Monday, July 4, 2016

Connie, spray in face

Connie, spray in face, while SV is down below getting dried off.
Last night anchored off Sugar Beach in Kihei, Maui the wind calmed occasionally and on those occasions we slept. Our plan was to get the heck out of there ASAL (As soon as light).  Connie was up at first light making tea then we got down to it right away, Connie going forward to bring up 150 feet of chain and our 35 kg anchor, and myself taking the helm.  I had a heck of a time trying to keep Traveler's bow into the wind as she constantly tried to blow down.  Very patiently Connie gave me hand signals to come forward, move right, move left, back down, and stop.  Eventually she got in 120 feet and the chain became bar hard.  We were directly above the anchor in 30 feet of water and the anchor was not budging.  She pressed the windless switch and it ground to a halt.  Then I saw my dear wife grab the hand crank and throw her weight into it.  The bow dipped in a wave, she brought in another six inches and with the upsurge of the bow and her force on the crank the anchor finally popped loose.  We knew the ground tackle was set well - we'd been there for 33 hours in high winds giving the anchor plenty of time to dig its way towards the center of the planet.

Our present anchorage at Lahaina

Sails still furled, we fell off the wind and drove through the mooring field being careful not to get swept down on the charter boats riding on mooring balls.  As we headed across the bay the sun came up and the wind came up with it, streaming through the lowland between the two huge volcano peaks.  While only 1/4 mile from shore, the wind was kicking up waves that grew in intensity until they were slapping the side of the boat and drenching me in the cockpit.  Connie asked, "Are we going to raise some sails?  Maybe three reefs in the main and the staysail?"  I sure didn't want to get up on that deck and fight a third reef into the main.  Anyhow, we only had to make it across three miles before we could duck behind the point.  So the answer was, "No, I think it's safer to motor for now."  So we beam reached, under power across the bay, shipping water into the cockpit.  I was glad to have my go-cup of hot tea - it helped to be able to rinse the salt spray out of my mouth with something hot and sweet.  A third of the way across the bay, the dinghy under tow flipped over.  I know, we should have had it on deck. But it had been too windy to hoist it up on the deck the night before. (Lame excuse) At least we had the outboard motor up on the rail so it didn't get soaked. Two thirds of the way across I realized that I was soaking wet and shivering. I said, "Connie, I think you should go below and put on your foul weather gear."

Maui has two volcanoes with a lowland in between.  That's where we anchored, at Sugar Beach

When she came back on deck she took the wheel and I went below, stripped all my wet clothes off, dried myself with a towel, and put on my heavy weather gear.  I grabbed my sunglasses to keep the spray out of my eyes and returned on deck, nice and comfy.  So we powered across the bay, towing the dinghy upside down, and in an hour or so, rounded the corner to find slightly lighter wind and waves coming over the cockpit coaming.

We slowed down the boat and brought the upside down dinghy into our lee.  While Connie held the painter, I hooked the side of the dink with the boat hook and flipped her back over. Sorry about the upside down tow, old dink. 

We thought about raising sails but the wind was constantly shifting from one side of the boat to the other as the confused air spun around the lee of the land.  Screw it, we'll just motor. Let's turn on the watermaker, then we don't have to feel guilty about using the engine.  So we made water, we re-heated  soup, we striped off our foul weather gear, and we arrived finally in Lahaina snaring the LYC buoy #2 just outside the harbor. 

We agreed... that wind and spray action was the worst we'd ever..EVER.. seen on Traveler.  At no time on our 2550 mile Pacific Ocean crossing did we see wind like that. 30 knots?  Only in the lee of the island of Maui.  It's crazy here.

Lahaina is lovely. The Lahaina Yacht Club is wonderful - they took us in like family, telling us to use their facilities whenever we wanted.  We took showers, had cold beer,(only $5. for a locally made brew!) and found a Washington Yacht Club burgee hanging from their ceiling.  For those of you who don't know, I taught sailing at the WYC for years.  It's the student club at the University of Washington in Seattle

Banyan Tree, downtown Lahaina.
We are in the midst of a wind event says the NOAA weather radio:

"On roads, driving high profile vehicles may become difficult.  Motorists should exercise caution opening car doors.  Loose objects may blow around. Sustained 30 and gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

On the water, winds 20 to 30 knots with gusts up to 50.  Wind waves 6 to 12 feet in the channels.

Small craft advisory in effect through Saturday night."

So we will stay put on our beautiful LYC mooring ball #2.  We'll dinghy into the harbor tomorrow to do some grocery shopping but for the most part we'll stay with the boat, watching the mooring lines for chafe and  making sure our little upside down dinghy stays right side up.

We've got old LYC buoy #2 reserved through the 4th of July and so we'll have front row seats for the fireworks display off the party barge anchored right next to us.  A great excuse for me to fire off all those expired flares we stashed away!

Note: This picture is NOT of our present wind event.  It's for the 15th...
Windyty has a prediction for Friday the 15th that shows a big tropical depression hovering over the islands.  If this holds true then we'll be cooling our heels in Honolulu for a little while longer.

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