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 Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last weekend we arrived at the Waikiki Yacht Club in Honolulu after a week-long cruise along the Kona Coast and the leeward shores of Maui and Molokai. We had a great trip--lots of exploring, diving and relaxing. But as good as that cruise was, the last week at the Waikiki Yacht Club was even better. The club is beautiful, with great people, and every day we walk to the shops and restaurants in Waikiki or along Ala Moana Blvd.

We landed in Hilo because it's about 200 miles closer than Honolulu, and clearing into Hawaii would be simpler. Another advantage is that that we were windward of the other islands, so we could make a westerly run mostly downwind. The trip from Hilo also gave us an opportunity to use some equipment that we'd installed and tested, but had yet to really exercise. One of the most useful was the flopper-stopper (passive at-rest roll stabilizer). We're not that sensitive to boat motion, so never had bothered with it until this trip. And we didn't really notice the boat motion while anchored at Nishimura Bay (pictured above) where we first deployed it, until we tried to launch the tender. The dinghy swung dangerously when we got it in the air off the chocks, and we didn't feel comfortable launching it with that much motion. The flopper-stopper made a huge difference.

The picture below shows the flopper-stopper in action. A line runs from the end of the pole up to the mast to hold the pole parallel to the water. Lines fore and aft keep the pole perpendicular to the boat. And a 4'x2' folding metal plate is suspended from the end of the pole via a ring that connects by a short length of chain to each corner of the plate. As the boat rolls towards this side, the plate drops and folds. When the boat rolls back, the plate lifts and opens, resisting the boat motion like a parachute to reduce the return roll. The open plate is visible through the water. The small line coming in from the bottom left is a retrieval line. We initially attached the retrieval line to the ring with the suspension line, but found it twisted and tangled in the suspension line, preventing the plate from opening. Allowing the suspension line to spin freely about the retrieval line still allows us to retrieve the plate, but prevents the two lines from tangling.

 

We also used our Dayton Fan for the first time. We carry it to make working in the engine room more bearable in hot weather, but have been finding it useful in the cabin as well. On the crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii, the stateroom temperature reached the mid 80s--a little too hot for sleeping comfortably. We can open a small overhead hatch into the portuguese bridge (the walkway in front of the pilothouse windows), but it didn't make much of a difference, and we couldn't open it very wide in rough conditions. We could have started the generator and run the air-conditioning, but we'd rather not run the generator all the time. So we tried putting that big fan in the corner of the stateroom, and voila, instant cooling. It made a huge impact. The fan generates sufficient wind we use only the lowest setting. We also use the fan at anchor, both in the stateroom and in the pilothouse or salon. It is a little noisy, but underway with the engine running it's not noticeable. And at anchor, the cooling is so welcome that we don't mind the noise either.

Along with the rest of our canvas work, we asked Canvas Supply Company in Seattle make us window screens for all the pilothouse windows. These are made from a Sunbrella View tight weave material. They fit on the outside of the windows to provide sun heat and light protection, while still allowing some light in and a view out. (We didn't have any made for the salon windows because we have translucent blinds for all those windows, mainly for privacy, but they do provide sun protection as well.) In Seattle, we'd not had much reason to use the windows screens. And we could have used them in San Francisco, but we were rather enjoying the sun. In the tropics, the screens really helped in reducing the temperature in the pilothouse, and improving comfort by not having the sun shine directly on us when we're sitting up there.

We also had a few items that no longer were needed now that we were in the tropics. We switched our dive gear from cold-water to warm-water diving. We didn't have to do a lot, mostly just get the neoprene booties and 3mm suits from storage, and stow the drysuits and cold-water gloves and hoods. We also removed the drysuit pressure hoses from our regulators. Wonder when we'll put those back on again?

And we put all our sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, heavier coats and extra bedding into storage. We seal them in a Space Bags t to reduce the stored size and limit moisture intrusion. Space Bags are sealed plastic bags that you vacuum the air out of to reduce their size. The bags do slowly lose their vacuum over time, but it's easy enough to re-vacuum them. And having them small to start with means we can stuff them into tight places.

 

Below is our log of the trip from Hilo to Honolulu. You also display these on the map view.

11/6/2012: Radio Bay
Looking east across Radio Bay from the sea wall.
11/7/2012: Double rainbow
Double rainbow over Hilo.
11/7/2012: Fuel fill
Hawaii Petroleum brought a truck over this morning and we took on 1,100 gallons of diesel.
11/7/2012: Going ashore
Bringing the bike ashore to ride into Hilo. Radio Bay is inside the container port, and an escort is required to leave the area by land. The "easiest" way to go anywhere is via the public shore access along the east side of the bay.
11/7/2012: Ready to go
I did put my helmet on after this shot.
11/7/2012: Hilo Bay
The ride into town was pleasant and easy--Hilo is bicycle-friendly. A bike lane ran the first third or so. The rest of the way was through a shoreline park where this picture was taken.
11/7/2012: Farmers Market
Ron Rubin of N46-079 Alcyone told us about Hilo's excellent farmers market.
11/7/2012: Unpacking the loot
I filled two bicycle panniers with purchases.
11/7/2012: View north
View north across Radio Bay from the seawall.
11/7/2012: Anthuriums
Anthuriums from the market.
11/7/2012: Outrigger
Around sunset, a dozen paddles launched this outrigger canoe and set off into Hilo Bay.
11/8/2012: Breakfast fruit
Starfruit and Rambutans from the farmer's market for our breakfast fruit.
11/8/2012: Sinkers
Malasadas from the market. On past visits to Honolulu, we would pick up a load of delicious fresh-baked malasadas from Leonard's Bakery en route to Hanauma Bay. We called them sinkers because we ate so many before we went snorkelling that we joked our heavy stomachs would sink us.
11/9/2012: Pilot boat
Hilo pilot boat heading out to meet the cruise ship Celebrity Century.
11/9/2012: Celebrity Century
Celebrity Century approaching Hilo Bay.
11/9/2012: Bike tour
We ran the bikes ashore in the dinghy for a tour of the Hilo area. The photo was taken on the Puueo St. bridge.
11/9/2012: Wailuku River
Looking down the Wailuku River, the 2nd longest in the state, from the Wainaku Ave bridge to Hilo Bay. In the distance is the Puueo St. bridge we were on earlier.
11/9/2012: Waterfall
Small waterfall on Wailuku River, looking west from from the Wainaku Ave bridge. About 3 miles upriver is 80' Rainbow falls.
11/9/2012: Bicycle repair
Jennifer got a flat, but James replaced the tube with little delay.
11/9/2012: Casa de Luna
We had a delicious Margarita-enhanced lunch at Casa de Luna.
11/10/2012: Dawn
We left at 4:30am to pass around the south side of the island and begin a cruise up the Kona Coast.
11/10/2012: Sunrise
11/10/2012: Crater
Crater in old lavaflows along the south end of the island. We couldn't see any lava flowing from our vantage. The last time we were in the area, by jeep over a decade ago, lava was flowing into the water in tremendous explosions of steam and rock.
11/10/2012: Kalae
Windmills at Kalae, aka South Point, the southernmost point in the US. The wind was blowing in the high 30s and the waves were huge as we rounded the point--amongst the biggers we've encountered. One rolled us 26 degrees.
11/10/2012: Sunset
We'd be arriving at our intended anchorage at Okoe Bay in the dark. Not ideal, but the entry didn't look difficult and we could always bail and keep running if we weren't comfortable.
11/11/2012: Okeo Bay
Looking north to Hanamalo Point from the anchorage at Okeo Bay. Due to our late arrival, we weren't tucked in close to the beach for better swell protection as we could have been. But the boat motion still was tolerable.
11/11/2012: Beach house
Beach house to slightly to our south. The area was mainly pretty deserted the entire time we were there.
11/11/2012: Sunset
Sunset from the anchorage.
11/12/2012: Sportsfisher
We departed early to reach an anchorage at the north end of the island, and from there cross Alenuihaha Channel the next morning. As we neared Kailua Kona, many boats like this one were offshore.
11/12/2012: Kailua Kona
View of Kailua Kona as we approach Keahole Point.
11/12/2012: Nishimura Bay
The view looking north from the anchorage at Nishimura Bay. The bay is unnamed on the chart, but is described in the Mehaffy's Cruising Guide to the Hawaiian Islands. We've found the book a useful resource. We've always been comfortable in unusual or exposed anchorages, but these past couple of stops are way beyond anything we've done: we're basically hanging off the edge of the Pacific Ocean, with only slight wind and swell protection in one direction from the shoreline. This is pretty much what we expected for Hawaiian anchoring, and we're loving it.
11/12/2012: Mauna Kea
The Mauna Kea observatories are just visible in the distance from the anchorage.
11/12/2012: Flopper-stopper
At anchor as the sun sets, with the flopper-stopper (passive at-rest roll stabilizer) deployed. We've never used it before other than in testing--we're not that senstive to boat motion and didn't really notice it until we tried to launch the tender. The dinghy swung dangerously when we got it in the air off the chocks, and we didn't feel comfortable launching it with that much motion. The flopper-stopper made a huge difference.
11/12/2012: Ashore
Enjoying the sunset from ashore.
11/12/2012: Dusk
11/13/2012: Alenuihaha Channel
We're about halfway across Alenuihaha Channel, between the Big Island and Maui. The winds funnel and increase in strength here, and can generate hazardous conditions when strong tradewinds blow. The Mehaffy guidebook says the channel has a repution as being one of the worst in the world--a tugboat caption told the authors a wave here had torn the pilot house off his 60-foot steel tug. We were up at 3:30am to cross so winds would be lightest. So far we're seeing the moderate conditions we deserve for the time we got up: seas mostly 6-8'. We're getting a good push from the current as well, and are doing better than 8.5 knots.
11/13/2012: Windmills
Windmills being installed at Pohakueaea Point.
11/13/2012: Pu'u Ola'i
367-foot Pu'u Ola'i Hill above the anchorage at Oneloa Beach.
11/13/2012: Lifeguard
Lifeguard tower on the beach. We could hear the lifeguard over a loudspeaker, warning beachgoers of the dangerous surf.
11/13/2012: Molokini
The Island of Molokini viewed from the anchorage.
11/13/2012: Tourboat
This tour boat, packed with passengers, cruised slowly along the beach past our anchorage.
11/13/2012: Scuba gear
Switching from cold-water to warm-water diving. We didn't have to do a lot, mostly just get the neoprene booties and 3mm suits from storage, and stow the drysuits and cold-water gloves and hoods. We also removed the drysuit pressure hoses from our regulators. Wonder when we'll put those back on again?
11/13/2012: Dive site
Tourboat approaching the point off Pu'u Ola'i. We saw several boats there throughout the morning, and the Mehaffy guide indicated this was one of the best snorkeling sites on Maui's west coast. We later ran the dinghy over and dove there ourselves. Fabulous!
11/14/2012: Sunrise
Coffee at sunrise in the cockpit. We're definitely in paridise.
11/14/2012: Tour boat
Glass-bottomed tour boat out to view the coral reefs.
11/14/2012: Flopper-stopper in action
The flopper-stopper (passive at-rest roll stabilizer) in action. A line runs from the end of the pole up to the mast to hold the the pole parallel to the water. Lines fore and aft keep the pole perpendicular to the boat. And a 4'x2' folding metal plate is suspended from the end of the pole via a ring that connects by a short length of chain to each corner of the plate. As the boat rolls towards this side, the plate drops and folds. When the boat rolls back, the plate lifts and opens, resisting the boat motion like a parachute to reduce the return roll. The open plate is visible through the water. The small line coming in from the bottom left is a retrieval line. We initially attached the retrieval line to the ring with the suspension line, but found it twisted and tangled in the suspension line, preventing the plate from opening.
11/14/2012: Sunset
Sunset viewed from the flybridge
11/15/2012: Dinghy trap
Somehow the dinghy, trailing of Dirona's stern on a floating yellow line to it's bow, managed to wrap itself twice around the flopper-stopper guyline overnight. James just freed it.
11/15/2012: Molokini
Dive gear ready to load into the dinghy. We ran over to Molokini to dive the inside of the crater, but conditions were too rough to safely leave the dinghy. So we did a nice relaxing dive at the point off Pu'u Ola'i again instead. The next day, we heard two dive boat operators on the radio discussing whether to dive at Molokini. Conditions were rough, but apparently much better than the day before when we'd gone.
11/15/2012: Filling the scuba tanks
We have a Max-Air 240-volt electric dive compressor (model 35LS-E1/220) mounted in the lazarette. It's a small-capacity unit, light on features, but it works effictively and so far we are quite happy with it. On the previous boat, we had a gas-powered Max-Air unit that worked well, and that's one of the reasons we went with the Max-Air electric version for the current boat. The electric version has some real advantages: we don't have to mess with gasoline and so can run it right in the lazarette, and the unit is much quieter.
11/16/2012: Heading to Molokai
We departed early this morning to cross Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai before the winds came up. Pailolo Channel isn't considered as hazardous as Alenuihaha Channel between the Big Island and Maui, but conditions there still can be rough. The forecast today is for 30-knot winds and 14-foot seas.
11/16/2012: Puu Anu
Windmills on the south slope of 3,000' Puu Anu.
11/16/2012: Olowalu Stream
4,000' Lihau and 3,000' Uluala flank Olowalu Stream.
11/16/2012: Lahaina
Several tour boats were leaving Lahaina Harbor as we passed. At least a couple of dozen boats were anchored along the roadstead in front of town. Marina space is limited in Hawaii--very few harbors have room for transient boats and even some of the commercial boats have to anchor out.
11/16/2012: The Slot
We just passed through the junction of Pailolo, Auau, and Kalohi Channels, locally known as The Slot. The Coast Pilot reports that high winds and dangerous currents occur there. The wind has been blowing a steady 30 knots since we entered Pailolo Channel, and the waves have mostly been in the 6-8' range on the beam. Passing through the Slot, however, we got hit with two 15' waves in close succession. The first rolled us to the limit of the stabilizers and the second pushed us over 26.2 degrees.
11/16/2012: Kokua
The tug Kokua taking big waves working upwind through Pailolo Channel.
11/16/2012: Kamalo Harbor
Lighted buoy off the entrance to Kamalo Harbor. Wave heights had settled, but the wind still blew at a steady 30 knots.
11/16/2012: Towards the entry
Heeled over in the wind as we look for the break in the reef to enter Kamalo Harbor. The least depth through the entry channel is only eleven feet.
11/16/2012: Entry track
The reef, and the channel through, is clearly visible on the satellite map view of our entry track. The reef also was obvious in daylight as we proceeded. The favored anchorage at the east arm head felt a little too tight at only 100 yards across, particularly given the wind. So we returned out and anchored in the larger west arm head instead. The cove there was 150 yards across, but we still had to position the boat carefully so that we could put out adequate rode of 150' in the 30' depths.
11/16/2012: Sportfishing boats
Two high-speed sportfishing boats were tied off to the pier runs at the east arm head. A third arrived later, and two trucks drove down the shore towards the boats. We didn't take the dinghy ashore, but landing there to access the road looks easy.
11/16/2012: Kamalo Gulch
View to Kamalo Gulch from the boat. The wind continued to blow in the high 20s, but the reef protected us from the big waves and the boat hardly rocked. While we quite enjoyed the last few anchorages, having a little more wave shelter was nice for a change. The holding here was excellent too--the anchor came up the following morning encrusted in a thick mud the raw-water sprayer barely could penetrate.
11/16/2012: Waterfalls
Waterfalls dropping hundreds of feet into Kamalo Gulch.
11/17/2012: En route to Oahu
We were up just before 4am this morning to cross Kaiwi Channel, between Molokai and Oahu, before the afternoon winds picked up. The winds still were blowing from the east in the high 20s when we left Kamalo, but the forecast for Kaiwi looks reasonable: east winds 20 knots with 8-foot wind waves. Leaving the anchorage was a little challenging with the wind, darkness and tight quarters, but we took it slow and had no trouble. One advantage of the big winds is we're getting a nice push through Kalohi Channel: we're making over 9 knots.
11/17/2012: Papaya
Fresh papaya before breakfast.
11/17/2012: Penguin Bank
The winds have settled down as we cross Penguin Bank at the west end of Kalohi Channel, but we continue to make excellent time.
11/17/2012: Oahu Ho!
We can just make out Makapu Head, eighteen miles away on the southeastern tip of Oahu. Conditions in the Kaiwi Channel are about as predicted: 20-knot winds from the east with 9-10-foot seas on the beam. And we're still making nearly 9 knots. If it stays like this, we'll have an fast, easy run into Honolulu.
11/17/2012: Diamond Head in sight
We can see Diamond Head now--it's only twenty miles away. We've lost a knot of speed, but still should arrive in Honolulu by early afternoon.
11/17/2012: Big waves
The winds stayed about 20 knots from the east, but about halfway across the seas built up to 15-17' and were breaking above the pilothouse. The boat did fine, but we were rolling a fair bit.
11/17/2012: Hanauma Bay
We're directly south of Koko Head and Hanauma Bay now. The waves still are large, but are settling down a bit as we get into the lee of Oahu.
11/17/2012: Diamond Head light
A different view to Diamond Head than we're used to seeing.
11/17/2012: Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The iconic Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki beach.
11/17/2012: Waikiki Yacht Club
Moored across from Starr, also of Seattle, at the Waikiki Yacht Club.
Saturday, November 24, 2012 7:05:41 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0] - Trackback
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