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Testing Testing, One Two Three

May 10, 2012

Day 1 (of 1, with luck)

Destination: Nawiliwili, Kauai
Time: 8:08am Hawaii Standard Time
Position: N21.40.454, W158.41.458

Course: 295 degrees true
Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: 10 – 12 NE
Sea: 4 – 6 feet NE
Sky: 25% occluded. Mostly clear, but some cumulus to windward Bar: 1113
Temp: 72 degrees

Since last report we have crossed from Manele Harbor on Lana’i to Lono Harbor on Molokai for two nights anchored amongst a fleet of sport fishing boats, mostly Hawaiians, celebrating a local form of Cinco de Mayo. Following this we dashed across the Kaiwi Channel to Honolulu for another two nights in a marina so large it is a city within a city. But here we did not spend money painting the town red (unless a visit to Outback Steakhouse counts); instead we spent money on supplies for Murre not available in the outer islands–shackles, running rigging, new mooring line and fenders the state harbor docks have chewed to bits, hose clamps, electrical connectors, an infrared temperature gauge (what a find!), a water proof jacket to replace the one no longer waterproof, a new harness tether to replace one that is nearly frayed through, radar (more on which later) and new cabling for the single sideband radio (SSB).

That’s why this post from the middle of the Kauai Channel–to make sure the new wire still runs the radio.

By way of explanation, while at sea my only form of communication with the mainland is via simple, text-only email, this post as example, transmitted over SSB. The system that allows this is comprised of a Toshiba Netbook connected to a Pactor USB Modem connected to an Icom IC-M710 Marine Transciever (SSB radio) connected to an Icom 1400 Automatic Antenna Tuner which splits, one part connects to two bronze plates bolted to the outside of the hull and another to the ultimate fastener on the starboard, aft backstay (the backstay is the antenna; the bronze plates the ground). Email sent over this system is transmitted to an organization called Sailmail ( and from there into your inbox. It is at once primitive and complex. That it works at all, especially given the skill of the installer, is a miracle. A miracle I cherish.

But some of the connections have begun to rust of late. And so are now replaced. And thus this test.

I have mixed feelings about making for Kauai. On the one hand it ends an enjoyable, educational cruise through the islands and begins preparations of Murre and crew for the passage north. I am sad of the one and worry almost constantly about the other.

On the other hand, returning to Kauai is like coming home. I look forward to a visit with the in-laws. How is the garden growing? Is Peter’s canoe finished? More importantly, my wife arrives tomorrow for a stay of four days, a stay she is calling a vacation. To a man who has not worked in a year and a half, four days off seems more like a flyby, but I’ll take what I can get.

Soon all thought and energy must turn to that expanse of water between Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. But not just yet. Today we are still in Hawaii where the water is blue, the sky wide, the wind warm–if a bit light. A grand daddy of black footed albatross came calling just last hour, and fairy terns play at wave top. Oahu is still visible in profile astern; Kauai in cloud ahead. At dawn I dropped a lure over the side in hopes of inviting the company of an emerald Dorado, a gift (once cleaned) for Nansy’s dinner table. No luck yet…

We departed Pokai Bay at 2am for a passage of 72 miles of which 34 remain.

Sending now… Did you receive?


  1. Craig Wilcox permalink
    May 10, 2012 8:27 pm

    No, I did not receive your message. Please resend.

    Just kidding. It sounds like you will be gone from the islands by the time the Wilcoxes arrive in Kona a month from today. It would be fun to see you there.

    • May 12, 2012 5:26 pm

      Sadly yes. Am back on Kauai now. But enjoy Kona.

      If you haven’t been, consider the Mauna Kea star gazing tour via Hawaii Forest and Trail. Their office is just off the main highway across from Honokohau Harbor. Nice people. And Jack’s Diving Locker out of downtown Kona is worth a visit.



  2. Sarah Carlisle permalink
    May 10, 2012 8:28 pm

    I hope you & Joie have a happy time together. love Sarah

  3. Lawrence Killingsworth permalink
    May 10, 2012 11:16 pm

    Copy 5-9, skipper.
    Loud and clear and eagerly received.
    I’ve had ICOM radios for over 30 years and mostly loved ’em.
    Happy voyaging,
    Cap’n Lawrence Killingsworth
    S/V Ta’ Ata Ori
    Also KD7WZ

  4. Lavonna permalink
    May 11, 2012 1:22 pm

    Loud and clear and anxious to hear more stories of Jo and Peter and Nancy and how all prep goes. Jealous of your fair weather. Headed over to Bahrain yesterday for a sail only to find it so bloody hot, we barely made the sail down and away before diving into the swimming pool to chill where we were forced to down a GnT…or two. Well, you know how that goes… Happy for you to be with family soon.

  5. Unintended permalink
    May 17, 2012 5:47 pm

    Cap’n Haddock: “We” are most pleased with the explanation of how the radio works. It amazes me you can use a stay as an antenna…”We” thought antennas had to be precise sizes…perhaps you have an antenna tuner somewhere that addresses that issue. Your transmissions appear to be working well, and I see that you were picked up from as far away as the Craig Wilcox Smartness School, which is a far piece.

    • May 17, 2012 8:16 pm

      Dear Miss Unintended,

      We notice with pleasure that you have surmised with precision the purpose of the above mentioned Icom 1400 Automatic Antenna Tuner, and by nothing other than its given name. Good show! Actually we wrote in error: the tuner installed below Murre’s port quarter deck is the Icom AT-140 HF and is about the size of a small brief case; i.e. large.

      It has worked flawlessly and automatically (again, see name) to tune our rig to whatever station we desire. On ocassion we can even get a baseball game.

      But its ability to pull the Craig Wilcox Smartness School out of thin air has produced in us profound amazement, that station usually being as clear as billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles singing God Save the Queen in a thundering typhoon!

      Not the royal “We”–the only “we” that counts,


      • Unintended permalink
        May 20, 2012 7:55 pm

        Dear Cap’n Haddock:

        I confess the error you so graciously pointed out (several times) in my previous post. Actually I made two; a lesser and a greater. The lesser was not catching mention of the antenna tuner. Certainly this can be forgiven, as your writing is so well formed, for me it’s like eating honey-roasted walnuts, and sometimes the desire for quantity rules, so that I do not slow down and enjoy each morsel…a sin in both gustation and lucubration. But the greater error was referring to the “Craig Wilcox Smartness School,” as if the School had only the single goal of smartifying its students. I believe it is correctly called the “Craig Wilcox School of Smartness,” to distinguish it from the other Craig Wilcox schools, such as the CW School of Medicine, the CW School of International Relations, and the CW School of Haberdashery and Cosmetics. Apologies, your we-ness.

        Fondly, Unintended.

        • May 24, 2012 7:45 pm

          Dear Miss Honey-Roasted Walnuts,

          Perhaps we have failed to reference in previous correspondence our extreme allergy to the seeds of fruit–roasted or salted, dipped in whale oil, whatever. Even the merest mention is infectious; already our eyes begin to water and a sneeze is coming on. In fact, this urgent problem serves as the main reason we, Cap’n Haddock, initially took boldly to the beguiling, boisterous sea: because, as you well know, fish don’t eat nuts. Ever. This reminds us of the time we hooked a fat tunny three weeks out of Atutonga and just after a tantalizingly tortuous typhoon. Amazingly, stamped upon the fish’s tail were the letters “CWSoS” clear as day. When questioned the sly animal swore he had been previously hooked, and that the brand had been placed there by sport fisherman to indicate “Caught Weekly So over (the) Side”. He was in these men’s employ, he claimed, and so should not be taken out of circulation. But immediately we sussed that the ghastly storm had blown us perilously close to the shores of the Craig Wilcox School of Smartness, and we quickly tacked away. Point is this fish proves you were right to correct the name in your above post. Further questioning before dinner revealed the fish had no knowledge of Haberdashery or Cosmetics, but he tasted so good he had obviously been tutored at the CW School of Internal Relations.

          Warmest Reargards,


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