Loading Map

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too windy to leave

We missed the perfect weather window by not leaving last Wed/Thurs but we simply weren't ready to go yet. Now the forecast is for reinforced trade winds this week. At first it looked like they would be backing off by Wednesday and we could leave Thursday but now they may last through Thursday and I don't think John will leave on a Friday (superstition). So we're eating all our passage provisions (eggs, bread, muffins, tortillas, apples, etc.) and I'm going to have to go shopping again. Blech!

We spent a nice day in Waimea with Ralph and Glenda but, after all my hype about Huli Sue's, the meal wasn't as spectacular as my first visit. The food was good, but the BBQ pork sandwich didn't require a knife and fork to eat as it did last time. Maybe the servings are skimpier at lunch time than they are for dinner. It's still a cute little place with great service and reasonable prices though.

I absolutely positively finished the dry goods shopping on Thursday (ha!). John too the early bus in to get internet so he could check the weather, and I went in two buses later which turned out to be the one he was taking back when we arrived downtown. I popped into the KTA grocery store to pick up heavy items like Fuji apples and mayonnaise which were both on sale. Then I caught the next bus headed back to the port (the bus does a continuous loop so it takes about an hour to go around once) where I jumped off with three very heavy bags. I took them as far as the gate and left them with the security guards so that I could turn around and go back out to the bus stop to catch the last morning bus as it came back twenty minutes later. Ran some errands downtown and then caught the 1 PM bus to Walmart and then Safeway for the last of the groceries (bread, bagels, eggs for hard boiling, etc.). Caught the 3:20 bus back to the port and John helped me get everything on the boat. Then he went to the bar to check the weather again while I managed to stow everything away (what a miracle!).

There's a huge area of construction along our bus route past Walmart and Home Depot and I finally asked someone on the bus if they knew what was going in there. I had hoped it would be a Costco but turns out it's going to be a Target and a new Safeway. And they're going to close the existing Safeway which is right next to Macy's in the mall.

Friday was a local holiday so the buses weren't running which gave us a chance to catch our breath, and we made the decision to postpone our departure. We still went into the Saturday Farmer's market to buy five dozen fresh, unrefrigerated eggs (at a whopping $5/dozen, but they're huge) which we covered with Vaseline to help preserve them. The cabbages we bought weren't that great so I may get a couple more and will try wrapping them in newspaper so they don't have to go in the fridge. We need to get a few small plastic bins to better separate our fruits and veggies. Right now we have the potatoes in with the onions which is a no-no, and the citrus will have to be separate from the apples. Ditto for bananas.

We're pretty much alone here in the harbor. There's another cruising boat here. The woman from the boat slipped in the shower and broke her hip shortly after they arrived. Her husband is putting her on a plane to the mainland tomorrow night and will be sailing the boat back as soon as he receives a new mainsail.

In other local news, remember the little trimaran that John went out on Dorothy Marie to help bring into the harbor after their over-long passage from California? Well, after basically abandoning the crew member until he was forced to buy his own plane ticket home, the skipper also appears to have abandoned the boat. We returned to Radio Bay to find the trimaran still here, and the El Toro dinghy still sunk on the bottom tied to a ladder, and the (barely) inflatable dinghy also still tied to another ladder on the wall. The security guards told us the skipper hasn't been back to the boat since we left, and last week the Port slapped a 72-hour notice of seizure on the boat. The weird thing is that John attempted to contact the skipper (who is active on Facebook and My Space and is still obviously in the area) but there was no response.

We'll be happy to be on our way soon!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rainy Hilo

Nothing interesting to report but we have another full day today so thought I'd better try to get something out since I'm up early this morning.

In spite of pouring rain Sunday night and into Monday we took the 7:10 Monday AM bus to do laundry - all the bedding, blankets, towels, etc. It stopped raining long enough to get it back to the boat where we ate lunch, watched part of a very slow Ed Norton movie (Down in the Valley), and then went back out to catch the afternoon bus to the mall. John went to Home Depot while I walked to the vet to get the last of Ziggy's kibble and emergency supplies. This was the vet who met us at the boat when we first arrived to issue Z's health certificate for the Hawaii quarantine program. Very nice and always seems to have time to answer all our questions. He has no receptionist or assistants (that I saw) and runs out of an old tiny office, but he's the first guy I'd want to go to besides the woman vet we used for a rabies shot in Kona (she and her assistant really knew how to keep Ziggy from freaking out). We'd never go back to the big place where we had to take Z for his emergency because they were so busy they didn't have time to really sit down and chat with us. They have big banners up now advertising their new Sunday hours, so guess they're raking in the bucks (or trying harder to). Lugged a 10lb bag of kibble back to Walmart where I met up with John to do a little more shopping (including a new engine starting battery) before catching the bus back. Still not raining and the security guard gave us a ride from the gate to the boat in their (not always running) truck which helped enormously with our heavy load (ditto for the laundry).

On Tuesday John went in to town early to get some internet (to check the weather forecasts) while I stayed home to vacuum seal monthly rations of kibble and restow some of the things we'd hastily tossed in storage bins just to clear our living space. John returned and I left to go browse the mall and Ross on my own, picking up 5lbs of dried garbonzo beans at the natural foods store and a(nother) 12-pack of toilet paper at Walmart. So my backpack was stuffed and my hands were full with the addition of two pillows from Ross when I boarded the bus! But that's typical and our outings are limited by what we can carry on our backs and in our hands.

This morning we're catching an early bus to Waimea (Kamuela) to meet Ralph and Glenda to take them out to lunch for all their kindnesses. They are doing us another favor by bringing us the last of the things we would have bought from Costco (cheeses, chicken, and more peanuts!) if we hadn't decided to leave so quickly. We're looking forward to a mouth watering meal of BBQ pulled pork at Huli Sue's.

Oh, and it's another rainy day today in Hilo.


radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Circumnavigation complete

Of the Big Island that is! We made a last minute decision to jump on the tail end of a weather window, but only if the stars aligned just right. The biggest surprise was that the fuel injector pump arrived in the mail as promised on Wednesday morning. John took an hour to install it, we made a stop at the fuel dock to take on 80 gallons of diesel, and left Honokohau harbor by 1 PM northbound for Hilo. We spent an uneventful night motoring through the channel and by dawn we spotted the Celebrity Constellation hovering off shore in the misty rain. We followed the cruise ship into Reed's Bay, and Nakia was anchored and tied to the wall in Radio Bay before their passengers could disembark. Then it really started to rain and the forecasted winds turned the ocean beyond the breakwater into a mess of white water. We really dodged that bullet!

We made a quick trip to the mall for a DQ Blizzard and some shopping before we felt the effects of not getting a full night's sleep. This morning we got out early to catch up on laundry, and may make another bus round trip for more supplies this afternoon. Our trips are limited to what we can carry, so we'll be making multiple forays to finish off the list.

We sold the old Achilles inflatable in Hilo for $50 and are very carefully using our new Achilles here. John has rigged up an elaborate pulley system so that the new dinghy doesn't touch the rough cement wall after we use it to get up the ladder to shore. Ziggy gives it pointed looks to remind us that he knows that's how he was getting to the dock for his morning walks in Kona, but we're keeping him out of it. When we first got the new dinghy to the boat Ziggy immediately used the new seat board as a scratching post. There's a thin layer of foam padding attached to it and it must have seemed perfect scratching material to him. But the floor boards have the same surface on them, so he'll be getting an early lesson with the squirt bottle to prevent him from doing the same to them!

Actually it's been so wet and cold since we arrived that there's not much incentive for Ziggy to go outside. But he got rid of some kitty crazies last night by running the length of the boat down below and then outside and up the main sheet to the main boom and repeating the circuit several times. I guess he was glad to have the short passage over with too!

We'll be in Hilo until the weather looks good for a departure to the Marquesas.


Friday, March 12, 2010


This week has been a blur of shopping, stowing groceries, and finishing projects. The haul out itself was one of our easier ones since the only big job was getting new bottom paint on the boat. When we were working stiffs (and vacation time was precious) we used to bang that chore out over a four day weekend, but with eight days in the yard we could take it easy. The big news is not only did we paint over the old blue boot stripe, but we also raised the waterline - again. Hopefully this will cut down on the number of times we have to scrub green slime off the white hull. While we were on the hard John also painted the newly modified propane locker in our cockpit. Now it fits the new tanks we ordered after the ones we purchased in Panama City rusted.

Thanks to Ralph and Glenda we've made numerous trips to Costco which has been a huge money saver. It always hurts the wallet to buy six months to a year's worth of provisions but we think it will pay off in the long run. Except for last minute fresh things we made our last $300 visit today and are already kicking ourselves for not buying more cans of dry roasted peanuts. And after spending $200 at the vet on five cases of prescription canned food and a 10 lb bag of prescription kibble we find we still need another bag of kibble to get us through one year. I still can't wrap my head around the idea of needing a prescription to buy cat food.

I spent one day scrubbing misc. black marks and marks from the Travlift off the hull and the next day we gave the whole boat a good scrubbing. John finished replacing the rigging (shrouds and bobstays) and cut down our new plastic chairs to fit in the cockpit. Stowing all the provisions is a time consuming process as we make it a rule to label the tops of cans with a Sharpie and remove all paper labels in the hope that this will cut down on places for critters to hide. We try to eliminate as much packaging as possible to give our garbage to a first world country rather than burning it ourselves farther down the line. And we do a lot of vacuum sealing/bagging to keep the critters out and to repackage bulk items into smaller units. We're stowing heavy items on the port side of the boat in anticipation of spending most of the passage on port tack, and we now have a noticeable list.

John is now working on our taxes, we have some more non-Costco shopping to do, and a few projects to finish up, and we're looking for a good weather window. Oh, but first we have to get our fuel injection pump back from Honolulu, so we'll try to wrap everything up in anticipation of that.


While we were hauled out

Since I've been remiss in updating the blog, here are excerpts from a few emails I wrote during that time.

3/2: I forgot to mention that Ziggy was pretty stressed by Monday's haul out events. When we entered the slip way to position the Travlift slings under the boat I put Ziggy in his crate and left the boat to find a shady spot to wait. We hauled at 0930 and weren't settled on jack stands until after Noon. It was particularly bad when we got him back on the boat and he was panting hard. The interior boat temp is actually higher when we're out of the natural air-conditioning of the cold water. There wasn't any breeze so we put a fan on him and he finally settled down to sleep. Of course he watches us going up and down the ladder and walking around on the ground and he's dying to figure out a way to get down there too. This morning he even watched a black cat leaping from boat to boat in the boat storage shed obviously hunting sparrows. Last night we had burgers at the Harbor House restaurant here and fed a stray cat that hung out until we were finished eating. This morning he's running around looking over the edge and scaring me to death by insisting on walking on top of the cap rail.

3/3: John is working hard and I'm trying to pitch in where I can. Yesterday he put primer on the bare spots (where the bottom paint had completely worn through) and today he'll put the first coat of bottom paint on those parts, on the old blue boot stripe, and on the bare gel coat where he's raising the waterline. Glenda's b'day lunch is this Friday, so we get a break for that!

3/4: Ralph and Glenda stopped by on their way to Costco late this afternoon so we dropped what (little) we were doing and went with them. I can now cross green beans, Trident, diced tomatoes, and refried beans off my provisioning list!

3/7: I picked up the third season of "Lost" from the library yesterday. Our three month visitor cards had expired but they let me renew mine (for another $10 - the best deal in the islands!).

Ziggy hasn't figured out how to climb down the wood ladder yet, but he's fascinated by the feral cat population here in the yard. The weird thing is that he seems to be calling to them (or having a one-sided conversation of some kind). Can't figure out if he's just trying to be sociable or what, but they don't appear to be interested (and no repeat of the big black one coming aboard). I think he mostly misses his dock walks now that he's confined to the boat again.

Several of the boat yard laborers are from places like Guadalajara and Guanajuato so we're brushing up on our Spanish again (of course, now all that pops into my head is French!).

The surprise b'day party for Glenda was a huge success. Three more friends joined us at Tante's (near the Kona Seaside hotel and the Fish Hopper at the pier end of Alii Dr). It's a modest Filipino-owned place with a great view, and is moderately priced for the location. I had the fish and chips for $8 and thought it was quite good and plenty of it. The stunner was when the bill came and not only had they served us all a free dessert (called haupia, like a coconut pudding drizzled with lilikoi sauce and toasted mac nuts) but they also didn't charge for the b'day girl's entree! The free dessert threw all of us because Ralph had said we were going back to their house for cake and ice cream. We thought he'd changed his mind but he was just as surprised as we were. So we all had coffee, cheese cake and/or vanilla ice cream back at the house before they drove us back to our home in the air.

We may spend a little more time here in Kona before heading to Hilo and then back to French Polynesia. John thinks he needs to get a diesel mechanic out to the boat - something about fuel injectors. Plus the trades have settled into a regular pattern and it will be some time before we get a break to get around to Hilo (let alone to set off for FP). We are so looking forward to getting out of here. Both of us are getting fat and soft. I never thought I'd be looking forward to an ocean passage but this time I really am. Life is just a little too complicated here!


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Hauled out in Kona

I apologize for not getting a message out to let everyone know that we were not affected negatively by the tsunami warning. We motored out the harbor entrance and hove to until the wind picked up enough to sail. We attempted to reenter the harbor at 2 PM but the boat traffic was crazy with big sport fishers coming in on a plane and throwing big wakes. We aborted and waited half an hour until most of the biggest guys muscled their way in, then we proceeded in at a more sedate pace. We continued to see swirling water in the slip and unusual highs and lows in the tides for the next 24 hours, but it didn't affect us. The most interesting thing was the news footage of Coconut Island over on the Hilo side as the water receded and rose repeatedly over the course of the afternoon.

We all wanted to go out to dinner, but of course none of the restaurants on Alii Drive (the waterfront shopping street in Kona) were open. We ended up in the new Target shopping center area where several chains were opening late in the afternoon. As we waited for our orders there was a power outage and when the power came back on the Ultimate Burger cash register refused to open. After repeated attempts to pay by credit card failed, they were happy to get an approximate cash payment (as the open tabs accumulated on the counter). Shades of life in a second or third world!

Yesterday morning we hauled Nakia out of the water at the Gentry boat yard and John is busy prepping for several new coats of bottom paint. He finds that he's been living the soft life for too long and he'll probably take advantage of someone who only charges $25/hour for labor to help him. We'll be living on the hard until at least next Monday, but there's a bathroom with a shower in the yard, so in that respect it's nicer than the marina!