Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 26- the smell of land

Time: 1700 Zulu (7 am Hawaii time)
Position: 19-deg 54-min N 154-deg 53-min W
Wind: SW 5-knots Seas: ENE 3-ft
Avg. Course: 272 T Avg. Speed: 4.2-knots
Rig: Full main, 80% jib
24-hr distance traveled: 101-nm
Distance to Hilo: 12-nm

Our last full day was bittersweet. Dramatic clouds, wet squalls, sun shining through, rainbows connecting the sky and ocean, shooting stars. Winds decreased a bit, but we had to wait for the sun to rise before entering Hilo Bay anyway, so we didn't fret or even think about putting up more sail area for speed. Slowly and (relatively) comfortably we made our way west through our last structured day of daily watch tasks. We ate polenta and pasta sauce with our remaining fresh squash, onion and potatoes as we both searched in vain for Hawaii through the clouds to the west. Surfing down the 8-ft waves, Tao tirelessly continued on.

Winds decreased as we neared the island, and by the end of Chris' graveyard watch, we were a mere 20-nm out and barely moving. Chris went below to catch some zzzzs and Shawn had a magical last sunrise watch. The island of Hawaii had been shrouded in clouds as the sun set the evening before and it was still cloaked as the sun rose. Visually there was no way to know land was near. Squalls repeatedly moved through bringing much rain and we were grateful for their increased winds to keep us moving. The swell was still rolling from the ENE, but as day approached the winds shifted to SW, directly off the as of yet unseen island. So, up went the mainsail shaking all the reefs until finally the entire mainsail was up for the first time possibly since leaving Mexico. After re-running the jib sheets for upwind work, we set a course as high into the wind as possible. Rain enclosed us as the sun rose and we continued west.

Sailing into the clouds, Shawn was the first to smell it. Warm, wet, off shore breeze carried the scents of: freshly rained upon Earth, floral fragrance, and dry. And then she could see a little sliver of it through the clouds, 1630 Zulu, Land Ho! We're close, it was time to wake Chris for the final approach. Winds were light and coming directly from the protected bay where we were planning to make landfall. Our desire was to sail it all the way in, but common sense and pure exhaustion won out. With business weighing on our minds to take care of (Customs offices open only until 2 pm Hawaiian time and then not again until Monday and only 48-hrs to check Griz in), we decided to fire up Yannie for the final 12-nm. We are indeed tired but ecstatically happy. We'll fill you in on the exciting last 12 miles of the crossing and checking into the Islands tomorrow.


  1. I'm SO PROUD of you guys! I'm crying through reading this post to G! AWESOME news! We love you all!