Day 4

8/4/2014: Hanalei Bay, Kauai – Tunnels, Kauai

We woke up to find ourselves next to a 25 footer inside a line of buoys while Siren was comfortably nosing into a light breeze outside the line of buoys. Whoops! Looks like we mistakenly anchored in the restricted area, a nature preserve I guess… We started up the motor and explored the mooring area in daylight, counting 30 sailboats and a few motor boats. Inside, there were mooring balls but they looked a bit ragged and I trusted our anchor chain more than the balls. However, we couldn’t find a good place inside and I’m still an anchoring newb and not completely confident on judging swing radius in constricted areas. So after zig zagging and slaloming our way through the boats for about half an hour we went right back to where we started, only just INSIDE the line of buoys this time.

We YouTubed some videos on filleting fish, I gave a shot at one side of the Mahi and Genevieve tried the other side. Then we tackled the Aku, cut some sashimi strips and double bagged the fillets for the fridge. I definitely like Mahi better than Aku. So for breakfast we stuffed ourselves on sashimi dipped in Shoyu, ginger and onion. Simple but delicious!

Halfway through breakfast, a paddle boarder came into sight which turned out to be my old Kauaian roomie, Chris! He’s a fellow kite-surfer and we planned on joining up for some north-shore Tunnels sessions on the trip. He also had an extra car for us to use to explore the island, go hiking, camping and whatever else we wanted to do. Unfortunately, he also brought news of the incoming low-pressure system. We planned on using it to push us back home, but Chris had news saying it had developed into a full blown, 160 mph hurricane east of The Big Island! Hurricane Julio was nothing to mess with and a couple neighboring boats came over within the next hour to ask what our plans were. Hanalei wouldn’t be safe and a lot of cruisers were planning on heading north to get a way from land and avoid the strongest of the forecast winds. So the Siren crew had a pow-wow.

Here were the facts:
Hurricane Julio was forecast to hit Kauai on the 8th, in three days.
Hanalei Bay is not an option.
Chris’ buddy has a slip at Nawiliwili we could use, but even Nawiliwili may not be protected enough.
We currently have no main halyard.
I have a paid for slip at Keehi, Oahu, of which one Australian boater had mentioned from his dingy that he was very jealous and wished he had that option.

We decided to forego kite-surfing that day and concentrate on repairing the halyard. If the halyard can be fixed that same day, we would sail to Tunnels, kite the next day, then depart for Oahu. If we couldn’t repair it in time, take the chance at Nawiliwili.

We pulled the old halyard out of the mast from the tail hanging out near the mast-mounted halyard winch, then I spent about an hour up the mast with Chris belaying trying to stuff a messenger line over the sheave and down the mast. No go. Impossible. I tried taking the through bolt out to release the sheave, but the sheave kept trying to fall into the mast. It was just too sketchy so I tightened it back up. After an hour of swaying back and forth, the harness cutting off my blood supply, and my legs getting tired from holding onto the mast I came back down and talked through the problem with Chris. We agreed maybe hanging a block up there and stringing a jury rigged halyard outside the mast would be an option. He shimmied up on the spinnaker halyard, attempted pushing the old halyard up and over the sheave but had the same troubles. I then sent a smorgasbord of blocks and clevis pins to see if he could find a strong combination. He did, strung the halyard through, and we felt it would hold.

That afternoon, we sailed to Tunnels and tested the new main halyard. The wind was again over 20 knots outside the harbor (perfect for kite-surfing!) and we ran full main. We were heeling crazily, tacked a few times, but no problems. The halyard seemed to be working great, so we fell back into the wind shadow, reefed the main for a more sane trip to Tunnels, then made the half hour sail around the point and into the lee just off Tunnels Beach. What a perfect spot! No other boats, amazing cliffs rising above us, Tunnels surf break a few hundred feet away, and perfectly calm water for sweet sleeping.

Our plan to kite in the afternoon was spoiled by a small engine problem. No water was coming out the exhaust while anchoring which meant there was no raw-water cooling available. Everyone really wanted to go kite, but I felt it was better to fix the issue now before it was too late. So down into the engine compartment I went, checked the impeller (fine), disconnected the exhaust hoses one by one testing by cranking the engine for each one. All clear. So that means it must be a clogged heat exchanger. Shit. Before taking it out and disassembling it though, I tried just running raw water through it, dumping the sea water straight into the bilge. After a few seconds it started dumping water, thank God! So I reassambled everything and tested the engine again and water came dumping out the exhaust like it should. It must have been a chunk of something in the system. Anyway, all is good with the engine, but daylight was short and we were all kind of lazy after the long sail. Nobody really pushed hard to get the kite gear assembled and we missed out on the kite surf opportunity.

After a quick snorkel, inflating the dinghy, and a fish curry dinner, Chris went home, Nat and Mike went to shore to camp on the beach while Genevieve and I stayed on the boat.

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