Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fanning to Hilo, Day 14: Out from Under

Yesterday (Passage Day 13) brought more blue sky and sunshine, by day, and more stars and meteors, by night, than we've seen in the past week and a half. The signs this morning bode well for more of the same...but not without first passing through a big rain cloud---complete with double rainbow---done.

We have 87 nautical miles to go to our waypoint outside of Hilo and another 25 nm into the harbor. If all goes well, Silhouette will be poised to enter Radio Bay tomorrow morning. Today, we will spend the day scanning and re-scanning the horizon for the outline of Hawaii. The Big Island is, after all, a big island, with two high volcanoes on it (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). We should see the island long before we arrive, but then again, we may not. Hawaii has its own particular brand of smog, called "VOG." Volcanic smog is a mixture of sulfur dioxide and airborne particles spewn out from the island's active volcano, Kilauea. VOG may obscure our view of the island on our approach.

We are very excited about making this landfall, and I'm experiencing a huge wave of anticipation adrenaline. Patrick is looking forward to an uninterrupted night's sleep, and I'm looking forward to all the good things to eat!(Those who know me will not be surprised.) I'm especially looking forward to visiting the Hilo Farmer's Market on Saturday.

I'm also looking forward to seeing Hawaii with new eyes. I've been to Hawaii twice before---and Patrick once lived on Oahu for three years---but I'm looking forward to an extended stay and to exploring some of the more remote areas of the islands. It's fitting and has a certain emotional symmetry to it, that as we bring our South Pacific voyage to a close, we visit the Pacific islands of our own country. Now that I know that the Marquesans first settled Hawaii, I will be looking for signs of their culture. In fact, I have already seen some without knowing it on previous visits: The remains of "heiau" or temples on Hawaii have almost the same construction as the ceremonial meae in the Marquesas.

As I write this, a tropic bird flies alongside the boat. Earlier this morning, I saw a fairy tern. Yesterday, a masked booby landed on the bimini. All the signs are there for another tropical landfall. Yet, this tropical landfall is just a little bit different: After almost two years and over 17,000 miles, we are coming home.
Posted from sea via Ham Radio.

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