Hangin’ in Hilo

We spent just less than a week in Hilo, and while we scheduled our days around eating, we also managed to do a few boat projects and some touristy stuff too.

Radio Bay is kind of an interesting place to tie up, because it is connected to the commercial port of Hilo. There are no finger docks, so you use your dinghy to go the 10 feet or so to the dock. As it’s so little a distance, you don’t need an outboard; you just pull yourself along using the web of docklines. The port is a secure area, so to go in and out we had to call the security people, who came by with a pickup truck to drive us through. The bathroom situation was also unique, as the stalls had no doors! This led Capn Privy to engage in all sorts of strategizing to get private-time on the toilet.

In terms of boat projects, we did a basic clean-up and I put a new zinc on the propeller. Capn Sail Rite pulled out his sewing machine and repaired our spinnaker, which we’d torn on the way over (due to the combination of an early morning squall and our laziness). We put off the more tedious tasks for later….

In downtown Hilo, we visited the Pacific Tsunami Museum and caught a Hawaiiana show (music and hula) at the art-deco Palace Theater.

We also organized renting a mini-van to go to Volcanoes National Park. Getting 7 cruisers to do anything together is no mean feat, so we were pleased that we managed it. A hike across an old volcano crater was the highlight of the trip.

I observed that we’ve been in Hawaii for two weeks and Todd has yet to be in the water, but he was quick to correct me. In fact, he did end up in the drink on our first day in Hilo. Without the outboard the dinghy is apt to got shooting away in any direction, and with Todd’s high center of gravity (that gargantuan forehead!), standing up in the dinghy-sans-outboard is a recipe for disaster/hilarity. Somehow he got clipped by a dockline and whoosh! In an instant he and his cell phone were in the water. The cell phone recovered slowly- at first it would dial random numbers but now it is pretty much back to normal. I can’t say Capn Soggy really learned his lesson though, as he continued to stand in the dinghy and had a couple more near-dunkings.

It reminded me of a moment during the crossing when, as he struggled to get into his foul-weather gear in the tossing boat, he complained, “I just can’t stand on an angle!” I responded that what amazed me is that he continued to try. I think he misunderstood me though, as he just puffed himself up and declared, “Toro is no quitter!”

See all of our Hilo and volcano photos here:


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