Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Playing and Prepping


Afternoon rainbow over the foothills above Lahaina -- view from the boat!

YEAH Louise!! Our new #1 crew! Thanks for signing on.
 We have our new crew aboard and are enjoying a last few days in the Hawaiian Islands. Louise arrived in Lahaina on Friday, the 21st. She rented a car from the airport, which turned out to be a huge help for our final provisioning and errand running. Marcus flew out the same day – they probably passed on the highway!

A calm moment on the mooring buoy

Clouds provide the entertainment
We spent the afternoon grabbing some groceries and heading out to Solar Wind in the rolly, rolly Lahaina anchorage to nap and cook. Louise felt a little seasick just bucking up and down on the mooring buoy and started up with a scopolamine patch. The good news is she hasn’t had a touch of seasickness since, even though we have had a chance to practice in some pretty rough seas.

Louise and Melinda headed to Kehei for a hotel night, with Louise up at 5 am to meet her dive boat. She had a spectacular couple of dives at the Molokini Crater – everything she had been hoping during her months of practice and certification course in Holland.
She was so well prepared that she blended in with all the experienced divers on the trip. She rented an underwater camera to capture some of it.

Melinda enjoyed a leisurely morning at the hotel with internet. Lanham had some alone time on the boat for – installing rebuilt water pump, rechecking all systems, and studying weather routing.

Saturday and Sunday were huge provisioning days. Louise and I shopped first for ingredients to do some prep cooking and meats for the freezer. A second trip for dry goods and finally, for fresh produce. Decided we could get the quantities we needed at a reasonable price at Safeway right in Lahaina, rather than making a trip to the Costco on Maui. 

We had the luxury of a laundry and gourmet kitchen at the home of our friends, Christine and Dan, within walking distance to the dinghy dock. 

Before Marcus left he also got to hang out at their home and we all had a wet and wild try at surfing!

Marcus got to relax a day at Christine and Dan's 

Being out on the mooring buoy meant numerous trips with heavy loads back and forth with rough seas each time. Provisioning for a 4-week crossing is a big job – being off of the dock made it even bigger! 

and we gave it our all on the surf beach out front

The car was loaded repeatedly with groceries
 shuttled to Solar Wind

We baked lasagna and chicken tortilla casseroles for the freezer. Christine donated pre-frozen fruit and fresh mangos, limes, and herbs from her garden. And we had a lovely, restful evening of BBQ ribs, mango margaritas, berry pie and a classic Maui sunset from their oceanfront deck! Thank you Christine and Dan!

The beautiful home and convenient kitchen of our
generous friends in Lahaina


So nice to catch up with an old friend

The sunset from Christine and Dans 
Ahh, the sunny islands

Getting ready to anchor for the night

Monday morning, we took off for the west side of Lanai. We spent the morning going over safety systems on the boat with Louise. It was smooth motoring, and we put the sails out to practice raising, rigging, and reefing. We anchored at Kaumalapau Harbor and though the evening winds blew hard we had good holding. We all jumped in the water with our snorkel gear and had a wonderful time swimming above the reef, looking at all the colorful coral and small fish.

Weeza jumping in the beautiful water at our first night's anchorage
The dramatic cliffs of Lanai

Bundled up for spray and squalls crossing to Oahu

Tuesday was a romp of a sail. We got a 4am start and 12 hours later, pulled into Ko Olina Marina on the island of Oahu. 

It was some rough seas, lots of wind, and fast sailing – a perfect shakedown for Louise to gain confidence in Solar Wind and experience with hand-steering, using the autopilot, radar, and navigation software. She’s a quick study, not afraid to ask questions, and getting her sea legs (despite all her new bruises). 

We passed by Waikiki, the strangeness of skyscrapers rising out of the ocean
and were glad we were not stopping there.
Once tucked into the marina we had a fancy dinner out (thank you, C & G) – beside the koi pond on the luxurious grounds of the Marriott resort next to the marina. The place is a sprawling development, about 20 miles north of Waikiki. Probably a good place to push off from – maximum contrast to our life at sea.

We are now planning to leave from here on Thursday, the 27th. The weather picture does not support going northeast further to the island of Kauai, and Hanelei Bay where we thought we would take off from. We will get a weather forecast in the morning and probably sail off around mid-day! It’s like so many challenges that one can take on – once you have committed to doing it and you have thoroughly prepared there is a sense of “readiness” and a feeling of “bring it on.”  (Or is that a feeling of “the sooner we get started the sooner it will be over”?)

The standard route from Hawaii to Seattle is to ride the clockwise rotation of the wind – first north or even northwest up to the latitudes of Canada, then east and finally south toward Washington coast. From the weather faxes and forecasts that we have read so far, the traditional North Pacific High is not yet stable and consolidated as it “traditionally” is by this time in the year. We have decided to hire a weather router (Commanders’ Weather) to give us forecasts and advice on routing since there will likely be several decisions to make once enroute. It seems like a good investment (total cost will be about $250) for the peace of mind and an “expert” meteorologists opinion. We will talk to them several times and follow their advice for a departure window. Once out, they will send us five-day forecasts with suggestions for routing and will notify us as changes in the forecast. We will send them our position and conditions everyday and they will be following us – along with all of you -- all available through Sailmail. The router we are talking to says it will be a “fun puzzle” to get us through the weather in the most comfortable way. Oh boy, fun. We are ready to go and up for it (whatever it may be!)

We will post updates on deLorme (though don’t mind about the miscellaneous messages that are sometimes attached to our spot – we don’t know why). We will try to answer sailmails when we have time, and we will post the end of the epic saga when we arrive at Sequim Bay around the 24?? of July. Love to all and no worries!
            AND... Post Script from Louise to all who follow the blog...

My summer of 2013..

Thanks to Cub  and Melinda’s year long adventure with Solar Wind, and thanks to their invitation to join them for any part of the journey… I have the ‘’once in a lifetime’’ opportunity to sail the Pacific aboard Solar Wind.  I would have never done this on my own….thank you, Cub and Melinda!!Presently (Wednesday 26 june)  we are docked at Koolina Resort Marina on Oahu.  This morning a fellow sailor stopped by to make compliments on Solar Winds riggings and outfitting.  He said that he could see that a lot of thought had gone into it, along with the hard work of  preparation.Maybe that is why my trust in Solar Wind grew by the minute yesterday as I had my first watch of 3 hours at the helm in winds of 20 knots, gusting to 30…and 6-8 foot swells.  It was a wild ride, but Solar Wind handled it beautifully as did ‘’Sully’’ the auto pilot.   I didn’t do badly when I turned off the auto pilot….but it’s such a relief to turn ‘’Sully’’ on and just stay watchful.  This was the crossing of 80 nautical miles from Lanai to Oahu. We had gotten up early for a 4 am departure (Wednesday morning, 25 june).  We made good time and arrived in the Koólina Marina at 3 pm.  It was a trip to sail by Waikiki with all it’s high rise buildings.  Sooo glad we didn’t stop there!  We came across quite a bit of traffic and the radar warned us in plenty of time.  Cub and Melinda are clear on their instructions and they go into detail.  Nonetheless, I asked Cub not to leave me alone on my watch, with the seas as rough as they were. 

Last night, we had a great dinner at Chuck’s Steak House on Carol and Gary….THANK YOU!!  Great food, good wine….there was a Luau going on near by and the music was fun to hear, if sometimes too loud.  Our table was at the edge of one of the many beautiful water features that are placed amongst the meandering foot paths and gardens in this gigantic resort.

As I write it is Thursday morning, 26 june.  Laundry is turning the marina machines.  Cub is getting the last weather reports.  We plan to take off to cross the Pacific tomorrow morning at 9 am!!!  This is a change in plans.  The original plan was to sail, overnight, to Kauai for a take off to the northwest.  But the weather is such that we will be able to ‘’cut the corner’’, heading in the right direction from the launch….saving us time….good news!

Aloha to you all!!  See you in Sequim, or Seattle, or Ten Esschen…wherever we meet again.Love to you all!!  Louise

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys! Don't know where you are at the moment but wanted to let you know that we are having a Codfish Ball in Wen's memory on August 18 (the day before her birthday). It will be at the Wedgewood Broiler from 1-6. Rob Burgess is taking care of the music and I have funny hats and party favors. Hope you'll be back in time. We'll all be here after our cruise to Alaska. Hope to see you soon anyway!