Thursday 12th - Sunday 15th July 2012
Happy 'Quatorze Juillet' of yesterday to any French friends reading this!
We're presently in an area of squally clouds as we head N on Day 3 towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the lovely Hawaiian island of Kauai. From Hanalei Bay, to be precise, with 'Puff the Magic Dragon' looking out to sea, clearly formed by the hilly slopes on the W side of the Bay, a red-earth landslip forming an eye behind his clear snout & his body,with a foreleg and paw sticking out, curving around behind the bay further along - the song was written here!
The biennial Single-Handed TransPac race from San Francisco has had boats arriving since last week and expected up to the end of this coming week. Since Friday evening, after leaving Hanalei mid-afternoon, I've been in contact by radio with some of the racers still on their way - a few I know from previous races, so it was nice to chat to them.
I'd left Honolulu around sunset on Wednesday to arrive in Hanalei Bay Thursday mid-afternoon after a lovely sail around the N of Kauai. As I dropped the mains'l and prepared to anchor, I was greeted by 'Young Mitch' who came to take me ashore to meet up with friends Rob, LaDonna and Robbie of the Race Cttee, who were fortuitously holding an evening get-together at their condo on the heights overlooking the Bay, from where they timed the SHTP boats over the 'virtual' Finish line.
Anchoring got a bit fraught when the chain got jammed under a pile that had shifted in my travels - there wasn't enough chain down not to drift perilously close to a boat moored nearby as I frantically tried to clear the chain out of the way... "Reverse, reverse!" yelled Mitch... close thing! But the good news was that the windlass was working - fixed with help just before leaving Honolulu - good thing I'd checked that item out in readiness before leaving there! Once finally well-anchored in good holding, Mitch and I celebrated my return to Hanalei after a trip around the world via all Five Gt Capes of the Southern Ocean (and a few others!) - with a 'Longboard' beer made in Hawaii! His father, 'Big Mitch', had seen me off from near the same spot two years ago as I left to head N after making landfall from New Zealand a few days earlier - they're a true Hawaiian family of surfers and boat people and know the waters around really well.
Raising the anchor on Friday also gave a problem - it came up OK but was twisted around on its shackle so needed me to lean out over the bow to get it orientated so it would stow in the bow roller properly ... all with lots of boats around and a gusty wind... Took a few tries, in between diving back to the wheel several times to steer us to safety!
The beginning of the 3-week sail north from Kauai is always rough, banging into short seas, beating into the NE Trades, on a close reach in winds of 15-20kt, but by later in the day yesterday it felt a bit calmer and was quite pleasant, fast sailing under sunny skies. During the night, we came under a squall cloud a couple of times - with sudden heeling and acceleration as the wind increased rapidly from 14 to 20 kts .... and then we were well over-canvassed!! Earlier, I'd been enjoying spotting the familiar Northern hemisphere stars - haven't seen Cassiopoeia, nor Delphinus, and definitely not the Pole Star, for ages!
Just now we're ambling along under a big patch of blue sky at around 5.5-6 kt, having left a band of clouds behind but still with plenty of big clouds around - so there's sure to be more excitement with squalls from time to time... No record-breaking DMGs I think (just 122 n.ml. during first 24hrs out)... Our speed is varying with the wind - which often backs and drops after a squall to around 10 kt or less, having veered in the squall... Last night, before the first big squall came by, I'd unfurled most of the genoa in lighter wind around sunset to keep up a decent speed... to regret it when the squall came along in the dark of night and I finally had to furl a lot back in again, we were heeling so much.
Time for lunch - I've several fresh avocadoes, apples and bananas, so that's easy!