This morning, after eleven nights at sea, we arrived at Hilo, Hawaii. Although our ultimate destination is Honolulu, we chose to make landfall here partly because Hilo is about 200 miles closer, but mainly because its easier to clear Spitfire in at Hilo through Hawaii’s Direct Airport Release program.

We had a great trip–the weather this time was the best of any of our offshore runs. The worst weather of the whole run was last night, when we had to tread water in rough seas to wait for daylight to enter the harbor. But we now are med-moored to the seawall at Radio Bay and Spitfire has cleared through with Hawaii Animal Quarantine. Tomorrow we’ll clear with the Department of Agriculture and take on a load of diesel.

Mark Abril sent us a nice suprise with pictures he took of our arrival. On the left picture we are entering Radio Bay, with the cruise ship Pride of America in the background, and on the right we are pulling back towards the sea wall with the anchor down.

And below these is our log of the trip. You also display these on the map view.

10/25/2012: Golden Gate
We’ve just passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and are headed out to sea. Conditions so far look excellent.
10/25/2012: Last view of land
Our last view of land for the next couple of weeks. And our who know when Dirona will be back in North America?
10/25/2012: Farralon Islands
A little bit more land. This really will be our last for the next couple of weeks.
10/25/2012: Porpoises
A large pod of porpoises chased our bow on and off for about an hour.
10/25/2012: SCF Prime
Just before 3pm today, the Crude oil tanker SCF Prime crossed our path about a mile ahead of us going north at 13.6 kts. When 6 miles away to our north, he appeared to go dead in the water. His speed fell to a 2-kt drift and twice a big cloud of black came out out of his exhaust. It looks like something big may have failed suddenly. Forty minutes later, he still was adrift at 0.3 kts.
10/25/2012: Sunset
Our first sunset of the trip. The seas have picked up a bit, but conditions still are decent. MaxSea’s GRIB data has been spot-on so far–it predicted 6′ seas from the north on 8-second period with winds at 18 knots and that’s pretty much what we’re seeing.
10/26/2012: Sunrise
The sun is up and conditions settled a bit overnight. We’ve got maybe 3-foot swells from the north, and 20 knots of wind behind us. Very nice.
10/26/2012: Conditons
The waves have settled down to just 2-3′ swells from the northwest, with 16 knots of wind. Easy cruising–sure hope this will last.
10/26/2012: Sunset
Sunset #2. The waves have picked up a bit to 5 feet, with wind 20 from the north. Not quite as smooth a ride as earlier today, but still comfortable. Outside temp is 67F, but it feels warmer.
10/27/2012: Conditions
Conditons have been excellent today: less than 10 knots of wind and a 1-2-foot northwestly swell. This wouldn’t make the sailboaters happy, but we love it.
10/27/2012: Passenger
We found this little bird tucked against the starboard outside steps leading up to the pilot house. He might have flown into the day head window and hurt himself. We tried lifting him to see if he’d fly–he spread his wings, but didn’t try to fly. We have him setup on the cockpit cabinet where the engine room vents to keep him warm, and gave him a little water in a small dish. He’s a clumsy walker on slippery fiberglass, but that might be normal. Hopefully he’ll recover soon and fly off.
10/27/2012: Sunset
Sunset #3. Conditons continue to be excellent with 5 knots of wind and a 1-2-foot northwestly swell.
10/28/2012: Calm seas
The winds have been less than five knots all night, with a barely perceptable ocean swell. The sea is now blue, rather than the greeny-grey we’re used to in the Pacific Northwest. This certainly is the calmest and most enjoyable offshore run we we”ve made. Last night we had to make two course corrections: one to avoid a 4-foot orange buoy and another for the containership Matson Maunalei. With an ocean this big, its amazing we would both be in the same place at the same time but we had to turn off for 3 to 5 min as we were on a collision course.
10/28/2012: Buoy
This morning we passed another buoy, this one about 18″ in diameter.
10/28/2012: Underway
We’ve been underway for 81 hours and are almost 600 miles offshore. The ocean swell is now about 5′, but the waves are so far apart that the motion is quite gentle and comfortable. In a couple of days we’ll be passing through the southern end of a 998mb low pressure system that is tracking northeast towards the southern BC coast. We’re likely to see 12′ seas, but on a 10-sec period, so that shouldn’t be too bad.
10/28/2012: Sunset
Sunset #4. Winds still are below 5 knots. The swell has picked up to around 8′, but the waves are at least 10 seconds apart, so there’s not much boat motion.
10/29/2012: Conditions
Winds are blowing 15-20 from the southwest now. The waves are about 3-5′, but we’re taking them on the bow, so getting some spray on the windows. But generally conditions still are pretty good. The temperature has been steady at around 70F, even overnight.
10/29/2012: Lunchtime
We’ve switched to Hawaii time, so it’s time for lunch. We brought along a selection of packaged noodle dishes for lunch. We prefer rice and noodle dishes underway–they’re filling and easy to digest.
10/29/2012: Another buoy
We just passed another black buoy, similar the one we posted a picture of yesterday. We saw another one this morning as well.
10/29/2012: Evening conditions
Winds are blowing 15-20 from southwest and the waves are about 7-8 feet on the bow with a roughly 9-second period. We’ve slowed down a bit, partly to ease the boat motion for comfort and partly to improve fuel economy. Pounding through the waves consumes a lot of fuel. Conditions likely will remain like this for another day or so as the front passes. After, we expect smooth seas again.
10/30/2012: Morning conditions
Seas built to SW 9 feet with about a 5-second period overnight, and winds are blowing SW 20-25. Pretty slow and lumpy ride. The updated weather model shows it rough all the way in to Hilo. The only difference is the winds should veer to the west today, so hopefully we’ll get a smoother ride.
10/30/2012: Afternoon conditions
The waves are starting to come from WSW now–a little less on the nose and a little more on the beam. The roll guage shows that progress: 12 hours ago we were rolling around 5 degrees, now it’s up to 10. The waves still are pretty big: 9-10′ on 5-second period. But the winds are starting to fall off–from consistently 20-25 knots to 15-20 knots, so hopefully the waves will follow suit. And we’re starting to pick speed a bit too.
10/30/2012: Squall
Just passed through a squall. The sudden downpour was over almost as soon as it started.
10/30/2012: Evening conditions
The winds have dropped to 10-15 knots. The waves still are 9-10 feet, but now are 8-10-seconds apart, so we’re able to pick up speed and maintain our target fuel economy. Fair bit of boat motion though–have to be careful moving around. We’re making good use of the extra grab bars we installed in the stairwell, galley, shower and day head. The temperature has been rising steadily as we proceed south–it’s 76F after sunset.
10/31/2012: Dawn
Conditions have continued to improve. The waves still are 9-10 feet and 8-10-seconds apart, but the wind has dropped to less than 10 knots. Boat motion has reduced considerably, so moving around much easer. The forecast indicates continued improvement for the next couple of days and waves dropping to 5-6 feet. We might have a brief period with bigger waves a couple of days out of Hilo, but the period should be at least 10 seconds.
10/31/2012: Buoy
Just had to change course slightly to avoid this small orange buoy.
10/31/2012: Another passenger
Our bird eventually flew away the night we found him. This fish doesn’t look as lucky.
10/31/2012: Smooth seas
We’re over halfway across now, with only triple-digit miles remaining. The sun is shining, winds are less than 5 knots, and we’ve got a gentle 5-7-foot ocean swell from the northwest. Very nice.
10/31/2012: Sunset
Sunset #6. The wind is picking up a bit from the southeast, but still is below 10 knots.
10/31/2012: Happy hour
Virgin Mai Tais at sunset to celebrate crossing the halfway mark, and Jennifer’s birthday.
11/1/2012: Sunrise
Conditions reasonably calm–a gentle 3-foot swell and winds less than 5.
11/1/2012: Fresh fruit
We have a cup of fresh fruit every morning before breakfast. Strawberries will last several weeks in our fridge, and we also carry a swack of Del Monte Fruit Naturals fruit cups.
11/1/2012: Tire
Just passed this tire–looks like its been floating out there a while. We’ve been in lumpy seas most of the morning with 10-15-knot winds and waves on the bow. The wind is just starting to veer to WSW and putting the waves more on the beam, so the ride is smoothing out.
11/1/2012: Squall
We passed through another brief sqaull. The wind clocked up from 15 to 20+ knots, rain poured and the whole thing was over in about 5 minutes.
11/1/2012: Albatross
We’ve seen a few albatrosses over the past week. Amazing how far they range from land.
11/1/2012: Testing the wing
We start the wing engine every few days to make sure it’s running ok in case we need it.
11/1/2012: Sunset
Sunset #7. Its very dark once the sun sets, but a couple of hours later a nearly-full moon rises behind us. The moon lights up the deck so much that we initially thought our night running shield had torn off the forward-facing floodlight.
11/1/2012: Spitfire don’t care
We’ve been running against tight 5-6-foot waves on the bow most of the day, with a fair bit of pitching motion as we power through them. Not a big deal, but do need to hold on carefully as we move about. Spitfire, doing his best Honey Badger imitation, just wedges himself somewhere and ignores it. In this picture, he’s on the ledge below the starboard corner pilothouse window above the stateroom stairs.
11/2/2012: Another fish
Found another fish just outside the port pilothouse door this morning, near where we found the first one. That’s a long way to jump up.
11/2/2012: Sunrise
Conditions starting to feel decidedly Hawaiian now: temperature in the high 70s night and day, a consistent warm breeze, and a gentle ocean swell. The models indicate the wind and waves might pick up a bit later today and tomorrow, but mostly should be pretty smooth sailing for the remainder of the trip. Only 675 more miles to go.
11/2/2012: Sunset
Sunset #8. Conditions remained excellent throughout the day: calm and sunny with a warm tropical breeze.
11/3/2012: Wind
The wind has come up in the night and now is blowing steady 20 from the southeast. Waves are about 8′ on 5 seconds on the beam. We’re mostly just powering through them, however, and aren’t losing much speed. Fair bit of boat motion, but the stabilizers are doing their job, and its not uncomfortable. Model indicates winds will ease off by this afternoon.
11/3/2012: Coming out of night mode
Just coming out of night mode in the pilothouse as the sun is rising. We don’t have to do much: undim the AIS, VHF, autopilot, stabilizer, engine and hydraulics panels, and remove the night shields from the monitors. In this picture, the navigation software still is in dusk mode. In particular we run the radar (2nd from the right) with a blue background, instead of white in day mode.
11/3/2012: Sunrise
The wind has lessened a bit, but conditions haven’t improved much. We’re 500 miles from Hilo though–3/4 of the way there. Looks like we’ll arrive sometime on Tuesday the 6th.
11/3/2012: Maunalei
Containership Maunalei en route to Hawaii about five miles off to starboard. We saw this ship docked at Oakland when we were at Jack London Square. The only other traffic we’ve seen the whole trip after our first day out has been container ships, about one every two days. Most have been travelling to/from Hawaii and the US Pacific coast, but one passed about five miles in front on a northerly course to Japan.
11/3/2012: Lunch
Chitarra with sauteed pine nuts for lunch. Conditions have settled down–winds are now blowing less than ten from the southwest and the waves are 3-5′ on 9-seconds on the beam. Boat motion gentle. Temperature is steady 78F, day and night.
11/3/2012: Net
We just went by a ball of net as big as a compact car–we missed by about 30 yards. We didn’t get to the camera fast enough to get a picture. In the day it was barely visible until we were right on it and it would have been completely invisible at night. Hitting something like that could be a real disaster.
11/3/2012: Sunset
Sunset #9. We’re getting a push from the current now, and are making excellent speed. A little over 400 miles to go. We might actually have to slow down to avoid arriving at night.
11/3/2012: Passenger
A large seabird took up roost on the night running shield for our forward-facing floodlight, and probably was responsible for the bird crap all over our dinghy cover. Neither turning the light on nor sounding the horn distrubed it. Eventually we tried nudging it off with the boat hook, and it squawked and fought back. At that point we were worried it might be hurt, but eventually it grudgingly flew off. Riding is just easier the flying I guess.
11/4/2012: Morning
Not much of a sunrise this morning–sky all grey with rain clouds behind us. Conditions excellent though, and we’re making good speed. Just over 300 miles left to go. Keep thinking can see lights or land out there, but nothing yet.
11/4/2012: Rain
A welcome rainshower has washed away some of our salty crust–we were really coated.
11/4/2012: Another fish
Found another fish on the boat this morning.
11/4/2012: Sunset
Sunset #10. Just over 200 miles to go. Conditions calm and getting a nice push from the current.
11/4/2012: Phosphorescence
The sky above is packed with stars while the water at our bow glows with phosphorescence.
11/5/2012: Rain
We’re 125 miles out of Hilo now–still can’t see land though. It’s 84F outside, and we’ve just passed through one of the brief rainshowers that are common on the windward coast of the Big Island. All the better to rinse away the salt. A few people have asked why we chose to make landfall at Hilo rather than our final destination of Honolulu. Partly Hilo is about 200 miles closer, but the main reason is that its easier to clear Spitfire in at Hilo through Hawaii’s Direct Airport Release program.
11/5/2012: Radio traffic
Just heard Coast Guard Sector Honolulu broadcasting on VHF channel 16. That’s the first radio traffic we’ve heard since leaving San Francisco nearly two weeks ago.
11/5/2012: Elliott Bay
The bulker Elliott Bay (interestingly the same name as the harbor off downtown Seattle where we last moored). The first ship we’ve seen for two days and we were on a collision course. We radioed them to make passing arrangements and they altered course to pass behind us. We’re 68 miles out of Hilo now, but still can’t see land–it’s pretty clouded in up there.
11/5/2012: Sunset
Sunset #11. Not much of a sunset for our last one of the trip. We’re now 45 miles from Hilo and still can’t see land for the clouds. We’ll be arriving after dark, not ideal, but the harbor is well-marked and well-charted. And we can light up the world with floodlights all around. We’ll be careful, and if conditions don’t feel safe, we’ll wait for morning.
11/5/2012: Rough conditions
We’re only 25 miles from entering our destination, Hilo Harbor, but conditions have deteriorated to the point where we don’t think its safe the enter the harbor at night. Wave heights have continued to build–one just pushed us over 17 degrees with the stabilizers on. And wouldn’t you know it, this is the first non-clear night of the trip and its pitch black, making it difficult to pick out potential breaking waves at the harbor entrance. We’re going to tread water and enter in the morning.
11/6/2012: Big waves
The seas continued to build overnight–we experienced frequent 20-degree rolls.
11/6/2012: Land ho!
After being so tantalizingly close all night, the clouds have lifted and we actually can see the lights of Hilo now as we turn towards the harbor. Conditions have improved somewhat, so hopefully we’ll have no trouble at the entrance.
11/6/2012: Sunrise
One more sunrise before we land.
11/6/2012: Big Island
First view of the Big Island in daylight. And with a rainbow–that has to be good luck.
11/6/2012: Aloha
Med-moored to the seawall in Radio Bay, Hilo, Hawaii.

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10 comments on “Aloha
  1. Greg says:

    5-17-2017 Hi Dirona

    when treading water outside radio bay,hilo hawaii did you anchor or use gps & trusters etc.?

    • We stayed underway so our active stabilizers would remain effective (the swell was fairly big that day) and just worked a ways north and then turned back and worked slowly south before repeating until daybreak neared.

  2. Bob asked "Does 1 flopper stopper works or 2 is better?" There is little question that two would likely be better. The trade-off is the amount of gear and, more importantly, the work to deploy the second unit compared to the additional impact. I’m guessing 1 flopper is probably 70% of the the impact of 2 so, on many Nordhavns, only 1 pole is installed.

  3. BOB says:

    Does 1 flopper stopper works or 2 is better?


  4. Simon says:

    Glad you made it – though neither of you look like you’re enjoying yourselves! ;-)

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks Cedric & Stef. We had a great trip and are looking forward to cruising the Hawaiian islands.

  6. Jennifer Hamilton says:

    Jamie, it was an unusually good crossing and we’re loving being here.

    Thanks Yair. Yes–mechanically everything went very well. We’ll probably be around for a couple of months–we’ll see how it goes. We hope to do a little bit of both on the cruising and docking.


  7. Cedric Rhoads says:

    Congrats, guys. Never a doubt that you’d be safe and sound. It was fun to check in on you each day via the log posts; that’s a great feature. Thanks for having us along for the ride. Ced & Stef

  8. Yair says:

    A lot of skill and some luck (not hitting that net at night) and you’re there. I have to say it: wow. I take it that Dirona was flawless. How long do you plan on staying in the islands and are there any good spots to anchor or will your visit be exclusively docked up? Cheers,

  9. Jamie says:

    Glad you made it safely. Noticed the other day that the manufacturer’s site has pics of your boat on it! Neat.

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