‘Fabulous! What a Journey: ‘California’ safe arrival at Big Island Harbor after crossing the Pacific in rowboat: Kauai Now: Kauai news and information

Betsy Everett hugs her partner Carlo Vacchino after arriving Thursday at the Willowa Boat Harbor in Hilo after nearly a row 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to the Big Island. (Screenshot from the video / Nathan Christofel / Big Island Now)

After 73 days spent alone, kayaking nearly 2,400 miles across the world’s largest and deepest ocean, and surviving on limited rations of most freeze-dried foods, Carlo Facino finished his saga from San Francisco to Hilo.

Wobbly disembarking his classic 19-foot canoe Thursday at Wailowa Boating Harbor, where he was greeted with a hold of his neck. To celebrate, eat 92% dark chocolate and crunchy organic peanut butter infused with the juice of carrot, ginger, and turmeric.

“He did it!” He cried out for his ground support to cross and his partner Betsy Everett.

He was also greeted at the pier by his flight’s medical advisor, Don Mary Waddell, and family friends John and Myrna McCarthy, who had flown in from Honolulu. They were all heavy even though they drowned from standing in the warm torrential rain for an hour before he arrived.

A small crowd of onlookers also welcomed Facchino at Hilo, including a Big Islander who just got off work and shared a beer with him in the port’s parking lot.

“You guys are amazing. Thank you for coming to see me get here,” Facino said in the moments after he stepped onto the ground for the first time since July 5. What a journey.

Carlo Facino throws a queue ready to anchor his dinghy at the Wiloa boating port in Hilo after arriving Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Megan Moseley

What a trip indeed.

Facchino started planning the adventure over a year ago after buying the boat, which needed some work for a crossing of this magnitude. For several months he trained alone – mostly on land because he only finished the boat about a week before leaving California.

Rowingers have their backs facing the direction they are heading. So when he started the trip, watch San Francisco slowly zip over the horizon.

“It is as if you have left all your problems, all your responsibilities, and you are stepping into this liberating environment in front of you so that you do not know what is in store for you,” Facchino said.

Prior to his solo trip, he took other trips across the ocean as part of a team, and also rowed in college. The idea of ​​crossing the ocean completely self-sufficient was something that had always intrigued him.

The trip definitely tested his self-sufficiency. His water maker released a leak he couldn’t fix. Some food was lost when the storage hatch leaked, leading to some oath that only sea creatures hear.

“One small mistake, not closing the hatch, not checking to see if it was closed, ends up spoiling some food which means we may run out of food,” Facchino said. “You just know there’s a chain reaction to every decision and everything that happens out there.”

The error forced him to tightly ration his remaining freeze-dried meals, which included mac and cheese, lasagna — and even Pad Thai and his favorite, oatmeal with sunflower seeds, chia, pumpkin, shredded coconut and raisins. He finished his last food on Thursday before arriving at port.

The leaky water maker meant he had to stop paddling constantly to manage the leak, which slowed him down. Like a domino effect, he needed more food because the journey would take longer.

“Every small issue causes six more,” he said. “When you are alone, when you are completely self sufficient there, it magnifies everything. ”

Betsy Everett points out to support Carlo Facchino onshore and his partner at Hilo Bay where Facchino was on Thursday morning before arriving at Wailoa Port for boats. (Photo courtesy of Megan Moseley)

Then came the big “scary” waves.

“Most of the time, that’s not a problem,” he said. “But with the times when the wind rose and the swell intensified, it got big. … There were times where you were paddling and you were constantly focused on the waves coming at you and how you could kind of align your boat with that wave so that you don’t do something like capsizing. There is a lot of danger Overturning if you are not oriented correctly with the waves.”

Facchino described the new experience of jumping into the ocean alone, without knowing whether he was looking at a depth of 20 feet or 4,000 feet, surrounded by “a beautiful weightless blue environment.” Saw whales, dolphins and yellowfin tuna. Priceless.

“It’s different when you take that time to really experience and care about your environment and learn how to relate to it and live with it, not fighting the environment but being a part of the environment,” Facchino said.

He never faced any kind of life threatening weather. But currents sometimes pushed him in the wrong direction and the sky decided to throw him a properly curved ball when he was so close to the finish line.

Facchino was about 4 miles from Hilo Beach on Wednesday night when the storm broke, as current and wind pushed him out of the spotlight. When the storm ended, he was miles from Hilo.

He was on a satellite phone with Everett every 30 or 45 minutes throughout Wednesday night into Thursday morning trying to decide what to do. Facchino pinned at one point, slowing his drift. He hoped that the coming tide would help him reach Hilo Bay.

But this did not happen and it was dragged farther and farther into the sea. By Thursday morning he was making some progress, but he was rushing in currents that would have carried him around the north side of the island.

Carlo Facino cruises down Hilo Bay on Thursday as he approaches the Wailoa Boating Harbor. (Photo courtesy of Megan Moseley)

It was about 7 miles from Pepe’ekeo Beach when he and Everett decided to call the US Coast Guard to discuss options. If he was about to wait any longer, it could turn out to be a full-fledged sea rescue.

A tugboat near the Facchino position was towing a barge into Hilo Bay. She was able to help him with the breakwater so that he could finish his journey. At about 10 a.m. Thursday, he was inside the breakwater and paddling toward the Wailua Boating Harbor with a lifeboat as an escort.

Facchino said it was “disappointing” that, technically, he would not complete the flight on his own strength.

“You work hard, you sacrifice a lot, you put up with a lot of things in there, and then being 3 miles away, getting to the final destination wasn’t really that hard,” he said.

But it was still a huge achievement.

Carlo Fascino thumbs his thumbs at the people passing through on Thursdays at the Willowa Boating Harbor. Also pictured are his family friends, John and Myrna McCarthy of Honolulu (second from right and right, respectively), Don Mary Waddell, Facchino’s medical advisor for the flight (wearing a Carlo Facino shirt) and Betsy Everett, Facchino’s partner and ground support (behind Facchino). (Photo by Nathan Christofel/Big Island Now)

“I got here, and it’s something where all the lessons I’ve learned on this journey, all the experiences I’ve had, all the hardships I’ve had, I’m still going through it and I’ve made it,” Faquino said. “In the end, that’s what I will remember.”

Everett was happy to have him back in her arms.

“It’s something I’ve been waiting for 72 days,” she said.

As a Hawaii resident, a friend of the Faquino family, John McCarthy, said he knows how tough the ocean can be.

“I have great admiration for his stamina,” he said. “I was going to throw in the towel after a day or two.”

Carlo Facchino talks to a Big Island resident who stopped by Thursday at the Wailoa boating port to offer beer-drinking congratulations for Facchino’s completion of his voyage. (Nathan Christofel/Big Island Now)

Believing that his journey was over was a bit difficult for Facchino. “When you’re alone on the ocean, one day blends into the next and you don’t have to worry about work, your cell phone, or anything else but yourself.

“So standing on the floor is almost as if you are stepping back from that responsibility. You are letting go of this beautiful thing that you have been doing for 70 days and it is possible to see people and meet friends and all that, but it is also hard to realize that this is the end of this The beautiful journey I just had.”

He and Everett have the responsibilities to get back to her in California. They organize running races and triathlons, with one appearing on October 1.

Before leaving the harbor, Facino said, “If there are people who have heard about my trip and my class, I hope they will take some time to think about the experiences they can have in life. Whether it’s just going out for a walk, or just taking care of the birds, anything. I cherish. Do it and make time to experience what’s happening around you. I think everyone’s life will be more beautiful this way.”

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