As we returned to Wrangell Harbor after a day of fruitless fishing, but with 5 Dungeness crabs at least, I thought about how I was now an “old pro” returning to this harbor and dock.
What made me think that? This was only my 7th time returning to this harbor and docking on this dock!
Seven times! WTF. Virtually everyone reading this who has a boat has docked at their home harbor more than that, hundreds, even thousands of times more!!
But if you have been reading this blog and following my travels for any length of time, you know I’m all about travelling. Even when Dauntless was ported in Waterford, Ireland, Huatulco, Mexico or Vallejo, California and spent most of a year or more in those places, I wasn’t cruising. I’d leave the boat for weeks or months at a time flying to New York, California, Texas, Italy, Holland, Germany, Japan and Vietnam.
Even when we were home ported in Providence, Rhode Island, our trips were big ones, lasting the season, to Nova Scotia, then the Bahamas.
Therefore, since arriving in Wrangell at the end of August and the summer, we’ve done a half dozen day trips, which again is the most ever for any one port!
I miss Waterford. Still probably the best place Dauntless and I have ever lived. Great place for both the boat and me. We’ll return one day.
I regret not cruising more while in Vallejo. That was my original plan, but it was not to be. In part because Dauntless was under a roof, the mast was down. This allowed me to do a lot of overdue maintenance on the mast fittings but precluded taking Dauntless out for a spin.
While I have substituted taught here in the elementary and high schools, I’m pretty much doing nothing. So, taking the boat out for a few hours (we only have 7 hours of weak daylight this time of year) is a treat for me.
I am in the process of organizing a YouTube channel, in which I will have all of my cruising videos of the last 6 years, but that will be a work in progress. I will start with Dauntless leaving San Francisco and coming up the coast to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and finally Southeast Alaska.
Despite my accomplishments this past year, another 2500 miles behind me, the Golden Gate in front of me, the Baja bash, Panama Canal, the Atlantic Ocean, behind me, I wonder if I did not make some big mistake.
For not the first time, I wondered about my sudden decision to flee northern Europe two years ago. I loved northern Europe. I loved Ireland. I loved the peoples and the cultures.
I lived for 4 years in Germany and still visit relatively often. The Germans certainly have some interesting attributes. Some of which I even like a lot.
In 2015, I was reminded just like 30 years ago, the different personalities the Germans are along the north coast. These are the people who have known “Auslander”, (from an outside land), for thousands of years. They are not the Germans of the much more insular interior, one meets south of Hamburg down to the Alps.
I dwell on this because stupid Google, out of the blue the other day, sends me my pictures of years ago and says, “don’t you want to post these?”
It reminded me yet again of how great the cruising was along the north coast of Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic and North Seas. The cruising is the best I’ve yet encountered, with thousands of miles of protected skärgärd cruising. With the wind blowing 20+ knots, 100 meters away, you are cruising or anchored with nary a ripple of waves.
All the peoples who inhabit the environs along the coast are sea faring folk. Much like the Celtic culture along the west coast of Europe, from Galicia in NW Spain to Scotland, The North Sea and particularly the Baltic had the Hanseatic League. From Hamburg to Tallinn, they controlled trade and influenced culture from Germany to Russia.
This seafaring culture manifests itself in boat friendly, stranger friendly ways. No matter how small the port, or how many boats are already there, they will find room for you. In the more formal marinas, like Tallinn and Cuxhaven, the American flag was being put up on the yardarm of the marina even as I checked-in. And even check-in itself was a 5-minute process, with reasonable rates, about $0.25 per foot in Holland to $1.00 per foot in Helsinki. Overall average for marina overnights ended up being less than $0.50 a foot for my 4 months in the Baltic and North Seas.
All these experiences were exactly the opposite in southern Europe, by the way. 30-minute check-ins, filing out endless forms, each time, $1.00 per foot was best price and it went up to $2.00.
I was also reminded with much regret that the $1,000 ten-day stay I had at Cabo San Lucas was the same cost of one year! in Waterford, Ireland. Sure, Waterford could not boast like Cabo of having only 7 days a year with rain, but I am sure they can boast that they have at least 7 days a year with sun.
So, all these fond memories really made me question my decision of leaving Europe in 2016. Stupid Google also reminded me of my great trip to Galicia to scope out a winter home for Dauntless the following year. Food, people and marina in A Coruna were fantastic. I could stay there for $500 per month year around. Had I stayed another year as planned, I would still have some options. I could return to the Baltic the following summer or just stay in Northern Spain and Western France. I would have also saved so much money.
Oh Regrets. What would life be without them?
Probably a hell of a lot better!
I acknowledge that 2016 was a traumatic year for me. I often wonder if unexpected life changes led me to make some hasty, irrevocable decisions? It certainly seems so to me when I think and think and think about it.
It would have been just as easy to fly between Ireland or Spain and Vietnam. I picture myself escaping the heat a humidity of Vietnam for the damp coolness of Atlantic Europe.
One key factor drove my decision to leave for the Pacific, the availability of crew. My Hawaiian nephew wanted to take a year off from school before he went to law school. He thought exploring Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean via Dauntless would be ideal. He spent almost a year with Dauntless and I.
He was indispensable. Not only as a great, hardworking, vigilant crew mate, but also as a smart, interesting companion for the boring passage between Europe and the Panama Canal. I couldn’t have come that distance without him.
Dauntless is in Vallejo, California now. I’ll return to her next week for a month of getting her in ship shape. Next spring, I’ll return and weather permitting get her up to the Pacific Northwest by June, then British Columbia and Southeast Alaska for the summer.
Ending up in one of the wonderful, little towns of Southeast Alaska. Which one, will depend on several factors, Dauntless taking second stage for now.
By next year at this time, my life will take another turn, as I gain both a First and Second Mate on Dauntless. We’ll end up staying in Southeast Alaska only a little longer than originally planned. Visa requirements for my wife-to-be and her son require us to live in the United States, so SE AK is the perfect place to settle down for a while and catch a few fish and enjoy the fantastic scenery and wildlife.
What would have happened had Dauntless still been in Europe now? I would truly have a mess on my hands. Instead of struggling with a 2500 trip, I would be looking at 10,000+ miles. Eek!!
Everything happens for a reason. Two years ago, I had no idea I’d fall in love with the love of my life, yet again (ok, I’ve had a lot of lives). Or that she would be in Vietnam or that I’d spend all my free time with her in Vietnam. Or that SE Alaska, then so far away, now so close, would be the perfect place for a variety or reasons.
While I’m cooling my heel in Vietnam; a great place to do so, while Dauntless waits for better weather to head north this coming summer and fall, I seem to hear the sirens calling.
The problem is, after having moved south and west for the last 12 months and 7,000 miles, passing west thru the Panama Canal and up the west coast of Central America, with Alaska, the Aleutians, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in our sights, the Sirens are calling be back with a distinct Irish brogue.
Your thinking WTF, what the F do you think I’m feeling???
I’m the one who put in the miles, the time, the big ass seas and certainly the money to get where we are.
Yet, I can’t watch a Harry Potter movie, an episode of Borderland, the Fall and certainly Jack Taylor, without missing Northern Europe, Scotland and Ireland. For my tastes, certainly the best cruising since leaving New England.
Is it nostalgia?
Or just the realization that in my last 20,000 miles of cruising, the longest lasting relationships (excluding Krogenites, of course) have come from the Baltic and the Celtic areas of Galicia, Ireland and Scotland.
Coincidence? or the Sirens?
I have a tendency to think it’s the latter. What else could explain my obsession with Europe, while I still have Asia and a few more oceans to cross at best??
So where do we go from here? I’ll do what I do best, think and plan.
It did get me to think about how I provisioned the boat the first time in 2014 and then, subsequently for the westbound trip, 11 months ago.
It’s hard to imagine that one year ago, Dauntless was in Rabat, Morocco and I took a quick 10 days first ever trip to Japan. But that’s yet another story.
What food did we put on the boat for our New England to Ireland passage in 2014?
There are a number of factors that had to be taken in account and planned accordingly:
Dauntless, with its 700-gallon fuel tanks, 300-gallon water tanks and a Katadyn water maker, capable of making 160 gallons of water a day (24 hours), had the range to make this 2600 nm trip easily.
With a full-size refrigerator and freezer, we did not have to cover our eggs in Vaseline like sailors of old, but our refrigerated space was not unlimited. While Romaine lettuce will last two+ weeks, did we really want to fill our fridge with bulky lettuce?
The trip should take 26 days underway. We did plan on stopping in the Azores, but I didn’t want to be required to make that stop just in case. So, we would plan on having at least 30 days’ worth of everything.
Lastly, everyone asks what happens if the engine breaks and can’t be fixed or the propeller falls off or we get hit by a meteorite? Well, if the latter, no trace would ever be found, but for the former, what was the plan? Look at a map. Let’s say we were disabled in the middle of the North Atlantic, what would I have done?
Well, I would NOT have called the Coast Guard. If you call the CG, they come and will take you off the boat. Two problems with that plan:
Dauntless can leave me; but I’m not leaving her. My life raft is on the fly bridge. When the water gets to the fly bridge, I’ll consider deploying the raft and setting off the EPIR.
Despite what you see on TV, being rescued, hoisted off a boat in the ocean has a lot of risk for both rescuers and rescues. No thanks. Maybe if I’m in the lift raft, but not from a floating boat.
So, that leaves us with what was the plan? Propeller has fallen off and is now on the bottom of the Atlantic or on its way (FYI there is a formula to determine exactly how long something takes to settle on the bottom of the ocean. For a grain of sand, it takes more than a year, for a propeller, it’s probably a 6-hour trip).
The prevailing winds are westerly, from the west. Therefore, sooner or later, those winds will push Dauntless at 1 to 2 knots towards Europe. So, the one-month trip becomes 3 or 4. Not great, but doable.
That gives me my goals for provisioning:
One month of food that will be consumed.
3 to 6 months of foods that will most likely not be eaten, but is easy to store and will keep forever.
Only get stuff I like to eat.
So that was easy. In practicality, it’s like taking a trip to Costco and buying like you won’t, can’t, be back for half a year. That’s what we did:
Fresh food for two weeks
Freezer stocked with meats, pork, beef, chicken, all things we would eat at home.
Longer term supplies consisted of those items that we do like normally, but also will last practically forever:
Peanut butter, 2 large Costco sized jars
Canned sardines, 2 dozen tins
Rice, 10 pounds Japanese
Condiments, olive oil, etc.
Canned tomatoes, 24
Canned corn, 24
Crackers, dry pasta,
Dauntless cooks with propane. It fires the Weber grill and the Princess three burner stove. I’ve never used the oven portion, since the Weber does well if I have to bake something.
In hindsight, I had too much canned stuff that I normally don’t eat, beans and tomatoes come to mind. On the plus side, when provisioning for last year’s Atlantic Passage, I hardly had to buy any canned things, only some canned sardines from Spain. I’m still eating the peanut butter from 2014! I finally ran out of rice this past summer.
One also must keep in mind that you need to have protein that you like, keeps forever and is easy to store. One can probably live forever on peanut butter and sardines. Rice also keeps well, though I don’t eat very much, as it took me 3 years to eat 10 pounds.
Leaving Spain last year, I did have about 6 liters of UHT milk. I don’t drink milk, but I really like it in coffee in the morning, so this was something that really went to my peace of mind, though I could easily have lived without it. (I stopped drinking milk during the 6 months I was living on the Arctic Ocean on Ice Island T3. Never drank it again, as in a glass of milk).
In hindsight, the one thing I should have had was fishing tackle. Even though I don’t fish, it’s foolish not to have the capability if crossing an ocean.
But looking at our steak we enjoyed on Christmas Day, 900 miles from Martinique, I need to go find some red meat!
Most galleries are in chronological order. The date time group is also embedded in the file name. Please forgive all the redundancy. It’s always easier to take too many pictures than not enough, though it makes sorting after the fact a real PIA.
Also, should you see anything and have a specific question, please feel free to email me.
Kadey Krogen Rendezvous 2017
Richard on Dauntless
Dauntless’ Second Atlantic Passage
Four Legs from Europe to the Caribbean
Leg 1 Rota Spain to Rabat, Morocco, via Gibraltar to fuel up
50 hours total
Leg 2 Rabat Morocco to Las Palmas, the Canaries (unexpected stop)
4 days, 1 hr., 35 min
Avg speed 6.1 knots
Leg 3 Las Palmas to Heiro, the western most island in the Canaries, Fuel top-up
31 hours and 45 min
The last & biggest leg, the only one that mattered, the Canaries to Martinique
460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
The “Oh, BTW, you still have 2000 miles to go” leg, Martinique to Panama Canal and Mexico
460 hours, (19 days, 4 hours)
Same strong easterly trade winds; same large, mixed seas
Avg roll +13°/-09° ext 22°/-10°
Overall Winds & Seas
Conditions are Very Different than the North Atlantic
Trade winds prevent turning back
Constant wind speeds of 20 to 35 knots
Direction varied over 90° from NE to SE
3 wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
NE & SE wave sets, smaller, longer period
wave heights predominate 10 to 15 feet at 8 seconds
3 different wave sets produced large 25° roll every 8 to 10 minutes for 3 weeks
First week very disconcerting to have stern fall to stbd so suddenly every periodically
Since leaving North Africa, until the Panama Canal, more than 5,000 nm and more than 60 days underway, all but two of those days required the paravane stabilizers.
Entering the Pacific and turning northwest from Panama City, in the first four days we had no need of stabilization. They call it the Pacific for a reason.
Crises In the mid-Atlantic
What I did
What I now think I should have done (hint: Much Ado About Nothing)
Hydraulic Hose for Rudder failure
I was screwing around
What I did
First fix did not work
Spares, spares and more spares (but not the right fitting)
What I now think I should have done
Overall Summary of My Second Atlantic Passage
Considerably harder than I had expected
I’m still organizing the data, but the big take-away, is that the fuel consumption for the last two years has been about 1.5 gal/ hr. or a little above 4nm/gal
Average cost has run between $75 to $133 per day when I’m on the boat. Even during the most recent passage, cost was $104 per day, with fuel being $80 a day.
Having some time on my hands for another couple of weeks, I thought I would share with everyone what the Cruising Costs have been for Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen Motor yacht over the last two years.
I’ve broken out the numbers, so for instance, if you only go to a marina 10% of the time, you can adjust the numbers accordingly.
If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to answer them, but please email me vice PM.
The number don’t add up to 100% because there are some personal travel expenses, which I track but are not pertinent to the story.
Also, the significant difference is that in 2016 I was able to buy 900 gallons of fuel in Ireland for very reasonable prices (far less than UK “red” diesel).
In 2015 because Dauntless range under such conditions, I had to refuel with very expensive fuel in Finland, Sweden and Norway, arriving back in Ireland with almost empty tanks.
Marina costs were significantly higher in 2016 because Portugal, southern Spain, Atlantic France are significantly more expensive than many Baltic and North Sea marinas.
Food costs are pretty much for a couple.
In the next weeks, I will update the latter half of 2016, the trip from Rota Spain to Gibraltar, Morocco, the Canaries and Martinique.
2017 update will be from Martinique to Panama Canal, Costa Rica and up to Mexico for the winter.
It made me envious; I know, that’s ridiculous, but still.
Dauntless spent two and a half years in Northern Europe because I knew we would like it. The weather, the people, the cultures all, the food, fit my number one criteria of staying off the beaten track and living well as I did so.
That was expected. All the lands of coastal Northern Europe have a real seafaring culture. Every boat waves at you, especially fisherman. From Galicia in northwest Spain to the far eastern Baltic, it was a wonderful experience with minimal bureaucracy.
In those 2+ years, 20+ countries, 100+ stops, mostly in towns and cities, I probably spent less than 120 minutes on the formalities of checking in (Passports, boats documents, crew lists) and checking out.
No wait, there was no checking out.
The peoples, the lands, met and greatly exceeded my expectations.
Then, we headed south. 90% of all boats are south, mostly in the Mediterranean, you know, Italy, Greece, Turkey and southern France and Spain. Everyone wants to go there, so that’s a big Do Not Enter sign for me.
So, we headed south with low expectations. Little did I realize they were not low enough.
Prices trebled, temperatures doubled and bureaucracy was like a pig is slop. The first two stops in Portugal took the same amount of time as the last 100 stops of the previous two years.
And then it got worse.
In virtually every stop, 5 to 10 pieces of paper to sign to check-in; make sure you return tomorrow to fill out and sign the same papers to check-out. Don’t even mention the expense.
But you have read all of this before. Turns out Martinique was the high point of the entire Caribbean. It’s almost weird to say that they were the least bureaucratic. In fact, they were just like northern France. But that was certainly the exception.
So now, having endured all of that and more to get Dauntless a quarter of the way back around the world, I sit here with envy of Dirona.
But I realize it’s not Dirona I’m envious of, it’s being in the middle of the ocean.
I’m a traveler, so when I’m not, I’ll always be envious of those who are.
Should I have stayed in northern Europe for another year?
The route I ended up taking between Galicia in the Northwest corner of Spain and the Canaries.
First the additional year. I love Ireland, the people, even the weather (you never got bored). But Ireland itself is not really cruising country. Getting up and down the coasts can be a bitch, at best. I did love A Coruna though. Why not there? That was Plan B after all.
Then Schengen reared its ugly head. For those of you who still don’t know what “Schengen” is, it was the city in Luxembourg in which almost all the countries of Europe (nothing to do with E.U.) decided to have open borders in 1989. Open borders meant just that. Prior to 1991 or whenever it went into effect, one had to stop at each and every frontier and show passport. On my many drives from the Netherlands to Italy, that meant 3 border crossings. But they were pretty quick (nothing like the USA-Canada boondoggle). They never even stamped your passport. While the rule was, you were allowed in 90 days in each country, no one cared and as I said, no one stamped passports other than at airports and not even then many times.
But with Schengen and the open borders, they decided they still had to control immigration. Therefore non E.U. people could only stay 90 days out of every 180 days. So, before you could move from country to country every 90 days a stay within the rules, now, you had to leave the continent or go to the U.K. or Ireland. That’s why Dauntless was in Waterford.
Ultimately, I realized that to keep Dauntless in A Coruna for the winter would not be feasible, since I could no longer go to NYC for 3 months and then return.
By the way. So, Schengen was written to keep people from overstaying, yet today the E.U. gets about 200,000 people a month from Africa and the Middle East.
But they got Dauntless out so all is OOOKKK.
And another aside. While those morons in Washington debate who to let in. NO ONE, Dems or Republicans, talks about we have no system to track who leaves. Wouldn’t you think if we really cared, the first thing would be using one of the billion computers the government has to track people as they leave and compare that list to who came in. What a clown show!
Now, sorry for the diatribe. My route which took me down the coast of Portugal and around the corner to Gibraltar. I didn’t even see the Gibraltar Apes.
I suppose the real issue here is that we were really beaten up almost the entire trip from Porto, Portugal all the way to the Canaries. By stopping in Gibraltar, I added about another 360 miles to our trip.
I actually had a sailor in France tell me that I should go direct to the Canaries from Vigo in NW Spain. But I wanted to see Portugal and I am glad I did.
But southern Spain and Morocco, ended up being exactly what I expected, hot, dry and dry and hot.
I could have spent those weeks in the Canaries. The Canaries reminded me of everything I liked about Galicia. Great people, food and a boating culture.
Looking for something else, I came across my 2015 Post Mortem of my First Atlantic Passage. It’s fascinating. Makes me feel I should write another one for this passage. I will, but also think I would like to do a compare & contrast, a great teacher’s tool.
But this is not that. This is more about the how and why I went the way we went. In thinking about this post, I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past couple weeks. But even now, I go back and forth, would I or would I? That is the question.
Not my usual rainbow and sunset picture, but appropriate none the less. Being in Saigon gives me the opportunity to think, reflect and plan for the future.
Being away from Dauntless, longer than originally planned, but in fact, it’s worked out for the best. When I am on Dauntless, short term takes precedence.
As I have reflected on the events of 2016. I found myself racing through some places I really loved, like Galicia; while staying months in places I really didn’t, like Southern Spain, Morocco.
It was a tumultuous year, in every aspect. The year started with Dauntless was in the capable hands of the Kehoe Boys in New Ross, Ireland, another place I miss very much. I, in the meantime, was in NY and then Julie and I took a trip to Galicia in mid-February to see if we could keep Dauntless in A Coruna or Vigo, for the winter 2016-17. We both loved Galicia as much as we thought we would. Thus, Plan A to return to North America became Plan B.
Plan B: Ireland, Scotland for the summer, then France in August and Galicia by mid-September for the winter. Now, the Schengen three-month rule really puts a crimp on spending time (and money) in Europe for non-E.U. cruisers, but I’d spend the off times in NY and USA.
Then Life Happened and the Plan Changed, again.
Even before leaving NYC at the end of March I found myself going back to Plan A, getting Dauntless back to the New World.
So far, so good. Plan A would get me to Asia sooner rather than later. But I did not think about how much I liked the cruising in Ireland, Scotland, Atlantic France (Brittany) and Spain (Galicia).
The route from Ireland to Panama is dictated by climate and currents. Not a lot of options, but I’m not sure I really thought about the choices I did have well enough.
300 days and 7,000 miles later, we backed into the slip at Fish Hook Marina in Golfito, Costa Rica.
Last year, my goal was Mexico, I’m a few weeks and miles short of that goal, but all in all, I’m happy.
Well, maybe ecstatic.
My euphoria has been enhanced by the Pacific. Why have you folks kept it such a secret?
Since arriving in the Pacific, our 5 days of cruising has required the use of the paravane stabilizers NOT ONCE.
Now, to put that in context, since leaving Ireland on July 1st, 9 months ago, we’ve probably spent about 180 of those days underway, we needed the paravane stabilizers on all but 5 days. So, in our first 5 days of cruising in the Pacific, we have already matched our 2016 total for flat or small seas.
I’m looking forward to the coming year.
Now, I’m flying to NYC.
When I get back at the end of April, I’ll be ready to begin phase II.
At this point, it’s getting up the west coast.
How long that takes is anybody’s guess, but I don’t have the same time pressure that has driven me the last two years.
I may even have time to wake up and smell the coffee.