Frequently Asked Questions about the sail aboard Kālewa from Mexico to Hawaii, June 2014
1. How far did you travel?
3,200 nautical miles (or there abouts : )
2. What if I was driving a car? How many miles would that same distance be?
3. Why the difference? Why not have one measurement?
To mess with you. Here’s what I found online, so it must be true. ;-)
“A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the planet Earth. If you were to cut the Earth in half at the equator, you could pick up one of the halves and look at the equator as a circle. You could divide that circle into 360 degrees. You could then divide a degree into 60 minutes.”
4. How long did the voyage take?
15 days from when we shoved off from Cabo San Lucas and tied up at Hilo, Hawaii.
5. Why Hilo?
Because we had to go through U.S. Immigration since we were coming from Mexico. The two choices in Hawaii are either Hilo on the Big Island or Honolulu on Oahu.
6. Even though you arrived in Hawaii on a boat rather than a plane?
7. Is a 15 day crossing fast?
Darn tooting! I’m told by friends with monohulls that it normally takes about 34 days.
8. What boat did you sail on?
Kālewa. A fifty foot custom catamaran designed and built by Kevin Millett.
9. How did you get so lucky?
Not sure. Our friends invited us along for the ride, literally.
10. What was the boat doing in Mexico?
They’d left it there last year and wanted to bring her back to Kauai.
11. What did you do on board?
The usual things. Eat. Sleep. Drink. Poop.
Also read, danced, looked at the stars, listened to the guys play music, watched Marisela cook. Played “little sister” and chopped and diced veggies now and then.
12. Where you really fit when you returned?
13. Why not?
Because all one could really do for exercise was dance around. And that can only go so far.
One needed to be aware of anyone down below sleeping. : ) Courtesy, you know?
14. But what about all that raising of sails, pulling in sheets?
Once the sails were set, they were pretty much set. And it was mostly the captain Kevin who did that.
15. You never once pulled on a sheet, Sj?
Yes, I did. A few times. If the guys were on deck, it was their thing. If Marisela was on deck, it was her thing. There were a few times when I was on deck with only Kevin. Then I got to crank the winch.
16. What’s a sheet?
The thing you cover yourself with when sleeping.
The thing you pull in when you’re tightening a sail. Landlubbers would call it a “rope.” A real no-no on a sailboat.
Here’s some information I found to further confuse you:
Origin of Navy Terminology
There aren’t many “old salts” in today’s Navy who haven’t been required sometime in their career to heave around on a length of hawser in order to tie up a ship. Hawser used in this backbreaking task is called mooring line and gets its name from a combination of two terms used in the early days of sail. The Middle Dutch word “maren” meant “to tie,” and the Middle English words “moren rap” meant “ship’s rope.” Through the years the terms merged and were Americanized, hence any line used to tie a ship to the pier is called “mooring line.”
19. What about steering?
Kālewa has two large and beautiful wheels; one on either side of the boat. I did get to steer a few times. It was not pretty. She doesn’t react anything like a monohull. She travels so fast that she creates her own wind. I couldn’t tell where the wind was coming from.
20. So what happened instead?
You pushed a button. One degree this way. One degree that. Or a big jump of ten degrees this way; ten degrees that.
22. Is that typical on a sailboat?
Not on one I’ve been on before. On our boat, Mapuana, you steer using a tiller. It’s a workout and shifts are usually only for two hours at a time.
23. Explain shift.
Besides being a thing a woman might where, it’s the time you’re on deck responsible for watching out.
24. What are you watching out for?
Other boats. Objects. Large objects. Thing you don’t want to hit.
25. Did you ever hit anything?
Yes. On my watch. Read 7/2/14 for the low-down. I didn’t see it coming. Though I was literally looking straight ahead on the starboard side (where it hit), I didn’t see it. It was a pitch black night. Dark. No moon.
26. What’s starboard?
The right side of the boat.
27. For Republicans?
No, I think it was mostly Libertarians, Democrats, and Rotarians on board. And Pedrata’s not talking.
28. Who’s Pedrata?
An adorable stuffed rat that Marisela’s cousin, Flavio, gave me. She stowed away out in the open.
Why not? Just because she’s a stuffed rat doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to travel. She’s excited about her next trip.
30. To where?
You’ll have to wait and see.
31. What did you eat?
Delicious food prepared mostly by Marisela. This day-by-day log lists the menus.
32. You mean you didn’t cook at all?
Not much. Marisela’s a wizard with food, and she’s got a distinctive style and idea of what she likes to make. Besides, you gotta consider provisions.
33. Can’t you stop to get things?
Nope. Once you leave land, you leave land.
34. No 7-11s?
35. No Micky Dees?
37. So what’d you do for food?
We bought fresh and canned things while in Mexico. Marisela has a very highly developed food construction database in her head. She sees connections from a can of this to a slice of that. Out pops a magic meal that I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams. And I do mean wildest.
38. Such as?
Tortilla soup. Clam chowder. Mexican tuna salad.
39. You’ve never made those before, Sj?
40. Have you since?
Nope. Tony and I are rarely home together at night to prepare ANY kind of meal. Our lives are pretty full with lots of stuff going on.
41. Such as?
42. And what did you drink aboard Kālewa?
You name it. Water. Agua Fresca. Beer. Wine. Juice. Cuban rum. Tequila.
43. Were you ever sober?
Yes, 99% of the time.
44. What’s Agua Fresca?
These most delectable drinks that Marisela created out of fruit just about to go bad. She’d press it, squeeze it, talk nicely to it, and the next thing we knew, we were sipping a cool fruity beverage made with all natural fruit. Watermelon Agua Fresca. Cantelope Agua Fresca. Papaya Agua Fresca. Usually with a sprinkle of something green on top.
Yes, like mint. Or cilantro.
46. You had fresh herbs in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?
Yes. Not gobs. We had to cherish them. Use them wisely. Conserve and maximize. Marisela’s a master of that.
47. Is she available for hire? To cook fabulous meals for my friends and family?
Possibly. Call HoloHolo Charters in Eleele and ask her. I’m not her manager.
48. How is being on a catamara different from being on a monohull?
Can you say no heeling over?
49. I suppose. What’s that mean?
When on Mapuana (a 36 foot long, 7 foot wide sailboat designed and built by Gene Wells) we’re usually practically standing because the boat is heeling so much (i.e. L E A N ing over).
50. Is that normal?
No. Mapuana’s not a “normal” boat.
51. But do other monohulls heel?
Yes. Just not as much as is normal for Mapuana.
52. What’s Mapuana mean?
Fragrance coming in on an ocean breeze . . . more or less. Consult a Hawaiian dictionary if you want the “correct-correct” meaning.
53. What’s a monohull?
54. What’s a hull.
The place where you go when you go “down below” be out of the elements.
55. Why would one want to do that?
Because you have to sleep some time! And eat. And take a break from nature.
The sun can be unrelenting. The wind can be cold. The rain can drive hard.
57. It rains in the open ocean?
58. What’s is like out there?
Like it is on any body of water. Sometimes the seas are flat. Sometimes there are waves. Sometimes it’s dark. Sometimes it’s light.
59. When’s it dark?
When it’s night and there’s no moon.
60. What do you see out there?
61. On what?
On what’s out there.
62. For example?
Here’s a list of some things we saw:
Yes. Hundreds of miles from land, and there they were trying to get away from their mother-in-law.
64. Were there several?
No, just one couple.
65. What else?
One lone turtle floating (poor fella didn’t look like he was able to dive down underwater)
One sail fish (hung with us for at least 45 minutes one sunny afternoon)
Dolphins, lots of dolphins (two different times)
66. What kind of birds?
I’m not an ornithologist. They were “sea” birds as far as I was concerned.
A jar of peanut butter.
Yes, really. It was sitting straight up like it was waiting for a piece of chocolate.
69. Did you fish it out of the ocean?
No. I let it go. We already had a jar of peanut butter.
70. Did you fish?
71. Did you catch anything?
Only once. We were moving too fast for the fish.
72. How fast did Kālewa travel?
On average I’d guess between 8 and 15 knots.
73. Is that fast?
For a sailboat, yes.
74. How fast does Mapuana sail?
Usually around 5 to 7 knots max. Though we broke the sound barrier a few times when we caught a wave and went well over 10 knots.
75. What’s a knot.
Per my computer’s dictionary, a knot is “a unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour, used esp. of ships, aircraft, and winds. Chiefly historical it’s a length marked by knots on a log line, as a measure of speed : some days the vessel logged 12 knots.”
A more accurate statement would be: some days the vessel logged 21 knots. That’s how unusual Kālewa is, that the dictionary inverted the numbers based on more “standard” vessels.
76. Did you make any of those other kind of knots?
Yes, now and then. Mostly it was the Captain and 2nd mate who did that sort of stuff.
77. Did you learn any new knots?
Yes. A groovy one called a longshoreman bowline.
78. How’s it different from a regular bowline?
You do a rodeo move that’s super fast and super impressive.
79. Can you still do it?
80. What’s a bowline knot?
Only the MOST important knot of all time, in my opinion.
Because one can 99.99% of the time undo the know without the use of a tool (i.e. by hand).
You can read about it here.
82. What’s the difference between a bowline and a bow line?
One is a useful knot mentioned above, the other are lines tying a boat to the dock at the bow.
83. What’s a bow?
Besides in the theatre?
The front of a boat.
84. What kind of clothes did you wear, Sj?
The type that were cool in hot weather.
85. Such as?
Sun shirts. The groovy white cotton togs I bought in Puerta Vallarta. Long pants at night.
It gets cold when the sun goes down.
87. Even in the “tropics”?
88. What else did you wear?
A wool sweater at night. Sometimes fleece. Sometimes my foulies.
89. Your what?
Foul weather gear.
90. What’s that for?
Well, it’s not for a pleasant sunny day. Here are some different types of foulies.
91. Did you wear a hat?
92. At night too?
Yes! Thanks to Tanya of Kauai.com for that tip!
At night I found a beanie or toboggan (as I used to call them when I was a kid in Tennessee) was just what the right thing for keeping my head, ears, and even forehead warm!
I think this is a Southern use of the word btw. Feedback anyone???
93. What else did you wear?
94. Did you wear the same things that you would have on Mapuana?
Some yes. Mostly no.
95. Why’s that?
Because on Mapuana we usually get wet. And in that situation, you want to be either wearing foulies or something that will dry quickly (provided it’s warm, otherwise, you really want to stay dry!)
96. Why do you want to stay dry?
Because you can get really cold really quickly. AND that salty ocean water turns into a slimy feeling against your skin when you’re about two feet away from the mooring. No, I change my mind. Make that one foot.
97. What are you talking about?
Unless you’ve been out at sea, you’ve probably never experienced that slimy, yucky feeling that comes from the salt spray which rises up and lands on you at the most inappropriate times.
98. How can you avoid that slimy feeling?
On Kālewa it’s pretty easy. Stay behind the captain’s groovy dodger guard.
99. What’s a dodger?
Are you asking what or who?
100. Please explain.
Because if the question is a WHO? It’s a gal named Katerina who’s especially good at dodging balls. If it’s a WHAT?, its Nautical meaning is “a canvas screen on a ship giving protection from spray.”
101. Is Kālewa’s dodger canvas?
No. It’s made out of some super duper material shipped in from at least 12 light years away. Kālewa’s design and form is literally “out of this world.”
102. How is Kālewa different from other catamarans?
Its style. Its class. Its designer.
103. Really? Or are you just wanting to be invited back for another sail?
That would be lovely. But for real. It’s just so very, very beautiful. She moves so fluidly in the water. She’s fast. She’s graceful. “And she’s noisy!” I just heard Marisela say in my head.
104. Is she loud?
Well, at times, yes. There are all kinds of sounds happening on a boat.
105. Such as?
Water slaps. Literally water will just rise up and slap the hull. The dodger. The whatever numbered shipmate who is sitting in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
106. Did that happen often?
In my opinion, no. Not nearly as often as on Mapuana which is about every 5 seconds or so.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate. A little. But not much. Someone’s soaked by water on Mapuana about every 15 seconds.
107. Where did you like to hang out the most?
Below deck in the dining area.
Because there’s the most amazing view towards the bow past the curves of the galley and the curves of the entry way.
A boat is a she after all. And this boat has nice lines.
110. What else is nice about Kalewa?
Her fridge. And freezer.
111. There’s a freezer on board?
Yes. Like I said, this boat is literally from out of this world.
112. What was it like sleeping on Kalewa?
At first it was a bit tricky.
113. Why tricky?
Because it was a new experience for me to sleep on a constantly moving object.
A bed with a mind of its own.
Yes. As long as we were on the open ocean.
115. In comparison to?
Being tied up at dock. Then she just rocks and sways with the conditions of the harbor.
116. Did you sleep well during the crossing?
When one’s tired. One sleeps. Eventually.
And then, when I relaxed into the idea, the image really of myself lying on a trampoline and bouncing non-stop, I got into it. I enjoyed it. In fact, it became fun.
Yes, how cool is that to get to play on a trampoline day in and day out!
118. Did you ever get sick?
120. Do you get seasick on Mapuana?
Sometimes. It’s miserable.
121. What was different?
Maybe that it was a catamaran. Maybe that I was lucky. Who knows? I don’t want to think too hard about it.
122. What would you guys have done if someone got sick, really sick?
We had a book called When There Is No Doctor. We’d have used that. For guidance. And we would have prayed. A lot.
123. I thought I heard that Marisela had a physical ailment of some kind?
She did. The book helped her. She told me that I’m free to talk about it, but I don’t want to. Not here. That’s her story.
124. What was the bathroom situation like?
Comfortable. At least for us. The poor captain had to deal with the tanks a couple of times; fortunately, that worked itself out without too much hullabaloo.
125. How many heads are there on Kālewa?
126. What’s a head?
The nautical term for a bathroom. Or toilet. Or washroom. WC. Loo.
127. Any showers?
128. How did that work?
You flipped a switch, got naked, and leaned against the pleasantly curved wall. Kevin thought of everything.
129. Was the water fresh?
Yes. There’s a water maker on board.
130. How much water does it make?
Enough. You’ll have to ask the captain for details. You can’t draw a tub’s worth every day (no, there wasn’t a bathtub on board, but IF there had been a tub on board, it wouldn’t have been used).
But there was enough water made to have drinking water, cooking water, dish washing water, and an occasional, quick shower, please-don’t-waste-it water.
131. Where’s the water come from that was used for making fresh water.
The ocean. : ))))
132. What happens to the salt?
It goes back into the ocean. Rumor has it there’s a new species of fish that follows water-making vessels.
What do YOU think?
134. Let’s change the subject . . . What do you think is absolutely necessary to bring on an ocean crossing?
Hmmm . . . ABSOLUTELY necessary?
135. Yes, what in your opinion is absolutely necessary?
Fresh water. Food. Warm clothing. Foulies. A hat. Sunscreen. A spray bottle to spray that salty stuff off one’s face. A book. Many books. A radio. GPS navigating stuffs. Charts. Binoculars. Flashlights. Spare Batteries. Pen & paper. A friend. Someone you like to be with. Could be just yourself if YOUR self is a good sailor. : )
136. Any other cool things to bring along?
Treats. Food treats that you like.
Entertainment treats that you like.
Your personal version of Pedrata.
And a wool sweater, long pants, and tobaggan. It would have been miserable without those last three things.
137. Anything you wish that you had brought that you didn’t?
Long underwear. There were a couple of times when it was long underwear cold.
139. Even on a super comfortable boat like Kālewa?
Yep. It still gets cold out there. Colder than you think.
140. How cold?
Wool sweater, long pants, tobaggan, foulies, and long underwear cold.
141. What was the best thing that happened?
The entire sail, the crossing.
142. Anything in particular?
I loved being on deck alone at night. Especially when the sky was clear, and I could hang out with the many stars and the Milky Way.
And Pedrata. I loved getting to know Pedrata.
143. The stuffed rat?
Yes. The stuffed rat. She has quite a personality.
144. Do you think the crew was worried about you? Worried that you were losing it?
They might have been. But I didn’t care. I knew that I wasn’t (losing it). I simply have an active imagination. I like to use my imagination; it’s a fun place to explore.
145. Were you ever scared?
No, not really. Captain Kevin is so competent, and he took all kinds of precautions, care of the gear, boat, etc., that I felt it’d all turn out well. And it did.
146. Did you see any other boats?
A few. We went 8 days, I believe, between boats and before we saw any off Hilo, Hawaii.
147. Did you guys all get along?
Yep. No major squabbles. Laughter was the main music besides the daily guitar jam/lesson/serenade. Though it did get fierce at times when the rubber chickens came out to play.
148. Rubber chickens?
Yep, the photos will come out sooner or later. Poor Pedrata got the main butt of them.
149. On her butt?
No, mostly all over her face. She does have a rather large nose.
150. Anything else?
Nope. Best of luck with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Iselle. She’s flying to the islands at this very moment. First saying hello to Hilo.