Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
One often repeated definition of "cruising" is "Working on your boat in exotic places."
Things are always breaking on boats, and if you don't fix them as they fail, pretty soon nothing on the boat is working and you can't enjoy your cruise. Bo's list of things that need fixing is getting pretty long. We are trying to resolve the problems that would cripple us going forward, but with just a day left in this epic cruise, we are ignoring those issues that don't affect us significantly.
This morning our windlass decided that it was going on strike. Great. We had all 150 feet of 5/16" chain out with a 44 pound anchor at the end of it. I pulled much of it in by hand, but when I got to where I was lifting the anchor, this 66 year old body could pull no more. I recalled a trick I'd seen racing yachts, that don't have windlasses, use back in the '70s. They hook their spinnaker halyard into the chain and pull it up using a halyard winch. Mark swam over from Puanani to help with the grinding, and we got the ground tackle back up into Maka'oi'oi. Thank you. Mark!
It was only 1-1/2 miles from Keawanui to our next anchorage at Waikolu, so we powered The distance. It is one of the most scenic mile and a half's on the planet. A 3,284 foot inverted cliff hanging over the water, sea caves, offshore spires... For those that have the courage, and the intrepid officers of the squadron did, a must do is traversing the 50 yard wide pass between Okala Island and the adjacent headland that protects the Waikolu anchorage. It was butt puckeringly tight contemplating the impact of a steering or engine failure at the wrong moment... but the fleet made it through safe and sound. And then, almost immediately, we were in the calm waters of Waikolu, just a mile east of the Kalaupapa peninsula.
Anchors went down just before noon. A celebratory beer, then lunch, and now we are looking forward to going ashore to explore this afternoon.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Eighteen days ago as we were getting started on this adventure, the squadron decided to call it "The Covid Staycation Cruise". I've come to the conclusion that perhaps a better name would be "Bo's Bistro and Island Tour".
I don't believe I have ever eaten this well on a cruising sailboat. Every evening Bo buries his head in the ice box, extracts something I wasn't aware was in there, and prepares a gourmet meal. With the leftovers he makes delicious lunches in the form of either a sandwich or a wrap.
Last night it was kalbi ribs, grilled zucchini, and a salad. I wouldn't have been able to make kalbi ribs last for eighteen days, but Bo did. He even has a couple of more fresh dinners queued up for the last two evenings of this most excellent adventure.
We got a late start this morning, which gave Bo a chance to go wild in the galley. It was a cheese and veggie omelet, hash browns, and bacon. I am getting spoiled.
Now, don't be thinking that Bo does all the work around here. I am in charge of coffee in the morning, doing all the dishes, and I fix a lot of broken stuff. Yesterday it was the wind generator that sucked a line into it and disassembling and lubricating the windlass, which has been acting up. I am also the squadron tour guide, blog writer, and cribbage instructor.
The anchors came up at 9AM, and the squadron romped across the Pailolo Channel to Molokai's Cape Halawa. A quick left turn, and we were running west along the highest sea cliffs on planet Earth.
I never tire of the north shore of Molokai. 2,000 foot waterfalls that empty into the sea right next to us, lush valleys, spectacular headlands. If there were only more fish....
Yes, the squadron got skunked again. We pulled into Keawanui Bay, little more than a gorge along the coast, at 1230PM.
Anchoring in Keawanui is tricky. Comfort requires both bow and stern anchors to keep the boats pointed out into the small chop that wraps around the point protecting the bay. The bow anchor is dropped offshore in 40 feet of water, and the stern anchor must be swum into shallow water or secured ashore.
The squadron sailed up to another cruising sailboat as we made our way down the coast, and he came into Keawanui with us. We dinghied over for a visit after all three boats were secured, and the Ventura, California based skipper said that he was following a cruising guide written by some guy with a funny name. "Do you mean 'Noodle's Notes'?" we asked. "That's it!", he responded.
The squadron dinghies ferried the fleet's officers over for the obligatory dip in the pool below the bay's waterfall and into the large deep sea cave 100 yard from the anchorage. The Puanani crew also explored a large cave half a mile away that Clay recalled from previous visits.
Jonathan is flying his drone this afternoon around the bay. I can't wait to see the pictures and video he gets from that!
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Awesome sailing day
Five volcanoes peering down
We are truly small
Two nights rock and roll
Then Kawaihae, a calm spot
Life is goo again
It was definitely not
Mending well, thank you
(Marcy got injured in Honokahau, she is recovering nicely)
Chemistry between friends
Some old and some new
Kona blue waters
Sailing bay to bay
Gems along this rugged coast
Sad to leave each one
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Why no catch fishes
It is battle of wishes
Maybe fish too smart
Hand lines, course and depth correct
Fish just will not bite
Bo learning cribbage
Drops the first three games and then
Kicks Noodle's butt twice
Watching over fleet
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
We got lifted as expected and by 4pm were headed directly towards our destination at Okoe Bay. Kauai and Niihau disappeared behind us and Puanani sailed over the horizon to the west. We were all alone on the open sea.
Our heading takes us far enough west of the Hawaiian Island chain that we won't see any other islands until the Big Island comes into view tomorrow.
We are using the Swedish watch system of 6-6-4-4-4 hour watches each day. With an odd number of watches every 24 hour period, we end up on a different schedule each day. Bo took yesterday's afternoon watch, I was on from 6-10PM, he was on from 10-2AM, and so it goes.
During my early evening watch a flock of boobies decided that Maka'oi'oi would be a good place to spend the night. One tried landing on the top of the mast, bent the Windex wind direction indicator so it doesn't work anymore, and departed. One successfully landed on the bow pulpit and spent the night. The third decided that the wind generator would be a good place to land.
That turned out to be a bad decision. I heard him make contact with the spinning carbon fiber blades and splash into the sea behind the boat. I don't think the poor guy made it. The wind generator survived, but it is vibrating a bit now.
It was beautiful night sailing in 15 knots, smooth seas, and a full moon.
At the 10PM watch change it started pouring as we entered the lee of Oahu. We powered for two hours until we got into the Molokai Channel and the skies cleared for the rest of the night. The engine just went on again as we are dealing with the lee of Maui. We should be well into the Alenuihaha Channel during my afternoon watch.
We expect to make landfall in Kona tomorrow morning.
No word from Puanani. We've tried the VHF radio, but perhaps we are too far apart.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
The officers aboard Puanani were piped aboard Maka'oi'oi for cocktails and dinner as the sun neared the horizon. Bo decided to entertain two nights in a row since all of our food is chilled and might spoil sooner than Puanani's frozen cuisine.
The islanders returned to check on us just before sunset as we were enjoying our rum and tonics. We made it an early evening as we planned a dawn departure the next day.
We all awoke at sunrise after a peaceful evening, pulled our hooks, and headed south along Niihau's western coast. I sailed close to the shore along this coast in each of the seven "Around the State" races I participated in, and realized then that this would be a great cruising destination. It hasn't disappointed during any of my five visits since.
The trade winds fills in just before we made it to Niihau's southernmost point, and we punched out into the channel with full sail set. It was blowing about fifteen knots from the east, with bumpy seas. Close hauled we were still thirty degrees below our course to Okoe Bay on the Big Island, but this is what typically happens. The wind backs as we get deeper into the Kauai channel allowing us to come up to our desired heading. We are already getting lifted. As I write this we are just ten degrees below our course to the mark.
We put a reef in the jib when the wind picked up about 11AM, and Maka'oi'oi is barreling along in her element. The seas have flattened out, and there is very little water on deck.
We couldn't have asked for better conditions, and are hoping it stays like this all the way to the Big Island.
Puanani is paralleling our course about a mile to the west. We've been speaking with them periodically on the radio, and they are loving the conditions too. They landed a fish off of Niihau and are preparing it for dinner.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
At 4PM yesterday it had cooled off to the point that we could venture ashore without being scorched by the sun. Looking like the invasion of Normandy on D-day, the crews of the squadron made a simultaneous dinghy landing on the sand beach directly inshore of the armada.
We started wandering north along the rocky shore, and just fifty yards from the dinghies Bo nearly stepped on a napping monk seal. Bo was far more startled than the seal was, and we quickly retreated to give the animal some space. Monk seals are amazingly camouflaged when lying on the basaltic rocks along the shore, and it is easy to walk right by them without noticing their presence. We counted a total of nine seals yesterday, and there were probably a few more that we missed.
The other form of wildlife abundant on this end of the island is pigs. We counted eight up on the open plain above the beach. They must be hunted, because the herd took off when they saw us.
No glass balls, but we collected some beautiful shells and had a pleasant hour long hike along the shore. Clay found what we think might be the bone structure from a monk seal flipper.
The fleet's officers were enjoying pre-dinner pupu and cocktails aboard Maka'oi'oi when we noticed a Jeep ashore. We've been spotted, and our forays ashore may be over. No matter, this has been a spectacular anchorage, and the boys have loved it.
Bo served up a magnificent competition quality chili last night, raising the bar once again. What will happen next?
Niihau lies in the lee of Kauai when the trade winds are blowing, and the local wind can come from every direction. That's exactly what happened last night, and the fleet was glad that our anchors were well set in an area with 360 degree swinging room. The shifting winds got up to nearly fifteen knots after dark, more than I would have expected.
After sunrise today Clay noticed a huge ulua under Puanani, and we were treated to a monk seal diving and feeding at a coral head behind the boats for most of the morning.
At 11AM the squadron got underway to do some exploring. The crew of Puanani spent about half an hour screwing around getting their anchor unwrapped from the rock outcroppings. I think perhaps Puanani liked the Pu'ukole Point anchorage and didn't want to leave.
At 1230 the fleet anchored off of Keawanui Bay where, 36 years ago, I collected sixty glass balls on the beach. Shortly after the squadron was secured a school of spinner dolphin came by to pay their respects, followed by a large Jeep ashore. It is nice to know the local residents are concerned for our safety.
We'll depart in the morning for the Big Island, and the next couple of days could be tough as we work our way through the channels between and the lees below the other islands. The weather is looking good with moderate trade winds forecast, but we will be busy with only two of us aboard each boat. I hope to be blogging daily, but I won't if I am too busy or too tired.