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.