Kwai departed Honolulu on Voyage 45 on 27th of June, about 3 days behind schedule.  During the 3 week stay at Kewalo Basin, Hal and Miles Rainwater, of MDR Machine, along with Captain Evy and Chief Engineer, Charles swapped out the tired GM 12-71 for the one rebuilt by MDR.  Of course, this was a bit more complicated than hoped, with the final successful test runs a few days after loading the ship at Pier 19 in Honolulu.  The bulkhead between the Engine Room and cargo hold has a wide panel  that can be removed to allow passage of the engines in and out.  The water maker, alarms systems and some plumbing have to be disassembled and later put back.  This time the gearbox was also opened for inspection and happily can live a few more trips.  These old GM’s are made up of many renewable parts.  They are becoming a bit harder to find, but with the 2 engines to work with Hal and Miles were able to deliver a rebuilt machine that should last another few years.  Kwai now has 3 engines recently rebuilt and we hope to only pour in fuel and oil for a while.

The annual survey was also conducted by John Knauss of the National Cargo Bureau. Life rafts, extinguishers, and safety systems are all inspected.  Miz Mate Inna did fine work to get Kwai all up to date with certificates and documents.  She has streamlined the documentation process with an eye to regular, relevant routines for the Mate and officers to follow.  Kwai gets modern, dragging her 2 Captains with her.

Two of our newer, crew, Tematang and Tabura sailed through their visa process in Suva, and joined the ship in Honolulu.  Supercargo Assistant Teraititi had the first interview but needed 2 more weeks to finally secure her visa.   I-Kiribati crew must travel to Suva to obtain a US visa to come to Hawaii with the ship.  In this modern world nothing is taken for granted and this can be an expensive drawn our process.

The good thing about Kewalo is that the sea and surf are nearby.  The city and traffic get old but we are very lucky to get a berth at all.  Harbormaster John , Sandy, Trudy and Justin take care of us well.  Thanks to all of them .

Jennifer runs our Kwai warehouse on Kalani St efficiently and the customers have access to space where they can build their pallets.  The cargo is now assembled there, then the pallets stacked in shelves awaiting transport to the harbor on loading day.  This time, V44 Supercargo Wayne and Robinette, Captain Evy’s wife and a long time employee, were on hand to receive, label and palletize the V45 cargo. Acceptance at the Pier 19 of all cargoes and loading of the ship in 2 days with union stevedores went smoothly and Kwai slipped her berth there after only 34 hours in port.

A new Supercargo, Myra Beckers and a new First Mate, Anika Albrecht flew in from Europe, to join the ship.  Myra is from the Enkhuisen School that has given us Ben, Henny and Inna.  Anika has finished German Maritime School and worked on passengers ships in the Arctic and Antarctic.  Both are professional sailors who bring important skills to Kwai.  Kwai sailed with a crew of 13.  Chef Jane is back aboard again and provisioned the ship ably in Honolulu.  Cook Arina’s US visa was erased in her passport by a washing machine, but she was allowed to stay on the ship during the stay in Hawaii.  Bosun Teitera, Deckhands Ieie and Beeni, joined at the end by Tetaake who traveled with Teraititi to Fiji.  The crew took on all the usual tasks in port, caulking the deck, servicing, painting and tarring.  Cargo gear wires were replaced for survey and the usual endless greasing carried out all under the Mate’s watchful eye.  Our inhouse welder  and fabricator Teibitoa made the trip north and worked on many projects in Honolulu before flying home.

The trip south was fast and mostly uneventful.  The race was on to beat the container ship to the Christmas Jetty but this time with the late start, Kwai arrived 2 days after the Capitaine Wallis.  The good news was that Kiribati Port Authority (KPA) has become way more efficient and the ship only stayed 5 days instead of 7 as on previous visits.  Kwai waited her turn and then discharged her 400m3 of CXI cargo in 2 long days.  Local cargo and passengers were loaded on the 11th of July and Kwai arrived in Fanning in time for the last of the Independence Day celebration the next day.

The biggest excitement was when Jane, Myra and Anika were swept out the pass on a moonless night w2hen the outboard failed.  Only captain Evy was on Kwai as the Kiribati celebrated ashore.  VHF communications saved the day.  A local vessel,  L/C Linnix, was outside and able to launch her boat, follow the light to find our drifting crew and tow them happily back to Kwai.

Tonight they are off to Teraina for a couple of days landing cargo and maybe loading copra.

Meanwhile here in Lavaland, we have the office set up in a rented house in Hawaiian Paradise Park.  We are functional but still grieving the loss of our home and community.    Cheryl has been able to move back into her house only a mile uphill from the active vent and Wendy will hopefully return to her home in a couple of weeks.  The lava continues to take the beautiful spots of our island, last night swallowing our warm favorite warm pond and our local charter school.

Captain Brad 13 July, 2018