Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Kaua’i Island

[Kyle]We left Makua just before sunset for the overnight sail to Kaua’i. Kaua’i is just a bit too far to sail during one period of daylight and is also too far away to be visible from Makua. It was the first time we have sailed at night or out of sight of land since arriving in Hilo two months earlier.

It went really well. The wind drove us a little crazy until we cleared the lee of O’ahu, but then provided a nice strong trade winds the whole way. We put an extra reef in each sail just to keep from having to go on deck in the night and still made great speed across the Kaua’i Channel, regularly seeing 10kt.

Maryanne sailed the first watch. When she handed over to me at 1am, she pointed out a tug and barge slowly converging on us going about the same speed. I spent the next hour in a neck and neck race with them, gaining in the gusts and falling behind in the lulls. When we were about two miles apart, the Captain called me to make passing arrangements. At that point, it looked like we would pass slightly ahead, but only if the wind held out. I decided it would be best to turn and pass behind them. Their course was strange. Maryanne and I were headed for the northeastern corner of the island. There is nothing beyond there but bays and coves for boats. The only commercial harbor on the island was at Nawiliwili way to our left. The tug seemed to be headed for Alaska.

Once we crossed, Begonia picked up some wind and we left the tug behind. They just got over the horizon when the wind dropped down and our speed halved. At about six miles apart, they altered course to the left and started converging on us again, this time heading for Nawiliwili. An hour or so later, the tug called me again wanting to know my intentions for crossing. My intention was to keep sailing a straight line (ever heard of it?), but I offered to pass behind once again. Perhaps he was stalling until morning; perhaps it’s bad to pull a barge at certain angles to the waves.

Rainy and cloudy has the benefit of a morning rainbow, and eventually we get a first glimpse of Kauai

We rounded the northeastern corner of Kaua’i at daybreak and sailed along its northern shore. We passed Hanalei Bay and anchored behind the breakers off the reef at Ha’ena Beach. Ha’ena, like Makua, is also very near the end of the road. There were a few cottages on the beach, and then the landscape to the west gave way to the unspoiled and dramatic Na Pali coast, where the only infrastructure is an eleven–mile long footpath to the next road. The sea cliffs rose into green spires more than a thousand feet above. We were worn out from not sleeping much to get there, so an afternoon nap was pretty high on our list of priorities. With the warm breeze and the sound of the nearby surf, it would have been hard to think of a better place for it.

[Maryanne]We spent the time at anchor relaxing and swimming, and returning to normal sleep patterns, but mostly enjoying the stunningly jagged scenery.

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