Aloha Pendana

ALOHA……..from Pendana and the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.

So we arrived safely after what was a difficult trip north from Christmas Island, (refer to earlier blog CLICK HERE) and I am pleased to report that we are all simply loving Hawaii. 

As is customary, I will start this blog with the overall weather forecast we received and considering a fellow Nordhavn owner (and others) had a few questions concerning the weather, I thought I would share the common questions being asked at camp Pendana for all to see.

The common questions received are:

“James it sounds like you left knowing that weather was coming but hoping it was not too bad? Why did you not elect to wait for a better weather window?”

Ok so the question of weather… see below for detail and weather forecast map as it shows the forecast we had when we left … not bad really, especially if you look at average wind speeds i.e. on the first line 11kts. Bottom line is that this wasn’t the case as we averaged closer to 29kts all the way with peaks of 38kts for about 15hrs and 30kts+ for another 15hrs then 25-30kts for pretty much the rest of the trip. The first 12 hrs out of Christmas Island were great but the rest of the trip was terrible. 

So, in short I was expecting a hard push due to the fact that we would be pushing into the NE trades – I was also expecting 5-10ft swells defined (due to fetch). The problem was, the ocean was like a washing machine, swell coming from all directions and then putting the ocean current on top only made things worse. Prior to leaving Christmas Island, I did look forward checking the forecasted winds for the period two weeks in advance to see if a better window was available but the NE trades were not abating. It needs to be said that in no way do we blame our weather forecaster as we are only travelling along a tiny blue line in the middle of a vast ocean they are forecasting.

In conclusion, the forecasts were wrong, the NOAA forecast showed 10-15kts all the way as did the NobleTech weather feed…15kts, if only!

Below these questions is the detailed weather data with forecaster comments.


“Given the weather situation, why did you have your overhead hatches open in Master?”

Simply because I am a total fool! I opened the hatch for a moment when I was brushing my teeth, then totally forgot to close it. I know, I know… lucky it was me who made that mistake!


“How was fuel consumption on this trip?”

Not 100% sure yet as won’t do the overall fuel consumption until I top up tanks later in the week. But probably pretty much the same as before… 5 and 3/4 days at avg 8kts at 6.4gph. NEWS FLASH – I have now topped up the tanks and can share with all the total numbers from Sydney Australia to Hawaii, USA in terms of fuel burn and average speed. 


a truck hilo

Fuel truck arrives from Hawaiian Petroleum to fill Pendana up!



Waiting for the driver to hand over the paperwork for signing….Gotta say the crusie ship terminal here in Hilo was simply wonderful to tie up to compared to the nightmare wharf on Christmas Island! 


So how did the numbers work out? Well here are the facts:

(Updated July 5th to exclude generator hours)


Total Engine Hours: 678 hrs

Total gen Hours: 160 hrs @ 1USG per hour

Total Days Underway: 28.25 days.

Total Days between Departure and Arrival: 58 days (April 24th – June 21st).

Total Days Not Underway: 29.75 days.

Total Fuel Used: 17,201 Ltrs / 4,544 US Gallons.

Engine Fuel Used: 16,595 LITRES / 4,384USG

– Gen Fuel Used: 605 LITRES / 160USG

Total Fuel Bill: A$19,037.00 / US$14,468.00

Total Nautical Miles Travelled: 5,338nms

Average Speed: 7.9kts

Average Fuel Burn: 24.53Ltrs / 6.46 USG per hour.

Pendana runs at 1.21nm per Usg / 3.85 Litres @ 7.9kts


I must say that I am surprised the average speed is as low as it is as Pendana’s hull speed is 9.5kts at about 6.5 USG per hour when back in Oz. I guess it just shows you that there was a price to pay for going around the wrong way after all!


“Was everyone eventually able to eat on this trip?”

I would call it more survival eating than eating well. i.e. toast, cereal etc… nothing of substance, although Claire does have her stash of veggies that the children and her eat and enjoy daily… Gotta have your veggies!!!


“Most importantly – are the girls willing to continue cruising with you?”

Yes, the girls (all of them) are, all more than happy to continue cruising although they are happy to trade places with Bobs N120 at a moment’s notice! It was only a matter of hours after being in Hilo that all was forgotten. It’s true that long ocean passages are not what any of us really enjoy as they are a lot of work, tiring, boring, but all remain committed to the journey and are enthusiastic participants to proceed.



Situation and comments from my weather forecaster:
“Intertropical convergence zone is looking quiet along our path- go on
squall watch between 3N and 5N. There may be another burst of convection along our path at 7N around 17 0900UTC — go on squall watch and if you see any go EAST around it. HIGH traveling along 30N should maintain trade winds from NE for us this week. 2 metre swells in these trade winds with period of 8 to9 seconds”
Same decode and disclaimer as before , table is in UTC and degrees true
Starts off at local Tuesday noon= 15 2200UTC = noon Monday Hawaiian time
UTC- HH:MM|—-Lat:/ Long-:| hPa | lull~avg~gust |Brg-Kt|TWA|Drift



Forecasters route map.


Showing 16-20kts all the way!

The trip from hell is now behind us and we have all forgotten it (well, almost) and will move forward hoping not to repeat it anytime soon. One does what one can to ascertain the risks etc however not a single weather site mentioned anything over 22kts during our passage and there is a big difference between 22kts and 30kts plus, as most on the water would know.

I am pleased to report on arrival in the USA the customs clearance process was without doubt the most amazing experience ever. The chap from the US Customs and Border Protection service was simply the nicest and most charming man I think I have ever met. The process was all done and dusted in under an hour and he was grateful for the multiple email alerts I had sent him previously together with the tomes of information i.e medical kits contents, crew list and even the link to which he followed to check our arrival date. His name was Bill Foss and honestly a really nice guy.

For all arriving on international boats to Hawaii I simply say this, clear in Hilo as the experience we had was simply superb. Bill Foss’ contact details below.

CBPO William C. Foss, Jr. (Bill)
Customs and Border Protection
Field Operations – Port of Hilo
29 Kuhio Street, Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 933-6975 / Fax: (808) 933-6976 

Once cleared we raised our American courtesy flag and all breathed a combined sigh of relief! Did we really travel from Sydney to America in under two months? We sure did! 


US flag flying proudly on Pendana (….yes Mr Allard, this is your flag)


Two hours after clearing into the USA the vet was coming to check over the animals and complete the necessary paperwork. As most would know, I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours completing all the necessary paperwork so that we could gain entry into USA with our animals under the 5 day quarantine pre-approval program.


Photo above of Caesar the Magnificent being checked over by the vet who was yet again, an all-round nice guy, Skip Pease. Skip was here to issue all animals with their Health Certificate which is a requirement for the quarantine program.

While Skip was with us he mentioned that the Animal Disease Control Branch with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture had in fact given him all the paperwork to complete for the animals arrival into the USA. Which surprised me a little but I was not complaining. Once Skip had left my last task was to speak with Dr Kim Kozuma from the Animal Disease Control Branch to ascertain when the 5 day period actually started and finished as Caesar was keen to get ashore after nearly two months aboard Pendana.

Dr Kim Kozuma sent me an email a few hours later stating that the animals had all been approved for immediate release and she wished Caesar a nice long run along the beach as he was cleared to hit the sand – NOW. WOW…. Amazing! Immediate release! How cool is that! Again for those coming into the USA with animals I can’t recommend Dr Kim Kozuma highly enough. I spoke with her numerous times when we were in Australia trying to decipher the rules and requirements. She was, in a word, amazing.

Kim Kozuma, DVM
Deputy State Veterinarian
Animal Disease Control Branch
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
75 Aupuni Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: 808.933.3307, VM: 808.974.6503

Its only right that I mention it was Jen Hamilton on MV Dirona who told me to clear in with the animals in Hilo and whom I might add gave me Dr Kim Kozuma’s contact details. Without this heads up, the animals would have certainly ended up doing five days in a quarantine centre somewhere, so thank you Jen!



Faster dad, faster….


Oooooo this sand feels sooooooo good!

After a nice long walk with Caesar, Claire and I prepared to take care of a few maintenance items. Cruising is not all relax and soak up the sunshine as there are always jobs on board that need to be done some more pleasant than others and one of these jobs we had to do was about as unpleasant as they come.

JOB one…. Replace all duckbill valves in all heads (toilets), M-Series pump and black water discharge pump. I take the view that when my M Series vacuum pump cycles more than it should rather than replacing just one duckbill and seeing how things go, I replace them all to eliminate going through the ordeal again and again. Do it once, do them all, and then erase the past few hours from one’s memory.

I won’t go into graphic detail but for the non-boater readers out there Pendana has a vacuum head (toilet) system with each head (there are four of them) being independent from each other. Effectively the M Series vacuum pump creates a vacuum in the line to each head so that when the FLUSH button in depressed the waste is sucked away at lighting speed. A little like aircraft toilets. The problem is that each head has its own duckbill valve which every 12 months or so needs replacing. This simply means breaking the sewage line pulling the old one out and putting the new one in. Yes, it is a messy job if you know what I mean. So, four head means four duckbill valves, which means four locations and four breaks in the sewage line! Claire usually stands above and sprays my face with deodorant to mask the fragrance coming for our black water system (toilet sewage system). Not fun!

Next part in this process was to replace the four heavy duty duckbill valves in my much loved M Series vacuum pump. Again another break in the sewage line! Then finally while I am at it, I replace the two duck bills in the black water discharge pump, you guessed it…… All in all this took Claire and I, about seven hours to complete (Claire passes me the tools etc, listens to me whine and complain and sprays me in the face with deodorant). This time does include lots of diet coke and ciggie breaks along the way – no need to rush fun jobs like these.

Fibreglass repair

Getting my hands in the right position is harder than it looks! I wish I weighed 50kgs / 110lbs at times like this.


Base of the massive M Series commercial grade vacuum pump.

JOB two…As mentioned in my last blog (CLICK HERE) our starboard stabilizer went offline during our rough run north, as such we needed to order some parts from TRAC, whom I might add were fantastic, but not after bothering poor old Mr Knight while he was on holidays.

teak repair

James Knight above, holidaying with his family just before being rudely interrupted by me. Thanks James.

Anyway the long and short of it was the stabilizer fin position sensor had come loose on our run north to Hawaii (in fact, it had broken) and the ever so small grub screw had vanished from the face of the earth. The other problem was the bolt holding the fin centring mechanism had sheered off inside the thread – oh no! To position the fin and get everything working again I needed to remove the broken bolt from a place which is not only hard to reach but a place I should not be allowed to venture, with a drill in my hand!

I considered many options to, hire someone, fly in someone, then realised that I must try to do it myself and with Claire standing by to help with tools, torches and screwing bits and pieces, we set about doing what I thought would be totally beyond me.

teak repair

Photo of broken bolt.

Photo of the broken bolt still in hole…emmm.

With a quick look at Youtube for a “How To on Using EasyOuts” I was ready to rock and roll. Claire at the ready, drill at the ready – (James, remember use steel drill bits not wood bits) – and I was ready to go.

Bottom line is, that after about 40 mins, a ton of WD40 the broken part of the bolt magically started to move and came out. WOW, what a great product these EasyOuts are! Magic!


pendanablog image

Here she comes…

Hoooooooooray! It’s out and the hole thread is still in perfect condition so thankfully I won’t need to consult Youtube on how to use Taps (tapping thingies)..!

The next job was to replace the broken fin sensor. For those in the know this is not the easiest job in the world due to the location, space available and minute size of the grub screws Abi was even recruited thanks to her 20/20 vision which was required. Nonetheless, it was out with the old and in with the new and after three attempts, multiple calls to James Knight and phone support provided to me from the stabilizer guru himself, Mr David Wright from TRAC, I finally listened to what was being said, rather than assuming I knew what they meant. I can’t tell you the relief to have finally got this job completed and my starboard stabilizer back on line. **NEWS FLASH** – Now another problem with the starboard fin, which if the truth be told is probably the reason the last sensor failed, is that the bearing screw appears to be loose which means breaking down the stabilizer to get to the screw to tighten it. What’s more if this one is loose then perhaps the port stabilizer screw is also loose. Either way, I am done with this issue and will now envoke my right to call in a specialist to do the job for me. Thankfully David Wright from the Trac, the stabilizer god, has agreed to fly out to Hilo from his base in Seattle to help sort the problem once and for all. As always I will watch and learn.

Out with the old!

Pendana Nardhavn

In with the new.

…and my P074 parameter locked into place showing a perfect score of 0.

Atlas N62

One thing is for sure, cruising is about self-sufficiency and I am pleased that together Claire, Abi and I were able to do this job by ourselves – well, that is, I mean to say,…. by ourselves, with the phone support from James Knight from YachtTech, David Wright from TRAC and an email from Captain Mark James explaining that ‘taps’ were not the same thing as EasyOuts – who would have known, right…? One never stops learning! I am also pleased that I won’t need to venture into the dark abyss of my starboard stabilizer locker anymore as that job has now been formally handed over to David Wright from TRAC. Can’t wait to welcome you aboard Dave!!!

Gray Matter Nordhavn 62

David Wright for TRAC, always, only to happy to help! Thanks David.

I must say that I am pleased to have the support from a number of people who are always only too happy to help a guy who is in serious need of help. I guess it is very much the cruising way to help out others out on the water. I am sure none of this would be possible without the network of support I enjoy and to those folks out there, all I can say is thank you.

….and now for a few pics…

Pendana from above.

Pizza straight from the oven… simply superb! I mean it, superb.

A road trip to the lava fields with our sexy blue Jeep. Yes, the girls picked it!

Lava fields! Well it used to be.

We had planned to drive up to Mauna Kea, however, protesters were blocking the road and the Governor of Hawaii then officially closed the road to Mauna Kea and the visitor centre. Grrrrr….

So not to be out done……. We took to the air.

The girls ready for lift off!

Yep that’s real lava down there – amazing to see.

And some more….

I recently asked the family to tell me what they thought about Hawaii after our first week here and below are their unedited responses.

Claire: Loving every minute of it! Love the scenery, climate and laid back people. Very relaxing atmosphere and some stunning views.

Abi: Super Fun! Really nice place, best place so far – enjoying the shops and food of which I have been deprived of for what seems a very long time. Loving Hawaii!

Bianca: I like Hawaii very, very, much. It’s basically Australia but with way more cool stuff. (Sorry folks, no definition given as what “cool stuff” means)

So as you can see everyone is having a ball.

I must say that there are some differences between Australia and Hawaii. I know when folks come to Australia I always ask them what the stand out differences between country X and Australia are etc, so in the same spirit I will offer our observations of Hawaii v’s Australia:

– We are all completely amazed as to why motorcycle riders do not wear helmets. In Australia you would find yourself in a bit of trouble and receiving a heavy fine for not wearing a helmet.

– Riding unrestrained in the back of a pickup truck. The other day we drove past a pickup with about four children in the back of the truck totally unrestrained. To us this seems total madness.

– Hawaii has incredibly polite car drivers – they let you in, they wait for you to cross the road and they do not speed. Perhaps this is why helmets and restraints in pick-up trucks are not required! Amazing actually because in Australia, especially Sydney, it’s a little like getting on the Grand Prix circuit when driving around. It’s every man for himself and no one lets anyone in! 

– Restaurant portion sizes. There is nothing I can say other than they are HUGE. I am not a small guy but there is no way even I can eat the volume of food served.

– Massive cars/trucks. Wow, everyone here seems to have these huge cars, I think Americans refer to them as trucks or is it RV as in recreational vehicle. They are enormous.


This thing could almost drive over a standard sized car.

Nope, I want BIGGER wheel please.

– Yield street signs. I always thought the word ‘yield’ had to do with financial returns; not so here in Hawaii. Assume these signs mean give-way, sure hope so!

– Petrol station or gas station. It is very odd that you have to pay for your fuel before filling up your tank. I guess this is to stop fuel theft and makes total sense but you can imagine me at the pump the first time, not knowing this, pressing all the buttons, pumping the handle then finally giving up after a frustrated five minutes, only to told, “You have to pay for the fuel first sir”! Ahhhhhhhh ok. In Australia you fill first then pay – then again fuel theft in Australia is an issue so this may change.

– Finally, why is peanut butter such a huge thing here? Seriously, it’s everywhere. In biscuits, cakes, more brands than I have ever seen and even jars of peanut butter pre-mixed with jam (I guess to save time, voila peanut butter and jelly). Suppose it is a little like us Aussies with our vegemite!

We were very lucky that fellow Nordhavn owners on Infinity N62 came to Hilo and dropped anchor right next to Pendana. Andy and Julie Nemier are really the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet and were great fun to be around. For those who haven’t read their interview on CLICK HERE.or if you havent read their own blog its worth reading and has lots of stunning photos CLICK HERE

Wow, that’s one pretty looking Nordhavn 62 and her décor inside is equally stunning.

Andy, Julie and Harley setting the anchor! How cute is Harley? ….and no Caesar, you can’t eat her.

Time for some lunch and a few glasses of chilled champers……

In short, Hawaii has lived up to our hopes and delivered a fantastic foray into the United States of America and for that we will always be very grateful. The people, the climate, the culture, the scenery, the food (crazy as it is) and the drivers are all fantastic and the crew on Pendana are very happy to be here.

From here we plan to refuel and then make our way to Honolulu where we will stay until December/January (nice long rest) before embarking on the 12-14 day ocean crossing to San Francisco in preparation for making the inside passage (PNW) in the summer of 2016.

Akaka Falls, Hawaii. A 422ft drop, twice the height of Niagara Falls although clearly less volume. Simply breathtaking!

Infinity (L) and Pendana (R) together in Hilo, Hawaii. One Canadian boat, one Australian boat and one American port! 

So for now things on the blog front will quieten down a little as we rest, relax and enjoy what the islands of Hawaii have to offer. Finally, promise, for those not reading Kensblog, you are missing out. Captain Ken and Roberta are back on San Souci so get ready for some great blogging CLICK HERE.

Safe travels




2 thoughts on “Aloha Pendana”

  1. Ok, ok enough of the plumbing already. I can smell it from here, lol. Keen to hear what you think when you have been in Oahu a while. I went every year for 11 years from ’93, for the surf. A somewhat surreal place with a touch of schizophrenia thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

  2. Laurie Thyrre

    SUBJECT: Re: Rough Run North

    We have been cruising for 5 weeks and I haven’t been following along until now – Gads, I hope this finds you all in a 5 star resort resting!L
    On Jun 24, 2015, at 3:58 AM, http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM wrote:

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