EPIC PLAN ... Caribbean to Hawaii

Without a doubt, our plan is challenging. It seems simple enough to sail from the Caribbean to Hawaii (or NOT) but to purchase a Hawaiian Corporation with Commercial Operation Permits that allow me to lead bluewater expeditions in Hawaii, THEN relocate my family to Ireland while I mount a Sailing Expedition Series covering 6,200 miles at the same time seemed doable enough; BUT, the mission will require immense accuracy and near flawless execution.

If we had a year to plan something like this it would be a lot easier, but we’re racing the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season which begins 15 May, 2018 and I calculate that I must depart Cabo San Lucas for Hawaii before any cyclones begin to form. The Solstice “re-fit” resulting from Hurricane IRMA’s wrath still must be completed … THEN,  we’ve got three months beginning February 21st to sail Solstice through the Panama Canal, and northwestward along the Pacific coast of Central America to Cabo San Lucas, followed-by sailing a 22-day ocean passage to Hawaii while hurricanes potentially nip at our heels, arriving in Honokohau, HI on May 20, 2018.



Relocating our lives to Hawaii sounded like a dream when we first conceived the idea, but we soon learned there’s serious complexity to operating a legitimate marine operation in Hawaii … for one thing, there’s a 10-year waiting list to berth a vessel on the big island of Hawaii. Where would we keep Solstice? Then, there’s only a limited quantity of Commercial Marine Permits offered to businesses hoping to operate in the Ocean Waters of Hawaii; the only way to obtain the permits is to purchase a corporation that holds them! Luckily, it’s possible to kill-two-birds-with-one-stone by completing the transaction because the permits come with a slip. We’ve engaged business brokers, attorneys, accountants, and took a sizable loan in addition to investing our life savings to put this plan into motion … ALL CHIPS IN!

In mid-October, we were compelled to leave the British Virgin Islands; we set ourselves to researching a move, then the big island of Hawaii POPPED INTO OUR HEADS which resulted in months of questions, investigation, road-blocks, set-backs, re-affirmation, more research, emails, phone conversations, and a recon-trip to Hawaii to see it all first hand … we’ve never looked back, only ahead!

WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE the big island of Hawaii IS! Our dreams may just come close to our expectations (more on this for another post), but we are still planning and working hard to put the logistical puzzle together to complete the move. We’re selling everything; out-fitting SV Solstice for serious expedition work; transporting our beloved Luna-dog to Wisconsin to board with my parents; temporarily relocating Liz, Eoin, and Ava to Ireland with her family, while Paul leads SIX consecutive expeditions from the BVI to Hawaii, via the Panama Canal … that’s 6,200 miles aboard the SV Solstice, over a three month period (Feb 21 to May 20, 2018). The whole family plans to reunite in June 2018.

The SV Solstice will make the voyage. She’s an awesome sailing-boat, suited for serious explorers seeking the thrill of hands-on ocean sailing … She’s a one-of-a-kind; built by hand, from a bare hull, using raw materials. We LOVE SOLSTICE! She’s a family member like any one of us, and a care-giver for ALL who sail her. But, Hurricane IRMA thrashed her on September 6th, and we’re still re-building her! Our continued diligence is required to complete the re-fit tasks over the coming weeks ahead of her departure from Tortola on Feb. 21 toward the Panama Canal.

THE WORLD KEEPS TURNING … and it waits for no one. We either keep going, or get left behind. Having a vision and plan for the future helps. I’ve learned from the challenges I’ve fought for in life, that the best way to combat boredom or the drudgery of errant noise from a common-drone, is to aim for your dreams and GO FOR IT! I have not been bored since Hurricane IRMA! Occasionally stressed, over-worked by my own accord, bloodied and fatigued from physical work, and emotionally drained at times, YES … but I believe ALL our dreams are worth fighting for, and the sweetness from life comes NOT from the comfort of playing it safe, but from overcoming adversity in pursuit of something that’s good old-fashioned fun from hard work. Maybe it's the Wisconsin-boy in me, turned gringo-rican from my early days in San Juan, or being in love with an Irish woman … but I tell you, just like Harry Houdini (also from Wisconsin), I’m turning my life into ONE, REAL, MAGIC TRICK!

I’m presently at the STT airport in St Thomas, on my way to Chicago for the Boat Show at the McCormick Center this week. If you want to talk ocean sailing, find me at the Modern Geographic Sailing booth, or attend one of the seminars I’m delivering: one on IRMA; one on Heavy Weather Sailing; and, one about “What’s it Like to Live Aboard a Sailboat on a Long Voyage."

What I’m excited to talk about most … is the BVI to Hawaii Expedition Series, and my upcoming sailing expeditions in Hawaii, and to the islands of the South Pacific.

Paul Exner; STT Airport; St. Thomas, USVI; 8 January, 2018