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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Monday 12th April 2010

Goodbye Hilo!

Our 'secure area' berth at Radio Bay, Hilo

Mike told that the wind in the channels between the islands was strongest during the day and it was more comfortable to make the crossing at night, so being only around 110 miles away we left Hilo at about midday today, bound for Maui.

Today was the best day we have had in Hilo (weather-wise) and we finally caught a glinpse of Manua Kea as we motored out of the harbour (although it was still covered in cloud).

Manua Kea

We had a relatively uneventful trip to Maui, although night watches kept us on out toes due to the number of ships we saw in such a short trip! At least it was a dark, clear night so they were very easy to see; although it's always a bit stressful when you first see that white light, peering and waiting to see whether there is also a red or green light as that lets us know whether they are travelling across the horizon towards us or away from us. The only other stressful moment was when we were navigating past Molokini crater, a little crescent shaped island about 5 miles off the coast of Maui, at about 4:30 in the morning. We had spotted all of the relevant navigation lights on the islands, and we knew we had plenty of room to cross between Maui and Molokini crater, or the crater and another little island on the other side. Suddenly the depth sounder alarm went off, saying that we were only in 15 feet of water, then 12! We need 7 feet to float, so that was no immediate problem, but the chart plotter was telling us we had over 1000 feet below us! We immediately turned around, not knowing which instrument to trust and not wanting to hit anything trying to figure it out. We assumed that the chart plotter was correct and thought that the depth sounder was confused because the depth was out of its range - we have used the depth sounder many times already, going in and out of harbours in particular, and it has been accurate when compared to the chart plotter. We decided that, being only an hour or so from sunrise, we would wait it out and pass the crater in daylight. It was obvious in the light that we did have plenty of room but it wasn't a nice feeling in the dark wondering if there was an uncharted reef or something waiting to catch us out.

We sailed along the easten side of Hawaii, across the channel and along the western side of Maui. Being the leeward side it's said to be a lot nicer, however approaching Ka'anapail Beach towarnd the northern end of Maui we had a head wind of 39 knots. In following with our poor luck with sails to date, the jib somehow managed to twist itself awkwardly around the furler and the only thing we could do with it was to steer the boat in tight circles to unwrap it as best we could, then tie it to the furler so it didn't unwrap again.
We were headed for Ka'anapali Beach to anchor as Mike had recommended it as a nice place, and we coud see tat in good weather it would be fantastic. Unfortunately with all the wind it was too rough to anchor - the anchor may well have dragged and we probably would have capsized the dinghy trying toget to the beach anyway! We were disappointed as we were looking forward to getting to a new place after such a short trip, and we really wanted to explore Maui, but we made the decision to continue to Honolulu as it was only another 65 miles or so. This meant that we would get to Honolulu at about 4:00am and we would probably have to kill some time before entering the harbour as it was a narrow channel with a reef on both sides. Of course, navagation lights in the channel mean we could enter at night, but when we arrived the lights weren't obvious against the rest of the city, airport and street lights on the island so we didn't want to attempt entering at night. So another night on the sea, when we had been expecting to be at an open bar luau in Maui...

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