Kwai is today bound north from Penrhyn headed back to Christmas Island and Kiribati. The voyage from Rarotonga has included stops at Palmerston, Nassau, Pukpuka, Manihki, Rakahanga and Penrhyn. All was smooth, except for some rough weather around Nassau and Pukapuka. Kwai arrive at Nassau on Friday after Christmas in with a potential tropical cyclone lurking 250 miles to the west, spinning Northerly winds which made the pass unworkable. Working over the reef on the South side of the small island, the islanders were able to land the passengers and a couple of pallets of cargo. Captain Evy sailed that evening heading North away from any cyclonic development and looking for a lee under Pukapuka. They went through the worst of the weather that night including a 40 knot squall on the nose. The wind eased by the morning and the pass at Pukapuka was calm enough to land passengers and cargo. The local barges could not be loaded full due to rough conditions but the consigned cargo got ashore, along with the Manihiki bound passengers who enjoyed a night ashore. Kwai ran the 50 miles back to Nassau as the potential storm moved slowly away to the south. Sunday cargo was again discharged over the reef on the south side. The cargo had to run in in a small boat and then be walked over the reef to high ground. Fine seamanship by Poila Poila and his Nassau crew got everything ashore including Supercargo Franki and her Kwai Store goodies. Kwai sailed the 50 miles back to Pukapuka and set up on Monday for a rousing Kwai Store on Pukapuka. The crew finally got some rest from the steam at night/work all day cycle on the way to Manihiki. The light North wind held up for this leg which is a blessing as it can be strong Easterly trade winds. Arrival at Manihiki was New Year’s Eve at 1500 and the passengers got to celebrate with family. There was even enough daylight to get the Rarotonga cargoes ashore at the 2 villages of Tukao and Tauhunu and afford a Kwai Store opening on New Year’s Day at Tauhunu. January 2nd was spent at Rakahanga landing passengers, cargo and sales and departure at 1700 for Penrhyn, a quiet motor into light easterlies followed. Penrhyn frowns on any commercial activities on Sunday, so Captain Evy anchored just inside the lagoon for a peaceful day of rest. Monday morning was at the wharf at Omoka, Penrhyn for the usual Penrhyn hubbub. Business was quickly accomplished and Kwai got back to what she does best – cleaving the Pacific on her regular rounds. Voyage 30 remains mostly drama- free as we like it. Captain reports the crew are well settled in, healthy and capable. Headed home now to Kiribati, the deckhands will be singing on the aft deck, and all hands eager to keep moving toward Hawaii. It looks like 2 round trips around the Line Islands will be required to handle the passenger and cargo demands and arrival in Honolulu is scheduled for the first week of February.
The Island Ventures office in Pahoa in the top floor of our Tower is a busy place at the beginning of 2015, with 4 computers humming away at times. Along with April, Brad and Wendy, we now have Maire Raven operating the extensive database which tracks our supply list, orders, crew, and voyage data. The active lava flow heading for our home town is stalled today and we hope for a reprieve for the supermarket, hardware store and shops that we depend on. Our house is not in danger but eventually the access road to Hilo may be cut which will present new challenges. Check www.bigislandvideonews.com for daily updates. We will carry on here until we all have to move on the ship!