Saturday, May 6, 2017

All Done But One

Sunrise at sea - my favorite moment of the day
We arrived at Honokohau, Hawai'i, two days ago. One of the two transient berths was blessedly vacant, which gives us a guaranteed place to moor the barky during our entire stay in these islands, that, as blessed as they may be in other regards, are cursed in terms of decent harbors.

And, no small thing, after all those miles of open open ocean travel (our GPS showed 4,919 from Panama City), the close maneuvering to come to rest, Tahiti moored and snuggled next to the other transient yacht in the harbor, went completely smoothly.

We have cleared Customs, which was an astonishingly easy process. A local ex-sailor and ham who gave us extensive help in figuring out the logistics of our stay while we were still on passage has met us at the dock and very very very kindly spent an afternoon driving us around to grocery store and various internet providers. (Thanks, Drifter!) 

And, courtesy of the good people on the Pacific Seafarer's Net who clued us in to the fact that lava is currently flowing into the sea on the south coast of the Big Island, we had the most spectacular landfall imaginable. We detoured to the lava entry point and were greeted by the sight of the massive steam plume as we closed the island at dusk, and then the even more impressive violence of Pele's/Vulcan's river of molten rock flowing down the mountain slope, clearly visible from sea after dark, and the incredible fiery violence of the lava cascading into the ocean, just off our starboard beam.

Now that's the way to arrive in Polynesia.

Alisa was very keen to make landfall at that spot, as any rational person would be. I, on the other hand, was concerned about the implications for our chances of making the harbor in daylight the following day. We made it fine, of course, and I got a valuable lesson, all these years in, of the value of making detours.

For, after all, what is this sailing life of ours, if not a decade-long detour?

We've made our initial accommodation with land life, US-style, in the form of a long afternoon (thanks, Drifter!) spent in the AT&T and Verizon shops, trying to come to terms with the rapacious entities that plug us all in to the post-fact world. 

When Elias complained about how long it was all taking, Alisa and I were notably unsympathetic. "Welcome to land life," we told him. "It's only going to get worse from here."

Is that the correct message to convey?

And, in the grocery store, I had my own moment of homecoming. There in the cooler were long racks of American beer. We had finally, after all our wanderings, arrived at a port where I could just walk into a store and buy a 12-pack of Lagunitas IPA. 

Which I did, of course. But not after taking a moment to go misty-eyed, standing there in the refrigerated beer aisle, considering this physical manifestation, right there before me, of just how good the world can be.

So that's us. Back in the USA.

The crew working together to handline in a mahi mahi

The mahi mahi were small, but they came in dead after being dragged along at 8+ knots, and so could be quickly filleted without long consideration of whether they should be kept or not. Elias is holding his custom-made spoon that was the demise of many of our piscine dinners

Long passages - the untold story. (When fresh supplies run low.)

Passing the hours, and the days

Lunch time, day 29: boat salad, fresh from the can

Watching the miles go by

Alisa's birthday. She is overjoyed because she has guessed Elias' gift before even opening it

A new frying pan! OK, all you landlubber married fellas - you show me the look of joy on the face of your wife of 16 years' standing when a new frying pan is her big birthday gift

The retired frying pan was given a burial at sea - as respectful as it was immediate. RIP, old friend

How the years go by - Elias wasn't lighting Alisa's birthday cakes when we set out. I love his tongue sticking out with concentration

Sailors, brothers

The lava steam plume at landfall

Self-portrait as we prepare to splice the mainbrace, safely and happily in port, Honokohau


  1. Congrats on (another!) long passage completed! Curious to see what you think of Hawaii... :)

  2. Congratulations! Well done, good ship Galactic and crew!

  3. To see a Alisa so happy getting a frying pan for her birthday almost makes me want to sail around the world with my wife! Will be interesting to see how you settle back to land life when you get to Alaska?

  4. Amazing passage! Love your comment on "Detours!" The BEST landfall indeed! Really enjoy your writing and sharing!

  5. You got a frying pan for your birthday....?!?
    Guy's....that's shocking ;-)))

    Anyway.....good to see you happy as allways. Enjoy Hawaii (we loved Molokai most, good to anchor as well)

    Aloha from the Lop To's, Helmut & Kerstin

  6. Have a wonderful trip back! It's a
    bluebird summer day in Alaska and land life is pretty fine at the moment.