Wind holes, rain clouds and general difficulty in breaking free from the Hawaiian Island chain. This afternoon we are 145 miles east of the Big Island and still in its wind shadow. Frustration gave way to action at three this afternoon, I started the engine and motored to the south. After two hours we had not found any wind – I gave it an extra hour and at six in the evening we found the edge of the wind and started sailing.
The wind is coming from the South South East and not the East as expected and forecast. This means we are sailing on a close reach but still can’t lay our course south. Instead of a sailing along parallel to the waves we are crashing over them at an angle. Since last night we have been dodging to the south through a minefield of large rain clouds interspaced with calm patches and squalls.
I expect the wind will go around to the East in a couple of days and we can make our easting before the doldrums and crossing to Kiritimati.Our days run the last 24 hours was a disappointing one hundred miles. But considering how long we spent becalmed it’s not too bad. Three of those hours were on the engine – I will take it.
Jessica and I are still slightly affected by the dodgy camembert we consumed a couple of days ago. We decided to have some good food, lunch today was pasta with pesto, fresh tomatoes, basil and dried salami. It turned out pretty good. I then had a go at making cornbread. Its edible and the next batch will be way better.
This morning we had a dolphin fish on the line, unfortunately he managed to escape before we landed him in the boat. A nice small size – perfect eating. Not that we are disappointed, now we know the lure is OK and there are fish in the sea waiting to be caught. Voyage distance 206 miles.
Last night was the Waikiki Yacht Club party. Another great party and I am partied out and ready for sea.
Richard departed early this morning, back to the mainland. Now its just Jessica and myself to undertake the final preparations for the voyage. First was the US Immigration and Boarder Protection at Pier 1. The clearing out formalities were straight forward and the cost reasonable at nineteen dollars. We then bought the fresh provisions, fruit and vegetables.
Once back at the marina I topped off the fresh water tanks before we let go around one in the afternoon. As we exited the entrance channel to Ala Wai marina the gentle lift of the swell under the keel felt good. A stiff breeze was blowing and soon we had staysail and reefed jib up doing six plus knots in the right direction, south.
I expect the first couple of days out will be a bit frustrating until we clear the wind shadow of the big island. Then we should have clear wind until we reach the doldrums before Kiritimati. Only another eleven hundred miles to go.
Strong winds and rain in the early hours is becoming a tiresome habit. This morning at one the rain squalls came through the harbour and the anchor must have dragged through the soft mud, leaving Truce far too close for comfort off the harbour wall. Fortunately, the wind decreased and everything remained safe until daylight. Now I know how it feels to have your back to the wall.
After suffering interrupted sleep two nights in a row I decided that I had enough of Radio Bay and Hilo. In the early morning I made preparations to leave. The forecast is for strong North Westerly winds, twenty-five to thirty knots. They will be aft of the beam so nothing too strenuous.
I have decided to make the jump across from the Big Island to Maui. It’s one hundred miles to Maui and entails crossing the Alinuihaha Channel, a notoriously windy place where the trade wins are funnelled between ten thousand foot mountains on one side and five thousand foot mountains on the other.
By eight I was clear of Hilo harbour and motoring up the north coast of the Big Island, no wind but a lumpy sea and big swell. By eleven the wind had set in and we were sailing in beautiful conditions along the coast. What a lovely coastline, the vegetation is vivid green, houses dotted on the hillsides, some large houses with well-manicured gardens and lawns. As the land rises back from the coast it is covered by clouds, nothing can be seen of the mountains beyond. Further up the coast we passed the Waipio Valley, a spectacular stretch of high rugged coastline.
We are aiming for La Perouse Bay on the south side of Maui. This is the first sheltered anchorage after crossing the Alinuihaha Channel from the Big Island. All being well we should be there in the early hours of Saturday morning, safely anchored. I am looking forward to Maui, everyone says it’s a beautiful place.