Monday, April 30, 2012

Kealakekua: Captain Cook's Bay

19° 28.444N, 155° 55.316W

I arrived in Kealakekua on April 26th, just after 11am.  I wanted to arrive early as the anchorage has coral with patches of sand and the sand patches are easier to see in good light.  I ended up anchoring three times.  The first time I dropped the anchor in a sand patch in 25' but after letting enough chain out I ended up in 17' of water with the chain draped over some coral.  So I raised the anchor and motored around again.  The second time I found a large spot which had the distinctive light color of sand, so I again dropped anchor, let out enough chain, set the anchor and thought I was done.  I then dove on the anchor to take a look and found that the bottom was a mixture of sand, rock and dead coral with sand lightly covering everything.  The anchor had wedged beside a small rock but the bottom wasn't what I wanted.  I then put my swim fins on and swam around the area looking for a good sand patch.  I finally found a large one with a nice sand bottom.  I took a few bearings, got back in the boat, raised anchor etc and finally ended up in a good spot.  Anchoring in areas where there is coral is definitely more challenging than what I encountered in Mexico or mainland.  While I was here on separate occasions different local's swam out to my boat and looked at the anchor and chain - they seemed to approve of it.  I spoke with both of them and they were interesting folks just looking out for their area.

There are two big draws to this area.  Captain Cook was killed in 1779 in Ka'awaloa Cove, which is on the north side of Kealakekua Bay.  There is a monument and a plaque which indicates the spot he was killed.  The other big draw is snorkeling in Ka'awaloa Cove which has a healthy stand of coral with the fish to go along with it.

Captain Cook's monument
From the monument back into the cove.
A path to a trail
A trail which goes for miles and miles along the coast
My dingy and how I had to land
The guide book I have mentioned that you can land dinghy's on the old pier below the monument.  The commercial operators don't like you to do this and I understand their point.  On the days I was visiting there was a small swell in the area, 3' from the south.  This was enough to mean that a dinghy tied up to the only cleat at the pier would be pretty badly bashed.  Also, the cleat is in an area where most people exit the water.  The spot I found was suggested by one of the commercial operators and is to the left of the monument as you look at it from the water.

The dock at Captain Cook's
The guidebook also mentions that the dock that is beside the anchorage area can be used to land dinghy's, but again, the area is pretty much occupied by the commercial kayak operators.  Tying a dinghy up here wouldn't work as the swell was a lot of surge in this area.  A dinghy could possibly be pulled out of the water...  Anyway, its a problem.

The following day I went back to the cove and snorkeled around for hours and hours.

Kealakekua Bay was more comfortable and friendly than the other anchorages I have been to on the leeward side of the island.  There is swell in the area, but it wasn't as bad as it was earlier.  There is a pretty steady stream of kayakers who rent a kayak in Captain Cook's and then paddle over to the cove to see the monument or snorkel.  There were also stand up paddle boarders and swimmers around.  Each day I was in the anchorage people would stop by the boat and say 'Aloha' and have a little chat.  It was nice.  I'm starting to realize how starved for company I am.  I had expected to arrive in Hawaii and be surrounded by the sailing cruisers as I have been on the west coast and in Mexico.  There just aren't any sailboats around!  Again, I was the only boat in this anchorage and I didn't see any other sailboats go by.  Perhaps Maui, O'ahu or Kaua'i will have more sailboats and cruisers around.

Again, there was no AT&T coverage, so no phone or internet.

I left this anchorage on April 30th heading for Kailua - Kona.  I had big expectations for my next visit - my first real city on the leeward side of the island!  More on that in the next post.

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