Monday, February 13, 2012

Picking up the Pace, January 2012

After we saw Mum off from the Big Island, we reset to “work” mode. With exactly one week to get Tao prepared for being on the hard, it was a whirlwind. Steadily we worked our way through our closing list. We experienced our first “Kona winds,” which occur when a low swings far enough south for SW winds to blow, pushing the vog to Hilo instead of Kona. Spectacular views of Hualalai and Mauna Loa suddenly became visible from the safety of our mooring in Honokohau Harbor. The extra sunny conditions allowed us to haul up, rinse off, and dry all of our working sails. Next, we pulled the main running rigging down, replacing it with spare lines in order to wash and dry our salty lines. Shawn and Grizzly took breaks frequently to watch the enormous green sea turtles swimming around our boat. The head was cleaned and closed down, our weather cloths, dodger and solar panels were removed, all food stores and medicine were sifted through, and Yannie’s oil was changed and her bowels cleaned with a vinegar flush. The day before haul out, Chris spent three hours taking turns snorkeling and using air from his dive tank to painstakingly clean the bottom, in hopes that we would not be charged for a post haul out pressure wash. Amidst this activity, Shawn continued to teach at Bikram Yoga Kona and Chris accepted packages (all delivered through the nice folks at the DLNR office) containing gear for the next possible voyage, most notably including: a new 85-watt solar panel to fill out our solar farm, a new refrigerator to use up all that extra power generated (18-Liter Waeco), and new wire to replace our standing rigging. Phew, busy week!

After motoring to the haul out early for our 0800 haul out time on January 19th, we ran Yannie clean with freshwater. Only Grizzly knows how it felt to be aboard Tao during the haul up ride out of the harbor in slings and the subsequent journey through the boat yard, across the street, into the reserved space we had been renting for the past couple months. Gentry's Kona Marina folks were quick, professional, and got Tao securely set into her jack stands after sharing with us her weight; a whopping 21,000 lbs!! (Full fuel tank, minus 70-gallons of water, and very few food stores. Our previous estimate was a mere 15,000-lbs; no wonder we had to raise her water line ;)). Jane and Tim from Midnight Blue helped to keep us sane over the course of the month; from a mega sushi rolling night on their boat (for which our neighbor Russ, known as the “Ahi King of Kona” provided a huge chunk of fresh ahi tuna), to taking Chris surfing (with his new surfboard), to sharing freshly made pumpkin soup as we worked into the night, and giving us rides to the vet (to get Grizzly her travel certificate), out for a last dinner at the Kona Brewery, and finally to the airport to see us off. Many Mahalos!!

The three of us took an overnight flight from Kona to LA, where Chris’s mom, Jane, cheerfully picked us up at 0500 PST. As the sun rose, Jane whisked us out to a delightful breakfast with Abe while Grizzly settled into her familiar Santa Monica home. Over the next week, we enjoyed catching up and getting our bearings on the mainland. This included: a visit to our LA storage unit to assess what cold weather gear we had and what we needed to get, Shawn fighting off a cold, several delicious dinners, visiting and movie with Ledy and Angie, and a trip to South Pasadena to hang with Noah and Al from Scheherazade. The following week we enjoyed sunsets overlooking Santa Barbara Island from Dave’s (Chris’s dad) Palos Verdes peninsula home. Amid bike rides, beach hikes, and tasty dinners, Chris took a trip to Minney’s Yacht Surplus and did some metal work to create plates for Tao’s water tanks. Shawn managed to renew her CA drivers license and, with Anette’s help, worked on some sewing projects. We both got our teeth cleaned (by Joy, possibly the best hygienist in the country) and squeezed in Rajashree’s (Bikram's wife) class at the Bikram Yoga world headquarters. On the evening of the last day in January, we packed up once again, stuffed Griz into her carry case, and made our way to LAX (with one 50-lb and one 48-lb bag to check) to catch our flight to Boston. Our destination: Cape Cod. Jane and Abe’s peaceful summer home, overlooking Sandy Neck Salt Marsh Conservation Area, is the perfect place for us to recover from over a year straight on the boat (half in Mexico and half Hawaii, not bad!) and make plans for our next steps…