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Saturday, November 13, 2010


A week ago today we found out the hard way that the Alenuihaha,Channel is not to be taken lightly. While we didn't attempt it at its worst, we also couldn't wait the extra couple of days for it to get better, so we took it on at about medium strength (forecasted at 25-30 knots). While we didn't break anything the seas were probably the worst we've ever encountered, and we were lucky not to have been knocked down. They weren't the biggest we've seen, but they were steep and breaking and it was scary. We had our main double reefed to practically nothing with just a scrap of jib out. The good thing is that John timed it so we were in it during early daylight hours, and it only took us five hours to reach the lee of Lanai where the wind almost completely died and we had to motor. I sure wouldn't want to do that at night!

We made our Honolulu landfall at dawn after heaving to for a couple of hours to wait for enough light to enter the channel. We tied up to the Aloha Dock at the Hawaii Yacht Club where we were happy to have an opportunity to hose salt off the boat again and fill our water tanks. My sister and her husband drove in from Ko Olina to welcome us and deliver our mail, and we all trekked over to the Ala Moana food court for lunch and some shopping. I bought my obligatory pair of Hawaiian Island Creations custom made slippas (you pick the color straps you want to go with the flip flop bottoms) which I discovered on my first visit in 1984. Leslie and Tom headed back to their resort and we finished picking up the boat before joining Soggy Paws on Infini where we were treated to a delicious post passage/welcome to Honolulu dinner.

While I normally like being tied to a dock with amenities as nice as the ones at HYC (showers, Wi-Fi, communal kitchen, book exchange, TV) it's really difficult when all Ziggy wants to do is get off the boat. The routine becomes: we get woken up at 4:30 when he hears the gardener and housekeeping staff starting work outside and wants to get out to see what everyone is up to; I finally throw in the towel at 5:00 or 5:30 after he's climbed on us a few times, knocked the clock off the bookshelf and, as a last resort, starts meowing; make the coffee and feed him even though he barely touches it because he's far more interested in going outside; and put his harness on and stake him out on the dock with his leash and about 20' of line until it's light enough (the sun comes up at around 6:30 here) to walk him around the club building. It has to be light enough for me to see whether he's eating something or just sniffing. The first day I let him eat all the grass he wanted, including some grassy plant with wide long blades which he was scarfing whole in 2-3" pieces. Well, he threw that up, still whole, in the flower bed, and threw up some more later in the day on the boat. No more eating grass after that! Our last morning there he managed to catch a very small brown gecko which I forced out of his mouth before it became breakfast. He wasn't able to find it again, so I hope it managed to survive intact.

We spent Wednesday and Thursday playing with Leslie and Tom. We took them out for a windy sail along Waikiki during which we passed a pile of fishing net floating in the water. John had only just informed Tom that we had a line out when Tom noticed that we had a fish on! It was a small mahi mahi which made a colorful leap out of the water, but it shook off the lure and was gone. We tried making another pass by the floating "dorado condo" without getting another bite. On the way back to the marina we made a brief stop at a Turtle Canyon mooring where we did indeed see a couple of turtles but not much else of interest in the murky water (only John and Tom actually got in the water). After putting the boat away we drove to a snorkeling stop at Electric Beach where a power plant discharges warm water not far from the small beach next to the plant. This was better with lots of fish but not a huge variety, and the water was murky again. We ended the day with homemade Lynchburg Lemonades on the beach at the Ko Olina Marriott resort where they were staying, a big dinner at the Outback Steak House, and an overnight with L&T in their beautiful suite.

The next morning we were somehow hungry enough for banana pancakes at Koa Pancake House. We stopped for pictures at the Pali Lookout on our way to beaches in the Kailua/Lanikai area. John and Tom burned calories by body surfing and boogie boarding while Leslie and I applauded and soaked up the sun. We tried another beach for snorkeling but L&T reported back that it was dead and murky, not to mention rough.

Finally we were hungry enough to get to Buzz's Original Steak House in Lanikai before they closed for lunch at 3 PM. We were met there by an old family friend from Bainbridge Island, who used to own a shoe store on the island. I have fond memories of our annual late summer pilgrimage to his store where he very diplomatically mediated between what the kids wanted versus what their mothers thought best for the coming school year! Stan treated us to sashimi and the best calamari steak appetizer we've ever had, and we enjoyed our lunches of fish burger, special Caesar salad, fish burrito, and fish Caesar salad accompanied by the house Mai Tais and BFRDs (Big Rum Drinks). There was a special brownie topped with ice cream for Leslie's birthday dessert, plus key lime pie, and huge wedges of ice cream "pie" for the rest of us. It was a delicious meal in a fun setting made even more special by our visit with Stan.

We wound down the day with one more celebratory drink atop the Ilikai hotel where there is a great view of the Ala Wai Marina and we could see Nakia tied up at the Hawaii Yacht Club. Finally it was time to say goodbye to Leslie and Tom, and return to reality after our "vacation" from our "retirement."

The next day we moved Nakia to a "slip" at the Ala Wai Marina where we are on a dock with no fingers; we are med-moored with the bow tied to a mooring ball and stern-tied to the dock. We're almost close enough to the boats on either side of us for Ziggy to jump off Nakia, but at least he can't jump to the dock (which we get to in our dinghy like we did in Honokohau). Now it's time for us to get busy with boat projects!

{GMST}21|17.020|N|157|50.595|W|Ala Wai Marina|Honolulu{GEND}

Friday, November 05, 2010


We are just about at the end of our stay in Kona where the only thing keeping us here is the opportunity to spend time with our good friends, Ralph and Glenda. We have enjoyed lunches at the Kona Canoe Club and the Big Island Grill; shopping trips to Costco, Sports Authority, and Ross; and a visit to Honokohau Marina to see Our Country Home and have a quick chat with Chris on Quest. The most enjoyable part of the visit has been hanging out on their new lanai addition, admiring the ocean view and the new covered patio area in progress down in the back yard. Since our arrival the balcony glass has been installed in the lanai and lava paving stones were being set in the yard patio. These two areas add a lot of beauty and resort style living space to an already lovely home.

While we've been playing on shore poor Nakia has been bouncing around like a drunken sailor in the anchorage. Even with the rocker stopper the swell and wind chop have been awful, sometimes to the point of having to hold on to drinks to keep them from sliding across the table. After three nights of this we're feeling a little sleep deprived, and I think we'll be glad to get out to sea where we can get some better rest!

I bought Ziggy a nifty new toy. It's an egg shaped "weeble" type thing, weighted on the bottom half. The top screws off to fill it with kibble or treats and there's a small hole for them to fall out of. The idea is for the cat to manipulate the egg to get the kibble to fall out a few at a time, but the boat rolls so much that the toy is pretty much self-dispensing at the moment. But Ziggy got the hang of it right away and now he has to work a bit for the kibble portion of his meals. Whatever keeps him occupied!

This afternoon we went to lunch with Ralph and Glenda as well as Randy and Lynn (from the Pacific Seafarers Net) before heading over to Honokohau for a short snorkel. As luck would have it our old neighbor from last year, Russ on Lepika (http://www.lepikasportfishing.com/)
was backing into the fuel dock just as we arrived. John went over to say 'hi' and before John could leave Russ asked if he wanted to go fishing Saturday. Unfortunately we plan to sail for Oahu at 1 AM tonight/Saturday morning which should put us into Honolulu early Sunday morning. So no fishing on Lepika this trip.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hilo to Kona

We wrapped up our business in Hilo, including sharing a Sumo burger (two 8 oz patties and a double order of fries) and a hot fudge sundae at Ken's Pancake House. It rained most of the weekend and was still raining when we pulled away Monday morning. Once we were a mile offshore we cleared the rain clouds which continued to spread showers over the windward slopes of the eastern coast. We passed Waipio Valley before sunset but couldn't see into it with the low angle of the sun. We did see lots of waterfalls along the coast, and the peak of Haleakala way off in the distance on Maui. We managed to get some nice sailing in between bouts of light wind motoring and the night was clear and warm especially once we rounded the point by Hawi and headed south for Kona. What a difference in scents on the dry breeze coming off the arid volcanic leeward side compared to tropical Hilo. We anchored off the Kailua Kona pier just after sunrise and got the rocker stopper deployed as quickly as possible to dampen our roll a bit. We'll meet Ralph and Glenda for lunch later today and catch up on sleep tonight.

Before leaving Hilo Ziggy got to meet Tank, a Coast Guard dog in training. John took Ziggy up the wall where they could sniff noses. Tank is still just a big puppy and was very sociable and happy to make all our acquaintance. Of course after that all Ziggy wanted to do was go to shore for more exploring. But we'll hold off on that until we get to the Ala Wai where we can walk him on his leash and harness.

Of the remaining Equator Hoppers, Freedom should arrive late today or early tomorrow morning, Kehaulani still has 400 miles to go, and Alobar is somewhere in between. The weather is clear for them and all are doing well.

We will take care of a few more chores while we're in Kona and should be headed for Honolulu by Friday. We'll skip the overnight to Maui because it's also an overnight to HNL from here and we're ready to avoid even the shortest of additional hops!