SAILING FROM BIG ISLAND

Alinuihaha Channel, you lived up to your reputation and I shall never forget you. The crossing of the Channel was boisterous with tremendous winds and waves experienced just before arriving at the southern tip of Maui.  The trip is not to be taken lightly, the first part up to the tip of the big island is along a lee shore with no possible shelter available.  Then, when committed to crossing the channel there is little room for bailing out other than running south to the west coast of the Big Island.

Maalaea Harbour Entrance.Truce Anchored in Lono Harbour.PHOTO Ray Penson
Maalaea Harbour Entrance.Truce Anchored in Lono Harbour.PHOTO Ray Penson

We made the one-hundred-mile trip from Hilo to La Perouse Bay in seventeen hours.  It could have been much faster but I was trying to keep the speed down to reasonable levels, at one stage I had nine point five showing on the GPS, which is too much.

By one in the morning Truce was anchored in La Perouse Bay, gently pitching and rolling to the low southerly swell entering the bay.  When we arrived at La Perouse bay it was pitch dark and the shore line couldn’t be seen.  I could hear the breakers crashing on the rocks but couldn’t tell how far off they were.  It was a relief at daylight to see that we had found the right anchor spot.

Truce Anchored in Lono Harbour.PHOTO Ray Penson
Truce Anchored in Maalaea Bay. Truce Anchored in Lono Harbour.PHOTO Ray Penson

La Perouse Bay is quite scenic but not much happening there, unless you are into snorkelling.  The water is crystal clear, I could easily see the anchor on the bottom in ten meters.  The Bay is surrounded with volcanic basalt type rock, a bit like Rangitoto in New Zealand but on a bigger scale.  After breakfast, I decided to move on the Sugar Beach in Maalaea Bay.  I had good reports about the place, cafes, restaurants, farmers market, bus into town, nice beach etc.

Upon arrival at Sugar Beach, at two in the afternoon, the wind was howling, about twenty-five knots from onshore.  I anchored, the anchor held.  Now I am sitting on board listening to the wind howling in the rigging as Truce bobs around the anchor.  I can’t go ashore, it’s too windy to leave the boat and I am sure the rubber duck would be blown over the horizon in no time.  So, frustration has set in, I can see the shore, I can hear the shore, I can smell the shore but can’t get there at the moment.

The wind is expected to reduce as the sun goes down and the land cools.  By ten in the evening we can expect calm conditions and the cycle repeats itself the next day with wind building from ten in the morning.

During my time here I have only encountered two other cruising boats.  The lack of sheltered anchorages and ports means that cruisers mainly avoid the place.  Hawaii is a major crossroads on the cruising circuit but it seems most go the established marinas in Honolulu where there are full facilities and services before sailing onwards.

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