Along with the two week quarantine and stay-home-stay-safe requirements, the governor of Hawaii also banned all interisland travel – this to restrict virus spread to the outer islands. It is not surprising that 95% of all Hawaii’s covid cases were on Oahu, the most densely populated of the islands. The outer island mayors were fully focused on protecting their residents. So, we made the most of our time on Oahu.
On May 6 (2020), we waved farewell to dockmaster Chris Harmes, Denis and Holly on Tango, Brandon Fredrick (Good friend of the White Pass Andy Loomis Family) and the rest of our new friends at WYC. Leaving Diamond Head and Koko Head to port, we enjoyed a frisky beat up the Molokai Channel past Mokapu point and northwest into Kaneohe Bay’s main ship channel. Kaneohe bay on the NE facing shore of Oahu is a large reef-studded bay wonderfully protected from the ocean swell by a fringing reef. The anchoring rules are a bit complicated throughout the islands; Kaneohe is no exception. One of the problems is that there are several different groups with their own, sometimes conflicting rules. The department of Land and Natural Resources seems to take the restriction lead but the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as the health department are not far off the pace. New Covid rules further complicate matters.
We spent a few lovely nights anchored at Hakapu at the north end of Kaneohe bay before moving down to “Gilligan’s Island,” another recommended anchorage. Reportedly, one or more of the opening scenes of the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” were filmed here. Over our morning coffee, Harbor Mistress Tanya came skipping over in her oversized Boston Whaler demanding to know, “Why are you STILL here?” It took a few minutes to establish a case of mistaken identity but she remained adamant that we were not allowed to anchor anywhere in “her” bay without permission. She henceforth gave us permission to anchor only in front of her office at Heeiakea small boat harbor or at a dock at the Kaneohe Yacht Club. After a night at the club, we moved to the Heeiakea anchorage and found Tanya to be kind and very helpful. She just wanted respect.
For the following 2 weeks and with Tanya’s permission, we bounced around Kaneohe Bay, making new friends and discovering old ones now living on Oahu. We had the honor and pleasure of meeting Bill “Noodle” Leary and his wife Lori at the KYC. Noodle and I had raced against each other at many of the same regattas starting back in 1976! We discovered that Greg Gillette is also living in Kaneohe. We met Greg back in 1990 or so when he bought “Spellbound” (one of the Farr-55s I supplied sails to in New Zealand in 1986) from Jim Hill and brought her to Seattle. Finally, we learned that South African “Munch” Macdonald is still working at North Sails Honolulu. I raced against Munch at the 1982 SORC. Big fun rehashing stories of our irresponsible years! Another main attraction in Kaneohe in May and June are the large hammerhead sharks which pup in the warm waters of the bay. Cindy got a few shots of them from behind as we chased them thru the shallows of the Sampan Channel but they are shy and quick so swimming with them was not possible.
On May 26, we finally continued our circumnavigation of Oahu with stops at Waimea Bay, Haleiwa Harbor, Makua Beach, Pokai Bay, Electric Beach, Keehi Lagoon, and Kewalo basin before returning to Waikiki Yacht Club for an approaching spate of breezy weather. Each of our stops has it’s own appeal:
· Waimea Bay is a bit rolly, but it boasts a lovely swimming beach and huge rock for jumping and diving into the deep surrounding swells. Popular with the locals.
· Haleiwa is a popular tourist town in covid-free times. The gas station is close to the dock for dinghy fuel, a big Ace Hardware store allows progress on projects, but the garlic scampi at Giovanni’s Shrimp truck was the real highlight!
· Makua beach was another rolly anchorage, but this is where we were treated to a couple of long swims with the resident dolphin pod. Incredible animals who seemed just as curious about us as we were about them.
· Pokai Bay offers the protection of an old breakwater (if there are not too many yachts already plugging it up). A nice beach, a good grocery, and an autoparts store make this another popular anchorage.
· Electric beach isn’t really a beach at all. Instead, it is Oahu’s main power generation facility with a huge (15’ diameter) seabed cooling water outlet – about 100 meters offshore. The outpouring of warm water increases the sea temperature enough to attract a large selection of tropical fishes. It’s like swimming in an aquarium. Nothing picturesque but well worth a stop.
· Keehi Lagoon is a comfortable anchorage and access to boatyard and hardware stores. In the anchorage, the view to one side is of the industrial port. The other side is of a Louisiana Bayou with stilt houses and the ocean backdrop.
· Kewalo Basin is another small boat harbor but we just had to take advantage of the sale on diesel fuel – $2.89/gallon! It was $1.79 the previous week!!
After our tour-d’Oahu, we were happy to enjoy the comforts of the now partially open Waikiki Yacht Club. Reports that the Governor might soon allow travel to the outer islands so we focused for a few days on projects to ready the boat for a tour of the State.