Is it Really Almost Done?

Leg 6 is officially over.  Here I am, sitting in my $150/night hotel room that I got for half price because I was upgraded when I got here.  I just finished my massage in the mini-spa beside the pool out back and my room overlooks Waikiki.  Maybe I’ll just stay here for the next month and fly home for the end of offshore. 

This leg, while being lots of hard work because of its length and the challenges we faced, had one of the most amazing communities develop of all of offshore.  Our first week out at sea from Osaka, it seemed that something went wrong with the stove daily.  It got to the point of me being frustrated to tears.  The problems seem to have been the result of a wonky carburator (which has been replaced) and some dirty fuel from Japan (which is all used up).  Then, after running way south to a void a storm and staying hove to (even going backwards at times) for two days, we worked ourselves down to about 2 days worth of fuel and a week or so left of variety in food (lots of dried food was still on board, but things would be dramatically less exciting after that… rehydrated beans and pasta or rice for lunch and dinner.  Cream of Wheat for breakfast.  Japan was the hugest let-down when it came to shopping for food supplies.  A lot of what we had on board last leg was leftover from our gigantic shop in Guam).  The problem with that is that there was little to no wind, we were making max 80 miles in a day and it would take us at least two weeks to hit Hawaii.  
Sarah and I enjoying a rare sunny time in the first half of the passage

Then, Skipper announced we were going to call in at Midway Atoll.  All along, I had dreamed of visiting Midway, but it was out of the question: as a US Military Base and being way south of our course line, it would never happen.  But, the military moved out nearly 10 years ago and all that is left on the island is a wildlife refuge.  And, we were already way south of our projected course because of the storm.  Skipper had contacted the island and told them we needed to fuel up and re-provision and could we please have permission to land.  Happily, they said yes and, amid much excitement on our part (and theirs too,  I think) we docked in Midway for two days.  Katie and I had a great time with Pong and JR, the chef on the Island and the logistics guy in charge of all the ordering, getting lots of food for the boat.  Everyone nearly died when they saw all the fresh stuff we loaded on board: it had been a few weeks since we’d had anything not dried or canned.

As I mentioned before, Midway Atoll is home to some 70-odd people and over 2 million birds.  If I thought the roosters in French Polynesia were annoying for crowing at all hours, they have nothing on 2 million albatross and assorted shearwaters, petrels, and terns.

Midway Atoll
Approaching Midway

Fields of Leycan Albatross

Albatross “getting to know each other”

White tern staring me down

 North Beach, one of the nicest beaches all offshore

Then, it was back to sea.  One more week until Oahu, and we all strove to make the best of it.  I will admit, it did not really feel like we were actually going to make it there until we could see the lights of Honolulu (a weird sight after 30+ days at sea!).

Life at Sea
One of the many stunning sunsets we get to see on a regular basis at sea.  There really is nothing like it.

Maddie and Simon goofing off in the stern.

Sarah and Diana (one of her sisters) hanging out on watch

Lowering the trysail, often a several-times-daily occurrence as we move between try and main to get the most out of the wind.

Sunrise over Honolulu

Ian steers us in

The whole, good-looking group poses while we wait for customs and immigration to clear us in.  I now have all of 3 pages left in my passport.  It doesn’t expire for 3 more years…

Jose, Adam, and Liam help Katie and I carry all of our groceries to the boat.  This was just a small part of our initial “holy cow we are at land and they have real grocery stores here” shop the afternoon we landed.

Once again, we had work days: three teams, rig, hull, and galley blitz the boat.  Rig tensions the rigging and greases the mast.  This leg they also sanded and oiled the spars (booms and gaffs).  Hull completely sands and repaints the hull.  We have at least 4 colours on the hull plus lettering).  Galley hangs out with Katie and I and we completely clean the inside of the boat as well as shop for food for the next leg and stow it all away in various hidey-holes while inventorying what we still have left.  Work days leave us fairly tired…

So, that brings us to now.  I had a few days here to hang out here.  I’ve visited  Saint Andrew’s a few times since arriving to get in my fix of eucharest. It has been a long time since anything other than boat church. On Sunday, Elske, Steve, and James came with me and then we hit up Safeway for an angel food cake, strawberries and whipped cream on the way home. A road-side feast ensued…

The security guard came out at one point, and we all thought we were busted, but it turns out he was bringing us napkins. We needed them.

In other news, I’ve been holding on to a secret since Osaka that Matt, Katie‘s boyfriend of 3 years was going to fly to Hawaii to surprise Katie.  My end of the surprise was planning stuff on the boat end to make sure that she would have the night off when he wanted to come out to the boat, that she wouldn’t book a hotel room for her days off, and all that.  What he didn’t say, but what I pretty much figured would happen was that he would propose while he was out here.  I didn’t think it would happen the first night, but it did.  So now Katie is engaged to be married some time in the fall.  Yay Katie!  Matt is still here, so she’s been too busy to update her blog with the story, but when she does, it will be a good read because its a great story… think secluded beach, picnic, and a shirtless man running down the beach with flowers… not to mention 11 months without having seen each other!
Friday our last group of trainees board for the sail home.  There are only about 10-12 new trainees, not much turn-over this leg.  The group staying on are all great fun and I’m looking forward to sailing another leg with them.  We’ll likely hit the San Juan Islands before coming up to the Gulf Islands but start looking for us around the beginning of June.  We’ll be trying to avoid being seen as long as possible!  See you June 14 in the Inner Harbour!

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