Playing the Cruiser Waiting Game

Wether you spend a month waiting for a weather window in New Zealand, like many of our friends, or a month waiting in Tonga…it always seems like the next cruising season starts with delays. We have been back in the water since May 14th and had plans to spend a week getting the boat back in shape and provisioned, then take off for the southern island group of Hapaai before heading north to the Samoan islands. However, Palarran has had other plans. The first delay was waiting for some winch parts we had ordered over 2 months ago to arrive… apparently there was a mix up? We finally got the parts through customs….another tale all together…and got the winches up and running. Then toward the end of May we were getting ready to head out for a little shake down motor whenI notice water dripping from the raw water pump. CB took a look and realized the lip seal had dried out on us. Great….how were we going to find parts for a 33 year old Yanmar in Tonga!

We called around to the few mechanics and no luck…they advised trying the auto part store….yeah right. But sure as shit…the only automotive store in this part of Tonga had the exact water pump in stock…whaaat? Since a special press was needed to put it all back together, we had the shop fix the pump and were only out 200 TOP…or 100 US dollars…sweet!

The next day we provisioned with the assistance of my friends Tonga ride…thank you Julie Goss…and we were ready to go. The weather was good, the swell was low and the wind would actually allow us to sail south. CB went to shore to check out of the Port and we were all set to leave….NOT! As he was walking away from the dinghy he heard a loud pop followed by a rush of air…the faces of the two guys in front of him told him all was not well. As he turned around he observed a delapidated dinghy with a large hole in its side. Shiiiiit…I was on the boat stowing all our recently purchased food stuffs when I hear a dinghy approach…not my dinghy mind u. I look outside and there is CB in our friends dink…his face said it all.

Luckly one of the guys at The Boatyard, Alan, is a hypalon master and had the very special and expensive glue needed to fix a seam…unluckily, he was off to Hapaai (yep…where we wanted to go) for the next week….shiiiit! So, we borrowed a dinghy from a friend, again thank you Julie Goss, and headed out to the anchorages. We were unsure if our dinghy could actually be fixed and hemmed and hawed over what we would do…swimming to shore just isn’t a viable way to go. After a week we returned…this is now 3 weeks after we wanted to leave. That Monday morning the dude and his magic glue appeared and he WAS able to fix it…for how long…we know not…but it was holding air. Great….now we can go!

NOPE…the same high pressure system that was keeping everyone in New Zealand was creating crap weather here and we were stuck between the high and a low pressure system to the north. The swell was up to 9 feet with little timing inbetween, not to mention 30 knot winds and wind waves. We only had 60 miles to go…but it would have been awful. As we really have no schedule, we waited again.

Cool thing was, some friends of ours were hosting the guys from a Fox Sports fishing show called Stoked on Fishing who were filming for an episode or two on Tonga. We went and hung out in the anchorages with them and watched some very talented dudes fish and spear fish. They caught a ton of fish and we all had a blast partying on the giant catamaran and party platform.

It is now Wednesday and another weather window has appeared and in a few short hours we will leave to head south. All in all, when you are in a tropical paradise…having to stick around for an extra month is really no big deal!

Posted in Adventures, Big trips, Tawn | 2 Comments

Even when it’s shitty, it’s still pretty good.

The first part of July found Me and Tawn in Seattle. I had a job with Danno and so we took the opportunity to visit friends, pick up some boat parts, some new kite boarding gear, and some other bits we needed to bring back to the boat.

Tawn flew back through Hawaii so she could hangout with friends Dave and Jen for a few days and buy a new kite board. I flew back via L.A. and got back a day before Tawn did.

My baggage did not.

Half of all the stuff we bought and stuffed into our luggage was in my checked bag. The one the airline lost! Easily $1000 worth of boat parts and other goodies. Luckily it all showed up on Monday afternoon, but the welcome back to Tahiti was marred just a little.

Since we had a few days to kill waiting for my luggage we spent it putting the boat back together and ready to go cruising again and goofing off around town.

This does not mean the same thing in Tahiti as it does in Seattle. I was a little sad.

We left Papeete, Tahiti and sailed to the Island of Moorea about 25 miles away. Moorea here we come!

We were sailing in to Cooks Bay on Moorea island through the pass under headsail alone when the wind completely died. So we rolled up the jib and fired up the engine. That is when shitty reared it’s lumpy brown head.

We’ve had this reoccurring electrical issue that I have been unable to track down. Somewhere in our rat’s nest of an electrical system there is a short. Every now and again, it shows it’s self in the form of a burnt fuse. Which, once blown takes away our ability to charge the batteries with the alternator when the engine is running. Luckily we are in the South Pacific, so we have more than enough sun and wind to keep the batteries charged up.

Historically this issue shows up so infrequently that I sorta don’t give a shit about it. The fix has always been to look at and wiggle some wires, then replace the fuse and it works for another couple months. As a quick aside, if you need an electrician to work on your boat. Hit me up. My rates are reasonable and i’m pretty sure i’d rip you off WAY less than any other “Marine Electrician” you’ll end up hiring.

It is however, officially time to pay the piper. The issue seems to be permanent. As soon as I turn on the ignition, the fuse blows. No matter how vigorously I wiggle wires.

So we spent two days chasing and replacing wires and connections. Good news is I found two corroded wires and replaced them. Bad news is, there is at a minimum one more bad wire somewhere and I have not found it yet.

Honestly though this is not a bad place to work on your boat.


But the sun was shining and there was miles of coral reef to snorkel. So we said fuck it! Jury rigged it so we can at least start the engine and we’ll fix it properly when we haul the boat in Tonga in a couple months.

Right now the patch is to just start it, let it burn up the fuse and carry on. At this point in the story i’d like to take the time to apologize to the good people of Papeete, Tahiti and a couple small towns on Moorea. I’m pretty sure we bought all the 30 amp fuses on those two islands…..sorry if you needed some.

I bet if you made an offer this beauty it could be yours.

Anyway, here are some pictures of awesomeness that we are experiencing instead of fixing stupid wiring issues.



Ali Beth, the shorts you bought me give me awesome balancing powers.

And of course we can always find the bar for sunset drinks!


Posted in Big trips, Palarran | 1 Comment

Spooky, and it’s not even Halloween.

It was right around 10pm, Monday night, October 13th. Pitch black out, no stars. Tawn is in the aft cabin crashed out and I’m still up watching an episode of The Trailer Park Boys on the laptop. We were anchored in a small bay off El Tigre Island in Honduras. There is a small cluster of houses and beach palapas lining the shore about 100 yards away from where the boat is anchored.

As i’m sitting there watching the show, I feel this really odd…. really big vibration. At first, it felt like our engine was running. This was not possible. I then just figured it was another boat motoring past us. But damn, it was a very big boat by the feel of it.

As I was getting up to stick my head outside to make sure everything was OK, and to make sure we were not about to get hit by another boat; the sound and vibration stop.

About half a second later our boat starts,……not sure how to describe this. But our boat started “hopping”. It felt like something large, something very large was trying to pushing our boat straight up out of the water. We were bouncing about 6 inches or so. Up and down repeatedly for 15- 20 seconds.

Living on a boat you get used to the way it moves. Different wind, wave, and currents make the boat move in certain ways. We know what feels right and what does not.

This did not feel right.

I run up the companionway and out in to the cockpit, just as Tawn is waking up and saying “What the fuck is that??”.

Did not have a clue. But I was giving it 30/70 chance that I’d either see a boat bumping up against us or a large angry or possibly horny (I don’t really think it matters which) whale pushing us around.

As soon as I got outside, everything stopped. I had a flashlight, but could not see anything amiss. Nothing. We were just sitting there in the dark anchorage as if nothing had happened.

Tawn came up the companionway behind me and says, “Whoa!, all the lights on the island are off!”.

I turn around and look. She’s right, nothing. Not one light on anywhere.

My first thought was: “Oh shit! Fucking Zombie Apocalypse!”. That was immediately followed by the realization that, suddenly the zombie apocalypse did not seem like it would be as fun as I thought it would. Which surprised me. I’ve always sorta been hoping for one.

As I’m standing there dealing with a bit of an existential crisis, how could I not be stoked for a zombie apocalypse? Tawn got on the radio and called friends of ours on another boat anchored near us. Between the four of us, we figured out that we just experienced an earthquake.

A few minutes later as we were figuring out our “OH SHIT, TSUNAMI!” plan. A big ass thunderstorm rolls through. Crazy ass lightning, torrential down pour, honking wind, the works. We go through our batten down the hatches routine and give a hearty, “Hi ho fuck this time for bed”.

I think Tawn summed it up best as she was climbing back into the bunk: “That was TOO much nature for one night”.

Posted in Adventures, Big trips, Palarran | 5 Comments

What I’ve learned

We have been traveling for 13 months now, give or take a few days. Well over half that time has been outside the U.S. Three months in Canada, the rest of the time has been in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize.

Below are five things I’ve learned in that time.

1. The global price of shitty local beer is about a one U.S. dollar.

2. People, no matter where you go, no matter what country you are in are incredibly friendly. And for the most part will go out of their way to help you out. This includes my home country.

3. The people in the next country over the border are all thieves, and are not to be trusted. Just ask anyone in the country you are currently in. :)

4. 20 minutes. That is about when the next bus will come along, or how long you have to walk to get to where you want to go. I have not yet figured out how much time 20 minutes is exactly. But it seems to be somewhere between 5 minutes before you asked and up to 3 hours from that point. **See rule 1**


5. Seriously…..manana…..

Posted in Adventures, Big trips | 4 Comments