Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some images from outside of Hanalei

I took a walk west along the highway yesterday.  Its a beautiful area.  Notice how quickly the sky changed over a period of two hours.

Looking toward the anchorage

Looking down at a pocket beach just around the corner from Hanalei

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anchored in Hanalei Bay, Kaua'i

22° 12.621'N, 159° 30.118'W

I decided yesterday to finally leave my anchorage near the Heeia small boat harbor in Kane'ohe Bay.  I had done everything I wanted to do in the area and wanted to move along to Hanalei Bay as I had heard so many good things about it.  Before getting to that part of the story, here are some images from Kane'ohe.
The shoreline, looking NE from my anchorage in Kane'ohe Bay
Looking SW
Looking down
While I was here I was able to meet up with Jim Thomson who was one of my instructors at Windworks Sailing Club in Seattle.  Jim taught me all sorts of things, which I sorely needed as I started sailing as a neophyte - I am not one of the people you meet cruising who was born on a boat and have spent their entire lives on the water.  I spent the majority of my life landlocked unaware of what cruising was or that it even existed.  Jim moved out to Hawaii with his wife a few years ago and has a house a valley or two down from where I was anchored.  We met up and spent the day chatting while he showed me some of the sights.
Chinaman's Hat, taken on my island tour
Kane'ohe Bay is beautiful, lush, green.  The water has great color although it doesn't have great visibility.  There are a few places to anchor in the Bay, and I choose to anchor close to the Heeia small boat harbor.  There is a fuel dock here as well as somewhere to land your dinghy - landing a dinghy is apparently a problem in this bay as most of the shoreline is private.  From the harbor its a 2 1/2 mile walk into 'town', which is a mall with some places to eat, a Safeways and other assorted useful places for cruisers (laundry mat, post office, place to fill propane tanks, etc.)  Its not scenic or very attractive.  If it wasn't the most convenient place to the harbor there wouldn't have been any draw for me here.  The anchorage had a total or perhaps 10 boats (this was in one of four official anchorages.)  All but one of the other boats seemed to be there in storage, and the other boat with a person on board seemed to be a local with some social issues...

I also got into Honolulu for a visit to West Marine and to see that city.  This time I was guided around by Karen, a friend of Karen and Jim of Sockdolager.  Honolulu is a big city with all sorts of facilities and activities.  However while I was walking around, I realized that I was glad that I wasn't staying here as somehow staying in a big touristy city just didn't appeal to me.

So, Heeia at Kane'ohe is too small, remote and deserted, Honolulu too large and crowded.  I feel like Goldilocks looking for the anchorage which is just right.   I think I may have found it in Hanalei.  I'll write up more detailed impressions later.
Hanalei, Kaua'i
My sail here was in my top two favorite sails I've had here in the Hawaiian islands.  I started raising my anchor in Kane'ohe at 1pm, and finally exited the ship channel in the Bay by 2:30pm.  The final part of this leg was a little miserable - I was motoring directly NE into a NE wind blowing 20+ in a fairly narrow channel, 35' deep, into steep close wind waves that roll in from the Pacific.  Once I exited the channel and rounded the safe water marker I was able to raise my sails and start the more pleasant portion of the day.  The winds for the sail were 15 - 25 knots in 6 to 10 foot seas.  I sailed around to the north point on O'ahu by 6pm and then adjusted course for the NE point on Kaua'i, 80 miles away.  I rounded the NE point on Kaua'i near 5am the following day after a beautiful night of 'sailing' - it was really just going for a ride as the Monitor wind vane steered Luckness the entire way, without any tweaking required.  From the NE point the entrance to Hanalei Bay was less than 20 miles and three jibes away, and I was anchored in firm sand by 9am.  

This is likely to be my last anchorage before leaving the islands heading to Seattle in roughly three weeks.  I have most of my provisions onboard already, I'll buy fresh food when the time is right.  Luckness is shipshape, although I have a few small things I want to adjust before leaving.  

I'll update this blog before I take off.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Anchored in Kane'ohe, O'ahu


Here's a shot of Lahaina I haven't gotten around to posting yet.  The Lahaina Yacht Club is to the left of the white posts you can see along the sea front, maybe 1/3 of the way in from the left.  It provides a perfect spot to enjoy a beverage and some food while you look out at your boat.  If you have a boat in the area, this is highly recommended.

I arrived in Kane'ohe on June 6th.  I arrived from Papohaku Roadstead on Moloka'i where I stayed overnight after leaving Lana'i, finally.  If you're uninterested in sailor talk, skip over the next paragraph where I talk more about getting here.

My anchorage on Lana'i was windy and I didn't feel like getting beat up in my trip to Kane'ohe, so I was being patient and waiting.  The forecast for Monday June 4th looked good as did the rest of the week.  I waited on Monday in my anchorage and as the wind died off I was able to get into the water and clean the hull which was needed.  I also found that my max-prop zinc was in need of changing, which was a little surprising to me as I haven't been in a marina for ages and haven't been plugged into shore power since leaving Mexico.  I'll need to figure out why my max-prop zinc is being eaten so quickly, but that will wait until I return to Seattle.  As the weather on Monday corresponded to what was forecast I decided to leave on Tuesday.  I got up and was gone by 6:30am.  Leaving Lana'i I had a beautiful wind for most of the journey - it backed and veered as would be expected on the lee side of an island, but I was able to sail for the first time in a while which felt good.  As I was crossing the channel toward Molok'i, I was hoping that my day would end on the positive note I was living at the moment, enjoying the sail - but felt that it wasn't likely as my destination which was the Papohaku Roadstead on Moloka'i appeared to be roughly 7nm upwind.  As I rounded the SW corner of the island the east wind died.  I rolled in my genoa and started motoring toward my destination bashing into what appeared to be NE wind waves although there was no wind at that point.  Within 5 minutes the wind started to arrive and I ended up a little miserable, bashing directly into a 25 knot wind toward my anchorage.  As I approached the anchorage I started to enter the lee of some cliffs and the wind died down to less than 20 and I explored the roadstead for a suitable place to anchor.  The cruising guide describes the bottom as a mixture of rock and sand, which is what I found.  I looked for a sand patch to drip my anchor in and wasn't able to find one and so finally dropped my hook in 20' of water in a location where if I was to drag, I would drag out to sea.  My anchor skipped along the bottom for perhaps 30' which is hardly ever happens with this anchor, until it finally hooked something and was stopped.  I later dove on my anchor and found that the tip had run into a rock and gotten somewhat jammed underneath it, but the rest of the anchor was visible and sitting on the bottom.  This wasn't ideal, but I felt comfortable in that if the anchor suddenly released it would skid across the bottom again until it hit the next rock, or I ended up offshore.  With my anchor alarm I would know when I started to drag pretty quickly however.  The anchor ended up holding all night and I left the next morning for Kane'ohe, again at 6:30am.  The trip from Moloa'i to O'ahu was nice - I was able to sail all of the way in reasonable wind.  The wind was stronger on the Moloka'i side of the channel which is expected if you look at the island chain and how the trade winds would be funneled around.  I arrived to the entrance of Kane'ohe at 12:15pm having made good time for the 35nm.  Kane'ohe is a large bay protected by a coral reef.  Once you are inside the reef the water is quite protected and calm, outside the reef there are larger waves and swell.  Getting inside from outside consists of following many nav-aids, carefully, while making turns around all of the marked hazards.  Its an easy enough process, but you want to be paying attention...
At anchor in Kane'ohe Bay.  The green arrow marks my spot.
Coming into Kane'ohe from outside the reef was spectacular.  I came in while there was patchy sunshine, and when the sun lit up the mountain sides surrounding this bay the greens of all the vegetation are remarkable.  The windward side of this island is simply beautiful - steep mountains with many valleys all covered with dense vegetation in a wide range of shades of green.  This is what I expected when I think of a tropical paradise.  The bay I'm in is many shades of blue and with the scattered coral around, there are more textures and shades of blue/green in the area which add to the beauty.  Its visually a very pleasing place to hang out.
Luckness, at anchor in Kane'ohe Bay, O'ahu

I've been here for a few days now and have started my exploration.  From my anchorage I take my dinghy into the small boat harbor where I leave it close to shore but in the water off the canoe club.  (In the image of the bay, above, head north around the coral, then west and south west toward the marina, then west to shore.)  From that point, its roughly 2 1/2 miles to 'town'.  I'm not sure where the center of this town is, but 2 1/2 miles gets you to a mall complex with a Safeway, Starbucks, Macy's, Sears, restaurants, etc.  Another 1/2 mile gets you to a laundry and a place where I hope I can fill my propane tank.  I've been doing a lot of walking while here, which has been nice as I have needed it after being on my boat so long at Lana'i.  I'll take the bus over to Honololu soon as there is a West Marine over there where I can buy a few things.

The folks at the harbor masters office here passed along a little warning to me regarding my dinghy.  They  liked the place I found to moor it when I get to shore, but warned me that they have had many reports of stolen items (motors, oars, dinghies...) and mentioned that most of the thefts occur at night.  While I'm here I'll be on shore only during daylight hours...

When I was first planning my time in the islands I had penciled in three or four weeks in this anchorage while I got everything done on O'ahu that I thought I would need.  O'ahu is the best place in the islands to attend to boat projects.  As it turns out, I don't need to do very much work on the boat - Luckness is in good shape.  I think I'll revise my plan and only spend between one and two weeks here and then move along to Kaua'i, which from what I read and all reports I hear is spectacular.  Kane'ohe is a nice place to hang out - but after having spent three weeks in Lahaina among such great people and in such an easy place to walk around, I don't feel the need to be around a city too much at the moment.

Kaua'i will be the last island I visit in this tour - from Kaua'i I leave and return to Seattle.  I had planned on only staying at one anchorage on Kaua'i, but may modify that depending on a conversation I'll have with the small boat harbor staff next week.  In addition, I've been in communication with the folks at Shilshole Marina in Seattle where I used to have a slip for Luckness.  I applied for a new slip at Shilshole when I arrived in Hawaii and it sounds like I'll have a slip waiting for me to pull into when I arrive, which would be awesome.

It feels like my time here is starting to wind down.  However, I have something like 5 weeks left and am looking forward to them.

Addendum:  I keep mentioning my anchor alarm.  Here's a picture of its display, taken in Kalama Nui on Lana'i.  The winds here were mainly E - NE.  A few days had light west and south west wind.  The dots on the display are placed every now and then, giving you a history of where  you've been around your anchor.

A shot of my awesome anchor alarm.  Its also my AIS display.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Its windy in Kalama Nui, Lana'i

Well this was a bit of a surprise. I arrived in this anchorage on Monday thinking that the leeside of Lana'i would be relatively calm. There were stronger trade winds expected (around 20 knots) and as I wanted to move along from Lahaina I thought it would be a good idea to hang out on Lana'i. It seems like I may have picked one of the windiest places in the state to hang out - judging from the wind observations reports I hear on the VHF from around the state.

Monday had moderate wind. Tuesday the wind was pretty moderate as well, I was able to clean the topsides of the boat and work on a few chores - thinking that I could snorkel the following day for a few days. Wednesday it started to get windier and I didn't get the dinghy in the water. By Thursday the weather reports on VHF WX1 was warning about a "wind advisory for Lana'i - NE 20-35 knots, gusts to 45." The highest wind I saw on Thursday was 34 knots but the wind was 15 to 25 all day, gusting regularly higher. The forecast was for the wind to weaken by the weekend. Friday the wind was NE 15-25 gusts to 31 with the wind weakening after the weekend. Today the winds have been NE 15-30, gusts to 33 with the wind expected to weaken early in the week. I keep waiting for the winds to die down as expected, but the expected date keeps moving forward. It gets windy here in Hawaii!

I re-anchored on Tuesday to be further north, more in the middle of the bay I'm in and am very happy that I did so. There is a rule about reefing a sail: if you're thinking about reefing the sail, then its time to do so. It seems the same rule applies to re-anchoring. If you're not comfortable with where you're anchored then move, delaying doesn't improve the situation. I ended up moving when the winds were blowing me close to the rocky south shore (< 100' away, I get nervous early...) and it was an interesting experience raising my anchor with the winds gusting to 30 knots as I kept the boat positioned into the wind (at the helm) and raised the anchor (at the bow.) It took a little while but ended well. The anchor is holding well and hasn't moved at all in the time I've been here. I'm loving my anchor alarm (VesperMarine WatchMate) and the graphics it has, it raises my comfort level being able to glance at it.

I have plenty of food, water, power and patience. I may leave here on Monday. I don't really want to get beat up getting to my next anchorage (which is across a channel with accelerated winds and then upwind for about 7nm,) so I'll delay until I'm comfortable. I should be on O'ahu later this week.

If any of you were wondering: Where's Craig? Why hasn't he moved in the past week? I'll be moving along when I think the time is right :-)

See ya!

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