Saturday, June 20, 2009


Steaming lava

$5 flower arrangement from the Hilo Market - pretty huh!

We arrived at Radio Bay in Hilo after a relatively pleasant 17 day passage between the Tuamotus and Hawaii. Radio Bay has implemented some new security practices so whenever we wish to venture beyond the 8 feet that make up the pier for transient moorage, we need to call the security company for an escort through the working container yard. At first it was a little annoying, but as we got to know the staff, we looked forward to our chats with them during our escort. It wasn't too bad at all.

Our first week was a blur, as Jay worked on repairs and we cleaned and got the boat ready for our friends who were arriving on the 15th. Busy, busy busy! We rented a car with Orca III so that we'd have wheels for errands and sight seeing and the first order of business was laundry and lunch! Unfortunately the laundry mat that was formerly adjacent to the customs office at Radio Bay has closed down, so we had to go downtown BUT what a great surprise when we visited the laundry mat there. There were probably close to 100 wasers, many which held multiple loads, and around 50 driers. WOW! This was heaven to us cruisers who've tolerated exorbitant rates or non-existent laundry facilities during this trip. know you've been cruising too long when a laundry mat causes such excitement!

Alas, the 15th arrived and with much excitement we greeted Steve, Mary, Alanna, Shayna and Lyndsay at the Hilo airport.

With only two days for touring before we planned to leave Radio Bay, we were off before our guests even had a chance to settle in! First we visited Rainbow Falls and the Boiling Pots where the murky fresh water pool failed to entice. Next it was off to see the lava flow and then the hot pool. The hot pool, on the edge of the ocean, is heated by lava flowing beneath, and although it wasn’t hot, not even warm, it made for a nice stop for a refreshing swim.

Boiling pots

Hot pools

Shayna, Alanna, Jocelyn & Jay in hot pool

The surf was huge and we got to watch some crazy surfers waiting for the perfect wave. Hawaii’s Big Island has very few beaches and these brave? Surfers hang ten on waves that meet up with the jagged lava shore – not for me!

Uneven lanes....or lines?

The lava flow proved to be a really interesting stop. We walked across sharp jagged lava and other flow that looked like rippling water ending up at a spectacular black sand beach. I thought the sand in the Tasman Sea was black, but not compared to this! Finely ground lava provides a dramatic backdrop for the crashing white waves.

Jenny, Shayna, Alanna, Jocelyn & Lyndsay on the black beach

Alanna, Jocelyn, Jenny and Lyndsay outrunning the surf

Our second day of touring was spent in the Volcano National Park, where we drove to the summit of Mauna Ulu at over 3000 feet to see the smoking crater – very cool! The drive through the park allowed us to walk on lava and view several craters. One of the favorite stops was at the Thurston Lava tube where we descended a long stairway to walk through the ancient tube where lava formerly flowed. The first section of the tube is lit, then for the more adventurous…that’s us, you could walk the second half of the unlit tube, some 350 meters. We brought torches and a lantern for just this occasion and it was really interesting to walk the cool, drippy tube that was once ablaze with molten lava.

Lava flow

Jocelyn in a lava hole

Steve and Mary on the black beach

Jenny, Jocelyn, Lyndsay and Alanna walking on the lava

Fam on the lava flow - aren't we hot!

Marg on lava

Lava on road

We drove all the way down to the ocean side to see the lava flowing into the ocean, but it was too far away, we could only see the steam. The shore side, however, was awesome as the waves crashed into the steep cliffs formed by the flowing lava. The arch is one of the most photographed sections on the coast.


Near the water and just a short hike in from the road, we got to see some petroglyphs that are about 300 years old, pretty new for this kind of stuff, but it’s a very large and interesting collection of images carved by the early Hawaiians.

Steve on a petroglyph hunt


Jay & Marg with steaming crater in the background

Our day was complete after a dinner at Kens Pancake House. Needless to say, we all slept very well that night.

We departed Radio Bay on the seventeenth destined for Kealakekua Bay. Enroute, we passed within ¾ of a mile of the current lava flow from Mauna Ulu and were treated to a remarkable show of lava erupting as it met with the water. Lava flows at temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees F so you can imagine that its union with the cold ocean water is not too friendly. We met a local photographer, who’s been working on the island for 15 years, who told us that it was the most dramatic show in years! Perfect timing for us!

After a lumpy 24 hours we arrived in Kealakekua Bay, where Captain James Cook, who founded the islands in 1778, was killed. A monument, erected by his fellow countrymen, stands on a small patch of British soil gifted by the Hawaiians.

Captains at the Captain Cook monument

A Canadian plaque at the monument

Emma, Shayna, Jenny, Lyndsay, Jocelyn, Alanna and Maya in Kealakekua Bay

Off to snorkel in Kealakekua Bay

As if erupting lava weren’t enough to satisfy our sense of discovery and adventure, we spent an hour or so snorkeling followed by an amazing hour of swimming with over 50 spinner dolphins that were mating in the bay. WOW! What an awesome experience as we watched the babies swimming alongside the frisky adults. We counted 47 but we bet there were more.

Today we're off to Kailua Kona before crossing over to Maui, hopefully we'll solve our problem with our internet antenna so that I can post more regularly, in the meantime, we'll be off exploring the lovely Hawaiian Islands with our good friends.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tikihau - the lost post

Malachi and Orca III anchored off the south village

Somewhere in cyberspace is my post on Tikihau, the southwestern most of the Tuamotus.

After our first overnight passage from Tahiti, we decided to stop in Tikihau which proved to be a very peaceful and charming stop. Not many people live here, but for most of those who do, days are spent fishing, processing copra or working in one of the few hotels on this lovely atoll.

Drying coconuts in the yard, getting the copra ready for export

Fishing village at the north pass

We spent our first night anchored off a fishing village just north of the pass into the lagoon, only about thirty people live there. After winding our way through the narrow pass and pass the fish traps, we anchored in about 30 feet of water just beside a little hut on the reef, possibly a pearl farm. It was a very pretty and calm place to rest for the night.

The next day, we decided to travel the short distance to the village at the southern end to see what was there. The village was such a pleasant surprise! very lush and green and an abundance of tropical flowers - which of course I love. We had a very nice walk through the village and visited the store, of course, and the boulangerie where we got to see the bakers making baguettes. We placed our order for four fresh loaves which we picked up an hour later...the last of our French bread for a while.

Making fresh baguettes at the bakery

Emma, Jenny, Maya and Jocelyn on Mainstreet, Tikihau

Tikihau town hall

Tikihau church

Store in Tikihau

Small boat harbour south village, Tikihau

Main street - Tikihau

Island cutie pie

Tropical hut

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Record Day!

Ever since we emerged from the ITCZ we've had fantastic sailing conditions consistently making between 7 - 8 knots. The past 24 hours, Malachi made a record breaking 181 nautical miles. A day like that is always good for morale on board, especially since we're all bored and tired of being at sea. We've been at sea for 40 of the past 57 days and we're all more than ready to be shore based for a while. Only 293 miles to go!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

20 years!

Today, Jay and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We're at 07 degrees, 25 minutes north, 144 degrees, 00 minutes west and there is nothing but sky and sea out here. We'll have a delicious chocolate torte with the last of the ice cream and we'll toast with a nice glass of white wine from Jay's parents 50th anniversary.

It's a lovely sunny day and we're having a beautiful sail after emerging from the ITCZ into 10-15kn of ENE winds, couldn't be better!

This little birdie hitched a ride for the night so that he could rest.

The sailfish we tossed back, beautiful!