Here’s a quick update of our last few weeks in Hawaii. The good news is that we solved all our dinghy problems (touch wood!) The new propeller fitted okay and our outboard is now in full working order. The prop is a bit smaller than the original so speed is definitely not of the essence, but we take what we can get.
Before leaving Kaneohe Bay in Oahu we caught up with Bill and Richard, our vaguely related cousins who we’d previously seen in Honolulu a couple of months ago. It turns out that another of the Martin clan, their sister Mary and her husband Bruce, live in Kaneohe. We were invited to celebrate Mary’s birthday at a bar/ restaurant at the local golf club, where a well-known slack-key guitarist (Ledward Ka’apana) was playing. The audience were all local, mostly Hawai’ian, and the music was kind of contemporary Hawai’ian. We had a great evening with the Martin family.
With the dinghy repaired it was time to move on. We bade good bye to our land-based friends who had been so generous to us and set sail for Kauai, the Garden Island. It was an overnight passage and we arrived to warm friends and cold beers about midday the next day. Several of our French Polynesian gang had already anchored in the bay and several more were to arrive shortly, all gathering to depart for the Pacific Northwest.
I’m very glad we came to Kauai, it is easily the most beautiful of all the Hawai’ian islands; it’s lush and verdant with narrow, sinuous roads weaving their way around the contours of the south and east coasts of the island. There is quite a bit of tourism here but it is not overdeveloped. They have ramped up the quaintness factor of the island, it reminds me of Devon with kookey old frontier stores reborn as “ye old tea shoppe” or “shell factory” or whatever.
We are still on the windward side of the island so are still suffering short sharp heavy bursts of rain with intermittent drizzle/sunshine depending on how lucky you’re feeling. Sunday was a beautiful day so we took our friends from Libby (Terry, Dena and Chuck) for a day sail up the Na Pali coast. It is a stunning and deserted piece of coast line on the NW corner of the island. The high cliffs of soft volcanic rock have been eroded into pinnacles and deep gullies, each sporting a shoestring of white falling water. It is incredibly picturesque, it would be great to do a helicopter tour, we watched them buzzing in and out of the valleys.
We found a lovely white sand beach where we anchored for lunch. We drove in to the beach in the dinghy but couldn’t land because of the crashing surf so we had to anchor off and swim to shore. The beach is split by an arch topped with dripping jungle and a waterfall dropping down the cliff into the river channel. Standing under the arch with water drops from the foliage bombing down on you like shooting stars was quite surreal. What a fabulous remote place!
Yesterday we braved a bike ride and got drenched. We cycled west from the village along the coast to the next bay which has a white beach and a general store (all the villages have these!) The road is very narrow and bordered by lush vegetation. Apparently Jurassic Park was filmed here, which made us cycle all the faster in the danker, darker parts of the road. We didn’t quite make it to the beach at the end of the road. Defeated by the rain and the prospect of a long ride back, we sheltered from the downpour in a cave and then turned back . . . into a head wind!
There is quite a large group of boats (twenty-six at last count) that are preparing to sail to the Pacific Northwest (PNW). We have set up an informal group and an SSB radio network so that we can keep in contact with the other boats while we are on passage. Each afternoon at 16:00 we broadcast the Aloha Net to our group. Any vessel underway can check-in and report their position, course, speed and weather conditions and that all is well. It is a good to know that someone out there knows where you are, it’s good to hear that your friends are okay, and to be there to help if they aren’t.
This weekend we will be bidding farewell to Hawaii. The people we have met here, locals and haoles, have been warm and hospitable and the pace of life is just fine for a hot climate. We have stayed in some beautiful anchorages; LaPerouse, Menele and Hanalei Bays being topped only by Molokai which we loved. One of the highlights was seeing the whales in the “Maui Triangle”, their daily presence was magical. I’ll never forget the live lava tour that I went on in the Big Island, it was really amazing to see rocks being created.
The islands are much more densely populated than I expected and all the good beaches are lined with million dollar holiday homes. Although I expected see that kind of wealth in Honolulu, I did hope to find some more traditional villages. The only fishing fleet we saw was in Honolulu, otherwise fishing villages and fishing boats were notable by their absence. Sugar cane, pineapples and ranching have made their money here and moved on leaving tourism as the current mainstay. It’s a shame some of that tourist money doesn’t trickle down into paying for maintaince and security in the marinas. Ho hum . . .
All in all we have loved our time in Hawaii but are ready to move on. We plan to leave Hanalei Bay on Sunday bound for Prince Rupert in British Columbia (Canada). We will also be saying “see ya later” to many of our yachtie friends. We all have different destinations once we reach PNW. Many friends are returning home, some are going to Alaska and some, like us, will be cruising the waterways of BC then looking for a safe marina to hole up for the winter.
Brrr . . . reality check coming . . . .