Alenuihaha – ha
07 August 2012 | Kauhako, HI
Well, we did it. That is we crossed the famed Alenuihaha Channel. We only had winds to 30 knots, but some pretty big seas. In any case, the trick is definitely to get your butt out of bed EARLY in the morning (like 4:00) and go. The best we could manage was departing at 5:30, but it made a difference. Plus we were staged closer. In any case, we were able to cross with double reefed main and a bit of headsail. The odd thing was - getting into the lee of the Big Island , we sailed into a completely windless hole before the wind swung and blew 180 degrees at 20 knots , but we were close enough to Kiholo Bay, where we'd planned to stay anyway, so motored in and dropped the hook amongst 2 kiteboarding fanatics who insisted on buzzing by the boat at top speed (pretty cool actually) while giving us the "hang loose" hand gesture. Still we were pretty beat from the crossing and so spent most of the rest of the day inside napping. The Big Island is quite different. Other than being much larger, it seems more rugged, with lots of seemingly new black volcanic rock and lava flows easily visible from the water. The anchorage at Kiholo was adequate, though still rolly and with a loud surf crashing very near the boat. This morning, we pulled the hook and sailed immediately with main alone in the 18 knots from the north. It was interesting seeing the infrastructure change as we headed south along this big Island. Larger towns and warehouses began appearing when we decided it was prudent to top off fuel and water at Honokhau Harbor - a man made small harbor cut into the rock which has only a small basin on the outside deep enough for us to get into. Unfortunately, the inner basin is only 7 feet deep and we draw 8 so we could not stay. Still, it was nice to get fuel and walk around a bit. We even had lunch and talked to a guy running a charter boat that had moved here from Seward 19 years ago. Small world. We continued making our way south along the Kona Coast and decided to stop in at Kealakekua Bay - where the Captain Cook Memorial is located. Unfortunately, the only boats allowed to take a mooring in the bay (National Marine Preserve) are cattlemarans who tied up in front of the memorial with droves of fat pink people who are unceremoniously dropped in the water with snorkels. Determined, we motored in and Lolo idled around while I swam to shore (with iphone in dry bag stuffed down my trunks) to see the memorial and take a photo. Being from Alaska - where I grew up with the legacy of Cook, I just had to see the place where he met his final demise. It seems he was killed because a local priest had mistakenly associated Cook with some "god" and that was enough; a stupid way to die for such an amazing and accomplished man. As I swam back to the boat, I could see the worried look on Lolo's face and she was glad to have me back aboard. We continued our way south down the coast in search of a suitable anchorage and stopped at Honaunau Bay - a very small (but as good as it gets here) bay with some ancient Hawaiian city ruins. It looked like a possibility, so we dropped the hook. Unfortunately, just as we dove into the ocean to swim to shore and explore some of the area, a Hawaiian outrigger canoe full of rowers paddled out to tell us we had to move. This was quite discouraging and the words range in my head from a cruising friend who had once told me "Hawaii is not very friendly to cruisers." This is certainly complicated by the fact that there are really no suitable anchorages or protected bays here. At least none like the ones I'm used to anchoring in. The few that come close, seem to be protected marine reserves - reserved instead for droves of tourists. Shame. This is the America I want to get away from. Apparently Hawaii is not far enough away. Anyway, after being shoo'd off, we continued down another 3 miles and are now anchored in the very rolly, and only marginally protected Hauhako Bay. You'd be hard pressed to call this a bay, but it's really no worse than all the other places we've stayed in Hawaii and since it was getting dark soon, we dropped the hook in 30 feet of sand. The good news is - they have internet and phone service. Probably the last we'll see for a month. Next stop - Palmyra Atoll.