As I said sea condition wise the similarities to last years trip ended as the paddlers rounded Naftan point. The photo above is from last year, when not only could the team hug the coastline but they also set up for a change out - only no one told the folks in the canoe.
This year hugging the coast was not an option and the spray on our photo boat didn't let me get a shot until the canoe was well past the point headed for Forbidden. Time 7:38
Passing Forbidden and moving North the paddlers encounter some pretty choppy water. At times the canoe would completely disappear from our view.
Forbidden 8:47 AM
Just after Forbidden the team makes a change out. This is no easy feat even in calm water. First the fresh paddlers leave the safety boat and tread water awaiting the approaching canoe. Then the Steersman must guide the arms of the outrigger (kapua'i) directly over the heads of these bobbing apples, kind of like threading a needle - no easy task as their heads disappear in the waves. As the canoe approaches the two exhausted paddlers bail out while the fresh paddlers grab hold and pull themselves up and into the canoe! Just like that - did I mention the canoe does not stop!
The bail out above, the climb in below.
Time 9:24 AM
As I said at times the entire canoe would disappear from our view and this was a light swell! These next two pics were taken 2 seconds apart!
Below, a refreshing splash no doubt! This shot illustrates why the team set out on a counter clockwise route. With the out rigger set up on the port side the prevailing wind and waves hit the the hull of the canoe. If they were to go the other way the waves and swell would first hit the outrigger potentially pushing it skyward high enough to tip the entire boat!
Bird Island Last year - notice how close they could get and how calm the water was!
Passing Bird Island this year. Time 10:28
Headed to the Grotto and Banzai Cliff, the worst is almost over! Stay tuned.