March 17-April 10, 2005

The Alenuehaha Channel – always an adventure…

The sail from Molokai to the Big Island goes by Lanai, Maui, Molokini, and Kahoolawe, and it can be a particularly scenic trip; however, we missed the sites by doing this overnight.  Our primary goal was to cross the Alenuehaha channel in its relatively calm condition regardless of dark or light.

Given the potential for havoc on this sail – and particularly the Alenuehaha – our sail was relatively uneventful.  The seas in the “haha” were rolly, and the sail was uncomfortable, but it was tolerable.  We had, indeed, chosen a good window to get across.

As we made our way in to the lee of the Big Island, Nita remarked that she was elated that she would never again have to face that &*^%ing channel.  She should know better than to tempt fate like that…

Honokohau harbor, just north of Kona, is the only place to haul out on the Big Island, and we had decided to haul to replace our cutless bearing before heading south.  Although Honokohau has about 250 tahitian-style moorings, they are all commercial, and there are no recreational slips.  But we needed a place to hang till an ordered part came in, so we called the harbormaster.  Much to our pleasant surprise, he offered us a slip until the end of the month.

By noon local time, we were inside the harbor and backing in to our slip when we got a VHF radio call from Bob on Nepenthe.  They had lost their head stay, and their engine would not start.  They were drifting in deteriorating conditions. 

So we immediately headed out to meet them.  Unfortunately they were 24 miles out, and the seas were building.  The weather window was closing.

Winds were now in the low 20s, and seas were 10 feet.  It was still doable, but it was getting ugly.  Passage motor sailed through the crud at 7 to 8 knots, and we met them within a few hours.

By the time we arrived, the crew of Nepenthe had jury-rigged a staysail, and they were sailing at 2 to 2.5 knots. Within another two hours, the now very seasick crew had the engine running.  They followed us back to port where we arrived at 2300 local time.

Nita is trying to learn to never say “never”.

Nepenthe under jury-rigged staysail

Our space – just inside the harbor

Honokohau Harbor in Kona

We spent the majority of our time on the big island in Honokohau Harbor.  We went in there because we wanted to haul out to replace a cutless bearing, and we stayed because we enjoyed it so much.  Although we never expected to enjoy being in a commercial marina, it was comfortable, beautiful, and restful – a very nice place to spend some time. We had a beautiful place to stay in Honokohau Harbor.  We were in the first space just barely inside.  The breakwall provided some protection, and we had no other boats around us.

Off our transom was a rickety old dock that led to stone steps up the breakwater.  At the top was a beautiful grassy area with postcard views.  Very nice.

Kona has always been a favorite place of ours.  We love to dive, and Kona has the best that Hawaii has to offer.  Our place in Honokohau was less than a 60 second dinghy ride away from two of our favorite dive sites.

Just behind our boat

Across the channel entrance

Although we had chores to take care of, we decided against renting a car.  Instead, we rode our bikes.  Neither of us remembered the big island having so many hills as we discovered while on our bikes.  But a friend offered us a car to use twice – what a luxury!

Many of our chores took us to town – to Kailua-Kona.  It’s a charming little town that we both know and enjoy.  Unfortunately, it seemed that Kona Brewery had some magnetic force over our bicycles, and we ended up there a few times. Nita was in to the Fire Rock Pale Ale, and Bud consumed copious quantities of the Castaway IPA.  We had a leak of our beer gas, and we were not able to drink our homebrew, so we had to look to outside sources. We got a new regulator and full tank of gas before leaving

Our best news from Kona is that we decided not to haul out.  We pushed Passage hard for about 24 hours during our trip there from Kaunakakai, and we had no problems.  The shaft is true.  No leaks.  We realigned the engine.  We don’t think it is necessary.  We also needed to replace our speed transducer, but we were able to do it in the water.  No haulout – yipeeeeee!!!!!

Our worst news from Kona is that we were dismayed at the traffic.  This island has grown far too fast and too big.  The main highway has bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic much of the day.  There are lines of people everywhere you go.  It is unfortunate that too many people have “discovered” this place.  It is still beautiful, but much of its charm is lost in the crowds.

Bud in to the IPA

We had planned to check out with customs on Thursday morning, March 31, then head south to Fanning Island in the Line Islands.  But Bud got a cold, and we postponed our departure.  We finally left Kona on Saturday, April 9.  We headed down the coast of the big island to Honomalino for our last stop before heading south to Fanning.  Aloha to Kona…

Follow us to our final stops in Hawaii – Milolii and Honomalino.