Kwai returned to Fanning Island on the 6th of May after a 3 week swing through the Northern Cook Islands with stops at Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Manihiki and Puka Puka.  We had not visited this group since Voyage 36 on the way to Fiji, so there was plenty of catching up with our local friends and complements on the new rig.  There was plenty of cargo to deliver and to sell, but no petrol was available this time and this was a major disappointment for our customers and took a big chunk away out of the profit for the trip.   Due to a change of supplier in fuel to Christmas Island, our regular purchase of 100 drums of petrol was not possible.

The whole trip to the Cooks was in mostly light airs with mostly motor sailing.  Hot and calm as it was for V35 and V37.  The trade winds south of the Equator are just not as regular as those North, and there is not as much horsepower in the wind to shut down the main engine.  This voyage we have Raffael, a graduate student writing his thesis on sail cargo, so he will give us a good report on how much fuel we are really saving.

Captain Evy has been working with the 2 Engineers in the engine room this voyage with some good results.  Kwai now has a Watermaker.  The Engineers built this system using the guts of an old Village Marine Watermaker left behind by NCL when they quit Fanning Island.  Operating when the generator is running, this system can keep up with fresh water demand on the ship.  It will be especially helpful to make water for ballast on the return trip to Hawaii when the ship is empty.  The forward 20 ton tank is usually empty on this run and now it can be full, allowing for a safer, faster passage.

The other big development is ashore in Fanning Island where the crew has been setting up a maintenance base. As we have a good mooring in a protected lagoon, and an ample supply of workers on the island, we can shift some of the ship’s maintenance from Honolulu to Fanning Island.  This trip we landed a road compressor capable of running 8 needle guns for chipping rust.  This is the never ending process on an old steel ship.  Chip off the surface rust, sometimes ¼” deep in pockets, wire brush or sand the exposed steel and then paint with 4-5 coats of primer and then topcoat.   In the quiet weather of the Cook Islands trip the day workers chipped and painted every day, but the ship’s compressor can only run 2 guns.

In Fanning Kwai discharged some remaining Hawaii cargo and sold off some unclaimed goods, then moved over to Teraina to discharge more of the last cargoes and loaded 101 tons of copra.  After 2 days they sailed back to Fanning last night with a fair wind and will top up with copra before departing to Christmas Island tonight.

The PDL ship, Southern Phoenix, was due to sail last weekend with a full load of containers for Tarawa and Christmas.  While still at the dock in Suva, Fiji, she started taking on water and listing.  The crew had to abandon ship and cut the dock lines so she could be towed clear of the dock where she rolled over and sank.  She was loaded with many containers of project cargo for building a new airport terminal in Christmas and several other construction projects on the island.  A new generator for Christmas Island is now on the bottom of Suva Harbor, along with many containers of foodstuffs.  This is a serious setback for CXI as all the cargoes will have to be marshalled again in Fiji and another ship contracted to carry the goods.  So we witness the second shipping disaster of the year affecting our area of operation.  The first was the loss of the Taio Shipping new vessel Moana Nui on the reef at Nassau.  The ship became incapacitated with a rope in the prop and drifted up on the reef.  While she is not seriously damaged the cost of the salvage operation is, so far, too much for the value of the ship.  Since we have been operating out of Hawaii, 4 vessels have been lost in the Cook Islands.  The work is dangerous and the sea can be unforgiving.  One small mistake or malfunction and it can quickly be all over.

For Kwai it will mean another run with limited but very welcome food resources from Hawaii to The Line islands.  We cannot meet the demands of all the islands, but we are there to bring some relief.

In June we will mark the 11th year of operation out of Hawaii to the Line and Cook Islands.  We give thanks to the over 100 crew who have served on Kwai and to the Sea Gods who allow us to stay operational.

A new schedule for our Voyage 40 departing Honolulu on June 24 will be posted shortly.

Kwai returned to Fanning Island on the 6th of May after a 3 week swing through the Northern Cook Islands with stops at Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Manihiki and Puka Puka.  We had not visited this group since Voyage 36 on the way to Fiji, so there was plenty of catching up with our local friends and complements on the new rig.  There was plenty of cargo to deliver and to sell, but no petrol was available this time and this was a major disappointment for our customers and took a big chunk away out of the profit for the trip.   Due to a change of supplier in fuel to Christmas Island, our regular purchase of 100 drums of petrol was not possible.

The whole trip to the Cooks was in mostly light airs with mostly motor sailing.  Hot and calm as it was for V35 and V37.  The trade winds south of the Equator are just not as regular as those North, and there is not as much horsepower in the wind to shut down the main engine.  This voyage we have Raffael, a graduate student writing his thesis on sail cargo, so he will give us a good report on how much fuel we are really saving.

Captain Evy has been working with the 2 Engineers in the engine room this voyage with some good results.  Kwai now has a Watermaker.  The Engineers built this system using the guts of an old Village Marine Watermaker left behind by NCL when they quit Fanning Island.  Operating when the generator is running, this system can keep up with fresh water demand on the ship.  It will be especially helpful to make water for ballast on the return trip to Hawaii when the ship is empty.  The forward 20 ton tank is usually empty on this run and now it can be full, allowing for a safer, faster passage.

The other big development is ashore in Fanning Island where the crew has been setting up a maintenance base. As we have a good mooring in a protected lagoon, and an ample supply of workers on the island, we can shift some of the ship’s maintenance from Honolulu to Fanning Island.  This trip we landed a road compressor capable of running 8 needle guns for chipping rust.  This is the never ending process on an old steel ship.  Chip off the surface rust, sometimes ¼” deep in pockets, wire brush or sand the exposed steel and then paint with 4-5 coats of primer and then topcoat.   In the quiet weather of the Cook Islands trip the day workers chipped and painted every day, but the ship’s compressor can only run 2 guns.

In Fanning Kwai discharged some remaining Hawaii cargo and sold off some unclaimed goods, then moved over to Teraina to discharge more of the last cargoes and loaded 101 tons of copra.  After 2 days they sailed back to Fanning last night with a fair wind and will top up with copra before departing to Christmas Island tonight.

The PDL ship, Southern Phoenix, was due to sail last weekend with a full load of containers for Tarawa and Christmas.  While still at the dock in Suva, Fiji, she started taking on water and listing.  The crew had to abandon ship and cut the dock lines so she could be towed clear of the dock where she rolled over and sank.  She was loaded with many containers of project cargo for building a new airport terminal in Christmas and several other construction projects on the island.  A new generator for Christmas Island is now on the bottom of Suva Harbor, along with many containers of foodstuffs.  This is a serious setback for CXI as all the cargoes will have to be marshalled again in Fiji and another ship contracted to carry the goods.  So we witness the second shipping disaster of the year affecting our area of operation.  The first was the loss of the Taio Shipping new vessel Moana Nui on the reef at Nassau.  The ship became incapacitated with a rope in the prop and drifted up on the reef.  While she is not seriously damaged the cost of the salvage operation is, so far, too much for the value of the ship.  Since we have been operating out of Hawaii, 4 vessels have been lost in the Cook Islands.  The work is dangerous and the sea can be unforgiving.  One small mistake or malfunction and it can quickly be all over.

For Kwai it will mean another run with limited but very welcome food resources from Hawaii to The Line islands.  We cannot meet the demands of all the islands, but we are there to bring some relief.

In June we will mark the 11th year of operation out of Hawaii to the Line and Cook Islands.  We give thanks to the over 100 crew who have served on Kwai and to the Sea Gods who allow us to stay operational.

A new schedule for our Voyage 40 departing Honolulu on June 24 will be posted shortly.

Aloha,
Captain Brad Ives