Voyage 53, 28 Feb 2020 from Shanan
Aaaaaand we’re off! It feels like hardly a week ago that we arrived in Honolulu, battered, salty and limping slightly with our three torn sails after our dogged fight to get north from Fanning Island. The wind kept both increasing and turning more north on us, and we had to really fight to end up in Hawaii and not Siberia. The last day about summed up Voyage 52— ten miles away from beautiful sheltered Oahu, the island a coy mirage playing peek-a-boo from behind rainstorms while loftily refusing to come closer with anything resembling alacrity or even reasonable quickness, we fought our way into a headwind gusting sometimes to 50 knots, our speed a sad and grueling 3 knots. And then a jib sheet block straight up exploded, adding a torn up jib clew to our list of repairs. We were initially hoping to arrive that day at 1400. 1500 crept around, then 1600… we made it in before dark finally at 1800, gave a round of high fives, a toast to Captain Anika and breathed a collective sigh of relief.  It was a hard trip north. Funnily enough, it was hardly a week ago!

And the week since flew past, charged and urgent like a seagull after fish scraps at Kewalo Basin, full of loading, repairs and what personal time could be snatched for internet and shopping. After arriving we had most of a day off, and then woke at 0400 the next day to head over to Pier 19 for loading. We loaded the entire hold (346 cubic meters of cargo) as well as 240 empty drums on deck in a record 7 hours, managing to finish by 1400. This was the only day we could load, and the double rush was because the stevedores (dock side cargo handler guys) had a union meeting at 1400. We got all cargo onboard by the deadline (slipping away one at a time for a hurried lunch), spent the next few hours organizing and lashing, and headed back over to Kewalo Basin at sunset. It was a long day.

The following days were spent in a frenzy of repairs and maintenance. We took the Mizzen and the Jib off and brought them over to the warehouse where they made the acquaintance of the ancient and industrial sewing machine. Shanan, Iakobwa, Ieie, and Frank spent two days wrestling massive areas of canvas through the small runway of the sewing machine, the unstoppable forward march (ha!) of the needle stopped depressingly often because we couldn’t get our thread tension right and it kept breaking. We managed eventually. Meanwhile back on board our resident welder Kabi set to work on some deck projects— freeing the rust-frozen freeing ports (one way doors that allow water on deck to go back to the ocean, without ocean water being allowed in), fixing small holes and replacing tangs along the deck rail.  Banu and Arioka replaced halyards and blocks, Captain Anika found time to replace a shattered window in the wheel house, Cook Jane rushed about buying massive food orders for us and for customers, Supercargo Chantale did lots of mysterious and important paperwork, Engineer Willy replaced steering tubes, machined an aluminum main clew reinforcement, did oil changes… it was a busy few days, (I barely skimmed the surface here on project listings!) culminating yesterday morning in replacing the slewing gear (steel cables that help control the cargo boom) and finishing minutes before we cast off. Willy barely made it back on board after last minute shopping for outboard spares.

Aaaaaand we are back at sea. (Bye Honolulu! Did I dream your shiny buildings and rainbows?!) The Jib, Staysail, Pilot sail and Mizzen are set, though we are currently rolling more than we would like with slightly floppy sails— the wind should fill in when we are out of the wind shadow of the Big Island. Meanwhile the crew keeps the ship thrumming steadily back south and people catch up on sleep and projects. When the rain stops Shanan will go back to work lashing and sewing the Main Clew back together, and we will be able to switch out the Pilot Sail for the Main.

This morning, over breakfast, we ceremonially burned the “Page of Misfortune”, a list of things that went wrong from last voyage.  It included things like broken windows, torn sails, days of rain and mysteriously faulty radios… The ashes have scattered out to sea, and, (as soon as the sun comes out) we will be looking forward into the bright and cheery dawning of Voyage 53!