We want to move Eliana to Kauai in June. It’s not far, about 100 nautical miles, but our preferred Kauai base anchorage is on the north shore at Hanalei Bay. To prepare for the trip, we thought it would be a good idea to go there for a couple of days to check things out.
Our nephew Kyle and his wife Stephanie were already vacationing on the big island with plans to spend a few days on Kauai, so this looked like the perfect opportunity. We worked out a plan to have them join us for an overnight on Eliana anchored off Makua and in exchange we would go with them to Kauai for a look around.
I had no idea how incredible Kauai, the Garden Isle really is. I’ll be able to report a lot more in depth once we get Eliana there, but for now I would like to whet your appetite by simply sharing a few pictures from our two day activities with Kyle and Stephanie. Click to enlarge.
Hiking the Na Pali coastline.
Kalalau Trail. One of the most beautiful, and top 10 dangerous hikes in the world.
Hiking up the Hanakapi'ai River. Two miles up this river brought us to the 160' Hanakapi'ai Falls. It was difficult, but worth it.
Kyle and Stephanie at a park in Hanalei
Beautiful Hanalei Valley. The bay where we intend to anchor is in the distance.
Hiking toward Wailua Falls with a guide.
On the way, we saw this overgrowth of Morning Glory. It's prolific with over 300 inches of rain per year.
Wailua Falls. Waterfalls are so hard to photograph.Makua
You may recall we spotted Makua Bay while hiking to Ka’ena Point a couple weeks ago. Looked like a nice spot, out of the way and almost nobody there. Since Kyle and Stephanie were on Oahu for one night, we thought having them aboard was the perfect reason to go up there. The weather looked perfect with a 10 to 15 knot breeze and ocean swells less than 6 feet. Here are some photos...
I often question the fly bridge, but today it was all worth it. Man was it gorgeous.
Stephanie up front. Just that kind of day.
Coming up on Makua Valley.
Sunset on Kyle's camera. It's one of the new Sony's and does a beautiful job.
Then back to Ko Olina for brunch.The Lost Anchor
My projects don’t always go as planned. In fact, this one went horribly wrong. I'll tell the whole story so you'll have maximum sympathy for me.
Much like Mexico’s west coast, most Hawaiian anchorages are exposed to ocean swell. We have found if Eliana is oriented bow or stern toward the swell, it is barely noticeable. If, however, our beam is facing the swell it causes an uncomfortable roll. Unfortunately, in most normal conditions, when wind is less than 20 knots, we tend to weather vane slowly. That is, she slowly turns to port and then starboard crossing through just about every orientation to the swell.
Now flopper stoppers help immensely. We’ve gotten good at putting them out and will always put them out in Hawaii regardless. But I decided to experiment with a strategically placed anchor off the stern which would still allow some normal rotation around the main anchor, but arrest the lazy turn before she goes beam on. Trade winds are directionally consistent here, so if the concept works anywhere, it would be here.
I purchased a 21 pound Fortress anchor, 12‘ of 3/8” chain and 250‘ of nylon rode to conduct this experiment. Then came time to test the theory. We decided to try it off Kahe Point in about 40’ of water. We set the main anchor with the bow directly in the wind. We backed into the swell paying out 400’ of anchor chain in front. At that point, we set the Fortress off the stern, then retrieved chain forward again until we had about 200’ forward and 200’ abaft, loosely tied. There we set, eager to see how she worked.
Here’s the good news. The stern anchor worked like a charm. Before Eliana could turn beam to the swell, the stern anchor “caught” the stern and started the rotation the other way. She still weather vaned normally, but just not as far. And it was easy to set. Debbie and I were high fiving at what a great discovery we had made and decided to just stay the night. Our celebration was premature.
Suddenly, just as the sun was setting, the wind shifted 70 degrees and increased to a steady 35 knots. I was taken completely by surprise. How could this be happening? For a couple minutes, I thought it would switch back and calm down given it was getting dark. But, no, it kept going. I shifted my attention to the stern anchor. The nylon line was groaning with strain and I did not have a marker buoy attached to it. Didn’t matter, there was no time to rig one now. I had to release it into the water while we rode out a gale force wind from the northeast.
The next morning we returned to Ko Olina and immediately got Sweet Charlotte rigged for diving. I was certain I could find the anchor, but day after day, dive after dive, tank after tank, the search area kept growing to no avail.
I was near giving up, when it occurred to me the anchor may have drug some before I released it. While diving, I noticed that what looked like a sand bottom was really only about 1” of sand on a flat plane of rock. Might hold on a rock irregularity, but when pulled hard may release and slide. So I plotted a possible new target position based on wind direction, the heading I remember at the time of the release, and the angle off the stern the line was going.
Then I solicited the help of Michael Cornell, our dear friend on the dock whom I've mentioned before in this journal to help search. He brought out his dingy and hookah to help scan the bottom in my newly theorized target area. Sure enough, we found the anchor and all the rode. It was beat up, but Fortress has a lifetime warranty and is replacing the flukes at no charge.
Lessons? Just a few. The stern anchor works great, but requires close tending if there is any chance the wind may change dramatically. I wouldn’t leave one tied without being there. Second, leave plenty of bitter end to release slack should the wind change. The more slack, the greater wind change we can manage. Third, tie a marker buoy on the line. It’s a good idea anyway to keep other boaters from snagging. Best of all, it allows us to release the line if needed, then quickly retrieve it again.
Preparing the Fortress anchor on Eliana's swim step.
Debbie paying out rode on the stern while I take chain in forward.
Rigging stays on the rode to keep it from fouling in the swim step stanchions.
Stern tie working normally.
Preparing SC for search and rescue.
Me preparing to dive on a 'new' target area after a week of failed searching.
Michael Cornell (in the water) and I finally retrieving the lost anchor. Before Closing
Recently, I realized one of my cameras needed cleaning. So for the benefit of you photographers, I made the discovery that Canon has a service office right in Waikiki!! Now that’s perfect. They are so courteous and helpful.
What a luxury. A nearby service office!
I continue to be amazed and humbled at the number of people who have registered to get Eliana's Journal. We are most appreciative to have you along. It means a great deal to us to read the comments you post on our website at the end of each journal entry. You can click on the link below to go directly there. If you have questions, please post those too and I’ll try to answer them as quickly as possible.
Lying: Ko Olina Marina
Mileage: 11,250 Nautical Miles