Thursday, May 29, 2014

Farewell to the Big Island

[Kyle]After Kealakekua, our next planned stop was a short way up the coast at Honokohau harbor, just north of Kona. I hadn’t been really looking forward to it, since our guides said it was neither nice, nor terribly convenient, but we needed to break up the journey to the northern tip of the island and Honokohau was the last decent stop. Maryanne looked at the guide books and decided she would rather do the whole trip north as one long, overnight leg. So, instead of going to bed, we pulled up anchor and sailed out of Captain Cook’s bay in time for a sunset at sea. We actually got a better one than they did back in the bay because we had sailed far enough offshore to be clear of the clouds over land.

Again, as we had from Honomolino, we pinched as close to the wind as we could on a course perpendicular to the shore. After the requisite couple of hours, we tacked and right at the same moment, the wind stopped completely. We bobbed around for another hour before we could even get Begonia pointed the direction we were trying to go, much less moving that way.

Once we were finally moving steadily, I handed the boat over to Maryanne and got a few hours of sleep. When she woke me, I learned that she had suffered a repeat of my frustrations and had only made it eight miles, mostly by drifting. Oh how I longed for the trade winds on the eastern side of the island.

As the sun came up, we were heading straight into Kailua Bay at Kona, only twelve miles up the coast from Kealakekua. We should have been twenty miles further along by then. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t make it to our anchorage by nightfall.

We tacked away from the coast and after a few minutes of bobbing around, a wind finally came in from the west. We were able to parallel the shore as our boat speed hit seven, then eight, then nine, and then ten knots. Whoo, hoo! That’s more like it.

All frustration was soon lost when our speed picked up AND we had a pod of bottlenose dolphins join us for a ride. They never fail to bring a smile to any face.

Bottlenose dolphins join us on our passage north off Big Island

Soon, we were approaching the two-boat anchorage at Nishimura Bay near the NW tip of Hawai'i island. I couldn’t spot any other vessels through the binoculars, but then suddenly another sailboat started peeking around the headland and then disappearing again as it swung around its anchor in the shifting winds. In the distance was a monohull that appeared to be heading across the Alenuihaha channel towards Maui. They tacked and were soon right behind us for Nishinura.

We passed the other anchored boat, which was a grubby derelict, rolling wildly in the swell, and picked a spot on the far end of the sand patch as close as we dared to the rocks on shore, trying to leave room for the other boat headed the same way. They came pretty close under sail and tacked away. I could see at that point that it was Rachel and Adam from Moments.

I got on the radio and told them we thought we left enough room for them on the other side of the sand, but that if they didn’t like that, they were welcome to tie up to us for the night. Our anchor was well dug in. They thought for a moment and then told us thanks, but they were going to go directly to Maui instead.

Nishimura Bay for a quick overnight break on route. The hilltop is home to an ancient Hawaiian heiau (A mini Stonehenge used as a navigation marker). And even a boat full of junk can look good in the sunset!

I can’t say I really blame them. Nishimura was really small and seemed to offer little protection from the swell. I had pictured a little jewel of a cove like Honomolino, but it’s only redeeming qualities seemed to be good holding and a view of Maui in the distance. That would have been pretty cool if it weren’t for the boat full of junk in the foreground. I had originally thought we might stay until a lull in the strong trade winds a few days later, but we decided to make the crossing of the Alenuihaha first thing the next morning before they picked up.

1 comment:

kate rodenhouse said...

Sorry the new cove wasn't as attractive and didn't offer the protection of the earlier one - but you had dolphins!!! Oh, you know how much I love them. And Maryanne is exactly right: they joined you Just Because! They love being around people and boats, they are naturally curious and want to play and challenge themselves. Such fun!