there too quickly or too slowly could result in either an accidental gybe or heading back down towards California. Sounds like a good time but at this point it would seem to be silly as we’ve been making so much progress.

While about to switch off at the helm on our watch, Mike spotted dolphins off our starboard side which were illuminated in the dark of the night and the dark seas by nothing other than phosphorescent. We quickly realized that there were dozens of them off our bow and we rushed forward staying clipped in along the jackline’s to keep us on the boat. Jackline’s are a length of spectra webbing much like a seatbelt type material that run along each side of the boat from bow to stern that the crew can clip their harnesses onto when moving forward in rougher seas. Sitting on the bow watching the dolphins light up the water with their movements and playful motions was nothing short of spectacular. Devin and I (Tonya) sat there hands and feet over the side and luckily were both able to touch a dolphin as they exited the water which was better than I could have ever imagined. We also learned that they respond well to whistling – as they seemed to veer away from the boat Devin would whistle and without fail, they would return, every time. The response to this action was incredible to watch and proves just how smart they actually really are.

The evening continued to amaze the crew as we spent the late night shifts stargazing at the meteor shower which was ever so present in the skies above us. Right now, Turnagain is sailing with a Bimini top up over her cockpit to keep us out of the sun and rain (somewhat…), but for this spectacular event we unzipped a portion of the canvas. The two crew who were not driving at the time would lay on either side of the benches in the cockpit gazing up at the breathtaking show high in the sky. In one half hour driving shift, one crew member stopped counting at 74. The occasional one would shoot across a quarter of the sky and explode, lighting up the entire night with a bright flash. The experience was surreal and everyone agreed that it was truly out of this world. How lucky are we, reallllyyy???! The morning shift came on exactly as we were at 145 degrees west and 44 degrees north. The coordinates and crossing lines of latitude and longitude have become somewhat of an obsession for some of the crew and it was pretty cool to see us directly in the middle of this point.

Friday came and went quickly with the notable moments being the seas beginning to get rough again and having to take down the spinnaker due to being too overpowered at times. We decided not to blow a hole in the spin as we’ve done pretty good on this trip so far at not breaking things (knock on wood please!!!) The swell was up from behind us and it was noted that the water that ended up coming off of the crest of the swell looked much like the colour of blue freezies and crystals (things are starting to get a little descriptive about everything out here at this point). The seas seem to be confused and it feels as though we are stuck in a giant washing machine with no way out. When the wind picks up it’s like the spin cycle and all along we’re the size of a quarter being tossed around without a hope except for it to finish… and trust me, it’s not about to. Our weather forecast tells us that we’re going to have some rough seas and big winds for our last few days out here, winds at around 30 knots and thus far we’ve been at least 5 knots over what they have forecasted each time. The general rule is that the forecasts can be up to 40% larger and wave heights can double. Bring it on, cause the only way out is forward.

Friday night we feasted on a delicious ginger and broccoli beef noodle stirfry, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. It seems that each meal on Turnagain gets better and better. One thing Travis does well (among many others) is provisioning the boat. We’ve been eating like kings and a queen out here on the open ocean and it’s pretty awesome. The middle of the night was a cold one and at this point it’s one of those decisions everyone is making – to save the merino wool and long john layers for further north or don them now? It’s starting to get too cold to even think about showering and I feel as though within the next few days, things are going to start getting pretty stinky around here. Sorry in advance for those greeting us in Victoria – please bring loonies for the pay showers! (for real though…)

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Another thing to note is how early the sun is coming up out here – it’s been getting light by 4am and no, we’re not going crazy… we’re just still on Hawaii time and will be until we dock at customs in Victoria. This morning (Saturday) we rose to a delicious smell coming from the galley, Arthur the Pirate was up to his old Dutch tricks and made us pannekoeken (crepes) for breakfast, with options of Nutella and Strawberry jam for filling. Scrumptious!!! Pretty awesome way to wake up for a 6 hour morning shift!

The morning continues with the washing machine seas, no sunshine and 8.5 knots of boat speed making our way East North East approximately 720 nautical miles from Victoria. We spent the morning making a predictions list/game which involves guessing our day and time of arrival and other fun predictions that can be carried out once we reach land, such as the first person to talk about the ocean to a stranger and first person to talk like a pirate in public. I already am beginning to feel bad for the service staff and public at whatever establishment we start at.

We want to send out two shout out’s to two very important people in two of our crews lives – first off to Holly, Mike’s wife, who celebrated their anniversary on August 11th. Mike misses you dearly and wished he could have been there with you but promises to make it up to you upon his arrival home in Gig Harbour, Washington. Secondly, to Heather, Tonya’s mom, who celebrates her birthday on August 14th. I love and miss you so much Mom, can’t wait to see you when we get Turnagain back home to the Sunshine Coast. Xoxo

It’s time to sign off for now, as Travis is serving up boatmade pizza three ways: bbq chicken, salami and prosciutto with various delicious toppings. Note the rum rolling pin.

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Dolphins, Waffles, and The Turnagain Gym

Dolphins and Two Halfway Parties (Days 7,8,9,10)

Things on Turnagain have gotten pretty wild the past few days. We’ve had a lot of ups and a lot of changes going on. When you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a 50 foot boat for over a week with the same seven people, at the mercy of the wind and waves, things could have the possibility of going south quickly (although, that’s Hawaii and that’s not so bad…). We’re happy to report that things are going swimmingly and not south at all but north and great.

Monday afternoon was spent in decent wind and we started steering more east than north. YAY! At first, the plan was to head north as long as possible until the high pressure system, then motor east through it towards home. Things change a lot with each weather report and our navigation and routing are updated daily. That being said, we’re beginning to creep up slowly in the general direction of home.
Dave whipped us up a delicious chicken red curry for dinner and it was enjoyed by all. Who knew we had so many good cooks aboard! Monday the wind built slowly throughout the night and we ran into a few squalls off and on, with the on being up to 8.5 knots with fully reefed jib and main with a heading of 10 degrees north and the off being having to motor for about an hour in the early morning to keep us moving forward and on course.

Tuesday morning we were treated to a surprise! Travis followed in the footsteps of Donkey from Shrek and made waffles!! Real true original old fashioned waffles with a waffle iron. To top it all off (literally) were warm cinnamon apples, cream cheese, strawberry jam and syrup. It was the best 6 am we’ve had in a long time. There aren’t too many people in the world who would wake up at 5 am after only a few hours’ sleep to make waffles on a boat for a motley crew like us. I think we’ll keep him aboard for the second half of the trip!! (insert waffle photo please)
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Tuesday day and evening went rather quickly with moderate winds and a decent boat speed throughout both shifts. We made it up to 15 degrees north going around 9 knots at one point and for once our systems showed us pointing towards Northern British Columbia rather than the Bering Sea or Anchorage. Throughout the night, Mother Nature began to let us know that we were in fact getting more north and away from the warm evenings of the tropics. When we started this journey, we were able to wear barely nothing at 3am on deck and now we are at the point of donning toques and fighting off the shivers (I am freezing at night already – holding out on pulling out the boots at this point but the quadruple layers are definitely on).

Wednesday morning rolled around and the wind became light. On Turnagain this means one thing… and Kate – this one’s for you – CODE 0 TIME! The Code 0 is another headsail, classified as a spinnaker but acts more like a jib. She’s huge and powerful and when the apparent wind angle is between 45-110 degrees and the wind is between 2 and 12 knots, she gets rigged up and gives us more boat speed than we previously had. Everyone likes it faster and we all know that the faster we go, the quicker we will be home to you all. After all, today seems to mark the point where we’re about to be, yep…you guessed it – HALFWAY!

By the time the afternoon was upon us and our watch was down below napping, Chris let out a rather excited scream from the deck – “DOLPHINS!!” At first I thought I was dreaming, but as the boat began to rock and roll and change headings drastically and the clambering of feet moved towards the bow, I knew it must be true. As quick as the hare racing the tortoise, we ran up the companion way and sure enough – dolphins. Beautiful majestic dolphins. Dozens of them swimming and racing along beside the boat and off the bow. It didn’t matter that we were about to get soaked in salty ocean water by going forward onto the bow, we all ran forward with smiles on our faces like a bunch of children at Christmas time. The way they rode through the waves and wake off of the boat was something out of a movie, they jumped and played around with each other giving us an absolutely unbelievable show. They were able to cut across the bow so fast that they looked to be a blur and would get lost amongst the waves before appearing back out on the other side. Chris got some pretty amazing movies and shots with his GoPro (obviously) and it was a pretty fabulous way to wake up from an afternoon nap. We all agreed that this experience was not only the best of the trip thus far but something only an ocean going offshore sailor would truly get to experience, because let’s face it – stuff like this doesn’t happen every day back in real life. All the more reason to keep going offshore. (insert dolphin photos pleassseeeee <3)

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The rest of the afternoon and evening went rather well, included sun-tanning and an early starting happy hour with the vodka lemonades flowing. We were all feeling the halfway party mood and unrolled the shag rug (the imagination shag rug – Travis wouldn’t let us cover the decks in it permanently, although, we think we may be able to convince him soon…). The dance party started and the barbeque got fired up and the veggies prepped – steaks were on the way!!! True halfway party style, we pulled out the disco ball (it’s still daylight at this point…) and the bag (yes, bag) of red wine. Taking the safe route, the glasses were filled and set inside a container, but it wasn’t long until someone’s dance foot got a little too dancy and one of the cups toppled over, spilling a glass inside the container. Again, true halfway party style, Mike drank the wine from the container. Waste not, want not!! Turnagain style is a style I could learn to get used to. We decided that since we were not technically halfway yet, that we would have to have another halfway party tomorrow. Cheers!!!!

Thursday morning came too early and with a bit of a headache for those that would admit it. Thanks to Edward, we had fresh Kona iced coffee and cappuccinos to share. Brilliant thinking!! Thank you! They were delicious :. Since we felt like we needed to do something productive, we decided that it was finally time to put up the A2 – Turnagain’s largest spinnaker. After weeks of sailing upwind slamming into waves and wind, the wind had come abeam of us and we were finally making a downwind course which meant spin weather. She was hoisted without flaw and just like magic, filled with air and we gained another two knots of boat speed. For those of you that don’t know, a spinnaker is a sail that goes up when the wind is coming from behind you, is lighter and way bigger and allows you to surf down the waves at a speed that we all love and yearn for.

Arthur, Chris and Dave continue to get pumped up at Gym Turnagain, with tips from Travis on how to do real boat push ups. At this point they are using resistance bands and water bags filled up with salt water for bicep curls. It seems they are building muscle… I know my stomach muscles are tighter from laughing so hard. Wait for the videos, you won’t be disappointed. Later in the day, we were greeted with dolphins again, but this time too far in the distance to get too excited. These ones were Spinner dolphins though, which means they do flips and stuff. Super athletic. They must have visited Gym Turnagain. You can too, memberships are free, there are great incentives and it’s the only gym around!!!! Comment below if you’d like a t-shirt. Sizes too please!!

The evening carried on with the second half of our halfway party and a delicious dinner of Chicken Parmigiana with quinoa and peppers. We’ll leave the rest up to you to imagine, but I will tell you that we found a bottle of red wine and more lemonade mix.

Jumping Squids, Flying Fish, Sailing Jellies, and Sharks!

Transom

(Days 4,5,6)

Since we last wrote to you, lots of amazing things have happened.

Our first dinner caught from the ocean was on Thursday night. It was a fancy feast of wahoo and rice with boatmade wasabi aioli. Scrumptious! The crew all throughly enjoyed the meal and everyone was even able to keep it down! The sailing into late Thursday evening was pretty awesome, we had great winds and were able to maintain a course better than we’d hoped for. Until….. the wee hours of Friday morning. Around 330am, complete darkness engulfed us. The skies went blacker than black and you couldn’t determine where the ocean met the sky, a complete lack of horizon. The  wind and sailing were still amazing, but almost out of no where appeared monsoon downpours of heavy rain. While Turnagain flew across the water at 8.9 knots at 35 degrees North, our shift scrambled to depower and then depower again. With pretty much just the clew (outer corner of the sail) showing on both the jib and main, we were flying! Instantly drenched we took turns changing into dry clothes and foulies down below….except for Devin, who fully embraced the rain in shorts soaked down to the skin. The squalls continued into the light of the morning.

By Friday morning, things had calmed down and the sailing was still great but not so crazy. At this point in our journey, it appeared that everyone had gotten their sea legs and was settling in to their 50 feet of prime real estate in the central Pacific Ocean. The pirate jokes continued and at this point it was evident that Arrrrrrrthur and GoPro would continue to be the sources of entertainment. Their interpretation of the visual directions on the Lifesling turned quickly into steps on how to catch a Mermaid. We are still unsure if it’s the seasickness patches or simply the remote location that has us all in stitches with everything they say, but either way…. It’s working.

In fact the whole crew seems to be getting quite chipper. Between stories of weird dreams (and trust me, they’re only getting weirder), constant pirate lingo, and even our first official happy hour, things are going swell!!!!!! Friday evening was a full on music up, shag rug and rum out, Mahi eating, 98% jazz and 2% funk kinda night. We were graced with the most pristine sunset experienced so far on the entire round trip (as Travis and Mike dually noted).  The deep and immense colours of orange, red and purple radiated and crystallized  the entire sky as the whole crew sat silently, sharing a nightcap and watching the sun disappear behind the waves. Truly spectac.

The sailing throughout Friday evening and into Saturday was quite enjoyable and we cruised along at a stealthy 6-7 knots steadily heading North East, our desired heading. We received reports from some of the boats ahead of us that 34 degrees North Latitude would be the point where things really slowed down. We kept this in mind and slowly began planning all the fun things we might do when we reached this target over the next few days. Speaking of targets, one appeared on the AIS and it seemed to be Amwiski about 10 miles due east of us. We decided to keep a close eye on them in case we needed to plunder their booty of whiskey. We continued our fishing throughout the day but with no luck. Saturday evening rolled around after what seemed like the longest afternoon shift ever, and again we had a pleasurable happy hour and delicious dinner of ginger beef, veggies and rice. Again, a beautiful sunset and every reason to go to bed smiling.

Saturday night (and when we say night, we mean anywhere from 10pm-4am ish…) was quite the extravaganza with lots of  guest appearances in Turnagains cockpit. First off, flying fish. Let’s talk about these things. Little did we know that evolution is taking full effect here in the Pacific Ocean and evidently, fish now have wings. These slippery little suckers shoot themselves out of the water at warp speed at which they deploy their wings and can fly for several hundred meters, ok more like several meters, over the water and as we found out – straight into the cockpit. It’s a sight to see and we know some of you may have a hard time believing it, as did Tonya, until one was finally spotted. Just after shift change, there was commotion up top and we quickly learned that more than just flying fish would make their way on board. Dave was struck by a jumping squid! He claims it was three inches and GoPro took several photos of the squid on different angles on his arm to  prove the claim. We learned the next morning that he was dared to take a bite out of it, but was reluctant to get inked. It still remains a mystery whether or not a bite was taken. That night we also saw a man in the moon just as shown in the movies and he was fishing! No wonder the Mahi aren’t biting….
We also devised what we thought was a brilliant secret plan to make the crew apple crisp out of what we could find aboard Turnagain after a few jokes and thoughts of pie. Tonya was sure she could accomplish this and the plan was set in stone with a secret to be kept from the rest of the crew and Travis for a surprise for our 34 North party. Of course Travis heard the entire plan and assured us that we had the required ingredients on board and kept the secret.

Sunday started out as it always should, with reggae.  To our surprise, over the side of the boat were dozens of jellyfish. These aren’t your average jellies. These jellies are mimicking Turnagain by erecting a mainsail and using the prevailing winds to help them travel throughout the Pacific Ocean. Don’t believe us? Google ‘Velella Velella jellyfish”.

With the sounds of Bob Marley and the rest of Jamaica ringing throughout the boat we treated the day as super chill. To our dismay, the ocean itself seemed to want to celebrate as well. Things really slowed down and the long and the short of it all is that we had to motor for 11 hours to keep this vessel movin forward. This proved to be a day full of fun and games. The crew feasted on different cheeses, smoked salmon, salami, artichoke hearts, olives and crackers whilst playing countless hours of Cards Against Humanity. (Insert two photos here please).

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No one and nothing were safe from the most outrageous topics yet discussed. By the nature of the game, nothing was out line (see Google for further explanation). Travis whipped up a delicious Mahi Mahi gumbo soup for dinner which topped the charts. We cracked the bottle of Oyster Bay and motored on into the sunset. Then to half the crews surprise, came a wafting of scrumptious aromas from the oven in which Tonya had stealthily prepared Apple crisp. How many people have eaten Apple crisp in the middle of the Pacific??! Seven. Call Guinness! I’ve believe we’ve set a record for the most remote Apple crisp consumed in the world. It must have smelt good because Devin spotted a SHHHHHAAAAARRRKKKKK just 10 meters off our starboard quarter. It was a 30 foot Great White! Not really, it was about 5 feet but unknown what type. A crazy but pretty awesome sight while sailing. A. Friggen. Shark.

While cleaning up, the weather decided to rain on our irie celebration. As we battened down the hatches and pulled out the foulies, it was evident that a storm was a brewin’. On an attempt to furl out the main – it did what it does best, gets stuck. It seemed to be punishing us for being furled away for so long. With Travis clambering around like a monkey up on the deck, it finally came out without its nasty folds. Throughout the night the wind was shifty and the squalls were up. We saw lots of lightning, some really close and some further away. Our electronics immediately went into the oven, not for baking…but to avoid getting fried. Travis informed the crew to not lick the shrouds and we are happy to report that although we donned rubber shoes, they were not necessary  and we made it through to daylight without being struck. We woke up to Arthur, Dave and Chris into their second day of the Turnagain Gym, this time – foulie edition. No only do they promise (switch to Arnold Swartezneger voice) “to pump you up” but there is a workout video in the makings.

Its Monday morning and the skies are blue, the winds are up and the clouds are cumulus??
We’re still waiting for a stork to deliver us love from home, fresh blackberries from the Pacific Northwest (we know it’s that season..) and some more Bengal Spiced tea. Until next time readers, sending love. We’re 1098.06 nautical miles closer to you than we were 6 days ago.

The Ocean Strikes Back (Part 2 of Homeward Bound)

Homeward bound 2

 

Night one was pretty rough and the water was pretty big too… Everyone felt slightly seasick and 2/7 crew weren’t able to hold it back. Even Travis commented that these were some of the roughest seas he’d seen leaving Oahu, with the apparent wind up to 38 knots at times. This made driving fun. No, seriously. This was it!!! And we were definitely in it, whatever “it” may be. We all tried to get rest between the heat and the crashing of the bow on the waves. Turnagain is a heavy boat and when she slams down over a wave it’s enough to wake all the fish in the entire Pacific Ocean.
Our first morning (we’re on Wednesday now, we know… its confusing us just as much, if not more…) greeted us with several of the most beautiful rainbows we’d ever seen. The colours were doubled and so brilliant that it was almost unbelievable. The day consisted of some crew battling seasickness and trying to get in time to fish in the rough seas. We snacked on nectarines, apples and the occasional sandwich and tried to sleep with the cabin at 34 degrees and the boat pounding along upwind between 0 and 10 degrees north.

Today we learned that Vern and our friends on Salient had to turn back to Oahu due to a non-life threatening medical crew emergency. We wish them well and a safe journey out as they leave Oahu for home for the second time. Better get your fishing game on, Vern.
That night after going through a few hours of nasty squalls, all of a sudden, just as we were thinking of pulling in the line, “FISH ON!!!” Mike quickly took the helm from Travis and Tonya and Devin prepared the gaff and the Ziploc bags (the big ones!!!). Travis pulled in our first Mahi Mahi and what a beauty it was!! It was about 25 pounds…okay, more like 15 but a big fish nonetheless. Of course this beauty had to arrive as darkness fell, so with a few headlamps and Travis’ killer instincts, the fish was sliced and bagged. Smiles all around for our watch!
Our second night was a lot calmer than the night before although we were much more tired. It was difficult to stay at the helm and focused for more than half an hour but we were able to maintain a course of around 15 degrees north for a good 8 hours over the two late watches. This puts us in a good position and we even checked off over 30 miles in just 4 hours.
We were able to avoid any rain and squalls today (Thursday) which was nice and the hot sunshine came out to greet us. Just as we dropped a line in the water, slap and again “FISH ON!!!!!!!” This time, a massive massive wahoo, like “WAAHHOOOOOO!” This one actually was around 25 pounds. Again, Travis did a stellar job cleaning and filleting it although he’d never dealt with one. Dinner for the next few days looks like it will be delicious. I must add as well, that as I type this, we just snagged another 10ish pound Mahi Mahi. We must be winning the derby and I know our opposite watch is getting pretty jealous.
We’re not sure if it’s the glow of the billions of stars and phosphorescent at night, the beauty of the sunrises and rainbows in the morning or the way that Turnagain pulls and slices through the wind and waves like she knows she’s going home – but as Vern would say: “this whole thing really is quite extraordinary isn’t it??”

Homeward Bound – Part 1

homeward bound

First off – thanks for waiting so patiently for this update. The last five days have blended together pretty quickly and getting rest was paramount for the next few weeks.

 

We left Maui around 930am on Sunday after a pretty stellar awards banquet. Although we tried to take it easy, we all ended up on the shag rug after a few too many grown up drinks. The shag rug, should we put it – is just as it sounds. If someone were to put a shag rug in your living room and tell you that when you stepped on it, you had to dance, you’d do just that. So we danced (thanks Janet and Omar). This left us leaving Maui feeling slightly ill. Thanks to our family, friends and the crew who saw us off at the dock in Lahaina. We appreciate you being there and waving us off as we headed out with Hayley and Curtis (our host family) onto the first leg of our journey.
The first leg, a 75 mile-ish journey to Honolulu, Oahu was a good test run for the new crew. Speaking of new crew, we’ve decided to retain Travis and Mike for the journey home. Joining them will be Arthur (the Pirate), Dave (Random Dave), Chris (GoPro) and your honorary blog writers Tonya and Devin (still earning nicknames).
Once arriving in Oahu to no dock space as promised, we tied up to a boat that apparently “never leaves” and quickly moved a small Cal out of the way and tied them to us. We had an easy night as the following day the crew would be busy provisioning the boat for the 2308 nautical mile sail home.

 

Fun fact from Travis – “leaving the most secluded islands in the world, there is no short way home…”
On Monday, we got a van and headed out to our three destinations: West Marine, Costco and Safeway. At West Marine, the guys picked out their new fishing lures and we debated buying a GoPro, but ultimately decided to leave the GoProing to Chris. Costco was relatively flawless. We stocked up on most things we needed including smoked salmon and several variations of nut combinations. Safeway was another story. After carefully hand picking out 100 apples, stocking up on cheap American liquor and acquiring other veggies and ginger chews, we headed for the cash register. Everything was going smoothly until the $14 four stocks of celery and a bag of Envy (no doubt..) apples with a hefty price of $2 each, totalling that one bag of 12 apples to over $25…. Needless to say, every bite of apple is delectable.
Again, trying to have a calm night, we failed miserably and got pretty deep into the Dark and Stormys. Hey, it’s made with ginger beer, can’t be all that bad…right?? After a lot of drinks and a quick swim through a lagoon back to Turnagain, we all tried to get some rest. Between constantly waking up anxious and alarms that came way too early, we would say we were ready to set out and departed at 7am.

 

We motored the 45 miles from Honolulu to Ko’Olina to fuel up the boat and take our last steps on land for what we’re hopeful to be equal to 16 days or less. Canard arrived just after us and we quickly realized that we’d be together (although miles apart) for the journey home and that they would join us in the fishing derby. After putting jokes on hold for Travis’ safety briefing, we slipped the dock after getting one last picture of the crew on land at 12:15pm.

 

As we motored out leaving Ko’Olina leaving a trail of pistachio shells behind us, chatter of fishing began to fill the air. But before we put our lines in the water, we were assigned watches. Watch 1 was Dave, Chris and Arthur and Watch 2 was Mike, Tonya and Devin. On Turnagain we take 6 hour day watches (6am-12pm, 12pm-6pm) and 4 hour night watches (6pm-10pm, 10pm-2am, 2am-6am) with the crew alternating watches. This allows us to get an equal amount of rest and rotates each watch every other day.

 

If you’ve been watching the tracker, you will have noticed a few boats turning around and heading back to Hawaii….That’s because King Neptune decided to deliver a wild ride…. More in Part 2!

Team Turnagain