Day 690 [Aug. 23/10 JST] -- Hawaii repairs update: First, the man

Today's Report
August 23/10 JST

Position:  21°17'N, 157°53'W (Honolulu) 

Remaining distance to Yokohama finish:  13.4%

Saito-san is now into his third week in Honolulu on his second port call there for repairs.

The focus at the moment is divided between 1) the skipper and his health, 2) determining just what went awry during his first attempt to depart Hawaii, and 3) what can be done to reduce the chance it will happen again.

We'll address each in separate installments of the Daily Log. For now: How the skipper himself is faring.

Saito-san's Condition
Judging from what we know so far, as we await the results of x-rays and other medical tests, he seems to be in reasonably good shape in light of all the stress he has gone through. And dealing with his several health matters, faced by the traffic situation there, with no easy phone contact, has been daunting.

Fortunately, "Team Hawaii" is now up to five persons, with the recent welcome addition of Kimmy as introduced through Ed Abbot. The others are Dave Cooper, Scott Gilbert, and Saito-san himself. In fact, Kimmy played a starring (and heroic) role last week.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Scott and Ed, Saito-san has been fitted with a new temporary dental bridge to replace the upper bridge shattered by a biscuit very early in the circumnavigation. He told us yesterday (with the best enunciation we've heard in nearly two years!) that it's been causing him some gum soreness, but he thinks his mouth will adjust soon enough.

Of more concern is his back, for which Kimmy drove him through morning rush hour traffic last week to a clinic for another, and more extensive, physical exam.

The skipper was earlier given a clean bill of health in June. His back was already nagging him then but later was aggravated by boat movement during his punishing, 13-day upwind bash back to Hawaii. He also additionally strained it during the extended pumping sessions over several days until that dangerous seawater leak could finally be stopped.

We'll hear the word on the tests in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Ed and Scott labored to get him a working cell phone. After various false starts (and at least 5 visits to Best Buy) that miracle of technology finally happened and between the new dental bridge and absent the broken Iridium reception, he sounds like he's in the next room. (In fact, like a college kid calling home, his first request to Tokyo was: "Send more money!")

If you recall how utterly exhausted he looked in the several news interviews on his first arrival, then this shot from Ed will come as a welcome reassurance that "repairs" on the skipper seem to be going well.

This is how he looks with his "new smile" and after more than a fortnight of rest, good food, and the many kindnesses of good friends. As Rose Bliss, Saito's guardian angel (along with her husband Pablo) down in Punta Arenas exclaimed by email: "Goodness gracious! Is that the same man?"

At right, how he looked upon arrival in June on KITV-ABC News.