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