The last four days to Hawaii from New Zealand mainly passed with good, vigorous sailing: often 'creaming along'... 'in the groove' ... in good E wind, occasionally backing or veering slightly, often in big seas, and with glorious sunny days with nights full of stars - Southern Cross visible simultaneously with the Great Bear!
Passing the 'Big Island' of Hawaii there was a very strong SSW current which slowed us down badly - we lost 2 knots for quite a time and, when crossing due West of the channel that divides the 'Big Island' of Hawaii from the island of Maui, it was such a bumpy ride that water from the galley sink spilled and gave me a major mopping-up session...!! And overnight, as I knelt in the cockpit busy winching, I got totally drenched by seas whooshing over the cockpit canopy and landing on top of me - I was dripping everywhere when I eventually made my way down below to change my clothes!!
The wind came up after sunset on Wednesday, having died right down mid-afternoon - thought I'd lost the Trades, with light wind from NNW.... was not what I was expecting, but it didn't last very long.
I've had to change my landfall plans - it was to be the supposed Port of Entry of Nawiliwili, on Kauai, but after lots of effort and phone calls to investigate for me, Tom, K4XV, who lives close by and is a regular Net Control for the Pacific Seafarers Net that I'm checking into daily, finally got the answers he'd been looking for. As a non-US citizen, I can't clear Customs etc on Kauai but needed to make for Maui or Oahu. Fortunately, I'd changed course slightly for Honolulu on Oahu a day or so earlier, when Nawiliwili was beginning to sound dubious, and while it was possible to lay the course, even though I was already on a close reach.
In the final night's approach to Oahu, a ship came right across our bows - no response to radio calls beforehand and I wondered if they knew we were there!! I switched on the deck light to make our sails highly visible - just in case someone was awake and looking out...!
So I made landfall at Ala Wai marina today just after 2p.m. Hawaii time, near Pearl Harbour, on Oahu, to clear US Customs and Immigration after a 36-day passage from New Zealand. Cruisers I know from San Francisco met up with me there and helped get things done - it got rather fraught, with needing to go quite a long distance from the marina to find the right Customs Office and to be there before 3 p.m. if I wanted everything done, but the officers kindly stayed on beyond their closing time as we lost our way by car and by 3.45 p.m. I had my Cruising Permit as well as having cleared Customs and Immigration. Refuelling was easily achieved, although lengthy - I was right by the pump!
The friendly Agriculture/Quarantine officer came by just as I was trying to contact the SHTP Racers for their evening Roll Call - as the new 'Comms Boat', I needed their 'numbers' to send in to the Race Cttee, as I had done that morning, ...but nothing heard but lots of static - in a marina surrounded by masts it was impossible to make contact... I was taken for some food shopping and a meal and was then theoretically free to continue sailing to Hanalei Bay on Kauai. That's where I was headed to initially and where the Single-Handed TransPac Race is finishing- just a few racers left to finish. They've had more than their fair share of light winds and are looking forward to getting stronger Trade winds perhaps over the next few days on their final approach.
I was feeling rather tired after little sleep over last night, then up several times for sail trimming in gusty winds, followed by early morning Roll Call .... then kept busy with preparation for landfall and contacting officials about arrangements for Clearance.... so I decided not to leave until just before dawn but to get a few hours' sleep first, after posting this...
Noon-to-noon daily runs:
Monday 5th July: 135 n.ml. Tuesday: 154 n.ml. Wednesday: 143 n.ml. Thursday: 141 n.ml. (arrived Honolulu midday - local date: Wed 7th July...)
Distance to Hanalei from Ala Wai marina: 117 n. ml.