The night before leaving Oahu was the first lightning storm we experienced on board Solace. The flash of lightning woke me up as the storm got closer and closer the storm got worse and worse. Lightning striking all around us, we could feel it shake the boat as we slept in the bow. I thought for sure our 60ft aluminum mast would get struck, but it never did. One of the many beautiful but also terrifying moments we experience on board Solace.
The next morning, we headed out to Kauai. Kelsey’s best friend Mallory and her boyfriend Chris had been waiting to visit us. They had been on Kauai for a few days already awaiting our arrival. My mom had to fly to Kauai in order to fly home so there was no way we couldn’t go to Kauai. We would be letting down everyone who had come so far to visit us by not going. We had thought we were going to be in for one hell of a day due to our rough night we had endured. To the contrary we ended up limping across the 100-mile channel on a half broken engine with no wind. We pulled into the Nawiliwili harbor and up to the loading dock just before sunset, and their Solace would sit.
We spent the the next few days acting like we were on a “normal” person’s vacation, drinking heavily, staying in hotel rooms, and seeing the touristy things, laying by the pool with our friends and family. It was really fun, and so nice to sleep in a big bead in a nice room for a night or two. Mal, Chris and my Mom all had to return back to reality and so did we… with one hell of a hangover.
We had left Steve marooned on the loading dock for the past couple days. Finally, the harbor master had found a slip for us, so Steve could at least leave the boat. We had found a mechanic, and he had tried and failed to fix the part we needed and had to order a new one. The part was due to arrive in the next 4 days. We got the part we needed to fix our engine the day before the hurricane warnings. Now that we could finally have our engine back, we could not leave the most protected harbor in all of Kauai to head to the least protected spot.
So we rented a car and went about the Island exploring. My favorite by far being the Napali Coast. I had so much fun running the trail. Hopping from rock to rock across the river bed and through the forest to the waterfall. The water was freezing, Kelsey and I swam up to the falls and and drifted along the cliffs edge. Before long we decided to make our way back to the car. But now my knee was swollen and nearly twice the size of the other… I hurt my bad knee once again. Limping half way back on the 8-mile trail. It was swollen and I could feel my knee float around under the skin. I spent the whole night icing it and kept off it for the next few days. It still feels quite a bit off but I have it wrapped up in KT Tape which seems to be helping quite a bit. Hopefully I’ll take the time to rehab it on my way home the best I can when underway.
We are ready to go, the boat is provisioned, everything is fixed, and we are mentally prepared to make the journey home. Monday we will leave Nawiliwili harbor before dawn and sail by the Napali Coast around 2 in the afternoon. From there we will continue sailing north. We have 2,400 nautical miles to go until reaching Vancouver. The concern isn’t so much hurricanes as it was on the way here. Instead we will keep our eyes open for trees, and shipping containers floating 1,000 miles off shore. We will be arriving in the Pacific North West in the beginning of Fall and our hoping to beat the conditions that come with Fall weather. So here we go back to nothing but the deep blue sea.
Well that was the plan anyway. We set out to leave and it was much too close to the time the hurricane passed. We got out from under the leeward side of the island and boom! It went from a pleasant 10 knts nearly flat sea to 35+knts and 10 ft seas. The forecast showed that the seas we supposed to be relatively calm that day but it obviously was not the case. Caught completely off guard we had full sails up - close hauled and headed right into the thick of it. Bash! Bash! Huge 10ft waves crashing from the front all the way over the entire boat. Everyone on deck soaked from head to toe… We looked around at each other, with bewilderment and consent on all of our faces. Is this really how we want to start our trip home? We don’t even have the life lines out? How the hell are we going to put them out now? It was getting late in the day and we knew that if we were going to make it back to land and anchor before the sun had set we needed to turn tail quick. We chatted with the coast guard, and some local charter captains came to the conclusion that the Napali Coast would be the safest and closest place to take up anchorage.
The following morning, we knew that if we were going to do any research we would have to make our way to Hanalei Bay. So we pick up anchor and headed around the Napali Coast.
We spent the next week at Hanalei Bay waiting out the effects of hurricane Lester. Spending our days adventuring around the beautiful bay and up the river on our dingy Solacito. Hanalei Bay was the only place in all of the Hawaiian Islands that we felt like we could call home. Such a beautiful place with so much to see and explore.
To be honest after our first attempt at leaving we were all pretty scared. Thankfully, for us we made a new friend Randal Reeves. Randal had bought his new all aluminum boat Moli in Alaska and as his shakedown cruise had sailed it to the south pacific. Now he too was getting ready to make the jump back to the main land and home to San Francisco. Together we left the safety of land on September 10th at noon and headed out on our voyage home.