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.
Islas Galapagos to Hawaii.
We spent the first two weeks of April enjoying Islas Galapagos, once again. Family joined us for the second week. Afterward, we fueled at Baltra, and made a six-day run to Zihautanejo. Fueling was from a bunkering facility that had an automatic shut off, if flow dropped below 25 gallons per minute; nearly twice as fast as a typical marina dispenser. This is faster than our aft tanks can easily vent.
The six-day crossing from Baltra, Islas Galapagos to Zihautanejo, Mexico was in favorable sea conditions, unlike the harsh, beam winds from the Gulfs of Tehuantepec and Papaguya that we experienced on the way down. At Zihautanejo, we cleared customs and welcomed my older brother aboard. After an overnight stop at Islas Mujeres, we cruised to the marina at Las Hadas, Manzanillo, where we topped off our diesel supply. Next stop was Tenacatita, where we again enjoyed this highlight of Mexico's Gold Coast. On April 30, we stopped off the village of Chamala, whereupon a Mexican Armada gunboat pulled alongside. With heavily armed marines sporting flack jackets, they held us while searching our boat for 1-1/2 hours. They were disappointed to find no contraband, and left us alone.
On May 1, we anchored at Punta Ipala, a small cove just south of Cabo Corrientes. Its location allows a strategic, early morning departure around the cape that avoids strong winds that dominate in afternoon and evening hours. Anchoring in the wind at Ipala required precision to keep Ice Dancer II off the rocks and aquaculture floats that choke the cove. Punta Mita was our next anchorage, a bouncy roadstead northwest of Puerto Vallarta. A strip of development on shore caters to high-end visitors. Our next adventure was navigating up a shallow river to San Blas. We bought a few supplies and dinghied our way back to the boat through hordes of biting, miniscule bugs. In Alaska, we call them no-seeums, because you can't.
Not far from San Blas was a wonderful anchorage that hosted great wildlife. Isla Isabela is located at 21 50.9N 105 52.6W. It has a small, seasonal fishing village. Otherwise, it is uninhabited, except for green land iguanas, nesting frigates, blue- and brown-footed boobies and kittiwakes. This small island supports many of the diverse species seen in the Galapagos. On May 5, we started an overnight run to Bahia Muertos, on Baja California's east coast and on May 7, we continued on to La Paz. After visiting with my oldest brother at his La Paz home, we took on friends from Washington for a trip around the nearby Sea of Cortez islands, then worked our way down the coast to Cabo San Lucas, where they departed.
We left Cabo on May 21, and made stops at Bahia Santa Maria and Islas San Benito, arriving at Ensenada May 25. Marina Corral at Ensenada has a good fuel dock with advantageous fuel prices. We topped off our tanks, spent the night at Cruiseport Marina and checked out of Mexico the next day.
Back in the USA, we visited with family then hauled our Nordhavn 57 at Newport Harbor Shipyard. It had only been eight months since we had hauled at Port Townsend Shipyard, but many miles had passed under our keel and it was time for a thorough cleaning and new bottom paint. We wanted all equipment in top condition for a Pacific crossing to Hawaii. Somewhere along the trip north from Cape Horn, we lost a chunk off the winglet at the bottom of our starboard stabilizer fin. Other than that, the bottom was unscathed. American Bow Thruster changed out bearings and one stabilizer ram that was leaking hydraulic fluid. Alcom Marine Electronics repaired one of our two Simrad autopilots and replaced four outside Bose speakers that failed.
With a clean hull and gear repaired, we left Dana Point Harbor for Hawaii, on June 20. We ran abeam to heavy northwest winds and seas for the first three days. The remainder of the trip was under excellent conditions. En route, we changed our landfall from Oahu to Kauai, so that we could enjoy one of our favorite Hawaiian anchorages. On July 1, we anchored at Hanalei Bay after 2,301 nautical miles from Dana Point. It took 11.5 days at an average speed of 8.3 knots. On the crossing, we boated five mahi mahi and ran for one morning on the wing engine, while we changed oil (10.5 gallons) and oil filter on the 12.5 liter John Deere engine. Total fuel used was 1,695 gallons of 2,000 total on board. After enjoying Hanalei Bay for three days, we ran the 100 nm to our slip at Ko Olina Marina, 15 miles west of Honolulu.
Ice Dancer II performed very well for more than 26,000 nautical miles traveled in our first 17 months of cruising. In that period, we traveled from California to The sea of Cortez, to the Kodiak Island group of Alaska, to Cape Horn, Chile, back to California and then Hawaii. In our Nordhavn 50 Ice Dancer (I), we cruised over 24,000 nautical miles, covering California to the Sea of Cortez, to the Kodiak Island group of Alaska, to California, to Hawaii, to all of the French Polynesia groups, to Hawaii and finally to California, where a lucky couple became her new owner.
After more than 50,000 nautical miles, our appetite for adventure is undiminished. We are planning our next trip, south from Hawaii. The general route is to Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, mainland Australia, Tasmania and then northward along the west rim of the Pacific, perhaps following the Aleutian Islands to Alaska. In the meantime, we plan to enjoy some cruising within the Hawaiian Island group, based out of Ko Olina.