Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chapter VII...Sailing Hawaii

In early 2011, Kat and I decided to visit Hawaii. Of course, we wanted to see some of the island from the water. We contacted Capt. Mike Michelweit from Honolulu Sailing Charters and chartered a Beneteau 393 Called No Hurry out of Waikiki Harbor.

We were limited in our sailing options as there was a storm north west of the island with large swells on the North Shore.

We chose to head east around Oahu and visit Kaneohe Bay. Since Kat and I are members of the Atwood Yacht Club, we were offered reciprocal privileges at the Kaneohe Yacht Club. As we headed out from Waikiki Harbor, we were greeted by humpback and pilot whales.

At one point, a humpback came up immediately beside us on our port side. Unfortunately, Kat was setting on our starboard side talking to one of our daughters on her cell. This whale was longer than we were at 40 feet and had a tail span at least 15 feet wide. This was one of the most amazing encounters of my life. The only thing that would have been more exciting would have been for Kat to have been on the port side. This whale was no more than 10 feet from the boat and blew whale snot all over us. Absolutely amazing

The sailing was slow as the wind was light and we were suffering from a dirty bottom. Fortunately, the scenery and whale watching was fantastic. When we rounded Diamond Head, we started to catch the wind that channels between the islands. This wind funnel creates a washing machine effect and made for a choppy ride.

The entrance into Kaneohe is a long shallow channel that must be traversed at high tide. We bounced a few times on the way in but made it without incident. We passed Gilligan's island but there was no sign of the castaways.

On our starboard side headed in was the distinctive landmark called the chinaman's hat.

The marine base was to port but the restricted area was large and made any sightseeing almost impossible.

The yacht club was very nice and we were welcomed like long lost friends. People would ask where we were from and how long it took us to sail from Ohio. We tied off stern to directly in front of the pool and restaurant. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

Along with the boat, we requested and received a dinghy and motor. As has been my history with dinghy motors, this one was not ideal.

Unfortunately, unlike The Moorings, we were not given a number for repairs. I was able, after cleaning the spark plug and carb, to get the engine to run somewhat.

About a 1/2 mile out in the bay, there was a sand bar exposed at low tide that seemed to be a draw for volley ball and water sports. I decided this would be a good place to try out the new pneumatic spear gun I had purchased for this trip. I had never had a opportunity to spearfish and was very excited to give it a try. Kat and I packed the dinghy and headed out across the bay. We got to the sandbar and realized we had neglected to include a dinghy anchor. The water was only about ten feet so I simply tied the dinghy to my waist and let it follow me around. I pumped up my gun to the specified number of pumps and headed off to find dinner. I spotted a school of something edible looking and dove down. I came to within about six feet and lined up my shot. When I pulled the trigger, my spear dribbled out about a foot and dropped toward the bottom. Man, talk about a let down. I am pretty sure the eruption of bubbles from the school of fish was laughter. I think I even saw one turn and give me a limp fin. I pumped the gun up farther but didn't have any more opportunities. I think I might invest in a gun with bands for my next attempt.
On the way back, the dinghy motor started cutting out. I was pretty sure we were looking at an all night row but after probably 50 restarts, we made it back to the yacht club without incident.

After a couple very nice days, we headed back south and west to Waikiki harbor.

We did the tourist thing for a couple more days and headed home.

This was a tremendous experience I would recommend highly.

Capt. Mike

No comments:

Post a Comment