Livin’ the High Life…

Well, for a bit there, it looked like we would miss the whole Pacific High on our way to San Francisco from Hawaii. It looked like we were just going to scoot under it without ever getting to the calm waters typical of the center, but last night around 2am the high grew a bit, just enough to include us in it’s personal party. Being night and all when the wind dropped, we fired up the motor and continued on our merry way. Thru the morning watches, we didn’t see much more than about 4 knots of breeze. Very calm waters, and nice clear skies.

So there we were, motoring along when suddenly the engine quit. Just like that. Hmmm… not good, I am thinking. My first fear was that we had caught some trash, some scrap of a fishing net, that was drifting here in the high (we all know about all the trash out here… amazing/depressing how much we see in the middle of nowhere). I jumped down below and opened the engine compartment… I was relieved to find that I could spin the prop shaft by hand (meaning that it wasn’t fouled), but then perplexed as to what the problem might be. Well, a quick look at the Racor fuel filter revealed a fair amount of gunk in the fuel. So off came the filter, replaced with a spare and away we go, right? Not so fast… the fuel system isn’t priming… we can’t get the fuel system bled. Finally, after pulling apart the lines to the tank and clearing them, we get the engine running again. And we were off. For 15 minutes.

Yep, motor died again. Looked at the Racor again. Filled with junk again. So we have basically had to write off our whole fuel tank as contaminated… too bad, since that’s where about half of our fuel happens to be! But we have about 40 gallons in jerry cans, and we have rigged the engine to run from these, so we are good to go for the time being. And given the weather outlook, far more than we’ll need to get the Hula Girl and her crew back to the barn.

Once we had the engine sorted, we took a bit of time to enjoy where we were. A couple of rides up the mast yielded some very cool pictures. And the swimming was phenomenal. Diving into a pool 16,321 feet deep (well, hat’s what the chart says… we didn;t verify it) of crystal clear water (where you can see something like 5 miles down!) is a bit intimidating when you think about it… especially when you consider that anything 5 miles down can see you too!) So we didn;t think about it and just enjoyed the swim and showers. After our break, we were off again. We motored for another couple hours, but then started to stick our nose out the eastern side of the high (as expected), and we were off sailing again!

And so starts to final leg of our trip. It’s forecast to be a light reach, then building into a windy reach. Then maybe getting light again as we near the coast. But we’ll see. As we learned (again) toady, nothing is for certain.

A hearty dinner (build-your-own-burrito-bar) was had by all. Jorge and Madeline are on watch right now, and the rest of the crew are getting a bit of rack time and preparing for the cooler night watches up in this part of the ocean. Good times. And a beautiful day. The little issues were good challenges to overcome, and great learning experiences.

Now may turn to hit the rack. You all have a great evening, and we’ll check in again soon.

All the best,

Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl Crew

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