Testing the Waters

Entering Lono Harbor

M/Y Laysan and S/Y Firewater

JP and Julia observing sunset ritual

Kathleen and Connor on the jetty

Kaunakakai, Molokai

Kaneohe Bay Anchorage

Laysan in K bay

The sandbar

Connor and Julia heading to town for his robotics competition

On the way home past Diamond Head

Intrepid cruisers back at the dock


Spring Break arrives and we are bound for an inter island trip in Hawaii. After a couple of months at the dock cleaning and making minor repairs from our delivery journey, it is time to do the cruising thing in our home state. With only one week to spare from the schedules of work, life, school and all that, we manage a Venn diagram of multiple priorities until finally we have the family of four, minus Sarah in Austin, ready to go on an early Saturday morning.

Lines loose at 7am, we press east into the trade winds gusting to 25 knots. A small craft advisory is out for the Molokai Channel and soon we appreciate the reason with combined seas of 10 feet against us again. Aargh, easting is hard work. Paravanes out, power back and we are making 3 knots for 10 hours until we turn into Hale o Lono harbor on the south shore of Molokai. An abandoned barge harbor used in the 60’s to load sand for the development of Waikiki, it has rock jetties on three sides, an old airstrip, and absolutely nobody around on shore for miles. A few cruisers are anchored in the tight basin but we fit and settle into a sunset and a beer, nice. Inevitably, as it goes in this realm, we make good friends in a day with the crew of S/Y Firewater on their 19th cruise between Alaska and Tahiti.

A few days of snorkeling and beach walks later, we move up the coast to Kaunakakai, the only town on the island. They have successfully resisted much tourism and have a time warp friendly town with faded colorful storefronts named for the family shops therein, all within walking distance of the commercial dock and public anchorage. The famous Molokai bread is available hot from the bakery in the late night hours if you know to walk down the dark alley festooned with a few Xmas lights. Then the lady appears at a window as if this is all perfectly natural and asks if you want your entire loaf of bread sliced in half and smeared with cream cheese and blueberries. Well, duh, yes I do, and better give us another one for the morning because the first one might not make it back to the dock, much less all the way to the boat.

Next we cruise back west towards Kaneohe, 30 miles up and across the channel, but with the wind behind us now we see 8 and 9 knots! Into Kaneohe Bay and anchor for the night near the Heia Kea small boat harbor, I am awakened at 2 am by the wind and watch it hit 35 knots as we slide across the anchor watch screen, not good.  Anchor drill, everybody is on deck with lights ablaze and motoring from the flybridge in the squall.  It’s back up with the chain until we can drop our 55kg Delta anchor again and set it really hard this time on 250′ chain in 35′ of water. That feels good, in a masochistic way.  Everyone goes back to bed, except for me, of course.

A few windy days are spent in K bay, enjoying the reefs and the famous huge 6″ deep sandbar, burgers at the dock, kayaking to the state park, and finally sending the kids home on the city bus that stops right there and goes to Honolulu in an hour. It is like our own Tahiti with a bus ticket home. Connor makes it to his state competition for robotics; his team places second, and Kathleen and I even get to watch the finals while Julia does anchor watch alone. I did get a few texts from her noting “winds to 32 and we are swinging”, but the anchor holds and she gains confidence, while I gain a few more gray hairs.

Kathleen and I take the boat home alone watching the island landmarks we have known all these years from shore now slip by our beam in a totally new light. Docking back at the club for sunset, we are happy. Laysan handles it all in stride and after a day of cleanup, looks ready to go again. Alas, it will be another month before summer vacation to venture inter-island once more.

All is well, my friends.

Wish you were here,

John

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3 Responses to Testing the Waters

  1. penny says:

    we are here…miss ya’ll. come see us in june. love, penny

  2. Sybil Saito says:

    No place like Hawaii….

  3. Lyle & Ann says:

    You are now our official source for vicarious life experiences.

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