Log of Minimus,

San Diego to Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

February 23 to April 5, 2017

The following is our daily written log during the passage from San Diego to Hiva Oa.


15kt NW, sunny and cool

Left San Diego at 10:30. Passed aircraft carrier on way out. Large swell. Passed Coronado Island mid-pm. Both a little queasy. Numerous AIS targets after dark on heading to Guadalupe Is. Wind increasing to 20kt gusting higher. One wave ½ filled footwell. Took turns on watch, but not strictly 3 on/3 off.



15-20kt NW, sunny, chilly at night, cool during day

Continued sailing Guadalupe Is. Wearing long underwear, layers of fleece and raingear. Still too cool for comfort. Made good time. Still a little queasy but slowly getting sea legs. Sent a few messages on Inreach to map page.



10kt N becoming 15kt in pm, partly sunny

Passed on west side of Guadalupe Is. during day. Impressive heights. No sign of tall pines on highest ridge that D saw 37 years ago. Upper slopes green, but not as green a Coronado Is. Saw fishing village and garrison buildings in distance. Sailed on. Kind of lonely as island retreated behind us.

Fabulous night sky: Milky Way, all the familiar galaxies, Venus throwing down light path, bright as moon.



10kt mostly N, dropped in pm to almost calm, mostly sunny

Enjoyed smoother seas and slower pace. D worked on self steering and got it working on broad reach. Became calm later in pm. Started listening to audiobooks. Both took long naps. Took down all sai in glassy sea. D slept most of night and P did hourly checks for wind and/or ships. Lots of texting traffic, mostly trying to figure out why our messages not showing on map.




15kt S veering to WSW, partly cloudy

D made chafe protectors for jib sheets from 1” nylon tubular webbing. Worked with Birgit and Mark to figure out how folks can see our messages on map. D into sandals. Whale spouting about 200 yards away.



18+kt, showers

D out of pile jackets. Squid on deck. Self steering working for now. Wing and wing. Becoming boisterous sail.



15kt NNE, becoming 15-20 at night, cloudy

Self steering continuing to work all day with couple minor adjustments. Whisker pole fitting broke during night and D fixed today. Working well with storm jib so far. Last night left self steering working, kept AIS on all night and both of us went down and tried to sleep. Extremely rolly and difficult to sleep. Checked on wind and sails and course every 2 hours.

Today easy uneventful sailing under gray skies with few rays of sunshine. P listening to and enjoying Anna Karenina, D listening to Biography of Lincoln.



15kt+ NNE, partly sunny

Still have done only minor adjustments to self steering. Bathed in cockpit. Felt great. P having morte queasiness. Both in sandals. P finally took long johns off most of day. Late in pm rearranged cockpit locker to have kayak accessories more accessible. Also transferred water from cockpit locker to under berth. Taped torn rain pants. Saw black footed albatross with incredible wingspan. No ships all day.



12-15kt, diminishing toward evening, mostly sunny

Seas calmer. Picture perfect sailing much of day. Sun on indigo water. Warm, but not hot. D sewed hank on jib tack and made some adjustments on self steering, which is working well. Few birds and no porpoises today. No ships. Evening job of cleaning up mess from rotting peppers.



5-10kt NNE much of night, becoming 15kt NE during afternoon, mostly sunny

Dreamy day of easy seas and relatively sedate pace. Lots of listening to Anna Karenina and D sending out texts. Also made rope retainers for cockpit latches. Saw no animal life. No ships. Continue both sleeping at night with AIS on, running lights on and getting up every 2 hours for check of steering.



Wind light in night, becoming 10-12kt NE by mid morning, increasing to 18-20 NE at sunset. Sunny, becoming cloudy late in pm

Bathed, Listened to audiobooks, etc.



20-22kt, gusting 26kt, cloudy

Rough ride. Mostly in bunks listening to audiobooks, wind and wave noise. Spent about 1 hour in cockpit.




20-22kt NE, gusting to 26kt, cloudy becoming partly sunny by early pm

Sat outside most of am through early pm. Lots of spray. Some storm petrels and another bird, somewhat albatross like. Beautiful wild seascape with sunshine on it. Waves cresting in foam with aquamarine. Seas and wind up late in day. Put out drogue to test.



15kt NE most of day, mostly sunny

Wind and seas much moderated by am. Drogue held us in place very well, but rolling overnight made sleep difficult. Woke to find first flying fish on deck. After that, saw several schools of fish flying out of waves. Discussed life on return and how we want it to be different. Troubles with Inreach now include people's messages randomly appear under other people's addresses or phone numbers. D feeling anxious and worried.



15-17kt NE, increasing in pm to 18kt gusting to 24kt, mostly sunny

Usual routine: Breakfast, coffee/tea, text messaging on Inreach. Mark called tech support—baffled by problems with texting. Saw large flock of birds at a distance (many dozens) followed by water boiling with porpoises.



18-20kt NE gusting to mid-20's, mostly sunny with many cumulous clouds

Continue trouble shooting Inreach. Texts to Mark now going to Dan and Fran Dykstra. Sighted blue footed booby. Ran al day under storm jib. New tradition of sitting in cockpit after dinner, sharing beer.


11d 40' N, 125d 22' W


18kt NE gusting low to mid 20's, sunny

AIS chimed just before midnight and cargo vessel bound for China passed a couple miles S of us. About same time D started low grade abdominal cramping. Lasted much of day, but felt better by days end. Transferred water from 5 gallon container into 1 gallon jugs, started ditch bucket. D listening to Flyboys regarding bomber pilots in WWII—tired of war stories. Now starting Sapiens and enjoying. P listening to Typee by Melville regarding stay on Nuku Hiva. Listened much of pm. Still very rolly and P thrown across cabin, bashing head on cabin side. OK now.


10d 28' N, 125d 56' W


16-18kt gusting low to mid 20's, sunny

Slept late—D until—10am. Bathed. Put up 3 reefed main with storm jib afternoon and evening. Back to just storm jib at bedtime. Continue to turn AIS on at night, along with P rising every 2 hours and checking on things. P finished Typee audiobook.


9d 8' N, 126d 21' W


14-16kt NE gusting 18-20, sunny and HOT

D complained of abdominal pain at bedtime. Took ibuprophen 800mg and went to sleep. Feeling better this morning, but seems tired. Took long nap. P listened to the Moth. Best quote: “The grass is always greener where it's watered.” D in very short humor all evening. Pulled out copper wire and plate for lightning protection. Ran all day under 3 reefed main and storm jib. Cloud buildup at sundown, but no lightning.


 7d 39' N, 127d 5' W


13-15kt NE

AIS sounded about 11pm and cargo vessel passed about 6nm ahead of us. Up twice in night to adjust self steering. Slept late. Hard to get up. D has hard time returning from dream world to find ourselves still in perpetual motion on ocean. Feeling better today though and busy with cordage projects: floats on anchor bridle, etc. Put up sailing awning—wonderful. Wind and seas have finally moderated and we changed to working jib and 2 reefed main. Seemed to enter ITCZ by evening. Major squall with downpour. Down to 3 reefed main only. Hove to.


6d 33' N, 127d 12' W


Remained hove to all night, with intermittent showers.

Threats of showers throughout day, but not fulfilled. Nice sailing under working jib (not poled out) and 3 reefed main. Easy motion. P slightly queasy again. Beautifu starry sky at evening. Down to 3 reefed main and storm jib for night.



5d 15' N, 127d 42' W


12-14kt ENE, mostly sunny with a few squall clouds

Rolling along easily under working jib and 2 reefed main. D lubing harness carabiners. P tired, maybe a little depressed. Few showers during night. D pumped bilge of 1 gallon. Skies in ITCZ constantly changing: clouds build up, move across and dissipate just as quickly. Saw Southern Cross last light. This evening both lay on cockpit seats and watched stars. Absolutely lovely.


4d 3' N, 128d 5' W


8-10kt ENE through am, 4-5 squalls during afternoon with higher winds during those.

D had busy day. Both worked on measuring anchor lines, refilled alcohol and D worked on backstay tightener and variety of projects. P very tired during most of day. Just not feeling up to par—lots of burping. D passed stone in urine—felt something come out and found 4mm x 6mm stone. Squally in pm and some periods of very light wind between. Evening sky sublime.



3d 7' N, 128d 28' W


8-10kt NE, but variable, hazy sun, few scattered squalls to N and E

Lots of sail flapping. Poor night for both of us. D was figuring out how to improve function of reefing lines, which we did upon arising. After breakfast and reading messages, back to bed. D listened to audiobook and both slept. D still depressed and discouraged. Took nap after lunch and felt better. Bath and then shower with squall and moving better than have all day. Mick's remembrance in Cascabel today.


2d 43' N, 129d 10' W


12-14kt ESE since dawn, mostly sunny, little squall activity threatened for awhile in afternoon, but dissipated and by evening non-existent

Last night awakened by strong squall about 11pm. Up and dropped jib and main 2 reefed. ESE breeze through night, though not strong and making little progress. At 6am check found stronger breeze and put up jib and made good time. P sat watch for a couple hours. Beautiful red disk at sunrise. Shook reefs out when D got up and have moved along smartly most of day under full main and working jib. Drifting W more than preferable. P got long nap through am and feeling rejuvenated. Prepared floats for anchor lines. D listening to Typee and P started Christopher Hitchens' book of essays. Perfect sailing. After dinner D checked course on tablet and found that we are way further W than desirable. Quite concerned. Not sure how this occurred.


1d 51' N, 129d 47' W


10-12kt SE during day shifting to ESE late in pm, sunny, no squalls

Poor night with anxiety re: course and possibility of missing Marquesas. Wind remained out of SSE most of night and then died about 5am. Reappeared with more east during several hours in am and had genoa up much of day, though wind switched to more SE or even SSE. Not many boat tasks undertaken but lots of interior work re: mistake in not planning crossing of equator farther E and now with so much S in wind we are having to go even further W. D working on letting go, and keeping real work of trip in view. P sat in cockpit and either steered or watched compass most of day in order to keep as optimal a course as possible. Lay out in cockpit after dinner and looked at stars. Magnificent.


0d 50' N, 129d 57' W


0-12kt ESE-SE then E, sunny, no hint of squalls

Beautiful night. At 2am boat skimming along lazily at 150d magnetic course. Most welcome. By rising we still hadn't crossed 130d N, which was where D aimed to cross equator, but by late afternoon had reached that mark. Wind mostly variable. Genoa up most of pm, no reefs in main since early yesterday. Longing to reach equator.  Sunset on flat sea and no clouds at horizon. D saw green flash x 2.


0d 30' S, 129d 58' W


8-14kt E from dawn to mid pm, then lessening and backing to NNE, very intermittent, clouds in early pm then sunny

Equator! At 3:05 am, whatever time we're on. Watching GPS as we crossed, then celebrated with Bailey's that Kathleen Walt had given us. Back to bed under patchy clouds and intermittent wind. Hard to keep course, but in general were able to head S rather than W. P barely slept and exhausted by sunrise. Ate breakfast and slept most of morning. D put out questions about birds we're seeing and creatures that glow amber in headlight beam and hop on surface of water. Enjoying responses. One suggestion is marine water striders aka halobates, or squid larva. Bird may be shearwater. Dick suggests evadne for jumpers. As doing last sail adjustments before bed heard loud breathing just beyond headlamp range, then loud close splash—had to be whale.


1d 38'S, 130d 13' W


0-5kt variable, mostly NE, with short periods of 10-12kt NE, blazing sun till late pm. Hottest day yet, at least to feel.

Last night reasonable breeze from midnight to 5am then totally died and sails began slatting. Naps for P in am, though almost too hot. Forecast from Mark portends 3 more days of very light winds. D feeling very discouraged and afternoon heat almost insufferable. Finally clouded over late afternoon and evening and we bathed, which helped a lot. Also ENE breeze that has us moving nicely. Saw group of porpoises late pm while P singing. Ranged around us for 10-15 minutes. One put its head out several times and at the very end one leaped out of the water 5-6 times, once at least a full body length above the water. Also flock of petrels (at least 6) and new bird with brown back and white wing patches, about the size of shearwaters.


2d 35' S, 130d 18'W



Interrupted night. Squall with high winds and had to quickly bring down genoa and reef main. Later becalmed and dropped main and tied preventer across boom and stern cleats to keep boom from banging back and forth. Extremely rolly. Short period of sailable wind late am and early pm, then squall with heavy rain, followed by SE zephyrs, not sailable. Finally dropped main again and rolling on glassy sea. Same predicted for next 5 days. Shucked even minimal clothing we've been wearing after getting wet in shower. First real hints of boredom starting to surface (P). Seas calmed at evening and so silent at times that I (P) felt need to whisper.


2d 53' S, 130d 42'W


8-12kt SSE from 9am to 3pm, then mostly calm, sunny, tradewind type cumulous clouds

Both slept well last night. Left sails down and in quiet slept deeply. Checked for wind every 2 hours. Got up around 9am and decided to try sailing on light SSE breeze with genoa and full main. Lasted until 3pm. Still light breeze. Continued sailing, steering by hand until about 11pm. Tried falling to opposite tack, but couldn't get appropriate tack and finally gave up and took sails down. Lots of anxiety because continue to head further W than can be sustained to reach islands.


3d 8' S, 131d 4' W


5-10kt S, veering to SW, then 5-10kt W, then dying after sunset, sun with some buildup and lightning at night

Troubled night. D depressed about course. Very rolly. AIS targets during night, 2 Korean fishing boats. One came within 2nm and easily visible. Light wind throughout night from south. Light wind from S continued in am and continued sailing on SW tack for short while but then tried SE tack and have been able to maintain fair bearing, though discouraging for D to not feel we're making any progress toward goal. Made slow progress and basically returned to line of course we had hoped to maintain yesterday. In fact back and forth across that line a couple of times. I (P) read aloud from Sex Lives of Cannibals and we enjoyed that. Lovely evening and sunset after hot day.


3d 13' S, 131d 10' W


0kt, variable, calm during day becoming 8-12kt NNW in late afternoon

Becalmed by bedtime and took sails down. Did not even set alarm for checks. I (P) slept deeply until 3am. Got up about 8am with light NE breeze. Tried to sail under genoa and were able to make minimal progress before it died. Started this morning from point where we were yesterday at noon. Extremely hot day. Strung up sails and blankt to help provide shade in cockpit. Got text from Dan G, Jim's friend, offering to pray for wind. Late pm breeze sprang up from NW and we put up genoa poled out on boom. Kind of a rodeo but it worked pretty well. Enjoyed the sunset, our favorite time of day when we have happy hour with “Minimus” = lemonade from powder with scotch gifted by Joe and Kate, plus corn chips. The heat is abating now and it's quite lovely. Bathed. Changed to jib for night.


3d 55'S, 131d 21' W


8-10kt ENE, then 25-35kt E during long squall

Rained during night, seemed like only moderate shower. NNE wind throughout night. Put out main opposite from jib and made slow progress. The wind veered to ENE and increased, so “cruising”. About 2pm dark squall from E started moving in. We elected to stay out in it, eventually taking down all sail and sat through 1-1/2 hours of torrential rain and strong winds. Finally went below as seas increased. Had brief break before more rain while wind continued. Texted Mark who wrote that small depression was to SE of us. Raised reefed main before going below and hove to. Finally settled down about 9pm and we put up storm jib and 2 reefed main.


4d 44' S, 131d 48' W


10-15kt E beginning at dawn, decreasing toward evening

Wind backed to NNW during night and we set up wing and wing. Then main got backwinded and I got up to find us facing N and going nowhere. So I steered by hand from 7-9am. During that time nice sailing breeze. Came up from ENE and increased to point of reducing sail to 3 reefed main and storm jib. Trade wind like conditions. Sailed like that in bliss, with seas building, but not too bad, until late afternoon, when wind died for a couple hours. One squall with brief shower. Light breeze reappeared after sundown and left up working jib and 1 reefed main.


5d 58' S, 132d 14' W


4-10kt NE overnight, gradually increasing to 8-10kt throughout am, mostly cumulous clouds with squalls visible far to W

We were able to sail on throughout night and made good time. Got up on even hours to check and felt like we were on magic carpet. Not that strong a breeze and yet we were moving along smartly. Sky was incredible, myriads of stars, few diaphanous clouds with starlight behind them turning them to glowing bio-lumnescent like strands. Few birds calling. Light cool breeze across skin as I sat on cockpit cushion. Today NE wind continues and moving along sedately. We're feeling we can now steer with more of a SW course instead of the single minded effort to get S first. Lazy am. Took nap.

Huge excitement—bumped by whales! D and I working on lines in cockpit when felt bump and boat shuddered—thought at first it was wave on bow, but sea calm and then saw two whales emerge from under boat. One rolled on side and looked up at us. Disappeared and reappeared a ways out with at least 2 others. Squarish head and shallow hump on back = sperm whales. Later I day saw first jet contrail since San Diego area. Headed on course to Tahiti. Wind dropped lower and lower. Finally changed to wing and wing and by sunset basically calm. Put 2 reefs in main to reduce slatting, which drives D crazy. Working jib and 2 reefed main for night.


6d 51' S, 132d 52' W


5kt ENE through am, early pm increased to 10-15kt E

Uneventful night. E wind that waxed and waned. At one check saw blinking light that moved from N through W at about 20d above horizon. Very squally morning. Several showers but very little wind aside from during showers. Had expected good winds today, so disappointing. Wind came up from E about 2pm and has been pretty consistent until about 7pm. Making good time under storm jib and 2 reefed main. Bath late pm.



8d 5' S, 133d 40' W


Very interrupted night with squalls. Finally took storm jib down and ran under 3 reefed main. D not feeling well after little sleep. Frustrated because could have made faster progress with more sail between squalls but ended up all day with storm jib and 3 reefed main so as not to have to change sails frequently. Saw flocks of birds. Medium size bird we've been seeing that makes calls, but this time lots of them together plus at least 1 frigate bird. P slept for several hours through early afternoon.


8d 59' S, 134d 43' W


10-15kt E with higher gusts through am and early pm, then decreased to 8-10 and eventually backed to NE, cloudy, squally

Pretty good night. Took down storm jib before retiring and ran under 3 reefed main. Made good time. Have bumped heading up to 240d magnetic. Fewer squalls during night but squalls all around during am. Brief period of clearing about sunset but more squalls later. Had storm jib up for awhile and shook out one reef, but returned to only 3 reefed main for night. Very gray day. Seas remained up for most of day and roll, roll, roll. Talking over timing, etc. in hopes of arriving mid week.


9d 13' S, 135d 37' W


10-15kt E all day, few squalls

Absolutely beautiful day after difficult night. During night lots of squalls and wind shifts. I'd get up to find heading wildly off, or little wind between squalls. Mostly sunny today and steady sailing breeze. I rested for several hours and felt much better. Then D buzzed hair and beard and we both bathed. Did laundry. D read Marquesas info and boned up on what to expect in first anchorage, Atuona. In pm ran storm jib poled out to port and main to starboard. Claptrap steered flawlessly. Put 3 reefs in main for night.


9d 35' S, 137d 6' W


15-18kt E during night, 10-15kt during day

At 2am took storm jib down because of increased wind. More restful after that. Storm jib back up in am and went to 2 reefed main, wing and wing. Wind decreased in pm and switched to working jib wing and wing with main. Lots of tasks getting ready for landfall, especially getting anchors set up at bow and stern. Picture perfect tradewind sailing day. Steady breeze and blue sky with cumulous clouds.



Hiva Oa


15kt ENE to NE

Squalls in night. Wanted to keep as much sail up as possible, so at about 5am P sat watch until about 9am. Land sighted at break of day. Very emotional. Pushed harder than usual and arrived Hiva Oa early pm. Gorgeous blue day without squalls. Land so green and lush.