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.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 17, 2010, 19:50 HST

N 21°05.01’, W 157°01.71’
Three islands, One entry…Part II

We moored the boat off of Lahaina on one of the Lahaina Yacht Club moorings. It turned out to be reserved for the Vic-Maui racers who were due in any day, but as it was still a little bit early for the bulk of the racers to arrive in Lahaina, the yacht club let us have the mooring as long as we left by Saturday morning (which was our plan anyway).

Lahaina is certainly the busy tourist town. I’m not saying that we didn’t have a good time or that it wasn’t pretty, but it was sure full of tourist at every corner. This stands in stark contrast to Hilo where we mostly ran into locals. Our first night in Lahaina we ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise for no other reason than I was craving a burger. Our 30 minute wait ended up being less than 5 minutes which we greatly appreciated.

After dinner it was time to head back to the boat as it was already getting dark. Being as close as Hawai'i is to the equator, and as the state does not observe daylight savings, the sun sets at a fairly consistent time of around 19:00 (give or take) every day. In addition, the marina along the main drag in Lahaina is quite busy shuttling tourist off at all hours for parasailing, snorkeling and sunset cruises, and we didn’t want to get caught in that fray.

On our second day in Lahaina, Richard stayed on the boat to make bread and I went into town to get a plate lunch (kalua pork, chicken long rice and the ubiquitous macaroni salad), check out the beach and hit the yacht club showers. Not sure which of the three was the best considering I was craving all three!

The plate lunch was awesome (and huge!) and exactly what I expected it to be. I’m not sure if this particular pork came out of an imu or was just cooked in an oven but it was the most tender and moist and flavorful meat.

Next I hit the beach off to the side of Banyan Tree Park. The water temperature was in the high 80s and delightfully refreshing. I walked a fair length of the beach before actually going in the water. The waves lapping against by feet (still broken!) felt great and when I actually did take the plunge, I was surprised at how refreshing the water was even though it was pretty warm.

The last thing I did was hit the showers at the Lahaina Yacht Club and man, was that exactly what the doctor ordered. You take for granted that you get to shower every day when you’re in your regular life but life on a boat on a trans-oceanic passage isn’t your regular life and showers are a rare commodity. Personally, if there is the opportunity to have a shower, I take it, no matter what the cost or hassle. Broken foot or not, I would climb 10 flights of stairs in the blistering heat to reach a shower, but that’s just me.

I returned to the boat and Richard and I went back to shore for some sight-seeing (and a venti, green iced-tea lemonade, three-quarters tea, one pump classic from that coffee place) and dinner. We both had the sea bass special (locally procured fish) which had an Alaskan King Crab-Panko crust, which was artfully executed. Gelatos for dessert and we were heading back to the boat before sundown.

This morning, we left Lahaina for Moloka’i. As we left the mooring and entered the Auau Channel, the winds were very light and flukey, coming and going from every which direction. As we got closer to the confluence of the Auau and Kaholi Channels, the wind picked up and quickly became a brisk breeze in the mid-20s (with gusts to 33 knots) out of the North and Northeast, perfect for a beam reach sail across the channels towards the island of Moloka’i. Once we got closer to land, we finished our sail with a broad reach which took us into Kaunakakai Bay on the southern coast of Moloka’i. This is what sailing is all about. All those previous blog entries where I complained about the lack of wind or wind from the wrong direction or waves opposing the wind and making forward progress negligible, disappear in a couple of hours of fantastic sailing, Check out the video below to get a feel for what I’m talking about.

Kaunakakai is a small town on the southern coast of Moloka’i and is very different from the places we have visited thus far. It has a more rural feel and is not built up the way Hilo or Lahaina are; in fact, the part we saw was practically devoid of anything that resembled tourist infrastructure. I guess it is this aspect which has allowed this part of Moloka’i to retain its authenticity and escape the commercialism of some of the rest of the island chain. At the same time, there is a certain feeling of struggle here to make ends meet. A very delicate balancing act, indeed, must be at play here.

That said, at the anchorage, Richard and I went swimming off of the boat and were in sight of a bunch of local kids jumping off of the pier and paddling their longboards out to say hi on their way to a buoy they would climb on and wait to be thrown off by the incoming surf. These kids were the embodiment of summer fun and that was refreshing to see.

Tomorrow we head out for Honolulu. We have a reservation at the Kewalo Basin Harbor and will be tied to the dock there for about a week before heading out to Kaua’i.

Sailing in the Auau and Kaholi Channels.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 17, 2010, 19:50 HST

N 21°05.01’, W 157°01.71’
Three islands, One entry…Part I

Our last night in Radio Bay, Hilo was spent first on S/V Mist with Susan and Elba and another couple from Vancouver, BC from S/V Reflections I. The Canadians were taking off from Radio Bay for Maui late that evening so we all met on Susan and Elba’s boat for cocktails.

After they left, Susan, Elba, Richard and I rowed back to our boat for some mahi mahi tacos. Elba and Susan make a mean guacamole which complimented the tacos wonderfully. It was kind of a late night and spirits were high by the time the party broke up and everyone returned to his and her respective boats

The next day, July 14th, Richard and I raised the anchor and headed out of Radio Bay on our way to Maui. Richard and Susan made arrangements to have an SSB date later in the day so we could test the transmitting ability of our single side-band radio. It was a 27 hour overnight passage to Maui.

Happy Bastille Day to all who remembered!

More to's late and I'm tired...zzzzzzz...

July 12, 2010, 21:30 HST

N 19°43.915’, W 155°03.149’

Orthopedic Surgeons & New Friends

I met with the orthopedic surgeon today and he confirmed that I had indeed broken my foot. We discussed the various options available to me and decided that, given all of the practical limitations associated with being on a boat, if I wore hiking boots or at least some kind of shoe that provided ankle support, I would be fine. At this point, I have about 5 more weeks and my foot should be healed. My ability to use my foot without pain will be the determining factor as to when it is completely healed.

After my doctor’s appointment, Richard and I went to a natural food store, Island Naturals, and bought some groceries. We also stopped at Suisan, the local fish market where they used to conduct fish auctions, and purchased some fresh ono and mahi mahi.

We ended up getting together with Susan and Elba from S/V Mist, starting out with beers in the cockpit and then heading over to Café Pesto in Hilo for dinner. It was great to get together with other sailors and talk cruising. Susan and Elba have done a fair amount of cruising and Richard and I took advantage of the opportunity to tap into their collective experience. Hearing them talk about the far-away places that I’ve dreamed about and they’ve been to, made me want to get going on our own adventure as soon as possible. But I guess we have to take this one step at a time, especially with this broken foot of mine.

Shout out to Susan and Elba of S/V Mist; thanks for the company tonight, let’s do it again this summer somewhere in Hawai’i!

July 11, 2010, 19:32 HST

N 19°43.92’, W 155°3.15’
Taking in some culture…

Today Richard and I went to the 21st Annual Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival in Hilo. It was a great opportunity to hear some talented, local slack key guitarists and watch hula dancers. In addition to thoroughly enjoying the festival, it was also a great opportunity to see locals hanging out in their home town being locals. Neither one of us got any great stills from the music festival but we did manage to get a couple pics of locals sporting island flare.

After the festival we headed into downtown Hilo and hit the Farmers Market. We bought papayas, a white pineapple, purple sweet potatoes, tomatoes, Maui onions, green beans, and cilantro. We didn’t get to the market until the very end and we could only imagine what the full market must have been like earlier in the day. Luckily, the market runs 7 days a week and we plan to hit it before we leave Hilo later this week. This picture reminds me of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. The purple sweet potatoes were actually quite delicious and the steaks on the grill were the perfect compliment (unless of course you're a vegetarian, in which case, oh well).

July 10, 2010, 22:10 HST

N 19°43.915’, W 155°03.149’

Settling in… First Full Day in Hawaii

A really weird thing happened last night. I went to sleep and then woke up in Hawai'i. It’s not a dream and Richard and I really did do this incredible thing. For those of you who think that it’s just the journey that's important, I think you’re missing half of the experience. The destination is just as important as the journey because the destination is symbolic of something and holds some meaning for you in the first place; otherwise, why would you have embarked on the journey in the first place?

I awoke this morning to the sound of the surf pounding on the breakwater outside of Radio Bay in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai'i, tropical birds cooing in the distance, Osprey anchored and sitting perfectly still in a protected bay surrounded by other boats from far off places with interesting stories to tell. The skies are blue and while this is the “rainy” side of the Big Island, I have to remind myself of two things. One, rain is just weather, and two, I’m in Hawai'i! It probably rains here every day but not 24/7. So if you don’t like the rainy weather of the moment, you probably just have to wait less than an hour for the skies to clear and the sun to shine.

Today was spent settling into the middle segment of our journey. We both started working on getting Osprey out of ocean-going mode and into “sitting around-relaxing” mode. That involved taking down the lee clothes, setting up the forward and aft cabin sleeping quarters, rearranging all of our gear (packing all of the fleece and other cold weather clothes in duffle bags and stowing them out of the way), cleaning, putting up the bimini (a canvas canopy that hangs over the cockpit to provide shade from the tropical sun…did I mention we’re in Hawai'i?!), getting some extra drinking water, etc. We also both rowed to shore and took showers. Believe me, after three weeks of roughing it while under way on the open ocean, real showers are the most incredible thing on earth.

We decided to go into town for dinner and ended up at a sushi restaurant (Ocean Sushi Deli) that we had gone to and enjoyed the first time we came to Hawai'i as land tourists. After dinner we walked around downtown Hilo for a little bit (after all, I do have this broken foot thing going on) before calling a taxi to take us back to the boat.

I’ve decided to use Brian’s Back Blog as the place for me to ramble. Anyone that knows me knows that I have thoughts about everything. Some of these thoughts are well thought out, while others tend to appear half-baked. So be it, it’s a choice that you, the reader, get to make on whether or not you want to read what I’m observing and experiencing. Like always, I welcome your comments and look forward to engaging in a healthy dialog while here in Hawai'i. Mahalo and Aloha!

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 9, 2010, 21:30 HST

N 19°43.915’, W 155°03.149’

We made landfall today just before noon local time. Richard rowed to shore to meet with the harbor master to check us in. While you don’t go through customs, per se, when you arrive by boat in Hawai'i you do have to go through agricultural customs. Basically, the local authorities want to ensure that you are not inadvertently bringing in pests (like insects or plant diseases) hitch hiking on your produce. There is also some amount of paperwork to fill out in order to get the permits necessary for anchoring around the islands.

While Richard was busy with the harbor master, I got ready to go to an urgent care facility here in Hilo. On June 29th I was coming down the companionway and a wave hit the boat at just the right angle as I was taking my last step and I didn’t quite land it right and ended up coming down on my ankle the wrong way and hard. It immediately did not feel right. I looked up sprained ankle in our medical reference and began the RICES protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate, Splint) which initially helped. My foot looked horrible; black and blue and all swollen. Richard looked at it and we really thought that it might just be a really bad sprain. I took ibuprofen, continued to elevate, ice, and re-wrap with ace bandages, and it actually started to feel much better and I was able to continue with my watches. After about 5 days, I started to taper down the ibuprofen and noticed that it was still quite painful. That’s when the whole idea of sprained ankle came into question. But, wanting my glass to be half full (of a good microbrew at this point!), I continued to tell myself, “This is just a sprain and the pain is because I’m backing off the ibuprofen and exercising it.”

Just to be safe though, I told Richard of my plan to go to the urgent care facility once we made landfall. He agreed that this was a good idea.

When Richard returned from the harbor master he told me that he had met Susan from S/V Mist, which was anchored right next to us. They had chatted and she had stopped by in her dinghy on her way to shore earlier to chat. As Richard and I were getting ready to have Richard row me to shore, Susan stopped by and said that she and her partner had rented a car and were planning on going into town in a few minutes and did we want to hitch a ride with them. I immediately jumped on this opportunity and got a ride into town with Susan and her partner, Elba.

Susan and Elba drove me to the urgent care facility and told me that when they were done with their errands, they would swing by the urgent care place to check if I had left yet and if I hadn’t they would wait and drive me back to the boat. I told them that to thank them for their kindness, Richard and I had a bottle of good champagne on the boat that we were going to open to celebrate making it to Hawai'i and that we would let them know when we opened it and invite them over to toast along with us.

It actually didn’t take me that long at the urgent care facility and yes, I had indeed broken my foot in one place. The treating physician made an appointment for me with an orthopedic surgeon for July 12th to discuss my options for the rest of the summer given that casting at this point would pose quite a problem considering my plans to sail back to Seattle in August. They actually tried to get me to wear a “boot” but that hurt more than not wearing it so I initially declined the boot, stating that I would wait to hear what the orthopedic surgeon thought was my best options at this point.

I left the urgent care facility and started walking back to the boat. I knew it was kind of far, but not too far. Well, it wouldn’t have been very far if I had taken the most direct route but as it turns out, I didn’t take the most direct route and ended up walking about 4 miles…with a broken foot!

I finally made it back to the boat. We rested a bit and then took a taxi to a restaurant for dinner.

And thus ended my first day in Hawai'i.