Evening on a Saturday, July 28, we are loaded with multiple Costco trips and ready to go for the night run to Kauai. Sailing out the channel and turning west into the sunset is a calm beginning to our 15 hour trip across to Lihue.
The tugs working the offshore fuel transfer manifold for the refineries provide some excitement with floodlights and floating hoses we must give a half mile clearance. After announcing our intentions to the tug captains, we move out to sea to cross the widest channel in Hawaii. At 72 miles, the Kauai channel dissuades many boaters from making it over to the Garden Isle, but it is well worth the trip, as long as the trades are mild enough. They are blowing 15-20 kts with seas 6-8feet quartering behind us all night. When the rolling got bothersome around 1am, we put out the paravane fish and slept a little better. All the kids took a 2 hour watch so I could sleep(nap) in the pilothouse until dawn rose behind us and the mountains of Kauai came into view.
Arriving at 11 am, paravane fish retrieval in the entrance to Nawiliwili harbor was challenging as it was still rolling in this east facing bay. Once behind the breakwater, poles were up and we maneuvered into the marina for an end tie at only 16$ per day. Hamburgers all around were the first order of business, and the next few days we spent with good friends Joe and Sandie.
Dinghy rides up the river to the rope swing used by Indiana Jones, hiking to Artist Point in Waimea Canyon, dinners on Joe’s deck overlooking the valley, Lihue is alright.
Joe accompanies us up to the north shore on a 6 hour trip to Hanalei Bay. This magical place unfolds a long sand beach facing a tranquil bay 1 mile wide. Protected from the trades it is quiet and flat most of the summer with room for the many boats anchored here all season. Once the north swell arrives in winter, however, it is a big wave shore break.
Hanalei reminds Kathleen and I of our reasons to move to Hawaii 30 years ago. In the early 80’s, we rented the Avery beach house there for holidays with friends and family. On the last trip, in 1984, I could not resist the temptation to change my internship match list for a year at Queens hospital in Honolulu. That year evolved into a lifetime and we felt it all rushing back to us as we anchored in 30 feet of calm water right in front of the same beach house. Our 28th anniversary was enjoyed at Roys restaurant overlooking the bay. Sometimes in life there are orbital revolutions that harmoniously return to an earlier time. As Kathleen and I can attest, this was one of those ecliptic events. Awesome.
Many mornings the dolphins surrounded the boat so we could kayak and snorkel alongside. Dinghy rides up the Hanalei river for miles reminded me of the canoeing days back in Texas. Lumahai beach was a short dinghy excursion, and of course, the usual dirt road runs in the rental car to secret beaches still exist on Kauai. It really has not changed too much in our 30 year observation
We cruised along the Na Pali coast and dropped off the kids for a kayak camping night at Milolii. They cooked hot dogs and marshmallows, drank a “found” beer at their campsite, and called on the VHF for a pickup the next day. A very choppy lunch anchor was set for retrieval of the kayaks and kids, and while we prepared to leave the wind picked up to 20 kts and the waves were choppy 3 footers. At the last 25′ of chain the boat was rocking and pulled the chain tight, shearing the hinge pin on the anchor roller and taking a notch off the gypsy. Yikes. Retrieval completed, we punched into it for a couple of hours back to peaceful Hanalei again.
After a day of birthday celebration for Kathleen, forever 29, we realized that despite Hanalei being timeless, we would have to return to reality at some point. Thus on a Thursday at noon we weighed anchor and motored out of the bay turning east for Honolulu, 120 miles away.
A long dark night passed through everyone’s watches and 24 hours later we idled up to our slip and shut down again. Hamburgers and a quick swim in the club pool and we were alright again.
Now each one of us re-engages with the next phase. Sarah went back to Austin for her junior year studying marine biology. Julia departs for Argentina for a year of WWOOFing, and Connor gets back into his junior year at Punahou with a full plate of biology, robotics and band. Kathleen and I are in our offices again with faraway looks and occasional smiles of a great summer. Thanks to everyone for reading along. Wish you were here.
All the best,