Hanalei - 2 weeks till departure
Hello from our little floating home in Paradise - for about 2 more weeks anyway. Yep, in just about 2 weeks we'll probably be taking off - maybe less. We decided to use a weather routing service (Commander's Weather) since they help with a departure window and will track us the whole way and let us know if severe weather is coming our way, all for a reasonable price. Since we haven't become weather experts in the 9 months since we've left, we thought it a good idea. Also if we aren't sure about where to make that big right turn, we can contact them later in the passage about it. For those that don't know, the way home isn't just to point the bow to SF and go. We will need to basically head North for maybe a weekish and at some point turn East over to head to the mainland. All of this is depending on where the darn Pacific High is and it seems to be in a wacky wili-nili mood these days. I'm kinda looking forward to the variety of this passage: one week starboard tack, then one week port tack, then a little reaching then we're home.
Cecil (the staysail) should get a lot of face time for the passage home. We had a chance to test him out a bit yesterday. We had gone up the Na Pali coast for an overnight and something about our forecast was off and we found ourselves having to beat back to Hanalei with steady 25, gusting to 30 Noserlies with some steepish chop thrown in. UUUGGGGHHHH!!!!! We knew it was coming though because the day before had us running with the same. So Cecil was ready and we were ready to give him a good test - we haven't had to use him this entire trip so we were glad to give him a go. And I have to say, even though I'm a girl who Greg can't get to cast off our lines in that kind of forecast, I was very comfortable. Absolutely nothing on Pacifica felt stressed and we were able to average 6 kts for the couple of hours back to the Bay. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't baking up cookies down below or anything, but I also didn't have the wide eyed death grip praying for it to end either.
Hopefully our wind and seas won't be as high on the trip home, but if they are, it's nice to know Pacifica will do well. And in addition, if we do encounter similar conditions, we'll also be sailing on a lower course of sail. For those that don't know, the higher you sail (closer to where the wind is coming from - basically San Francisco for most of our trip) the more uncomfortable (usually) and more stress on the boat. Because this passage is such a long one, most people sail a little off the wind to make things aboard more comfortable. And that's what our plan is.
Anyway, enough on the passage - yep I'm nervous and going through the ups and downs of looking forward to it and not. But regardless, we need to get home so as last time we are doing everything we can to make sure we have a comfortable safe passage.
On the Na Pali trip, since I already touched on it - we decided to head up and anchor for an overnight to really experience the coast. We took off for a beautiful sail and really had a wonderful trip down (or up, or over - whatever). We headed for Polihale anchorage, or otherwise (named by s/v Anna) known as Rolly Poli. When we got there it wasn't that rolly and we were anchored in 13 feet of very clear warm water. We took a snorkel along the rocks and as I always do - I kept an eye out for sharks. Imagine my surprise when just below us I see one swimming around. I quickly got Greg's attention in my shark stealth way of frantically splashing about and yelling "SHARK!!!!" It was all very uncool. We quickly swam back to Pacifica - oh did I mention it was 'that' time of the month for me. Peter and Ginger, we sure hope you can forgive our wimpiness and stop yourselves from laughing at us enough to still be our friends (they have just been telling us of all the black tip sharks they now regularly snorkel with in the South Pacific).
So we had a nice evening after we decided to put out the stern anchor to keep us pointed into the little swell that was coming in and settled down for the evening as waves gently lapped along the beach behind us. We woke early to rollers coming though our little cove!!!! After quickly readying the boat and retrieving our stern anchor, we decided to head back to peaceful Hanalei Bay. It was all worth it though - the Na Pali coast was gorgeous and Rolly Poli was amazing. We anchored close to shore which was mostly huge cliffs that seems to come straight out of the ocean. It was really beautiful.
Since you've read that I mentioned s/v Anna, I guess I should let you know that we finally met them - "them" being Rich and Cat. We spent a very pleasant evening with the Annans on their boat, enjoying dinner, drinks and stories. They are one of the other boats who crossed over from Mexico at the same time as us, so we 'met' them via radio and email but not until Hanalei did we meet them in person. We will both be leaving Hanalei about the same time for the mainland. They will be going to Seattle and we will be going back to Berkeley.
We had a nice surprise last week when we came back to our dinghy and found a card from Jeannette and Henry (of BYC fame). They just happened to be here on vacation and watching the sunset along the beach and Henry looked out and thought he saw Pacifica (their boat is 2 down from our slip in Berkeley). So as any good traveler does, he swam out to check us out. Since we weren't aboard, they scoured the area till they found where we had left our dinghy. So, a couple of days later we had a pleasant BBQ at their beautiful hotel and spent a great evening chatting with them.
One tricky part of the evening activities here is what to do with the dinghy. It's funny, throughout all of Mexico although we've had to take serious precautions about the dinghy we never felt that we couldn't leave it somewhere as long as it was locked up. But here, in Hanalei - I guess there is a real problem with dinghy theft and it doesn't matter if you lock your dinghy or not - they will cut the lock and throw your boat in the back of a truck if it's left after dark. We've been told this by many people - locals and cruisers, so many that we don't want to risk our dinghy as being the real time example that we see. To solve this, we either row ashore if we are going to be out after dark, or Greg will drop me off, then swim to shore from the boat. So that's what we did that night with Jeannette and Henry - Greg swam from and to the boat. Though he did say the au natural midnight swim to the boat was eerie and he was happy to be aboard.
We rented a car for a couple of days, which for cruisers means: Laundry, propane fills, heavy shopping and Costco if there's one available. We did manage to throw in some sightseeing to some of the places you can't get to via bus.
Matey does have a complaint about Hawaii. We had thought that since we have to go through so many requirements to bring a dog here that it would be like doggie paradise as far as safety. But she has had more ticks here than anywhere in Mexico - I guess, at least they don't carry rabies. And the romping in the water everyday caused various rashes on her oh so sensitive skin in the humid air. So now we let her play right when we get ashore, rinse her with fresh water at the beach, then walk her around town till she dries and try our hardest to keep here dry as we launch the dinghy. But she still has a great time romping with the fish in the river.
In fact, Greg has put together Matey's 2nd music video (turn on your speakers) "Hanalei Matey" It's her life here in Hanalei - a MUST SEE.... click the movie camera to see it ***Note no specials effects were used to increase her speed, this is Matey Play in real time.... (Not sure why, but people not using Internet explorer might have to right click to save on your computer first)
Here are some pictures from the parade for King Kamehameha Day in Lihue
I believe those have been the highlights. Other than this we've been swimming most every day around the Bay and off the boat. We've broken down and paid for internet at the local coffee shop so we enjoy hanging out there. We'll be spending a little more time on little jobs that need to be completed: like the bracket for our GPS that sheared away in the beat back to Hanalei yesterday, and the installation of another fan, hanging the radar deflector, and a few other odds and ends before the passage.
That's about it from Paradise...
Melissa, Greg and Matey