We hopped on of one of the Tuesday cruise ships shuttles (a cruise ship seems to dock at the pier every Tuesday) to a nearby mall and were overwhelmed by all of the big stores you see in every American city. With no internet available via our Bad Boy wifi device at the port, we started our research for how to get some internet. We chose to try out a USB mobile broadband modem from Mobi, a local Hawaiian Islands service, for their 14-day trial period. We spent the next few days aboard drying out the boat (between rain squalls), generally observing the daily changes here (which included the entry of 7 traditional Polynesian sailing canoes making landfall from New Zealand), making a dream list of all the activities we might like to do around the Big Island, and frequently sailing Fatty out to explore the bigger Hilo Bay.
Radio Bay is located within the working Port of Hilo and is therefore a high security site. It is very calm weather-wise (no roll!), but there is a near constant noise of large cranes and loaders and multiple axle trucks moving cargo through the port. There is a nice bathroom with hot shower (for a refundable $50 key deposit) and for us to get to town we are required to be escorted through the port (laden with semi-truck trailers) by very friendly and accessible (as long as you have a phone to call) 24-hr gate security. By Thursday, we finally motivated to do laundry. Carrying all of our clothes and bedding from the passage, we managed to miss the free hourly bus and instead had a rainy day adventure of hitchhiking (which we hear is legal in Hawaii) and walking some of the longest blocks ever (under our newly purchased umbrellas) to find a self-serve laundry several miles away in the town of Hilo. All fresh and clean, we celebrated our crossing with a dinner on Comocean, who had been just behind us throughout much of our crossing.
Saturday was as sunny as Friday had been rainy. All of the plants here appear to be on some kind of growth enhancing drug (lots of rainwater!) and fragrant flowering trees litter the sidewalks with their blossoms. We walked to Rainbow Falls just outside of Hilo, through jungle vegetation and banyan trees, to perch atop the waterfall on a rock basking in the sun. Then returned to town to purchase succulent vegetables at the twice weekly market and catch the last bus home where we met Amanda, a friend from graduate school. Since CSU, we had visited her once before when we were on the Big Island for Chris’ family reunion, though were surprised to realize that it had been 7-years! We quickly caught up over frozen Hawaiian style margaritas and then picked up dinner which we enjoyed outside (to the smell of night blooming jasmine) at Amanda’s beautifully grown up house with Jeremy and their two boys.