Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Sailing Through Paradise: Hilo, Hawaii to Rangiroa, Tuamotus
Leg #3, June 1997

June 24, 1997 0800
Position: 14 07N, 152 15W Log 3,918 Water Temp 80.1
Destination: Rangiroa, Tuamotus (190 mi. NE of Tahiti)
ETA: 12 days aprox.
Winds: E @ 14kts Close reaching @ 7.3 kts 24 hr runs: 135, 150 nmiles


The NE winds we enjoyed the last week of the passage to Hawaii held and John Graham and Jim MacFeeters spotted the loom of Cape Kumakahi light on the windward corner of the Island of Hawaii at 0045 on Monday, June 16, 30.8 miles away. By 0200 the lights of Hilo were visible, 22.7 miles away and then occasionally disappeared in rainy patches. Reduced visibility meant that the breakwater and entrance buoy were most visible on radar - but at 0545 when we rounded them visibility had improved slightly. By 0605 we had the bow anchor down, dinghy in the water and were backing to the stern-tie bulkhead, only to be surprised by two old friends offering to take our stern lines!

A happy leg #1 crew on arrival in Hilo.

Al Maher had flown from San Francisco just to see MT's arrival after her maiden voyage and to see his friend John Graham whom he had shared a cabin with on Mahina Tiare II's 1996 voyage from Cape Horn to Antarctica. Also waiting was Ian Birnie, Harbormaster for the Island of Hawaii and long a friend of Mahina Tiare's crew.

As soon as we had washed MT down and crew had packed their bags we headed to Ken's Pancakes, a favorite local spot in Hilo for breakfast. Crew met Mon. night for an evening of Hawaiian music, dancing and food. Ineke and Leo Volkert did a great rendition of the hula, guided by a couple of lovely young dancers.

Ineke & leo dancing the hula in Hilo.

The next three days were a whirlwind of reprovisioning, refueling, ordering replacement parts and tidying MT up for her Leg 2, Hilo to Tahiti crew who arrived on June 20.

At 1700 the following day we had completed our safety orientation and cleared Hilo breakwater to be met by sloppy 8'-10' seas with light winds. Within a couple of hours all but one of our new arrivals had emptied their stomachs to the sea. As we rounded the eastern tip of the island of Hawaii, the spectacular volcanic show on Kiluea's flanks cranked into high gear, with fountaining and running lava visible for several hours.

We have been blessed with moderate winds and seas, and the wind direction (always north of east) has allowed us to gain 88 miles of easting from a direct rumbline course to Rangiroa. The easting is to our advantage if we encounter SE tradewinds south of the equator.

Peter sent in some questions yesterday regarding seasickness, watch standing, autopilot, sharks and ships.

Many sailors who have never been seasick in coastal sailing succumb when exposed to ocean swells. This crew was no exceptions with 5 out of 6 losing their cookies. Two brought prescription oral anti-seasickness drugs, neither of which worked. One brought Compazine 25 mg suppositories which worked so well that the others borrowed suppositories and that has cleared up all seasickness. From many years of experience I have found that the Compazine suppositories are by far the best drug and delivery method available. On both the last leg and this leg crew have brought oral Compazine which is quickly lost when seasick.

Our crew usually take a couple of days to get accustomed to 3hrs on watch, 6 hrs off. We always have two people on watch, one to steer and one to do hourly log entries, check the radar for ships and squalls and assist in lookout. We don't use the autopilot and have found that concentration, vigilance and sailing skills are enhanced by hand steering.

It is extremely rare to see sharks at sea and occasionally we see ships which we generally try and contact. So far this voyage, no ships. Yesterday morning our #1 fisherman, Amanda, decided crew had gained the upper hand over seasickness enough to try fishing. Within a few minutes of trailing Super Sammy, one of her tattered and top-producing lures, we had a 25 lb. Ahi on board! Randy Quarry who has commercial fished in Alaska had the fish filleted and ready for baking in record time. Even with generous servings last night we have only eaten a quarter of the fish, so fish sandwiches for lunch today!

Our crew are an eager group for learning. Yesterday we started our weather instruction, aided by excellent weatherfax charts from SF, Hono and New Zealand. Today we further explore how Pacific weather systems work and will probably start working on celestial navigation.

To The Next Log Entry:
Log #4 - 6/29/97

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