Thursday, June 18, 2009
I started the paddle from Kailua Beach feeling good physically and optimistic mentally. Bill pointed out how windy it was and at the time I just discounted that saying something like " not too windy to me".
The winds were east at what I would call 15 to 25 mph. Whitecaps, wind waves and all of it coming from the direction I had to go.
Left at a few minutes after 11am.
I told Bill I'd be at the pier in Waimanalo in about an hour. It took two and all the time I gained on the run I just lost. Ok, won't happen again. I was still feeling strong as I set off around Makapu'u after about a five minute rest - the only stop
of the whole 28 mile paddle. There were breaking wind waves in the bay and I got hit and knocked off by one. I wouldn't say I was scared but I was concerned. These were miserable paddeling conditions and they weren't likely to improve till I rounded Haunama Bay.
As I paddled out of sight of my support crew conditions got worse. That part of Makapu'u around the corner from the lighthouse is just rocky cliffs and the wind waves hit that wall and bounce back and you get a very confused sea with waves going every direction.
I just went further out where I thought conditions would improve and also to stay far off the rising surf. Paddlers get picked off all the time by waves in these conditions and I didn't want that. I took a conservative way outside line. With all the wind and white caps and waves my support crew never saw me after rounding Makapu'u. I was feeling a bit sick at this time. Partly because of the constant heaving up and down and partly because I was thinking I might not finish by sunset.
The tide was high in this area at about 3:30 and after that I would be fighting the tide as it drains into the Kaiwi Channel from the eastern half of the south shore. I got to Haunama Bay at about 3:30 and still encountered awful conditions along the wall to China Walls where I arrived at about 4pm.
Awful as it was up to this point I knew I had the race won. I know the rest of the way blindfolded and the wind was now at my back although the tide was against me. I had three hours to get back - easy.
Black Point at about 5:30, yeah a bit slow but I was a tired and was at this point paddeling against a strong tidal current. I went way outside here too as the surf was big and getting bigger. Was at the Diamond Head Buoy at about six and from there it was an easy paddle back to Magic Island. It was exciting to see the sun setting and know I was going to win this race. Arrived back at Magic Island to cheers and whistles at 6:42pm , 12 hours and 53 minutes after my sunrise start.