Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kauai to Victoria

North Pacific weather as we left

At noon July 28th, RVYC and THSA sailors Gerry Morrison, Paul Jenkins  and myself weighed anchor, stowed it, hoisted mainsail and set out for Victoria from Hanalei Bay, Kauai. We sailed west at first to admire the famous Na Pali coastline before turning north for the long haul home.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Breakfast is served
We settled into our 3 on 6 off watch rotation in strong trade-winds and rough seas. By nightfall we had 3 reefs in the main and 50% of the Genoa rolled up and were still exceeding 8 knots at times. Pretty uncomfortable though so we eased west to improve the ride and be kinder to the boat...we had a long way to go. Three days out our batteries needed recharging so we ran the engine for one watch. This slowed us a lot as we couldn't run it with an extreme heel angle, and had to bear off.
Helga takes charge
Gerry and Paul are both excellent sailors with lots of racing experience and kept the sails trimmed optimally at all times. Initially hand steering was in vogue but after a couple of days....we deployed "Helga" our trusty Hydrovane self steering and it did well in the strong wind. "Otto" our Raymarine autopilot did an even better job when the going got really rough in big quartering seas, never missing a beat. Cooking was difficult with the heeling and constant lurching but hunger is a great motivator in the galley.
Cuisine improves with practice
That pesky Pacific Northern High likes to follow us!
The conditions improved after the first five days and the cuisine improved accordingly. Seven days out we were approaching the Pacific Northern High and we pondered our tactics to get around it. We got great shore support from Connie and Al our BCA Fleet coordinators who kept a watchful eye on us the entire trip. Thanks! We also had success downloading weather and Grib files from KL7EDK in Fairbanks, Alaska as well as Radiofaxes from Point Reyes, California on our SSB radio. At this point we noticed some stitching failures in our Genoa at the leech. We dropped the sail and the sewing bee was on. The sun had been getting through the UV cover and damaged the thread. Gerry sewed it up handily and 2 hours later it was flying again.
Downwind with the chute
Winds continued to ease and day 8 had us flying our Spinnaker. We gradually curved ENE around the high trying to stay in wind. We got too close once and had to run the engine to hunt for wind, and gave the batteries a much needed boost. We downloaded the latest weather daily and the high kept moving east with us and blocking our path. Going north over the top would add hundreds of miles without any guarantee of conditions being better when we got there; not the mention the potential encounter with a nasty low sweeping down from Alaska
So we learned to be patient and stayed on our planned route. We had 4 days worth of fuel and we needed to preserve this for crossing the center of the high when we finally got to it.  The high persisted tracking eastward and finally formed a ridge almost touching Vancouver Island. By now many of the returning Vic-Maui race boats were  getting close to us but we did not sight any. We tried our luck fishing in the calm periods without any success. Probably too far north for tuna and 7 Kts is trolling too fast for salmon. The final week had us changing sails and trim regularly. We set up our storm jib in anticipation of gale force winds off the BC coast.
Paul to the rescue
One morning Paul heard a bolt fall from our boom vang and saved it from going over the side -well done! Finally the wind dropped completely and we motored for 2 days across the center of the high. Twelve hours later we were shortening sail down to 3 reefs again along with the storm jib.
Gerry- foredecker extrordinaire
  This proved to be  too slow so up went the Genoa again.The gale took a day to transit and the wind died abruptly over the Swiftsure bank and we were motoring again. Next morning we were in thick fog at the Juan de Fuca strait entrance fighting a 2 knot adverse current. By eleven the tide had changed and soon we were motor sailing fast to get to Race Passage before it turned again.
The 3 marineros return
Flags are a flyin"
Homecoming dock party
We were delighted to encounter the RVYC Wednesday night racing fleet as we came into Cadboro Bay, where our families and friends were waiting to greet us. We had sailed 2,800 NM in 20 1/2 days which was better than our most optimistic estimate.
One, two, skip a few...2800NM
We made the cover of Compass while we sailed!

This concludes the Chantey V Pan American cruise that began on August 1st, 2011 just over 5 years ago. We have sailed over 30,000 NM, visited 30 countries and were joined by 33 friends and family along the way. It has been a wonderful experience and the best part is the realization that our home in Victoria BC is the best place of all!

"When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from is so small
But it's big as the promise, the promise of a comin' day

So I'm sailing for tomorrow my dreams are a dyin'
And my love is an anchor tied to you tied with a silver chain
I have my ship and all her flags are a' flyin'
She is all that I have left and music is her name"
Crosby, Stills and Nash

Chantey Vs Pan American Cruise

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ohau to Kauai

Tropical Storm Darby did drop by Waikiki so we delayed departure to Kauai by 2 days. This allowed a little moe socializing at Hawaii and Waikiki Yacht Clubs and a visit to the Sunday music session at Dukes. A fierce squall hit while we were there and flooded the stage which had to be abandoned. We sought refuge in the grandeur of the nearby Moana Surfrider Hotel and waited for the torrential downpour to end. The water was up to the doors on cars on the taxi ride home. 
Next morning we were thrilled to see our RVYC Vic-Maui competitor Westerly on the HYC docks. We dinghied over for a visit and Lance and Clay gave us a tour and highlights of their record breaking race. We finished the provisioning with the fruit and veg run  and were under way for Kauai by noon. We stopped for fuel at the Ko Olina marina and carried on the overnighter to Hanalei Bay. By following closely behind TC Darby we got a rare south wind to start with. It reverted to the usual easterly trade winds by next morning which carried us all the way. 
Hanalei Bay is as beautiful as advertised and we anchored in the crystal clear water. This was ideal for our next task which was to dive and clean the hull in readiness for the big trip home. Thanks Gerry! Next we dinghied ashore and found dinner at the Calypso Grill in this delightful little town.
We went back again next morning with plans to rent a car for the day but alas none were available. We resorted to touring the East coast down to Lihue by bus which turned out to be just as good - and a lot cheaper! We discovered another Dukes on the water in Lihue and the Happy Hour was up to their usual high standard complete with a live band. It was a full day and the light was fading as we launched back into the surf from the beach. Next stop....Victoria!

At 8/11/2016 6:38 AM (utc) our position was 46°27.63'N 147°07.63'W

Friday, July 15, 2016

Waikiki, Oahu

Diamond Head
Waikiki Beach July 4th
The Three Musketeers

Waikiki is a vast menagerie of deluxe resorts, hotels, restaurants, high-end shopping centers and fine sand beaches, visited by a host of nationalities. Japanese come to tie the knot along with a plethora of Pacific Rim countries. Hawaii is a harmonious blend of many peoples, including the native Hawaiians, Polynesians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Portuguese and Italians. With Patrick and Michelle alongside we played tourists and enjoyed drinks poolside, lounging by the lagoon, swimming, and boogie-boarding in the surf at Waikiki Beach.. Music abounds everywhere and we even danced on the beach at the famous Duke's Bar to a live band. Our friends stayed at the Ilikai Resort Hotel. Once the grandest resort on Waikiki, it has hosted the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Elvis Presley,and President Kennedy in the 60's, and a myriad of stars such as Michael Jackson and Beyonce in recent years.

Partying Hawaiian style
     The Ali Wai Marina is enormous and proved to be a good place to catch up on some boat maintenance. Art Nelson stitched up the sails, Rich McCreedy tuned the rigging and Dave and Sarah fixed a pesky window leak over the navigation station. Surfing is big here and Daragh learned to ride the waves with a lesson from Don at the beach.
The Duke Abides

Hurricane warning!
     A tour of the island of Oahu led us past the incredible scenery of the west shore with soaring, lush mountain peaks and wild blue-green waters with crashing surf beaches. The north shore brought us to the elegant Turtle Bay Resort for luncheon and more dramatic scenery. The week flew by and before long we were saying 'Mahalo' at the airport and planning for the next crew change and the long journey home. Chantey is in top shape but Hurricane Celia and Darby remind us who's boss when it comes to departure dates.   
Turtle Bay
60's Waikiki

Elvis Mania

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lahaina to Lanaii and Molokai

The days drifted quickly by as we toured Maui with Teresa, Ted and Sean. The Kanipali Villas Resort was a perfect haven from which to enjoy the pool and the famous Kanipali Beach with its' golden sand and turquoise waters. The snorkeling here is some of the best in Hawaii with actual live coral reefs and multi-coloured fish. Daragh even came face to face with a giant turtle! Our visit concluded with a hearty dinner at the Lahaina Yacht Club.

   Early next morning we set sail for Lanaii, a small dormant volcanic island off the coast of Maui. The trade winds were up as the day unfolded, but we entered the tiny, sheltered harbour of Manele Bay and tied to the dock before luckily scoring the only empty slip nearby. We spent the day in Lanai City, a quaint village really, started by the Dole Company. This entire island was, up until recently, an enormous pineapple plantation. The industry eventually could not be supported as the cost of labour rose and relocated to other countries. Mr. Dole gave all his employees the opportunity to retrain in the new tourist industry and the result has been an overwhelming success for Lanaii.

The old Dole Hotel
     A short walk from the marina is the scenic Hulopoe surf beach and the very grand Four Seasons Hotel, which we checked out briefly but skipped the $30 lunch. Surf was definitely 'up' with a wicked undertow so a swim was out of the qustion. Next stop Molokai.
Lanaii Harbour

       Molokai is a sleepy, lozenge-shaped island noted for being an isolated Leper colony during the American colonization period. It was a sad chapter in the lives of those individuals who were banished and lived there, including Father Damian, who was only this year commemorated as a Hawaiian saint by Pope Francis. The passage between these islands can be rather boisterous, with steady winds of 25 knots plus, and big seas as the afternoon trade winds picked up. After a 9 hour ride at 6-7 knots we finally spotted the prominent headland of Diamond Head looming in the distance, and sailed briskly into Mamala Bay.
Diamond Head

    One of the most interesting gastronomic finds is the prevalence of SPAM. Hawaii residents consume the most of this canned meat per capita in the entire USA. In fact there is a whole festival Spam-Jam dedicated to everything SPAM!

     Our first grandson Ethan celebrated his second birthday on June 28th. He was looking very handsome in his Hawaiian shirt and matching shorts!
Surfer Boy!


Waikiki Beach and Honolulu

       The imposing vista of skyscrapers off Waikiki was a welcome sight as we dropped sail and headed into the calm waters of the Ala Wai Boat Harbour. Daragh checked in with the Waikiki Yacht Club and a day later we moved to a quiet slip at the Ala Wai Marina on X Dock with all of Waikiki in the backdrop. We spent a few days on the inevitable boat repairs, laundry, cleaning and provisioning for the new crew, while awaiting the arrival of our pals Michelle and Patrick at the Ilikai Resort next door.

Preparing for the crew

       Duke Kahanamoku was the world reknowned Olympic athlete winning awards in surfing, swimming and paddling. He is also a beloved mentor for the Hawaiian people. Duke encouraged his people to treat each other with kindness and respect in all they do. Here is his creed....

                                         Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit
                                          of true hospitality, which has made Hawaii a
                                          world center for understanding and fellowship.
                                           I believe in it, and it is my creed.
                                           Aloha to you!
                                                                    Duke Paoa Kahanamoku



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hilo Hawaii to Maui

Daragh bid farewell to his most excellent crew, John and Al, and prepared for the arrival of his new mates Cathryn and daughter Kim at Radio Bay, Hilo Hawaii, 21 days after the departure from Cabo san Lucas, Mexico. Radio Bay is a rather rough and ready container port but gave us our first access to these amazing volcanic islands. We visited Volcanoes National Park and the active Kilauae Caldera which regularly spews steam and molten lava over The Big Island. We also traversed a lava tube, which is actually an enormous long cave that once contained smoldering magma. Very spooky, but also very cool to see!
Lava Tubes

The next day we plunked our umbrella down at Hapuna Beach, noted in the guide book as the #1 beach in the USA.  The sun was setting as we arrived at the top of Mona Kea Observatory, the highest volcanic mountain in the world at 33,000 feet from the ocean floor to the summit! The icy cold air hit us with a blast and apparently it was snowing at the summit a short distance above!

    Time to head north with Kim up the leeward coast of Hawaii towards Kona. Unfortunately, we hooked two very large rusty anchors as we lifted ours from the bay and spent the next hour extricating ourselves from the jumble of chain. Chantey V made a brief pit stop at Captain Cook Bay (Kealakekua), to pay respects to the great mariner and take a dip in the sea before aiming for Kona. At last we arrived at Honohuhau Harbour which presented a rather hokey Tahiti -moor system of docking at the  marina. Kim bravely 'volunteered' to swim out and grab the mooring ball, which had no pick up line or eye, and hook it over the bow. As a reward we treated her to the Kailua Kona Village Resort Hotel for a pleasant dinner and view over lovely Kona Harbour.
      A few days later we set off early for an overnighter north to Nishimura Bay to get in position to cross the notorious Alenuihaha Channel to Maui. Unbeknownst to us, a cauldron of trade winds was brewing under the shadow of the volcano.As we sailed north the whitecaps and horsetails started to break over the seas and suddenly the forecast of 15-20 knots climbed to 30-35 knots on the wind speed meter! With high winds on the nose and current we were only making 2 knots and things were getting ugly! Daragh made a call into the harbour master at Kawaihae container port and we made a quick about face and tucked into the sheltered boat basin to wait out the trade winds. A day later, at 1:30 am we slipped out in the dark and continued another 12 hours across the channel, with high winds and following seas, sailing all the way to beautiful Lahaina.
Surf town

      Lahaina is an old whaling village-cum-tourist mecca. But it somehow hasn't killed the mellow ambiance of this balmy surfer town. We caught a mooring ball on the way in and braved the fierce surf to tie up near an enormous Banyan tree that sends dappled light over the shady central courtyard. From here you can stroll the boardwalk or sip a shaved ice with a tiny umbrella in it.
OK, hit it now!!
    Time to check in with Stacie, Carlos and the friendly folks at the Lahaina Yacht Club. This famous Y.C. sits right on the edge of the boardwalk overlooking the bay, but due to heavy surge has no slips attached - just a handful of moorings in the bay. The atmosphere inside however is a bustling hive of activity as the kids plunge into the surf and swim out to catch their tiny boats.
Lahaina Yacht Club
    After a shower we were ready to go explore. Next stop was Fleetwood's bar and restaurant, named for Mick Fleetwood and his famous band. The music was rockin' and the view from the rooftop patio breathtaking! At dusk the bagpipes play as the sun sets and the music echoes into the evening.
    A tour of Maui along the hair-raising winding Hana Highway brought us to Hookipa Bay. Suddenly the rocks began to creep along the beach! It was a pod of 'Honu', turtles, basking in the sun and enjoying the occasional swim in the sea. Kim was on her way homeward so we ended the day with a fine meal at Wailuku's, The Mill House, an old sugar plantation with a magnificent vista of evergreen peaks and the valley beyond, before saying fond farewells at the airport. A few days later sister Teresa, Ted and nephew Sean arrived at Kannipali Beach for some overdue rest and relaxation Hawaiian style.
Hookipa Turtles                                                                                                                      
The Mill House view

Getting 'leid' in Lahaina

I was sitting at a table in an open cafe,
waiting for a drink of rum,
When I asked my waiter for the time of day
He said, "Look there's a centipede coming your way!"
In Lahaina , the sugar cane grows,
In Lahaina, the living is slow,
In Lahaina, the mangoes are sweet,
But the centipede crawls all aver your feet!"
    Loggins and Messina