S/V Crazy Love

Our tracker is here.

Kauai, The Garden Isle

As Dave mentioned in the previous post we pulled into Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor in the middle of the night, tied up Crazy Love and awoke to our friend John on Ichiban offering us a cold beverage in welcome.

We planned to stay for a week to enjoy some of the sites on Kauai and perhaps rent a car for a day or two. Hurricanes Iselle and Julio had different plans for us. These two storms seemed to be on a direct path to Hawaii. Since we had a slip we decided to hunker down and wait out the storms, extending our stay for an additional week.

We used our 1/2" three-strand anchor rode as mooring lines for the storm.

We had great company in the Harbor. In addition to John, we met some other boats waiting to head back across the Pacific to California. Steve and Brian on Frolic, an Islander 36, Christian on Thelonius, and another Brian on Maris, a beautiful Dana 24. Steve had sailed Frolic across on the Single Handed Transpac, coming in first on corrected time. All of these guys had a wealth of knowledge, advice, and great stories. Also around the docks was Dmitry Boldyrev of Winamp fame. Dave was impressed.

There are wild chickens everywhere in Kauai.

In addition to beer and ice runs (the essentials for any hurricane party), we were able to see some sites, fix our stove, and discover yet another great brewery.

The gimbal on our stove gave out on our passage across, and of course the screw head sheared right off when the repairs began. There must be a machine shop around that could drill it out. Armed with three addresses from Google we set out on foot in search. It seems none of those three businesses were still in business. The one address in fact looked like an abandoned house, scary! We did find the Ace Hardware and were able to essentially rebuild the gimbal (ok Dave was able to rebuild the gimbal). In our walking tour we stumbled upon the Kauai Beer Company, a fairly new brewery. Definitely some tasty brews and the staff was so friendly they convinced us we should return the next night for Tasty Truck Thursday. What a great night. The place was packed with locals and tourists alike. Jim, one of the owners, greeted us and couldn't believe we walked all the way back. He kindly gave us a lift back to the marina at the end of the evening. I love this island!

After walking and walking we decided maybe we could find another of those local rental car companies and rent a car for a few days. Island Rental Cars to the rescue. They only rent by the week, but the cost was unbeatable and they delivered to us! $120, cash only, no hidden fees. This also gave me a little peace of mind knowing we had wheels to get us to higher ground if the storms created unsafe or uncomfortable conditions in the marina.

Beautiful views at Waimea Canyon.

Hidden, at least to folks that travel by boat, on this island is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It was a lovely drive through the country to Waimea Canyon and the views were spectacular. We also did some driving up to the North Shore. This island is truly the Garden Isle. Its green and lush with beautiful beaches, not to mention it has some of the friendliest people.

We count ourselves very lucky that Iselle brought one night of rain and Julio turned north and missed the Islands completely!

Big Island forecast for hurricane Iselle. This is scary stuff!

It was time to send off the boats to California and for us to continue to the much touted Hanalei Bay. Every boater in Hawaii mentions Hanalei and for good reason.

Just after the rain stopped in Hanalei Bay.

This bay is very protected, has an easy beach landing (even for us!), and access to showers and water. Outdoor showers at the beach, but showers none the less. Next time you see someone at the beach with a bottle of head and shoulders... don't judge!

After our shower we felt passable enough for a tour of the town and a mai tai at Tahiti Nui. We also ran into some friends from the B dock at the Ala Wai. PJ and Rick on Demasiada hosted us for a bay tour, drinks, and dinner on their boat. It was a fun evening, even if I did end up in the water after a failed attempt to board the dinghy. Always have to end the evening with flair!

Sunset in Hanalei Bay as seen from Crazy Love.

Its the kind of anchorage that you could stay forever, but September brings a north swell making it unsafe. We had been there for a week so it was time to move on to see the famous Na Pali coast. This section of the island can only be seen via boat or helicopter so traveling at 4 knots on Crazy Love was the perfect way to travel. The cliffs and waterfalls are absolutely amazing.

The beginning (east?) of the Na Pali Coast

Our cruising guide describes three anchorages along the Na Pali coast. The first anchorage is just 4 miles from Hanalei. It is said to be a protected area behind a reef that curves around to a lagoon at Tunnels Beach. We arrived rather quickly with the wind picking up. We pulled the sails down and motored in to check out the spot. It didn't seem good, we could not determine any calm or protection from the crashing waves over the reef. Abort, abort... moving along to the next anchorage.

Big waves and beautiful sailing along the Na Pali Coast.
Big waves and beautiful sailing along the Na Pali Coast.
A sloppy reef but an otherwise pleasant view.
Sunset from the deck of Crazy Love at anchor in Nualolo.

The next anchorage, Nualolo, is a popular spot with charter boats. When we arrived there were a half dozen boats moored in the protection of the reef. Anchoring was tricky because we had to avoid running over snorkeling tourists, avoid dropping the anchor on the reef and avoid the charter boat moorings. Finding a sandy patch was not such an easy trick. The water, although clear, was not completely calm so it was difficult to determine sand versus rock versus coral on the bottom. So I donned my snorkel and fins, jumped overboard to find our spot. I'm sure we were fine entertainment to those on the charters. I did discover a large enough sandy patch directly behind the moored charter boats. Dave was able to drop hook and I made it back on the boat. It seemed to be great holding. The charters left, the sunset cruises finished up and it was just Dave and I on Crazy Love with our new friend Pali. He's a sea turtle. He helped me find the sandy spot and kept us company throughout the evening. The stars with a new moon and a cloudless sky as well as no light pollution can only be truly experienced first hand. We planned to stay for a couple nights at least, but the next day brought some choppy, windy conditions that tripped our anchor and we felt it best to move on.

Meet Pali.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
Beautiful views sailing the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai.
The end (west?) of the Na Pali Coast as seen from the Barking Sands roadstead anchorage.

The third anchorage took us to the end of the beautiful cliffs of Na Pali to a white sandy beach that apparently if you get close enough sounds like barking dogs. Barking Sands Beach anchorage was essentially a roadstead of protected, if rolly, water. We were the only anchored boat in the crystal-clear blue water over sandy bottom. We had a frustrating sail, as again our roller furling was not working properly. Dave thought it might be the halyard getting caught on the extrusion (again!) and felt he should climb the mast in the rolly anchorage. The fix unfortunately didn't seem to work so we motored the 20 miles into Port Allen with only our main sail.

Crazy Love at anchor in Port Allen.

I had spoken to the Port Allen harbormaster and she said we could anchor within Hanapepe Bay for 72 hours if she didn't have a slip. We arrived of course on the weekend so even if she had a slip, the office was closed. After consulting the guide we decided the most protected area was just outside the second breakwater. Our only concern was it was a tiny space between the Small Boat Harbor entrance and three small Navy ships moored on the other side. We anchored fore-and-aft to keep the boat from swinging out into the channel and no one on the Navy ships complained so we felt we were OK. I believe we were at least 100 yards away.

It was an easy row into the facilities where they had brand new bathrooms and yet another outdoor shower. Less than a block away another brewery, Kauai Island Brewery & Grill was our first stop. Dave went up the mast again the next morning and unfortunately discovered a compromised forestay. It seems one of the strands of the wire rope had frayed. This was not good and we had no idea how long it had been like that. Perhaps this might explain the underlying troubles we've had with the roller furling all along. We couldn't believe it, it was a new rig after all and certainly not expected. After an afternoon of delicious food and WIFI at Grinds we decided instead of stopping at a few more anchorages on the west side of Oahu we should head back to the Ala Wai. The weather window for passage back across the Kauai channel was looking good, 10 knots from the east, northeast up to 15 knots with 3-5 foot wind waves. We headed out of Port Allen even sooner than we were planning as when we returned to the boat it looked like it was time to re-anchor or head out (the boat just seemed closer to those rocks). We headed out under power hoping to make it around the point to cross the channel. It was slow going so we then decided maybe a stopover in Nawilwili, then the wind picked up a little and we didn't stop. On to the Ala Wai, back to Honolulu. We motored a lot as we didn't want to add any strain to the forestay, only sailing in the lightest of winds. It was a long journey, hand steering switching 2 hours on and off, but we made it into the Ala Wai by Monday morning, about 4 am. We were assigned a slip, wait for it... right next to our buddy on Ichiban!

This is it. The end of this cruise is near. We are working on getting a permanent slip at Ke'ehi Marine Center, one of the 3 private mooring facilities in the state. Fingers crossed, we'll be moving Crazy Love to her permanent slip sometime before my birthday.

Updated Plan

We've updated Our Plan with thoughts on how we'll do things in the short term and our future cruising plans.

A Tale of Three Sails

Honolulu to Kaneohe Bay

Our path around the east end of Oahu as recorded by the Garmin.

After 18 days of busy city life in Honolulu we were ready to see the other side of Oahu. On Tuesday, July 22nd we left Ala Wai Harbor headed for Kaneohe Bay, a run that could be, should be, might be 30 miles. The wind was 15-20 knots from the east with big waves also from the east. Our path to Kaneohe had us going directly east for about 5 miles until we could crack off and reach around the windward side of Oahu. It was the hardest five miles I've ever sailed. Crossing from Puerto Vallarta to Hilo was easy in comparison. The east waves broke over the bow and the occasional south wave broke over the beam. All these waves soaked Carolyn and I for the better part of 8 hours. 8 hours! To do five miles! Ugh. Its hard to think about it now because I was so sea sick. I've never been that sea sick before. It was a miserable experience.

Once we got around the corner (Makapu'u Point), things got much easier. The wind was on the beam. The waves were on the beam or behind us and our boat speed increased tremendously. We went from averaging 2-3 knots upwind to 5-7 reaching. It was less miserable, but sunset was upon us with 15 miles to go.

It was a rough sail but we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

We ended up motoring into Kaneohe Bay in the pitch black. It isn't a good idea to enter a harbor for the first time at night, but we were so tired we took a chance. Working for us is the fact that Kaneohe has a Marine air station, so we were willing to take a chance on the accuracy of our digital charts. Turns out the charts are extremely accurate - even on the Garmin. The navigation bouys, both lit and unlit, were positioned in real life exactly where the charts said they would be. The depths were also accurate on the digital charts so we were able to follow the depth sounder all the way into the anchorage and drop the hook in a great spot.

Trip Stats:

  • Time underway: 14 hours, 40 minutes
  • Distance traveled: 54.9 miles
  • Average Speed: 3.7 knots

The average speed surprises me because it felt like we were barely moving during the zig/zag portion of the trip around the east end of the island.

We stayed in Kaneohe for 4 days to recover from the rough passage. We didn't even get off the boat. It was relaxing after the craziness of Honolulu and the beating we took getting there.

The shoreline as seen from Crazy Love at anchor in Kaneohe Bay.

Kaneohe Bay to Haleiwa

Crazy Love's path from Kaneohe Bay to Haleiwa as recorded by the Garmin.

Our original plan for Oahu did not include a stop in Haleiwa, but our friend John, on Ichiban, recommended we stop there for a great burger and the general funkiness of the town.

Leaving Kaneohe Bay under sail.  Look at those telltales flying perfectly!  Totally a coincidence.

The trip to Kaneohe turned out to be painful, so we needed a smooth downwind leg and we got it on the way Haleiwa. We motored out of the channel to perfect 15 knot easterlies. Broad reaching on starboard tack got us north of Kahuku Point and a perfectly timed gybe took us right into Haleiwa. We arrived on the sunny North Shore of Oahu happy and in love with sailing again.

I've just procured a few cold tallboys to accompany dinner.

Trip Stats:

  • Time underway: 8 hours, 15 minutes
  • Distance traveled: 38.4 miles
  • Average Speed: 5 knots

Inside the small boat harbor we tied up to the loading dock. We stayed there for two days and met all kinds of interesting folks: charter fishermen, tourist boat crews, and a homeless guy with a dog named either Salty or Shorty (depending on how drunk he was).

Sunset from the deck of Crazy Love tied to the loading dock in Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor.

When we were planning to leave Monday morning we stopped at the harbormaster's office to say hello and see if we owed anything for our stay - as transients we're willing to pay our share to improve the facilities for future cruisers. Mark, the temporary harbormaster, usually works in Kaneohe, but is in Haleiwa for a few hours on Mondays and Tuesdays. We caught him just as he was arriving. Lucky timing! Mark called ahead to our next destination to get us a slip reservation in Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor. It was really awesome of Mark to make that call for us because we arrived at Nawiliwili in the middle of the night.

Heleiwa to Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor

Crazy Love's path from Haleiwa (Oahu) to Nawiliwili (Kauai) as recorded by the Garmin.

This is the sailing that's only supposed to happen in dreams. Perfect breeze, broad reaching at 6 knots, surfing down waves, and amazing stars - there's nothing more I can ask for.

Trip Stats:

  • Time underway: 13 hours, 15 minutes
  • Distance traveled: 75.5 miles
  • Average Speed: 6 knots - Wow!!!

We planned on a 20 hour trip to Kauai so we left Haleiwa at noon, thinking we would arrive mid-morning. It didn't work out that way because we went faster than we've ever gone before. Doing 7-8 knots on Crazy Love usually feels out of control (its a 26 foot boat), but on this particular sail it didn't; the WindPilot steered us perfectly leaving Rosie and I to enjoy the wind, sunset and stars. We arrived in Nawiliwili at about 1am and pulled into our slip a little before two. Since we arrived so early, it was really great that Mark had called ahead for us to get a slip assignment - #212.

Crazy Love tied up in preparation for hurricanes Iselle and Julio.

When we woke in the morning, we realized we were right next to Ichiban. Wow! We've been getting a lot of local knowledge from him via email and have been wanting to meet up. Turns out we didn't even have to plan it.

We were docked there for two weeks while we waited out hurricanes Iselle and Julio but we'll leave that bit of fun for later.

Honolulu, Take 1

We arrived in Honolulu at the Ala Wai Harbor just in time for 4th of July festivities. We had arranged with the harbormaster to check in on July 3, including a boat inspection. These guys are serious about any boats planning to stay 2 or more weeks. We passed (thank goodness as who knows where we could go otherwise) and were assigned a spot on the cross dock (Dock X) for the next 2 weeks. We pulled right in front of a boat called Moments. We hadn't met but knew this couple had been cruising Mexico and we felt we knew them already through friends of friends. They immediately included us in their plans for 4th of July (it might have been that Dave made a deal to buy them beer in exchange for a spot in their fridge, works everytime). BBQ with friends, fireworks show, and a quick jig at the yacht club to end the evening festivities. Not so very different from the last 4th of July, spent in the Santa Barbara Marina. I can hardly believe we've been cruising for more than a year at this point!

The Ala Wai is the largest harbor in all of Hawaii. It was close to a mile just to walk from our spot at the X dock to the main street. The main street puts us right at Hilton Hawaiian Village, the start of Waikiki. Not a bad spot to be. A number of buses run through this area and we took advantage of this to explore the town.

The famous Waikiki beach with surfers and all.

First stop, Bishop Museum. This came recommended by the cruising guide and some other cruisers we met on Lanai. A great spot to start understanding the history of Hawaii. They also had a very cool traveling guitar exhibit. However, the star of the show was their planetarium where they had two short presentations on the Hawaiian night sky and the Wayfinders method of celestial navigation.

The Bishop Museum campus.
Rosie exploring native clothing at the Bishop Museum.

Feeling quite cultured we continued our metropolitan exploration with a trip out to Pearl Harbor. Knowing its one of the most visited National Monuments, we got up early to ride the bus, to get in line, to get our free tickets to the Arizona Memorial. Tickets in hand for the 11:30 boat trip we had a few hours to kill. Fortunately there are a couple other museums to choose from on site. Each of course for a price while you wait. We chose the Battleship Missouri. Definitely worth the cost, the history and memorial is worth a visit. We timed it right and made it back to our group gathering for our short film and boat trip over to the memorial. Unfortunately they had some technical difficulties and couldn't show the film and apparently it was blowing 40 knots so the boat trip was cancelled. (We're sailors and in my amateur opinion it was not blowing 40 knots, but who argues with the US Navy?). Anyway, lesson learned no more getting up at the crack of dawn for tourist activiities!

USS Arizona Memorial as seen from the Missouri.
Anchor windlass on the Missouri.  Rosie is the windlass on Crazy Love.
Seems like a toy now...

We also were able to get some boat work accomplished. There is a West Marine on the bus line and a large one at that! Dave climbed the mast to fix his very favorite feature of the boat, the roller furling that failed us on our way over from Lanai. That fixed we had plenty of time to watch more world class soccer. Congrats, Germany! What a great final game. We celebrated by exploring the bars along Waikiki... a mini bar crawl you might say.

Dave lounging at the Royal Hawaiian along Waikiki.

After so much excitement we rewarded ourselves with a beach day. Picnic lunch packed, white sand, warm clear blue water. It couldn't be more perfect, unless you had a nice air conditioned hotel room with running water and a real bed. So we did that too! Happy Anniversary to us. I used up the remainder of my hotel points and we spent a lovely two nights in the Hilton Waikiki. The friendly guy at the front desk even sent us up complimentary champagne. 6 years is just the beginning of this wild adventure I call marriage. We look forward to many more.

Champagne!

Time flies when you're in the big city and we extended our stay just a little longer. Our savings accounts are diminishing and its time to think of where we'll land to make these grow. This was one of the deciding factors in coming to Hawaii and we think Oahu will be the best option for us and the Crazy Love (we have big plans for her). We started looking at apartments and neighborhoods just to start getting an idea of the area. We explored one of the local farmer's markets and stopped in China Town for produce provisioning.

Our neighbors on the B Dock (yes it connects with the cross dock, go figure) had a progressive potluck party. They were kind enough to include us transients on the X dock. It was fun to get to know some local boaters and a great way to end our first stay in Honolulu.

There are so many factors we're undecided on, its tough to begin making future plans. We have a few months to figure this out. We're off to explore more of Oahu and on to Kauai to continue our cruise of the islands. We plan to make our way back to Oahu in September to figure out our future here in Hawaii.

Molokai & Lanai on the way to Honolulu 17 June - 3 July 2014

Ripping along in the Pailolo Channel towards Molokai.

After five days at anchor in Honolua Bay, we headed around the east end of Molokai via the Pailolo Channel. This was a sporty crossing - 15+ kt winds with 5-8ft waves - but nothing like the Alenuihaha Channel. It was easier mostly because we did this crossing first thing in the morning rather than in the middle of the night. The crossing itself was less than 10 miles. When we rounded Cape Halawa we were able to ease the sheets and fall off the wind. Then the beautiful sailing happened.

North Shore of Molokai

The north shore of Molokai has the highest sea cliffs on this planet - so we are told. The truth doesn't matter because they are unbelievably tall even from several miles offshore.

Beautiful sea cliffs on the North Shore of Molokai

Molokai has strict rules about going ashore. Basically they don't want haoles (that's us) coming ashore except in places where they can watch us.

Okala Island

Hauling ass approaching Okala Anchorage - rock in the right third of the photo.

About half way along the north shore is a high island a few hundred yards off the steep-to shore. The cruising guide says the lee of this island is a good anchorage. We had a hard time getting the hook to set in the sand bottom, but when we did it felt safe enough.

Molokai as seen from Crazy Love while at anchor.

Matt and Rachel on Aeoli joined us in the anchorage a few hours after we arrived. We had dinner, Rosie's Indian curry, aboard Aeoli the following night. Yummy stuff.

The morning after our dinner party the oddest thing happened. The wind started blowing out of the West. "The west?" you ask. Yeah the west. My theory is that the east wind hits the cliffs and wraps around into the little corner where we were anchored. It was blowing so hard the boat was heeling at anchor and spray was blowing into the cockpit - the Beaufort scale suggests the wind was around 30 knots. Fortunately the anchor held long enough for us to get the kayak out of the water and escape for a calmer spot.

Kalaupapa

The calmer spot was only three miles away. We anchored about a quarter mile off the beach bordering the former leper colony. There's still a substantial town here despite no road access. I wonder, how do they get building materials here? How do they make a living? We didn't get to find out because we weren't allowed ashore. We didn't try to go ashore, but we assumed we weren't welcome based on advise in the cruising guide.

We stayed two days here. Didn't get off the boat. We read, played games, and enjoyed the sunshine.

Papohaku Roadstead

Upon leaving Kalaupapa, heading west, we had some groovy sailing. The wind was 10-15 from the east, so we moved quickly to the Papohaku Roadstead at the west end of Molokai. We had a hell of a time finding a sandy patch to drop the anchor. The sea floor here has a lot of rocks and coral. The sandy patches tend to be just a few inches deep with a rocks underneath. We stayed here two days after we finally found a deep enough sandy patch to set the anchor.

Dead horse cliff along the roadstead.

There's a resort on the beach. It appears to be maintained, but there were not many people around. We didn't go ashore here either. Didn't even pump up the dinghy. I did attempt a little spearfishing. Its harder than it looks. My aim is not good.

Lono Harbor

Crazy Love at anchor in Lono.

This unused little harbor is well protected from the wind and the waves. Apparently it was built in the 50's to load sand onto barges for transport to Waikiki. This practice was outlawed in the 70's, so the harbor is unused today. We did land the dinghy here, but there's not much to see. We took a walk on the beach, but mostly hung on the boat waging war against a number of bees before bashing our way over to Lanai.

Nearly deserted beach along Lono.

Kalama Nui

The wind blew like crazy the entire trip from Lono to Lanai. It was a wet and wild upwind sail all 20 miles over to Lanai. We expected that we'd get calmer winds after crossing Kalohi Channel, but even in the lee of Lanai the wind blew like crazy. We tucked into the little Kalama Nui Cove and anchored in 25 feet. The holding here was excellent with a black sand bottom that got along very well with our 7.5kg bruce.

Good snorkeling here. Lots of small aquarium fish and some larger parrotfish and orange spined tangs. I even saw a sea turtle and a shark. Sorry to say I didn't have the camera for those sightings. I tried quite a bit more spearfishing. There was lots to shoot at but I still couldn't hit anything. I'll keep practicing, I promise.

Sea arch looking out from Kalama Nui.

Manele Bay

About six miles from Kalama Nui, as the crow flies, is Manele Small Boat Harbor. The wind was dead the morning we made this short trip, so we motored for three hours to get there before lunch. We anchored for two days outside the harbor, and then spent three days in a slip after we spoke to some folks familiar with the harbor.

Manele Small Boat Harbor. Crazy Love is anchored in the background.

Manele Bay might be our favorite spot in the whole state. The harbor is clean, uncrowded, unbelievably quiet and perpetually sunny. A half mile walk from the boat took us to a beautiful beach and there is a Four Seasons resort a short walk from the beach. The perfect spot to watch some world class soccer.

The beach at Manele as seen on the walk to the Four Seasons.

Overnight to Honolulu

The sail from Manele Bay to Honolulu was a bit frustrating. It should have been dreamy downwind sailing, but the roller furling jammed again, so we couldn't use the jib. Ugh! Without the jib, we can't balance the sails enough to use the windvane. That means hand steering. Double ugh! I don't mind steering by hand, I just don't want to do it in the middle of the night. On the upside, the roller furling didn't completely fail until we were 25 miles outside of Honolulu so the hand steering was only for the last 6 hours of the trip.

We arrived at Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach at about midnight, so we had some time to kill before dawn. With the jib jammed, we couldn't even heave to. Shucks! We dropped the main and floated. The wind and waves pushed us offshore so we motored in shore a few times during the night. After dawn, we called the harbormaster's office for instructions...

Approach to Honolulu at dawn.

More in the Honolulu entry.