Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dear Margo Vaughan

Dear Margo Vaughan,

I regret to inform you that your husband, Michael, will not be returning to Tasmania as planned to be reunited with you and your family.

Rest assured, this has nothing to do with his growing affection for "Heidi", the "Dutch Wife" he shares his cabin with aboard Moku pe'a.  He assures me it is a casual affair that means nothing to him.

You see, I have become addicted to his skill and creativity in the galley, his sophomoric sense of humor, his eternal optimism, and good cheer.  I have therefore decided to prevent his return home.  I have hidden his cell phone, passport, and credit cards so he will have no choice but to remain here in paradise.  Not to worry;  He has comfortable accommodations at the Coconut Island Brewery.


Chief Brewer
Coconut Island Brewery

P.S.  Michael has been looking at some promising real estate on the Big Island.  Pack your bags.

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Homeward Bound

Monday, 4PM.  Tied to the bulkhead, Kaneohe Yacht Club

Late yesterday afternoon we were visited by three swimmers from Kawakiu.  Two were friendly ladies with fins and masks out for a snorkel, and the third was a guy without gear who swam over to say hello.  He'd swum about a quarter mile to get to us, and hung on the boarding ladder for a while as we talked.  He appeared to be drunk, or stoned, or both, so I was reluctant to invite him aboard.  "Can this boat make it to Mexico, man?" He asked.  Hmm.  Interesting question.  He was too exhausted to swim all the way back to Kawakiu, so he breast stroked into the beach at Kawakiu Iki and walked back from there.

Moku pe'a departed at 730 this morning headed for home.  With the wind well south of east we sailed across the Molokai Channel with the jib poled out and fishing lines out.  We caught a small aku mid channel, threw it back hoping for something better, and never caught anything else.  Sigh....

The wind died off of the Mokuluas, and we powered the last two hours into Kaneohe, arriving at 230PM.

So ends another Moku pe'a adventure.  Lori has been on Kauai with family and arrives home in the morning.  My daughter Kara is coming over tonight for "Meatless Monday" and we look forward to the stories of her victory last weekend in the Kaneohe to Kauai Race, washed down by some Poi Pounder Hawaiian Ale, of course.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Pictures of Waikolu

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Waikolu and Pelekunu

Sunday, 330PM.  At anchor in Kawakiu Iki, Molokai

The mighty Moku pe'a charged up around Molokai's southeast shore with sheets just eased in the Pailolo Channel.  We had our second strike of the day, but alas it too didn't hook up.  We passed between Mokuho'oniki Rock and Molokai, and bore away off Cape Halawa.  Michael made us bacon and avocado sandwiches using the bread he had baked earlier in the day.  After lunch we poled out the jib and sped down the north shore for the second time.

Halfway down the coast we were joined by a couple of large dolphin. They stayed with us for a long time, surfing on the swells next to us and inspecting our lures. Most interesting was when we would scare a flying fish into the air.  The dolphin would take off after the glider and follow it for fifty yards before returning to their escort position on Moku pea'a's quarter.   Our flyers all got away, but they would have been lunch had they muffed the takeoff. 

I had not been into Waikolu since Palani Ashford, Dave Schaefer, and I swam into the bay forty seven years ago.  We had spent three days hiking and swimming the twelve miles from Halawa Valley on the east end of the island, and still had five miles of walking remaining to cross the Kalaupapa Peninsula and climb the switchback trail to the top of the cliffs.  It was one of the longest hardest days of my life.  Good times!

The anchorage in Waikolu is probably the best and most protected on Molokai's north coast.  The views are spectacular, but there aren't any sea caves or waterfalls like you find in Keawanui.  Michael and I dinghied ashore and hiked around the boulder beach for a while.  Fortunately, we had a steady thermal land breeze blowing all night that held our stern facing the small wrap around wind chop so there wasn't any rocking and rolling.  No stern anchor necessary.

This morning we decided that the north shore needed more exploring, so up came the anchor and we powered three miles east to Pelekunu Valley.  I had never been in the bay there before, so we felt our way in and anchored in sand at the southeast corner of the inlet off a small waterfall at 830AM.  Pelekunu is not quite as protected as Waikolu, but it would be a fine anchorage when there is no swell running.  The surf breaking on the beach looked a bit more challenging than our adventure appetites were up to.  We opted to stay on the boat, read our books, and enjoy "Morning Tea", a Commonweath custom Michael practices and that I am quickly getting used to.  Our tea was accompanied by chocolate chip biscuits that Michael baked, of course.

We departed Pelekunu at 1030 and headed west wing and wing down the Molokai coast.  We caught another kawakawa in the same spot we got one a few days ago.  Maybe it was the same one?  We let him go, again.  

We had another strike as well, but generally fishing has sucked.  We've been changing out our lures every day and will do so again tomorrow.

Moku pe'a's destination was Kawakiu, a small bay tucked under Ilio Point on the northwest corner of Molokai.  When we got there we found a dozen trucks parked above the beach, a couple of power boats at anchor, and lots of people milling around.  Too much civilization for Moku pe'a's motley crew, so we anchored instead in the small inlet 1/4 mile to the west.  I'll call it Kawakiu Iki.  We have it all to ourselves and it is a nice calm spot.

Tomorrow marks the final chapter of this summer's cruise as we sail home to Kaneohe.  Pray for fish.

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Lori Bay

Saturday, noon.  In the Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai.

As my good friend and frequent shipmate Clay Hutchinson likes to say, "Indecision is the key to flexibility."  We've embraced that philosophy here aboard the mighty Moku pe'a, and put it into action yesterday.  On the way back to Lono, we decided to mosey up to Lanai's Kaena Point and have a look at the anchorages there.  They were around the corner of the island and protected from the wind chop coming from the south, so we decided to give it a go and anchor.

There are two good anchorages, one I've called Kaena Point in the past, and one just further north that Lori and I anchored in once a few years ago.  Lori and I had just settled in for the night when I decided to listen to the VHF weather before going to sleep.  It forecast an 18 foot north swell arriving during the night.  Yikes!  We departed just after sunset and entered Lono Harbor on Molokai in the pitch black of night using flashlights to find the range markers..  Very exciting!

Michael and I decided to try the northern anchorage where Lori and I had so much fun, and put down bow and stern hooks to keep us centered in the small inlet. I've decided this beautiful spot should be called "Lori Bay" in honor of my beautiful wife and the exciting time we had there.

We launched the dinghy and went ashore to find the ruins of an ancient Hawaiian village with stone house foundations in tiers running up the hillside.  We also dinghied over to our usual anchorage at Kaena Point, only a few hundred yards to the south, and climbed around the heiau on the cliff there.

The forecast called for zero swell and southeast winds last night.  It looked safe being on the northwest corner of the island so we stayed the night and had a calm and pleasant evening.

Michael finally beat me at cribbage last night. He is still gloating today, and it is wearing a bit thin.

Michael liked the north shore of Molokai so much we decided to go back.  This morning we pulled the hook and headed east up the Kolohe Channel in flat seas and light easterlies.  We motorsailed up past Shipwreck Beach on Lanai until the wind filled in.  We are sailing upwind, but the seas are flat and the decks are dry.  We should round Cape Halawa on Molokai at about 1PM where we can slack sheets and head west.  Perhaps we will anchor in Waikolu tonight?

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Friday, June 21, 2019


Friday, 2PM.  Off Kaena Point, Lanai

Moku pe'a had a glorious sail yesterday past Ilio Point and the west shore of Molokai.  The trade winds died at Laau Point, as they usually do, and we motorsailed the rest of the way to Lolo Harbor on Molokai's southwest corner, arriving at 2PM.

We found the harbor nearly deserted; no other boats and only a single group picnicking at the beach on the western end of the breakwater.  The harbor was as calm as I've ever seen it, just a small swell and no surge in the basin.  I normally anchor out and dinghy in to shore, but with no surge it felt save to put an anchor down and tie the stern to a bollard out on the breakwater at the eastern end of the harbor.

At 330 Michael and I went for a hike to the top of the cliff overlooking Lono - a must do when visiting there.  It is a long, hot hike with frequent stops to remove kiawe thorns from our slippers.  A few photos of the boat, quick chat with loved ones because that's the only place nearby with cell phone connectivity, then back down the hill.  We also walked up the beach east of the harbor in search of glass balls.  We need to find one to make this voyage complete.  Tired and empty handed, we strolled back to the boat at 530 to find that four teen aged girls had parked their SUV right at our bollard and were grilling dinner 20 feet from Moku pe'a.

It was very strange.  We said hello politely as we passed them and boarded the boat, but they didn't engage in conversation.  The six of us were the only people within perhaps five miles in any direction, and they chose to set up their party spot right next to Moku pe'a.

Michael made a fantastic pizza for dinner.  We sat there eating our dinner and the girls sat there eating their dinner, each group trying to ignore the other.  After dinner they decided to do some jumping into the harbor off of the bollard.  We could tell that they had been doing this before we returned from our hike by the water splashed up on Moku pe'a and water on the bollard.  Rather than get the boat wet, I went ashore, told the girls getting ready to jump that, "I'll untie the boat so you gals can have some privacy."  They ignored me.  I let the boat drift out and swing to her anchor in the harbor, and they did their jumping thing from the bollard.

There were a dozen bollards around the harbor to jump from.  Why these kids picked the one next to Moku pe'a yet had no interest in communicating with the people they knew would be aboard is a mystery.  They packed up and left just after sunset.

This morning we sailed over to The Needles on Lanai's west coast.  The trades filled in like they normally do just outside Lono, but halfway across the Kolohe Channel a line of clouds passed over the boat and the wind shifted to the southwest.  Moku pe'a beam reached on starboard tack all the way to Needles where we found a lee shore and the conditions too rough to anchor.  Just after noon we turned around and are now headed back to Lono.  The trades are supposed to be south of east, but southwest?  We have seen the strangest weather this trip.  Global warming?  Climate change?

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

More Photos from the North Shore of Molokai

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Thursday10AM.  2 miles east of Ilio Pt., Molokai

Moku pe'a departed Honolua Bay just after dawn Wednesday after another calm night at anchor.  It was great to have a day relaxing in such a beautiful spot.

With a double reefed mainsail and reefed jib we charged across the Pailolo Channel and eased sheets as we bore off down Molokai's north shore.

There hasn't been much rain, so the waterfalls weren't putting out as much as I've seen them in the past.  Michael was stunned at the beauty and immensity of the cliffs.  

We jybed in and out of all of the valleys, Haka'ano, Wailau, and Pelekunu, before arriving at our destination for the day, Keawanui.  I regaled Michael with stories of my previous visits here, including the time Dave Schaefer, Palani Ashford, and I swam down the coast from Halawa to Kalaupapa with only an inner tube and an air matress for buoyancy.  We were seventeen years old and immortal, so we got away with it.  We hiked out the switchbacks behind Kalaupapa after three days, exhausted and starving.  It was fantastic.

Moku pe'a entered Keawanui Bay to find a small powerboat moored down by the waterfall that empties on the beach 1/4 mile west of the anchorage.  After we got settled in with bow anchor in 60' and stern anchor in the shallows next to shore, a father/son team in a tandem kayak paddled over for a chat.  They were up from Hawaii Kai on Oahu on their open whaleboat, were staying in Pelekunu Valley, and were just down at the waterfall for the day.

We launched the dinghy and powered over to the waterfall where we stopped to chat with the folks on the whaleboat.  As we were chatting some of the kids who were ashore came back in their kayaks.  They were pretty upset because a large rock had fallen from the cliff above the waterfall and put a hole in one of the kayaks.  Yikes!  That rock could have killed somebody.

Michael and I went ashore, and quickly moved out of the rockfall zone.  We swam in the pool and took pictures before heading back out and into the cave beneath Joyce Kainoa's house.  This is one of the best sea caves ever.  The entrance channel is only about 20 feet wide, but it is 40 feet deep and it is long which knocks the waves down before they get into the cave.  Once inside, the cave is about 50 yards deep, twenty feet wide, and sixty feet tall..  Very cool.

We hiked up to the Kainoa home overlooking our anchorage to see if anybody was there.  The place was deserted and falling apart.  Joyce and her husband gave us a tour of the estate thirty years ago when they were living there raising their children.  They had a small hydroelectric plant, taro fields, banana, papaya, citrus, and the house was in good shape.   I have heard that Joyce and her husband have since passed away.  It doesn't look like the kids have much interest in the place anymore.

Last night Michael made an awesome beef stroganoff for dinner.  Can it get any better?

The anchorage was a bit rocky rolly last night, but it was safe.  We got underway at first light this morning, and as I write this we are a couple of miles east of Ilio Point at Molokai's west end.  We are headed for Lono Harbor on the southwest corner of the island.

I've already lost one lure to something big and landed a 5 pound kawakawa, which I threw back.  We are hoping for ono, mahi, or ahi.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Honolua Bay

Tuesday, 4PM.  At anchor in Honolua Bay

Moku pe'a and her crew has spent the last 24 hours relaxing in Honolua Bay, and what a great place to do it.

Seven different large catamarans full of tourists have come and gone today, with no more than three moored in the bay behind us at any one time.  The people watching has been a lot of fun.  They've all gone for the day now and we have the bay all to ourselves again.

This down time has allowed Michael to get even more creative than he usually is in the galley.  Last night it was a beautiful chicken salad with cole slaw for dinner.  For tea this morning he made fresh scones.  Lunch today was bacon and avocado sandwiches.  The specially made hamburgers with egg, fresh made bread crumbs, onion, green onion, soyu, catsup, and spices is chilling in the refer for tonight's barbecue....  I've been doing the dishes.

We did some snorkeling, I cleaned Moku pe'a's bottom, and we took turns hiking up to the top of the hill overlooking the anchorage.  The view from up there was fantastic.  There was even time for a nap this afternoon.

Tomorrow we are off to the north shore of Molokai.  If all goes as planned we will be anchored in Keawanui Bay, halfway down the coast, for at least one night.  I'm pretty sure there is no cell coverage there so I won't be able to blog again until we emerge from the shadow of the highest sea cliffs on planet earth.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

West Maui

Monday, 4PM.  At anchor in Honolua Bay, Maui.

It was a bit rocky rolly in Olowalu, but the wind died off during the night and Moku pe'a's crew slept peacefully.  This morning Michael looked over the stern and saw a submerged mooring, similar to the one in Kealakekua Bay, right under our stern.  We couldn't see it in the fading light when we arrived the day before.  The ball was about six feet under water so Moku pe'a wouldn't have hit it, but our anchor chain could have easily fouled on it.  We were lucky to have missed getting caught on it.  I'd rather be lucky than good.

I'm not sure I'd go back to Olowalu.  There wasn't anything special about it, but it did provide a safe anchorage for the night.

We departed at 8 this morning, and powered north past Lahaina to Mala Wharf.  We found an empty mooring right off the wharf at 10AM, and the crew on the adjacent charter boat said we'd be fine using it for and hour, so we grabbed it.  We launched the dinghy, powered in to the landing, and walked across the street to Safeway to do some provisioning.

I'd stocked Moku pe'a with enough non-perishable food to last for the entire month long trip around the state.  However, as I mentioned earlier, Michael has taken over management of the galley.  He prefers to work with fresher foods, which is fine with me if we can reprovision every few days.  We were able to find well stocked stores in Hanalei and Kona.  Today's shopping expedition would be our last chance to provision before we get back to Kaneohe.  Our refrigerator is now full and we will be eating like kings until Moku pe'a gets home.  Noodle won't be losing any weight this trip.

At 11AM we slipped our mooring and powered north to Honolua Bay, doing some sailing along the way.  At 2PM we entered the bay and anchored in the sand in 20 feet of water 100 yards off the beach in front of three tourist  catamarans.  The cats stayed just long enough for us to inspect them thoroughly for talent, and then they left.  We now have the bay all to ourselves except for the tourists snorkeling off of the beach.  It is as calm here as I've ever seen it.

Michael and I have already been for our first snorkel.  He mentioned his amazement at the diversity of sea life here.

We have been moving every day since leaving Hanalei more than a week ago, and feel like giving Moku pe'a a break.  The old girl will likely stay put here for a couple of nights.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019


Sunday, 530PM.  At anchor in 25 feet, sand bottom, Olowalu, Maui.

Last evening's revenge cribbage game was one for the books.  Both Michael and I ended up in "stink hole", just one point shy of victory after counting out our hands.  Who ever scored the first point pegging in the next hand would win.  It was epic.

The trade winds usually die off after dark in Nishimura Bay, but they didn't last night.  It gusted to almost thirty knots all night long.  Michael and I took turns going forward to check the anchor line for chafe and easing it out a few inches each time.

Moku pe'a's 33 pound Bruce anchor and 70 feet of 3/8" chain at the end of her nylon rode held her securely like they always do, and we awoke at sunrise ready to face the Alenuihaha Channel.

After pulling up the hook we put three reefs in the mainsail and deep reefed the jib in anticipation of heavy winds. The wind angle on course was perfect, deep broad reaching but high enough to keep the jib full all the time.

The GRIB files showed the strongest winds on the Maui side of the channel, but we found that the winds were heavier near Nishimura Bay.  They probably averaged 25+, and never dropped below 20.  Moku pe'a loves that stuff, and she scooted across the channel completing the 42 mile crossing in 5 hours.

Moku pe'a passed a tug pulling a barge heading in the other direction and I spoke to her skipper on the radio.  They see conditions like this all the time, but he commented on how rough it was.

We had hoped to anchor for the night in La Perouse Bay, our normal stopping point after crossing the channel, but high surf there nixed that.  We continued on checking out Makena, which was also too bumpy, and took off across Maalaea Bay, where we saw 30 knots of wind.  Moku pe'a finally found a satisfactory anchorage off Olowalu.  The hook went down at 5PM after a long and tiring day.  It's my first time anchoring here.

It was a bit tense aboard the mighty Moku pe'a today after last night's cribbage game.  Each crew member treated the other warily, but with respect.  At the moment the crew is still on speaking terms.... barely....  Fortuitously, I am currently reading "Mutiny on the Bounty", which should provide practical guidance if the situation gets out of hand.

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Honokahau Harbor

Saturday, 4PM.  At anchor in Nishimura Bay, North Kona coast.

It got a bit bumpier as the southwest swell picked up during the night, but we spent a pleasant evening on the mooring in Kealakekua Bay.  Early yesterday morning we dropped the ball and powered north to Honokahau Harbor, arriving about 10AM.

Our first stop was the fuel dock where we topped up our diesel and water.  From there we moved to the innermost end of the harbor and located our assigned slip.  We found Lei, the nice gal that runs the Harbor Master's office, in an air conditioned oasis close by.  We threatened to stay there with her all afternoon.  She typed rapidly for about 15 minutes to get us checked in.  It felt like we were applying for a mortgage.  When she was done she said, "That will be $26 please."  What a deal!  The typing effort alone was worth $50!

Greg Gillette, who lives in the hills above Kona, came down and picked us up at 1PM.  He was kind enough to invite us along on an excursion to his beach house in Puako, 20 miles up the coast.

Greg and I raced many miles together in the Atlantic and Pacific in the '70s and '80s.  Good times, and it was fun to reminisce and share the stories with Michael.  Greg's Puako home was beautiful, and we washed down the ocean view and sea stories with cold beer.

This morning we departed Honokahau at first light and headed north.  The wind filled in from the south off of Kiholo Bay, and we had a lovely sail up to Nishimura Bay.

This part of the coast can get interesting.  Sometimes the trade winds make it over the gaps between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, and between Mauna Kea and the Kohala Mountains.  One minute you are sailing along in a nice onshore thermal breeze, and the next you are getting blasted by wicked strong trade winds.

Up by Nishimura Bay it seems the trades like to fill in just before 2PM.  Today, right on schedule, they hit.  We were only about a mile from our anchorage at the time.  I saw them coming, and we got all of our sails down before we were blasted by 25+ knots.  We powered in and anchored in 34 feet of water over sand.  We are staying out where it is deep because the swell is supposed to come up again tonight.  

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Okoe Bay

Thursday.  2PM.  Motor sailing north along the Kona Coast.

We caught a nice ten pound aku yesterday just after I posted the blog.  Those lures Randy Reed gave us before Moku pe'a's 2014 trip south are still working!

Moku pe'a arrived at Okoe Bay at 630PM Wednesday while the sun was still up, and we anchored in 30 feet of water just off the beach.  Michael made a fantastic spaghetti bolognaise dinner, and we both slept like babies.

I was disappointed to awake to an empty anchorage.  In all of my previous visits to Okoe we have been surrounded by spinner dolphin at sunrise.  At least we were buzzed by a pod of them twenty miles offshore the day before.

After breakfast we launched the dinghy and went ashore for a hike.  The abandoned Hawaiian villages along this coast are spectacular.  Smooth stone paved walking paths in the A'a lava, house foundations, brackish water wells, even an old rock slide all appear like their ancient residents walked away yesterday.  We returned to the boat from our hike about noon.

A big south swell is forecast to arrive tonight.  I have consulted with local experts Greg Gillette and Clay Hutchinson, and have learned that the Kona coast is not where you want to be in a big south swell.  We are slowly moseying north, and plan to pick up the Fairwind's mooring in Kealakekua Bay after they depart for the day at 430PM.  We think we'll be ok there tonight when the swell comes up.  If it's too uncomfortable, we'll ditch the mooring and lay offshore.   We've organized a slip for tomorrow night in Honokahau Harbor north of Kailua Kona.

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Kealakekua Bay

Friday.  11AM.  In a slip in Honokahau Harbor, Kailua Kona.

We picked up the Fairwinds' mooring in Kealakekua Bay at 5PM after they left for the day yesterday.  We were relaxing, and Michael was below creating a culinary masterpiece when a two story tour boat complete with water slide came around the point and into the bay at 6PM.

We quickly dropped the mooring and powered out into the bay assuming they were coming in to pick up the ball.  Keep in mind we had no right to be on the mooring.  I just like to use it when its owners are gone.  It is the only legitimate mooring in Kealakekua Bay, and you are not allowed to anchor there.

It turned out to be a sunset dinner cruise, and they had no intention of picking up the mooring.  We stood off anyway, and watched them as the skipper described Captain Cook's demise directly ashore.  When he was done with his talk, he invited his 50 guests to have dinner at the buffet on the lower deck.  It was a feeding frenzy of epic proportions, rows of fat tourists shoveling food onto their plates and into their mouths. We haven't yet seen schooling fish in a frenzy like this so far, but at least we've seen the human equivalent.  They left after about an hour, we picked up the mooring again, and had a pleasant evening.

We played our first two games of cribbage after dinner.  I will say no more than Michael is now out for revenge.

Michael is the ultimate shipmate.  I discovered this when we were sailing together on Van Diemen in 2017.  His enthusiasm and positive attitude are boundless, and he is an excellent seaman.  He has assumed control of the galley and provisions, which is fine with me.  He is creative, organized, and fast.  We have been eating like kings.  I am lucky to have him aboard, and glad to share the experience with him.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Kona Landfall

Wednesday.  Powering in to Okoe Bay, Kona Coast, Big Island.  ETA 8PM

Moku pe'a departed Electric Beach at 6AM on Tuesday morning and headed south past Barbers Point.  The trade winds filled in as forecast, and with single reefed main and jib we close reached out into the Molokai Channel.  Surprisingly, the wind died off in the lee of Molokai just after noon, and we motor sailed until we entered the Alenuihaha Channel at midnight.

We saw half a dozen bright orange twenty foot long sailing drones spread out over Penguin Banks west of Molokai.  Does anybody know what they are doing out there?

The Alenuihaha Channel lived up to its reputation.  We had 25 knots of wind but soldiered through with double reefed main and jib.  A couple of waves made it under the dodger and down our shirts, but it wasn't as rough as I've seen it in the past.

At 6AM this morning we sailed out of the channel and into the notorious Kona flats where the engine came on and has been on ever since.  This is one area we knew we'd be powering.

At 9AM I looked up and saw a FAD buoy directly ahead of us 200 yards off.  We had to alter course to miss it.  Good thing I looked.  We were more than 30 miles off shore and didn't expect to have to avoid anything out here.  I had a fishing line out as we passed the buoy and we could see fish feeding on the surface, but nothing took the bait.

We are racing to get into Okoe before dark tonight, but no worries if we don't.  Matt Dyer and I anchored in Okoe in pitch blackness when we arrived there from Tahiti on Moku pe'a in 2011.  We can do it again if we need to.

Sorry I didn't provide details on the boom repair earlier.  Mike Malone built a 20" long custom aluminum sleeve that fit snugly inside the boom and overlapped 10" on each side of the break.  Then he put the boom back together and welded it at the break.  It looks great, and appears to be stronger than the original.  

I'm a little bit worried about Michael.  He has grown extremely fond of his "Dutch Wife", a four foot long pillow, that shares his bunk.  This morning he asked me, as the ship's captain, to officially marry the two of them.  I haven't heard him whispering sweet nothings to her/it yet, but I expect that will come with time.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Detour to Oahu

Monday/Tuesday.  I've never seen it calm south of Niihau in my ten prior trips past there.  This time was different.  The wind never filled in, and Moku pe'a continued to motor sail toward the Big Island until late Sunday afternoon when we reassessed the situation.

We had been under power since the boom broke off of Kalalau.  That's approximately 22 hours of powering, and nearly half our fuel was gone.  The weather forecast called for continuing calm for at least another day, and we knew we might need at least 15 hours of fuel to get through the lee of Kona.  The numbers didn't add up, so we altered course 20 degrees to port and headed for Koolina on Oahu to refuel.

Good thing we did.  We had four hours of blissfully quiet sailing, but otherwise powered the entire way to Koolina arriving just before 5PM Tuesday.  We even had to empty the emergency 5 gallon jerry jug of diesel into the tank to ensure we'd make it.  Amazing.  We didn't use this much fuel on any leg in either of Moku pe'a's South Pacific voyages.

I had a great time last summer on my powerboat adventures in the Pacific Northwest.  Perhaps this was King Neptune's way of getting back at me for my dalliance on the dark side of the force.  "You say you like powerboats?  Hah!  Try this!"

I called the Koolina office when we got within cell phone range.  Their self service fuel dock was open 24/7, but we couldn't get a slip without 2 day's advance notice.  We pulled in, filled fuel and water, and departed at 5:30.  Moku pe'a anchored for the night off Electric Beach two miles to the north.

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Heading for the Big Island

Sunday.  Moku pe'a got underway for the Big Island just after first light, motor sailing along Niihau's long northwest coast.  

I sailed right along this tranquil coast in each of the seven "Round the State" races I participated in back in the '70s and '80s, and saw then what great a great cruising ground it could be.

I haven't been disappointed in the four times I've returned to explore.  Niihau is off the map for most, so you always have it to yourself as long as you are careful to avoid the island's residents, who aren't particularly friendly.

Quite a few birds were working the surface, so we put out a handline and caught two large Kahala, which we threw back since I'm not familiar with the ciguatera situation in the area.

We expected to be blasted by trade winds as we cleared Niihau's southeastern point, but found flat seas and six knot winds which made it necessary to motor sail.  That was surprising.  Hopefully it won't be too long before the breeze fills in.

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Saturday.  Moku pe'a motor sailed most of the way to Niihau with only about an hour sailing thrown in.  The chart isn't detailed enough to show if there is deep water between Niihau and Lehua Rock, but Wayne Reis told me that he has been through there with his boat.  We gave it a try and found a wide pass with never less than 60 feet of water.

My favored anchorage under Niihau's Pu'ukole Point looked calm, so we dropped the sails and powered in, anchoring in fourteen feet of water about 200 yards off of the beach at 3PM.

Michael and I were cleaning up the sails right after the engine went off and both saw two four foot long white tip reef sharks dart under Moku pe'a.  I guess we're not doing a lot of swimming here....

We launched the dinghy and powered in to shore landing on a clear stretch of beach that had the largest monk seal I have ever seen ashore about 50 yards away. He didn't even budge as we came ashore.

We were on a quest for glass balls, and first walked along the shore to Niihau's windward side where the pickings should be better.  No balls, but Michael did spot three healthy looking pigs rooting in the bushes by the beach.  He also found a human tibia among the rubbish along the shore.  He would know. He is a physician.

Moku pe'a's determined crew searched for nearly two hours and didn't find any glass balls.  I've visited Niihau three times before, and always found at least one.  The balls are fewer and searchers more plentiful now so it's not surprising.  We still had a great time beachcombing.

Back aboard Moku pe'a we could see that the northwest swell was starting to increase as forecast.  Our anchorage was open to the northwest and was pretty shallow, so we opted to depart and find a deeper anchorage for the night.

We anchored in 25' off of Keawanui Beach about 3 miles further down the coast just before sunset.  I had anchored here twice before and knew we'd be fine there if the swell came up.

The next morning there was a sizable swell running and about three foot waves breaking on the beach.  Moving was the right decision.

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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Na Pali

930AM.   Off Polihale Beach, Kauai

Moku pe'a motor sailed down the Na Pali coast this morning in the calmest clearest weather I've ever seen there.  It was tempting to stop and go ashore in Kalalau and Nualolo, but we are a bit behind schedule so we carried on.  Spinner dolphin and a few turtles welcomed Moku pe'a along the way.

We are now crossing the channel to Niihau where we will spend the night before heading off to the Big Island tomorrow. I'm a bit concerned about a small northwest swell that is forecast to come up tonight. My planned anchorage under Pu'ukole Point is only about 12 feet deep and is open to the northwest. We will probably go in there this afternoon, do some exploring, and find a deeper anchorage for the night. 

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Repair Completed!

2PM.  At anchor in Hanalei Bay.

Just got word that the repaired boom is on its way back to us and should be here in Hanalei by 3PM this afternoon!

We will have a busy afternoon re-rigging the boom, fishing in the outhaul and reef lines, putting the mainsail back on, and getting ready for sea.  Hopefully we can depart for points west first thing tomorrow morning.

We will likely skip Nualolo and go directly to Niihau.  If we spend one night there instead of the planned three, we will be back on schedule.  The wind forecast supports this timing and it looks like the 3 day passage from Niihau to the Big Island will be in light to moderate trades.

I may have connectivity and be able to blog tomorrow between Kauai and Niihau, but will be off the grid from then until we make landfall on the Big Island four or five days from now.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Relaxing in Hanalei, Again

Last evening Michael saw his first green flash as the sun set over the ocean to the west of Hanalei.  I saw it clearly too, a half second emerald pulse of light just as the sun disappeared.  This morning we asked the crew of the ketch anchored just outside of us if they saw it.  Nope, and one crew on their passing dinghy said, "I don't believe that it's real."  It can't be real if you don't look.....

It got dark, Michael got out his IPhone, and turned on his "star finder" app.  With it for guidance I saw Mercury for the first time ever and using binoculars saw three of the moons orbiting Jupiter.  I know what you are thinking, but I was completely sober.

It was a crystal clear evening and after the moon set we could see the loom of flashing lights over Kauai's mountains to the south.  A look at the NOAA radar confirmed that it was lightning flashes from a storm seventy miles away.  A very enjoyable evening.

This morning an Open 60, Dogbark, entered the anchorage and dropped the hook right next to us.  Dogbark used to belong to my old Coast Guard Academy sailing teammate Al Hughes, who we ran into in Canada's Gulf Islands late last summer when I was aboard Thankful.  Dogbark now belongs to Al's shipmate for their R2AK victory a few years ago, Graeme, who is now cruising the Pacific with his wife and two daughters.  I dinghied over to say hello, and was pleased to learn that he is using my cruising guide, Noodle's Notes, for his Hawaiian Islands adventures.

We spent the day fixing chafed lines caused by the jagged aluminum boom and readying the boat to receive the repaired spar.  No word yet on when we are likely to see it.  Michael did some fantastic baking;  I'm not going to be losing weight this trip like I usually do.

As I write this there is a pod of spinner dolphins frolicking in the anchorage behind us.  Gals in string bikinis are SUPing by every few minutes.  There are worse places to be stuck for a few days.

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Repairs in Hanalei

Yesterday at 4PM Moku pe'a was sitting serenely at anchor in the keyhole at Haena.  It is one of the loveliest spots in Hawaii.  I was below typing the day's blog post when we heard someone yell from the water.  A guy on a surfboard paddled out to tell us that the Governor and the Head of DLNR would be there inspecting damage repairs from last years' flooding early the next morning.  He suggested that we not be there if we didn't want to get cited by DLNR.

It is my normal practice to spend one night in Haena before proceeding down the Na Pali coast to Nualolo at its western end.  Day anchoring in Haena is allowed, but overnight anchoring is not.  I know the rules, but always figured that a single overnight was no big deal if I departed first thing in the morning.  DLNR was casing the place though to make sure everything was just right for the Governor's visit.  I likely would have been busted for sure, so we had to leave.

Hmmm.  Which way to go.  An hour to windward back to Haena, or rush 10 miles down the coast to Nualolo before the sun got too low?  We opted for Nualolo, quickly got underway, and hoisted a full mainsail to get us quickly down the coast.

The wind swirls close under the Na Pali cliffs much like it does on the north shore of Molokai.  We wanted to stay close for the scenery though.  Just as we approached Kalalalau we got a particularly large gust accompanied by a forty degree wind shift.  I was driving, saw the shift as it hit, but couldn't turn the boat quickly enough to prevent the mainsail from jybing.

In a jybe the wind catches the mainsail on the other side from behind.  The mainsail and boom flew across the boat gaining speed and momentum until the mainsheet stopped it suddenly (it's not called "boom" for nothing).  The sudden stop placed a bigger bending moment on the aluminum boom than it could handle, and it broke cleanly in two just aft of the mid-boom mainsheet block attachment.

This kind of accidental jybe happens occasionally, and usually doesn't cause any damage.  This time we were not so fortunate.

A "preventer", a line that holds the boom out so it can't fly across the boat during an accidental jybe, would likely have kept us out of trouble.  In my haste to depart Nualolo I failed to rig the preventers as I normally do, and did for our crossing from Oahu.

We started the engine, put the boat head to wind, got the mainsail down and pieces of the boom secured, and assessed our situation.

We couldn't use the mainsail without the boom and couldn't repair the boom by ourselves.  It was not prudent to proceed further from civilization without a mainsail, so we powered back up the coast to Hanalei arriving back in the anchorage in a driving rainstorm just as it got dark.

On the way back I called Mitch Haynie on the phone.  Michael and I had spent the previous evening at Mitch and Jenna's enjoying a fabulous dinner and great conversation.  Did Mitch know of anybody on Kauai who might be able to help us fix the boom?

No, he didn't, but Mitch has a close friend, Mel Wills, who would.  Mel is the operations manager for Holo Holo Charters which runs tour boats out of Hanalei and Port Allen.   Mitch called Mel, and Mel said he knows just the right guy, Mike Malone of M&S Marine.

This morning Mel called Mike, and Mike said he could help.  At 8AM we dinghied ashore with the broken boom, borrowed Mitch's truck, and drove to Kekaha on the other side of the island where we met with Mel and Mike.

Besides running Holo Holo Charters, Mel is a seasoned sailor.  He's done nine Transpac races, some of which I competed in.  We have a lot of mutual friends.  It's surprising that we haven't met before.  I could tell he knew what he was doing when the first question he asked me after I told him the circumstances of breaking the boom was, "Were you using a preventer?"  Ouch.

Mike took a quick look at the boom, indicated that it should be fixable, and disappeared with it back into his shop.  He said it should be ready in a couple of days.

This is a work in progress, but it is looking like the mighty Moku pe'a may be back on her feet pretty quickly.  This timely and relatively painless recovery wouldn't be possible without the generosity of good people like Mitch, Mel, and Mike, and we are very grateful for their help.

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