June 11, 2018
Noon Position: 21 13N 156 40W
Cabin Temperature: 82
Water Temperature: 78
Sail: Twin headsails, poled out and full
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 145
Miles this leg: 6,395
Avg. Miles this leg: 131
Miles since departure: 23, 499
Overnight wind shifts aft and softens. Without the distraction of squalls, it is, at least, consistent in direction. We slip across Alenuihaha Channel unmolested. Here fresh trades pressed between high islands can accelerate to gale force. Tonight, no such trial.
At moonrise, I’ve heard enough from the headsail too blanketed to fill. I roll it up, letting Mo run quietly under main alone while I sleep. It’s considered risky business to sleep when working a coast, but the windward sides of the islands aren’t much trafficked. Still, I keep my shifts to an hour. A whole hour, what a luxury, this after three days of 30-minutes between alarms.
By sunrise, we are off Maui’s Pana Point. Big Maui, reclining lush and green under a blanket of alabaster cloud. After coffee, I lower the main and poll out the twin headsails. Mo wakes, takes a breath, breaks into a gallop. Finally, speed without having to live propped against a bulkhead, speed without spilled coffee grounds, bruised hips, toilet water that won’t stay in the bowl.
Then the long stretch to windward of Molokai, which we take as close as two miles off. Volcanic cliffs, entirely verdant, throw tendrilled waterfalls to the sea. At one point I count eight. Molokai, an island I know nothing about except that it is lightly populated by people who enjoy their privacy–this as opposed to its neighbor Lanai, which is privatized and whose citizens are largely tourists. Suddenly I feel drawn. Here, in Molokai, is an island on which one could lose himself, like a Gaugin on Atuona.
On we race. Winds are now 25 and more, and with headsails full, Mo’s bow wave roars. Molokai, like the others, reclines in its western reaches. Beyond rejuvenating rain, it is helpless, ravaged by time, low, barren as a rock.
This we pass into the Kaiwi Channel.
At one point we’ve had three islands in view, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and now, closer to Oahu than any of those, I still cannot see our goal, buried as it is in the glare of an afternoon sun over a leaden cloud.
Slowly comes Koko Head as a silhouette; then Diamond Head. The sun sets over the island. On we press.
Near Koko Head, a change in the current. Seas stack up. Eager for the end, I refuse to reef. Mo reels like a tightrope walker near his tipping point, but she holds her course and barely ships a sea.
Dark. The glow of the island now, so bright Diamond Head is revealed even without a moon. Briefly, we do battle with a tug and long tow on an intercept. Mo graciously concedes.
And then we turn the corner. Then sails are furled. Then we are in the breakwater. Then we are moored. It is midnight. After 50 days at sea, here we are in the heart of a city, sleeping city, save for a police siren and that low rumble.
I tidy lines. Put out fenders. Wash dinner’s pot. Then I grab a beer and sit on the dock admiring Mo. What a thing, she is, I think. How thoroughly able and beautiful for it.
What does it say of a man that after weeks of longing for the comforts of port, he sits on the dock, longing to be at sea?