Re: Lava flow

I had a little fun with this shot....I didn't realize how many of my photoshop skills went to shit until I decided what I wanted to do to this image!!

Quoting Micha <smh@smichah.de>:

Boy today we went to the lava flow. Take the car as far as possible, then rent a bike to ride 2,5 miles and then hike up to the lava field hoping you don't step in fresh fresh lava. That place is crazy and dangerous. No security. But lots of people go and find their way, about 50% take a guided tour which is smart. And most people go in the dark. There is no path, you find you way over cold lava which gets warmer and warmer until you reach the fresh flow. Amazing! But starting the descent I was gazing at this lava flow instead of looking where I go. So I fell holding on to my tripod where my camera was still mounted on. Thank god a lady had her first aid kit with her, roughly cleaned the wound and gave me band aid. 2 later at home (over 1 hr hike down, 15 min bike ride to car, 45min drive home) I cleaned the wound. It took me about 1 hr to get all the little lava pieces out of the wound. It's like glass. Ouch. Hope it heals well without infection. So no swimming for me in the next many weeks!


Lava flow

Boy today we went to the lava flow. Take the car as far as possible, then rent a bike to ride 2,5 miles and then hike up to the lava field hoping you don't step in fresh fresh lava. That place is crazy and dangerous. No security. But lots of people go and find their way, about 50% take a guided tour which is smart. And most people go in the dark. There is no path, you find you way over cold lava which gets warmer and warmer until you reach the fresh flow. Amazing! But starting the descent I was gazing at this lava flow instead of looking where I go. So I fell holding on to my tripod where my camera was still mounted on. Thank god a lady had her first aid kit with her, roughly cleaned the wound and gave me band aid. 2 later at home (over 1 hr hike down, 15 min bike ride to car, 45min drive home) I cleaned the wound. It took me about 1 hr to get all the little lava pieces out of the wound. It's like glass. Ouch. Hope it heals well without infection. So no swimming for me in the next many weeks!


What a panorama

Gotta love Hawai'i

2ft snow on Volcano Mauna Kea is rare. Some decent snow left after re-opening the "road" (only for 4x4) even more rare. And that snow on Christmas even more rare. So half the island drove up 13758ft to enjoy the snow and take just a little (­čśü = a trunk full) home. And yes, surfing boogie bords also can be used for sliding down the snow. And why not set up a beach chair on top of the snow in your truck and party? People drove up there like they usually go to the beach. Open the trunk, turn the music on, set up the picknic, bring out beach chairs (next to car or on the snow in the trunk). A big big party. So fun!!!

 THIS day and snow craziness will remain in my head forever.

Gotta love Hawaii.

Christmas Eve

A dream has come true in a very beautiful way. It's dec 24th, for us Germans that's Christmas. We're on Hawai'i. With Alita. Sunshine pure and perfect temperatures. An active volcano that I got to see. A nice boat neighbor (who we only met yesterday by asking him over for Christmas eve dinner) who leaves tomorrow celebrated with us and overwhelmed us with presents! We had the most amazing duck for dinner ever. I look up into a beautiful sky full of stars. We have so many good friends around the world who think about us as we do about them and who send us their best wishes. What an amazing life. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to be able to experience all this. It's overwhelming.

Tomorrow we want to head up to Mauna Kea, the highest volcano with 4.200m/13.768ft above Sealevel.


First images Hawaii

I can't believe we're actually here. Exploring starts tomorrow, when we pick up the car. That's our christmas present. So excited!


We're in Hilo - Hawaii

At 1330 local time we shut the engine off after having finished our Bohamian (we call it roman catholic) mooring procedure: anchor in front and two lines to land in the back. We were lucky that two boating girls appeared and took the line from me. Behind us is a ladder at the dock wall. We installed a line between land and Alita along which we could move our Dinghy to get to/from land. Unfortunately at land we can't get anywhere but to the toilet. We need to use the Dinghy to get to the little rocky beach in front of the rowing club to be able to get out of the harbour area. That's a bit a pain in the a...But oh well, welcome to water camping world. With the help of a biiiiiig security lady we found our way over to the rowing club - not amused that we would get wet because we have to get into the water to get the Dinghy out - and walked over to customs to check in. Luckily we called the guy, Bill Foss, from customs via Satphone from out at sea that we will be checking in betw
een 1400 and 1500hrs because customs usually closes at 1400hrs. So Bill agreed to wait for us and - oh my god - he has been THE NICEST customs/immigration/agriculture guy EVER. He was sooo incredibly sweet. Welcomed us from the bottom of his heart. He stayed overtime to make sure we get cleared in. He was happy to see that Marcus had filled out and printed out everything he could. Bill left with all our papers and passports and everything and excused himself that he now needs to do some paperwork and about 20 Min later he came back out with our passports stamped and all paperwork done and US cruising permit printed. I gave him the $19 fee (great that I had it just right). And then he was so kind to show us on a 3D-map the most important points of interest in Hawaii and gave us an overview of Hilo. All I can say is WOW. He was sooo incredibly friendly from his heart (he had lived in Germany/Stuttgart when he was in the army and he had a blast, including Oktoberfest and Stuttg
arter Was'n), so welcoming after this trip and happy. Thumbs up for the best check into anywhere we have ever had. The fastest and especially friendliest we ever had. And we have been to many countries.
Having finished with customs we had to go to the port authority to register. They checked us in, told us how much we need to pay (27.50$ one time registering fee and then, for our boat length, $10.56 per day) in advance by some kind of paycheck (we hopefully get that at Walmart tomorow) and gave us maps and the bus schedule. They had a nice christmas decoration in there- the first one we saw for this year. For the money we pay we have the toilet and I think shower, free water and we can anchor here pretty secure.

The weather is not so welcoming. Ever since we dropped the anchor it has been pouring rain. Thank god it just started then to rain really bad. The good side is, of course, that Alita gets the washdown that she needs after the passage.
We heard that the peak of Mount Kea, which hosts the observatory and which I need to see, is closed because just today 2ft of snow came dowm. Oh man, that's what I am looking for!!! I need to get to the SNOW!!! Argh. I hope we can go up these days. There are a
couple of cold fronts coming through, starting yesterday. It looks like it's going to get better on the weekend.

Tomorrow we'll take the bus around to town and the shopping areas. Check in at the Tourist information, use Wifi to get rental car etc. Make a plan for the next two weeks that we intend to stay here.

We just had a fabulous dinner.
Marcus three bottles of beer, I am working on my white wine. We had a very nice onion soup with garlic bread & melted cheese and then some steaks of bilfish (Schwertfisch).
After our check in we went to the little store here. I got ONE apple. Boy that was good. Then outside we found some not pretty but hopefully good tasting local oranges for free. Will taste them now, then off to BED. Good night.

I can smell the land

I smell green and very moist "Moos" (I don't know the english word; the green stuff that looks like little miniature trees and grows wherever it's very moist and no sun) and rotten woods mixed with wet lava stone. It immediately puts the picture of a soaked rainforest into my mind as I know it from the South of the south island New Zealand and Stewart Island, just that it's warmer and thus a more intense smell. I always love smelling a country before I actually see it. And despite driving along pretty close we can only see some shadows of the coastline glimpsing through the thick rain clouds. No volcano in sight.
I just talked to customs via Sat phone and arranged for our check-in as soon as we get there. I am starting to get excited.
Funny, Marcus pulled out a document that we have to fill in for arrival and Christmas Island before leaving he filled in dec 20th, 1500hrs as arrival time. Wow. We're estimated to arrive in Radio Bay at 1330 and by the time we're at anchor /tied to dock it'll be around 1430. That was a good guess my lord!

Land in sight

Now that the light is slowly getting brighter I can finally see land tucked behind all these clouds. We're so close to land but can hardly see anything. Motorsailing again the last hours.

Direct hit close to Hwaii

I just stood downstairs looking at the navigation screen as I was hit by something which I thought was my water bottle. As I wondered how that got down here I looked for the light only to then find out I got hit on my shoulder by a flying fish!! How the hell did he make his way through here? Over board, into the cockpit under the roof, through tue cockpit and through the gangway down onto me, just barely missing my face. Argh. I just can't believe this! Now my jacket smells like fish, that's even worse! Thank god he missed my face. Can you believe that?? That's never happened before, and realistically, what are the chances?
I had to wake up Marcus to throw that guy out. I can't touch these (any) fish.

So, we're in the final approach to the island of Hawaii. 15nm away from land and about 35nm to our destination, Hilo. The wind is constantly getting weaker and I'll have to start the engine again soon.

Position at 0607am local time:
19deg 18,9N and 154deg 37,4W


Boarded big billboard fish

Marcus just caught his first billboard fish ever. Poor, beautiful fish. I would have let him go...
While Marcus pulled in the line (pure line, no gear) I prepared the gaff and then gave it to him. In his first attempt of gaffing he lost the gaff to the sea while holding in to the fish. We were under full sail and motor. We saw that the gaff was floating bottom up so we tried our chance. While Marcus watched over the fish and made sure we don't get the line into the motor it was my job to get the gaff back. Haha. Full break by putting in reverse. Then steered through the wind keeping the foresail tight and once trough, opened the main sail and heave to. In this position I motored the only couple meters to the lee of the gaff until it was about 3m away directly to the side. While drifting towards it I laid in deck and caught it with my hand. Puh. Then Marcus boarded that big guy (about 6ft/ 1,8m), sat on him while I got the knife with which Marcus killed the guy. Boy his blood was thick, never seen anything like it. I immediately had to start hosing the deck off with our sal
t water hose. Now Marcus is in the processing of fileting and proud as can be. That's fish for a month!

one more day

About 100nm away from the closest point to the island of Hawaii. That's close enough that theoretically we should be able to see the peak of the Volcanos. In reality however the typical humid completely overcast weather with low lying clouds, which get stuck at those high mountains, makes it impossible to see anything yet. The guide says you typically won't see it until you're right there. That means I'll probably smell it first.
Half an hour ago I heard someone say something on the radio on channel 16. Early in the morning Marcus saw a small fishing boat only 1.5 miles away. So we're heading the right direction and must take a sharper look out on the final run.

Night #7

Sailing along, still relatively smooth, im a moist and cloudy night. All good on board.

Position at midnight 18./19.12. local time:
16deg 38,2N and 155deg 01,1W
195nm to go to Hilo
Estimated arrival: sometime afternoon/evening 20.12.2017


Sailing along

The sun is rising after night #6 out. We are still sailing pretty smooth over the ocean. Again the nightsky was amazing. How I love these millions of stars, always wondering what's happening up there as they send their light to us from far far away. A friend told me that the falling stars that I saw on dec 14th were Geminides on their most active day. Bingo. Marcus did not see them as he had clouds when he was on watch, but I saw at least 15.

All is good aboard. The weather gets more and more humid. Lots of high rising clouds. That will also be typical for Hawaii. On the windward sides it rains almost every day, in the leeward sides it is more dry. We will check into Hilo at the windward side of Hawaii Big Island, in the northeast. I am very much looking forward to driving up to the volcanoes, hopefully seeing snow and lava flow. And also to wanderlng through a mall (just window shopping) to get a little bit of christmas into my feelings. Although the closest to Christmas are th stars out here. For New Year's I would like to sit on top of one of the Volcanoes. It'll be cold and maybe with snow. Like home. The highest peaks are about 13.000 ft high (over 4.000m) above water level. I just read that cosidering the basis of the volcano is not the water but the ocean bottom, it would be the world's highest mountain! So, I can't wait. Neither can my camera.

We know we're on the right path as we start seeing ship traffic Asia -US west coast. Marcus had one crossing 3 miles ahead of us, I just have one 10 miles ahead (I can only see it on AIS). So, keep a good look out.

Position at 0713 dec 18, 2017, local time:
15deg 05,2N and 154deg 48,4W
270nm south of the east cape of Hawaii Island


Night #5

All well on board. Another beautiful starry night. After another almost whole day of motoring it feels so quiet and peaceful to be sailing again. The waves calmed down during the day so we were finally ably to set the little genoa again and let the main out. We wanted to set the spinnker but with those waves it would have ended in desaster. I will start book #5 now...

Position at midnight 16.-17.12. local time:
12deg 21,3N and 154deg 48,4W
We have about 425nm to go and 625nm behind us


Night four

So this is our fourth night out, which means by noon tomorrow we're about half way there. While the wind is calm, mostly too calm to sail (we motored half the day yesterday) the waves are rocking and rolling from 3 directions and this throwing us around. Haha it's like a roller coaster without looping. We have up to 3m/9ft from north, the same from SE and a windwave from E. So sometimes that adds up and we have a nice "flight" over a wave and down its back. I wonder how I was able to cook two dishes today. After all it's a calm day and we're upright a lot and not beating against the wind but sailing downwind. The wind is not exactly behaving as predicted earlier. We were supposed to have it 50 deg apparent first today and then E again but it's been SSE all the time. And for sailing that it's mostly not strong enough. We might put up the Spinnaker sail (!) tomorrow, who would have thought.
We're both well up and get enough sleep. I am enjoying another starry night now. The day before yesterday I saw sooooo many falling stars it was amazing. None yesterday.

Position at 0225, dec 16 local time (UTC-10):
10deg 18,5N and 154 deg 55,5N


New crew on board

As I was just working on the sails I found a new crew member on deck. A sea bird has landed at one point on the port side of our cockpit. Poor thing is tired and exhausted and seems to have s problem with his feet as he can hardly move. Maybe broken wing as well? I tried to give him a piece of bread but he seems scared and moved a bit backwards. He is tucked in under the sheet (lines) of our foresail and the toe reling on the side. I wish I could help him. I don't think he will make it til Hawaii with us. Our last winged crew member died during the night. I pray for this guy and hope he is just taking a rest. Oh my heart is with him.

Another starry night

Every night is makes me so happy to see these millions of stars. This sky is just magic. On top of that I love the "stars" that we create in the water by mixing up the oxygen which in return lets the fluorescent algae glow. So pretty.
We are about 30% in to our trip to Hawaii, all good on board.

Position at midnight (14.-15.12.) local time:
08deg11minN and 155deg33,9W


Position Day 1,5

All good on board, we're having a (too) fast ride, not bouncy despite the up to 2,5m waves (7-8ft). Quite some water masses have washed over Alita and through the cockpit, but only little splash at the are where we sit and the little sitting upholstery is covered in waterproof upholstery.
I am so into the book I am reading that, while reading, I forget we're sailing out in the ocean. Too bad I will finish this 700 page book already in about an hour. But the next one is already prepared...
Our total travel time is estimated between 8 and 9 days. So we're already 17% there. Just got notice from our friends/ neighbours from Penrhyn that they passed Christmas Island 4am last night, so they are now 3/4 of a day behind us. They left Penrhyn 2 days after us. We have a date on Hawaii big Island.

Position at 2237 local time (UTC-10): 05deg 49,5N and 156deg 23.0W


Merry Christmas from Christmas Island

My best wishes for you, my blog readers, with the Christmas Island in the background. Just in case we don't make it to Internet-land until christmas.

Last night

There is always something happening here. This morning a big fishing vessel arrived that produces mor smoke than a factory 100 years ago. It tied up to the freighter at anchor behind us. It looks like the fishing boat delivered a necessary, huge spare part to fix the freighter. Shortly after about 50men were brought out to those ships- we guess to help install whatever it was - and partly crew that was on land.
After breakfast Marcus drove me to the big ship dock so that I could get on land to check out. That was shortly after 9a.m. I returned at 3p.m.! It was a bit scary climbing up that rusted steel ladder - but better than the drive through breaking waves on saturday. I fixed a line to my backpack and took it up with me. Then Marcus fixed the garbage bag to it and I pulled it up. Would have been difficult to take it with me on the ladder. Especially since there were no steps the first 1,5m...
In the third picture you see the right side of the dock. At the very right end, behind those containers, is where I climbed up...

Walking to the town of London, where customs and immigration are located, I noticed that the clouds in the sky have then turquoise color of the lagoon water. So pretty.

Bureaucracy nearly killed me today. Customs needed copies of their clearance form - so I had to return 2hrs later. Of course, the new printer and copying machine in the back of the room is either not connected or already broken. But the guy would have shortened his lunch break to clear me out. Of course I said it does not matter, I come back even later. Boy, what a relief in his eyes. He was very nice though and honest.
The lady who runs immigration however tried to fool me and get money off me into her pocket. Customs warned me and in the end thank god the girl who checked me in did the check-out with the other girl in the office. And I did not have to pay. So for that it was good to come back later as well as the lady was gone. Why she did not clear me out earlier in the morning I have no clue. I guess the lady who would have transferred my money to her account was not there.

But while I killed time between my office adventures I met a really nice girl who runs 3 shops here. She is young, intelligent, a business women (studied economics and tourism in Hawaii) and a really good talk. So that was the upside and it shows me itMs possible. Even here. If you want to. And if you manage to study at a good university.

We are prepared for our trip to Hawaii starting tomorrow noon. We should be out there 7-9 days. We're aiming for Hawaii Big Island. So, one last look at the beautiful stars which won't be as visible in Hawaii because of too much light pollution - and at the boats at anchor that are lit up so bright that I get a christmassy feeling although it's just their regular lights.


Last leg

So, the way the weather looks like right now we will be able to leave the day after tomorrow and are possibly even able to make it to the Big Island of Hawaii. That would be an awesome place for celebrating Christmas. So let's hope. It will have to be a fast, uncomfortable ride to be in Hawaii for sure before a northerly blow comes through.


New neighbour

An hour ago a new neighbour arrived, directly from Long Beach (LA). That's a looong way. He wanted to spend christmas at christmas island- like we originally wanted to. He has a small inflatable Dinghy with a 4hp outboard. Because of weekend and holiday on monday he won't be able to check in until tuesday. Then I imagine it impossible getting those 5 people through the breaking waves on board his boat and back with his Dinghy. We told him he'd be better off having something good to eat and a good night's sleep and then head off to Fanning Island. He seemed really disappointed, as are we.

More christmas Island

...Including the known to us wreck in front of the hotel of Rolf plus the hotel site and our delicious lunch.