Wednesday 11th July 2012
It was a pleasure to meet Randy, KH6RC, and wife Lynn in Kona last Friday, having spoken to him so many times on the Pacific Seafarers Net over several years. Customs officials Jonathan and Tiffany had come by earlier, before 8am, and had made the Clearance procedure very painless and pleasant, with a minimum of fuss and time taken - a nice surprise!
After a quick visit to nearby Costco & Walmart to look for a replacement, small, cheap PC (we managed a cellphone but no PC), we returned to the boat and I got underway by 3.25pm for the overnight sail to Honolulu. With thick cloud and haze over the island, I didn't even get a glimpse of the high mountains and volcanoes!! Initially there was no wind, but once finally away from the lee of the island, the wind rapidly got up to around 30 kt from NE, with correspondingly rough seas for the crossing over to past Maui and Laina - until dawn, when it dropped to ~12 kt, with occasional gusts up to 28kt...
Once past the islands with their high mountains and big wind shadow, we were back into solid wind and rough seas until close to Oahu and the approach to Honolulu with its high-rise hotels behind Waikiki beach - even I have heard of that surfing Mecca! The swell was still big and the wind up as we entered the channel cut into the reef - coral right alongside - and surfers too!! I was headed for the Hawaii Y.C. who were expecting me.
I'd furled in the headsails and lowered the mains'l well before getting too close to the entrance to Ala Wai Boat Hbr but had left putting out fenders and mooring lines until in the protection of the big area inside, near to the fuel dock and HYC - with rocky shallows bedside the park area on one side.... In strong gusts, I kept having to manoeuvre the boat in between hanging out fenders and preparing the lines - Ron the Port Capt and one or two other people waiting for me got quite worried and I heard a loud bell clangng as I drifted near to the shallows a couple of times (my eyes were constantly on the depth display and the water's edge when close - "It gets shallow suddenly," they said later - "and some one went aground there very recently and damaged his rudder badly.")
I was finally able to come gently alongside the Canadian 43' Hans Christian 'Long Shot II' (built 1882!) and had a good welcome. It was nice to relax as I met with the Commodore Ron, friend Kirk ('Silk Purse') and neighbours Doug and Susan with their youngsters Charlie, Riley and little Saylor - proudly parading in one of her many dresses! It was good to be among friendly cruisers again!
I'd previously contacted Jerry Zak about the Raymarine work he was due to help me with and he duly turned up, as promised , before midday on Sunday. The job took far longer than expected - he just couldn't get the system properly bled, after replacing the pump/motor assembly with new, until eventually we replaced the ram which was clearly faulty - and finally the system was behaving OK - TG I had a spare ram...! The faulty one had been serviced in Cape Town but it seems the bushing inside, and/or the seal, must have gone on the way from Tasmania, past New Zealand when I first realized i had a problem....
Sunday evening was first of several sociable evenings on board 'Long Shot II' and arrangements were made with Paul, crew on 'Misty' wit h a loaned truck, to go out to a Mall to look for my PC while he and others did a general 'shop' in Costco there... I finally got my little Notebook PC in Best Buy - for $263! - but only next day, from Pearl City Mall (close to Pearl Hbr), after a car ride out there - and a long $1 bus ride back via China Town in Honolulu - the bus ride took me through parts of town I would not otherwise have seen - a good tourist trip!!
Daytimes, apart from trips out for the PC, have been spent dealing with boat jobs, trying to prepare to leave, and the Y.C. Internet was finally made use of to upload software onto the new PC . Doug gave me a helping hand several times - in particular on Wednesday, when I checked out my windlass, ready for anchoring in Hanalei Bay soon. It worked fine dropping the chain - but not raising it! He tracked the cause to corrosion in a wire where the plastic cover had been nicked in the boatyard while joining two wires when installing a foot button switch on deck... carelessness!!
After refuellling, with lots of helping hands from several keen sailing youngsters (and father Ray), I was finally ready to leave for Kauai just before sunset and expect to arrive in Hanalei Bay Thursday afternoon - just in time, I hear, for an evening get-together with LaDonna and Rob (R.C.) and other Single-handed Sailing Society members. (The first of the SHTP racers came in on Monday -beat the existing record from San Francisco by two-and-a-half days - sailing conditions have been good!)
Distance from Honolulu to Hanalei Bay: 115 n.ml.