Pan-Pacific Adventure 10

A little update since I dropped off the radar there when we got to Hilo:

We spotted what we thought was Hawaii sometime on June 29th though there was
so much cloud and volcano fog piled up it wasn’t until about 40 miles out
that we were sure (there are 2 13000+ foot mountains and so should be hard
to miss). Edging into Hilo Harbour around midnight we came in on the lateral
lights and dropped anchor around 0020 and woke up the next day to Mauna Kea
staring down at us, it’s peak dotted with observatories 13 784 feet above
us. After Tahiti tying to the sailboat area I took off on my own for some
much needed social interaction and land time after over 2 weeks in the blue
water… The other guys took the boat around to Kona while I checked into a
hostel in Hilo. The walk was about 3 miles but well worth it to absorb some
of the local aloha. The hostel kicked ass – wood floors, clean dorms, big
kitchen, internet, lots of young travelers, etc. –  I ended up staying 3
nights instead of the planned 1. The following day I worked out my
priorities and decided I needed to see a live volcano.

I paid a really chill local guide to take me up to Kilauea and 3 other
haoles came on the tour, one of whom though was a local. I walked on the
pahoehoe lava fields, saw old a’a lava flows, explored a huge underground
lava tube, saw Kiluea crater/caldera from way up – but when it got dark we
went down to see the lava vent blasting out from the volcano with ash/steam
plumes thousands of feet high all illuminated red. It was effin wicked. The
four of us got along pretty well so we hung out the next day and basically
owned Hilo. We climbed like 60 feet into a sprawling banyan tree walked out
to the edge of a 100′ waterfall and took photos of tourists on the other
side, cruised the local grinds, and I bought a ukulele. The one buddy was
from south cali livin in Hawai
the other two were traveling Swedish girls! I had to get to Kona the next
day and they wanted to see it so we drove across the island at 5am to find
Zulu waiting for me in Kailua-Kona harbor. It was a bummer to leave my new
friends, but I have a hard time leaving each place. Moorea was exceedingly
beautiful and peaceful, Tahiti was a super yacht social party and cultural
shake-up, Rangiroa was just unforgettable, and now 5 days in Hawaii and I
feel like that kid from the movie “North Shore”. We did a bunch of work on
the boat the next day and I spent an hour up the mast changing shackles and
crane bales but as it was 4th of july we quit early and went for a seat at
the nearest bar to watch the parade, which was groovy. The fireworks were
excellent too and being anchored 300 yards from the barge had prime seatage.
Ahh god bless America right? Don’t worry, I had celebrated Canada Day in my
hostel dorm with a fresh baby white pineapple – a true patriot I know. I
must stress though how freaking cool it was to be anchored, see a pod of
dolphins 50 strong loiter up to the boat, and just dive in! I got the
snorkel gear and swam around underwater with this huge pod for ages – it was
somewhat beyond description. One can hear their conversation too.

Anyways I am now the only remaining crew member who has been on the boat
since Auckland. With the older crowd on board now, I am like the young
apprentice but I’m doing a lot of the navigating, driving, provisioning,
etc. It’s been great to learn how all this crazy stuff works, Multi display
radar/chartplotters, electronic chart software, single side band propagation
(bloody witchcraft), etc etc. We left Kona at 1700 local and its now pushing
midnight as we scream through Alenuihaha channel at 10 knots with 25+ off
our beam. It’s been a bit hairy but we should be in Lahaina, Maui before
sunrise.

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