Sailing Ship Kwai is headed home to Hawaii at the end of Voyage 39. She departed Fanning Island on Saturday, 27 May with a good weather window. Wind was ESE for the first time in weeks. The ITCZ has been hanging around between Christmas and Fanning Island for a while, bringing mostly ENE winds and rain, which slowed down cargo operations at Fanning and Washington Islands. After returning from the Cook Islands on 6 May, Kwai carried a full load of copra (dried coconut), from the 2 Outer Kiribati Islands back to Christmas Island and then loaded 150 tons of fuel and general cargo and 45 Interisland Kiribati passengers. The North of East wind allowed good sailing passages in both directions and cargo was discharged efficiently in both islands, despite rain showers and a south swell at Washington Island that closed the pass at times. What would usually take 6 hours there ended up taking 2 days, but without mishap, despite the local boats getting airborne on their way out to the ship. Captain Evy had to keep the ship underway during cargo operations. The light winds were not enough to keep the ship safely out of the breaking swell while at anchor. Southern winter brings the big south swells and we will have good surf at Fanning but delays at Washington Island.
Kwai was 750 miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii last night and motor sailing in 15 knots of Easterly winds. The wind will come ahead to ENE soon, but they have made enough easting to hopefully fetch Honolulu close reaching on the starboard tack. A wide counter current helped push them east between 5 and 7 degrees of latitude and may portend another El Nino event. Expect Kwai in Honolulu on Saturday 3 June. We will undergo our annual survey and USCG inspection and expect to be 3 weeks in town, before loading once again for Kiribati and the Northern Cook Islands. The V40 schedule is posted!
Bengineer will be back aboard for V40 so expect more and active blogs.
Captain Brad on Big Island