As we got closer to Hawaii, a plane form the US Coast Guard flew toward us, circled the boat twice, then went back to where it came from and disappeared at the horizon. They probably had been following us for a while and conducted a customary fly by surveillance. We waited for a call on our radio but it never came. That day, we made it to the Hawaiian islands but did not make landfall. We are planning for a arrival on Oahu tomorrow, Monday, December 10th. We have been on standby around the islands for the past few days waiting for our team on land to make the proper arrangements for our arrival; they are dealing with the marina, customs, filming authorization etc…
We have been spending our time sailing up and down west of Oahu on the leeward side to be protected from the strong winds.
To see land after more than 110 days at sea was for me surprisingly not a big deal, I wasn’t excited, it was just there as it was supposed to be.
The day preceding Pearl Harbor, we counted 6 different groups of fighter planes passing high above us. Commercial airplanes occupy the sky more frequently, human activity is more present but we see very little plastic debris in the water and collect only a few pieces of microplastic when we tow the net.
My children had written letters with messages of support for me, and before we left Japan, they passed them on to Paul and asked him to give them to me when I would feel low and needed a boost. That moment never came, I never got close to reaching the bottom, and never needed that extra motivation, so Paul kept those letters until now.
They put in pictures of when they were little with funny writings, they would have been a great morale booster. I will see them in less than a week, this feels surreal.
In preparation of our landfall, we have been cleaning, rearranging the boat, and scraping the barnacles off the hull when the sea conditions permit it.
Tomorrow, Monday, I will be swimming to shore and step on land more than 6 months after I swam off the Japanese coast.
We could just dock the boat in the marina and make landfall this way, but I can’t do that. I have to leave the ocean the same way I entered it. For the past few months, I have been privileged to experience this environment in a very unique way and developed a close relationship with this world in peril. I can’t just jump from the boat to a dock, it has to be more intimate. I want to progressively see the bottom of the ocean appear below me and land take shape in front of my eyes as I swim closer to land. I want to witness sea life living in harmony with the land. I want to feel the sand with my hands while my body is still for the last few seconds suspended. I want to slowly step on the stable ground and walk toward this magical area where land, sea and air meet until one of my feet touches the only land and the other is still connected to the ocean. At that time then, I will be able to say my proper goodbyes…until next time.