Hello from Venice, CA! I can currently be found wandering around my world bouncing off of various walls and items wondering what just hit me. I am staggering around my house in circles, feeling dizzy and as if I am still on my boat in huge swells. Lord knows why this is happening now, a week later, but it is. I was curious as to why I didn’t feel wobbly when I first arrived on land, maybe it is the fact that I never stopped moving from the moment of my arrival in Hanalei until now. All I know for sure is that I have never felt so exhausted or off kilter in my life.
The reality of what I just accomplished hits me in waves, and my emotions are on high. I find myself in tears (of joy, relief, exhaustion) at various moments. Once such moment was on Monday morning when I saw my Haunani in a sling dangled by an enormous crane (did I mention we had to have our OWN crane...typical!) above the pavement at Nawiliwili Harbor. For some reason the magnitude of my journey hit me in that moment. It was a symbolic snapshot wrapping up the last year. She looked so vulnerable up there that it brought me to tears. She looked haggard and beat up…I suppose we both are, and understandably so, after our epic journey across the wild Pacific.
Let me back up for a moment…….Thomas arrived in Kaua’i on Friday evening to help me prepare Haunani for her journey home. I was so happy to see his face after all that time apart, especially because out of everyone in my life, he is the one the most closely entwined with Haunani and me in this adventure. It only seemed right that he be there to celebrate the culmination of this journey (although he may dispute the use of word celebrate since most of our time was spent working). We had a lovely meal in Hanalei and caught up. What lay in store for us after that meal was a bizarre and hilarious journey (laden with duffle bags and provisions) out to the boat aboard a cheap inflatable kayak that was my sole shore to boat transportation option. We laughed hilariously as we paddled that bad boy across the bay in a Kaua’i rain shower under cover of the dark night. I will leave it there, but suffice it to say, I will probably laugh to myself about that experience for many months to come.
Our plan was to take Haunani to Nawiliwili early the next morning so that we could dissemble her in preparation for her haul out. Our plans were aborted after about 30 minutes heading out to sea. It was rough and we were moving at about 2 knots against huge swells and wind on our bow. The usual 6 hour trip at this rate would have taken us most likely double that. So we grabbed the blessing in disguise and settled back onto our anchor. Spending a few unplanned relaxing hours in majestic Hanalei Bay aboard Haunani before being shuttled by my parents to Nawiliwili for the banquet was just what the doctor ordered!
The banquet was a wonderful affair, graciously hosted by the Nawiliwili Yacht Club. I loved being amidst my fellow sailors and their families. I was accompanied by Thomas, My Dad, and my Stepmom, which made me very proud. My favorite part of the evening was hearing each skipper talk about their experience and express their feelings about this amazing feat. I was so honored to be in the company of such brave and wonderful souls!
The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn for a long cab ride back to Hanalei and our favorite kayak. What would the trip have been without one more adventure on that tippy little beast? We got out to Haunani and were quickly on our way to Nawiliwili. Within about 10 minutes, the engine overheated (for still unknown reasons), and we were committed to a long sail. It was wet, wet, wet, but we finally made it in about 7.5 hours. I was an exhausted wreck the whole time (to say the very least), but did my best to be a good little sailor on the way over. At one point though, I remember seeing the look on Thomas’ face as he watched me with a mix of curiosity and disbelief as I cranked a winch at about 1/20th my normal speed. Between that, my apparent narcolepsy and the turtle pace with which I was doing everything else on the boat, I am sure he wondered how I ever made it across the Pacific! We arrived in Nawiliwili that afternoon, and due to Thomas’ mad docking expertise, we were able to quickly drop sails and use the engine for 4 minutes before it had a chance to overheat to get Haunani settled. That’s when the fun began….
Did I mention it was WET? I hadn’t experienced this kind of sogginess since my childhood growing up in Pa’auilo Mauka. We started the grueling process of preparing Haunani for haul out in a hearty rain shower. I was operating at about half capacity and Thomas at his usual x10 (he can seriously do the work of 10 people at any given time). I mustered every last bit of energy I had, and between the two of us and some much appreciated help from Yves, we got her mostly ready by dinnertime. We were drenched and delirious by the end of it, but shook it off with a nice meal and a couple of beverages with Yves before his departure to LA. The next morning was even more of a whirlwind, this time with some gross, muggy and hot weather to make it even more interesting. We started at 6am, and by 11:30, Haunani was nestled and secured on her trailer for her journey home. Everything that had to be stowed in her cabin was wet, and the smell I am sure will only ripen with her weeks en route to LA. As Thomas said, “we did 2 days work in about 10 hours”, and man did we both feel it. To be fair, Thomas did most of it, and as always, blew my mind with his efficiency, determination and skill. Just to give you and idea of my contribution in comparison…it took me about 10 minutes to pull out one cotter pin. OK, well maybe it wasn’t QUITE that bad, but it sure felt like it. And I know I looked the part….stinky and disheveled was the look du jour, my hands looked like peeling prunes, and my body felt like a mack truck had run over me a few times.
Haunani was finally delivered to Matson, and until she arrives back here in LA, in that moment, the circle was closed. It was an ecstatic and emotional moment when I walked away, entrusting my valiant steed to the shipping Gods. I have to shout out to a lovely man I met at Matson. His name is Ke’au and the minute I met him I felt like I somehow knew him…probably because he immediately made me feel so comfortable with the way that he embodied the Aloha spirit of my childhood. He was somehow all of the lovely gentle men of my island upbringing. As we got to talking, and he became aware what I had just done, he was visibly taken aback and moved, and in the most sweet and authentic way. He gave me a huge hug and bid me “aloha”….his parting words in his sing song-y island intonations were: “that is such an amazing accomplishment… I don’t even know you, but I am so proud of you” I think I even saw a tear in his eye, and I walked away from him feeling so grateful, not to mention, wrapped in true aloha.
The rest of the day was lovely and very sleepy culminating in a red eye flight home. We arrived in LA at 5am the next day not knowing what hit us. As I said, since then I have been wandering around in a haze. I am allowing myself this time to regroup, re-coop and re-enter. My normal tendency to push and be intolerant of such “laziness” in myself has necessarily been let go. I honestly don’t have a choice, and am grateful that I have the time and space to do so. Back to work on Sunday, but until then chances are good that you might catch a glimpse of my aimless wanderings around my neighborhood and life.