Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and more recently, our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. We are currently cruising in Canada and Alaska, and hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How Not to Start Your Day

Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva.  Sockdolager is anchored at lower left.  
Ua Pou island is visible in the distance.

The night was cool, and sleep was sound.  No rainstorms rattled on deck to raise the sleepers for the nightly Hatch Dance.  It was a sweet repose.  Morning light, birds sing.  Ahhh, the tropics...

Karen awakens, stretches, looks over at Jim, who’s still asleep.  He’s always asleep at this hour of the morning.  She arises, looks forward to that first cup of coffee.  Quietly so as not to wake Jim, she goes to the coffee locker, which is right under an open porthole.  Hmm, smells good, those coffee beans…

Cue music from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

A buzzing sound… a blur… a light pressure on top of her head… oh, she thinks softly, must be a butterfly!  She reaches her hand up there to find it.  Lovely things these Marquesan butterflies.  Uh-oh.  This is not a butterfly.

Then, in quick succession:  BZZZZZZZ.  An ugly brown blur hissing straight down to her bunk.  A giant winged cockroach disappears into her sheets.

A scream:                     AAAAA!  AAAAA!
Jim, startled awake:      What?  What?
Karen, pointing:            AAAAAA!  AAAAAAA!
Jim:                               WHAT?  WHAT?
Karen:                           Abugabugabugabug!  A giant cockroach flew through the porthole and landed on my HEAD, and now he’s in THERE!  (The author wishes to note that there was no actual hysteria in her voice, merely a sharp tone of alarm.)

The foot well at the bottom of her bunk is now the Black Hole of Crunchy Death.  The Thing lurks in, oh my god, her sheets.  She points mutely.

Jim arises, yawns, says:  Good thing you were standing there blocking the porthole, otherwise it could’ve landed on me.

Visualizing the treat of seeing his panicked, catlike jump response, Karen almost wishes it were so.  At this point in her heart rate and blood pressure history, there is absolutely no need for coffee.

But the Thing lurks.  Gingerly, she pulls out the sheets, wads them up, races topside and shakes them over the side.  No dice.

Jim yawns. You want the bug spray? he asks.

In my bunk?  Are you kidding, she says, incredulous.

The Thing lurks.

The Huntress goes into action.  Weapon:  a vicious wad of paper towels.

BAM!  Missed. Oh crap, wheredhego, wheredhego…

BAM!  Ohgrossohgrossohgross, gotum.  Race topside.  Roach overbooooaaard!

I think I’ll have some coffee now, to calm down, she says.  Ahhhh, the tropics.  Shakily she grips her coffee cup, takes her first sip in the cockpit, and watches the resident 7-foot hammerhead shark do its morning feeding routine around the boat.  Fourth morning in a row.  Time to find a harbor we can swim in.  And do laundry in.

For a change of pace, how about something that flies that's nice to look at:  an Up'e, the endangered Marquesan giant pigeon, largest pigeon in the world, endemic only to Nuku Hiva.  
There are about 200 of them left.

And this is the ylang-ylang flower, which came off a small tree.  Ylang-ylang is used in perfumes and herbal medicines.  It smells lovely and unlike anything else.

We're eager to get going, to sail the 450 miles to the Tuamotus.  Plus, for the past week we've been catching rain and our tanks are almost full - only 10 more gallons are needed.  Instead of sailing to Anaho Bay on Nuku Hiva's north side, we'll either take on water in neighboring Controlleur Bay, or sail over to the lovely island of Ua Pou, where we’ll anchor FAR from shore.  Time to switch to the Ham radio for photo-less posts.


  1. Thanks for the Bon Voyage to the Marquesas story. I have been entertained and informed yet again! Everyone at PT Sails sends their love!

  2. "When something buzzes in your hair,
    don't check it out my dear, beware;
    instead, wake Jim, he loves to share;
    and lives to save you from all care!"

    by 'Mare" aka Mary Bradley Marinkovich

    1. Ahhh,our Port Townsend Poet comes through! Thanks for the laugh, Mary.

  3. Hi you guys.. great blog, great stories! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure... hugs to you both. CJ & K (SVShannon)