Saturday, September 28, 2013

Another Easy Passage

We made the final leap of our summer's cruising from Jaluit back to Kwajalein Atoll, where we'll leave Soggy Paws for a few months to go see friends and family in the U.S. This trip was 251 nm, anchor to anchor. And we could have water-skied the entire way, the wind was so calm.

With 5 knots of wind the ENTIRE trip, the passage was exceedingly easy. Most of the time the wind was out of a northern quadrant, so it was essentially "on the nose". We were able to turn off the engine and sail for about 5 hours one night--oh blessed peace. But in flukey winds, on a schedule, it's a lot easier to just pull the sails in tight, crank the engine, and make some miles in the calm conditions. So that's what we did. We may set a record this month for the most engine hours since we left Florida. But, boy, have we seen a lot more of the Marshall Islands that almost everyone--cruisers and locals alike.

The only really memorable part of the trip was that Kwajalein was having "range activity" during the last night, and I happened to look up from my book at just the right time, and saw the missile (?) streaking in to Kwaj. It was kinda cool (but short-lived). The main activity at Kwaj is testing missile defense systems, and they shoot something into the area every couple of months. This is the first one we've seen ourselves.

Because we've been sending in Position Reports via Winlink, we get an advance email from some ham on Kwaj advising us of pending launch activity--the exact coordinates of the closure area, and the times the area is closed. The same notices are posted on shipping channels (Navtex, etc) so the shipping in the area knows about it. Most of the launches are scheduled for late night/early morning, so its not usually a factor in moving around during daylight hours.

We arrived at the South Pass at Kwajalein Atoll about 7am, and motor-sailed an additional 35 miles up to anchor at the north end for a couple of days. The weather is so great for diving, we thought we'd get a couple more dives on the airplane wrecks here, before we head in to put Soggy Paws to bed for awhile. We have a friend from Kwaj Base flying up on the afternoon plane to meet us here and dive with us.

We were amazed to find that the little store here has Romaine Lettuce and Tomatoes, and ice cream, and whole wheat bread. Plus we managed to buy a few gallons of diesel fuel.

On Monday we'll make our way south to Kwaj Base, where we've arranged sponsorship for us for the week we'll be onboard Soggy Paws. We fly out "Space Available" on a military flight on Oct 8, and are scheduled to arrive at Travis AFB (near San Franciso, CA) on Oct 10, after spending one night in Honolulu.

At 09/27/2013 6:39 AM (utc) our position was 09°23.60'N 167°28.29'E

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