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