1000nm to Guam

1000nm to Guam

Note: this was written last week but we forgot to post it. We’re now en route from Guam to Okinawa and will update the blog over the coming days.

One of the challenges we’ve had is figuring out what time it is. Apple devices, it seems, have pretty limited time zone choices. It’s a bit of a guessing game to figure out which city is in the same time zone as we are. If we can’t find one, we resort to manually setting the time. Unfortunately, this screws up the “world clock,” causing much confusion. The other morning I had to text my mom in Seattle and ask what time it was. We’re now on Efate, Vanuatu time, and all seems to be well.

The perfect conditions Clay wrote about in the last blog didn’t last. We’re using PredictWind for weather forecasting and it’s been freakishly accurate. Within minutes of the prediction of increased north winds and squalls, they arrived.

The north wind stayed with us for about 24 hours and made things a bit lively onboard. Very quickly, we went from grease-calm to 20-30 knot northerlies. Steep, confused 10-12 foot seas built. We scrambled around the boat securing things before settling in for a not-so-restful night.

We were on track to arrive with 1200 gallons of fuel and decided the bumpy night was a good time to burn some of it. We increased the throttle to 1550rpm and made 9 knots at about 9gph all night. At this speed, we still have plenty of fuel to reach Guam, but it seems wrong to be so wasteful. Once the wind and seas moved aft of the beam, we eased the throttle back to a more miserly 1300rpm and 6gph. We’re still averaging over 8 knots and have half our fuel in the tanks. Starr is an efficient boat!

We haven’t seen any traffic in many days, not even an airplane overhead. This is a lonely patch of ocean.

Whales—possibly “false killer whales”—paid us a visit the other day. They moved fast and our pictures are terrible, but they really were there! The water was so clear that we saw their dark shapes darting about beneath the surface as they followed us for a few minutes.

During the passage I’ve spent some time reading World War II history of the area—Wake Island, Guam, and Okinawa, specifically. The loss of life is staggering and impossible for me to comprehend. One of my grandfathers was stationed in Saipan during the war (the other was in England). I’ve often thought about how different our circumstances are and how easy we have it now. We’re never in doubt about where we are, whether a ship is hostile, or when we’ll talk with our loved ones again. We sleep in air-conditioned comfort, shower as frequently and as long as we’d like, wash and dry our laundry in machines, eat like kings, and each of us has our own private cabin and head. We never worry about being shot or bombed. Thank you to the previous generations who have made this possible.

As I write this, we’re more than 2/3rds of the way to Guam. The forecast for the remainder of the trip looks good. All systems are operating well. We anticipate arriving sometime during daylight on Sunday, January 26, which is Saturday the 25th in North America.  We’re a little uncertain what to expect as far as arrival formalities. We’re a US-flagged vessel, everyone aboard has a US passport, and we departed from a US port. Since Guam is a US territory, is this trip the same as any other between US ports? We’ll find out in a few days!

  • Victor Hernandez
    Posted at 12:48h, 02 March Reply

    I am so jealous. Your trip is one of my “Walter Mitty” dreams.
    The last time I was visiting where you are I was in a stretch DC-8 in cattle car configuration enroute to Viet Nam. While faster, definitely not as comfortable.
    Enjoy your trip and time. Please contimue to keep us vicarious and jealous fellow travelers informed.

  • Fred Gharis
    Posted at 15:01h, 02 March Reply

    Back in the 1960’s, I was in the Naval Air transport flying 4 engine propeller DC-6 planes with supplies and troops to Vietnam.

    We left Oahu, Hawaii, ate a meal on Wake Island and flew to Guam for a crew change.

    After rest on Guam, it was on to Vietnam and then Japan for crew rest again

    Your journals bring great joy and many memories to an old man.

    Thank you and a safe voyage.

  • John Ellis
    Posted at 16:02h, 02 March Reply

    I Truly enjoy following your journey.
    We haven’t met but before we commissioned our 68 Nordhavn I looked at and ran a refit scenario on Chinook. Needless to say I love your boat. I cruised the South Pacific with my Parents on their TransPac 49 in the 90s. My last big ocean passage to this date was Pohnpei to Guam where I left to start a new chapter. We are starting our full time cruising journey in January 24. Hope to cross wakes.

  • Jan and Tom White
    Posted at 19:58h, 02 March Reply

    Tom and I, Sunchaser V – 48′ DeFever – are following you closely and are so impressed with you and your yacht. What a wonderful journey. Hope you survived the storm with no damage.

  • Beverley Lynn Desmarais
    Posted at 20:10h, 02 March Reply

    Love your posts and beautiful pictures. Continue having a great trip!

  • Yasuko Fegan
    Posted at 08:01h, 06 March Reply

    Bravi!! to Fab-5 of the STARR crew!
    I just started reading all the posts. What a journey and you are already in Guam!
    And the pictures are amazing. My friends in Japan are sending me pictures of plum blossoms in full bloom. Though still cold, spring has certainly come to the islands.
    Good chance the cherry blossoms will welcome you as you reach Japan!

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