Hawaii 2011

Molokai to Honolulu - Passage to Honolulu

Lono Harbor is an interesting spot, out of the waves but still windy, in a lonely uninhabited area just south of Molokai Ranch. Apparently it was built for barges in the 30’s, when there was an active aggregate mining operation in the area. Now it’s a park, but not much used. One reason may be the bees. As soon as we had the anchor down, the bees started arriving. Before long there were 20 or 30 bees buzzing around inside the boat, ultimately congregating inside the galley’s water faucet. We deployed all our bug screens, and then Craig went at the remaining bees inside the boat with a flyswatter. The surviving bees mostly moved to our shower at the stern step. Although it was shut off, there is evidently a miniscule leak which attracted them. They didn’t go away until after dark, and they were back in the morning at first light, when we pulled up the anchor for the passage to Honolulu.

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The passage to Honolulu was the roughest channel crossing yet. Despite a forecast for 20 knots of wind, with occasional gusts, we experienced on average 25-30 knots, with regular gusts to 35, and an occasional gust to 40. The seas built to 8-10 feet, and we were tossed around a good bit. We wound up with three reefs in the main and only a handkerchief of a jib out. At one point we were joined by a tiny finch.  This little bird, only 2 inches long, perched on a wire connected to one of our solar panels. He closed his eyes, rocked back and forth, and hung on for dear life for about a half an hour. He was gone briefly, and then he turned up on one of the seat cushions in the cockpit. That didn’t last long (nothing to hang onto), and then he flew into the cabin. Craig was asleep down there, so I figured I’d warn him about the bird when he woke up. Unfortunately, I didn’t say anything in time, Craig inadvertently startled the bird, and he flew out the companionway like a rocket, into the sky. That’s the last we saw of the little finch, and I hope he made it to land. We were still about 20 miles out…

[A friend has later identified the little bird, from our pictures, as a warbling silverbill, a member of the finch family.  An article I found online from the Bishop Museum says these birds, originally from England, were introduced on the Big Island, and have now spread to all the Hawaiian islands.  They've been seen flying as much as 30 miles offshore, so apparently are able to get easily from island to island -- not to worry about that little bird who hitched a ride with us on this passage!]

It was really quite thrilling to see Oahu and then, more distinctly, Diamond Head in the distance. We passed the Diamond Head buoy, which is at the finish line for the Transpac Race. Then scooting along Waikiki Beach, with its dozens of skyscraper hotels, surfers and tourist boats. We found the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, and then the Hawaii Yacht Club. Ka’sala was at the dock, and Lyneita helped us with our lines. So here we are, ready to enjoy a couple of weeks with the tourists, before we move on to Kauai and the North Pacific.

As I said at the outset, I’m thinking today about my father (who died about 15 years ago). jrj 95thBut we’re very fortunate to still have Craig’s dad (now age 96, pictured to the right). We talked with him by phone this morning in Lafayette, wished him a Happy Father’s Day. He caught us up with the news of the world, and reminisced about his own days in Honolulu (including on December 7, 1941).