April 07, 2013
DUE TO TECHNICLADIFFICULTIES, WE’VE PERMANENTLYMOVEDOURBLOG TO: www.sanddollarN4KS.blogspot.com
November 09, 2008
We are still at Johnston Atoll. We planned on departing today, but there is a tropical doodad between us and the Marshall Islands, so we’ve decided to sit tight for a few more days. The weather has turned blustery here on the atoll too. We are in a good spot – tucked into a dock at the old small boat harbor.
The 90’ motor vessel Searcher with its crew of environmental scientists departed yesterday for Honolulu. I don’t envy them that trip. Friends of ours on the sail vessel Shambala arrived yesterday from Kaua’i. They are a family of four and are docked next to us. They are also bound for Majuro and it’s nice to have their company. We have the atoll to ourselves.
Johnston atoll, 691 acres large, was designated a bird sanctuary in 1926 by the US Dept. of Agriculture. War clouds of the 1930’s caused the Navy to take an interest in it as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, and it has since served a number of Defense Department masters, particularly the Defense Nuclear Agency. It was here in the early 1960’s that atmospheric nuclear weapon testing was conducted. That program ended in 1963, but the atoll was kept in a state of readiness. The Army used it to store
& decontaminate chemical weapons, such as Agent Orange, until a few years ago. When the Army pulled out, it dismantled all but one building, removed all chemical debris, removed or buried the building materials & metal, and sealed or destroyed all the bunkers. However, it remains now, as it always has been, strictly off-limits to civilians. Since we pulled in here for repairs, we were given permission by M/V Searcher’s USAF government representative to be here.
We’ve been busy exploring the atoll. Yesterday we entered the one remaining building. It is six stories tall and built to handle the forces of rockets being fired. The inside is now just an empty shell, but the decontamination showers and 24 camera mounts are still in place. We believe the rockets launched the atomic bombs that exploded on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The military has done a good job of clearing the atoll. Hardly anything is left standing and there is a big land fill that contains the debris and asbestos. The place is now under control of Fish and Game and is a bird sanctuary. Speaking of birds, there are many rookeries. Including shearwater, red-footed boobies, frigate birds, red-tailed tropicbirds, fairy terns, and Pacific golden plover. The birds let you get up close and personal.
We’ve really enjoyed our experience on this lonely place, but we’re ready to move on. Hopefully the weather will cooperate sooner rather than later.
We will post photos when we get to Majuro.
August 27, 2008
Up anchor at 0700 under calm conditions. Set a full jib and mizzen – good boat speed in 15-20 kts of wind across the channel between Molokai and Oahu. Timed it right again. Nice 35-mile passage – fun sail. Passed Diamond Head to starboard at 1300 and took arrival at the Ala Wai marina at 1315. Berthed at the plush Hawaii Yacht Club, but will be moving to the low rent district perhaps by tomorrow. We’re looking forward to exploring Honolulu and other digs in Oahu. We plan on being here until the end of September. While we’re here, we will haul SD at one of the boat yards to paint her bottom and check her systems. Then we’re off to… (stay tuned).
August 26, 2008
Departed Kaunakakai 0715 bound for Lono Harbor 13.5 miles up the Molokai coast. Arrived at 1000, anchor down 1015. Uneventful and enjoyable trip. Conditions light. Wind fair, 5-10 kts, seas 3 ft. Motor sailed most of the trip. The Australian flag S/V Shambala is sharing the anchorage with us. Originally met the family of four at Hilo and saw them again at Kaunakakai. Found Lono Harbor very inviting for swimming, so we did just that – calm, warm, clear. Checked SD’s underbody for marine growth in preparation for what could be an adventurous channel crossing tomorrow. Next stop – Honolulu.
August 24, 2008
Our third Hawaiian Island - Moloka’i - is another winner. This island is noted for being sparcely populated and very non-tourist orientated. We found this to be true and enjoyable. There is really only one town, Kaunakaka’i that consists of only one main street, but the people are friendly, the weather is fine, and we found plenty of things to do. We rented a car for two days and toured one end of the island to the other. We enjoyed visiting a small family owned small macadamia nut farm where the owner, Tuddie Purdy educated us about mac nuts. His trees are 75 years old and produce nuts without any fertilizer or pestisides. Besides being reasonably priced, they were very tasty, so we bought a couple of bags. We also picked up some good tasting coffee at the one and only coffee plantation. We visited Halawa Bay, which is where the first Polynesians landed when they came from the south pacific; a beautiful, but isolated place. A couple of evenings we were able to enjoy the sounds of Na Kupuna – Hawaiian Elders – at the local watering holes.
In a couple of days, we plan on moving on to a small deserted barge harbor called Lono (see map for its location). There is nothing there, but it gets busy for the womens and mens outrigger canoe races in the end of September and early October. The race goes 42 miles to Waikiki Beach across a usually very boisterous channel. From Lono we will cross the same channel to Honolulu and look for a place to park the boat for a month or so.
August 14, 2008
Weighed anchor at Kamalo Harbor at 0730. Had a very nice sail along the coast to Kaunakakai. Upon arrival, we found only one other cruising boat anchored here – Seabiscuit II from Toronto with Alan and Fiona aboard. We met them back in Radio Bay and saw them again at Lahaina. We rowed ashore against a strong current and a 20-25 kt head wind. We poked around the tiny harbor area and ran into some very friendly Hawaiian fisherman. We chatted for a while and one of them introduced himself as Kali, the mayor and offered us a ride into town. He told us to be sure and check out the photo of him on the wall of the bar at Paddler’s Inn, although it might be a challenge to pick him out of the hawaiian canoe teams – since the photo was taken in the 1950’s when he was 20! We plan on spending at least ten days here.
August 13, 2008
After spending two enjoyable days at Honolua Bay, we got underway early morning to sail across the 13 mile channel to Kamalo Harbor, Moloka’i. We timed it right; we had a very enjoyable sail. We threaded the needle to drop anchor between two arms of a very shallow reef. Although the wind was blowing like stink at 25 kts and we had whitecaps all around us, the boat is practically motionless. As usual, we are all alone except for the occasional turtle. We set a second anchor for piece of mind.
August 11, 2008
The weather forecast became favorable to cross the channel between Maui and Molakai. So after spending two enjoyable weeks at Lahaina, we up-anchored and headed for Honolua Bay, Maui - 10 miles up the coast – because it would present a good angle to cross the channel. Honolua turned out to be a gem. The head of the bay is a beautiful jungle type setting (no bugs though!) and the water was great for swimming and snorkling. It rained the evening we got there and boy was it welcome, because it washed off a lot of the dirt from the sugar cane fields that SD had accumulated. Early the next morning a large pod of spinner dolphins swam by SD into the bay. They hung around a long time and we got to swim with them – Wow! – what a thrill. The pictures were not taken with zoom – they were actually that close to us.
August 08, 2008
We’re still in Lahaina and enjoying it very much. We would have probably left by now, but small craft warnings, high winds and seas are posted for the channel between Maui and our next island. So we’ve decided to wait it out until the trades moderate – we’re hoping for it to happen by next week.
In the meantime, we continue to explore this part of Maui via the bus, visit historical sites, enjoy the perfect climate, water, beautiful sunsets and rainbows. We’ve checked out books from the local library and it’s nice to have time to read. We get excercise from rowing a 1/2 mile to the small boat harbor, which can be a good workout when the current is against us.
This spot has excellent beginner surf and the captain is working up some nerve to rent a board and see if he can still remember how to ride a wave. Stay tuned; it could be an adventure.
Happy birthday Tameron – love Dad
July 27, 2008
Upon arriving at Lahaina, we picked a Lahaina Yacht Club morring buoy. For a change, it’s nice not to have to worry about the anchoring situation. We checked in with the friendly Yacht Club and they said there was no problem using one of the moorings. Lahaina has a lot to offer regarding the old whaling industry and we plan on visiting a lot of the historical sites. The small boat harbor is about a half mile away, but the rowing will do us good.