10-28-10 Honolulu, Oahu

We've moved from the Aloha guest dock to a slip here at the Hawaii Yacht Club in the Ala Wai Basin. Behind the locked gates at the end of the pier, you can forget the big city is a short walk away! We've bought two used bikes from Walmart for our transportation; that and the city bus and shuttles will get us around. We've been meeting new friends; the Aloha spirit is alive and well! Michael & Matt joined sv Zion's family (Ray and Ramona and their three wonderful children) for a weekly Friday night race here. They placed 2nd in the non-spinnaker division, and 11th overall...a grand effort and fun for all! There are many long term members and live aboards here....we feel lucky to be part of their extended family for awhile. We've been cleaning the boat and working on our "list". The new galley sink faucet and spigots have already been installed.
Shortly after our arrival Matt was offered a crew position aboard B2, a Nordhavn 64 Expedition Motor Yacht, going to American Samoa. The captain and 3 crew will get there in less then 2 weeks....Matt will then fly back to his much more basic abode here. What an opportunity for him!
Most mornings here have been spent drinking coffee in the yacht club and tracking down and ordering parts and supplies. Shipping to Hawaii is expensive, but a necessary part of the repairs and upgrades we plan to do. Example: four new 175 watt solar panels (purchased here) are sitting on our deck, awaiting the arch modification from the welder we've contacted (who has yet to show up!). Scheduled visits by local canvas, diesel, and rigging experts have already been booked. Many of our upgrades would, under most circumstances, be done by us; but with limited time and many major things to do on "the list" we've opted to farm out some of the punch list.
The picture is B2 leaving....with Matt as one of the crew.

Thursday 10-21-10 Honolulu, Oahu

Sunrise Tuesday we headed for Oahu and had a magnificent sail across the Kaiwi Channel with winds on our stbd quarter. We've been very fortunate with the winds and seas....we've heard this has been a 'calm' year. We're thankful for that!
We tucked into the Ala Wai Basin, and tied to the Hawaii Yacht Club's 'Aloha' dock. Our friends on Soggy Paws had arrangements at Rainbow Marina in Pearl Harbor, so we separated and will compare notes later. Culture shock once more...the high rise condos, high density population, and 1000 boat slips in this one basin....it'll take some getting used to. Creaking dock lines, general noise and music kept us awake--I guess our 8pm shut eye time will have to change. But, we can't complain about the facilities or friendliness of the folks here; everyone's been great! We're working on finding long term moorage and connecting with the skills and services we need for our repairs and upgrades.

Mon 10-18-10 Lono Harbor, Molokai

We had a great early morning crossing of the Kalohi channel to Molokai, where we spent the night in Lono Harbor. What a surreal experience when a swarm of bees invaded us as I was making a big salad. All they wanted was fresh water,(the drought is really, really bad here), so my sink and anywhere there was water was bee city. Thankfully they were not the biting kind, so I had an up close and personal experience with these soft, fuzzy, noisy critters. I put bowls of water on the deck hoping to draw them out there...it worked a bit...the ones below stayed and the new ones were above. I knew they'd be gone by sundown, but they ended up dying/drowning(??), so by sunset I had bowls full of dead bees. Weird.

Sunday 10-17-10 Maui

Sharing a rental minivan with our friends, we toured two full days around this beautiful island. We went up to the 10,023 foot high Haleakala, in the National Park. Haleakala, meaning 'house of the sun' has 12 observatories, all closed to the public. The views are spectacular from up there...and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful silversword plant, an endangered hearty plant only found in that National Park. We found a great kite boarding beach at Kanaha Beach Park, near Kahului. Matt was stoked, but sad he couldn't kite that day. Next we went to Ioa Valley State Park, where an emerald-green pinnacle shoots straight up from the valley floor to a height of 2250 ft. The Iao needle is a popular tourist stop...the cameras were clicking; it reminded us of similar grandeurs in the Marquesas.... We drove back to Lahaina and had dinner at the Lahaina Yacht Club before returning to our boats for the night.
We awoke and were off our boats at 0630 to start a full day of many sights and stops along the Hana Highway- a famous narrow twisting scenic road with 54 one-lane bridges to cross. Getting to the Kipahulu section of the Haleakala National Park was our goal. Maui has been experiencing a drought, so many of the roadside waterfalls were trickles or non-existent, but the Waimoku Falls at the end of the Pipiwai Trail in the 'Ohe'o Gulch was impressive with its 400' waterfall dropping down a sheer rock face. There are 24 terraced pools connected by gentle cascades and streams extending from this fall to the ocean. We walked through the bamboo forest, and were struck how serene and beautiful the area was. After a refreshing dip in the pool, we drove along the south edge of the island, and the untamed Pi'ilani Highway was like a trip to the boonies along the coast. It was barren, brown, dry and rugged, with miles of driving on unpaved road. The road itself crosses a vast lava flow dating from Haleakala's last eruption in 1790. We stopped for an incredible sunset view from a cliff along the highway and were able to view four islands from our vantage point. We finally made it back to our boats, weary but with lots of good pictures and memories.
Today was our last full day on Maui, and we started it by visiting the Whalers Museum in Ka'anapali. We later met with David, Ellen, Eric, and Jason who live locally and completed a six year circumnavigation in their sv Peace and Aloha a few years back. We had a lovely dinner with them and returned aboard around 2230 hours (late for us!), hoisted the outboard and dinghy to the deck, and prepared for an early morning departure. Our plan is to anchor for the evening in Lono Harbor on the southwest coast of Molokai, and depart for Honolulu early Tues. morning. Crossing the channels between these islands is known to be calmest in the early mornings. We've had wonderful mild weather so far...we hope it continues!

Thursday 10-14-10 Maui

N 20.52 / W 156.41
We're in Lahaina, a place I always wanted to come to by my own boat. Located on the west side of Maui, it's an old whaling town that is now a busy tourist destination, hosting a very active main drag of shops (Front Street) selling jewelry, T shirts, burgers and ice cream. A typical tourist scene. The small harbor is full, mostly with tourist boats, but there are a few lucky private yachts; there's a 35 year waiting list for a slip! To get here, we had sailed all night across the Alenuihaha Channel, experiencing ENE winds of 15-20 knots and 4-6' seas, and felt blessed that conditions were so benign. The winds died after we crossed Ma'alaea Bay, and we motored the few remaining miles to Lahaina, picking up a Lahaina Yacht Club mooring in front of town. We hurriedly launched the dinghy and went in to register at the YC. Moorings are free, and available for short lengths of stay to the visiting yacht. We had a quick shower upstairs, a quick beer downstairs at the YC bar, and proceeded to walk the town a bit. We were running on adrenalin at that point, but it felt good to mingle with the crowds for a change of pace. That afternoon Dave and Sherry arrived; they had anchored at Nishimura Bay on the NW side of the Big Island during the night and awoke early to cross the channel in the calm early morning winds. Avoiding the build up of the trade winds as you cross any of the channels between islands usually means a very early morning departure (like 0400) or an all night sail (like Infini did) before the kick ass winds and seas have a chance to paste you. Again, watching the weather forecasts and being aware of local conditions is imperative for safe cruising. We look forward to renting a car with our friends and visiting the National Parks before heading out to our next overnight stop in Moloka'i.

Sunday 10-10-10 Mauna Kea

We exchanged our rental minivan in for a 4WD vehicle so we could visit the Mauna Kea lookout and observatories without going with a tour group. Before going there, we visited Waipi'o Valley's lookout and all points on the north west side of the island....such as Kahala, Upolu Pt., and the statue of Kamehameha I. The views and history of the area were very interesting. We had a car full as our friends from the catamaran Moemoea Nui (Alain and Odile) joined us. Atop Mauna Kea it was cold for us (45 degrees F) but an amazingly clear evening, so the view and sunset was incredible. The elevation at the Visitors Information Station is 9,300 feet, and is a required stop to acclimatize before ascending to the summit at 13,796 feet. It felt like we were on a different planet up there...awesome, and a unique experience. More pictures will be added to our Album section soon; you'll feel like you were along with us so make sure you're wearing warm clothes!

Wed. 10-6-10 The Big Island

We've had a lot of fun playing tourist. The bus system here is free, but doesn't run after 5pm or on Sundays. Various cruise ships have been in frequently, and we can stand in their lines for free transportation to town if we want. Also, it's only a 2 mi. walk to the quaint downtown area of Hilo, which we've also done.
We rented a mini van with our friends and toured the island. Our first stop was Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We drove the crater rim road, and the rain and clouds didn't stop us walking to see the visitors center, the crater, Kilauea Caldera, steam vents, and lava tubes. We also stopped at the Jaggar Museum. The drive along the southern side brought us to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, where we saw three green turtles sleeping on....you guessed it, the black sand! We stopped for the night in Ocean View at Leilani B & B, to meet Randy and his wife Lynn. Randy (KH6RC) is one of the main voices on the PAC SEA NET that we check in with while under passage. These net controllers are all volunteers and put many hours into their 'hobby', offering a great service to cruisers. Sherry ran the net that night; there were 8 boats checking in from all over. We had an enjoyable evening at their peaceful place. The next day we drove to South Point (Ka Lae), where the cliffs have fishing 'camps' on the bluffs. With the offshore breeze, they use plastic bags to get their line and hooks offshore. It's the most southern tip in the U.S. - views from the vistas were a pleasure. We stopped next at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge), the Captain Cook Monument, and then on to Kailua Kona area to visit the marina and haul out yard at Honokohau Harbor. It was a full day's driving to get back to Hilo in the evening. The next morning the girls made a trip to the laundry with their many bags of laundry....finally...then 7 of us (our French friends from Moemoea Nui, Alain & Odile) were off to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, a wonderful spot on the coast north of Hilo.
There are many local booklets and visitor information resources, but theses are also invaluable when touring the islands:
Cruising Guide to the Hawaiian Islands, Carolyn & Bob Mehaffy
Charlie's Charts of the Hawaiiam Islands, Charles and Margo Wood

Oct 3 - Team Infini is safely in Radio Bay, Hilo

We had beautiful sailing in unexpected NW winds of 18-20 which allowed us to sail to windward at a 25-30 degree relative wind angle at 5.5 knots. We had to reef down the sails to slow the boat down, and keep her sailing efficiently and comfortably. At 0400 a line of squalls started, and we saw 27 knots in the higher gusts. Let out the main, furl the jib more, feather the boat into the wind in the higher gusts; by that time we had taken Max off the job as it was easier (and more fun) to steer the boat ourselves; Max had done an outstanding job until then. We ended up having to motor sail the rest of the way to Hilo, as the winds were directly on the nose. The weather was forecast to turn worse Monday and Tuesday, so we didn't want to be out tacking all day and night working our way towards Hilo. We called Customs on our cell phone at 0900, and they said to come directly in for clearance when we tied up in Radio Bay. We turned the corner of the long breakwater leading into Hilo and were boarded by the USCG for a safety inspection! The guys were very nice, efficient, and stayed aboard until I swung the boat around to tie stern to the wall (Med moor style) in Radio Bay. We were secured by 1045 and happy to be in still water.
Final stats are:
total miles: 2154
avg speed: 5.3 knots
total elapsed time: 407 hours
total engine run time (including charging batts, bringing the reefer down): 33 hours, which represents 8% of the total elapsed time
number of fish caught: 2
highest wind gust: 27
total sleep deprivation: incalculable....
Once again, Team Infini enjoyed a wonderful transit, and we thank Neptune for allowing this opportunity and look forward to exploring the delights of Hawaii (and completing a long list of boat projects!) over the next six months before returning to French Polynesia.

Oct 2 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 17

1200 (2200Z)
position: N18deg46min/W153deg25min
day 16 run - 113 nm
avg speed - 4.7 kn
wind - NE 6-10 kn
We had a beautiful night sailing in smooth waters. This morning we set the pole to leeward to keep the yankee jib flat; the main has one reef in it. We're doing 5-5.5 kn boat speed in 10-13 kn of NE wind; we don't want to go too much faster as we don't want to arrive Hilo in the dark. We've got around 110 nm to the anchorage in Radio Bay, and we've been advised that a Med mooring is necessary in the small anchorage area. (This is where a boat drops its anchor and backs up to something, usually a concrete wall, and stern ties about 10-20 feet from the wall. The anchor chain and/or the stern lines ashore can be brought in or out to adjust to any surge that occurs.) We can hear USCG Honolulu on VHF Channel 16, so we know land's out there somewhere ahead of us! This should be our last night out sailing until landfall; I think we're all ready for a change of pace. All's well aboard. Btw, for inquisitive minds that want to know, Max is steering beautifully.
And oh yes....the "fish on" call was made....Matt didn't have to struggle bringing a 3ft. 7lb. mahi mahi aboard. Sue filleted the fish just in time before we had a line squall hit.

Oct 1 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 16

1200 (2200Z)
position: N17deg46min/W151deg47min
day 15 run: 107 nm
avg speed: 4.5 kn
wind: NE 10-12
Our night was very slow in very light winds. At 1100 this morning we dropped the BAM sail (see previous post) in winds that had crept up to 10-12, and maintained our speed with single reefed main, yankee jib, and staysail. We're expecting winds to go up a few knots later today; Max likes the set of the sails the way they are, hence the single reef in these light airs. Otherwise, Sue's come closer guessing the previous day's run two times in a row now, so Matt and I have to prepare dinner and clean up (the winner gets the bye). No fish yet, but we're sorely deficient in good lures that might attract them! 218 nm to Hilo. We're looking forward to hot showers and doing a laundry; our clothes are standing up on their own...