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Friday, April 9, 2010

Tuesday April 6th 2010

1:00am, 36 miles to go and still haven’t sighted land! It’s taunting us – we’re both so excited about getting off the boat. We want to enter in daylight so will slow the boat if necessary. Current ETA is about 11:00am.


Arrived at about 10:30am – hooray!

Only saw the lights of Hilo around 6:00am and then once the sun came up the land disappeared again as it was so foggy and drizzly (apparently it rains in Hilo 240 days a year – the wettest place in Hawaii!!).

Believe it or not, Hilo is no more than 10 miles behind me...!!
No sign of the 14000 foot volcano.

On the way in we saw the best whale show that we have seen so far – about three big humpbacks breaching and slapping their fins, having a ball about 100 metres from the boat. There are apparently a lot of them in this bay. It was pretty spectacular.

Finally, FINALLY we motored in to the channel. We were just about to pass a massive cruise ship that was docked when the VHF radio crackled and the harbour patrol was requesting to talk to the ‘white sailing vessel’, which we assumed was us. They asked us if we had contacted the Coast Guard to gain permission to pass the cruise ship! We quickly turned around and radioed to get permission, then turned back around and passed it to get in to Radio Bay. We found out later that we need to get permission to pass and cruise ship or military vessel or risk a $32000 fine!

Mooring was tricky. I had to reverse up to a wall while Stu dropped the anchor, then a friendly guy from another boat came over to catch our stern ropes and tie us up. He probably hard me hollering to Stu that I didn’t know what I was doing... Within 30 minutes we had met the crew of the other boat in the harbour and were offered a ride to the laundromat which we gratefully accepted.

We are tied up right outside a secure area, which means that every time we want to leave we have to call the guard and be escorted out and then back in again when we come back. We have a view of shipping containers and a wire fence out our hatch, but the bay is very sheltered and very safe as no one unauthorised can come in.

While waiting for out washing to finish we stumbled across a cream puff shop and of course we had to sample – delicious - and had a chat to the owner. Later on we were walking to the supermarket in the drizzle and the owner drove past and offered us a ride. Very generous of her as we could have been anyone! We declined as we were doing a few things before heading back, but it’s nice to know that people still value kindness and helping others. We’ve found that a lot here already – people are so friendly and helpful.

We met Mike this afternoon. He’s the driver of a pilot boat and asked us if we wanted to come out – of course we said yes. About 6:30pm we joined him and the pilot on a trip out to a massive cargo ship. We've spent the last 21 days avoiding these things and now we're heading straight for one! Mike drives the boat up to the side of the ship, which has slowed to about 8 knots, and the pilot grabs a ladder hanging down and climbs up to help guide the ship in. Amazing skill to get the pilot boat so close without causing a disaster – although we did bump the ship pretty hard – and the pilot is a brave man getting across to the ladder. It would be hideous in rough weather! On the way back Mike opened the throttle and the twin 225 motors had us flying at 40 knots in the 4 tonne pilot boat.

Salmon and salad for tea – the best meal EVER, surely!!

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