It's official. We have Pac Cup Fever.
We're signed on to deliver the Santa Cruz 50 Adrenalin home from Hawaii after the Pacific Cup race, which started in San Francisco and finishes in Kanehoe, on the island of Oahu. Doing a long passage in the Pacific has been a dream for 40 years.
The smaller, slower boats started first. On Thursday, July 13, we watched the start of Division D and cheered Adrenalin and the others as they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and disappeared into the mist.
Since then, three named tropical depressions have developed out there, and the boats have seen really big winds and seas. The first boats are projected to finish today, possibly breaking a speed record set 12 years ago. (After I wrote that, the 100-foot super maxi yacht Rio finished, breaking the previous record by sailing 2400 miles to arrive here in an amazing 5 days and 2 hours!) Adrenalin is still a couple of days out.
Mark and I arrived on the island Tuesday. Even though Mark was born in California, he's never been to Hawaii. His only excuse was that he didn't want to go unless he sailed here. So, a couple of months after I signed onto Adrenaline's delivery crew, he decided to go too and here we are.
We spent our first night at the Marriott Courtyard in Waikiki which was full of really muscular, tattooed military guys. I must be growing up, or maybe going into my second childhood because I found this guy just as fascinating to look at ...
This morning we walked around Waikiki, had a great breakfast at Lulu's overlooking the beach (fresh papaya with lime!) and explored the two oldest and most historic hotels in town, the Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian. Too bad they're surrounded by endless shopping. How many UGGS stores can they possibly need there, anyway?
If you ever get there, go and see the historic banyan tree in the courtyard at the Moana Surfrider. According to Wikipedia: "The Indian banyan tree was planted in 1904 by Jared Smith, Director of the Department of Agriculture Experiment Station. When planted, the tree was nearly seven feet tall and about seven years old. It now stands 75 feet high and spans 150 feet across the courtyard."
Yesterday afternoon we rented a car and made our escape to the quieter, windier North Shore. Our duffel bags (you just don't bring hard luggage on a boat!) are so heavy, full of sailing gear for the return, that we can barely lug them more than a few yards so it's a huge relief to have a car to leave them in.
We drove up through the middle of the island and reached the historic little town of Haleiwa via Hwy 99, where we stopped at one of the many food cart areas, mostly featuring shrimp. It was crowded with people, and most of the conversations I heard included not one single word of English. In all of our travels before, I've always noticed a sprinkling of English, especially among the children - not here.
Now we are checked into our Marriott Courtyard North Shore, drinking rum drinks with fresh pineapple that we bought at a roadside stand. Mark's Marriott points will be used up after this trip so we'll get to be more creative booking hotels from now on which I will enjoy. We're right next to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which I vaguely remember from the one other time I was here, in 1981. Not sure if we're going to make it inside, as it looks like a full day commitment and we want to greet some of the boats as they arrive. But maybe.
We'll be here for two nights, and then moving on to Kailua where we have rented a studio apartment for 4 nights. After that, we'll join the other members of the delivery crew, when they arrive next week, in a house in Kanehoe. So we have lots of time for adventures, but we also have lots of work ahead of us - provisioning the boat, helping clean it up, and maintaining and fixing things. The race crew will need to catch up on sleep, and then of course there are parties!
But first, the boats have to get here, and tropical storm Darby is closing in on the Big Island, then moving north - into the path of the fleet. Things could get interesting.
More soon. Stay tuned. Till then, aloha.