Kwai departed Hawaii on 18 March, right on schedule. The turnaround time was only 10 days. The cargo acceptance team arrived 4 days before the ship to process cargoes already purchased and stored in our shoreside container at Pier 31. This is part of our current plan to keep our island host happy and reduce costs by shortening time in Hawaii. After 10 years of using the warehouse at Pier 31 as a shipyard and second home, a new DOT administration has restricted our access to cargo operations only. We now tie up in Kewalo Basin upon arrival and move to the commercial port only for loading. Our intention is also to move some maintenance operations to Fanning Island, where we have a good mooring in a protected lagoon and a good source of willing workers. Evy and Shoni have purchased and repaired a big road compressor that can run 8 needle guns. This is on the foredeck now and the plan is to station it at Fanning Island. After discussions and permits with the Island Council and Linnix Ministry, we hope to set up a work camp on the island. We would much rather perform maintenance in that idyllic setting then in Honolulu. The challenge, of course, is to have all the tools and spare parts needed to accomplish the work in a remote site.
Kwai sailed full once again. In fact we had to turn away cargo. The freighter plane that flies between Honolulu and Christmas Island has been cancelled and we were overrun with light cargo that had been sitting at the airport. Tall pallets of diapers and noodles kept arriving at the pier at an alarming rate. In the end we left behind our usual cargo of empty drums and loaded the Aloha deck with these light products, topped with folding tables and mattresses to make a domed stack, tarped to shed the rain. She looked her elegant self as she departed, but Evy told me she was loaded like a barge not a ship as there was little deck visible from the bridge deck. The foredeck is stacked with tires, the side decks with timber and drums of emulsion for fixing potholes, the hatch has bales of second hand clothes, 6 feet high, holding in pallets of dry cargo. A pickup and and small SUV sit on the aft half of the hatch with drums of oil between. These are properly dunnaged with carpet and pallets, and all heavily strapped. The main deck has more tires and bales of copra bags. Only the aft deck around the mess and the foredeck between the fo’c’sle and mainmast are clear for working sails. Our gangplank made a fine catwalk over the deck cargo and fender of the road compressor for access forward. Served wire hand rails run between the main rigging and poop railing for safety while moving over the timber deck load. All in all, an artful stow of the 529 cubic meters of cargo loaded on Kwai. We actually prefer a bit less, but that is what thy brought and we “load the last ton”. Cargo is still king!
The route to Christmas Island has been fine so far. After clearing the shadow of the Big Island, the ship has run under sails alone for 3 days now, making 6-7 knots on a beam reach. A few squalls in the early days have given way to fine weather as they cross the halfway line. Topsail and flying jib are flying once again again, and for now all is well aboard.