|Oceanus anchored in beautiful Honomalino Bay. The bay could easily accommodate six cruising yachts, but we didn't have to share.|
|Reticulated butterflyfish in Honomalino Bay.|
|A saddleback butterflyfish; another rare find in Honomalino Bay.|
We felt well protected in this bay and we put it to the test. One day, we motored over to the tiny fishing village of Miloli'i to get water. While there, some people Virginia met talked about the tropical storm Darby about to hit the island. “What storm?” she said. “Oh don't worry,” they said. “Hurricanes and storms never come to the west side because of the volcano.”
We were considering leaving the next day to go north, but after checking the weather we decided Honomalino Bay was the best bay all along the west side to ride out the storm. Darby was expected to make landfall on Saturday but we didn't see much wind. In fact we joked around about how vicious the storm was. We should have kept quiet.
That night Darby did what no one thought he would do, he turned left and blew right over the west side of the island. Right over our heads. At one point all was calm and we smiled until we realized the eye of the storm was right over us. Soon the winds picked up again. The winds probably reached only 45 to 50 knots in the bay, but the boat rolled all night so much we couldn't sleep. During the night the dinghy, which I should have hauled up on deck and stowed upside down in it's chocks, turn sideways, filled with water and banged against the side of the boat.
In the morning, the storm was well north of us heading up the Hawaiian chain. Virginia got two or three hours of sleep, by making a nest of settee cushions on the cabin sole. I stayed in the bunk and didn't sleep at all. At 6:30 a.m., our scuba-diving friend, Garry, called us to check on us. He said he had never seen the winds blow that much on the west side. Darby was only the fifth named storm the hit the island since the government started keeping records in 1949.
|Virginia considers the exotic plant life at the beginning of the trail to Miloli'i.|
After our morning snorkel one day, we met a young lady on the beach doing her homework. Like most people, she was curious about how we got around and how we got food. We told her we usually walk, sometimes rented a car or used Uber. She volunteered to be our transportation while were were on the Big Island. We called her Gigi our Uber girl. The arrangement worked perfect; she got money and time to study while we did shopping and laundry and our feet got a nice rest. We also found her to be delightful and interesting company.
Most afternoons and evenings, after any beach goers left, we watched as a small herd of goats came down to the bay. They were black with brown markings around their faces and legs and blended well with the black lava-rock cliffs. We would watch them from the boat. They seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them, especially the kids.
|Most mornings a small pod of spinner dolphins visited us.|
|In addition to our dinghy, Virginia has a sit-on-the-top kayak. It comes in handy for many tasks, like recovering our stern anchor after the rode parted during Darby. Paddling it around is fun too.|