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To Hawaii

"The time has come the walrus said……." On February the 8th we agreed we were ready to go. Our stay in Mexico had been wonderful and it was easy to see why cruisers before us were taking root all along its Pacific coastline, their plans to roam further afield fading in the tropical sun. Setting out on an ocean voyage in a small boat gives rise to a myriad of unfamiliar sensations. Part of ones consciousness is acutely aware that it’s a major commitment in time and energy and not without occasional discomfort and risk. The other voice relishes the challenge, anticipates its joys, and is eager to get on with it. At midday we slipped past the El Cid marina with its pools, bars and sunburnt holidaymakers. Within a few hours Mazatlan slid lazily below the sea in the late afternoon haze leaving us alone with our thoughts and a destination 2750 miles beyond the western horizon.






For five days we tacked this way and that in inconsistent and often contrary winds. The occasional calm would leave us wistfully feeling that reaching Hawaii might prove to be a very long drawn out affair. On day six the breeze picked up and steadied, finally marking the arrival of the long awaited northeast trade winds. Agua Verde heeled to leeward, lifted her skirts, and with her big reaching genoa straining at its seams we tore off to the westward. The wind blew and the spray flew. The seas astern built up in big gray restless heaps chasing us on our way.

Day rolled into night in a continuum of three hour watches. The mostly overcast day sky would occasionally clear and the sun burned with considerable intensity testing our newly installed bimini. Agua Verde rushed and rolled in the quartering sea, always demanding and receiving our attention. Her relationship with the wind and waves in their differing moods was willingly and wholeheartedly given priority. We the crew were as her lovers, sensitive to her wants and eager to please. We traced a zigzag course just south of the Tropic of Cancer, usually running wing on wing, sometimes broad reaching, and always adjusting sail to suit the conditions.







Our main diversion of the day was our evening meal, a social affair just prior to sundown, always creative to prepare and entertaining to share. After the dishes were put away one of us would don their safety harness, clip on, and settle down in the twilight to welcome the stars. Just as the sun had done before it, the moon would rise, stay aloft as long as cloud and gravity permitted, and disappear again below the horizon, switching off the lights as it did so. The nights were special, reminding city dwelling sailors of the delights of the sky's other inhabitants, a mind boggling abundance of energy umpteen light years away. If the watches sometimes seemed long it wasn't the stars fault. Dawn in its turn would bless us with its sunny benediction and colourful renewal, and the whole life cycle revolved by yet one more day.

After a longish while, or so it seemed at the time, a mess of cloud appeared ahead where the sea meets the sky. If our navigation had been correct for these last 20 days it should be hiding the almost 14,000 foot volcano of Mauna Kea at the eastern end of the Island of Hawaii….and so it was. We hoisted our US courtesy flag and twelve hours later, just prior to sunset, we were piloting our way into the still blue waters of Hilo Bay, enfolded as in a welcoming embrace by its lush green arms. We felt curiously ambivalent however as we slid serenely past the channel bouys towards the tiny small-boat harbour of Radio Bay. In part we eagerly awaited the joys of terra firma, but were also somewhat reluctant to surrender our hard won intimacy with the ocean.

sv. Agua Verde
Mauii, HI

Part 1 of 3 US West Coast
Part 2 of 3 Mexico
Part 3 of 3 Hawaii

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