Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and 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 Sockdolager (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 began cruising on Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. But in 2024 we had the chance to buy Sockdolager back (we missed her), so we sold Raven. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1st Big Tropical Storm

Jim here. I'm still in Nieafu harbor in the Vava'u group in central Tonga. This is the most protected harbor within in all of Tonga and today it's a very good place to be. 500 miles to the south is the first tropical storm/cyclone of the southern cyclone season, which officially started on November 1st. The boats that are already on route to New Zealand are having a tough time. I can listen to them via the ham radio and most are reporting over 30 knots of wind with some as high as 60 knots, and seas of 15 to 25 feet. One boat has been abandoned. The crew is in their life raft and a rescue effort is underway. In a separate incident an EPIRB has been activated but no other details on that one are available. A number of boats are hove-to waiting it out. Another boat is reported on the reef within 20 miles of where I am. Here in the harbor it is blowing around 25 knots from the northwest. This puts Sockdolager on a lee shore with trees about 50 feet astern. The good news is that I'm on a very strong mooring and so have little fear of breaking loose and going aground. Last night provided a pretty incredible lighting storm. The harbor which was looking pretty empty a few days ago is now full up with boats that have come seeking shelter from as far as 100 miles away. Everyone here is feeling very grateful not to be out in the storm. It looks like the next weather window to leave for New Zealand will be around Monday or Tuesday, however I will be staying here until around Nov 21st when my friend Tom is scheduled to arrive to help sail the boat to NZ.


  1. Be careful, Jim! Maybe you should spend some time at a restaurant rather than out in the boat in case the mooring does let loose. I am glad you have a firm date for Tom to arrive and hope that works as scheduled. Frightening! You have one of those fancy inflating liferafts, right? If not, we can all chip in for one.

  2. I know that harbor well. You are in a good place. Hang in there.