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.)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Zealand to San Francisco, Day 13-15

Day 13Thursday, May 30, 2013
1010 Position: Latitude 11 40.4 N, Longitude 138 00.9 W
Speed 13.4, Course 048,
Barometer 1010, Weather: Cloudy, hazy sunshine, warm
Total miles run: 3850

A squally afternoon and evening yesterday with lots of headwind causing bigger swells and whitecaps. This morning is brighter but still hazy. It was too cloudy at the horizon to see the constellation Southern Cross last night; only a few stars high up were visible. It was noticeably cooler today, though still warm.

We have learned so much about how container ships operate; it's been fascinating. When we arrive in Oakland, a Planning Agent will board immediately, to discuss the offloading of cargo. Since we are owners of one of the cargo aboard, we will find out then what time they plan to fetch Sockdolager from her hold. We are hoping to finalize the arrangements soon, but the plan is that our friends and fellow Dana 24 owners Chris Humann (correct spelling, no relation) and Laurence Boag will meet us with Laurence's boat and deliver us to Sockdolager as she is lowered into the water. They will also bring fuel as we had to run the tank very close to empty in preparation for shipping. Both have been working on the details of getting all the paperwork and arranging done, and we are very grateful to them.

Passengers on container ships are responsible for finding their own entertainment. Being cruising sailors, we have had no difficulty with that, and in fact still have things we haven't done yet. It is helpful that we have a dvd player in our room and have been able to watch some movies as well as the HBO series Deadwood (for the second time). We've been going for walks around the ship to photograph all sorts of cool shapes, sizes and colors of mechanical equipment, pulleys, wheels, winches and hatches, and it's amazing how artsy and fun some of the photos are! I call it "Industrial Chic."

Passengers are also responsible for their own time on land, the main challenge being to be back aboard ship before departure time. These ships cannot wait for passengers who are late. Since we have only a few—8 or less—hours in Mexico next week, we plan to be careful about the time, if we are allowed ashore by Mexican customs and immigration. There is a lot of paperwork in Mexico, we have to expect that its volume and time investment may preclude going ashore. But we can almost hear the plaintive call of the wild tacos… Oh, to have Margaritas with Deb and Don on Buena Vista again! We originally met them in Mexico and became friends as we crossed paths all the way across the Pacific to New Zealand. They are living and working in Australia now.

Spent a pleasant evening visiting with both Captain Zoran and Chief Engineer Lawrence in their cabins, and talking about history, politics, customs, similarities and differences between the US and Croatia, and the US and Romania.

The seas are up; probably 3 meters, and the wind is 20+ knots. Classic trade wind conditions. The sea has also changed color, from that bottomless clear tropical greenish-blue to an opaque sea-blue.

Day 14Friday, May 31, 2013
1020 Position: Latitude 15 51.2 N, Longitude 134 20.8 W
Speed 12.5, Course 042,
Barometer 1012, Weather: Squally, sunny blue sky between cloud banks; warm. Later: Sunny, windy, partly cloudy.
Total miles run: 4181 Same number of miles to go to Ensenada as to Oakland: 1316

We moved the clocks ahead one hour last night. We are now only an hour or two off the Pacific Time Zone. It's squally this morning, and cooler. Rain beats on our portholes, and our response is to yawn and make coffee. Jeez, we hope our cruising friends at sea aren't reading this, we don't want to rub it in! The email we have aboard ship does not let us access our regular gmail or winlink accounts, so if anyone has sent us a note we will read it when we get to Oakland, on June 6.

By late morning we are "beating" into a vigorous trade wind with lots of whitecaps, and it shows in our speed.

The cook, Marlon, has done an outstanding job so far, and the food is hearty and "home-cooked." Because the officers are used to European-style cuisine, lunch is never sandwiches or light fare; it's a full meal, with salad, soup, meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes, pasta or rice, sometimes with dessert. Dinner is also a full meal but rarely with dessert. The quality of the meals is even more amazing having recently found out that the budget for food is $7.50 per person per day total. You must be at each meal at the correct time or you will miss it, though snacks are available from the galley fridge. Since the main meal of the day is lunch, and since breakfast is also a cooked affair unless you opt for cereal, we tend to skip breakfast and have just the two meals. We make coffee in our cabin; I have a granola bar and Jim has his beloved Pop-tarts [note from Jim: the Pop-tarts are now gone and I am reduced to Woolworths oven baked fruit bars, a reasonable substitute, but not really coming close to the fine flavor and texture of a P-T, fresh from its foil wrapper]. I prefer to have smaller meals more spread out through the day, but we are thriving as long as we exercise, which is easy on a ship with so many stairs.

Yesterday the soup was a deep red, and RJ the Steward said, "It's Borscht, the famous Russian soup." It was delicious, though when the Russian officers tried it they said it was Filipino borscht and very different from Russian borscht. Filipino borscht? Who knew?

Day 15Saturday, June 1, 2013
1020 Position: Latitude 20 01.8 N, Longitude 134 27.5 W
Speed 14.8, Course 041,
Barometer 1013, Weather: Cloudy, cooler (it's 70 degrees) cooler, occasional showers
Total miles run: 4517

The seas are more spaced out and less wind-whipped this morning, but they aren't getting smaller. Under this cloud deck the ocean is shades of pewter and slate-blue. The Captain said the water temperature is down to 70 degrees, from 86 a few days ago.

"It is interesting that now we view distances in latitudes instead of miles, like, we're only 14 degrees from home," I said, as we crossed the 24th parallel.

Yesterday at dinner Barbara had us all in hysterics with her story of being in the swimming pool enjoying a nice quiet afternoon swim, and slowly realizing the water was disappearing: the pool was being drained. She ended up standing in ankle-deep water wondering, "What the hell just happened?" She told the amused officer's mess, "You wouldn't believe how fast that pool can drain!" A couple hours later she looked in and it was full again. The water is not filtered like a regular pool, so it has to be changed every other day.

The fire alarms were tested today, and we can report that they work extremely well.

Pizza night tonight!


  1. I hope you do a book on your fantastic trip. Won't be able to follow you after tomorrow as we are off on Wed for the summer, heading north up the inside for a change. Don't forget to check in to the Great Northern Boaters Net on 3870 at 0800 PDT; you should be able to get thru from San Fran OK, and more easily as you get north. Hope to see you, Roly

    1. Ho Roly! We will look forward to talking with you on the Northern Boaters Net! Best from Karen & JIm