Hilo, Hawaii to
August 2-4, 2017
Day 1 – Wednesday, August 2, 2017
I have about 2 weeks to explore the Hawaiian Islands. On or about August 22, I would like to head for the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. So, for the next week or so, I will sail around these beautiful islands.
At 4:55 PM, I raised the anchor and departed for my next destination, the island of Molokai. I turned to the north and headed out of Hilo Bay. The wind was from the east at about 8 knots. As I was sailing in a close reach on the starboard side, I had a speed of about 6.5 knots. I will sail to about Pepeekeo Point, then I will turn northwest and head toward Maui. The distance between my first turn and the coast of Maui is about 75 nm, so I should be at Maui sometime tomorrow morning.
When I planned my route for this sail, I considered sailing around the west side of Maui. That would have allowed me to sail between Kaho’olawe, Lanai and Maui. The wind forecast showed that there was better wind on the windward side of Maui, so it’s to the east side I will go. I’ll sail right past Hana, around the north side of Maui, and then in between Maui and Molokai. Tomorrow should be a very nice sail along the north coast of Maui.
At 6:15 PM, I rounded the point and turned northwest. The wind is pretty light now. The GPS says I’ll be at Maui in 13 hours. With the calm weather and calm seas, I’ll have another peaceful night’s sleep aboard.
I watched the sun set over the north coast of Hawaii. After dusk, there was enough light from the nearly full moon to allow me to see the coast quite well. The wind was only about 6 knots, so the boat was moving along at only about 5 knots. It felt more like sailing on a lake, except for the expanse of ocean to the west.
At about 8:00 PM, I checked the helm one last time before turning in. On this course, I will slowly get farther and farther away from the coast of Hawaii. Soon I will be in the Maui Channel. Time to head for bed.
Day 2 – Thursday, August 3, 2017
I was up at about 5:00 AM this morning. It was still dark out, since sunrise isn’t until after 6:00 AM. I was a little shocked to find that I was just a bit more than halfway to Maui. Overnight, the boat has been traveling right around 5 knots. The wind is very calm and so is the sea. I thought I would be at Molokai by this afternoon. With the lack of a fresh breeze, I may not make it there until tomorrow.
Once the sun was up, it was a beautiful sight. To the southwest, I could see the island of Hawaii and there was Maui, to the northwest of me. It was a peaceful morning on the water.
At about 11:00 AM, I was off the coast of Hana by about 1-1/2 miles. It is slow going with the winds being so light. The sea continues to be calm as I cruise along the northeast coast of Maui.
At 1:45 PM, I was barely halfway up the coast of Maui. The wind speed is frequently below 5 knots, which means I’m lucky if the boat is doing 4 knots. The one plus is that the wind speed is supposed to increase around sunset tonight. I may spend another night sailing and arrive at Molokai tomorrow. I guess that’s alright since I don’t have a schedule.
Later in the afternoon, I readjusted my course so that I would have a better angle to the wind on my way to Molokai, and to have a good angle sailing around Molokai to my anchorage. The wind speed continued to be light all afternoon. There were times when the wind dropped below 4 knots and the boat speed was actually less than 3 knots. I was nearly standing still on a couple of occasions. I checked the weather forecast and it was good news. The winds are supposed to increase by about 5 knots in the next 6 hours.
If I’d had the winds, like I experienced on my way to Hawaii, I would be arriving at Kaunakakai by now. The lack of winds has required an extra day of sailing. This may work out to my advantage. I only plan to spend a couple of days on Molokai before heading to Kauai. After Kauai, I’ll stop in Honolulu on the way back to take care of some routine maintenance on the boat. Then I will head back to the Big Island to prepare for my next big crossing.
I did some checking on the winds heading down to the Marquesas. I would be sailing against the wind pretty much all the way to the inter-tropical convergence zone. I’m hoping that the winds will change in my favor in about 2 weeks.
At 6:25 PM, I was nearly abeam Kahului, Maui. I reclined on the foredeck and watched a beautiful sunset as the sun set behind Molokai. The boat speed was 4.5 knots. I keep hoping I’ll see the wind increase at some point. The water is very smooth.
At about 8:30 PM, I set the auto-pilot and decided to get some sleep. The wind was up to 7 knots, so I expected I would need to be up early. I was 9 nm from the east coast of Molokai.
Day 3 – Friday, August 4, 2017
At 1:05 AM, the auto-pilot alarm woke me. I had it set to alert me when I’d reached the last before arriving at Kaunakakai. The wind was coming from nearly dead astern, which meant the boat was slow. It was traveling between 4 and 5 knots. The GPS said 3 hours to the anchorage. I set the auto-pilot to sound an alert when we were 30 minutes out, then I set my alarm clock for 3:30 AM. That would give me a bit more sleep and then I would be ready to drop anchor when I arrived.
At 3:30 AM, my alarm clock woke me. I checked the helm and I still had 45 minutes of sailing. It was still slow going, barely 4 knots. At 4:15 AM, I reached my anchorage point off Kaunakakai, Molokai. I dropped anchor and secured the navigation systems. I decided to grab a couple of more hours of sleep. After sun-up, I’d head ashore. Welcome to Molokai!