Heart and Soul is back at Home!
19 July 2020
Heart and Soul is back home after her 7 year adventure. She just loves to sail. Her crew were always confident in her. Whenever we faced rough conditions out there, we always concluded that the boat is up to it - but were we?
That Pacific high that was supposed to establish itself so we could ride around the edges of it to get home, never did establish itself! So Dave chose a weather window that would have us using the edges of the highs and lows on a fairly direct path. ( There is a picture in the gallery).
It worked! We were able to use winds at 60% or 120% apparent for most of the way and the seas were usually below 2 meters. We both view this crossing as our most enjoyable. As you can see from the photos Dave started off shirtless and we gradually donned more clothes until we had our full heavy weather gear and wooly hats and gloves. About a week before the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait, we realized we were not going to be able to escape going through a gale which was too large to go around and stationary off the coast. So we asked the question- were the crew up to this? Not much we could do if they weren’t. At least we knew the boat was. We watched the wind speed go up to the mid forties, then Dave said to turn off the scare-o-meter. Three reefs in the main and a partial staysail kept us going at 8 knots.( yes - 9 miles or 15 kms an hour! Yikes! ) We sat in the cockpit together through it, through most of the night. But when it stopped - about 40 miles off the coast, the full set of stars came out and we were gently rolled in by the 4- 5 meter seas until we saw the land- always a magic moment! In the early morning I was seeing the sea birds I was so anxious to see again and humpback whales breaching quite close, and I was overwhelmed by how close we were to actually being back home.
We thought it would do no harm to anchor overnight close to Sooke instead of approaching Victoria in the dark. We phoned our friends Hugh and Graciela as we were just passing their house in Sooke. The next morning as we were just peaking out of the morning fog and approaching Ogden Point, we heard them calling “ Heart and Soul! Heart and Soul! “ Definitely another magic moment.
The customs officers apologetically, obliged us to quarantine for another 2 weeks ( on top of our 3 week crossing). We had hoped to appeal to them. But on the other hand, there was relief in the back of our mind. Now we didn’t have to fly into action. We could recover from our crossing and acclimatize ourselves slowly on a quiet Island. Although my heart ached not to get together with my family immediately.
So we stopped at our slip in Nanaimo, figured out how to do our grocery shopping online, did our laundry, and we were off again. We sailed on a SE to Tribune Bay on Hornby Island where we caught up on rest and the odd boat project. But before the next SE, we sailed to the uninhabited Jedediah Island, tied to shore in Deep Bay, and settled in for the rest of our sentence. By this time we were thoroughly used to living in the small space of our boat for four weeks and to share with you what that is like... “Davey, can you pass me a pen? Davey could you bring me my glasses?” So Davey says, “ I’m going into the water to clean the haul- just knock on the floor if you want me to pass you anything else!” Haha. What I have to put up with!
Since Jedediah is uninhabited, we got off the boat a few times for a walk. Sadly in the exquisite beauty we found ourselves in, when we climbed to the top of a hill and had one bar of cell range, I spent the next two hours digging myself out of hole on messenger which I had got myself in and will say no more about.
Soon enough though, our sentence was over and we tied to the dock at the Palms Marina.
Dave is already talking about getting a steel boat to do the Northwest Passage and already has a crew lined up. I am just glad to be at home taking one day at a time, feeling the joy of being around friends and family.
Love in the time of Covid19
29 May 2020
Love in the time of Covid19! I know, not very original. In fact it seems every thought I’ve had recently has been said on the radio or by someone else. I’ve only noticed this since, like a lot of other people, we’ve had a lot of time on our hands. You could say that aside from the type of socializing, our life on the boat has not changed much. It is our little isolation pod. Fortunately we did a big shop on March 13, the day the US announced a state of emergency. At that point we weren’t as aware of the news, and the crowds in Costco, and shop guards in the toilet paper section were a fascination to us. We piled up our backpacks and bikes a headed back down to the boat. In the next few days I came down with cold symptoms in the night, so we were able to do our 14 days quarantine without having to worry about shopping. When we emerged again, rules were in place on the island of Kauai, Hawai’i: stay at home except for groceries and exercise; keep physical distance and wear masks in shops. So from our point of view, retirees on a recreational boat, it has not been hard to live with. That said, we are constantly aware of the economical hit and hardship most people are having to live through, not to mention those who had to continue to work at risk for the benefit of others.
So we finished off the winter and early spring in Nawiliwili with the benefit of being able to bike everywhere for exercise without the usual traffic on the roads. We made a habit of cycling and picnicking on the disused golf course while we waited for favourable weather to move to Hanalei Bay.
We made our move in mid May and chose to go clockwise around the Island in 20 mile hops, waiting for weather at each spot. The first stop was in a little harbour close to Pt Allen called Waheawa Bay- good swimming with a little sandy beach. Next we stopped at the East end of Polihale beach just before the the mountains rise up from the Napali Coast. This was spectacular- clear water, and spinner dolphins in the dozens. We chose a windless day to do the Napali Coast as the predominant wind would be on the nose, so although we had to power the 20 mile coast we were mesmerized by the beauty and had a great trip.
Now we are anchored in Hanalei Bay and will be here for at least another week while we wait for a strong high to set itself up in the pacific that we can hitchhike NE on. One of our neighbours here, Robby Buck, who has done the crossing many times returning boats from the Vic/ Mauai, quotes a “ Canadian saying - just go North until the butter turns hard, then head east”!
Hanalei Bay is a place you cannot help but enjoy. Because of circumstances it’s not the bustling place it normally would be with cruising boats preparing to do the crossing and local boats from all over Hawai’i coming here to enjoy the summer.
The Covid19 rules have recently slackened to allow shops to open, although there is really no tourists to appeal to. Just us- and we are not big spenders. Did I mention that it just so happens that a lot of famous people live around here? They have chosen this little paradise on Kaua’i. Anyways I was poking around in the Tropical Tantrum clothes shop and was offered a good deal on a dress, so I tried it on. Normally Dave would be having an anxiety attack at this point, but someone walked in the store that he thought he recognized. He was totally absorbed in a description by the shop owner of the batiking process with this person and his wife, and hardly blinked as I asked him for the mastercard...! Afterwards, Dave asked the owner if that was Carlos Santana?! And was told “yes- he shops here for his shirts!” I would never have recognized him, but I seriously cannot think of anyone older than 20 who would not know of Carlos Santana, so we felt pretty special!
We are looking forward to our crossing, now. It seems we will still have to quarantine for two weeks when we return, even though we will have been offshore for around 20 days. We are okay with that , if we have to and looking forward to be in our own local waters again.
Kauai - Nawiliwili Harbour with Robert and Jessica
10 March 2020
Kanehoe Bay to Kauai was an overnight passage on the best window available. It wasn’t bad, but I was seasick a couple of times, so we were glad to tie up at a mooring ball in Nawiliwili Harbour in the morning. We had warned the harbour master we were coming. We were charged approximately $800usd for a month for anchorage in a windy harbour where numerous boats drag frequently, plus cold showers on shore. ”Mistake!” I said, we are not staying aboard. “Ahh - the price goes down to $180 then.”
The mooring ball we had tied to, we were told by its owner, was unsafe. A few weeks before the wind had reached 65 knots from the west and had dislodged roots etc from the river which in turn took the mooring ball out on its way by. That storm also had three large boats drag on their anchors and run into some other boats on mooring balls. Hmmm. Since the ball we were on was not secure we moved forward of it and put out 2 bow anchors and a stern anchor. The bottom is silt on rock though, and after another strong blow (this time in the 30s from the NE) in which our anchors moved and another boat dragged, we up anchored and went close to an entrance marker with again, 3 anchors. We would have been obstructing the usual yacht club race course where they scream around the marker with spinnakers flying, but luckily, a trustworthy mooring ball became available the day before.
So we had definitely chosen an exciting place to be for the next two months, while expecting two sets of visitors. Think “adventure holiday” we told our son and his fiancée! Aptly, their visit started after arriving at 10:30 pm, with a dinghy ride in the dark bundled up in thick rain ponchos against the wind pushing up waves over the bow soaking anything it could reach till we arrived at our boat. It wouldn’t be their worst dinghy ride back to the boat in strong winds. Looking ahead at the weather for their stay, didn’t look good- one day of sun the following week.
Fortunately, we found out once again, that there is no spoiling a vacation in Hawaii! Although, being on the windward side of both the Big Island (Trish and Herman) and Kauai for Robert and Jess in the winter isn’t the best for weather, on both occasions we rented a car, and could always find more acceptable weather on the leeward side if need be. Mind you, the weather was actually great and didn’t slow us down a bit. You can see from the gallery, the skies looked threatening sometimes, but rain only lasts for a few minutes usually. We had a fantastic time exploring trails and beaches with them and they also were able to take off on their own occasionally when they had worn us out!
The trouble with having visitors though, is you miss them so much when they leave!
25 February 2020
It’s funny finally landing in an English speaking country and still struggling with the pronunciation and remembering place names. But here’s the key. The indigenous Hawaiians have only 13 letters in their alphabet: AEIOUHKLMNPW and ‘. The vowels are pronounced like in Spanish, no silent letters and a few combos like ai which is pronounced like the word eye. The ‘ separates two vowel sounds in a word. Language lesson over.
We timed our arrival in Waikiki with an overnight passage, entering the bay in the morning. Try as we did, we were still unable to get a clear picture of what to do and where to go when got there. There are hundreds of yachts and a number of of different yacht clubs. The government boat harbours don’t take reservations but can give you an idea if they might have room a few days ahead of time. We had to turn down the first one they offered us as it clearly had a sofa sitting on the bottom on our assigned slip- too spooky. Water was clear though! We got one on the outside by the breakwater, right next to the surfers beach and Waikiki beach. Our little touch of luxury for a week before we moved on.
If you had crused through Hawaii last year you would have been very pleased with the prices to tie up and anchor. But rules changed in November, 2019.
The prices are based on per footage and are still reasonable especially at anchor, but the real killer is $10 per person per night per stay aboard on top, at all state harbours. Radio bay on the big island is the only one run by the highways division and does not have the stay aboard fee. Also if you anchor out and move on after three days you shouldn’t be charged. However that didn’t seem to be the case on Molokai. Because the rules are new, nobody seems to have a grip on them. Anyways, Hawaii is no longer the best option for cruisers like us on our way back home from the Pacific. Best advice I would pass on is arrive and leave in the same season. We organized our trip to spend 6 months here before starting for home.
That said, we are totally enjoying ourselves here. Buses are cheap and carry bikes so we have been having a great time.
From Honolulu, we went to the north side of Oahu into the all weather protected Kanehoe bay. We anchored for a few days at the head of the bay in a place called Hakipu’u. It was deceivingly well protected by a maze of shallow reefs with a spectacular mountainous back drop. My favourite anchorage yet.
But we were nervous of overstaying, and we were able to get in at the Kanehoe Yacht Club so spent a week there. We had a great time there at a reasonable price and met friends who we will hopefully see in the summer back on the island.
We had to wait for a short break in the strong winds to get across the Kaua’i Channel, so we anchored again in our favourite spot and waited...
24 January 2020
We took a short weather window to get out of Hilo, taking the north coast and crossing the dreaded Alenuihaha Channel to the south side of Maui. We had a great sail along the coast of the Big Island, but the wind dropped off completely, as predicted in the channel and we had to power over night across. Crossing the channel having to use the engine is not ideal, but we would would have had to wait another week if we didn’t take this window. The swell had also dropped off, which enabled us to have calm watches and good sleeps. We continued past Lahaina on Maui which was one of our options, but it made more sense to go while the going was good and arrived in Kaunakakai on Molokai at 9 in the morning.
Molokai is a very laid back “small town” kind of island. Just the kind we like. And Kaunakakai, seems to be the town of the perpetual rainbows. Where the wind from the windward side of the island cools at the tops of the hills and produces a fine mist when it meets the sunny leeward side. We managed to ride our bikes to the other side of the island and through the cool mist. The Hwy 470 ends on the top of a 2000 ft cliff dropping to the Kalaupapa peninsula. The trail down is closed to the public as there is a community of lepracy patients living there. They were once exiled there in the 19th century. Now those that remain have the right to stay and live out their lives there if they choose. When the colony finishes its natural life, the area gets turned over to a large national park. We would love to stay here longer, but we have arranged to pick up our new batteries in Honolulu soon.
11 January 2020
Our passage from the Marquesas to Hawaii took 17 days. Shortly, after crossing the equator we separated from our buddy boat, Capri. We were using the weather router, “theWeatherguy.com” this time. He advised us to head more East than they were comfortable with. As it turns out, they were starting to experience electrical glitches and we lost touch with them first by radio, then satellite, then sail mail. But by this time we had established good communication with Minstrel Boy, ( family of 3 from Victoria) and Dappere Dodo ( Dutch family of 4 whom we had met in the Tuamotus) ; both on there way to Hawaii and Pinocchio who had decided to stop for a while in the Fanning Islands.
I think we are getting better at our crossings. I seem to enjoy them more each time. One amazing thing is I haven’t been getting my usual sea sickness that I thought I was stuck with for the first few days of the trip . I was even drinking coffee like a crusty ol’ sailor!!
Mind you, I’m sure we owe the good crossing for the most part to Rick-theWeatherGuy.
Anyways we tucked into the large breakwater at Hilo and then into Radio Bay as the wind and seas were picking up from some storms happening in the NW. You have the choice of anchoring or tying to the wall. Pure bliss the first night at anchor in the protected bay. But we wanted to do a lot of boat work and had guests coming so we Med-tied to the wall. The next day weather intensified and each wave was breaking over the breakwater. Exciting to watch. But we broke a line and watched our neighbour start dragging toward the wall . So Dave went to help, then we got serious about our condition and put a second anchor out and reinforced the lines. It’s always good to get that wake up call early in the stay so you know just how bad the snug little anchorage you are in can be.
Radio bay is a noisy industrial place that is hard to get into town from. But on a friends good advice, we bought some fairly cheap bikes. The bikes have to be rowed to shore each time, but it’s so worth it for the freedom and exercise. The buses here are cheap. Only $1 for us over sixty-ers. $1 to go anywhere! And for an extra $1, you can put your bike on. So we caught the bus to the Volcano National Park with our bikes and were able to explore there and then ride 30 miles back all down hill!!
Another time we caught the bus to Kona across the island for $1 and met up with Trish and Herman who had arrived by plane and picked us up in a rental car. For the next 10 days we had such a good time exploring the island with those two.
After the New Year we were looking for the weather opportunity to move on to Maui, but decided to let one pass and wait here until we could get our Boat Safety Inspection in Reeds Bay. It’s a form that you need to have ( or get) if you stay longer than 3 days in any state run facility. The rules here are not straight forward, but I think we have everything we may need to satisfy authorities now. Having let that weather window pass, means we may have two wait here another two weeks. The Alenuihaha channel that we must cross to Maui gets very dangerous with intensified trade winds funnelling through especially at this time of year.
Our plans from here though, are to stop at a few anchorages on our way to Oahu, if we have time. We have to change our batteries in Oahu and then get to Kauai mid February or so to meet Robert and Jessica at the end of the month.
Did I mention it rains a lot in Hilo? Often it is torrential but doesn’t last all that long. The temperature is mostly a comfortable 20C. Only time I freeze here is in the air conditioned shops. Luckily there is a daily fresh market in town. On the whole, Hilo is a great place and we are fully enjoying our time here.