The Big Blue

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False start

05 August 2012 | La PĂ©rouse Bay
We left Mala/Lahaina yesterday (Friday August 3) morning, a couple of days later than planned. Thursday night we said goodbye to Christine and Dan, returned their bikes and started the trek back to the boat on foot - stopping by the tattoo parlor to get ear piercing supplies (more on that later) and the grocery store for some last minute items. Finally, Friday morning, we weighed anchor bright and early and motored south 15 miles to Makena, in the southwest part of Maui. We wanted to spend the night on the southwest edge of Maui to be ready for a crack-of-dawn start to get across the Alanuihaha channel to the big island before the breeze picked up (as it apparently usually does). This channel has a wicked reputation. We anchored comfortably in sand in about 30 feet of water and rowed the dinghy into the beach for a walk and snorkel. Had a beautiful snorkel with great visibility, lots of fish, and very large turtle very close! Lovely.

Around 3pm, the wind picked up from Ma'alaea, uncomfortably so, so we poked around the headland and anchored off Big Beach, or Oneloa. What a beach! Just beautiful. We swam ashore for a stroll before sunset (bodysurfing in) and got back to the boat, had dinner, and had an early night in anticipation of aforementioned crack-of-dawn start.

This morning, as we began to head ESE past the southern end of Maui and into the Alanuihaha channel toward the big island, we hoisted the main with a double reef and rolled out a bit of headsail. Pretty soon, we were headed into 25knots with gusts to 30 and steep seas, and it wasn't even 7:30. And we weren't sailing high enough. Hm. Although we had had the foresight to batten down the hatches, we still had the dinghy on the foredeck and the solar panels out and didn't feel quite ready for this. Did 30 knots at 7:30 mean 50 knots at 10:30? We weren't planning on beating into it! We decided to turn around.

We headed back toward Big Beach, but we were apprehensive to anchor in the same spot given the rolly night we had just spent. So, we anchored further south in the same bay (Ahihi Bay), off some lava rocks. Pretty cool coastline, actually!

About an hour later, a lifeguard on a jet ski stopped by to inform us that a park service agent was waiting to speak to the master onshore, and he could bring Mark in to talk to him. We had unbeknownst to us anchored in a marine protected area, and Mark was informed that the State could seize the vessel and arrest him! We had no idea. Mark now has a court date on Maui in September (apparently it's not like a traffic violation with a set fine for each violation)... wonder how that's going to work ....

They didn't arrest Mark, which is nice, and we moved back to Big Beach and continued to roll. The wind picked up (from the opposite direction that it was blowing in the Alanuihaha Channel half a mile away) to over 20 knots sustained and there were uncomfortable short choppy wind waves rolling in from Ma'alaea Bay. Finally, we decided to try for La PĂ©rouse Bay (mentioned in our previous post) about 4 miles south of Oneloa and supposedly well protected in northerlies and easterlies even though it had not looked particular welcoming when we sailed past it earlier that morning on our way out to the channel. It sounded cool, and we didn't like where we were, so we figured it was worth a shot. So, once again, we weighed anchor and headed out. We were going downwind in 25 knots and I was really hoping we wouldn't have to come back into it ... we pulled into La PĂ©rouse Bay and motored around looking for a suitable place to drop the hook. It was not looking promising. Although there was not a lot of chop in the bay, it is completely exposed to the south and the west, and it was blowing up to 30 knots inside and was framed with this sharp black rock! Still, we found a sandy spot in 40 feet and decided to drop anchor and see how things went. We've decided to stay. It's still blowing up to 15-18 knots, but we seem to be holding nicely and it is not as rolly. It really is a beautiful bay, with forbidding sharp black lava rock all around. We made a pizza for dinner, and are once again planning for an early start across the dreaded Alanuihaha Channel tomorrow. We have stowed the dinghy, lashed the solar panels, stowed the cockpit cushions and set the alarm for BEFORE sunrise this time.

So we'll sleep in La PĂ©rouse Bay tonight and think of the French captain who sailed the same waters as us, from the Gulf of Alaska to the Alanuihaha Channel-but he had no charts, no gps, no engine, no radio, no .... We are such wuses.
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
M [...]
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
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