Radio Bay, the good and the challenging
What a wonderful feeling to sail (ok motor) into Radio Bay. It is a very protected and calm anchorage. So calm I almost couldn't sleep at night, almost.
Since we arrived at night on May 20, the next day was check in with customs, immigration and agriculture. The cruising guides said to only send the Captain ashore. Dave was nominated.
A couple things cruisers should know when they arrive:
Everyone can go ashore (at least all US citizens).
The Custom's officials are very efficient and also handle the agriculture check in.
The harbor office is very friendly, the anchoring permit is only $9.24 a day for boats up to 40 ft, however they only accept a cashier's check or traveler's checks... this meant a 3 mile walk (round trip) on sea legs to a Western Union.
No key necessary for the showers and bathrooms on the docks.
Go ahead and rent a car if you plan to stay more than a few nights, it will be easier.
They do have cameras and know when boats come and go even though it doesn't look patrolled. We were planning to leave Tuesday night but left Wednesday morning and they called us for their $9.24! (Which by the way we did mail them after obtaining another cashier's check.)
Radio Bay is a 2.5 mile walk into downtown Hilo. The nearest bar is about a mile walk. After being confined to a 26 foot boat for almost 30 days, this meant our land legs were obtained very quickly and a little painfully. Since Hilo is on the windward side of the island and it gets about 150 inches of rain a year, these walks into town were very often wet, but hey we're used to wet.
The farmer's market is as fantastic as the guides say. The mangoes and the fresh veggies were so very delicious. We began a few of the boat repairs but since they were minor, decided it best to wait for a more convenient dock. Laundry was made possible thanks to Bob on Silverado who gave us a ride to the laundromat. A stop in one of the local breweries, Mehana, was made possible by another newly made friend. In hindsight it would have been much easier if we had rented a car.
We enjoyed Dave's 34th birthday with a few local brews, baseball, and a free burger at Hilo Burger Joint. They really do give you a free burger on your birthday, and a good one at that.
It was a pleasure sharing Radio Bay with Hokule'a and Hikianalia. These are traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes that are headed to Tahiti and beyond.
After a week on the hook in this peaceful if not very convenient anchorage we decided to head across the Alenuihaha Channel to Maui on May 28.