The Voyage of the Swan
The Voyages: Majuro to the Pacific Northwest
August 5, 2010 – Sailed into Neah Bay after 49 days at sea from Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
In general it was a good trip. We were hard on the wind for the first eight days, making our northing, then the wind veered to easterly and we enjoyed a beam reach until about 32º N. Then we were mostly becalmed for five days, although we were able to scratch out about 40 miles each day, ghosting and slatting our way north to more favorable winds.
We discovered something ominous during the calms. We were in the North Pacific Gyre, an enormous area of the ocean where floating trash is trapped to endlessly circle the North Pacific High. We watched endless pieces of plastic float by for days. It was terrible. Huge pieces of styrofoam, plastic fishing floats, plastic bottles, bags, and garbage of every variety slowly drifted by us. At any given time we could see several items around us. We have never thrown plastic overboard, so the sight of this was very depressing. Why would anyone pollute our beautiful oceans in this way?
When the wind returned, it blew into a gale from the SW, so we made good time. After 24 hours the gale blew out, but another one blew in two days later. Again, we scudded along in the right direction for a day. In both gales it was rough and wet, but the boat sailed beautifully at a steady six to seven knots under the little staysail alone.
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During light SE winds the drifter, poled out, made all the difference. We crept along steadily toward our destination
We saw many whales, mostly humpbacks. Most were sedate like this one. Some frolicked almost too much.
These nice guys in a tug going from Japan to Ensenada stopped to ask if we were okay.
Rhonda, hand steering while I lubricated the steering cables and adjusted the Monitor vane steering mechanism.
Reefing in a squall.
Becalmed. A painted ship on a painted ocean. This lasted for five days.
It took 49 sunsets to finish the voyage. This one was on one of the rougher days.
North of 32º N we were under dark skies much of the time.
Occasionally, the sky would clear and we would have sunshine. Between gales, the wind was mostly light.
The two ounce drifter made all the difference in light air. At times we would be making only two or three knots, but it was progress.
Waiting for the sun under a thick sky.
Ghosting toward the fog that would routinely envelop us in heavy mist and drizzle, especially at night.
We saw these behemoths almost every day while north of 35º N. One of the skippers told me he could not see us on radar.
Another, just before sunset. These container ships are as big as aircraft carriers.
We ran into this five foot diameter log going five knots. We rode up on it and it took ten minutes to get off. Clearly, I’ll have some repairs to do.
Landfall at Cape Flattery with Tatoosh Island offshore.
On our way to Port Angeles. After the tropics, we are definitely not used to the cold and fog yet.
Victoria, BC, from the sea. What a charming city.
Rhonda and grandson, Tyler, in Victoria.
At the Victoria Maritime Museum we discovered Voss’s Tilikum, a decked dugout canoe which he sailed around the World
In front of the parliament buildings, Victoria.
Part of the Wooden Boat Festival nearby in Port Townsend, what a great happening for people who love boats.
The map of our daily positions from the Marshall Islands to Washington.
This shows our position when becalmed in a ridge of high pressure and the impending gale that would overtake us two days later.
To Cruising in Northwest Page Outfitting Voyages Why a Pacific Seacraft 34? Sails Name Purchase “It is not the going out of port, but the coming in, that determines the success of a voyage.”

 —Henry Ward Beecher Start Contact