Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Get Out of Nu’u, Baby

[Kyle]Nu’u turned out not to be the great deal we had originally thought. While it is tremendously beautiful, it turned out to be a little too exposed for us when the wind piped up.

Our first night there was great, but by the next day, the wind was hitting the 20s most of the time. It was loud enough that we couldn’t hear each other unless we were in the same room. Begonia didn’t move an inch, but the soothing swell in the anchorage was getting slightly bigger. All of that jagged a’a lava to leeward was making us nervous. I swam to the anchor and had another look. It was perfectly calm down there. I rode the catenary of the chain as it rose and fell, but the last 15 meters were just laying flat on the sand.

We spent a second night, but we were both tossing and turning – hyper alert to each weird motion. To make things worse, it was so dark at night that we couldn’t see anything but stars from the deck. We could tell if we were swinging, but not if we were dragging. We also had no cell phone service, so we couldn’t use the anchor alarm apps on our phones. I doubt we could have heard the chartplotter alarm over the wind down in our berth.

We listened to the forecast on the VHF the next morning. They had added gusts up to 45 for the next few day. Oh, hell no! We are outta here! For some reason, we seem to be particularly paranoid about dragging onto remote beaches so we knew that meant we wouldn’t sleep a wink.

The Southern coast of Maui is barren and with plenty of these dramatic gulches scouring the land - there is a road that crosses this mayhem (rental cars mostly not allowed!)

Getting out of there was a little stressful. Begonia really wants to turn downwind so keeping her straight while we pulled up the anchor was a challenge that often required both engines to be at our normal running rpm in opposite directions.

We left the protection of the little tongue of lava protecting Nu’u Bay and turned downwind. With only a double-reefed jib, we were sailing between eight and twelve knots in twenty knots of tailwind. We ate up the coastline quickly, watching the cars on the coast road as we plowed towards the Alalakeiki Channel, separating Maui from Kaho’olawe.

Big beach - just south of our anchorage, and black sand beach our first attempt to anchor

We rounded the corner at Kamanamana Point and the wind began to slowly abate. As we passed between Pu’u Ola’i and the semi-circular crater remnant of Molokini, The wind suddenly came from ahead. We lowered the sails and anchored off of the black sand beach at Makena. Swimming on the anchor later revealed that it was on a slab of rock with a covering of about ¼” of sand. The tip of the anchor was hooked in a ½” deep groove in the rock. Oh, that won’t do!

We moved to a spot further along the white sand Beach at the Makena Beach Resort, an ugly concrete triangle with beautiful manicured grounds. This time, I donned snorkel and fins and swam around until I found a nice sandy spot away from any coral. Maryanne brought Begonia right over me and dropped the anchor right in the perfect spot. I watched it bury itself and then the chain behind it, gradually arcing up to our little home. Oh yes, we’ll sleep much better here.

Anchored by sunset at Makena's beautiful beach, just north of black sand beach

We spent our afternoon watching wedding after wedding take place on the beach through our binoculars. Closer inspection of the hotel seemed to reveal very little non-wedding business. This is a nice spot for it. The beach with the cone of Pu’u Ala’I in the background looks like a mini Waikiki.

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