Wow – I can’t believe we’ve been in Kaneohe for three weeks now! Time seems to pass so quickly. The bay here is the first place we’ve been in Hawaii that actually has a fringing reef and a lagoon like most of the islands in French Polynesia. After an overnight crossing from Molokai we entered the bay through the northern pass. We skirted around a triangular island aptly named “Chinaman’s Hat” and then followed a narrow passage southwards between the coral heads for about six miles. This is the long way round but the southern pass known as Sampan Alley looked a bit too shallow for us on the charts. We reached the southern end of the bay and anchored off the Kaneohe Yacht Club.
As we passed Coconut Island we saw one of our buddy boats from French Polynesia leaving. We waved and hooted but got no response. We had spoken to the owners Nancy and Warwick a few days before and knew they were not planning on returning here for several more months so it seemed a bit suspicious! We quickly called them to let them know that Flashgirl was on the move but they assured us that friends of theirs were taking her for a survey. Later that afternoon David came over and introduced himself and we had a good laugh about the “theft” of Flashgirl. We have since become firm friends with David and his wife Nancy and they have been very hospitable to us.
Since being in Kaneohe I am beginning to understand the difference between the weather on the windward and leeward sides of the islands. The bay here is rimmed by sheer cliffs which are usually shrouded in cloud and the weather is often overcast, sometimes showery and always windy. Last Sunday the dreary weather got too much for me so we took the bus across the island to Honolulu. As soon as we crossed the pali (cliff) there was an immediate change in the weather – blue skies and sunshine lifted my spirits and the temperature rose about ten degrees! I know which side of the island I prefer! We had lunch with a couple of friends, Britta and Tom, then sat on the beach for an hour soaking up the sun. I came home feeling mentally recovered!
Although we haven’t been having many great adventures (broken toes can be quite restricting!) our life in Kaneohe Bay has been very sociable. David and Nancy came on board Distant Drummer one evening for supper. Another of our French Polynesian gang, Kahia, is anchored here with us so Catherine and Paul joined us and then another dinghy pulled up with Sharon and Randy on board. We had not met them before but they dropped by to say “hello”. They have a house on the bay and a yacht which they are planning to sail over to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) at the same time as we are. So it was a great evening with some new friends.
Our land based friends have been very kind in helping us to get about when the trip demands more than a bike ride. Filling up the jerry cans with diesel and petrol is always problematic as it’s too far to drag them on our trolley and we can’t take them on the bus! David drove Neil over to the garage a couple of times to fill up so we are now fully fuelled for our crossing to PNW. Sharon is also getting their boat ready for the passage and was kind enough to take Catherine and I on a provisioning expedition to Costco, a huge wholesale supermarket in Honolulu. We loaded up three huge carts and just about managed to squeeze it all in to her pick-up truck. We ferried it out to the boat in the dinghy and now are stocked up with food for the trip too.
There’s always plenty of activity in the bay to watch when we have a quiet moment. When the wind is not too strong we get woken by the reveille from the Marine Corps Base across the bay . . . or perhaps it’s the call to muster as I’m sure that the Marines get up before 9am! There’s always coming and going of aircraft at the base; C-17 and P-3 Orions (so Neil informs me) drone in low over Coconut Island to land and then take off, again and again. There’s a veritable menagerie of helicopters – black hawks and sea stallions – and venoms to add a bit of spice. Thursday evening racing at the Yacht Club is very popular. The boats line up stern to in front of the Club House and with a predominantly easterly wind the start is normally a run. It’s quite a sight to see the fleet sailing between the yachts with their colourful spinnakers all ballooned out.
The only thing which is not ready to go is the dinghy. While we were in Molokai we found that the rubber flange on the propeller was worn out and the prop was slipping. When we tried to get a new one we found out that, because the outboard was bought in Asia, the parts have to be specially ordered and it will take two weeks for the new prop to come in to Honolulu. The prop (hopefully the right one!) is due to arrive tomorrow but now the outboard has decided to pack-in! Neil took it apart but cannot find out what the problem is so tomorrow we will take it to a mechanic, with the help of Randy and his pick-up. Hopefully it won’t need new parts or that will be another two week wait! Ah well – lucky we are not in a hurry
While at anchor we are reliant on our dinghy for transportation and without it we soon feel a bit cut off, particularly when it comes to getting chores done. Our friends on Kahia offered us a lift to shore when they were going in and our last resort is the inflatable kayak. Loaded up with two bags of laundry in the front of the kayak I looked like a vendor in the Klong Toey floating market! David had suggested that we moor up at the dock in front of his house if we wanted to, so this morning we moved Distant Drummer and are once again tied to the land.
Assuming all goes well with the outboard, we are still on schedule to depart for PNW at the end of the month or the beginning of June. The weather for the passage will get better the longer we wait but we don’t want to hang about too long in the Northern hemisphere cyclone season which normally starts in May/June. It will all become clear tomorrow, or the next day . . . or maybe the day after that! If we’ve got to be stranded, we couldn’t find a better location than tied up to David’s dock in Kaneohe Bay.
Ciao for now