Monday, June 13, 2016

Hilo Hawaii

Making landfall on the big island, Hawaii.
Hilo is an easy landfall.  Coming straight in from the crossing we made our way point just off the long breakwater, dropped sails, then motored south down the bay, following the buoys, red on right on return.  And I guess we were returning - returning to the U.S.

Since there was no cruise ship visible we didn't worry about getting permission to enter Radio Bay.  Also it was after hours for the port captain.  On our arrival there were six boats Tahitian moored to the concrete sea wall.  I'm informed by Bos'n Tobiason that a Tahitian moor is when you drop a bow anchor and then tie lines to the wall, leaving space between the wall and the stern with plenty of room between boats.  A Mediterranean moor is when your stern touches the sea wall (with fenders, of course) and you are right up to the boat next door.

We had plenty of space to circle around in the little bay and drop our anchor in 15 feet of water.  90 foot out gives us just over a 4 to 1 scope and there was little or no wind.

"Listen to this." I said as I turned off the engine.  Silence, sweet silence. And green foliage everywhere.  I got out the champagne and we toasted and took pictures;  high fives all around.  Since there were no more watches to be kept we drank our wine and had dinner in the cockpit.   Slept like stones.

I called customs in the morning and he said to come right over.  We took the dinghy off the bow and I paddled it over to the little canoe club here in the bay.  Then I walked out to the main road, took a right and walked another quarter of a mile to the intersection with the main gate where I found the customs building.  The man there was very friendly and completed my paperwork after checking our passports and doing background checks.  Do you have anything to declare?  Nothing.  Any fresh fruit or vegetables?  Nope. Any Pets? No sir. Welcome to Hawaii.

Next I walked through the gate, showing my customs paperwork to the guard so she'd let me enter the busy port loading dock.  There at the port captain's office I was greeted by the second most friendly person in Hilo who took care of my paperwork and charged me about $25 for a mooring permit and about $10 per day for tying up, just a little over $100 for a week of stay.  It was a long walk towards town to get a money order to pay; no cash, checks or credit cards accepted. That was a drag.  But I got it all done and was back at the boat in two hours.

We up anchor and circle around a few times then deftly back towards the sea wall, Connie dropping the bow anchor as I reverse, Scott Tobiason tying the stern lines to the wall from the dinghy and we are all set.  A Tahitian moor, done right!

When Connie and Scott finally got to go to land they kissed the concrete pier where they landed and then bee-lined it for hot showers! Later when we walked into town we were all having trouble walking and Connie slipped while crossing the road and chafed her knee and hand.  All traffic stopped for her.  Then somebody tooted their little horn and she almost jumped out of her pants. What a strange world, and how different it is here on land from what we were accustomed to on our 20 day passage.

We've got a rental car now and will spend a week touring the island.  This morning we ordered new sheeves for the mast head.  I winched Scott T. up the mast and he found that one sheave was missing and another had cracked in half and jammed.  That's why the jib halyard chafed through - it was running over a sharp metal lip.

Moored Tahitian Style - This shot is taken by Scott Tobiason from the masthead of Traveler.

It rained cats and dogs and mongoose last night and just now started raining again, as it does every day I presume.  So old Traveler is getting good and rinsed after all that pesky salt water we encountered on the passage.

I'm happy that we made this passage so far across the big Pacific ocean. When we mention it to folks here they think we are crazy and maybe we are.  But everyone congratulates us on our achievement and wants to hear the story. Now I know there are lots of cruisers who will say that the Hawaii run is very straightforward, and it is.  But being at sea for 20 something days out of land sight and taking watches around the clock is not a walk in the park.  It's exhausting, it's strange.  You cannot stop. You cannot give up. Because once you get out into the trade winds there is no turning back. You have committed.

Once we visit all the places we want to see in Hawaii will we then sail back across the ocean to Puget Sound?   Right now we are looking at our options.  Do you (or anyone you know) want to help us deliver the boat from Hawaii to Seattle in July of this year?  Let me know.

Meanwhile, we've got work to do, things to see, people to visit, and land (sweet land) to walk.

By the way, I've added pictures to some of the passage blog posts.  Couldn't do that when I was sending my daily reports via the single side band radio.

Scott, Connie, and Scott (who just hopped on Alaska Air headed home)