After leaving Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva two weeks ago and sailing 2,050 nautical miles we have sighted land and are quickly closing with the big Island of Hawaii. This evening we find ourselves 20 miles east of Cape Kumukahi and a mere 40 miles out of Hilo. I can see the bright lava flow of Kilauea off in the distance. What a cool landfall! We will heave-to outside Hilo and wait until daybreak before entering the breakwater and dropping our anchor in Reeds Bay.
The last few days have been extraordinarily good sailing. We were richly rewarded for our effort of sailing back to the Marquesas with a better wind angle and it also helped that Neptune gifted us a pleasant 13-18 knots of wind most of the way. I have been watching the GRIBS of the NE trades for months and they are almost always blowing 20+ but we lucked out and caught a perfect week with winds in the mid teens. The wind has been on or aft the beam for 80% of this passage. Less than 10% has been close-hauled. Jimmy Cornell, Author of WORLD CRUISING ROUTES, gave spot-on advice when he stated that the passage between the Marquesas and Hawaii is: “a fast and pleasant passage at almost any time of the year.” I couldn’t agree more and I recommend this passage to anyone. With the wind on the beam or just aft the beam for most of the passage the boat is both stable and fast. There are favorable currents almost the entire way and the seas were less than 8 feet most of the time. We made record time with Ellie posting a few 160+ mile days and we even saw SOG over 8.0 knots on a few occasions. Impressive performance from our heavy 30 year old Tartan.
We had a scare with hurricane ANA passing directly through our planned route. It was 2-3 days ahead of us and we were able to use the winds feeding it from the south to sail through the ITCZ almost without a break in the wind. I was hesitant to sail to Hawaii in September or early October for the chance of a late-season hurricane and we delayed our departure until the end of October as a precaution. Had we not done so we may have had to try our storm tactics on the real stage. Luckily Neptune spared us his wrath and ANA continued to move NW out of our path and even ended up helping us along. You can bet your ass I was keeping a close eye on the ITCZ as we made way in the NE trades for fear of another one forming. It was fascinating to watch how ANA formed on the GRIBS. We now know how to identify the early stages of a tropical depression forming on the edge of the ITCZ.
Alyssa is ecstatic to be in tomorrow morning and we are both looking forward to resting up and exploring the islands. First order of business after clearing in with customs will be to find one of those mythical places where you can sit at a table and they bring you a piece of paper with various food items on it. I hear you can even have them cook the food and they clean up afterwards. Sounds too good to be true but we’ll have to go see for ourselves.
Here are some quick stats of our passage:
October 10, 2014
Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
08 49 S, 140 03 W
October 25, 2014
19 43 N, 155 03 W
14 days, 12 hours
Best 24 hrs:
Worst 24 hours:
141 58 W
7.40 N and 8.20 N
Longitude at 10 N:
144 00 W
Strong NE Trades Filled in at:
12 25 N, 145 00 W
Average Wind Speed:
Maximum Wind Speed:
Minimum Wind Speed:
4 knots (in ITCZ)
S of 5N, N of 8N – Average 1 knot
Between 5N and 8N – Average 1 knot
Engine Hours Accumulated:
< 5 gallons
Port Dorade Box Screws Failed. No Other Issues.
0 (due to the fact our freezer is full of tuna and mahi and we didn’t put the lines out)
0 (we saw one container ship on AIS 15 miles away but no visual)
Hours Spent at the Helm:
Fresh Water Produced:
TV Episodes Watched:
Fresh Yellow Fin Tuna Sushi and Sashimi
Fights Between Captain and First Mate:
Overall an excellent passage! We’re in Hawaii!! See you all in CA soon!
Lewis & Alyssa
Here’s Alyssa’s Float Plan update from this morning:
We made it!!! The sun is rising as I type this, illuminating the peak of the big island. A massive squall just passed over Ellie, dumping buckets of rain, cleaning the last of the salt off her stainless and decks. The wind died about 4 hours ago and we’ve slowly been motoring around 3.5kts towards the harbor, waiting for light. Lewis and I switched our usual shifts, waking up just before landfall this morning so he will be fully rested and ready to anchor.
I have butterflies in my stomach. The first sight of land yesterday was such an excitement, we were dancing on the side decks and shouting hooray’s. Nothing quite matches the exhilaration you get from making landfall after a long passage. After 2067nm and 14.5 days at sea, it’s good to be back!
We are only 5.5nm from the harbor entrance and should be anchored in about 2hrs. Then we’ll launch the dingy and walk to customs. We got confirmation that they would stay open until noon today to clear us in (another hooray!!). We will likely be very busy once we make landfall, but expect an update either tonight or tomorrow once we’re settled at anchor.
Thanks for being there for us! It’s nice to know you guys are watching our progress, helping us look up random stuff on the internet, monitoring storms and hurricanes in our path, and being our daily entertainment via email. We’ve really enjoyed the company:)
Much love and gratitude,
5kts SW (land effect)