Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 8-23, 2010, 13:20 HST

N 45°21.702’, W 136°27.261’
Heading Home...Part II

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog entry but believe me, there’s not a whole lot to report at this point. Here’s a day by day rundown of the mostly boring events that have transpired since the last time I posted (pictures are pretty much random):

August 8th: I thought my iPod succumbed to the harsh salt water environment as it wasn’t functioning properly. At that time, night watches officially began to suck for me.

August 9th: Today I lost two lures while fishing, both of them lost with fish on. One of the fish actually jumped out of the water once it was hooked and it looked like a wahoo (ono) from my vantage point on the stern of the boat.
August 10th: The weather faxes are starting to look grim which means that our return passage may take much more time than we initially anticipated. Richard is now checking for updates twice a day with the hopes that maybe, hopefully, things will change quickly. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out the best plan for rationing our food and getting anxious that I haven’t hooked into a fish yet.

August 11th: In Lahaina, I picked up a book titled Fornander’s Ancient History of the Hawaiian People to the Times of Kamehameha I. The book is basically a genealogical history of the chiefs and chiefesses of the Hawaiian Islands beginning after the initial migratory period of Polynesians up to about the mid-nineteenth century. The author, who lived during the latter part of this epic and was married to a Hawaiian chiefess himself, laid out all the important battles in that period that shaped the political boundaries of the individual island kingdoms which eventually were united under Kamehameha I in the mid-nineteenth century. It took me a long time to read this book; I actually started reading it on July 16th but each character’s name became a stumbling block not being fluent in Hawaiian. Given the tone of the book, if Kamehameha had not been successful in uniting all of the Hawaiian islands into one kingdom, it sounds like the chiefs might still be feuding to this day.

A Very Short, One Act Play…
Richard: You stink.
Brian: I’ll bathe at 2:30.
The End.

I had to put long pants on today for the first time since before arriving in Hilo weeks ago.

I started reading Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer; my friend Carol is moaning in disgust because she and I both adamantly believe that friends don’t let friends read Twilight sequels.

August 12th: Richard is now saying that it will definitely take longer to get home than initially planned. The days and nights are getting somewhat cooler, necessitating pants (is this a turning point?).

I have been “going to the gym” every day since we left Hanalei. My routine includes the following exercises (25 repetitions x 2 sets: dips, sit ups, push ups, bicycle sit ups, bicep curls (with resistance band), seated row (with resistance band), and standing pec fly (with resistance band). I am determined to lose all the weight I gained by eating out for the past month while in the islands!

It’s been getting light out at about 04:20 each day.

August 13th: Finished Eclipse (CY, only one more to go! HA!). Began reading An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke.

August 14th: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 15th: Finished An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England; began reading All Fishermen Are Liars by Linda Greenlaw.

August 16th: Finished All Fishermen Are Liars; began reading The Big Burn by Timothy Eagan.

We have not had any usable wind in the past few days and this has become quite disconcerting. Richard and I have been discussing ways to make food, water and fuel last. I still have yet to hook into a fish on this return passage and that is getting kind of frustrating. Richard fixed (again?) the water pressure issue. I have a persistent low-grade, background headache every day and I think it’s related to the swells and all the rocking the boat is doing…kind of annoying. The days are still warm but by suppertime the temperature is quite chilly and nights are downright cold.

August 18th: Today I had to don my snorkel mask and swim under the boat on the suspicion that there might be something stuck on the propeller (like discarded line or something equally evil). There wasn’t but I did get to see these neat little black and beige fish that have been swimming with the boat for a while now. I think they use the boat as some sort of protection or cover from the larger predatory fish in the area. Not sure if they understand that if they hitchhike all the way with us that they will end up in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest…their decision.

A cotter pin holding a shackle on the main sheet at the traveler track broke loose today. Took us a while to get that fixed but luckily we had a spare shackle on board.

August 19th: Fish on! I was down below sleeping and Richard got to yell my favorite fishing phrase. This tuna was a bit smaller than the one I caught on the way to Hawai’i but will be enjoyed just the same.

August 20th: Today I discovered that my iPod is not toast; it’s just that my earbuds have loose wires…night watches no longer officially suck.

August 21st: Finished The Big Burn. I have completely run out of books to read on board; good thing my iPod is working again!

August 22nd-23rd: We finally got some decent wind and have been able to sail and make head way towards Anacortes…Finally! It is a bumpy ride which makes everything we try to do on board difficult.

There you have it, all the boring details of life aboard Osprey on the homeward passage. I’m hoping that we are only about one more week until pulling into our slip in Anacortes. It will be good to get back on terra firma, see friends and family and sit back and reflect on this amazing journey.

August 8, 2010, 12:44 HST

N 29°12.530’, W 158°00.480’
Heading Home...Part I

The past five days have been filled with blue skies, a very blue ocean, periodic squalls, high temperatures, and a missed mahimahi. We are back on a three hours on/three hours off watch schedule and for the most part, both Richard and I have settled into this routine. What is surprising, at least to me, is that we are both still taking scopace despite being at sea for over five days. I would have thought that the initial effects of the rolling ocean swells would have been absorbed by now but that hasn’t been the case. Good thing we have a robust supply of scopace for this trip.

Each day is pretty much the same as the last one…blue skies, puffy white clouds, occasional afternoon rain storms (or, as I like to refer to them, bath time!), and a very blue ocean. At night, there tend to be more squalls (which I don’t refer to as bath time) and higher winds. In addition to having started this passage on a waning moon, the moon has been rising late in the evening (it’s actually been rising around 03:00 in the morning) which makes the night watches quite dark; the bonus to this dark night time sky is that the stars, constellations, the edge of the Milky Way, planets, shooting stars and comets are easily visible. During one of my three hour watches, I counted 11 shooting stars and 2 comets. The usual suspects of constellations, like the Big Dipper, Orion, the Pleides, Scorpio, and Sirius, are plainly visible and welcomed company during the night. We do have star gazing equipment on board and maybe one of these nights I’ll take that out to see if I can identify what the other constellations and planets are that fill the night sky.

The temperature has been very tropical, with daytime highs reaching well into the high 80s and mid 90s. Since we are sailing, we can’t have any of the screens in the portholes or the hatches open for ventilation, so the cabin is also quite warm and humid. This makes sleeping, at least for me, rather difficult.

Yesterday I hooked a mahimahi but as we got him to the boat, the line snapped and off he went with my lure stuck in his mouth. We are on a different tack on this return passage and so netting a fish on the side of the boat is a little more tricky than when we were heading to Hawai’i on a downwind tack. For the most part we are on a starboard tack which means that the port side of the boat is slightly lower than the starboard side due to the heel of the boat while sailing. As this is the more convenient side of the boat to fish from, Richard and I will have to devise a plan on how we will bring the fish to the boat so that one of us can net it successfully. I will make sure to let you all know how that works out once we have our next opportunity.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010, 08:00 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Heading North…

Woke up this morning and realized that it’s our last day in Hawai’i. I know that I’m not going to get any sympathy from anyone when I say that I’m sad to leave (given that we’ve been here just about a month). This morning will be spent making final preparations before we raise the anchor and head North into the Pacific Ocean for the passage home. We will not have cell phone or email as soon as we get offshore so this will be the last blog entry for this site. The regular blog, however, will continue to have updates as we travel to the Pacific Northwest, and pictures will be uploaded once we make landfall in Anacortes. I will update this blog as well once we are back in our slip in Washington.

Aloha and Mahalo for keeping up with us via out blogs!

August 2, 2010, 20:00 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Nearing the end…

It’s the night before our last night in Hanalei Bay and I am definitely sad to have to be leaving. Granted, Hanalei Bay isn’t perfect; just near perfect. The natural beauty is spectacular with the near two mile long crescent of golden sand beach fringed by palm trees, backed by lush green mountains. And remember all the rain I blogged about? Well, all that rain fed a number of waterfalls that cascaded down the faces of the ridge that reached out towards the ocean. And the rain always came with the sun so you had rainbows nearly every day. The bay itself was also amazing. The colors of the water, from deep true blue to aqua to turquoise to cerulean, it never ceased to amaze me that the water could take on so many different hues. The sunrises and sunsets against the mountains and over the ocean, dolphins swimming in and out of the bay, and the sea life teaming below the surface, all added to the experience.

The Hanalei River is also beautiful and Richard and I got to experience that firsthand when we kayaked as far up the river as we could before running out of depth to proceed further. Lined with coconut palms and banana trees, narrowing to just a few meters wide at spots, the Hanalei River was both peaceful and full of wild life. We saw numerous species of birds, fish and a few painted box turtles along the way. Where the river meets the bay, a spit of sand juts out protecting the peaceful little cove at the river’s end from the surf created by the endless ocean swells.

The town of Hanalei is both sleepy and vibrant. It’s simple in its presentation and doesn’t offer too many choices as to be seen as overwhelming while at the same time providing just the right amount of diversity to please a variety of palates. The laid back shop keepers and restaurant workers extend “aloha” genuinely and really seem happy to meet you, even if your time in Hanalei is brief. I could really see myself settling down here for a while and liking it. I mean how could you not like it? You could surf, hike, paddle, snorkel, swim, sail, pedal, eat, drink and be merry in the most perfect surroundings; you might have to work a bit here and there but let’s be realistic, even perfection has its logical limits.

But like I said, Hanalei is not perfect. Hanalei Bay’s northern exposure to the ocean allows swells to enter the bay and while the day time winds help keep the boat fairly steady, from sunset to sunrise you are a rockin’ and a rollin’! Believe me, after a while, even in paradise, this tends to get on your nerves. Breakfast is a comedy of watching your juice glass and tea cup slide back and forth on the table while you try to keep the butter, sugar, maple syrup, cereal bowls, plates, etc. from sliding off as well.

But from a cruiser’s perspective, the holding is firm in sand, there’s plenty of room for lots of boats (currently 20+ sailing vessels with just as many motor boats of various sizes), not to mention the oodles of kayakers, paddlers, and surfers you have to dodge when taking your dinghy to shore; and the shore is easily accessible by dinghy where there’s fresh water and outdoor showers. In addition, you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and surf boards right on shore, and bikes and mopeds in town which is just a 15-20 minute walk from shore. The grocery store is actually more provisioned that most of the guide books give it credit (the one we used said that it stocked “basics”, but we found it to have just about everything a cruising boat could want, including ice!). Propane is a bit of an adventure to procure as you have to go to the nearest gas station which is in Princeville and without a car, a taxi is the only way to get this done as you cannot take flammable liquids on the buses. Speaking of the buses, while we didn’t take the buses anywhere, the system runs clockwise from the North Shore to the West side of the island and allows you to access most of what the island has to offer. If Kaua’i were a clock, basically between 8:00 and 11:00 is not accessible or served by any roads. This is the Na Pali coast and the lack of easy access is probably the only thing that has saved this incredible natural area from over exposure.

So yea, let’s just say that I really liked Hanalei Bay, even if it wasn’t perfect. I can’t wait to come back.

And here comes the rain again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 1, 2010, 22:14 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Paradise, revisited…

Today was another day where we did virtually nothing…and it was great! I woke up without the searing pain from the stinging hydroids so that was a bonus. It rained off and on all day long which made sitting in the cockpit and watching the dolphins, paddle boarders, kayakers and surfers all the more appropriate. I honestly remember sitting in the cockpit after breakfast, taking in the sights, and all of a sudden realizing it was lunchtime and shortly after that, it was dinner time! These last few days seem to be flying by and that’s making me a bit sad.

We went into town and ate dinner at Hanalei Gourmet. Initially it looked like there might be a wait but Amy, the bartender from the night before, was sitting on this side of the bar and motioned over to us, pointing to two seats at the bar. We strolled over and took our places at the bar and thanked Amy. Amy’s husband, Pepe, showed up and Amy told him of our upcoming departure and how we planned to fish along the way. I asked Pepe about fishing opportunities in Hawaiian waters and told him of my skepticism surrounding the warm water temperatures. Pepe assured me that yellowtail tuna, wahoo, and mahi mahi love the warm waters surrounding Hawai’i and all I had to do was put out a line with a squid lure on and I would soon find myself with plenty of fish. I told him I would take his advice and hope for the best. Before he and Amy left, Pepe took out his cell phone to show me a picture of a 600+ pound marlin that a bud of his just caught earlier in the day outside of Anahola on the eastside of Kaua’i. It was a monster!

The Mango Brothers, a local guitar and ukelele band, were providing the musical backdrop at Hanalei Gourmet while we were having dinner. They played Hawaiian music as well as some Hawaiian versions of "somewhat" contemporary tunes. They even had some hula girls come out for a couple of songs. It was fun to listen to live, local music. The vibe was definitely North Shore!

Amy made sure to let us know that she would be DJing tomorrow on a local radio station between 15:00  and 17:00. She goes by the name of DJ Diamond and, according to Amy, plays “girlie music!” We told her we would tune in if we were on the boat.

On our way back to the boat we noticed that the mooring ball we had beached the other day was gone.

The Coconut...Part II

July 31, 2010, 20:16 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Paradise, with a few kinks…

Today Richard and I went to the Hanalei farmers’ market and for the most part had a good time. It was located in a field behind the Hanalei Poi Company, adjacent to the taro fields. There were booths with organic farmers there selling papayas, bananas, mangoes, various vegetables, honey and other great stuff. There were also booths present with artisans selling koa wood carved bowls, sea glass and shell jewelry, and local goat cheese. In addition to these booths, there were also booths selling tie-dyed shirts (made in Honduras), straw hats (made in China), and other things that were neither made in Hawai’i nor made by farmers. I mean, isn’t the operative word here farmers? While I don’t mind so much the vendors selling "made in Hawai’i" goods at a Hawaiian farmers market, I do mind vendors who are selling crap made outside of the United States. Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m not as vigilant as I should be about buying locally, and this is something that I have told myself that I need to be more aware of moving forward. But check this out…there you are in Hawai’i and you want to buy a souvenir. So you see that coconut shell with the painted sunset on it and you think, “Oh, that’ll look great on the mantle!” So you pick up the painted coconut, turn it over and find a “Made in China” sticker on it. How is that a souvenir from Hawai’i? Then we wonder why so many people are out of work; nothing is made in America any more! PS...nothing painted on a coconut shell would look good on your mantle.

But I think I’m getting a nose-bleed from standing up on my soap box so I’ll step down now.

We did buy some papayas and Richard bought a coconut from this guy standing at the back of an old truck wielding a machete. The deal is you buy the coconut, the guy hacks off one end of the shell exposing a small patch of the inner shell. He then takes a bore-like tool and makes a small hole in the shell so you can stick a straw in to drink the coconut water. You drink the water, bring the coconut back to the machete-wielding guy and he splits the coconut in half and uses a special tool to scoop the coconut meat loose. The coconut water and meat were a little too “green” for my tastes, but the whole “eating a coconut in paradise” experience worked for me nonetheless. Check out the video below of Richard getting us a coconut.

Behind the Hanalei Poi Company building we spotted a small flock of Nene's, the Hawaiian state bird.

We returned to the boat for an afternoon of sitting in the cockpit, watching dolphins swim by, and swimming around the boat. At one point I noticed a red ball floating by the boat. We decided that it was a mooring ball so I donned my mask, snorkel and fins and headed out to recover it; it was only about 100 or so feet from the boat. Once I reached the mooring ball, I looked down the line expecting to see it free floating but instead I saw a cinder block attached to the working end of the line suspended in about 50 feet of water. Despite the oddity of seeing the cinder block, I grabbed the line and started swimming back to the boat. Back at the boat, Richard and I decided to ask our neighbors if they had any ideas what we should do with the mooring ball (our neighbors are kind of “local”). Richard tried to lift the mooring ball and line into the dinghy, but the weight of the hanging cinder block made it kind of difficult so I dove down and tried lifting the cinder block up towards the dinghy. It was damn heavy! We finally got the mooring ball and cinder block into the dinghy and motored over to our neighbor’s boat. After talking to them, we decided to beach the mooring ball on a spit where the Hanalei River meets Hanalei Bay, figuring if someone came looking for his/her mooring ball in the bay and didn’t see it, maybe he/she would spot it on shore.

Having dropped off the mooring ball on the spit, we were heading back to our boat when I noticed that my neck was starting to burn. I immediately thought, “Great! I’ve got a sunburn on my neck and I’ll never hear the end of it for not putting on sunblock.” When we finally reached the boat, the burning in my neck had intensified. I went into the head (aka bathroom) to look in the mirror but couldn’t see anything on my neck. I asked Richard to look at my neck and he asked me why. “Because I have a searing hot pain on my neck and face,” I said. It felt like someone was grinding white-hot broken glass into my neck and face. We quickly looked up these symptoms in our medical reference and discovered the wonderfully horrible world of stinging hydroids.

Stinging hydroids are plant-like creatures, related to jellyfish, that are described as “beautiful, fan-like creatures that pack a painful sting." Great! What happens is that when the water is turbulent, pieces of the hydroids, that are usually attached to rocks, coral, mooring lines (hmmm?), etc., break off and become random, microscopic missiles of pain floating around in the water…the same water that we’ve been swimming in for the past few days.

We fired up the laptop and Googled “stinging hydroids + treatments” and found a plethora of articles. The treatment involves an acidic compress (vinegar on a face cloth) for about 30 minutes followed by application of hydrocortisone cream; special emphasis was placed on not applying fresh water as this might re-activate any remaining nematocysts on the skin resulting in more searing pain. Richard commented that I would smell like a pickle for the rest of the night and that was fine with me.

After this minor crisis was averted, we got ready and went to a luau. This luau was being put on by the Hanalei Canoe Club Youth Programs, so we imagined that it would be less cheesy than a luau put on by a chain hotel. In fact, it was better than one of those cheesy luaus. The food was good, though we both thought that they could have put a little more food on our plates. Richard and I both enjoyed the poi!

Having finished our plates, and still hungry, we decided to walk into town to get something else to eat. We ended up at Hanalei Gourmet and had a great plate of smoked local fish (marlin) and beers. We followed that up with some ice cream and walked back to the boat.

Just another day in paradise…with a few kinks thrown in for good measure.

The Coconut...Part I

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 28-30, 2010, 17:06 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Paradise re-defined…

Kaua’i has been nothing short of amazing and I'm not sure I ever want to leave. Those of you who say, "Oh, you'll get 'island fever' and want to leave soon enough," must be going about it the wrong way, that's all I can say and I'll drink to that!

Richard and I were here in 2004 as land-based tourists and it’s a completely different ballgame from the perspective of boaters. As land-based tourists, your focus is on activities, souvenirs and postcards. As a boater, you’re still interested in activities, but activities that are accessible from your boat. In addition, you have to substitute procuring fresh water and propane for souvenirs and postcards. As described earlier, provisioning, something you don’t have to do as a land-based tourist, is something that requires a fair amount of forethought, good walking shoes, a backpack, and preferably, a day when the temperature isn’t hitting a record high.

On Wednesday the 28th we did absolutely nothing. Nada. We basically sat around the boat all day trying to get motivated to do something but nothing materialized. Okay, so we did swim around the boat a bit and watch dolphins swimming in the distance, but nothing really substantial. The one thing we did do was figure out that we didn’t have to drag the dinghy up the beach if we anchored it in the Hanalei River. Later, we dinghied to shore and went to dinner at a place called Postcards Café…if you’re ever in Hanalei, or have a car and are on the island of Kaua’i, I would recommend going to this restaurant. The fish is fresh, the menu is small but robust, and the service is attentive (not overly, just right).

Yesterday we rented kayaks and kayaked up the Hanalei River. The round trip took us just under three hours and the scenery was incredible. At first, you have the Namolokama Mountains in the background which gives way to fields of banana and coconut trees as the river gets narrower and the banks of the river close in on you and your kayak.

Eventually, we reached a narrow section where the water was less than a foot deep and we would have had to carry our kayaks over the rocky riverbed to a deeper section if we had wanted to continue upstream. We decided to turn around and head back downstream. I thought this would have been easier than going upstream, as the wind had been on our nose going upstream; but, wouldn’t you know it, the wind changed direction and for part of the way back, the wind was on our nose again! Oh well, the scenery was beautiful and we saw lots of fish and a couple of fresh water painted turtles.

By the time we got back to the boat we were both a little tired from this upper-body workout. I decided to balance this activity out by snorkeling around the boat and Hanalei Bay. Didn’t see much in terms of reef fish as there is only a small coral reef in the bay proper; but it was a good lower-body workout which I’m sure my personal trainer would have approved of if he were around to comment on my lack of commitment to fitness on this trip.

We went back into town and ate at a Brazilian restaurant which was kind of bland and nothing special in my book. When we got to the dinghy, conveniently anchored in the river, there were lots of people lined up along the shore to watch the sunset. Just as Richard was turning the dinghy around to face it towards the river for us to head out, I heard someone behind me comment on the “green flash.” Remembering something about a “green flash” from one of the tour books, I instinctively looked towards the sunset just in time to see this natural phenomenon. If you’ve never seen it before, it really is a flash of green light just as the sun dips below the horizon. Richard missed it and I told him that we couldn’t leave Kaua’i until he has seen it. I plan to be VERY distracting for a while, especially around sunset!

This morning I had to call my new manager from work to enlist her help in locating a missing paycheck and while I was on the phone with her a sea turtle surfaced off the boat’s stern. It looked to be pretty big but was not close enough for a photo op. I guess that means we have to stay in Hawai’i until I get a close up photo. If you want to see a good photo of a sea turtle, visit S/V Mist. Susan and Elba snapped a great picture of a sea turtle swimming beside their boat (I've got turtle envy!).

After breakfast we dinghied to shore and rented paddle boards. I don’t remember this being such a fad the last time we were in Hawai’i, but apparently it is now. Paddle boarding involves a slightly larger surfboard that you stand on and, as the name implies, paddle with a long-handled oar. We practiced in the river where the water was relatively calm, although the wind had picked up some making it a bit difficult, and then headed out into the bay. As you can imagine, the portion of the bay where the river empties into it is often a bit turbulent with the river flowing out and the open ocean waves opposing the river’s flow. We made it out and paddled around the bay some before the wind really picked up making it even harder to maneuver. I tried to surf with my paddle board, but instead of laying flat on the board and paddling with my hands, I stood and tried to paddle my way up the face of the waves with the oar. Let’s just leave it at I was not successful.

As this was another upper-body workout, I again went out snorkeling after lunch to balance out my “gym routine.” This time I swam over to where the river flows into the bay as there is a rocky point that juts out some and it looked to me like there was also a reef in this area. For the most part, it was coral this, coral that, small little fish like Nemo's cousin or something, rocks, waves, opps! watch out for that boat! and then I struck gold! In an outcropping of coral, lurking near a small opening in the coral, I spotted the Hawaiian state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, not once, but twice! I’m pretty sure it was the same fish that I saw going in and coming out of the reef. The common name for this fish is the Picasso Triggerfish and the Hawaiian name means something like "nesting fish with the nose of a pig." It apparently grunts like a pig when taken out of the water; a fact I learned not by doing but by reading in my Pocket Guide to Hawaiian Fish. BTW…spell-check is having a field day with the fish name! I do not take credit for this photo; Google image Internet search result.

Richard grilled steaks on the boat tonight as we attempt to curb both our dining out expenses and caloric intake.

July 26-27, 2010, 20:15 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…I’m not sure it gets any better than this…

The overnight passage from Honolulu to Hanalei Bay was full of notable events. First off, we had great winds for most of the trip and were able to sail the entire way. We had winds out of the NE and E in the range of 15-24 knots; however, there were some pretty big waves associated with these winds but for the most part, this wasn’t too bad of a problem.

At N 21°19.11’, W 158°17.59’ we were approached by a high-speed inflatable dinghy. The boat came cruising out from the distance, sped behind our boat, then pulled up parallel to Osprey about 100 feet off of the starboard side of the boat. One of the guys in the boat yelled over to us that we had to be “8,000 yards that way” pointing south, without any further explanation. He repeated this demand and then sped off. I have to admit that I was somewhat taken aback by the lack of official-ness this boat had and the demands that were being placed on our boat. The charts did indicate that we were in a military practice zone (submarines, target practice, something like that, no, seriously, we were aware of this and had taken this caution seriously), and we had plotted our route with this in mind. After the boat left, we started looking at what exactly “8,000 yards that way” would look like with respect to our route to Kaua’i and actually started off in this new direction. This didn’t last long though, and we pointed Osprey back on her original course, keeping a sharp look out for the speeding inflatable, which never returned.

The high winds continued through the night and we also had a picture perfect full moon to light up the night skies. It was so bright out that the person at the helm was able to see clearly in every direction. We pulled into Hanalei Bay a little after 11:00 (HST); 24-hours after leaving the fuel dock at Ali Wai Marina in Honolulu.

Hanalei Bay is a beautiful crescent-shaped bay, lined by palm trees on the beach and mountain peaks just behind. Not only is it a favorite recreational area for the locals, it is also the staging grounds for cruisers heading back to the Pacific Northwest in late summer. The bay is often filled with sailboats biding their time on Kaua'i prior to setting sail.

The bay opens to the Pacific Ocean and the sunsets are truly spectacular. Winds that come up in the daytime typically subside in the late afternoon, leaving the boat facing the shore. With the boat facing the shore, the two long seats on either side of the cockpit face aft which is the same direction as the setting sun. Makes for an incredible end of the day.

We headed into town, via dinghy, to get an idea of what kind of supplies might be available to us when we get ready to head back to Seattle, and were surprised to find that the grocery store that was described as only having “the basics” was more stocked than reported. A rain storm moved in and loads of people could be seen standing under awnings watching the rain come down (by the bucket full, and I’m from Seattle, so I think I know a thing or two about rain!). We decided to make a run for it and cross the street and managed to get soaked just the same. As it rains pretty much every day (usually a brief passing shower, then the sun come out), people usually take it in stride. It didn't seem to bother these guys.

Just a word on beaching the dinghy mentioned above. We motored the dinghy to shore and then had to drag it 100 feet up the shore to beach it. Now, Richard and I both get to the gym as often as we can but we must have lost all of our muscle strength because lifting and dragging the inflatable dinghy (granted, the out board motor was attached) up the beach took way more effort than either of us anticipated.

Since we had expended so much effort to beach the dinghy, we decided to make the most of this trip to town and had dinner in town. After dinner we headed across the street to Java Kai and had chai and pie; I like to think of it not as dessert but as fuel to drag the dinghy back down the beach.

July 25, 2010, 19:32 HST

N 21°17.567’, W 157°51.404’
Just another day in Paradise…Part III

Let’s just say that re-provisioning without a car is not my idea of fun. We walked to the Ala Moana Center which had a Foodland in it. We had each brought our backpacks and I also brought our all-purpose canvas bag to tote groceries back to the marina. We ended up filling all three bags plus some plastic shopping bags. Richard even had three bags of ice in his backpack. I kidded him that his load should be getting lighter as we walked to the marina as I thought the sun would surely melt the ice along the way. Once back at the boat, we unpacked the groceries and headed out for more supplies.

We ate lunch in the food court as we didn’t want to waste time finding a restaurant, sitting down, ordering then waiting for our food. This was a lot more convenient and essentially next door to the Foodland. Our second trip to the grocery store was just as packed as our first but we think we got everything we needed. All the tour books we’ve looked at indicated that re-provisioning in Hanalei Bay may be a bit difficult.

Dinner at a local hamburger joint was satisfying and without any of the difficulties associated with trying to eat out ethnically and not being able to adequately read the menu. There was a photo of Barrack Obama ordering at the counter of this particular restaurant so it at least passes the democratic leader of the free world’s idea of a decent hamburger stand.

Since we were leaving Honolulu tomorrow for Kaua’i, we didn’t make a late night of it. Tomorrow was going to be the beginning of a 24-hour, over-night passage so we both wanted to get a good night’s sleep since it would be our last for at least a couple nights.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 23-24, 2010, 18:45 HST

N 21°17.567’, W 157°51.404’
Just another day in Paradise…Part II

The 23rd was a blur involving the beach, the pool at the hotel, a couple of venti, green iced tea things, dinner and drinks. I walked up and down Waikiki Beach a few times and ended up putting my towel down at Queens Surf Beach down at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki. Richard had gone back to the boat to check on the refrigerator so I had most of the morning and afternoon to myself.

We ended up doing dinner at a restaurant in the Marriott (Sansei Seafood Restaurant) and there was tons of food, including variations on sushi rolls that we had never tried before. The panko-fried shrimp roll was especially good. We headed to Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand in the Waikiki Grand Hotel after dinner where we had a beer, then I left as I was pretty much wiped out from all the sun during the day. I walked along the beach back to the hotel and was surprised to see lots of people fishing right off of Waikiki Beach.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early to jump on a bus and head out to Leonard’s Bakery in search of malasadas, the Portuguese fried donuts that all the tour books say you have to try when in Hawai’i. The bus dropped me off about a half a mile from the bakery and I walked the rest of the way. Despite it being only 8:00 in the morning, it was really hot out. By the time I reach the bakery, I was sweating profusely and craving a venti green iced tea thingy like mad.

There was a fairly long line of people queued up to place their malasada orders and I worried that they might run out. I’m sure the staff at Leonard’s is used to this type of demand because as soon as one tray emptied, a new one quickly took its place in the display case.

Just to be on the safe side, I ordered a dozen (six regular, six cinnamon). I also sampled the flavor of the month malasada, which was guava, and despite what anyone says, it was, as they say here in the islands, ono (delicious!), despite the creamy filling being an unnatural pink color

After picking up my malasadas, I walked to the nearest Starbucks for my venti…in preparation for the long walk back to Kuhio Street where I would be able to pick up a bus. I called Richard along the way to tell him that I had the goods and was on my way back to the hotel. We also stopped down at the breakfast buffet to fortify our malasadas with fruit, juice and tea. I’m not sure why Richard insisted on this, I would have been just as happy to just eat all the malasadas while they were still warm with no leftovers.

After checking out of the hotel, we walked back to the boat to plan the rest of our afternoon. We noted that Hula’s was sponsoring a catamaran outing off of Waikiki Beach and decided that this would be a great chance to get out on a boat on the water…wait a minute! That’s how we got down here in the first place! You would think that the last thing a boater wants to do is get on another boat and sight see.

We justified this excursion by remembering that we didn’t have to prepare the boat, we didn’t have to steer or raise the sails, or trim them or any of the hundreds of other things you have to do while you’re sailing a boat. All we had to do was sit back, relax, have a drink, swim in the ocean, mingle with the other tourists, and leave the boat when the whole thing was done. It was fun and we enjoyed our couple of hours on the water.

We returned our boat and made plans for re-provisioning the boat for the trip to Hanalei Bay on Kaua’i. Shopping without a car…this should be interesting!

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 22, 2010, 22:15 HST

N 21°17.567’, W 157°51.404
Just another day in Paradise…

Today was just another day of sun, surf and shopping. Richard worked on the refrigerator on the boat and I went out in search of a hotel room for a couple of nights using my Hilton rewards, a haircut, the beach and some shopping. I found everything I needed in Waikiki, the bustling tourist end of Honolulu. I know, Waikiki is the last place you might expect to find outdoorsy, sailing guys, but here’s the deal. I haven’t had a regular shower in a tub since June 11th; and before you go all “Ewww, gross,” let it be known that I have showered both in marinas and on the boat. Just not in a regular shower that you step into or one that has an endless supply of hot water. And besides, I didn’t spend the greater portion of the last two years on the road for work for nothing. Those Hilton points came in real handy and I was able to score a top floor suite at the Embassy Suites in Waikiki for two nights. We had an ocean view room with separate living room, bedroom and bath, and the best part of the whole deal was that the room didn’t rock. It was stationary! Ahh, the simple things in life that we take for granted.

After securing a hotel room, the next item on my list was a haircut. I quickly found a place and dispatched that task within 30 minutes. How convenient! Next was finding the beach. Finding the beach was no problem; finding an empty spot to put down my towel was another story. Waikiki is very crowded this time of year and there were keikis (Hawaiian for children) everywhere. I finally put down my towel, rented a surf board and tried my luck on the breaks at Waikiki (foot is still broken, by the way). Within no time I was surfing down some small to medium waves but the little keikis around me were pulling off much bigger waves and rather than try something I might not have been prepared for (and possibly screw up my foot even more!), I decided to retire my surf board while I still had my dignity (and only one broken foot). I think it was a good decision on my part.

The first time Richard and I walked around Waikiki we were killing time before heading to Roy’s for dinner. Amidst the Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Gucci, etc., Richard asked how much shopping could anyone possibly need to do while on vacation. I assured him that some needed all this…and more. I didn’t make it out of Waikiki without stopping in at the Louis Vuitton store. I had convinced myself that I needed a wallet (and a wallet I did get!).

From there it was back to the hotel for a short nap while I waited for Richard to join me. We went to dinner at a place called Okonomiyaki Chibo which is a teppanyaki-style restaurant. The food was inventive and interesting, not to mention very good. After dinner, we returned to the hotel room and just chilled. A day in Waikiki can be exhausting after all!

July 21, 2010, 21:48 HST

N 21°17.567’, W 157°51.404’
Hawaiian Culture…

Richard and I went to the Bishop Museum today and I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about that visit. On the one hand, it was great to see all the artifacts from pre-western contact Hawai’i. The feather capes, helmets, and royal sashes were remarkable; the official royal sash that Kamehameha I wore actually had been handed down through the generation of Hawaiian chiefs dating back to the 1400s. The museum officials know this because a feather fell off of the sash in 2007 and scientist carbon dated that feather to that time period. There was also a room filled with feather standards (think big sticks with a feather hat attached to the top) dating back to Kamehameha I.

In addition to the royal artifacts held by the museum, there were also artifacts from everyday life in Hawai’i. Fishing hooks, cordage, poi pounders and poi bowls, kapa (cloth made from pounding paper mulberry bark), drums, leis, jewelry, and other tools were also displayed. A very well-rounded collection.

The main exhibit, however, centered around early Hawaiian mythology and religion. The Hawaiians understood their world as being one created by, organized and subject to theirs gods, who they collectively referred to as . There were four main , and rather than make a mistake in trying to outline their responsibilities, I would rather just direct anyone interested in this subject to do a simple internet search to research this topic. Simply put, the main represented the male aspects of the world and Hina represented the female aspects. The exhibit was entitled, “E Kū Ana Ka Paia: Unification, Responsibility and the Kū Images,” and I highly recommend it to anyone who will be in Honolulu between now and October 2010.

The other major exhibit at the Bishop Museum was entitled, “Surfing: Featuring the Historic Surfboards in Bishop Museum's Collection” and is definitely worth seeing, especially if you have ever surfed or attempted to surf.

Most of what we hear about in Hawaiian history is post-Cook history; that is, “history” given to us through the writings of Captain James Cook who visited the islands in the late 18th century. Very little is told of the Hawaiian people and culture prior to his “discovery” of the Sandwich Islands, despite the islands being populated for centuries and a major culture emerging in the area. My mixed feelings about going to the museum stem from the fact that once the Hawaiian peoples were contacted by westerners, specifically the missionaries of numerous denominations, they were doomed to lose everything that distinguished them as a cultural entity. In their efforts to “civilize” the Hawaiian people through the introduction of their various religions, the missionaries effectively erased from the collective consciousness of several generations of Hawaiians their culture and traditions that had existed for centuries prior to western contact. John Krakauer coined the phrase, and titled one of his books, Under the Banner of God, and I think that the principle behind that phrase can rightly be applied in this context as well. No doubt the missionaries thought they were saving the souls of the people they saw as ‘savages”; but isn’t that always how it starts? The imposition of one set of beliefs above another rarely ends well and history is replete with examples of this type of mindset. One has to wonder what motivates an individual to decide that an entire culture needs fixing.

Now before some of you go off on me and start citing examples of cultural wars that were worth fighting, and I admit there are some, please take even a cursory look at the Hawaiian culture pre-western contact. The society was based on equality for most; yes, there was a monarch system of government in place, but within that system, women were recognized alongside men as being rulers and ancestral lines of royalty followed both men and women. There were also well established orders and rules that the people understood to come from their gods and the consequences for breaking those rules were known and understood as well. Things weren’t arbitrary or subject to the fickleness that some first world judicial systems appear to be bogged down by. My favorite aspect of the early Hawaiian code of law is the “get out of jail free” clause that basically allowed a rule-breaker to be spared the death penalty if he/she could simply outrun his/her fellow citizens and make it to a place of refuge called a heiau.

I did not intend for this blog entry to anger or offend anyone. My life experiences have taken me to certain places where I have seen this destruction of culture (specifically the Navajo and Apache tribes of northern Arizona, and now the Hawaiians). Luckily, in the mid-twentieth century, Hawai’i experienced a resurgence of cultural pride and took steps to bring back the traditional ways of their island heritage. It goes beyond the hula dancing and luaus and is more connected to the efforts to put Hawaiian lands and governance back in the hands of native Hawaiians. And even though Hawaiians make up a minority of the current population of the state of Hawai’i, their efforts towards self-determination in those things Hawaiian should be recognized as a movement worth supporting.

And this is what I’ve been thinking about for the past few days…no apologies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 20, 2010, 21:29 HST

N 21°17.567’, W 157°51.404’
Greetings from Honolulu!

The passage from Moloka’i to Oahu took about 9 hours with the first 3 being in light winds with the motor running. Once we passed Laau Point on the southwestern coast of Moloka’i, we finally found some winds and were able to hoist the main and head sails. We had fantastic winds in the mid-20s from the east which made for a great sail to Honolulu. The winds were mainly in the mid-20s but every now and then we would get gust that would sustain itself in the high-20s, leading us to wonder if our winds were actually a little higher than predicted or if these were indeed just gusts. In any event, they were welcomed and we had a fast and physical ride to Diamond Head with waves coming in on the starboard aft quarter. Some of these waves were pretty big, in the 10-12 foot range, and would raise Osprey high on the crest and then we would race down the face of the wave at incredible speeds. Like I said, it was a fun day out on the ocean.

We put in at Kewalo Basin Harbor which is adjacent to downtown Honolulu and east of Waikiki. Kewalo Basin has historically been more of a commercial harbor with lots of parasailing, fishing and sightseeing boats filling the marina, and while those enterprises are still present, there are also a fair number of transient and local pleasure boats docked here. It’s a basic marina with water, electricity, and restrooms across the street. No showers, but we pulled out our sun shower and that works great. Only takes about an hour to heat up the water and you’re good to go. Since we are in a public marina, we hang the shower through the hatch in the head and shower in there. If we were in a secluded anchorage, we would probably hang it on deck somewhere and shower out there.

Since we had had a long day, we grilled some chicken that I had started marinating before we left Moloka’i, with sides of grilled zucchini and purple sweet potatoes. Never get tired of seeing those bright purple mashers on the plate!

Yesterday, we did some boat chores in the morning and then headed out to Chinatown for lunch. I had my mind set on a Filipino plate lunch and we were not disappointed. Inside the Maunakea Marketplace, past all the fish and produce vendors, is a long hall with about a dozen or so stalls hawking plate lunches from all corners of the southeast Asian peninsula. We opted for one of the stalls that looked like we could identify some of the food and dove in for a delicious lunch. I had a spicy pork dish and Richard, having first asked what one of the dishes was (“intestines”), opted for the milder madras curry chicken. Mine was wicked hot, even by my standards, and I was sweating by the end of it (a good sign in my culinary book); even needed to buy an extra water. We left the lunch hall and headed outside in search of dessert. What we found was a coconut tart and a pastry thing that included a toasted coconut shell, covering a sweet bean paste inside with a salty center of some other substance. It must have been good because Richard ate the whole thing down.

Dinner was less exciting as we went to a regular sushi place that was crammed between a couple of strip clubs. Despite the bookend establishments, the place and the food were decent (albeit a little over priced) and the walk back to the boat justified desserts.

Today started with a visit to the Ward Center Farmers Market which is less of a farmers market and more of an Asian-themed Costco. You could get anything in there; a lot of what you would expect, and more than a few things that I didn’t expect! Bought a few groceries including some sake, quail eggs (not sure what I’m going to do with them but I had to have them!), wasabi peas, milk, orange juice and ice. I had two different people help me pick out the sake and they both referred to the sake they steered me towards as "girl" sake which I guess is how they translated by attempts to establish that I have never drank sake before. One woman insisted that I buy the sake with the plums in it because after you eat the plums "you very drunk, any you didn't drink!" Needless to say, I passed on the potent plums.

I passed up a lot of things that I really wanted to buy; things I had no idea what I'd use them for but kept thinking, "I have to have this stuff!" In any event, it was a great adventure and and fun time exploring a world where nothing's written in English, and you just have to guess what something is or used for based on the pictures printed on the packaging. Fun times

After my Asian-Costco experience, Richard and I headed out to a parking lot where there was a truck dishing out Hawaiian plate lunches. These were the real deal and even included haupia (that coconut gelatin dessert served at luaus). I know, in the corner of a parking lot across the street from the Ward Center; whodda thunk it?

For those of you that think that the cruising life is one of absolute bliss amongst palm trees, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, etc., here’s a little reality check for you. Today after lunch, Richard and I schlepped our dirty laundry (over a month’s worth!) to a laundromat in Waikiki and spent 3 hours doing laundry. No palm trees (okay, so outside the coin laundry there were palm trees), no beaches (alright, so we were a mere 2-3 blocks from the beach), no turquoise waters (hmmm?); just piles and piles of laundry. Not glamorous, but somebody had to do it and since no one else volunteered Richard and I bit the bullet and did laundry.

We decided to reward ourselves tomorrow and do a little sightseeing. Hoping to get to the Bishop Museum; they currently have an exhibit on historical surfboards that I want to see.