R/V Thomas G. Thompson
The planned rendezvous was not to be, however. Waves breaking across the channel at Issac Hale Beach park attracted many surfers but discouraged the few boaters hoping to launch there. It took only a brief conference with resident fisherman to conclude that launching here was too dangerous.
So we contacted the ship and formed a new plan to launch the shuttle at Hilo, head towards each other and rendezvous as quickly as possible.
Once we cleared the Hilo Harbor breakwater, the winds were blowing 15 to 20 knots and generating 4 to 8 foot seas. We could make 7 or 8 knots at best, so Captain Bud decided we might as well troll and perhaps catch something to offset the poor luck we had experienced so far. Apparently fortune favors the brave because soon thereafter a loud scream from the port side reel announced that a fish had struck.
With the fish safely stowed, we proceeded towards our rendezvous point and soon the R/V Thompson appeared on the horizon. As we came up along side of her, we could see that transferring people and baggage between the two vessels in these rough seas wouldn't be easy.
The heavy seas caused more than a few anxious moments as we attempted to draw close enough to the huge ship to grasp the rope ladder. We needed to maneuver the boat close enough for us to reach the ladder and still avoid being smashed between the two vessels by the surge. After several close encounters, we managed to transfer all people and baggage and the rendezvous was complete.