Thursday, June 18, 2015

Oahu - May 27 to June 18

Pocket beach, windward side of Oahu
How do we describe a place as beautiful as legendary Hawaii? It is interesting culturally with much to see and do on and around the water. Add to that consistently breezy, dreamy, sunshine filled days. As for cruising, the Ali Wai Marina is the only public marina central to Waikiki, with two yacht clubs: the Hawaii YC and Waikiki YC, both very cruiser friendly and hosting events throughout the week like Friday night bands and “best burger ever” BBQs! Fellow cruisers just in from the South Pacific come and go regularly. We stayed for several days first at the HYC and when the slip became unavailable, moved a few hundred yards over to the WYC where we remained until leaving for Kaneohe Bay. We were tied on the end of D dock which provided super close-up views of every sailboat race, rowing shell competition and paddling practice as they cruised past within inches of True North. The YCs are filled with kids skilled at using every kind of water craft. Surprisingly, while the marina is surrounded by high-rise buildings and the city on one side, it is fortunately very quiet within the marina with beautiful sunset views looking outward to the ocean on the other. A strange thing about cruising Hawaii considering the many boats here is that services available to cruisers take some digging to find. Apparently, the only fuel dock on Oahu is at Keehi, a 1.5 hour motor/sail away and procuring maintenance takes many calls, unlike in Mexico where the docks thrive with economical services of every kind.
The landmark Waikiki hotel with The Rainbow
Evening paddling, Hawaii Yacht Club in background
King Kamehameha float in parade
Fireworks at the marina for King Kamehameha Day
Doug and Gregg at HYC
Friday night band at HYC
Burger Friday at HYC
Waikiki Beach
We couldn't wait to get off the boat to walk on arrival which is how we spent most of the first day, after a celebratory cold beverage at the HYC. Gayle flew over to meet Doug and together we four took off like a shotgun to see some of the sights: a walk along the full length of Waikiki Beach and a welcome swim, and a hike up Diamond Head for starters. Next, a leisurely drive around the island to the north shore with stops at Hanauma Bay for snorkeling and the big bonzai pipeline up north, the many ooh-ahh sandy beaches, Haleiwa Joe's for mai-tais, and finally dinner at one of a dozen shrimp truck stands. The rest of the time we got around on foot and by taking “The Bus”, which operates all over the island with schedules and bus stops conveniently found on an iPhone: to Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, and West Marine, of course. Fortunately, our must-do list contained only small maintenance items.
Doug and Gayle on our way up Diamond Head
Honolulu from Diamond Head
Diamond Head Lighthouse (no, not on top!)
Hanauma Bay snorkeling site
Gregg, Gayle, Doug on our car tour
Autographs on The Garlic Shrimp Truck
During our second week in Waikiki we connected with John, a Cincinnati school chum of Gregg's, currently teaching at the University of Hawaii. Next, we met Tom, an old friend of my brother John who graciously included us in his family outing to the Hawaii Polo Club on the north shore where his daughter rides skillfully. On another day Tom drove us over to scout out the Keehi fuel dock where we would need to fill up before leaving, and on yet another day invited us to come along on a highly enjoyable day-long group kayak outing that he leads from Kailua Beach on the east side of the island. We paddled out through the surf to two pretty islands a couple of miles off the coast to swim and to walk the island paths. Mahalo, Tom!
Ceremonies before the first "chukkar" at the polo field
At the island on our kayaking trip
After lots of miles walking all around the south end of Oahu, swimming, snorkeling and visiting with other boaters we left on June 15th for the peaceful Kaneohe Bay on the east side of Oahu. We set full sails for a whole day of breezy trade winds. Kaneohe Bay is strikingly scenic with a backdrop of brilliant green mountains full of vertical rivulets which form dozens of waterfalls during the rainy season. We were assigned a med moor tie on the bulkhead for a few days at the small Kaneohe YC marina just a few steps from the swimming pool. Skipper was happy! The KYC is full of small-town charm. The grounds are pristine, the atmosphere friendly and very active with family and kid events on the water. Tomorrow, we leave for Hanalei Bay on the north side of Kauai where we will do some final provisioning, find a good few hikes before being boat-bound again, and pick up our crew Karsten for the return passage to Anacortes. 
True North stern to the bulkhead at the very active Kaneohe Yacht Club
Waynella and Tom join us on True North for dinner

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