On this day when the Earth starts increasing its distance to the Sun, we are moving closer to our final destination of this voyage, Honolulu. Our ETD from Fanning was uncertain for a long time because the forecast predicted heavy weather up North. But at five o’clock Bad gave the order to slip the line on the mooring and head for sea. To great relief of all of us, because we don’t like idling about. The ETA is set for the 29th of December. This means Christmas celebration on the high seas and New Years Eve with family or friends on shore. Considering that all goes as planned… because we are aboard a sailing vessel, and are still expecting rough seas in the higher latitudes. This is why Beeni and Megan prepared the Pilot sail: a small sail to replace the mains’l in strong winds. (As I am writing this, the whole ship shudders because of a big wave breaking on the side of the hull).
In my blog of the 14th of December we were still underway to Fanning and Christmas Island. Fanning went as planned but on our arrival on Sunday in Christmas, I found a crack in the Lister generator. Captain Brad gave me the order to find our brazing-specialist Teibitoa on the Island to repair the leak. After so many years I know the island well, and with help of some local friends I tracked Tebi down in his sleeping hut. It took us the better part of the next day to get the generator fixed. Somebody mentioned that the Lister might become obsolete (oh ye mortals), but to my relief Brad stated that: “a Lister will never be obsolete”. This wonder of British mechanics might be transpiring a bit, but she is reliable as the Detroit Diesel and she is our last hope if shit hits the fan. If all system fail, the Lister can be hand-started, which means electricity, which means pumps running and navigation systems back operational. This said, I rest my case for defense of the Lister.
Although some of our local crew went home for Sunday service, the work on the Kwai continued. Thanks to a handful of stevedores, our own remaining crew and a willing-to-work crane driver, the 50 tons of copra that we brought from Teraina was lifted on shore. Monday was used to load cargo for Fanning. I saw a large number of brand new drums come on board. It turned out to be fuel for the airstrip on Fanning. Nowadays there are three regular flights per week on this island. Most of the passengers are fishing tourists that like a challenge of “fighting” the energetic bone fish in off-grid waters. Because this was to be our last destination in the Line-islands, I asked Brad permission to put the dinghy in the water and do a photo-shoot of the Kwai under full-sail. The sky was laden with heavy clouds, and as the sun was setting, Frankie skillfully took hundreds of pictures while the Kwai was entering the lagoon under sail-power only. The results will soon be available on the gallery of this website.
Because of the issue of expected heavy weather on the leg North, Brad decided to load a few tons of coral stones as ballast. Year-long erosion on the beaches of the Kiribati islands has turned the snow-white stones into beautiful decorative objects (for gardens?). We are bringing them to the shores of Hawaii, and I’d like to call upon anybody who is interested in these stones to contact our office in Big Island Hawaii. I’d hate to see this cargo go to waste.