June 06, 2012
NOTE: this is the last post for the blog “Further Adventures in Hawaii – 2012”. This will be repeated at the beginning of the new blog “Hawaii to Alaska – 2012”. If you request email notifications about blog posts, you may need to renew this request for the new blog.
As we sat in Nawiliwili Harbor on Saturday (June 2nd), the long-range weather predictions for the Alaska passage seemed to be more promising than were the local forecasts for windward Kaua‘i, which kept moving back day by day the prediction of reduced winds. So we decided to make the day-sail to Hanalei Bay on Sunday even though there was a small craft advisory with winds of 20 – 25 knots and the seas up to 9 ft (3 m). Luckily, Jim (an Australian on “This Boat” whom we first met in Ala Wai) and a friend of his were willing to help pay out our lines as we left the slip. With the stiff breeze, that was very useful and we were glad to escape without bumping the dock or another boat. We raised the double-reefed mainsail before passing the breakwater and motor-sailed out into the 8 ft waves (2.5 m) until we were well clear of Ninini Point on the north side of the harbor entrance. It was certainly bouncy but not too uncomfortable although we marveled at the fortitude of the people on the various sport-fishing boats around us who were trolling, and rolling, in the short-interval waves.
We then cut the engine, unfurled the jib, and for a couple of hours we tacked (mostly) northwards. We made good progress north on our starboard tack (when the ENE wind was on our right) but to clear the easternmost point of the island we would have to make long port tacks which would give us the necessary easting but in doing so would carry us back south again. By lunchtime it was apparent that we were not making the fast, closely-hauled progress that the Nawiliwili to Hanalei racers must have made the week before. So, anxious to be anchored before dark, we furled the jib, started the engine, and for another two hours we motor-sailed more directly into the wind until we were east of Anahola. From this position we enjoyed one long starboard broad-reach tack that took us northwest, past Kilauea Lighthouse and out to sea until we were north of Hanalei Bay. A relaxed gybe (keeping the wind behind us as we turned to the port tack) then allowed us to sail south into the bay.
As we have noted before, Hanalei Bay is a spectacular sight. The almost circular bay is lined by a 2-mile long yellow-sand beach (3.2 km) and to the south the backdrop is a series of steep, waterfall-streaked mountains. The highest, central peak is Mamalahoa (3,745 ft or 1,141 m) although there are taller summits out of sight beyond it. The residents of Hanalei have been very protective of their small town, keeping large hotels out of the valley although the eastern headland at the mouth of the bay supports several Princeville (the neighboring town) hotels and condominiums. The single-lane bridge into the valley has been kept small on purpose to keep-out large trucks and tour-buses.
With a sand bottom mostly shallower than 40 ft (12 m), from a boater’s perspective the bay is absolutely ideal for anchoring and there is plenty of room. Theoretically, boats staying for more than three nights are supposed to have a $2-per-day permit but these have to be obtained from the Harbormaster’s Office in Nawiliwili. As I discussed with Kristy, as she was issuing our permit, it is not easy for the Harbormaster to enforce but presumably it would give them grounds to try to “evict” any boats that were not complying and were creating a nuisance. In fact, most boaters seem to be cooperative in terms of anchoring and using dinghies outside the swimming areas, so in general they seem to be accepted with good grace.
There are only a couple of problems with the bay as an anchorage. If there is a northern swell, it can become rolly. This makes it unsuitable for most of the winter so most local boat-owners keep their boats in Nawiliwili for the winter and then move to Hanalei in May. The roll was enough to be quite noticeable on Tregoning but not quite enough to inspire us to deploy the flopper-stopper which we needed to dismantle and pack-up for the passage.
The second problem was the theft of outboard motors or anything desirable left unattended at night on the beach or on an unoccupied boat. We first became aware of this when we visited Hannes and Sabine by bus and another cruiser warned them that his outboard was stolen from his dinghy the night before when he was ashore. Before we left Nawiliwili, Gabby warned us about the same thing, saying that she had lost a beach tent there and hds noticed on Craig’s list a collection of items for sale in Hanalei that she thought seemed suspicious. She said that the police had told her after her tent theft that Hanalei had the worst problem of this type on Kaua‘i. Gabby was a very friendly and interesting woman who spends summers in Nawiliwili on her beautiful but small, all-wooden boat with three pre-teen children. Born in Hungary, her parents defected when she was just a few months old but unexpectedly she was not allowed to join them until she was three, during which time she was raised by her aunt.
When we got to Hanalei, another cruiser, Daniel on “Allie Cat”, paddled over to introduce himself and warn us that his outboard had been stolen one evening recently when his dinghy was on the beach. All this news was a pity because it did reduce our feeling of security in using the bay. However, when we subsequently spoke to local who kept his boat there every summer, he seemed to think it was more of an unfortunate, mini-crime spree than a typical problem here although he admitted that leaving dinghies ashore at night was a bit of a gamble.
Still, the place is exceptionally beautiful and everyone we met seemed friendly so we just decided not to leave our dinghy ashore after dark and to have it bristling with padlocks and chains so that it was not the most tempting option. In fact, we spent our first full day in the bay on Tregoning enjoying the views and all the water-based activities around us. As well as Daniel, Peter and Margarete (on “Seatime”) came over to greet us and we surprised them with our plan to leave so soon, on Thursday (June 7th). They are waiting for their son Olli to arrive on June 13th and will leave for Seattle in early July.
On Tuesday (Happy 21st birthday, nephew Roger!), after Randall had assisted Daniel in picking up his crew for the day, we left the dinghy just inside the mouth of the Hanalei River and walked into the small town. Randall established himself at a Pizza restaurant that had free Wi-Fi (he needed to download a program and did not want to use up our cell-phone data quota) while I went to the Post Office. When I returned we ordered a pizza and I tried using a pin-hole camera (a piece of paper with a pin-hole in it) to project an image of the sun on another piece of paper. The idea was to try to see the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun which started just after noon local time. As it turned out, the restaurant owner was also interested in this phenomenon and he could project the sun onto a surface using up-side-down binoculars. His image was much bigger than mine so I helped him tape the binoculars to a high-chair and we were soon able to see the tiny black spot of Venus at the edge of the white disc.
Since we were doing this by the restaurant’s front door, in a small outdoor shopping mall, we soon had plenty of other people interested in what we could see. On his laptop, Randall found a webcam of the transit from Mauna Kea and we soon had quite the astronomy class going. It was really most impressive. Hawai‘i was one of the ideal places to see the transit because the sun would be above the horizon for the six hours or more it would take for Venus to cross the face of the sun, whereas on the mainland, the sun would set before the transit was completed. As it turned out, it was just as well that we watched the transit early because by midafternoon the clouds had covered northern Kaua‘i. Incidentally, a new pizza chef was at work and his first attempt at our pizza had the crust too thin so was given away to “transit-spotters” but the pizza we eventually received was very good.
We walked along the beach to return to the dinghy and were relieved to find everything in it unmolested. We explored a little way up the Hanalei River, as far as the main road, motoring slowly so that our wake did not disturb the many visitors who were hesitantly propelling themselves along on paddle-boards. On returning to Tregoning, we enjoyed the sunset that finally developed below the clouds while we contemplated the tenuous connections between seafaring, a Venus Transit, Hawai‘i, and the Pacific Northwest (NW part of the continent that is, NE part of the ocean).
The first voyage of Captain James Cook (1768-1771) was partly intended to study the predicted Transit of Venus in 1769, an objective that he accomplished in Tahiti. He subsequently sailed further south and west where he ‘discovered’ New Zealand and Australia before returning to Britain. It was during his third voyage of exploration (started in 1776), that Cook became the first European to visit Hawai‘i, (which he named the Sandwich Islands after the acting First Lord of the Admiralty) when he landed at Waimea Bay, Kaua‘i, in 1778. He then landed in Oregon and explored the Pacific Northwest as far as the Bering Strait, looking for the northern limits of the Pacific.
Following sailors’ convoluted, slightly superstitious logic, we decided to regard our sighting of the Transit of Venus in Hawai‘i as a good omen for our subsequent passage to the Pacific Northwest. Of course, on future route planning, we conveniently intend to ignore the unfortunate omen that might be interpreted from knowing that Cook’s return to Hawai‘i after leaving the Bering Strait resulted in his death on the Big Island…
The following morning (Wednesday), we awoke in Hanalei Bay to, of all things, fog! If there was anything that could be construed as a foreshadowing of what we might expect to be in store for us in Alaska, fog was perhaps the most portentous. So today we get ourselves and Tregoning ready (stow the dinghy, outboard, and barbecue grill below, lash-down the spare fuel cans, stow as much away below decks as possible, and finish internet projects) and tomorrow we hope to start our passage to Alaska and a new chapter in our cruising adventures.
June 01, 2012
It is hard to believe that it was exactly four years ago that we set-off on our shake-down cruise to Nova Scotia. I am not quite sure if it feels much longer than that, it certainly seems a long time ago since we lived in Gainesville, or if it is amazing to think of all the things we have seen and done in that brief time.
Anyway, being of the analytical bent I have crunched a few numbers based on my crude hourly logs of activities and can summarize the boating activities of the past four years thus:
Percentage of days with any time underway (sailing or motoring) = 25%
Percentage of time underway: sailing = 51.6%, motoring (including motor/sailing) = 48.4%
Percentage of nights: anchored = 46%, in a marina = 28%, mooring=15%, underway or on the hard (boat out of the water) = 11%
Compared to many other retired cruisers, we seem to be underway a fairly high proportion of the time but compared to younger, circumnavigators we spend far more time (75%) sitting in a harbor. The percentages vary depending upon where we were, for example, during our trip to Nova Scotia, we moved for some distance on 42% of days.
I was a bit surprised, and perhaps a tad disappointed, at the even split between motoring and sailing but we are not hard-core sailors in a racing boat who particularly enjoy a long tacking slog into the wind or will wait for a windy day if we want to get somewhere comfortably. Almost every trip begins and ends with motoring whether we are maneuvering in and out of a marina, or raising or setting the anchor. Since I included motor/sailing with “motoring”, this does not acknowledge the slight boost in efficiency that the sails can provide when we motor/sail to point closer into the wind than we would if we were just sailing (hmmm…sounds like some desperate rationalizing there…)
The nighttime activities have varied the most by location. We largely used moorings in Eastern USA and Canada, we mostly anchored throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and The Galapagos, and then marina usage has been much the highest (and costliest method) in Hawai‘i. We have yet to estimate the total distances that we have traveled (we do not keep our GPS/chart-plotter on all the time we sail so we do not have a running, electronic log of this) but we will eventually get these data up-to-date. Such are the obsessions of former research scientists.
Back to current life on the boat… On Friday (May 25th) after a couple of fairly lazy days in the Nawiliwili anchorage, we moved into a marina slip where we thoroughly washed down Tregoning. Kristy, a member of staff in the Harbormaster’s Office at Nawiliwili, was particularly friendly and helpful and the slip that we were assigned (usually occupied by a boat that had gone to Hanalei Bay for the summer) pointed into the wind. This was important because the winds blew at a steady 20 – 25 knots during our stay and kept Tregoning off the dock rather than grinding into it, which can happen when the wind is behind you. We also saw Craig, visiting his boat “Sabbatical”, and it was fun to be reunited with familiar faces.
That evening, we attended the Nawiliwili Yacht Club dinner and meeting, where we were greeted by various members with general enthusiasm and cheer. We invited ourselves to join their pot-luck dinner the next day after their boat race from Nawiliwili to Hanalei Bay. We decided not to sail Tregoning but caught the bus to Hanalei on Saturday morning, arriving in time to find Hannes and Sabine in the Hanalei Farmers’ Market. We were also reunited with Peter and Margarete (Seatime) and Ben and Nannie, a Dutch couple we had only met briefly before who own a large catamaran, Dual Dragons. By the time we rode out to Cayenne with Hannes and Sabine, the first of the racing boats appeared around the Princeville headland. They were true racers with their spinnaker hoisted despite the 20 knot winds and had completed the 35 nm trip in about 5.5 hours. Not long after they started their victory lap around the anchorage, the remaining four yachts closely followed each other into view and by 3 pm, Hannes was ferrying competitors ashore in his dinghy. He then picked us up and we joined in the post-race pot-luck meal for a while and then scampered off to catch the last bus back to Lihue at 4:15 pm. It was sad to say good-bye to Hannes and Sabine who might be on their way to Vancouver by the time we get Tregoning to Hanalei. It was a bit worrying that Sabine had been enduring back-pain for several weeks which would not make their passage easy but in addition to being entertaining, they are a tough, resourceful, and energetic couple so we hope to catch-up with them again in the Pacific Northwest.
The following day we collected a rental car in the afternoon and drove south to Koloa and the popular resort area of Po‘ipu. Randall had not visited this area before as he was fixing Tregoning’s refrigerator when Mike and I had peered at the sights in the rain. It was very windy but at least it was sunny which made the place look so much better. Given the wind and rather cloudy-looking water declined the opportunity to snorkel but instead we admired the Spouting Horn, examined the beach and rock-pools at Po‘ipu Beach Park (the latter being unusual because they are at the end of a spit of sand with the highest pools at the shore’s furthest edge so when filled by waves, the water then trickled down to lower pools further inshore), and admired surfers and two wedding ceremonies at Shipwreck Beach.
Monday morning (Memorial Day holiday in the US), we set-off fairly early so that we arrived at the Pu‘u o Kila Lookout at the far end of the road into Waimea Canyon by 9:30 am. There were a few other cars there already but they must have all carried hikers as no one was on the viewing platform. The wind was whistling from the NE and it was cloudy with occasionally light drizzle but the cloud-base was high enough to see all of the Kalalau Valley below us and across the Alaka‘i Swamp to the receding rows of ridges. Based on Kathy and Dan’s enthusiastic reports, our goal was to get to the boardwalk trails that cross the Alaka‘i Swamp. Fed by the massive amounts of rain that fall on Kaua‘i’s highest peak Kawaikini (5,243 ft or 1,598 m) and one of the world’s wettest sites, Mount Wai‘ale‘ale (average annual rainfall of 430 inches or 10.9 m), the Alaka‘i Swamp is perched above 3,000 ft (914 m) elevation, upstream of the Waimea Canyon. The Alaka‘i Swamp fills the caldera of the Wai‘ale‘ale volcano, which was lined with dense basalt (providing a poorly water-permeable base to the Swamp), and much of the caldera rim subsequently eroded away, leaving the Swamp near the top of the island. This area is popular with hikers, hunters (mostly after non-native deer and pigs) and bird-watchers hoping to see some of the rare forest birds unique to Kaua‘i.
The first part of the Pihea Trail took us along the ridge at the head of the massive Kalalau Valley which constitutes a significant part of Kaua‘i’s famed Na Pali Coastline. This is a very well-worn trail as many people make the 1 mile hike (1.6 km) along it to the Pihea Vista. As a result the steep sections of the path have been eroded into awkward, tall steps in the hard, clayey soil which can be quite slick when damp, as it was early in the day. Another steep section descending from the Vista down towards the swamp probably puts quite a few people off because beyond it the trail became less worn and easier. Then the fun part begins as a two-planks-of-wood-wide boardwalk starts to step and snake across the Swamp. After turning off the Pihea Trail onto the Alaka‘i Swamp Trail, having already walked a little more than 2 miles (3.2 km), and seeing the trail starting to descend steeply into a valley, Randall decided to stop for lunch and then turn to take a relaxed saunter back to the car. I elected to continue to the end of the trail at the Kilohana Lookout, another 2 miles ahead so I speeded up my pace and continued on alone.
The boardwalk on my trail stopped for a short distance and then resumed all the way to the Lookout, passing through a variety of beautiful habitats from streams to forests, from scrubby moorland to bog, the latter areas being so high and open that I really felt on top of the world. With a few other sections that we did not use, there are about 3 miles (5 km) of boardwalk in the Swamp, mostly in remarkably good condition and undoubtedly available as the result of a huge amount of arduous work by the State of Hawai‘i’s Na Ala Hele Trails Program in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As I scurried to the Lookout and then back to where I left Randall (approximately 4 miles or 6.5 km), I met about 30 people, so although not densely trafficked the boardwalk is certainly used.
Walking through the elevated parts of the Swamp was invigorating but I mentally prepared myself that it was likely that there would be clouds forming at the windward edge of the plateau where the Lookout was. Instead, I burst out into the small viewing area to have a spectacular vista across the north coast of Kaua‘i with the almost circular Hanalei Bay in front of me and Kilauea Point (site of the historic lighthouse) beyond. Even though the clouds were not far above, the panorama was breathtaking and I was pleased to share it with a young couple who were happy to peer over my shoulder as I examined my map (once I had battled it into submission in the howling wind). And, as if this had not all been good enough, the clouds started to break-up and on my return trek I was fortunate to enjoy most of the trail in glorious sunshine.
While it was a pity that Randall had not been able to enjoy the higher parts of the Alaka‘i Swamp and the Kilohana Lookout, I found that he had reached to the car only 30 minutes before me having greatly appreciated a leisurely paced return. We also both enjoyed stopping at a few of the Waimea Canyon vistas on the sunny drive back down the valley. Back in the town of Waimea, we briefly detoured by the beach to see where on January 20th, 1778, Captain Cook came ashore for the first time in the Hawaiian Islands. We also drove up alongside the Waimea River to see the swinging bridge and Menehune Ditch. The former was like the suspension bridge we previously visited in Hanapepe and we would have missed the latter had it not been for a sign pointing to the side of the road.
Running on a level just above the road was a reconstructed section of small ditch which flowed into a small lava tube in the cliff. According to a 1928 plaque beside the ditch, “The row of hewn stones along the inner side of the road is a remnant of one wall of an ancient water-course which is said to have been made by the Menehunes (Hawaiian dwarf or brownies). The stones were brought from Mokihana.” The whole aqueduct was originally 25 miles long (40 km) and legend claims that it was built by the supernaturally endowed Menehunes overnight (like the ‘Alekoko Fishpond near Nawiliwili). The origin of the still-visible hewn stones would have been a bit more meaningful to us, if we had any idea where in the Islands Mokihana was located. (The mokihana berry is the official island lei material for Kaua‘i.)
Visiting the Alaka‘i Swamp had been the main remaining item on our Kaua‘i “to-do” list and it had been a very rewarding experience. Not only had we enjoyed good hikes and views but we both saw a nesting Kaua‘i ‘elapaio (endemic, wren-like bird). I also saw some ‘apapane (bright red honeycreepers “with white underpants”) and Randall got a close view of an ‘anianiau, the smallest honeycreeper and a species endemic to Kaua‘i. It was also a good time of year to see the ‘ohi‘a trees covered in their bright red, shaving-brush-like blooms.
The next day our leg muscles complained a bit about our exertions but while we had the car for the morning we zipped around Lihue finishing our provisioning, filling propane tanks, and visiting the Laundromat. After Randall had returned the rental car, Craig and Pattie came over for dinner and we enjoyed showing each other around our respective boats, theirs being a plush and uncluttered Hunter 46. The rest of the week we stayed on the boat completing routine maintenance chores, preparing equipment for our long passage, and watching the weather forecasts for the Northeast Pacific.
We had been startled to learn that there had been three early (May) tropical storms and a hurricane in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific so we were thankful not to have been in their way. Our preoccupation for the next few weeks will be the position of the North Pacific High and the string of depressions with associated strong winds that will move eastwards, north of the high pressure system. We hope to sail in a clockwise direction around the high which would give us favorable wind directions and speeds to go NE to Alaska, keeping away from the calm air in the middle and south of the gales that might develop further north. Of course, given the 20 to 30 day length of our passage, the forecasts cannot predict far enough ahead for us to know in advance all of our optimal course. However, by watching the changes in patterns of the pressure systems, we hope to select a departure time when the high is fairly stable and we will, at least, have suitable winds to get us going on our clockwise swing.
May 24, 2012
By the time we dragged ourselves away from the aquatic splendors at Molokini Islet, it was nearly 4 pm and clouding over. As we motored the 5 nm southeast towards La Perouse Bay we could see that the sea in the ‘Alanuihaha Channel beyond our destination was being whipped into a froth of white-caps by the wind whistling around the southern tip of East Maui. La Perouse Bay is named after the first non-Hawaiian to land on Maui in 1786. However, the bay must have looked rather different then because in 1790 jagged ‘a ‘a lava from the last eruption on Maui descended from the nearby volcanic cone and covered the smooth pahoehoe that had formerly surrounded the bay. In this respect, the bay reminded us a bit of the south side of Homomalino Bay on the Big Island.
We could see cars parked at the edge of La Perouse Bay where people had obviously set-off to hike on the ancient paved trail, the King’s Highway or Hoapili Trail, but there were no other boats. The water was relatively flat thanks to the shelter of Cape Hanamanioa to the east but the wind was howling across this low, lava peninsula. We had good instructions on where to anchor from our cruising guide and from Steve on Gershon II but with the rippling water and poor light it was not going to be easy to find the sandy areas in which to drop the anchor. We circled around a few times evaluating the conditions but finally decided that it was not going to be a restful night and with stronger winds predicted later in the week we decided to turn around and start our passage to Kaua‘i. It might have been different if we had not already had such a good time at Molokini but it seemed unlikely that it would be as perfect and peaceful there if we returned in the morning.
So after motoring out of the bay at 5 pm, we unfurled the jib and for a couple of hours sailed downwind aiming to clear the southern end of Lana‘i. This path took us between Molokini and the northeastern corner of Kaho‘olawe. Although the latter island is much the larger of the two, at 11 miles E – W by 6 miles N – S with an area of 44.6 square miles (18 km by 10 km and 115 square km), it is the smallest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands. Ni‘ihau (near Kaua‘i) with a land area of 72 square miles is the second smallest of the eight and like Kaho‘olawe is not open to visitors without prior arrangements. A lack of freshwater historically limited the number of people inhabiting either of these islands but while Ni‘ihau is privately owned and predominantly reserved for a small, resident population of Hawaiians, Kaho‘olawe is now managed as the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve by the State of Hawai‘i. The land and surrounding waters can only be used for “Native Hawaiian cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes; fishing; environmental restoration; historic preservation; and education.” However, even these non-commercial uses are limited by an absence of a harbor and other infrastructure, erosion caused by years of over-grazing by feral goats (now removed), and danger from unexploded ordinance.
Presumably because of its sparse population and proximity to Pearl Harbor, the US military started using the Kaho‘olawe as a bombing target and as a landing- and combat-training site in 1941. After the December attack on Pearl Harbor, the existing sheep and cattle ranch was completely displaced and the island became off-limits to non-military personnel. Military use of the island continued after WW II, and through the Korean- and Vietnam Wars. A detailed history can be found at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/kahoolawe.htm. This includes information and photos about the 1965 “Sailor’s Hat” project in which huge amounts of TNT were detonated to simulate three atomic explosions. As a British Naval Engineer, my father participated in inspections of the damage to ships that were subjected to the blasts and which became immobilized but did not sink. Part of my life-long fascination with Hawai‘i has been based on my early memories of the stories and exotic gifts that my father brought back with him.
After the bombing was stopped in the early 1990s, an extensive, multi-million dollar clean-up project between 1998 and 2003 removed live ordinance from about half of the land area. Thus, although the island is now managed by the State of Hawai‘i and not the US military, access is regulated because there may still be undetonated explosives in some of the less accessible areas.
Kaho‘olawe was not the only Hawaiian Island used for target practice during WW II. The US Navy also fired live ordinance at Molokini because its shape somewhat resembled a battleship. In 1975 and 1984 the US Navy detonated some of the unexploded ordinance in place, destroying large areas of coral. The public outcry resulted in the remaining ordinance being manually removed to deep water by bold, volunteer divers who were prepared to undertake the great risks involved. A survey of the islet itself in 2006 indicated that no unexploded ordinance remained.
With the sun setting, it was interesting to sail past the forbidding cliffs of northeast Kaho‘olawe and marvel at what abuse the island had endured. The wind slowed and kept changing directions as we approached Lana‘i, so we had to motor for about four hours but by midnight we were clear of the island’s wind-shadow and could sail all the way to O‘ahu. Since we wanted to stop at the Ala Wai fuel dock to top-up with diesel and water, there was no need to rush and arrive much before 8 am so we enjoyed our overnight downwind sail using a partially furled jib and maintaining 5 to 6 knots of speed in the 20 to 25 knot winds.
Thus, at 9 am on Tuesday morning (May 22nd) we tied up at the Poor Boyz Yacht Club and Fuel Dock where we filled all the tanks (including three spare jerry jugs of diesel). We also treated ourselves to breakfast, which for Randall consisted of their famous “garbage-can breakfast burrito” and within a couple of hours we steaming out of the Ala Wai Canal again. Although the wind had dropped a little to 15 to 20 knots, we knew it would be another overnight run to Kaua‘i so not being in any great hurry, we first sailed downwind to the SSW using a partially furled jib.
We intended to go far enough on this southerly, port-tack to get us out of the wind-shadow of O‘ahu and in the early afternoon we gybed to the starboard-tack and aimed northwest, directly for Kaua‘i. This tactic seemed to work well until 9 pm when I was awoken from my sleep by being bounced around, much flapping of the jib, and Randall cursing the shifting winds and confused seas. We were about 20 nm off Ka‘ena Point and must have been where conflicting currents and swells converge of this westernmost tip of O‘ahu. We decided to motor to get out of the uncomfortable area as quickly as possible and although our forward speed made the motion from the choppy waves a little better, it was not my most restful off-watch.
However, things considerably improved after a couple of hours and with 20 to 25 knot winds and a partial jib we were soon flying along between 6 and 7 knots. In fact, by 6 am, I had had to slow us down by spilling some wind out of the jib so that Randall could complete at least four hours of sleep and we did not arrive at Nawiliwili Harbor in the dark. On entering the harbor we noticed that the sailboat that had drifted onto the rocks during our visit in March was still there but in a much depleted state. Hopefully the owner had been able to retrieve anything of value but it was a sad reminder of the previously wild conditions. Rather than anchor near the marina entrance as we had done before, we found a good open area just inside the breakwater. It would mean a longer dinghy ride to shore but the water was calm and we had plenty of room to swing if the wind ever diminished enough for us to face into the river current.
Although both nights had provided enjoyable downwind sailing, the waves had been large enough (up to 8 ft or 2.5 m) to give the boat plenty of motion and noise, so we both napped prodigiously during the rest of the day. The following day (Thursday) was just as windy so we elected to stay aboard in the anchorage, tracking down our friends on “Cayenne” and “Seatime” in Hanalei Bay by phone, and enjoying the magnificent views of Nawiliwili Harbor in the sunshine. Compared to our previous, rather anxious, stay in the anchorage with Mike, this was a much more relaxed and pleasant experience. We had a few provisions to replenish and a couple of sight-seeing goals but our primary objective in Kaua‘i would be waiting for suitable weather conditions to make our passage to Alaska.
May 21, 2012
We considered staying for longer at Lahaina to explore more of Maui, especially Haleakala, but on Monday morning (May 21st) the rolly nights and potentially deteriorating weather encouraged us to return the rental car, pay the Yacht Club’s modest fees, raise the dinghy, and detach our lines from the mooring. With relatively little wind, our plan was to motor to La Perouse Bay at the southwest corner of East Maui. We would spend the night there and go early the next morning to snorkel at Molokini Islet. A very popular snorkeling and diving destination just 2.6 miles (4 km) off the coast of Maui, commercial boats visit Molokini early in the day to avoid the strong afternoon winds.
Not quite visible from Lahaina, we had clearly seen Molokini, between East Maui and Kaho‘olawe in the ‘Alalakeiki Channel, when we had driven around Papawai Point at the south end of West Maui. It held great attraction for me, not only because of the reports of good snorkeling but because there was a stunning aerial photo of it in my Hawai’i calendar. Of course, this was the same calendar that had the photo of ‘Iao Needle that I had allowed to raise my expectations unreasonably high. Still, there was something particularly appealing to me about visiting this isolated, partially submerged volcanic crater. It has a land area of just 23 acres (9 ha) in a crescent shape that is 0.4 miles (0.6 km) in diameter but the area of coral reef enclosed within the remnant crater rim must be considerably larger.
As we left the coast of West Maui behind, we expected the winds to increase dramatically from the north, sweeping down the low, broad valley between East and West Maui and across Ma‘alaea Bay. Maui is the second largest Hawaiian Island being 48 miles E-W and 26 miles N-S (77 km by 42 km) with an area of 727 square miles (1,883 square km). It is called the Valley Island because of the low isthmus between its two shield volcanoes; the extinct and highly eroded West Maui and the dormant Haleakala. Built chiefly of lithified dunes, the isthmus has always been the most productive part of the island but housing developments are now encroaching from both the north and south towards the remaining sugarcane farms. However, it seems that with the trade-winds funneled between the volcanoes, this would be a very windy and dusty place in which to live.
Driving through the town of Ma‘alaea on Saturday afternoon, the wind rushing over the bay had looked quite intimidating but to our surprise at midday on Monday we continued motoring south with no more than 5 knots of wind. Given the unexpectedly calm conditions we decided to detour into Molokini crater rather than go straight to La Perouse Bay. Remarkably there were no other boats there and we were able to select a perfect mooring just inside the west arm of the islet. Since 1977, the crater and surrounding waters have constituted a Marine Life Conservation District while the islet is federally owned and is a State seabird sanctuary. Landing on the islet is prohibited but the State has installed 26 day-use moorings (with floats and lines at least 10 ft, or 3 m, underwater) so that boats can visit without dropping coral-damaging anchors.
After we had finished our snorkel, we saw a water-safety jet-ski with two riders, which had presumably crossed from Maui in the calm conditions. They came around the west arm, followed the shoreline inside the crater and then left. These were the only other people we saw during our visit. Molokini is a nesting area for Bulwer’s petrels and wedge-tailed shearwaters but despite having seen many of the latter at sea, we were only able to identify great frigatebirds roosting or circling above the islet.
Of course, for us the real treasure was underwater. From Tregoning’s deck we could clearly see coral on the bottom in more than 100 ft of water (30 m) and at the mooring in 40 ft (12 m) we could identify individual fish swimming over the coral. Randall swam down to get the mooring line which I attached to Tregoning’s bow cleats and we both set off for the snorkel of a life-time. The site and sea-life alone were world-class but to have the place to ourselves was absolutely incredible.
We stayed on the west side of the islet, mostly swimming near the low, shoreline cliffs where the seafloor sloped down inside the crater to 40 ft deep. We did venture over the submerged edge of the crater for long enough to admire the sheer walls that drop off for 300 ft (90 m) into the deep blue water. With such a perfect wall and such brilliant clarity, it was perhaps only the third time during our cruising adventures that I wish I had been using scuba gear. Still, snorkeling was certainly good enough and without another boat to pick us up outside the crater, a drift-dive along the wall would not have been possible. We did not linger at the outside wall for long, being uncertain what currents might potentially sweep us away from the islet. As it was, it took quite a few extra-hard kicks to slip back over the reef-top and re-enter the crater.
Anyway, there was plenty to see in the shallower water although, as usual, we focused our attention on the fish. The color and variety of corals was remarkable but we noted that most were fairly small colonies unlike the giant brain-corals and stags-horns in the Caribbean. As we had heard, the fish were very used to humans and it was amazing how many large fish in the water column deliberately approached quite close to us. We had to positively dodge some of the black- or gilded-triggerfish, unicornfish, and highfin chub (which were particularly persistent when we about to get back onto Tregoning). We were happy that the small, white-tipped reef shark that cruised around us for much of the time did not get close enough to be in our way but it was interesting to watch it deftly maneuvering over the reef.
We saw too many species to remember them all but approximately 250 species of fish, 38 species of hard coral, and 100 species of algae have been identified at Molokini. For me, the greatest excitement came each time I realized that we were looking at a species for the first time. This happened six times (that I was aware of) and I was grateful for having studied our fish identification book on the way to Molokini. Two of our new sightings were butterflyfish, the diminutive blacklip- and the larger, black-and-white-striped, Moorish-idol-like, pennant butterflyfish.
Staying close to the coral and almost mistaken for another butterflyfish, we also saw our first angelfish, the Potter’s angelfish, with its rusty-colored head and vivid blue tail. Most Hawaiian angelfish are small (less than 7 inches or 18 cm) and live around the coral in deeper water than snorkelers frequent. This contrasts with the two large (12
14 inch or 30 – 36 cm) species, King and Cortez-angelfish that we commonly saw in shallow water in the eastern Pacific. It is possible that we also saw the Fisher’s angelfish at Molokini, where they are common as shallow as 40 ft (12 m) but while the picture in the book looked familiar afterwards, having not identified it positively in the water I could only put a question mark next to the entry for this species.
The other three new species that I did positively identify were the sidespot goatfish, the spotted puffer, and the sleek unicornfish. The latter is a hornless unicornfish which can change color instantly from blue-grey to black, making its identification a bit confusing. But some of those at Molokini seemed to be particularly curious in us so I was able to study them at close-quarters for quite a while and eventually worked out what they were.
By the time that a progressive chill drove us reluctantly from the water we were absolutely thrilled by everything that we had seen. I scrambled to study the fish book before all of our sightings blurred into one amorphous, fish-shaped blob. I finally concluded that adding the day’s 6 new species, during our year in Hawai‘i we had identified 159 of the 265 species listed in the book with 4 additional species (such as the Fisher’s angelfish) of which I was not certain. It was not a bad total for just snorkeling when many of our unsighted species were either only seen in deep water, at night, or in the remote Northwestern Islands.
As we prepared ourselves and Tregoning to leave the mooring, we knew there was a chance that we would not return to Molokini before we sailed to Kaua‘i. It was also possible that we might not snorkel in Kaua‘i (other than perhaps to clean the propeller) and that this might have been our last opportunity to swim with the fish for a year or more, depending upon how long we stay in the Pacific Northwest. Although such thoughts were a bit sad, we could not have picked a more unique, spectacular, and fascinating place for our final exploration of the sea-life of Hawai‘i. It was another truly enchanting place and we had been so, so lucky to see it under such perfect and deserted conditions.
May 20, 2012
Although it was with some reluctance that we raised the anchor to leave Honolua Bay at midday on Friday (May 18th), we could not have asked for better snorkeling experiences there. After motoring away from the rocks and out into the Pailolo Channel, we unfurled the jib, cut the engine, engaged the self-steering Susie, and let the 15 – 25 knots of wind push us at 5 to 6 knots with the slightly-faster-moving waves rolling beneath us. Keeping life simple, we first headed WSW on a starboard tack to a point almost equidistant between Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i and then, after gybing, we returned SE towards Lahaina in the Auau Channel. After more than two hours at the helm in these ideal, downwind conditions, Randall went below for just a few minutes only to return to find the boat spinning in a slow circle, the jib flapping, and almost no wind. White-caps still topped the waves just behind us but within a very short distance we had moved into the lee of West Maui. As are the quirks of trade-winds and steep-sided islands, there was no gradual reduction in the wind-speed or change in direction as we moved into Maui’s wind-shadow but an abrupt calm. After dropping the jib and starting to motor the final few miles to our destination, the wind picked up a little but it was now an island-generated, onshore breeze approaching us from the SW rather than the ocean-crossing NE trade-winds. We speculated that yacht racing in this area could be pretty complicated. Having discovered that there were no slips available in the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor (which was a pity as they owed us a night’s accommodation since we had been overcharged during our November visit), we had made a reservation to use one of the Lahaina Yacht Club’s moorings. Convinced by our cruising-guide’s description that the Club’s moorings were marked by large, orange floats and thinking that I had confirmed this when I called, this was what we searched for in the mooring field just off-shore of the Yacht Club. We finally selected a mooring that looked suitable and although we were a bit surprised not to see “LYC” and a number on the float, by 3:30 pm we were settled. I had tried to call the Club to confirm we were on the right mooring but I had to leave a message. However, when I got online and studied the GPS coordinates provided for the seven Club moorings, I became convinced that we were not quite in the right place and started scanning our surroundings with the binoculars. Much to Randall’s dismay (he was not feeling perfectly well and wanted to call it a day) I spotted some white floats further inshore which clearly had “LYC” on them. Although it seemed unlikely that someone was going to come to displace us that late in the day, the possibility of having to move after dark was not appealing so Randall was reluctantly convinced to fire up the engine one more time and we moved to a white, LYC mooring. So much for the mooring details in the cruising-guide and for getting myself fixated on an incorrect search pattern. The cruising-guide was correct, however, about the rolly conditions on the moorings. Luckily, it was never bad enough during our three night stay to compel us to set-up our flopper-stopper (roll stabilizer), although there were some short spells when we wished that we had. The wind, current, and swell varied in strength and direction throughout the night so that the boat’s direction, stability, and noise (creaking when rolling) kept changing. We did not spend much of the day aboard so although our sleep was not always uninterrupted, it was tolerable for a brief visit. On Saturday, we rented a car (after a slightly frustrating misunderstanding about where we were to be picked-up) and replaced our engine starter-battery which we had discovered was dead when we left Ala Wai. Lahaina may not have been the cheapest place to get it but having a car simplified the process. Since leaving Ala Wai we had been able to start the engine using the house-battery-bank but this is not a satisfactory long-term arrangement because if there is insufficient wind- or solar-generated power to charge the house-bank, it might not be possible to start the engine to charge the batteries using the alternator. Although wind- and solar-generated power have been abundant in Hawai‘i, this is not likely to be the case at all times in Alaska. In the afternoon, we drove north from Lahaina and stopped to admire the busy Honolua Bay from two viewpoints on the coastal road. We then continued along the scenic road, making a full circumnavigation of West Maui. We stopped at the northernmost point to see the (almost inevitable) blowhole at Nakalele, we admired the Yosemite-Half-Dome-like Pu‘u Koa‘e headland, and I thoroughly enjoyed driving along the narrow, very twisty, guard-rail-less, cliff-side road that our map described as “Not for faint-hearted”. That part of the drive may not have been quite as pleasant for the passenger but Randall bore it cheerfully and we agreed that the views exceeded our expectations. I am afraid that I cannot quite say the same about our visit to the ‘Iao Valley State Park. This park is at the head of a narrow valley that runs from the volcanic caldera at the center of the West Maui Mountains (highest peak 5,788 ft or 1,764 m) down through Wailuku (the seat of Maui County) and Kahului, the largest town on the island. The drive into the valley is impressive and a small, attractive terraced-garden, fed by one of several streams, is being developed based on ancient-Hawaiian crops. The star-feature of the park, however, is the ‘Iao Needle, a tower of hard rock that rises to 2,250 ft (686 m). Foolishly, my expectations of this feature were based on a sunlit and poorly remembered photograph of a soaring and isolate spire. So the reality of a shaded pinnacle, backed by low-level clouds that was surrounded by much higher peaks was, quite frankly, rather disappointing. Fortunately, Randall had not been influenced by my mistaken expectations and was much more impressed, making the detour from our circumnavigation and the parking fee completely worthwhile. The next morning we debated briefly about revisiting ‘Iao Valley when it might be in sun or driving up Haleakala Volcano to the island’s highest summit Pu‘u Ula‘ula (Red Hill) at 10,023 ft (3,055 m). In the end we did neither, deciding that the morning’s rapidly forming clouds might thwart our views on both counts. We had been to the Haleakala Visitors Center during our visit in 2004, so we decided to forgo a return trip and possible hike in the caldera, for something that neither of us had done before, driving the “Road to Hana” which is described as “one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world”. Built over part of a 138-mile (222 km) trail from the 1500s that encircled the whole island, the Road to Hana was first constructed by prison trustees from volcanic cinders. It was first paved in 1962 but became so pot-holed that for a while “I survived the Road to Hana” T-shirts became popular. Recently widened and repaved it is now possible to drive beyond Hana, at the easternmost point of Maui, to Kipahulu where the Haleakala National Park has descended from the caldera to the sea. After a sustaining breakfast at Marco’s Restaurant near the start of the Hana Highway in Kahului, we drove the 52 miles (84 km) along East Maui’s north-shore to Hana with just a couple of stops to see some of the many waterfalls along the way. The road is certainly twisty with many yield-signs for single-lane sections but at first we started to wonder if our previous day’s excursion had spoiled us for coastal roads. Most of the road is considerably above sea level and far enough inland that glimpses of the sea are surprisingly rare but the tropical vegetation (sadly much non-native), waterfalls, and steep valleys are beautiful. About halfway to Hana, the road clings to the cliffs above Honomanu and Nua‘ailua Bays in a suitably spectacular manner. Beyond Hana the distance from road to sea is much reduced providing expansive views over the ‘Alenuihaha Channel although the Big Island was hidden in clouds and haze. The Hana Highway becomes the Pi‘ilani Highway in Hana and this road crosses the southern slopes of Haleakala to join with other highways that eventually circle around the western flank of the volcano and back to Kahului. A four-wheel drive vehicle is needed for a very rough, narrow, unpaved seven-mile section of road just beyond Kipahulu, so most people, like us, turn around at the National Park. We did not stay long in Hana because there were outrigger canoe races being held in the bay completely filling the Beach Park with spectators. We did not give much thought as to how the long, six-person canoes all got to Hana until on our return drive we caught a glimpse of one across Nua‘ailua Bay. It was on the road ahead of us atop a large pick-up truck. Talk about a challenging vehicle to drive along that convoluted road. For traffic coming the other way, it must have been pretty startling to see the bow of an inverted canoe approaching from around a tight bend. Hana Bay would undoubtedly be an interesting place to anchor but is notoriously unpleasant when the trade-winds are blowing so we were satisfied with our brief view from shore. Just north of Hana we stopped at Wai‘anapanapa State Park which boasts a low sea-arch (very reminiscent to us of Los Tuneles on Isla Isabela, in The Galapagos), several inland caves, a lava tunnel running into the sea, and a black sand beach. Flocks of noddies on some of the craggy black-rock islets appeared to be enjoying their isolation from mongoose predators. Perhaps because of the lack of parking space in Hana, Wai‘anapanapa Park was particularly crowded, especially with mini-buses. At the restroom, this created a line of about 20 women in which I had to stand patiently. Under such circumstances, it is amazing the small mercies for which we can be grateful. One local lady traveling in a camper van approached the status of sainthood by handing out strips of toilet paper from her own roll having found that none remained in the cubicles. During my 15 minute wait in line, I listened quietly as the two ladies behind me discussed their respective gardens in Florida and Massachusetts. When one of them asked me where I was visiting from, I gave our standard explanation that I had been living on our boat in Hawai‘i for a year and had sailed here from Florida. This aroused more interest than usual in the captive audience and I was peppered by questions about our travels from up and down the line. I almost felt rude when I reached the head of the line and had to cut-short an answer. What was more remarkable, was hearing from my stall a continued discussion of our travels, as the topic of conversation was explained to women newly joining the line. Given a choice, I would rather have the toilet paper hand-out any day but it felt good to have had provided a story that appeared to enliven the wait for a handful of women. Somewhat surreally, I received many good wishes for the rest of our travels as I exited the restrooms and passed the line of strangers. After returning to Tregoning in the late afternoon, we were greeted by our neighbor, Craig, as he returned to his boat “Luckness”. We invited him aboard and he explained that he had sailed from Seattle to Mexico before crossing to Hawai‘i and was planning to return to Seattle within a few weeks. We tried not to overload him with information about Honolua, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i but as a single-hander he seemed very glad of the opportunity to talk to other cruisers. It was a humbling reminder that although what we do may seem remarkable to a handful of the more typical “Road to Hana” tourists, within the cruising community, the people who sail oceanic passages on their own are truly extraordinary.
Although it was with some reluctance that we raised the anchor to leave Honolua Bay at midday on Friday (May 18th), we could not have asked for better snorkeling experiences there. After motoring away from the rocks and out into the Pailolo Channel, we unfurled the jib, cut the engine, engaged the self-steering Susie, and let the 15 – 25 knots of wind push us at 5 to 6 knots with the slightly-faster-moving waves rolling beneath us. Keeping life simple, we first headed WSW on a starboard tack to a point almost equidistant between Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i and then, after gybing, we returned SE towards Lahaina in the Auau Channel. After more than two hours at the helm in these ideal, downwind conditions, Randall went below for just a few minutes only to return to find the boat spinning in a slow circle, the jib flapping, and almost no wind. White-caps still topped the waves just behind us but within a very short distance we had moved into the lee of West Maui. As are the quirks of trade-winds and steep-sided islands, there was no gradual reduction in the wind-speed or change in direction as we moved into Maui’s wind-shadow but an abrupt calm. After dropping the jib and starting to motor the final few miles to our destination, the wind picked up a little but it was now an island-generated, onshore breeze approaching us from the SW rather than the ocean-crossing NE trade-winds. We speculated that yacht racing in this area could be pretty complicated.
Having discovered that there were no slips available in the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor (which was a pity as they owed us a night’s accommodation since we had been overcharged during our November visit), we had made a reservation to use one of the Lahaina Yacht Club’s moorings. Convinced by our cruising-guide’s description that the Club’s moorings were marked by large, orange floats and thinking that I had confirmed this when I called, this was what we searched for in the mooring field just off-shore of the Yacht Club. We finally selected a mooring that looked suitable and although we were a bit surprised not to see “LYC” and a number on the float, by 3:30 pm we were settled. I had tried to call the Club to confirm we were on the right mooring but I had to leave a message. However, when I got online and studied the GPS coordinates provided for the seven Club moorings, I became convinced that we were not quite in the right place and started scanning our surroundings with the binoculars.
Much to Randall’s dismay (he was not feeling perfectly well and wanted to call it a day) I spotted some white floats further inshore which clearly had “LYC” on them. Although it seemed unlikely that someone was going to come to displace us that late in the day, the possibility of having to move after dark was not appealing so Randall was reluctantly convinced to fire up the engine one more time and we moved to a white, LYC mooring. So much for the mooring details in the cruising-guide and for getting myself fixated on an incorrect search pattern.
The cruising-guide was correct, however, about the rolly conditions on the moorings. Luckily, it was never bad enough during our three night stay to compel us to set-up our flopper-stopper (roll stabilizer), although there were some short spells when we wished that we had. The wind, current, and swell varied in strength and direction throughout the night so that the boat’s direction, stability, and noise (creaking when rolling) kept changing. We did not spend much of the day aboard so although our sleep was not always uninterrupted, it was tolerable for a brief visit.
On Saturday, we rented a car (after a slightly frustrating misunderstanding about where we were to be picked-up) and replaced our engine starter-battery which we had discovered was dead when we left Ala Wai. Lahaina may not have been the cheapest place to get it but having a car simplified the process. Since leaving Ala Wai we had been able to start the engine using the house-battery-bank but this is not a satisfactory long-term arrangement because if there is insufficient wind- or solar-generated power to charge the house-bank, it might not be possible to start the engine to charge the batteries using the alternator. Although wind- and solar-generated power have been abundant in Hawai‘i, this is not likely to be the case at all times in Alaska.
In the afternoon, we drove north from Lahaina and stopped to admire the busy Honolua Bay from two viewpoints on the coastal road. We then continued along the scenic road, making a full circumnavigation of West Maui. We stopped at the northernmost point to see the (almost inevitable) blowhole at Nakalele, we admired the Yosemite-Half-Dome-like Pu‘u Koa‘e headland, and I thoroughly enjoyed driving along the narrow, very twisty, guard-rail-less, cliff-side road that our map described as “Not for faint-hearted”. That part of the drive may not have been quite as pleasant for the passenger but Randall bore it cheerfully and we agreed that the views exceeded our expectations.
I am afraid that I cannot quite say the same about our visit to the ‘Iao Valley State Park. This park is at the head of a narrow valley that runs from the volcanic caldera at the center of the West Maui Mountains (highest peak 5,788 ft or 1,764 m) down through Wailuku (the seat of Maui County) and Kahului, the largest town on the island. The drive into the valley is impressive and a small, attractive terraced-garden, fed by one of several streams, is being developed based on ancient-Hawaiian crops. The star-feature of the park, however, is the ‘Iao Needle, a tower of hard rock that rises to 2,250 ft (686 m). Foolishly, my expectations of this feature were based on a sunlit and poorly remembered photograph of a soaring and isolate spire. So the reality of a shaded pinnacle, backed by low-level clouds that was surrounded by much higher peaks was, quite frankly, rather disappointing. Fortunately, Randall had not been influenced by my mistaken expectations and was much more impressed, making the detour from our circumnavigation and the parking fee completely worthwhile.
The next morning we debated briefly about revisiting ‘Iao Valley when it might be in sun or driving up Haleakala Volcano to the island’s highest summit Pu‘u Ula‘ula (Red Hill) at 10,023 ft (3,055 m). In the end we did neither, deciding that the morning’s rapidly forming clouds might thwart our views on both counts. We had been to the Haleakala Visitors Center during our visit in 2004, so we decided to forgo a return trip and possible hike in the caldera, for something that neither of us had done before, driving the “Road to Hana” which is described as “one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world”.
Built over part of a 138-mile (222 km) trail from the 1500s that encircled the whole island, the Road to Hana was first constructed by prison trustees from volcanic cinders. It was first paved in 1962 but became so pot-holed that for a while “I survived the Road to Hana” T-shirts became popular. Recently widened and repaved it is now possible to drive beyond Hana, at the easternmost point of Maui, to Kipahulu where the Haleakala National Park has descended from the caldera to the sea.
After a sustaining breakfast at Marco’s Restaurant near the start of the Hana Highway in Kahului, we drove the 52 miles (84 km) along East Maui’s north-shore to Hana with just a couple of stops to see some of the many waterfalls along the way. The road is certainly twisty with many yield-signs for single-lane sections but at first we started to wonder if our previous day’s excursion had spoiled us for coastal roads. Most of the road is considerably above sea level and far enough inland that glimpses of the sea are surprisingly rare but the tropical vegetation (sadly much non-native), waterfalls, and steep valleys are beautiful.
About halfway to Hana, the road clings to the cliffs above Honomanu and Nua‘ailua Bays in a suitably spectacular manner. Beyond Hana the distance from road to sea is much reduced providing expansive views over the ‘Alenuihaha Channel although the Big Island was hidden in clouds and haze. The Hana Highway becomes the Pi‘ilani Highway in Hana and this road crosses the southern slopes of Haleakala to join with other highways that eventually circle around the western flank of the volcano and back to Kahului. A four-wheel drive vehicle is needed for a very rough, narrow, unpaved seven-mile section of road just beyond Kipahulu, so most people, like us, turn around at the National Park.
We did not stay long in Hana because there were outrigger canoe races being held in the bay completely filling the Beach Park with spectators. We did not give much thought as to how the long, six-person canoes all got to Hana until on our return drive we caught a glimpse of one across Nua‘ailua Bay. It was on the road ahead of us atop a large pick-up truck. Talk about a challenging vehicle to drive along that convoluted road. For traffic coming the other way, it must have been pretty startling to see the bow of an inverted canoe approaching from around a tight bend.
Hana Bay would undoubtedly be an interesting place to anchor but is notoriously unpleasant when the trade-winds are blowing so we were satisfied with our brief view from shore. Just north of Hana we stopped at Wai‘anapanapa State Park which boasts a low sea-arch (very reminiscent to us of Los Tuneles on Isla Isabela, in The Galapagos), several inland caves, a lava tunnel running into the sea, and a black sand beach. Flocks of noddies on some of the craggy black-rock islets appeared to be enjoying their isolation from mongoose predators.
Perhaps because of the lack of parking space in Hana, Wai‘anapanapa Park was particularly crowded, especially with mini-buses. At the restroom, this created a line of about 20 women in which I had to stand patiently. Under such circumstances, it is amazing the small mercies for which we can be grateful. One local lady traveling in a camper van approached the status of sainthood by handing out strips of toilet paper from her own roll having found that none remained in the cubicles.
During my 15 minute wait in line, I listened quietly as the two ladies behind me discussed their respective gardens in Florida and Massachusetts. When one of them asked me where I was visiting from, I gave our standard explanation that I had been living on our boat in Hawai‘i for a year and had sailed here from Florida. This aroused more interest than usual in the captive audience and I was peppered by questions about our travels from up and down the line. I almost felt rude when I reached the head of the line and had to cut-short an answer. What was more remarkable, was hearing from my stall a continued discussion of our travels, as the topic of conversation was explained to women newly joining the line. Given a choice, I would rather have the toilet paper hand-out any day but it felt good to have had provided a story that appeared to enliven the wait for a handful of women. Somewhat surreally, I received many good wishes for the rest of our travels as I exited the restrooms and passed the line of strangers.
After returning to Tregoning in the late afternoon, we were greeted by our neighbor, Craig, as he returned to his boat “Luckness”. We invited him aboard and he explained that he had sailed from Seattle to Mexico before crossing to Hawai‘i and was planning to return to Seattle within a few weeks. We tried not to overload him with information about Honolua, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i but as a single-hander he seemed very glad of the opportunity to talk to other cruisers. It was a humbling reminder that although what we do may seem remarkable to a handful of the more typical “Road to Hana” tourists, within the cruising community, the people who sail oceanic passages on their own are truly extraordinary.
May 18, 2012
After a couple of nights at Lono Harbor, we raised the anchor at 7 am on Tuesday morning (May 15th) and in calm, sunny conditions motored east towards Kaunakakai Harbor. Situated about half way along the southern coast of Moloka’i, this is the island’s main harbor so there is a regular stream of cargo-laden barges entering the channel which is carved out of the impressively shallow reef. We entered the harbor and circled a few times to identify where anchoring was possible just outside the turning basin. We had debated about spending a night or two here to explore a more populated part of Moloka‘i but we were anxious to indulge in more snorkeling before turning northward so decided that we might postpone a visit until we were on our way to Kaua‘i.
Motoring past the eastern half of Moloka‘i with its deeply carved, almost 5,000 ft-tall peaks (1,524 m) was certainly more visually stimulating than had been the flatter (max height 1,346 ft, 410 m) western half of the island. Once we cleared Kamalo Point and entered the narrow Pailolo Channel, the wind picked up considerably but being directly on the nose we decided to motor the 15 nm to the northern tip of West Maui rather than tacking under sail, knowing that the wind direction could change unfavorably as we neared the Maui coast. By the time we arrived in Honolua Bay, the last charter catamarans were just leaving for their downwind sail back to Lahaina and we were easily able to anchor in middle of the bay’s central, sandy channel. With a strong wind blowing over the cliffs to our north, our stern swung over the deep coral at the southern edge of the bay which looked a bit alarming at first. But once Randall swam down to check that the anchor was fully buried in the sand and to be sure that our chain was nowhere near any coral we felt very comfortable with our position. The coral was at least 30 ft (9 m) below us and when the wind subsequently turned more easterly, coming down the bay from the beach, we swung out, most satisfactorily, over the sandy channel.
The snorkeling during our previous stay in Honolua Bay had been so spectacular that there seemed to be a risk that we might be a little disappointed the second time around. Instead, it all seemed even better as we knew the rhythms of the Bay and the best places to linger. Someone was usually in or on the water soon after dawn, snorkeling or paddle-boarding, and the population on the beach slowly increased as the sun rose higher over the cliffs. The charter catamarans mostly arrived between 9 and 10 am but were gone by 2 pm so we developed a pattern of snorkeling soon after breakfast and then again in mid-afternoon. There seemed to be many more people snorkeling from the stony beach than we remembered from November but the bay can absorb a large number of people without starting to seem crowded. Once the cliff-top, sunset-viewers had left in the evenings, we were usually the only people in the bay and it was wonderfully peaceful.
Once we were convinced that Tregoning was securely anchored, we snorkeled on the reef behind her. It was wonderful to recognize the coral and rock formations from our previous visit and to be reunited with familiar species of fish and, no doubt, the same individual turtles. In addition to the large-scale grandeur of the site, our foray gave us our first sighting in Hawai‘i of a nudibranch (small, flattened sea slug), or at least that is what we thought it was. Subsequent online investigation revealed that the small purple creature trimmed with yellow that was crawling over the coral was probably in fact a flatworm (Platyhelminthes) which was still a first Hawaiian sighting for us (http://seaslugsofhawaii.com/general/look-alikes-flatworms.html).
The next morning, despite being rather cloudy, after passing over a group of turtles resting on the deep coral, we were treated to seeing the black diamond-shape of a coastal manta ray below us. It was not a huge one but with about a 5 ft wingspan (1.5 m) it was impressive enough as it circled just above the coral with its huge, toothless mouth slowly opening and closing. It seemed unlikely that it was feeding on plankton in such a confined area. Instead, we could see tiny (less than 4 inches or 10 cm) yellow and purple cleaner wrasse attending it, even going inside the gaping mouth. It is not unusual for cleaner wrasse to have specific cleaning stations on the reef and according to our fish book, manta rays may gather at “specific cleaning stations, the locations of which persist over years”. Sure enough, when we returned to the same site the next afternoon, we saw another manta ray gracefully flapping its wings as it circled in just the same way.
We knew that it was a different individual because the second ray was missing one of its “arm-like cephalic flaps which funnel water in the mouth as they feed”. Until we read about these appendages, we had marveled at what the first ray was doing because when not in use these flaps are furled in tightly rolled tubes on either side of the mouth. When the ray’s mouth opens, the flaps unfurl and are held-out, below and in front of the mouth to create a bit of a funnel. Lazily circling to be cleaned, the manta rays were constantly opening and closing their mouths with the corresponding flap unfurling and furling, turning on their sides so we could see their white underside, and generally trying to ignore us. It was truly captivating.
After dragging ourselves away from the first manta ray but before ending our Wednesday morning snorkel, we spotted an octopus scooting across some of the shallower coral. It quickly tucked itself under a small cluster of coral as we came closer but its head poked out far enough to keep its watchful eyes on us. All of the time it was changing colors so fast and was so perfectly matched with the surrounding coral that it was difficult to keep it in sight as we snorkeled towards it. For a while I had to just float above and stare at the exposed part of the octopus waiting for it to move a little or to change color so that I could convince myself that I was not just fixated on a solid piece of coral. With a head the size of a large grapefruit, it was one of the larger octopi we have seen, presumably because it has benefited from the absence of fishing in the Honolua Marine Life Conservation District.
I snorkeled alone on Wednesday afternoon but on Thursday morning we both swam around the rocky headland astern of Tregoning and explored the neighboring Mokule‘ia Bay which is also part of the Conservation District. As we had noted on our previous visit, these two bays are remarkably different with Mokule‘ia Bay having much less coral but more flat beds of rock and shallow sand leading up to a sandy beach. The fish population is still impressive with perhaps more larger-sized fish racing around in the surge and surf. We swam ashore on the fairly well-populated sandy beach and, perhaps looking a little odd in our full-body wet-skins, we climbed the stairs to the road so that we could look back down on the bay.
By the time we had completed our final snorkel (my sixth, all of which were at least an hour long) in Honolua Bay on Friday morning, I estimated that we had seen at least 90 fish species during this brief visit. Most were familiar species but we could now confirm the sighting of: a large, yellow-margin moray eel (because it was free-swimming and the bright yellow margin on its tail was obvious); some Polynesian halfbeaks; endemic white-saddle goatfish; stripebelly puffer; endemic Hawaiian hogfish; and ringtail wrasse. I had never identified the latter species before but once I started to notice them I saw them all over the reef suggesting that on our previous visit I must have erroneously assumed that they were some other species.
A fitting send-off for our final foray in Honolua Bay was that in the early morning calm before all the charter boats arrived, we found ourselves in an area of reef with eight tranquil turtles. Most were lying on the coral below us but one large individual, after ascending for air, stayed at the surface closely examining us with an unblinking and seemingly curious eye. Eventually, while we hung motionless and breathed very quietly through our snorkels, the turtle quite deliberately brushed up against my extended arm before slowly descending back to its resting place on the coral. What a magical, magical place.
May 14, 2012
Somewhat predictably, our original plan to leave Ala Wai on Thursday (May 10th) was postponed due to the weather but this was not a bad thing. We had run around for the first part of the week finishing boat projects and making last-minute purchases so we were not sorry to have a few more-relaxing days before we cast-off. We made our last visit to the penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in time to see them being fed and we lay-back on Waikiki Beach to watch our final display of the Friday-night fireworks. With the winds and swell calming down for a few days, we took Kathy out for a beautiful sail around Waikiki Bay on Saturday morning during which time we watched a large number of outrigger canoes race from Ala Wai Harbor around Diamond Head and back. Conditions were absolutely perfect and we were very happy to finally show Kathy that despite what Dan might have reported about our rough trip with him to Lana‘i, it was possible for sailing to be comfortable and fun. It was with many thanks for all their hospitality and good company that we sadly said farewell to Kathy and wondered if they would still be in Honolulu whenever we returned.
Later that afternoon, Deb and Terry from “Wings” picked us up and we drove to Hanauma Bay planning to enjoy the second-Saturday-of-the-month opportunity for a night-snorkel. Randall has never dived or snorkeled at night so this seemed like a perfect introduction to the nocturnal underwater world. It was not to be, however, as the gate was firmly locked with no sign of activity inside the park. It was mysterious and disappointing as both Deb and I had tour books that mentioned these evening hours. Subsequently calling the Park’s recorded message and checking the website did not reveal any information about night snorkeling so either this activity has been cancelled, or is by group arrangement only. We consoled ourselves with beer and pizza in Hawai‘i Kai before returning to Ala Wai and wishing Deb and Terry well with the final leg of their circumnavigation when they return to Seattle (specifically Anacortes) in July/August.
The next morning at the start of another gloriously sunny day, we left slip 839 at Ala Wai Harbor with the assistance of Peter and Margarete on “Seatime” who used their dinghy to save us from having to swim and untie our stern lines from the mooring ball. We expect to see them again in Kaua‘i as they will meet their son Olli there prior to making their passage to Seattle. We also waved goodbye to Mary Anne who in her own quirky way had been a good neighbor and we then motored out through the Ala Wai Channel, past the masses of early-morning surfers and on our way to round Diamond Head.
As it had been the day before with Kathy, the view of Honolulu and Waikiki was spectacular but this time we had the additional liberating sensation of starting a new trip and looking ahead to the next island destination. Having waited for the trade winds to subside, we expected to be motoring most of the way across the Kaiwi Channel but once we were beyond the influence of Koko Head we put up both sails and sailed on a fabulous close-reach to the southeast. As the day wore on and we started to approach the Moloka‘i side of the channel, the wind obligingly and gradually backed from northeast to north and with Susie (our wind-controlled self-steering device) obediently following it, our course swung us beautifully east-northeast towards our destination. The 10-15 knot wind dropped dramatically once we were in the lee of Moloka‘i but with only a few miles left to Lono Harbor, we lowered the sails and motored along the deserted southwest coast of the island.
As is often the case when we return to an anchorage for the second time, our entrance to the tiny, abandoned harbor was especially enjoyable because we knew what to expect. The harbor was relatively busy with locals enjoying the late-afternoon on Sunday, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, barbecuing, etc., (we saw perhaps 30 people in total) but there was plenty of room for us to anchor securely. One sport-fishing boat arrived after us and tied-up to the crumbling dock but by twilight we, and their crew, were the only people left.
There were still plenty of bees (as we had been forewarned on our previous visit in November) but fortunately very few of them seemed interested in exploring inside the cabin. We eventually discovered that they seemed to be particularly attracted to freshwater so we had to be wary of leaving glasses of water in the cockpit. After snorkeling on Monday, I managed to step on a bee that was probably attracted to splashes of water on the deck from where we had rinsed ourselves and our gear. Of course, the sting was on my tender instep but luckily the stinger was not fully embedded so it fell out immediately and the whole episode was annoying but not too painful. My mother had kept a bee-hive when I was young so stepping on bees on the daisy-covered lawn was not a particularly unusual or distressing occurrence.
The attraction of the bees to freshwater became more understandable when we ventured ashore on Monday morning. These were our first steps on Moloka‘i and we looked forward to walking up the dirt road to the top of the cliff overlooking the harbor. It was also the first time we had pulled our new dinghy up on a deserted, sandy beach (unlike where we had briefly used it in Nawiliwili and Ala Wai Harbors) so there was a certain feeling of liberation and excitement in resuming our exploration of remote lands. On this lee-side of the island, the understory vegetation was mostly pretty brown and the shrubby mesquite trees (locally known as Kiawe) reminded us of the aridity of west Texas. There were dry streambeds and former puddles lined with dust rather than mud, all of which might have explained why the bees found our freshwater so appealing.
We enthusiastically followed the road around the west end of the cliffs and up towards the sweeping, gloriously sunny view we were going to have over the harbor towards the mountains of east Moloka‘i, Muai, and Lana‘i. However, we were thwarted. While the main track wound on up towards the central, longitudinal ridge of the western part of the island, the road back to the cliff-top was gated and locked with stern notices about “No trespassing”. A curse on our sanctimonious, law-abiding tendencies!
As we plodded on up the main track for another mile or so, only to turn-around having discovered no satisfactory vistas, we discussed the apparent absence of any witnesses, the possible consequences of trespassing, and the frustration that our cruising guide not only recommended the walk up to the viewpoint but had a black-and-white photograph of said view. In the end, we accepted that the guide’s authors were bolder than us or, more likely, the new-looking gate and fence had been installed subsequent to (and possibly because of the publicity created by) their last visit. Still, the uphill hike was probably good for us and the disappointment encouraged us to make-up for it by going snorkeling after lunch.
The waves were too large to snorkel comfortably outside the harbor but we had a pleasant time exploring inside the western breakwater. The water in the middle of the harbor was a bit milky (the bottom was good, anchor-holding mud) but along the rocky edge the visibility was reasonable. We saw the “usual suspects” of reef-fish and there were even some attractive corals so although not wildly exciting, it was a good warm-up for the main-event which would be snorkeling in Maui.
Later in the afternoon after the sport-fishing boat left, we were joined in the anchorage by a sailboat on its way between Honolulu and Manele Bay on southern Lana‘i. The crew cheerfully greeted us as they circled to find a good anchoring spot but then left us in peace for the evening. At least, in as much peace as you can be with multitudes of bees buzzing excitedly around the rinsed snorkel gear hung-up to dry.
May 06, 2012
During our final couple of weeks at Ala Wai Harbor, we mostly continued the flurry of boat chores and provisioning (thankfully borrowing Kathy’s car for the biggest loads). However, we also had a short wish-list of touristy things that we wanted to do in Honolulu that seemed foolish to postpone. So on Saturday morning (April 28th), we rode our bikes west through downtown, Chinatown, and beyond to spend the day at the Bishop Museum. Unintentionally we had picked the HECO (Hawaiian Electric Company) “Grow Hawaiian Festival” (to celebrate Earth Day) when locals were able to enter for free. At tents in the Museum grounds sustainable items were being sold (mostly plants and food) and activities associated with traditional Hawaiian culture were being demonstrated (e.g., pounding poi, carving instruments, and beating kapa – making a papery fabric from bark). This made the place far more crowded than usual but everyone seemed to be having fun so it was a cheerful atmosphere.
We particularly enjoyed the two planetarium shows (“The sky tonight” and “Explorers of Polynesia”), the demonstration of molten lava, and the Hawaiian Hall Gallery. The “Explorers” show gave us a very illuminating perspective of how the Polynesians navigated by the stars, inspiring me to resume my efforts to master celestial navigation using our sextant. The three floors of the impressive Hawaiian Hall provided a beautiful summary, and additional surprising details, of the Hawaiian history that we had been assimilating over the last year, starting on the first floor with the pre-contact gods and legends in the “realm of the sea”. The second floor dealt with the “realm of man” in the daily lives of ancient Hawaiians including the fascinating details of how almost every activity (especially farming and fishing) was assigned to specific days of the lunar cycle. The third floor finished with the “heavenly realm” summarizing the reigns of Hawaiian rulers from King Kamehameha I to the overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani in 1893, and ending with an encouraging review of the Hawaiian renaissance of the 20th century.
The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife and as a place to preserve the many royal heirlooms that she left to him. Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the great-granddaughter and last surviving heir of King Kamehameha I and as a result her estate is the largest private landowner in Hawai‘i, accounting for about 9% of the state’s land area. Revenues from this land support the Kamehameha Schools for native Hawaiian children which were established in 1887, according to the will of the Princess who died of breast cancer at age 52 in 1884.
We had visited the Hawaiian Hall for a reception on our work-related trip to Hawai‘i in 2004 and we could both vaguely remember the Museum’s grandeur and lay-out. But we agreed that with a much better grasp of the general geography, history, and character of Hawai‘i, we found this visit to be much more meaningful and impressive.
The scholarly tone of the day was not to be continued, however. The evening found us walking into Waikiki to participate in the 10th Annual SpamJam with about 20,000 other people. Previously held elsewhere in Honolulu, this Waikiki event has become a good excuse to close part of the main street (Kalakaua Avenue), set-up two stages for various local bands (we arrived to see an Elvis impersonator surrounded by hula-girls), invite local vendors to sell stuff (including assorted Spam-related clothing items and toys), and encourage restaurants to offer their most tempting Spam-based dishes. Oh, yes, if you brought cans of Spam with you, they were donated to the local foodbank. Randall was fully prepared to enter the spirit of SpamJam and in doing so sampled Fried Spam wontons and Spam spring-rolls (his assessment of the former – OK, of the latter – rather tired). After shunning the popular strawberry-and-Spam-ice-cream popsicles, I managed to find a tasty, three-item dessert-sampler that had slyly broken the Spam-must-be-included rule…or so it seemed.
We stayed to hear Henry Kapono perform a set with a couple of harmonica players. One was Pat-the-Hat whom we recognized from Henry’s regular band, and the other was a wacked-out Californian member of the “Blues Hall of Fame” whose name we both instantly forgot. Henry’s music was popular (we recognized several “fans” from when we had seen him play before) and the street was comfortably crowded so it was a fun event. When we returned to the boat we felt compelled to conduct some research on the local popularity of Spam.
Spam (the name derived from ‘spiced ham’) was developed by Hormel Foods in 1937 and was spread throughout the Pacific Islands during the WW II period of US military occupation. It became far more popular in the islands than it is on the mainland, where it is typically regarded as a low-income food. On Guam, for example, every person on average consumes 16 cans a year and almost 7 million cans are eaten per year in Hawai‘i. The so-called “Hawaiian steak” appears on many menus not only in local restaurants but also in national chains such as McDonalds. Kathy and Dan told us that during the 2011 tsunami panic, signs in supermarkets limited customers to two cases of cans of Spam per person (24 cans per case)! Although canned meats are not a regular item on Tregoning’s menus, we do stock some cans of tuna, chicken chunks, and turkey Spam when we are provisioning for a long passage. Lacking a large freezer and if we are not successful in catching fish, some of these cans start to look a bit more appetizing when at sea for several weeks…
Another Hawai‘i-associated item that we investigated in Honolulu was the ukulele (pronounced in Hawaiian as ooo-coo-lay-lay with no ‘you’-sound at the beginning). A friend in Florida, Dwight, had suggested that we visit the Honolulu ukulele museum but unable to find one we decided to join a tour of the small Kamaka ukulele factory. Our first surprise was to be joined by eight other people at 10:30 am on the daily tour and the second unexpected aspect was that the tour lasted for 90 minutes, more than twice as long as advertised. The reason was because we were honored to be led by Fred Kamaka Sr. whose father, Samuel, had started the factory 96 years ago, and Fred had plenty to tell us. Much of it was about ukuleles, their history and manufacture but he was also very fond of telling family stories interspersed with the evolution of the company’s philosophy. Fred had worked in some capacity in the factory since 1930 when he was just five years old. He and his brother had taken over from their father and now their sons had introduced computerized wood-cutting techniques and were ready to expand to a larger facility.
The bodies of Kamaka ukuleles are made from the Hawaiian endemic, koa wood while the necks are made of mahogany and the fret-boards are made of rosewood or ebony. These are not the cheap-and-cheerful instruments that are sold to tourists in Walmart. Even the standard models of Kamaka ukuleles, which come in four sizes, are beautiful examples of craftsmanship and the lowest-priced instrument cost more than $800. Ukuleles with custom-designed features, such as inlaid patterns of wood along the edge of the sound-box, cost several thousand dollars.
Ukuleles were developed in the 1880s based on two small guitar-like instruments that were brought to Hawai‘i by Portuguese immigrants. Samuel Kamaka developed the first instruments that differed from the miniature-guitar shape and these were dubbed ‘pineapple ukuleles’. There has been a resurgence of ukulele playing in recent years (thanks in part to the revival of Hawaiian heritage and to their use by famous musicians such as George Harrison). Although there are now many more ukulele manufacturers around the world than during Fred’s youth, the Kamaka Company has maintained a profitable business by producing high-quality instruments that, sadly, were beyond the budget that Randall had intended to invest in one so we left the tour informed but empty-handed.
Having written-off the day (Friday, May 4th) with regard to practical, boat-related activities we continued into downtown Honolulu and spent much of the afternoon on a self-guided tour of the ‘Iolani Palace. Having cycled past and around this impressive building on many occasions, we decided that it would be ridiculous to leave Honolulu without visiting the only official royal residence (or palace) in the USA. Modest in size and adornment by comparison to the palaces in London or Versailles, ‘Iolani Palace has been restored as an elegant and historically significant reminder of the independent nation that Hawai‘i used to be.
Built to replace an older, more rustic, royal residence, the ‘Iolani palace was opened during the reign of King David Kalakaua (a.k.a. the “Merrie Monarch”) in 1882 to demonstrate Hawai‘i’s status as a modern kingdom. In addition to its stately layout and regal architecture, the palace boasted some of the first indoor plumbing, first electrical lights, and first (internal use) of the telephone not only in the Pacific but in the world. After circumnavigating the world in 1881 and being the first king to visit the USA, King Kalakaua lived in the palace with his wife, Queen Kapi‘olani and his sister. King Kalakaua was determined to show that his was a thriving, modern nation capable of participating in world affairs even from its remote location.
Somewhat surprisingly, King Kalakaua had claimed the monarchy in 1874 by election. The last monarch of the Kamehameha dynasty, King Kamehameha V had died in 1872 without naming an heir. The following January, another member of the ali‘i class (chiefs), William Lunalilo was elected over David Kalakaua. However, when Lunalilo died just over a year later, Kalakaua was elected monarch instead of Queen Emma, the widow of King Kamehameha IV who had been particularly popular with the native Hawaiians.
King Kalakaua’s own popularity increased when he began his reign with a tour of the Hawaiian Islands. Sadly, he died in 1891 in California where his doctor had sent him to try to improve his health but the first that the Queen and Hawaiians knew of this was when his returning ship was seen rounding Diamond Head with black garlands and flags flying at half-mast. The festive decorations intended for his joyous return were rapidly ripped down and the welcoming party was converted to a stately and mournful funeral with his wife wailing from the palace balcony as his coffin was slowly marched home.
Having no children, King Kalakaua had named his sister to succeed him and she became Queen Lili‘uokalani. She was distrustful of some of the foreign businessmen who had become very influential in Honolulu and she soon made it clear that she intended to revise the Hawaiian Constitution to reverse changes that has been forced upon her brother in 1887 in the so-called Bayonet Constitution. For example, the new constitution was intended to restore veto power to the monarchy and voting rights to economically disenfranchised native Hawaiians and Asians.
By 1883, foreign businessmen and residents claimed that her failure to support the 1887 Constitution amounted to a virtual abdication. Her actions were seen to be threatening to the influence, business, and strategic value of the islands to the USA and so Queen Lili‘uokalani was overthrown while a Provisional Government backed by the USA assumed power. Although she vehemently opposed this action, she refused to be responsible for blood-shed during the overthrow and so agreed in writing to yield her authority to the US Government (significantly not the Provisional Government) while still expressing her anger and disgust at the situation. Two years later after an uprising had been suppressed and despite her denials of involvement, she was convicted of aiding the rebels and was sentenced to a $5,000 fine and five years of hard-labor. Instead, she was imprisoned with one maid in a room of the palace for nine months, she was forced to abdicate, and she then spent a further year under house-arrest.
After the Queen’s overthrow, the palace was converted to offices and meeting rooms for the Provisional Government and most of the royal furniture was sold. Luckily, everything was documented before being dispersed around the world and gradually historians have been able to track down, return, and restore some of the original furnishings. So although the rooms now appear rather empty compared to photos of the King’s cluttered bedroom and office, at least most of the furnishings are authentic items from the decade or so of royal use.
There were various interesting exhibits in the basement of the ‘Iolani Palace including the crown jewels and documentation about Father Damien and the Hansen’s disease (leper) colony at Kalaupapa on Moloka‘i. It was in the Palace basement, that we read about the Congressional Resolution that President Clinton signed in 1993 which is informally known as the “Apology Resolution”. This acknowledges the involvement of United States citizens and agents in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the US their claims to their “inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands”. Since this was the first time we had heard of this “apology” during our year’s stay in Hawai‘i, it appears that this belated and largely ceremonial act does not get much publicity in the Islands.
We finished our Hawaiian education for the day with a brief visit to the Hawai‘i State Art Museum which, given the “museum” name, surprised us by being very much focused on modern art. We then met Kathy for dinner at a restaurant near her office and spent the night at her house. The next morning Kathy drove us along Tantalus Drive, a scenic road around the rim of the next valley to the east from Kathy’s house, which has spectacular vistas of Honolulu. It was impressive to look down into the Punchbowl National Cemetery, to see Diamond Head look relatively small and isolated, and to view the University of Hawai‘i campus spread out in the neighboring Manoa Valley. The latter view from the Pu‘u ‘Ualaka‘a State Park was especially breathtaking and we were very pleased that we had taken the time to visit this last attraction on our “to do” list. Since Kathy had not made this loop before, it was particularly pleasing that we had enjoyed it together.
Planning to actually leave Honolulu later in the week, perhaps on Thursday, we spent the rest of Saturday returning to the boat the items that Kathy and Dan had kindly stored for us (spare sails, drogue, extra blankets, etc.), completing our provisioning, and, reluctantly, returning Dan’s surfboard. We enjoyed a tasty Mexican themed dinner (for Cinco de Mayo) and spent our last night at Kathy’s before saying our “provisional” good-byes and cycling back to Ala Wai. Our plan was to leave Honolulu at the end of the week, spend a few days snorkeling in Moloka‘i and Maui, and then sail to Kauai to await departure to Alaska. The timing of all this was, of course, going to be dependent upon the weather.
April 27, 2012
If April 2011 was a month at sea on our passage between The Galapagos and Hawai‘i, April 2012 has been a month of boat projects in preparation for going to sea again. Some are routine activities like the inevitable cleaning and testing of equipment but others were one-off projects that almost always took longer than expected and for which we were glad to be staying in a city with access to a variety of hardware and boating-supply stores. While Randall had to deal with the brunt of these types of projects (thank goodness for the great talents for home-improvement that he can muster, especially electrical wiring and plumbing), my role was mostly as “go-fer”, often cycling across town on successive days to get exactly the right part.
Perhaps the most arduous of these projects was the installation of a diesel-fueled heater, which started in earnest at the beginning of the month. While we waited for the fuel pump to arrive from the mainland, the major tasks were to mount the heater and thermally-protective ceramic tiles on the wooden bulkhead (wall) and thread all the fuel and electrical lines forward from the engine room. But by April 16th when Kathy called us to say that our package had arrived, the heater was ready. Of course, we were a bit surprised after we had cycled downtown to Kathy’s office and opened the box to find that it actually contained four jars of mango chutney! This was a kind gift from Bill and Mary in Hilo, sent after Randall had expressed to them how much he had enjoyed the first jar that they gave us.
Luckily the pump arrived the next day and once fitted, the final task was to drill, and then seal the edges of, a large hole for the chimney. This was not an insignificant job because unfortunately Randall’s saw ran into a large block of hard resin in the gap between the deck and cabin roof but perseverance paid-off and on Monday, April 23rd we finally, and successfully, tested the heater. Sitting in the harbor in Honolulu, it was rather hard to imagine needing the heat but with the arrival of a lovely package of goodies from Jan and Michael that included several guidebooks for Alaska, we soon found ourselves looking forward to visiting the higher latitudes and cruising near glaciers.
Another “mission-critical” project was to replace the cable to the radar. After several trips up the mast and much grunting and groaning as we pulled out the old cable and hauled in the new one, Randall made the final connections and… Well, we had solved one problem but apparently created another and so still could not see any return-signals on the screen (despite being surrounded by hundreds of boats, not to mention a large island that should have shown-up). Disappointed and frustrated, we called in an expert fearing that another part of the system would need to be replaced, undoubtedly having to come from the mainland at great expense. However, after much testing Brian found that there was a problem with part of the new cable that we had installed, probably caused by our over-zealous hauling on it to get it in place. Very luckily, it was the shorter, less-difficult-to-install piece (i.e., not up the mast) and the equivalent part of the old cable was not damaged. So after re-replacing that part of the replacement cable all was well and the radar worked perfectly.
The final must-get-done task was to get the outboard running smoothly because we would likely be anchoring quite a bit more in Alaska than we had in Hawai‘i. Despite getting a new gas tank (there was a suspicious dark grunge in the bottom of the old one), clean fuel, and cleaning fuel additives, the problem was not solved and so we again resorted to the experts. After considerable internal cleaning and replacement of filters, impellors, and spark-plugs, the motor now runs smoothly and reliably so it was a pity that we had not realized the extent of the problem and fixed it before Mike’s visit.
Randall has had an assortment of other wiring, plumbing, and fixing projects, while I have been cleaning (making the most of the abundant supplies of water and sunshine) and keeping the sewing machine busy patching canvas and making a cover for when our new dinghy is on deck. Steadily the long list of tasks has subsided and this is particularly satisfying as some of the projects have been on the list for quite a while.
It has not been all work, however. Kathy joined us onboard for lunch and chocolate-treats (or in her case salty-treats) on Easter Day. I surprised Randall with a “mystery date” one Saturday afternoon to see Henry Kapono and his band playing Hawaiian folk music (with some Jimmy Buffett-style dance songs thrown-in) in the Tropics Restaurant, just beyond the lagoon at the Hawaiian Hilton Village. Although his music was new to me, we danced and had a great time while Randall reminisced about first hearing the spectacular harmonies of “Cecilio and Kapono” in 1976.
A couple of times a week we went surfing. Our spirits were willing to go everyday but projects and aches from our shoulders that were unaccustomed to paddling Dan’s big board out to the reef kept our ambitions modest. Actually, we developed a pretty efficient system. Randall carried Dan’s surfboard down our long dock to the beach as it was too wide to fit under my arm. We then traded so that I paddled the surfboard out and tried catching some waves on the inner reef while Randall used the boogie board and fins. We swapped equipment twice more so that I would paddle back into shore when we were exhausted and Randall carried the board back to the boat.
We generally tried to surf in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon when it was least crowded but inevitably the better the waves the more crowded it became especially on the outer reef. I managed to improve enough to get some fairly reliable and long rides standing-up and could see how addictive it could become as you got more used to the varying conditions and became a little bit better each time. After a 40 year hiatus, Randall loved being back on a board (although, oddly, paddling was not as easy as it had been in his youth) and he was very happy that he caught several waves and stood-up while I was nearby and watching.
Once we had started surfing ourselves, it made sitting in our cockpit at mealtimes watching the local surfers even more enjoyable. We had a much greater appreciation of the wave conditions and the skills on display. One weekend, we were treated to a series of competitions (boys, girls, men, and women) at the Ala Moana Bowls, the surf break beyond the breakwater immediately off Tregoning’s bow. For this world-class view and some spectacular sunsets, the 800-dock at Ala Wai is hard to beat.
We also cycled over to Ala Moana Park one afternoon and snorkeled off Magic Island. We picked a day with relatively little swell so that it was easy to get in and out of the gaps in the breakwater but there was still a fairly strong along-shore current to content with. There were a good number of familiar species of fish especially in the turbulent water near the breakwater and we saw our first snowflake moray which is a very attractive and distinctly patterned eel. We also picked up a weight from a diving-belt and several lead fishing weights, the latter Randall hopes to put to good use for fishing for halibut in Alaska. On the subject of snorkeling treasure, the diamond ring I found at Hanauma Bay did not match any of their records of items reported missing. So I sold it, sending half the money to the Friends of Hanauma Bay and using some of the rest to replace the snorkel I had lost there.
Although we have not seen any particularly unusual tropical fish in Ala Wai Harbor, I have noted at least 24 species (listed below) in the shallow waters between our dock and the breakwater. This diversity seems impressive considering that the water is not pristine (thanks to all the harbor’s boats and all the junk that is carried down the Ala Wai Canal) and that, despite signs to the contrary, several local people spear fish from the dock every day. The other extraordinary things that we have seen during our extensive walks along the dock are sea cucumbers. Not just your regular 8 inch long by 3 inch diameter boring species (20 by 7 cm) but also some long, thin ones that look more like fancy, crimson curtain-ties than green prickly logs. Misunderstanding the name that our neighbor Charles initially told me (assuming that it was some complicated Hawaiian word beginning with K), I finally discovered online that he had actually been saying “conspicuous sea cucumber”, a species that is not uncommon in sandy bays in Hawaii and which can extend to longer than 3ft (1 m). Having failed to notice these nocturnal creatures before, I counted 11 of them the next day on my early morning pilgrimage to the marina bathrooms. So much for being a trained observer of nature…
We also sailed once more on a Friday evening with Donna and friends on Urban Renewal, this time under very calm, relaxing conditions. A couple of weeks later, we waved good-bye to Donna and Richard as they departed for Tahiti on his Valient 40 “Surf ride”. On a glorious day, they had a good send-off from their Waikiki Yacht Club friends and we have followed their progress south on Donna’s blog. All of this made us start to feel quite restless about getting-going ourselves and this sensation was further enhanced by the departure from Ala Wai of Hannes and Sabine on Cayenne. They only went around the island to anchor in Kane‘ohe Bay and we hope to see them again in Kaua‘i before they set-off for Vancouver but, unlike us, they had managed to escape the beguiling grasp of Honolulu and were ready to sail away. On with projects and provisioning!
Fish species seen at Ala Wai Harbor Barracuda, spotted boxfish, raccoon butterflyfish, threadfin butterflyfish, bluespotted cornetfish, Hawaiian dascyllus, bandtail goatfish, manybar goatfish, square-spot goatfish, oriental flying gurnard, lizardfish sp., Moorish idol, striped mullet, giant porcupinefish, Hawaiian sergeant, blacktail snapper, yellowfin surgeonfish, convict tang, tilapia (non-native), Hawaiian whitespotted toby, bluefin trevally, wedgetail triggerfish (humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua‘a), Pacific trumpetfish, and bluespine unicornfish.
Fish species seen at Ala Wai Harbor
Barracuda, spotted boxfish, raccoon butterflyfish, threadfin butterflyfish, bluespotted cornetfish, Hawaiian dascyllus, bandtail goatfish, manybar goatfish, square-spot goatfish, oriental flying gurnard, lizardfish sp., Moorish idol, striped mullet, giant porcupinefish, Hawaiian sergeant, blacktail snapper, yellowfin surgeonfish, convict tang, tilapia (non-native), Hawaiian whitespotted toby, bluefin trevally, wedgetail triggerfish (humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua‘a), Pacific trumpetfish, and bluespine unicornfish.
April 07, 2012
It was hard to believe that we had been in Hawai‘i for almost a year and I had yet to stand-up on a surf board. So I decided that I should look into getting a surfing lesson so that I could use a suitable board, learn about the local conditions, and get some useful tips on how to get up for the first time. The names of a couple of instructors were recommended to me but it was going to take a bit of research to find out how to contact them.
In the meantime, it was the spring-break holiday for Hawai‘i Pacific University so on Tuesday (March 27th) Kathy and I decided to go up the Manoa Valley. Rainy weather had put us off our original plan to hike on the Maunawili Trail, on the windward side of the Ko‘olau Range but we were exceptionally lucky that the showers stopped and the sun even emerged during our strolls around the Lyon Arboretum and up to Manoa Falls. The Arboretum is run by the University of Hawai‘i, whose attractive main campus is further down the valley, and once we had finally found our way onto the trails (the exit from the visitor’s center was surprisingly challenging for us world-travelers) we enjoyed the views and the steady hike to the modest ‘Aihualama Falls at the upper end of the gardens.
For a while we were a bit mystified by the loud, pterodactyl-like squawks (or at least what we imagine pterodactyls sounded like) coming from the tree-tops. Eventually we saw some of the large white-parrot-like birds that were responsible and after cursing my decision not to bring the binoculars we concluded that maybe they were cockatoos. If I had read the map a bit more carefully, I would have immediately known that in the arboretum there are indeed wild populations of salmon-crested, umbrella, and Goffin cockatoos from Indonesia. We had to wonder who thought that introducing such raucous birds would be a good idea.
The trail to Manoa Falls was much busier than the arboretum paths and being wet from recent rain was extremely muddy. This made me glad to be wearing my hiking boots although in comparison to most other people on the trail, my feet looked rather over-dressed. The almost-free-falling 100 ft (30 m) drop of Manoa Falls was rather more impressive than the smaller cascading falls in the arboretum. We were astonished by how many people blatantly ignored the cable-fence and various “keep-out” signs by the pool at the foot of the falls. A large warning sign explained that in 2002 a major landslide dropped 30 tons (27 metric tons) of material into the pool from 600 ft above (183 m). Luckily, no one was injured but perhaps explaining that good fortune has made some subsequent visitors complacent about ignoring the warning.
As we returned from our invigorating hikes, I was telling Kathy about my plan to take a surfing lesson when she described the bad experience she had endured when she took one of the six lessons that Dan had given to her. She went with a sister and her two kids on a day when the waves and associated currents were really too much for beginners. The kids had fun but Kathy and her sister struggled in the current, did not get to catch any waves, and feeling abandoned by the instructors were definitely not pleased. Consequently, Kathy seemed happy to offer the two remaining lessons to me.
So on Thursday morning I set-off to “In-between Beach” (the popular surfing launch-point right next to the Ala Wai 800-dock) with some trepidation. After all, Kathy’s experience was not a good recommendation for these instructors but it did look as though I was going to enjoy some much better conditions. As it turned out, I was really lucky. The waves were a perfect size, there was little current, and the class was small enough that as the only first-timer I was assigned my own instructor, Izumi. We started on our boards on the beach and Izumi gave me clear and simple instructions. I looked good crouching on the board on the beach but previous unsuccessful attempts to stand had made me skeptical about how easy this would be in the water.
I should not have worried. Surf instructors have figured out that happy students are the ones for whom it is made easy to stand at the first opportunity. The benign conditions (1 – 2 ft waves, < 1 m) meant that my long-board did not need too many pushes from Izumi as we paddled out (the most exhausting part of the whole activity) and I could easily cope with plowing through broken waves. Once she had me positioned correctly for a suitable wave, Izumi gave my board a good shove at the appropriate moment and all I had to do was concentrate on hoisting myself up onto one knee and then standing with knees bent and back straight. Yes, all of that (well, almost a straight back) and quite a long ride on my very first wave. We had not discussed dismounting yet, so that part was rather inelegant but I was jubilant.
The waves are breaking because of the shallow reef and where I ended up was only about waist deep so it was important not to dive- or fall-off too deeply. There is little living coral on the reef in this popular area but sea urchins can be a problem for the incautious so I had been kitted-out with hard-soled reef shoes. I also wore a tight shirt and shorts to protect me from chafing myself on the board, so I hardly looked like the “little surfer girl” that the Beach Boys sang about but I had fulfilled my ambition to stand on a surf-board and that was what mattered.
We stayed out for at least an hour and I rode many waves without too many wipe-outs. By the end, I had graduated to catching my own waves without any push from Izumi, I could finish the ride by sitting- rather than falling-down, and I could sit-up on the board to watch and turn for suitable waves. I was not standing very tall and steering was still very rudimentary but overall the years of watching my friends surf in Cornwall and the balance I had developed skiing seemed to have been useful and both Izumi and I were very pleased. I was exhausted from all the paddling and, predictably, my shoulders ached for the next few days but I had done it. The memories of trying to stand on a short-board in rough, freezing, Cornish conditions, with no one to help me get started were finally unimportant and I could dwell on my wonderful Waikiki experience for a long time.
To aid my recollections and to show Randall what I had accomplished (he had lost sight of me once we paddled away from the beach), I succumbed to the soft sales-pitch from Kenny and bought a CD with a dozen or so photos of me during my lesson. Surfer Kenny helped the instructors when necessary but he made his money by photographing students and selling CDs of their pictures for $30. Not cheap but how else could you get in-water pictures? Knowing that waves always look smaller in photographs (as we had discovered from Tregoning’s heaving decks), Kenny had worked out that taking pictures at an angle made the waves look more impressive. He had a van in the parking-lot by the beach and after quickly downloading and organizing his photos he could show them on a monitor in the van so that each student could decide whether to purchase a CD. Not a bad job.
I was incredibly grateful to Kathy for giving me the lesson and the incentive to fulfill a life-long ambition. I was grateful to Izumi and the “Girls Who Surf” team for making it easy for me to succeed, and I was very thankful for the perfect, sunny conditions at Waikiki. We have borrowed Dan’s long-board and when the conditions look good and we are not too immersed in boat projects, both Randall and I will paddle out and while one uses the boogie-board, the other will surf (in my case on the inside break, while Randall will go outside where the waves are a bit larger)…at least that is the plan.
We have borrowed Dan’s board again because for April and May he is working in Fairbanks, Alaska. His two-month assignment as acting Refuge Manager for the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is part of his Leadership Training Program and sounds very interesting. Kathy will visit him towards the end of his assignment and we may or may not see him in Honolulu again before we set-sail for Alaska in June (or so). With this in mind, despite having a million things to organize before he left on Sunday, Dan and Kathy took us hiking with them on Saturday.
To stay dry, they selected the ‘Aiea Loop Trail on the leeward side of the Ko‘olau Range. The drive there afforded an excellent view across Pearl Harbor from its northeast corner. The trail was fairly busy but we did not complete the loop, part of which Dan considered rather disappointing. Instead we walked up one side of the loop and then beyond it part of the way along the ‘Aiea Ridge Trail, returning the same way. The narrow and much less-traveled ridge trail is appropriately named with steep slopes falling away on either side. It can be followed up to the Ko‘olau Ridge where there would be views over to Kane‘ohe Bay but this would have made a 15 mile round-trip (24 km) which was a bit more than we needed. As it was, we had lovely views into the Kalauao Valley to the north and the Halawa Valley to the south, the latter being dominated by the H3 interstate highway which disappeared into the Ko‘olau Ridge through the Tetsuo Harano Tunnel.
Dan was sure that because he did not have his camera (already shipped to Alaska) we would see plenty of rare birds including the endangered O‘ahu ‘elepaio. This bird eluded us although several Japanese white-eyes got us prematurely excited. However, as we were finishing our lunch Dan saw something swift-like whistle past. Eventually we all saw the Mariana swiftlet, a species that was introduced to Oahu from Guam in 1962. Although non-native to Hawai‘i this population may become globally important because the species is endangered in Guam as a result of predation by the invasive, brown tree-snake. According to our bird books, the O‘ahu population of Mariana swiftlets are only known in the Halawa Valley, are most commonly seen on the ‘Aiea ridge, and are thought to nest in an irrigation tunnel or small caves.
In addition to this rare bird, Dan also identified two endemic species of plants that are only found in the Ko‘olau mountains, a species of Hawaiian bidens and wooly ‘ohi‘a (Metrosideros rugosa). He also showed us some spindly sandalwood trees. Sandalwood used to be common in the forests of the Hawaiian Islands but after foreigners discovered it there in about 1810, the aromatic wood became very popular for the manufacture of furniture and incense in Asia. It was exported in huge quantities until the over-exploited forests were devoid of the precious commodity. It is now an endangered species.
Some authors (e.g., Alan Ziegler in “Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution”) suggest that the exploitation of sandalwood “was a major early factor in the breakup of the traditional Hawaiian way of life”. Hawaiian chiefs found that “they could personally gain vast stores of foreign good” in exchange for sandalwood so they “relentlessly forced their subjects to collect vast amounts of this material.” As the accessible populations were annihilated, commoners were compelled to travel far upland and consequently had to “largely neglect their usual agricultural and other subsistence activities”. Old social systems “began to disintegrate, starvation became commonplace, and eventually the faith of the formerly loyal subjects in their rulers was all but lost.” By the time the sandalwood bonanza had ended in 1830, whaling had become an important industry in the Pacific and many Hawaiians turned their energies to providing the stores that whaling ships needed. Many men left their villages to work in the whaling towns of Lahaina (Maui) and Honolulu, thus eroding the traditional social structure even further.
Thus, it was an enjoyable and educational hike, followed by a relaxing evening at Dan and Kathy’s house. Bidding Dan farewell until we know not when, we were returned to Tregoning the next morning. Life has continued much as usual on the 800 dock with the occasional threatened fist-fight, wafts of marijuana, and loud, profane, drunken arguments. When one of the latter included our neighbor and an ex-boyfriend we were not thrilled, especially when we heard another neighbor ask whether the ex- was armed before encouraging him to leave. But we received an apology later and generally everyone has continued to be friendly to us. Other cruisers have joined us further out on the 800 dock which may have helped calm things down a little.
Not long after I returned from my waterfall hikes with Kathy, we were hailed by Deb and Terry who had just arrived from Panama on their boat “Wings”. They had met our former companions, Dan and Kathy on Sea Star, in the Bahamas (they are now on their way back to Jamaica) and so had been looking out for us. We were amazed that Deb and Terry had enough energy to find us after their 30 day passage but they are on the final leg of their global circumnavigation, returning to Seattle in July, so perhaps they are relatively used to long crossings. It reminded us that we were at sea for all of last April.
Deb and Terry came over to Tregoning on Thursday evening where we were joined by Hannes and Sabine from “Cayenne”. We had a fun time exchanging cruising tales and discovering that the others had been in the same marina in Spain for several weeks in 2009/10 and knew several cruising couples in common. It also turned out that Hannes and Sabine had been good friends with a man who was murdered and his wife attacked under bizarre circumstances (he was invited on a supposed pig hunt but his remains were found in a fire) in Papua New Guinea. We had heard the story on the cruiser grape-vine but had previously been a bit uncertain about its authenticity. We also heard how Hannes, a retired Austrian policeman, had been badly shot by a bank robber in a stolen car. The extraordinary story made us especially impressed that someone with an injured hand and only one lung was successfully cruising around the world.
Bob and Becky, friends of Deb and Terry also on their way back to the Pacific Northwest after a circumnavigation, arrived a few days later on “Stardust”. Finally, Peter and Margarita arrived on “Sea Time”. They had been our neighbors in Honokohau and after waiting to get their furling jib repaired had stopped in Maui to pick-up his son and girlfriend, Ollie and Connie, who were on a two-week vacation from Germany. They were staying at the Waikiki Yacht Club and overall the Ala Wai Harbor was getting pretty full. At Randall’s suggestion, we all got together to enjoy an evening at La Mariana Restaurant on Thursday (April 5th) and we had good fun. Both the food and music were better than on our previous two visits with Dan and Kathy (first when Carl was carted out on a stretcher and then with Mike). Along with the Austrians and Germans, Randall and I had arrived at the restaurant by bus but for the return journey, Becky was a good sport and crammed all 12 of us in the SUV that they had borrowed and drove us back to the harbor. A little worried about being stopped by the police (what is the maximum capacity of a Chev Tahoe?), it was not until we stopped that Becky learned from Peter that she had been carrying two retired-policemen (him and Hannes) who were both impressed with her steady driving.
We had been looking forward to being joined on Tuesday (April 10th) by good friends from Florida, Sue and Jerry. Sadly, one of their cats became ill and they decided that they could not leave her as a responsibility for their neighbors and still enjoy their trip. We hope that they will still be able to join us if not in Hawai‘i maybe in Alaska and that Anna recovers soon. If we do not go elsewhere in the meantime, we can stay in Ala Wai until June 7th when our 120-day annual allowance for a temporary mooring is used up and we will have to go to another harbor. We have plenty of boat projects to keep us busy until we leave for Alaska. The heater installation alone is taking considerably longer than anticipate because of difficulties securing the ceramic tiles that provide thermal insulation for the wooden bulkhead where the heater will be mounted. We also had thought that the heater’s fuel could be gravity-fed from our diesel tank in the engine room but to do so the bottom of the heater would have to extend below the floor level. So now we have to wait for a suitable fuel pump to arrive from the mainland.
Still, we are slowly making progress towards being Alaska-ready and even if we are not joined by Sue and Jerry, we hope to revisit Maui and Moloka‘i briefly before turning north towards our departure point on Kaua‘i. We also keep our eyes on the surf and both Randall and his “little surfer girl” hope to be hitting the Waikiki waves a few times between projects.