It’s been a good day on board Beetle, the breeze has held all day between 14 and 18 knots, making good progress towards the Hawaiian Islands. Rather nicely, there were only two isolated squalls that went by overhead, everything else has been open sky with puffy tradewind boxcar clouds. Still reaching along under the tiny sail plan and boat speeds are surprisingly high – it’s always surprising how little sail area one needs to reach along at good speed.
I got in a lot of sleeps, no shipping traffic popped up on the AIS, and the evening check-in on the PacSea net went well with good propagation.
One thing I found is I forgot to research how US Customs works in Ala Wai. I sent an email over to Ala Wai Harbormaster to remind them that I am arriving soon and asked about where the Customs dock might be, no response from Ala Wai yet. I also posed the question to the PacSea net as there are at least two net controllers in Hawaii – and they weren’t sure, either. One of the net controllers said he would look into it and let me know before I arrived. If anyone out there knows where the US Customs dock is in Ala Wai Harbor, and/or knows what the Customs procedure is, let me know! Otherwise I’ll be talking to the US Coast Guard on the VHF to ask them what I’m supposed to do, and if they don’t know I’ll just show up and figure it out on the fly.
There was bad news tonight on the PolyMag net – Coastal Drifter came close to sinking while on a mooring at Marina Taina in Tahiti: a bilge pump line started to siphon water back into the bilge from the ocean, and this is not good. It sounded over the radio as though the engine was submerged or partially submerged, too. When the problem was noticed the water was all the way up to the floor boards and the engine is installed at least partially below the floor boards.
After a bit of rapid bucket bailing by Phil & several other cruisers that came over to help, they noticed the water was responding to the bailing – everyone relaxed a little bit at that point. Eventually the water entry point was figured out and plugged or stopped. I think I heard Phil say they had an anti-siphon loop in the bilge pump outlet but it did not work properly.
I had the bilge pump line go into siphon mode on the Newport 33 and that was very surprising, especially to realize how much water can come in that quickly through a 1″ hose. For a siphon to occur the bilge pump’s overboard thru-hull must be located below the water line – and the builder on the Newport 33 did exactly that, when the N33 was moving even a little bit the thru-hull was suddenly underwater. I moved that exit point to be above the water line and the problem never happened to me again. On Big Beetle all the pump outlets are way above the waterline on the transom (I had to install them so I got to put them where I wanted them), and that keeps them clear of the ocean when moving and when heeled. At least if the anti-siphon loops in pump hoses fail there’s no access to water for the thru-hull to siphon back into the boat.
Several of the PolyMag net boats are there helping Phil & Deb clean up the boat and sort out repairs to the engine. This is good as it has got to be fairly distressing to find your boat partially filled with water. Friends pitching in can go a long way towards relieving stress and moving forward to a fix.
Back in my bit of the pond, the weather forecast is for more of the same for at least the next two days, with a slight tick up in the wind on Friday. I’m continuing to hold course to leeward of Hawaii, and Beetle is happily covering the miles.
I’m off to make up a bit of dinner, turn on the radar to check for squalls, then turn off the motor that is running right now for to charge batteries, then it’s time to grab a sleep.
Enjoy the evening!
current position: 14 42’N x 150 32’W, course 311T @ 6.9 knots distance to go: 393 miles to S end Hawaii
579 miles to Oahu