Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Close Encounters

A boobie catching a ride on our sail.
I got some exercise yesterday morning; I grabbed my mask and fins and jumped over the side of the boat to hang out with some spinner dolphins swimming circles around the coral reefs in our bay.  I cannot even begin to describe the amazing feeling of being in the wild with these wonderful, intelligent creatures.  Some were even curious enough to come very close and turn their head to make eye contact before dashing away.  There were about 45 dolphins in total including at least two babies no longer than one and a half to two feet.  I know better than to get too close when babies are involved but I barely had to chase the pod as they drifted in and out of my view.  It was just me and the dolphins for about and hour before Adam joined us.  Despite being very cold (I am completely spoiled having grown up in the South) this was definitely a highlight of the whole year.  We are currently anchored in Honomalino Bay, a secluded location in the shadow of Mauna Loa bordered on the south by an old lava flow and the north by palm trees and a black sand beach.  The visibility in the cove is about 50 feet so we can easily see the ripples in the sand on the bottom from the deck of the boat and watching the dolphins below and above the water is a definite treat.  If you have never seen spinner dolphins and what they can do, Google "Hawiian Spinner Dolphins" and be amazed!  The coral here is much more impressive than anything we saw in Mexico, even if we hadn't
made friends with Flipper.  We were also able to dive our anchor last night and make sure it was set well, which always leads to a comfortable night's rest.

Adam heading off the trail into the roots of a Banyan.  Do things ever change?
We had hoped to ease back into sailing after our long voyage but that was not the case.  From Hilo, any destination secure enough to call an anchorage is at least at 24-hour sail.  We actually started our voyage on Sunday but as we were exiting the bay the Coast Guard radioed that there was a 36-foot sailing vessel disabled outside of the Hilo breakwater.  That could describe Moments, but we were having a fine time sailing and were not disabled in the least!  In the distance, however, was another sailing boat with their sails barely raised and when we approached them we learned that they to had crossed from Mexico but that their engine had quit working almost 1000 miles from Hilo.  Typically that is not a problem in trade wind sailing. We didn't run our engine until that last day of our voyage as we were headed into Hilo.  It is much easier to anchor using an engine than under sail, but this story provides another reason to learn how to do both!  Being the friendly mariners that we are we offered a tow back into the harbor and after a few tries we managed to attach them to our stern and tow them through six foot swell into Reed's Bay, one of the anchorages in Hilo.  It took four or five tries to get them anchored in the right place but in the end Adam and I were able to anchor ourselves and take a nap!  We decided that one false start was good for the day and instead of heading out of the harbor immediately rose early the next morning to travel clockwise around the island.  It was a great sail and despite some currents doing their best to hold us in Hilo we made it to Honomalino with plenty of light to anchor.  I never knew that the big island was so, well, big!  Right now we are about to weigh anchor and head further north with the hope of crossing to Maui Friday or Saturday to meet the first wave of visitors in Sugar Beach for two weeks of family fun.
Rachel clicking her heels to be on land, even if it is in the caldera of a volcano.

For those interested regarding our repairs: The gooseneck is holding up and supported with an insane amount of webbing but the reefing hooks have completely broken off.  That is where the majority of the damage was anyways so no big surprise and it looks like the weather may not even provide enough wind for a slow sail across the channel so we may get lucky here.  We have not hand a problem using the cunningham to reef and have ordered a replacement gooseneck to arrive in Maui while we are there.  Our outboard went on the fritz two days before we left Mexico but the anchorages so far in Hawaii have been so calm that we are easily rowing the dingy anywhere we need to go.  The propane system, which has continually given us problems for the entire year is once again broken but we think we have it figured out this time.  We can cook but for safety reasons keep the tanks closed when we are not using them.  Replacement parts are on their way with our parents.

OK, now I need to start cooking this challah french toast in my effort to burn through all of the remaining Mexican eggs!  Thank you for all of the wonderful messages of congratulations and support we have received in the last week.  It has been really touching.  We were honestly not aware that so many people are reading our blog and have followed our journey.  Aloha!
One of the many beautiful sunsets