A note from Dick and Gail Barnes:
Dick and Gail Barnes are off on another excellent adventure on their Nordhavn 57, Ice Dancer II. They departed Honolulu on May 4, 2009 for an expected one-year cruise of the deep South Pacific. On Ice Dancer (I), a Nordhavn 50, they completed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and French Polynesia for a total of 23,545 nm. Ice Dancer II has been to Mexico, Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Cape Horn to Hawaii for a total of 28,708 nm. At their first stop for this trip, Palmyra Atoll, they had completed 52,253 nm on their two Nordhavns. You are invited to share their observations, here.
June 12, 2009 Friday
Pago Pago, American Samoa S14 16.6 W170 41.3
We arrived in Pago Pago at first light on Thursday, 05/28, seven days after leaving Fanning Atoll. For several days we operated the main engine at reduced rpm, aiming for a daytime landfall. It became apparent that we would not be able to slow our speed enough, if we continued running on the main engine. To avoid entering an unknown harbor in the dark, we ran on the wing engine for 12 hours on Wednesday, cutting our speed in half. Our timing strategy worked, and our concerns turned out to be well founded. Even though we had detailed electronic charting for the harbor and approach, the longitude was off by about a quarter mile. This is typical of charts from less developed areas of the world. Your eyes in daylight make sense of your surroundings much easier than using radar at night.
Coincidentally, we were running the wing engine to provide hydraulic power for our stabilizers. Tuesday evening, we lost pressure from the hydraulic pump on the main engine, and started the auxiliary to maintain roll stability. American Bow Thruster, the manufacturer of our hydraulic system, helped us with diagnostics after we reached port. We narrowed the problem to the pump and found the splined drive had sheared off inside the engine drive adapter. By the end of the week, a replacement pump was on its way and arrived Monday. Parts for the drive adapter were ordered and assembled by PAE/Nordhavn. We expect that they will be shipped, today.
Assistance and cooperation of American Bowthruster and Nordhavn have been exemplary. American Samoa utilizes the U.S. postal system and ships at rates comparable to those within the 50 states. This is a big advantage. Pago Pago has good provisioning and a modest selection of tools and hardware.
Alcom Marine Electronics shipped to Pago Pago a new Icom SSB radio. Once again, it gave great service. Our transmit function failed between Honolulu and Palmyra, even though we thought a Honolulu authorized shop had repaired this problem. We will send the old unit to the factory and use it as a spare. The new unit works great and we are back on the air.
You cannot underestimate how important it is to have competent and responsive suppliers that are willing to help support your cruising needs. PAE/Nordhavn deserves credit for assembling a strong team of employees and companies.
American Samoa has been occupied for about 3,000 years, and may be the initial home of the Polynesian people. Pago Pago's people are warm and helpful. Tuna fishing and canning represents the major economic input. The industry's impact has been good for development and jobs. It makes possible many of the shore-side amenities. It is a beautiful setting. However, in a selfish way, you have to think how much nicer the place would be without the noise, trash and smell.
Dick and Gail Barnes
Ice Dancer II