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.

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