What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bike to work day

Here on Kwaj everyday is bike to work day.

There are no private cars on the island so if you want to get somewhere you walk or you ride your bike. There are two problems with riding your bike on Kwaj, both weather related.


The first is the wind: the strong tradewinds make it easy for me to get to work, but difficult to get back. The winds makes it feel like you are riding up or down hills.


The second is the corrosion. The exposure to the salt air does terrible things to our bikes. Rust and corrosion will destroy a bike quickly. We soon found out that after just 3 weeks the brake and gear cables can become so rusted that they no longer work! We have heard stories about bikes where the handle bars or seat posts have corroded so bad that they broke off while being ridden. We will need to set aside time to keep up on our maintenance.


There is a wide variety of bikes here. Many people decide to go with a single speed beach cruiser style bike so that the maintenance is less. The fancy bikes don’t last. There is a also a common Marshallese variant where the gooseneck is very long, this brings the handle bars up to about shoulder level. The other thing you will see here is the bike trailers. Even your large or heavy items need to be transported via bike power. There are trailers varying in size from carrying a bag of groceries to holding large ice chests. We will need pick up one of these ourselves.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tale of the tape

Masquerade is now off the dock and out on a mooring. We are currently borrowing a mooring from couple while they are not using it. It is a good place to keep the boat, but it will not be quite as handy as on the dock. In fact Cindy and I need to take a class and take a test to be able to use a boat in the Kwajalein atoll, we also have to get a sailing endorsement. It seems a little silly to have to prove that we are safe boaters and know how to sail after a 5000 mile passage, but the rules are the rules. So until we pass the test we cannot even use our dinghy here!


Looking at our log book, I did some calculations. We came up with the following numbers:

Days underway:                        44

Shortest day’s mileage:             102      

Longest day’s mileage:              155

Average miles noon to noon:     124

Johnston to Kwaj avg                137     We made better time the last 12 days.

Total miles made good              5405

Total miles traveled                   5504

Total miles as the crow flies       4698    


As shown above there are many ways to measure the distance traveled. We did not travel in a straight line due to leaving the Sea of Cortez first, and because we headed more southward initially to find better wind. As a sailboat we often sailed in a direction other than directly towards our goal so that the wind/waves were more favorable. It in interesting to see the difference in mileage.


All distances above are in nautical miles. 100 nautical miles is equal to 115 statute miles.