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June 2003 - from Hilo, Hawaii

Dear Friends:

Sixteen days out of Taihoie Bay, Nuka Hiva, I sat on deck as Taleisin sifted sweetly along under her 390 square foot lapper, 250 square foot nylon spinnaker staysail and full main over an almost smooth sea. She was making five knots as we beam reached toward Hawaii. According to our last sights, we had about 45 miles to Hilo, and if the light list was correct, should have spotted the main lighthouse south of Hilo in another two hours. Larry had climbed into the bunk earlier than normal so he could get an extra hour of sleep. I spotted an orange light ahead and got out the binoculars to figure out what it was. Then I almost woke Larry. Under the powerful lens of my binos, that spot of orange turned into a line of advancing fire marking the lava flowing down from Kilauea, the volcano that has been erupting for the past twenty years. When Larry came on watch four hours later he two found this to be an awe-inspiring sight, and wonderful welcome to this beautiful island.


Sailing in the shadow of Chile's chain of snow covered volcanos will always be a special memory to us.

Our voyage was an especially easy one thanks to the guidance of Ocean Passages for the World plus info gleaned from the US Pilot charts. We had mostly close or beam reaching in winds ranging from five knots to thirty knots as we headed north out the Marquesas. The big question is where to cross the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. We chose the old sailing ship route, and luck was with us, we had less than two days of squally weather, with shifty winds, but never calms, then we burst through into the North east trades and were able to ease sheets to head for the islands. But with our usual caution, we always kept 20 degrees to windward of our course until we were within 300 miles of the island. This only added 70 miles to our voyage but meant we would not have to be closehauled if the winds shifted to the north.

These are the local ferries at Calbuco, 40 miles from Puerto Montt, Chile. For 14 cents they take you from the village to towns on nearby islands. I used them to come ashore from Taleisin and the skippers only wanted 5 cents per ride.

We covered the 2050 miles in a leisurely 16 and half days. A half day was used covering the last 10 miles as the trade winds near Hawaii decided to take a ten day holiday and we had light winds. I enjoyed using that time to clean the boat up, so once we put our anchor down I could head ashore to pick up three months mail. This was my very first visit to the Hawaiian Islands. Larry had been in these islands 40 years before as first mate on the 85-foot schooner, Double Eagle when it was used for filming the TV series, The Wackiest Ship in the Army. But he had never been to the big island of Hawaii. What a treat. There is a special visiting yacht anchorage in a perfectly enclosed, clean spot called Radio Bay. When we sailed in there were three boats at anchor, another six secured stern to the seawall and lots of room for us to set our anchor where we could get a nice breeze down our fore hatch to keep us cool. We anchored in 16 feet of water, and then launched Cheeky and Larry rowed me ashore to clear customs. No problems at all, $8.40 a day to use the anchorage with clean showers on shore, water, barbeque area and bicycle storage.


The almost half of our sailing over the past few months has been like this. Only had a few days with rain showers and half a dozen with winds over 25 knots.


By the time I got back, Larry had already been offered a ride out to the Hilo Yacht Club where our mail pack (three months worth, weighing 25 pounds, only half of it junk) was waiting. Then in the evening crews from all the other yachts put on a pot luck barbeque featuring fresh marlin steaks. Seems several are waiting for the trade winds to fill back in so they can head north to Canada or Alaska. All praise the laid back attitude of Hilo. So looks like we'll just hang out here for a few weeks and enjoy the first truly calm anchorage we have been in since leaving the Canal Chacao in Chile, three months and 7000 miles ago.


Taleisins flopper stopper was in use in each of the anchorages we visited in the Marquesas.

Then on or about the first of July we will set sail bound north for Cape Flattery and our rendezvous at the Wooden Boat Festival. Looks like we'll be doing seminars not only in the Vancouver, Victoria area, but also in Atlantic City, Mystic Seaport, Denver, Newport Beach, possibly Maine and Florida over the winter. That means getting to see more of the USA, maybe this time I can finally see Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.

One of the realities of life. I am drying out a few things that got wet when we were rowing home from a last dinner ashore at Taihoe Bay. Had to go through two foot surf and took one over Cheeky's bow. Fortunately, had so much rain the night before we left that I didn't mind using some to rinse these things out. The island behind us is Nuka Hiva.

Sincerely,
Lin and Larry in Hilo, Hawaii

For current information on where and when we will be doing seminars click here

POSTCARDS FROM HAWAII






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