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Friday, 27 June 2014

Arrival then and now!

We're nearing Hawaii and I'm getting excited. I'm re-registering the feelings and impressions of my very FIRST offshore trip - nearly 21 years ago now. Not only would finding land with the sextant be important, being able to eat a SALAD and indulging in ICE WATER was on our minds. We might also see real musicians and dancers playing and performing to that steel-guitar music we'd been hearing on the radio.

In the intervening years, we've had our 'perfect' boat built. Ice-water is readily at hand. We've sailed nearly 100,000 nautical miles on Traversay III. No matter that our life aboard has become so much easier, and that sophisticated equipment COULD make us jaded about getting to land, when I read my writings from that time it still invokes the emotions of my first offshore adventure. Here are some excerpts:

Mary Anne Unrau's Log Book of a Hawaii trip Summer - 1993 on the 37' Jeanneau Yacht "TRAVERSAY II" June 24-July 12 1993

"As we got closer to shore, it became certain that we would never make it to Hilo during daylight. At first, we decided just to 'slow down' so we could go in during the daylight.

But as we got nearer and nearer, we decided to go in whenever we could - really, the sooner the better! I wondered how well we would manage being in close quarters with other boats and people (in the dark, yet!) after so much solitude at sea.

Amazingly (perhaps not so for the many people who have watched Larry navigate and sail) it became clear that we were not only pointed at the island of Hawaii, but at the Hilo harbour as we got close enough to see what had looked like a cloud mass change into a dark land mass. I had thought his sextant work (during which he started to have to wake up at even stranger hours for star-shots - the sun being inconveniently positioned in the middle of the sky!) was a bit of obscure busy-work. It was a lesson in cool-headed observation and accuracy to see how closely he had predicted our position."

"... Larry got out the high-powered light so we could direct it at the shore and make out the end of some docks which jutted out in the path of getting into Radio Bay Marina (our goal). As we went in, all the other boats were tied up to a wall Mediterranean-style - and all seemed to be sleeping (it was about 2230). Larry suggested we go in closer to scout a possible position (hopefully with our own individual ladder on the wall up to the shore). Then we moved further out again so he could give me explicit directions and explain the whole procedure. We would have to set our anchor and back up in between two boats laying out the chain. Somehow, this was so successfully accomplished and we tied up so easily that our port neighbours didn't even hear us come in!

Next morning, I sat in the cockpit relishing the (somewhat squalid) view of a Hilo trucking lot which contained GREEN palm trees and a RED cardinal. Something besides BLUE!"

Here we are in 2014. That incredible first visit to Hawaii fixed my determination to continue the adventuring. Surviving a Hurricane Alert suggested getting a more 'perfect' boat. We did it even though it meant we had to live through five long "boat-less" years and spend all we had. Some of the experiences live on in my memory ... the Customs officer in Hilo who gave us a whole bag of papayas ... running into 'kindred spirit' George Free and his immensely talented son writer-photographer David ... meeting and staying with a true genius and Renaissance person - Buddy Naluai whose mother (recently turning 100) welcomed me to her home and became my Hawaiian 'Mama'... spending time alone aboard the boat with 13-yr-old daughter Alice and preparing the boat for that Hurricane Alert ... scuba-diving and touring the island in a red convertible with her ... playing Chopin over a live broadcast circulated throughout all the Islands .. the privilege of performing on the Steinway Concert Grand piano in the 'Westminster Abbey' of Hawaii flanked by a portrait of concert pianist Queen Liliuokulani ...

However, I understand this blog is really meant to give current news and not to reminisce no matter how pleasant the memories ...

So TODAY two small natural ambassadors entered our lives thus proving that we've nearly arrived. A flying fish tried to leap over the boat (see Larry's photo) and a beautiful long-tailed 'Tropic-bird' floated above us. We're nearing land!

ps *** the July/August edition of 'Ocean Navigator' includes Larry's article about the NW Passage***

At 6/26/2014 16:26 (utc) our position was 21°10.45'N 150°08.96'W

1 comment:

  1. Hope your arrival to Hilo was beautiful!