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09-03-13
Jim Leishman

August 29 was a busy day with a predawn arrival in Vancouver. After three days of running down the Inside Passage from the Dixon Entrance - which we entered the morning of the 26th with developing gale conditions. We’d been blessed with high pressure and pleasant weather since leaving Dutch Harbor and Bob Jones (our forecaster) was warning of gale conditions in the Hecate Straights and storm conditions to our south including the Queen Charlotte Sound. The obvious choice was enter at Dixon Entrance and run inside the last 490 miles to Vancouver.

I had concerns about night running the Inside Passage with narrow channels, reduced visibility and an abundance of floating logs. It takes a lot of confidence in your watch captains to get any night rest but thanks to the competence of Jeff Leishman and Paul Grover we ran without incident - however by our arrival in Vancouver we were all pretty tired.

We had made one stop just north of the Seymour Narrows as necessitated by the requirement to enter the narrows at slack tide so we took advantage of the stop and some good weather to clean the top sides of our hull and give the decks a good wash down. It was great to make this stop and to show David, Denzel, Johnny and Joe the magnificence of the Inside Passage. I think more photos and video were taken in the last three days than throughout the whole trip. I found myself thinking constantly of cruising again in this area as I think no finer cruising ground exists anywhere.

As we entered Vancouver our odometer clicked over 6,500 nautical miles and we all congratulated ourselves on how smooth the trip had gone, how wonderfully Aurora had performed and that we were delivering her without a scratch. We were a tired but proud crew.

We completed our check in at customs and proceed to deliver Aurora to her boathouse at Port Moody.

My thanks go out to Bob and Diane Conconi for making this voyage and Aurora possible and to a great crew including Derek Christensen, Brett Leishman who left us in Adak, Alaska. Thanks too to Ron Porter for all his help throughout the voyage including putting together some wonderful meals after Derik’s departure in Adak.

Special thanks have to go to the unsung heroes that watched after our engineering needs and really did the heavy lifting on this trip – David, Johnny and Joe. Thanks too to Denzel for cleaning a thousand dishes with a constant smile and especially to videographer Doug Harlow for documenting the trip and presenting it on the internet for the world to see.


9-02-13
Doug Harlow

We have been home for more than two days now and have had a little bit of a chance to think back on our experiences aboard N120 Aurora.

One of the things I will remember most is all the good people we met and how willing everyone was to help out. Everywhere we went people asked the same question "You need fish?"

I was also so impressed on how the crew, engineers and captains performed. The engineers (David, Joe and Johnny) are some of the smartest guys I have ever met. You could ask them anything about the boat and they would have an answer for even the most complex engine room question right down to "How do I turn on my TV?". Truly amazing guys.

Paul Grover and I connected right away. He is a fascinating guy. Starting quarterback for University of Oregon and played in the Rosebowl, commercial airline pilot and pilot in Vietnam. He has a million great stories. Never repeated one of them!

Made good friends with some of the younger guys on board. Derek the chef is an incredible talent. A real creative guy and just fun to be around. It was great reconnecting with Bret. We have taken a few trips together in the past and we always had a good time. Also, Denzel who was a positive figure to have around. Most 12 year olds would be super bored with a trip like this, but I never saw him complain once. Ron was also fun to have onboard. We had an especially good time in Hong Kong. Bob and Diane were also great. Not many owners would take a delivery trip like this.

Most of all, I was impressed with Jeff and Jim Leishman. Not only are they two of the owners of the company (and two long time friends of mine), but they took the time to make this trip not just for the adventure, but to get a better understanding of the boat and how to make the next one even better. They were also involved in every aspect of the journey from clearing up all the red tape in some of the ports right down to doing maintenance on the boat. They're a true testament to the dedication of Nordhavn.

Then there is Aurora herself who performed flawlessly. Even in the roughest of seas, I always felt completely safe and comfortable. The audio and video system thats aboard wasn't bad either!

Anyway, I'm happy Aurora arrived safely and that everyone is now home safe with their families.

This was truly a life changing experience...looking forward to the next one.

Doug


8-29-13
Doug Harlow

5:30 am
We arrived just outside of Vancouver harbor at around 5:00am. We are currently waiting just before the Lions Gate bridge for it to get a little lighter outside before we move ahead.

 


7:00 am
Entered the harbor and made our way to the dock. Good the fianlly be here. We are waiting for customs so we can't leave the boat. Raining super hard here!

 


12:00 pm
Cleared customs and Aurora has been delivered toBob and Diane's boat house. What a great day. More photos and updates to follow.

 

Click here for live tracking


8-28-13
Doug Harlow

Anchored last night at Spout Islet on Hanson Island. It was a beautiful little cove with thick forest. We were able to do alittle stargazing last night which was nice. Haven't had too many clear nights on this trip.

Also, I was able to shoot some exterior and running shots of the Aurora which I will be posting later.

Pulled up anchor this morning around 10:30am and headed out. Next stop Vancouver!

Today's playlist: Alison Krauss


8-27-13
Doug Harlow

Just about halfway down the inside passage to Vancouver. Rainy and foggy today, but nice smooth conditions.

Lots of little towns on the way. You could spend months exploring all of the different coves, towns and channels around here. Too bad we only have a couple more days.

Had a great dinner last night. Ron roasted up two chickens with veggies and potatoes. So much for slimming down for the folks back home.

Today's playlist: Gordon Lightfoot

One note: The internet has been spotty for the last few days, so some of the older blogs have just now been posted.


8-26-13
Doug Harlow

Coming into Dixon entrance this morning. Nice calm waters, beautiful mountains and warmer temperatures. Its good to see green again. Plus there are tons of whales around here. Most are further off, but if you just look around long enough you can see one.

Spirits are high onboard. Aurora is purring along nicely.

Today's playlist: Martin Denny

 


8-25-13
Doug Harlow

Rough seas today. We had fair weather all the way through the Gulf of Alaska until now. We had 12-14ft swells and 40kts of wind. Made for a bumpy ride. Its kind of like it knew it was our last day out here and wanted to give us one last show.

Still managed to eat well though. Joe cooked up some more crab and black cod with rice.

Today's playlist: Ray LaMontagne

 

 


8-24-13
Doug Harlow

Another easy day at sea. Winds picked up to about 25 kts. in the afternoon, but other than that its been an easy ride.

We'll be in the Dixon entrance to the inside passage early Monday morning, so we are looking forward to seeing land again. Should be a beautiful way to end the trip.

 

Today's playlist: Hep-Cat/Jack Johnson


8-23-13
Doug Harlow

Pretty smooth seas today. The weather through the Gulf of Alaska has so far been great (don't want to curse us). Looking forward to reaching the Canadian Coast in about two and a half days. Went out for the daily engine "full power run" this afternoon. Never get tired of seeing that.

Joe, one of the engineers and now one of our cooks fixed up something I have never had before. Balsam Pears stuffed with Pork. He also made a side dish of Black Cod which was given to us by the Russian fisherman in Dutch Harbor. Amazing! Ron prepared fajita burritos for lunch. Where am I?

Today's playlist: Massive Attack, Air (special thanks to Brian Leishman)


8-22-13
Jim Leishman

We finally departed Dutch Harbor after some unexpected delays courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard. After our arrival on Sunday we were delivered an order to not leave port until we could deliver a COFR or Certificate of Financial Responsibility that is required for vessels of our gross tonnage. This certification insures that the vessel owner has the financial resources to clean up any pollution spillage from the vessel and the federal government takes it very seriously.

We arrived at the pilot transfer point off Dutch Harbor where we took aboard Alaska Pilot John Schibel who directed us to the commercial dock where we would take on five thousand additional gallons of fuel - all arranged by our agent Alaska Vessel Agent - Monika Bergert. Another benefit of our grand size is a harbor pilot is compulsorily at many locations. Once in Alaska and the services of a pilot are used there are applications that allow exemptions but for this entry it was about $2,200 inward pilot service and another $2,200 to get us out. John apologized for the cost but the port requires it and there’s no way around it the first time.

So our fueling went well and Monika provided us with a loaner car. The customs came aboard and cleared us all in without any drama and we anticipated departing the following morning – Monday until the Coast Guard Officer Robinson paid us a visit and politely advised us of the COFR requirement. So we spent an additional 24 hours in Dutch Harbor waiting for our insurance company to arrange the document – during which time we did a little provisioning, touring and thoroughly enjoyed this unique place and numerous nice and interesting people.

The COFR was finally delivered to Dutch Harbor Coast Guard mid day Tuesday and they expedited our clearance from the port and we pulled away from the dock with Pilot John aboard at 17:00 local time under beautiful blue sky and laid a course for the Akutan Pass - timing it so we could take advantage of a predicted four knot current on an ebbing tide. We had good sunlight until after 23:00 so we were treated a beautiful afternoon with brilliant green islands, snow capped mountains and an abundance of birdlife and bright sunshine that warmed the aft deck to tee-shirt temperatures. It’s amazing how rejuvenating bright sunshine and clear sky is after days of overcast and fog.

We’ve been running now for forty eight hours and are enjoying good traveling conditions with 15 knots of wind at our stern and light seas. The movement of the boat is hardly discernible and we glide along at 9 knots consuming only 24 gallons per hour from our two MTU engines. A quick calculation shows that we are consuming 240 horsepower per side of our 1,000 available or only about 24% of our power. Normally Aurora will cruise faster – probably at 10.5 to 11.5 knots or more but for us the trade off is economy verses time – this speed makes sense for us as we’re paying the fuel bills.

Bob Jones must have felt bad about the inclement weather in the Aleutians over the past weeks so he has ordered up some pretty good conditions for us all the way into the Dixon Entrance – between Ketchikan, Alaska and Prince Rupert, Canada. Depending on weather we will either turn more to the south and enter Queen Charlotte Sound or continue into the Dixon and run inside down to Vancouver Island.

I know that some may wonder why we would worry so much about such trivial things such as weather in a 414 Gross Ton vessel as stout as the Nordhavn. Well – it’s still a little boat on a big ocean at over 50 degrees of north latitude and the fisherman in Dutch Harbor told us to hug the beach (meaning Kodiak Island) and get across and inside as soon as you can. You know the Alaska Crabbers on TV with the big steel 200 foot boats. They respect the Gulf of Alaska too.

Oh by the way – it is Doug Harlow’s birthday today and we have cake and will allow him a small ration of grog (don’t worry -he won’t be allowed outside, near any machinery or in the wheelhouse and he will wear protective foot ware and be supervised) to celebrate the occasion.

Jim


8-21-13
Doug Harlow

Left Dutch Harbor around 5:00 pm and passed between Unalaska and Unimak Islands which put us into the Gulf of Alaska last night. The sun came out and it stayed light until about 10:00pm so we had some incredible views of the islands. We haven't had much in the way of sun this whole trip so it was a nice surprise. I'll have pictures posted later today.

Since we lost our beloved Chef Derek (He didn't fall overboard, he got off in Adak), the cooking duties have been split up between Joe, one of our engineers, and crew member Ron. Joe has been making delicious Chinese style dishes and Ron has been cooking more western style dishes, so we have a great variety of food.

Also, as were literally pulling away from the dock at Dutch Harbor, our new friends Andie and Daynal drove up and gave us three nice sized red Salmon which they just caught an hour before. What a great send off!

Today's playlist: James Hunter/Jackie Green


8-20-13
Doug Harlow

Been here at Dutch Harbor for the last two days. Waiting on some paperwork to clear. We should be undeway again this afternoon.

It's been a great stay here. The harbor is super clean and super well organized. There are fish processing plants eveywhere. Its a pretty amazing place.

Once again we have met some incredible people. Sometimes people just show up at the dock and wait till one us comes out. Yesterday we had six fishermen from Russia show up at the dock. They couldn't believe how beautiful the boat was, so Jeff gave them a tour. They turned out to be some of the funniest people I've ever met. They hung out for a few hours telling us fish stories.

We also had new friends named Jeff, Andy and Dalyn come over for a tour.

Also, later, a guy named Doug Seitz (Doug #2) came by for a crab dinner which Joe prepared.

What a day!

Today's playlist: The Specials


8-18-13
Doug Harlow

Just pulled into Dutch Harbor about 30mins ago (9:00 am). What a beautiful place. Calm waters, no wind, snow covered peaks. Going ashore at 10:00 am as soon as we clear customs. Stay tuned for pictures.


8-17-13
Jim Leishman

Adak, Alaska - Aleutian Islands - "The origin of all wind".

We departed Adak yesterday at 09:00 after seeking refuge within the port of Sweeper Bay last Sunday. Approaching Adak seas were building through 15 feet and we had steady Northeasterly winds of over 50 knots so the choice to stop was an easy one.

Adak is a beautiful Island with steep grass covered terrain but virtually devoid of trees. Like Attu and Kiska, Adak was heavenly developed during WW2, with a large airport, shipping docks, warehouses and infrastructure for many thousands of personal and was actually lightly bombed by the Japanese early in the war. As the Cold War developed Adak became part of the Distant Early Warning (DEW line) system that monitored the sky's for Russian bombers headed towards North America. Adak remained a busy place until the mid 90s and the end of the Cold War era and now only about 200 residents remain within this once thriving community of thousands of people.

Unfortunately we were unable to leave Aurora due to high winds and rough water on Sweeper Bay until Thursday. Our original plan was to arrive in Dutch Harbor by Tuesday the 13th where we would meet with the Conconi's children and have them aboard for the last leg into Vancouver.

It was to be a tight schedule with school starting the 25th of August and with the weather delay in Adak plans had to change. Bob and Diane reluctantly decided to leave us to spend the planned summer time with children. Our own Mike Tellaria had completed his owners manual work on Aurora and Bret Leishman and chef Derek Christensen had to return to college and other responsibilities - so all departed on the Thursday night Alaska Airline flight to Anchorage. The Boeing 737 calls on Adak Sundays and Thursdays to haul out fresh Halibut, Cod and Idiot Fish along with incoming town supplies. The front of this freighter has some passenger seating.

Adak is an amazing place. It's natural beauty is worth the visit but the history and the future is where my interest lies. There are modern neighborhoods, huge administration buildings, churches, hospitals, warehouses, police stations, prisons, hangers, even an abandon McDonalds restaurant - all with open doors, furniture, filing cabinets - people just left in 1995 when the government cut off the funding. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of dollars spent on infrastructure all now left to decay in the harsh arctic winds and weather of the Aleutians? maybe not....

The people we met in Adak are a special breed - all eager to help and share information - all very proud of their home. Adak Harbor-Master Elaine Smiloff couldn't be kinder and welcomed us into the protection of Sweeper Bay offering us daily assistance by VHF. Our Satellite dishes were blocked by the mountains to our south and the AT&T cell service routinely goes down during storms so we were without communications most of our stay. Elaine provided weather updates and helped with our provisioning needs and flights for our departing crew.

Maybe there is a bright future for Adak and it is the people like Elaine and the Aleut Enterprise LLC and will keep this wonderful place viable. As as alternate to Dutch Harbor - Adak is a viable provisioning and fuel stop and any visitor is guaranteed a special experience. I hope I can return sometime soon.....


8-17-13
Doug Harlow

Today's conditions: 18kts of wind, 6-8ft swells.

Coming up on Dutch Harbor. Should be there first thing in the morning if not sooner.

Thinking a lot today about our time on Adak Island and all the good people we met (only know there first names though). Eliane the Harbor Master was the person we got to know best. She was so helpful with everything. Even gave us a bunch of Caribou dogs which were probably the best hot dogs I ever had. Also, Sharon, Jacquelyn and Mike the resturant owner, cook, fisherman and car rental guy. Johnny the fisherman who gave us a plate of fresh halibut when we first arrived.

We are also missing Derek, Bret, Mike, Diane and Bob who got on a flight for home from Adak. We had a great time together!

There's good people wherever you go.

Today's playlist: Antonio Carlos Jobim/Bebel Gilberto


8-16-13
Doug Harlow

We are back and underway again to Dutch Harbor.

After hitting a severe storm with 55+kts of wind and 12-14ft swells on our way to Dutch Harbor we decided to take refuge at Adak Island. We spent almost four days anchored at Sweepers Cove on the island. Due to the shear cliffs, we were without internet most of the time so we were unable to make website updates. We now have full internet and will be adding to the N120 Delivery pages through out the day. I have already added two days of photos to the photo page: http://www.nordhavn.com/models/120/delivery/photos/hk_vancouver.php

Also, I am currently uploading a video of some of the weather we ran into off of Adak.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Today's playlist: Jimmy Buffett


8-12-13
Doug Harlow

We are well into the Bering Sea now with the Aleutian Islands on our starboard. Yesterday we had smooth seas with almost no wind. Last night the winds kicked up to 30kts with 6-10ft swells which gave us a rough ride. Conditions have calmed down this morning.

It's pretty cloudy and raining so there isn't a clear view of land just yet. If things clear up today I'll be able to shoot some photos and get them posted. Stay tuned!

Today's playlist: Ali Farka Touré/Bob Dylan


8-11-13
Mike Telleria

Machinery Spaces
No matter how big the boat, fire aboard any boat is always a BIG deal. And the bigger the boat, the longer it can take to react to a fire. The challenge of providing fire protection for Aurora is no small matter, either (just take a look at the Fire Plan). Large, remote machinery spaces and the ability to run the boat with minimal crew require robust means for fire detection and suppressions.

For detection and alarm, Aurora relies on a zoned protection system with multiple smoke and heat detectors located in every compartment throughout the boat. Any problems will immediately be sounded on the master panel in the pilothouse and various repeater screens around the vessel. If action is necessary, a dedicated 120-gpm fire pump is always on standby and can be brought online with the push of a button. The pump serves five fire hose stations, each with 60-feet of hose and a spray nozzle – every compartment on the boat is covered. There is also a dedicated auxiliary fire pump in the event the main pump is unavailable, and the engine room bilge pump can also quickly be aligned to pressurize the fire main from the sea water cooling system if the auxiliary fire pump is out of commission – redundancies aplenty.

Automatic fire suppression systems are also included for the engine room and lazarette – good to know because most fires aboard start in the engine room. The system is set to alarm at 140 degrees, and if the temperature reaches 195 degrees, a 30-second countdown is initiated. At the end of 30 seconds, the extinguisher bottle will automatically discharge to put out the fire. Manual releases are also provided for immediate discharge.
Of course, hand-held extinguishers are pretty much everywhere, giving the crew a real chance to quickly knock down a fire before it becomes a serious problem. But if one does get out of hand, Aurora is armed to teeth to and ready to react.


8-10-13
Doug Harlow

Woke up last night to 6-8 ft seas and 30 kn winds. The day was super calm with hardly any wind at all, so it was a bit of a surprise. We even filled the Jacuzzi in the afternoon!

Today is fairly smooth. We should be coming up on the Aleutian Islands by the end of the day which everyone is pretty excited about.

We also had a little Habomai Pirate party on the Sky Lounge deck yesterday which was a lot of fun. Arrrrrr!

Today's playlist: Lee Scratch Perry


8-09-13
Jim Leishman

Just passing through 50 degrees north and this morning we spotted a pod of Killer Whales - a common sight in these high latitudes. Now, in little more than a day’s run we will approach the Western Aleutian Island of Attu where we will take up a final course to Dutch Harbor. Attu Island along with Kiska and Unalaska (where Dutch Harbor is) all played a significant role in WWll which I'll explain in my next blog but for now an interesting subject comes to mind after noticing that the islands ahead are also known as the “Rat Islands”.

As most readers know we have a forum where readers can ask questions of the crew and we are suppose to respond with informative and enthusiastic responses. While most questions are reasonable and solicit an answer from us - some are questions that have been previously answered, are uncomfortable to answer or on rare occasion are just anonymous nuts saying weird things which we ignore. However - they are all read.

As we were leaving the Coast of Japan with the mysterious Kuril Islands to port - we received the email below;

Email: H.L.nelson@gmail.com
City: Burnham Thorpe
State: Norfolk
Zip: 01328
Country: GBR
Subject: The sea's breeze
Question: To begin,  I must make great account  of what a fine and blessed boat ye Californians have conceived, a true and rightful aesthetic pleasure she be!
 
Surely grande enough for ye grand pacific crossing I must believe, one of the few ocean voyages I have yet to make myself, but ay sure tempted and inspired since following your journey; my many thanks be it too, for the open opportunity to observe ye travels.
 
So forth, my question remains in regards to your most recent cordinates; I see you have safely and uneventfully passed through the Habomai tides. Be their any concerns or preparations of protection taken in the unfortunate case of a Habomai pirate threat? I've heard horrific tales of their type, nearly enough to keep meself out from the waters.
 
Thanks be it again,
may the waters be right an soulful.
  
~Nelson

So obviously this guy is a bit odd and we decide not to respond and to just ignore him. No reason to solicit any more correspondence from him - we'll just let it go.

In the days following that email I had conversations with Jeff and Paul along with others aboard trying to establish if there might be a threat for Habomai Pirates. We all really hate pirates and I've worried about them while in the Straights of Mallaca, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and other areas - but I had never heard about the Habomais. I figured they might be some Mongolian tribe that operated off the coast of Siberia and the idea of being approached by them was not appealing. I'll admit that over the past couple of days I have felt relieved knowing we would soon be in American Waters and free of that risk.

So, when I noticed the Western Aleutians including Attu and Kiska are also known as the Rat Islands it reminded me that last night a formerly esteemed member of our crew, (who specializes in cooking and has a huge mustache) at a moment of great remorse - admitted that he covertly and cruelly wrote that forum question that went unanswered but struck fear in the hearts of our crew.

Had it not been for his green bean and bacon casserole along with tender Filet Mignon served directly after his admission of guilt he might have been given leave on the storm swept Rat Islands that lie ahead.


8-09-13
Doug Harlow

Had a nice surprise on morning watch today. A pod of Orcas came up on our starboard and put on a little show. I managed to snap a few photos even though they were kind of far off. If you stare long enough out into the ocean, you can see all sorts of things going on.

Calm seas today. No wind, fog has lifted and we're making good head way. Still can't believe we'll soon be in the Bering sea and then Dutch Harbor. Two places I never thought I would see. A few more spaces are now vacant on my "Things to do in life" list.

Today's playlist: Gordon Lightfoot/Tom Waits


8-07-13
Jim Leishman

As we pass through 47 degrees north our temperatures continue to drop and we have had persistent fog for the past 48 hours. We're three days from making our turn around Attu Island and taking up a more easterly course for Dutch Harbor where we expect to arrive late on the 14th. The Conconis son and daughter will be joining us for the final push into Vancouver.

Our weather forecast looks good through early next week but a low is expected to form north of Dutch Harbor that could liven up our arrival on Wednesday. We'll continue to watch this weathers development but for now our routing - passing Attu to starboard remains unchanged.

Last night we set our tempered water HVAC onto its heating mode and as with the air conditioning in the tropics, the heating is keeping every corner of the vessel at the zone temperature selected and very comfortable. We will continue to heat using the electric heat pumps but once the vessel arrives in Vancouver the two Kabola diesel boilers will be commissioned and take the place of the heat pumps for high latitude heating.

So our ship continues on her course with a happy and well rested crew. We've all adjusted to the motion of the sea and our watches. The galley is active throughout the day and the food is really good. Water is heated and consumed without regard to conservation as it is replenished with new and sparkling clean fresh waster at up to 200 gallons per hour. Our laundry runs, videos are watched and we all enjoy unlimited Internet access that is available via wifi throughout the ship.

It's an amazing experience......

Jim


8-6-13
Mike Telleria

Machinery Spaces
Aurora is sectioned off by watertight bulkheads to create six separate areas that need bilge pump protection. The areas forward and aft of the engine room section are all protected by individual 10.8-gpm diaphragm pumps, each with its own float switch and alarm. The engine room is protected by a self-priming high-capacity centrifigual pump rated at 50-gpm, which can also be used to de-water any of the other compartments via a manifold with electric valves and suction points in each compartment (and the fire pump can be aligned as a backup in case the main engine room bilge pump malfunctions). And, just in case all else fails, an engine room bilge connection is provided for the port main engine raw water cooling pump. The system is totally automated and includes indication for high water alarms, pump status and manifold valve position.

Like on many large boats, a bilge oily water separator is provided to clean up the bilge water in the engine room to prevent contaminated bilge water from being pumped overboard. It’s a rather sophisticated piece of machinery – just look at this entry from the owner’s manual for the unit:

“Due to the velocity variation in the flow stream, created by the modified sinusoidal flow path, small oil particles are coalesced hydrodynamically by particles colliding into bigger particles of oil, which then separate by gravity and are captured by the oleophilic plates. Then, the oil collected in the plates is allowed to “sweep” through the plates back towards the surface, where it is picked up and transferred to the oil collection dome.”
Brings to mind the ol’ Turbo Encabulator bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag

It’s good to know Aurora is protected with robust primary and backup bilge pump systems that are ready 24/7 to get any unwanted water out of the boat – and that she’ll never be guilty of discharging oily water into the harbor.


8-03-13
Jim Leishman

We've just passed through 40 degrees north and it won't be long before our air conditioners begin heating. In the past ten days the 95 degree inferno of the tropics has given way to a brisk 63 degrees with lower humidity and clearer skies.

Just a few minutes ago we've altered our heading 20 degrees to the east and have taken up a course direct for Attu Island - the western most of the Aleutian chain. For the past 48 hours we have been pushing into 25 to 30 knot winds directly on our nose with swells and seas in excess of 10 feet. Not only has the ride been uncomfortable but a surface current of well over a knot has hindered our progress.

It now appears that the large low and associated gale that has been our weather focus is moving east and opening a path ahead with the promise of a high pressure ridge forming that will provide calmer seas and favorable currents over the next week. So far Omni and Bob Jones have been spot on with their advice and we're grateful. While we do have good weather information along with forecasting available to us aboard - having an old friend watching over us and advising is very comforting.

Despite the rough seas and adverse currents life aboard Aurora is very pleasant. The motion of the ship has allowed use of the saloon dining table daily and movement about remains easy.

I've attached a current image depicting our route over the next 10 days as we climb over the Great Circle into the Bearing Sea.

Jim


8-3-13
Mike Telleria

Machinery Spaces
Two galleys, three wet bars, 12 heads, three washing machines and numerous washdown spigots add up to a healthy demand for freshwater (not to mention the Jacuzzi on the flybridge!). There must be miles of freshwater piping and tubing throughout Aurora. And, with a full crew of 14 people taking showers and using the sinks and toilets throughout the day, it’s easy to see how the daily demand for freshwater aboard looms large.

Aurora comes prepared with three freshwater tanks that offer a total capacity of almost 2,800 gallons. All the tanks can be connected together so they can be used as one, and the two main tanks each have a submersible Headhunter SubpaQ variable speed, constant pressure pump, which keeps the system pressure at a solid 60 psi. Like many Nordhavns,all the water leaving the tanks is run through a UV sterilizer to kill any viruses, bacteria or other biological contamination. Hot water is provided in two separate service loops by three 9kW water heaters – and circulation pumps are provided to make sure hot water is always immediately on tap (which also helps cut down on wasting water).

All the tanks can be filled by a single typical deck connection on the port and starboard sides, and there is also a long length of hose on a reel that pulls out from a service cap on the stern that can be pulled to the dock and connected to a spigot for filling. Onboard there are two 1,800 gallon-per-day watermakers, which are definitely getting a good workout on this trip. All the water leaving the watermakers is routed through a silver sterilizer that doses the water with silver ions, which eliminate bacteria and prevents re-growth over a long period of time – serving to keep the water clean even if left in the storage tanks for extended periods. Nobody is going to go thirsty on this trip!


8-02-13
Doug Harlow

Yesterday was a day to remember. Bret pulled in a big 'ol Dorado early in the afternoon. It's always amazing how uplifting it is when a fish is caught.

Last night was spent eating fresh Dorado tacos (masterfully prepared by Derek) and listening to Jimmy Buffett with old and new friends. Truly an amazing night.


8-01-13
Jim Leishman

We’ve had some unsettled weather the past couple of days with moderate wind and seas from the southwest and west but at the same time a current against us that at times has approached four knots. This is not only drawing our progress down but has caused an otherwise modest sea to be steep and at times uncomfortable.

I think we have been experiencing a counter current of the Kuroshio flow – a flow of water northbound up the coast of Japan – much like the Gulf Stream. A counter current in our general location is illustrated within our Sailing Directions Enroute. We’re hopeful to leave this adverse current behind soon as we progress northward.

Furthermore the gale that has been developing to the Northeast of us is dictating that we divert slightly to the west and hug the coast of Japan to stay inside of its disturbance. The recommendation is to travel a more northern route near the Southern Kuril Archipelago and pass the island of Attu to starboard - then direct towards Dutch Harbor. While this route seems out of the way it actually is not and more closely follows the great circle route out of Hong Kong. We had originally hoped to stay south of the Aleutians and take advantage of the east setting currents but now the weather planning suggests a more northerly route.
Jim


7-30-13
Jim Leishman

July 30 - Tuesday - a week at sea....

We're coming up to the conclusion of our first week at sea since leaving Hong Kong and the crew has thoroughly adapted to our luxurious surroundings and their duties aboard. Our ship provides safety and comfort but she has her needs which we tend to throughout the day.

Johnny, Joe and David are three of the best engineers that could ever be hoped for aboard ship and tend to every detail. Generators are managed as electrical loads vary, water is made and fuel is transferred. Engines, shafts, exhausts, temperatures and fluid levels are monitored with loving care. These three professionals know this vessel inside and out and it's great to have them aboard.

We've just climbed through 31 degrees north as we progress to the Northeast. As predicted by Bob Jones the wind has come around to the west and increased from 22 to 30 knots and seas have built to around 10 feet. It's still very warm outside and we all look forward to the higher latitudes ahead.

In looking ahead our route will take us up to 53 degrees north to the western most Aleutian island of Attu where we will make a slight turn to the east and run along the north coasts of the islands within the Bearing Sea with a likely stop in Dutch Harbor.

After our close approach to Okinawa and the role it played during World War 2 - I'll be interested too in Attu for the battles fought there and will read up on its history.

Jim


7-30-13
Mike Telleria

From the Machinery Space
While owners of smaller Nordhavns can get away with not having dedicated used oil and new oil tanks for storing lube oil, the size and operational needs of Aurora require a robust capacity for dealing with used oil and having plenty of new oil on hand.
Aurora’s range will encourage weeks-long (or months-long) stints at sea without interruption – all the while with both main engines and at least one or two generators running 24/7. It won’t take long to pile on the engine hours, requiring frequent oil changes.
Oil changes are facilitated by using a pair of approximately 250-gallon tanks – one for dirty oil and one for clean oil. A manifold and pump are provided to drain the engine crankcases and transmission gearboxes and send the oil to the dirty oil tank, where it can be stored until it can be pumped ashore. The clean oil tank is connected to a separate, dedicated clean oil pump – so there is no chance for cross contamination between clean oil and dirty oil or accidentally pumping dirty oil into the clean oil tank or vice versa. The clean oil pump routes oil from the clean oil tank to a fill wand on a retractable hose reel – the wand is inserted into the oil fills on the engines and transmissions for filling. Additionally, the oil fill wand includes a digital flow meter to accurately measure the oil being delivered. The clean oil pump can also be used to fill the clean oil tank from shore by taking suction from an oil drum.
The bilge water oily water separator and the fuel centrifuge are also provided with connectionsto the dirty oil tank to simplify disposal of waste oil and sludge. And a funnel connection is also provided for pouring used oil into the dirty oil tank by hand.
The setup ensures Aurora will always be able to stay on top of her oil-change maintenance schedule with minimal hassle – and without compromising her ability to take the long voyages she’s designed for.


7-29-13
Mike Telleria

From the Machinery Space
With two big diesel engines, three generators, a chilled water plant with four compressors, hydraulics and two water makers, Aurora can gulp as much as 1,100 gpm of seawater for equipment cooling and making water.
In order to get such a big slug of water into the boat, Aurora relies on two 18-inch diameter sea chests located in the engine room. Each sea chest is attached to a common distribution trunk line that serves all the components that require sea water. Each sea chest is attached to a riser with a sea strainer assembly for filtering the incoming water. The strainers are located high enough to enable cleaning without having to shut the main sea chest valves – just loosen the dogs on the lid, remove the stainless strainer basket, clean it up, and put it back (although we learned that pulling the basket while in moderate seas can let a little water in the boat!).

Each sea chest also includes a connection to the compressed air system, which can be used to blow away any bags or other debris that might get sucked into the intake grate. Each seachest is protected from biological fouling by a Cathelco Anti-Fouling system that uses impressed electrical current to inhibit fouling of the intake piping.


7-28-13
Mike Telleria

From the Machinery Spaces
Aurora carries approximately 17,450 gallons of fuel, which (depending on conditions) should be enough to get us to Vancouver without making a pit stop. To ensure the engines and generators are getting clean fuel, the Fuel System includes three points of filtration.

The first is a nifty fuel polishing setup that includes an Alfa-Laval centrifuge that runs 24/7. Most of the time the Alfa-Laval continuously polishes the supply fuel by simply re-circulating the fuel in the fuel supply tank, which will hold about 680 gallons. When the fuel supply tank gets down to about 300 gallons a 3-way valve automatically actuates to switch the suction of the Alfa-Laval to an online storage tank in order to refill the day tank. After about two hours the day tank will be back up to about 500 gallons, at which point the 3-way valve automatically actuates back to taking suction from the fuel supply tank to resume continuous re-circulation and polishing of the day tank fuel.

The second and third points of fuel filtration are dedicated Racor fuel filters in the individual supply lines for each engine, and then each engines’ own manufacturer-supplied fuel filtration. Aurora is obviously made for global travel, and it’s good to know her onboard fuel system will be able to clean up any less-than-ideal fuel while also providing a convenient level of automation to make things simple for the operator


7-27-13
Jim Leishman

We're running up the East Coast of Okinawa today where almost 70 years ago - raged a battle of momentous proportions. The three month battle claimed the lives of some twelve thousand American soldiers with an additional thirty six thousand wounded. One hundred and seven thousand Japanese soldiers were killed and as many as one hundred and forty thousand local citizens lost their lives - many by their own hands during the American invasion. Unbelievable.....

More terrific weather and today - Mahi Mahi tacos for lunch! Yes we caught our first Dorrado yesterday. Small but perfect for lunch.

We've been running slow at 1,250 rpm with a computerized readout of 7 gallons per hour for each engine based on each MTU display. Our generator consumption has continued to be about 3 gallons per hour for a total consumption of about 17 to 19 gph. We're carefully monitoring our daily consumption based on the amounts presented by our sophisticated Boning monitoring system and are trying to reconcile all the readings.

Our last 24 hour run clicked off 211 nautical miles - about 8.8 knots. Pretty amazing on 14 to 15 gph (if that's really what's being consumed by the MTU V8s). We have been running the engines daily at full continuous duty for a few minutes (MTUs recommendation)and while the 13.5 knots is pretty nice - we need to run slower to get the mileage needed for this mission.

The ship is alive with activity. Our laundry rooms are active, the galley is always in service and the wheelhouse is constantly manned by conversing watch-standers. It's a real treat to travel in five star luxury and to experience such an amazing vessel.

Jim


7-26-13
Jim Leishman

We’ve cleared the north side of Taiwan this morning and passed the disputed islands of Senkaku-shoto that have made international headlines and heightened tensions between Japan and China as each claims ownership of the uninhabited and tiny volcanic outcroppings.

We continue to enjoy ideal conditions with light winds from the south southwest and seas of less than three feet. The sunsets have been beautiful and for the second night in a row we dined on the aft deck in comfortable and warm tropical conditions.

This is our third day at sea and everyone is adapting to our watch schedule and are eating and sleeping well. We’re entering into the passage mode that one just can’t experience on a shorter cruise. Books are coming out, we’re finding the perfect getaways inside and out to relax and enjoy the wonderful weather and this magnificent ship….


7-26-13
Paul Grover

Winds: 255° at 8 kts.
Conditions: 1' seas following - perfect boat ride - clear skies

Footnote for last nights watch 20:00-22:00:
Came up to the pilothouse 5 mins early to see what looked like a boat festival going on in a marina. What it was, was a fleet of squid fishing boats with white floods on their nets as far as you could see. For the next one hour and thirty minutes we dodged through the whole fleet. I was surprised that all fishing boats did have an AIS transponder, even though it was radar and looking for dark holes in their fleet. At times we were close enough for their flood lights to illuminate our pilothouse.


7-25-13
Jim Leishman

We're just getting started here and once we get better settled we'll increase our reporting.

We've just completed our first 24 hours and it looks like we've managed about 200 miles. I have purposely started out a little slow - about 8 knots where we are getting about 1/2 mile per gallon. This does not include generator consumption which appears to be about 75 gallons per day. It's interesting to compare our daily consumption of our ATW 40 which was all up about 50 gallons per day.

So at this stage I'm planning a consumption of about 459 gallons per day. The fuel aboard at departure appears to be about 16,500 gallons. We estimate we can run about 36 days at this speed of 192 miles per day - or 6,900 nautical miles which gives us and anticipate reserve of about 15%.

At this moment we are running faster - at about 9 knots and anticipate a helping current as we progress along our route. I am hoping to see us exceeding the performance numbers above which should allow us to increase our reserve and increase speed as the trip progresses.

We will watch things very carefully and if we become uncomfortable with our reserve we will lay a more northerly course for Dutch Harbor which is about 2,000 miles closer than Vancouver.


7-24-13
Paul Grover

Traffic in Hong Kong Harbor was very manageable. As we entered the the open sea, traffic was amazing. The radar screen looked like freckles on a red face. Even the small fishing boats had AIS but not all of them. Some fishing boats displayed green lights after dark. The small fishing boats we encountered seemed to be a uniformed fleet. About 35' in length with green hulls. They were spaced out about 1/4 to 1/2 miles apart. Had to deal with them till about 4:00am the first night. That first night had winds ofd 20kts on the nose which did cause some sloppy seas and some pitching. After 4:00am it dropped to less than 10kts. and the seas settled for a smooth ride.

In the second 24hrs, we had moderate traffic but almost all large commercial vessels. We also had our first dolphin visit with a view like I have never seen. It was from our Bubble Bow camera. You could see about four dolphins at a time riding our bow pressure.


7-21-13
Jim Leishman

Sunday aboard has been a quiet one after two busy days of preparation for our long voyage ahead.

Our arrival in Hong Kong was glorious with blue skies, puffy white clouds and lots of sunshine. The morning sun created terrific photo opportunities as we motored through the bustling Victoria Harbor and we arrived at the beautiful Gold Coast Marina before lunch time and were greated by our Pacific Crew including Paul Grover, Doug Harlow, Mike Tellaria, Johhny Ku, Densil Jen, Ron Porter, Brett Leishman and last but not least our wonderful chef Derek Christensen.

Friday was spent alongside the fueling barge where we took on just under 16,000 gallons of diesel which went as smooth as can be. The beautiful bunkering system allows fuel to be received on either side of the vessel and is directed to each tank via a manifold which allows perfect control of the fuel distribution - even allowing fuel to flow into multiple tanks at a time to control trim. The fuel is pumped to one deck fill through a secure Camlock fitting which prevents any leakage and delivered at the full capacity of the barges pump, a rate in excess of 130 gallons per minute. The whole process only took about three hours and we were back at our side tie by five o'clock.

Yesterday was spent with our trip surveyor who reports to our insurance underwriter and most of the day was spent going over the vessel and our navigation procedures including all of our emergency plans. Unfortunately the final report will not arrive with the underwriters until our Monday night (Monday morning in the US) so we will plan our departure for Tuesday.

Jeff and his Son Brett along with Derik have discovered a surfing spot about an hour east of our location and gone off in search of some waves. Our engineering crew have spend the day changing oil and servicing our machinery and aside from a little more provisioning tomorrow were ready to cross the ocean.

Jim


7-17-13
Jim Leishman

We now have another named tropical storm - Cimaron only about 10 hours behind us as we approach Hong Kong.

We've had a very nice passage from Xiamen with building seas from the northeast - I assume ahead of the storms advance.

We expect to arrive at the outer sea buoy around 06:00 Thursday and be docked at the Gold Coast Marina by 08:00. I received confirmation today that we'll be taking on 17,000 gallons of fuel Friday morning if the storm doesn't interfere.

More tomorrow as we enter Hong Kong!

Jim


7-16-13
Jim Leishman

Well we're finally underway - sort of.

This morning we woke to light rain and the news that another tropical depression is developing to our southeast. the movement is to the northwest and the early forecast show it arriving in Hong Kong by Friday. Hopefully it will not build into a typhoon but it is likely.

Equally concerning is a delay in the approval of our trip surveyor's final approval - an insurance requirement. Today we completed our outward clearance and are sitting in the ship anchorage - unable to leave until out US based underwriter can read his email (Tuesday morning) with our surveyors approval - which we finally got tonight.

So - we can feel the oceans swell and are standing watch tonight and we've made about 10 miles progress from our factory anchorage but we're still not quite underway.

If we can get out at dawn we should arrive in Hong Kong by mid day Thursday just ahead of the developing storm.

Jim


07-14-13
Jim Leishman

Sunday dawned with improving weather and diminished winds but the rain continued.

Typhoon Solik tore across Xiamen island last night but lacked the punch I had anticipated. By 9:00 last night the rain was very heavy and I estimated the winds in the 30 knot range so,after a wonderful seafood pasta dish I retired early, a bit disappointed over Solik's modest display.

Trever Smith told me this morning that the real wind and rain came in about 11:00 and I was embarrassed that I didn't even hear or feel it - a combination of sound sleeping and a marvelously stout and quiet ship.

The day progressed with our shrinking work list, pumping rain water from and adjusting the trim of our deck tenders (so they self drain) cleaning up after the storm and some last minute provisioning.

About 3:00 this after noon leaving for the local Walmart Jeff slipped on the rain soaked dock off the stern of Aurora and took a nasty gash to the back of his head which required a few stitches at the local hospital.

We were all astounded at the quick and thorough treatment provided which included a precautionary Cat Scan, suturing with local anesthetic, a tetanus shot, antibiotics and pain medication. From our arrival at the hospital until departure was 90 minutes and the entire bill was 630 R&B - about $100 US....

Jeff was back aboard by 5:30 and feeling fine.

We're on schedule for departure Tuesday and all is well aboard Aurora.

Jim


07-12-13
Jim Leishman

The past few days have been productive with a myriad of details to attend to prior to our departure for Hong Kong.
 
Today we completed final ABS sea trials which included emergency crash stops, running at full speed ahead and instantly full speed astern, high speed turns, an hour of running at 100% power and a dozen other tests. Our final approval has been received and our ABS interim class certificate has been issued.
 
We’re ready to leave China except for the appearance of an uninvited guest by the name of Soulik – a typhoon tracking down on us from the southeast, which is expected to come on shore tonight with winds up to seventy knots. Fortunately Aurora is safely moored at the new South Coast marina which should provide security in the worse of conditions.
 
We should have an interesting night and will provide a more detailed update tomorrow.
 
Jim Leishman

   
 



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