Arrival back to Christmas Island.

We Departed Puka Puka April 12th 17:30. 4 passengers, 14 crew. Light NE wind on the nose. Two days of steaming earned us the right to set full sail on the morning of april 15. Contrary winds and the west setting south equatorial current forced us to take them in again. Steaming hard against the wind and current brought us to the equator at noon on April 19. At 07:00 on April 21, released from the current we set all sail on a reach and made 8 kts all day on our approach to CXI.

At 17:30 that evening we dropped the hook next to the loading dock in CXI. Our Kiribati crew went ashore to their families after their month long exile to the south seas. In the next days we loaded cement, lumber and fuel drums. On April 23rd in the evening we embarked 9 passengers. We did not get underway until the next morning after we had perfomed a full suite of emergency drills.
On April 24th 2019 at 08:30 with 23 People onboard, we cast off and got underway for Tabueran island 160 miles to the northwest. Under full sail and low engine rpms, we averaged 7.5 kts and were moored in English harbor at 07:30. Tabueran was engulfed in rain clouds and this severely hampered the discharge of cargo on that day. As a result we were delayed by one day. This gave me a chance to have a quick visit to the Napari side of the pass.

The ferry to Napari is always packed with school kids. A truck meets the the ferry in Napari and all hands pile in the back for a bumpy ride down a long road. Some kids travel for over an hour each way. I threw my bike on our cargo tender full of fuel drums and hitched a ride across the pass. I was going to visit my friend Beeto at the whaler anchorage. A ride of about 45 minutes. It was blistering hot and when i stopped halfway to ask directions i was invited to drink a fresh coconut. My host climbed a tall palm, cut down two coconuts, tore off the husks with a husking spike set in the ground, shaved off the hairs with a machete, bit off the the soft pulp on the end and cleaned out the eye with a small knife. Voila, a fresh cool drink. the perfect food. I left him a pair of work gloves as a gift and thus refreshed, continued to Beeto’s house.

Past miles of aqua Lagoon, Towering Palms, Taro and Papaya swamps. Little clusters of huts appeared in the bush here and there along with a good sized village and the islands air strip. I found the inconspicuous path that leads to the whaler anchorage where Beeto lives. Beeto has a small camp for anglers and surfers. at the sight of a landing historically used by whalers and copra steamers. There is a bodacious break and lots of fish. Beeto was at home ( no internet or phone). He was bemoaning the fact that he had lost a seven person group because the plane was delayed too long by weather. We had a snack in his new screened in kitchen/dining room and we rode our bikes back to the ferry dock because Beeto needed supplies from the Kwai. We were on perfect time with the ferry and the driver kindly detoured to land us alongside the Kwai. Beeto got his stuff in time to meet the ferry to the other side and connect with the truck to take it to his place. We finished discharging cargo, loaded our copra boat on deck, embarked 6 passengers and got underway for Teraina island 78 miles to the Northwest at 18:30 April25 2019.
We arrived at Teraina’s copra pass at 06:30 and were unable to anchor because of contrary current, light winds and a heavy southerly swell. Around 08:00 a light offshore breeze came up and we anchored off the pass. We have discharged our fuel drums, our general cargoes and our passengers. As i write, Kwai store is open on shore and Copra is going down the hatch at a great rate.

Kim Smith