PART II —
The Hawaii Adventure Continues —
MONDAY, July 5th (Sailing day number 2)
It is morning and I have just spent my first night aboard a sailboat at anchor in the ocean. This is yet another milestone for me. As I awake, I am presented with the delightful smell of Linda’s breakfast. I hurry topside to see what the island looks like at dawn. Wow…what a treat. The air is warm and crystal-clear and the morning light reveals a landscape of green that appears untouched by humanity. The warm turquoise water is in constant rhythmic movement against the shore and produces a delightful relaxing sound. I am extremely happy to be here and I feel the trip is easily living up to my expectations. However, I do have one complaint. I had wanted to lose some weight on this trip, but with Linda’s cooking being what it is… In fact, if all the meals are like this I may even gain a little. Sailors have a term for weight gain at sea. It is known as “float and bloat.”
The Quiet Coast
After breakfast, we raise the anchor and get under way. Today we are sailing in the lee of the island and the waves are not nearly as big as the ones we encountered yesterday. Rob lets me take the helm again. Linda has put bandages on the blisters I got from the last time and this time I am wearing my sailing gloves. Between her and Rob, I feel I am in good hands.
Not long after our departure from the cove, we see two other sailboats. Seeing other boats is not such a common sight when sailing away from populated areas. In fact, it is possible to sail for days without seeing another boat. No doubt, like us, these boats spent the night at anchor along the quiet south coast of Lanai.
We have been sailing for over an hour past an area that appears totally devoid of human life. It seems strange that we do not see any evidence of life on such a big island. Most of the island of Lanai is a pineapple plantation owned by Dole Pineapple. For some reason, demand for pineapple is decreasing so fewer people live on the island now.
I keep a constant watch for any sign of life. I do not see any until we sail past a dock that is used to load pineapples onto cargo ships. It turns out that this
In addition to looking for signs of life on land, I am also looking into the water searching for a glimpse of some marine life. I would especially like to see a Dolphin or a Whale. I would even like to see a (gulp) Shark. Rob assures me that before the trip is over I will see some marine life, and probably a shark. I hope he is right.
Red skin is not “in”
The warm sun and the fresh sea air feel good to me, but it has been a long time since I have had this much exposure to the sun. I am already sun burned from the two days I spent at Waikiki Beach and there is concern among the others about the bright red color of my skin. I assure them everything is okay, but I take their advice and seek refuge in the shade. I really enjoy being at the helm, so only reluctantly do I turn it over to Bill.
After a very relaxing sail, we arrive at a place called Manele Bay. There are several berths available here and that means we will not need to anchor. There is a nice park next to the dock and a fantastic beach nearby.
Soon after our docking duties are completed, Linda leads us to Hulapoi Beach. It has fine textured light colored sand and a forest of coconut palm trees surrounds the area. The waves are gentle but large enough for body surfing. We jump in the water and take advantage of the waves, but much of the time we just sit looking out at the pastel colored ocean from whence we came. I am now beginning to get into the relaxation phase of the trip.
Not many people come to Lanai because it lacks many of the mainstream tourist facilities. In fact, today there are only a handful of people on the beach. I cannot help notice that the people setting next to me are speaking French and I am curious to find out where they are from. I say hello in French and they smile and reply in French. After my introduction, I have kina exhausted my French vocabulary so I start speaking English. I am happy when they too switch to English. I find out that they are from Canada up near the Arctic Circle and that the Hawaiian climate is about as different from theirs as you can get. In fact, they tell me that when they left to come to Hawaii it was 30 degrees BELOW ZERO! It is 82 degrees today so that means a difference of 112 degrees for them. It is hard to imagine how they feel about that, but like me, they are sporting bright red skin—a gift to all of us from the intense Hawaiian sun.
Before we leave the beach, everyone takes a cool freshwater shower. When we get back to the boat, we are delighted to find out that Rob is in the final stages of preparing a wonderful barbecue. I make up for the dinner I did not eat last night!
Now you see it ‑ now you don’t
Tonight because of the predictable movements of the cosmos and a great deal of luck on our part, we will have the chance to view one of the best lunar eclipses for many years to come. After dinner, we climb to the top of a Lava bluff and reserve a front row seat for the lunar eclipse about to appear in the sky.
We watch the eclipse develop to the sound of Rob playing his harmonica softly in the background. This is very special. The eclipse, the stars, and the satellites reflecting off the sea below create a truly dramatic effect. I boldly make the pronouncement that the five of us are sitting at the exact best spot in the whole world to view this eclipse. Everyone laughs at this, but I am not so sure that I am wrong. I had the good sense to bring along the recorder and thus capture the sounds of the evening on tape.
With the eclipse fully developed, we all agree that it has been an exciting show. We also agree that we have been sitting on hard lava much too long and that we should return to the boat. Without the moon to light our way it is now very dark, and in the blackness Mae trips on the lava and falls down. The lava rock is hard and jagged and so we are concerned about her, but to our joy, she bounces back quickly. What could have been a disaster turns out to be just a minor incident.
The light in “my room”
It is very warm inside Super Star tonight so I decide to sleep on shore in a grassy area about 100 feet from the boat. This turns out to be a mistake because when the eclipse is over an extremely bright full moon lights up the sky. I do not sleep well because it is like trying to sleep with a bright light on in my bedroom.
TUESDAY, July 6th (Sailing day number 3)
It is hot at Manele Bay and I am drained of energy. To make up for my lack of sleep last night I nap until noon then manage to drag myself topside in time to see my ship mates returning from their trip to the beach. It is very hot and everyone looks forward to getting back out to sea again where the air is cooler. It is only the third sailing day, but for me, time seems to be moving much too fast.
Our destination this time is the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, but because there is very little wind today, getting there under sail could be quite a challenge. Occasionally there is a day with very little wind in the channel between Lanai and Maui, and when this condition exists, the local sailors refer to the channel as “Lake Lahaina.” It turns out that the sails alone do not provide enough speed so we resort to the engine. As we get closer, the features of Maui come into better focus, and it is beautiful. The engine noise is unpleasant compared with the quiet of the sail. Until now, we have only used the engine a little everyday to recharge the batteries, and allow the refrigerator to operate at maximum output for a while. I for one will be glad when we can get back to sailing again.
Everyone is happy to see Maui looming larger and larger beyond the pitching bow of Super Star. I am anxious to set foot on Maui because so many people have told me that it is a magical place among all the islands of Hawaii. Linda and Rob both seem to be especially excited about going there and the rest of us are beginning to feel their excitement. So far, every place I have been to in Hawaii has been great, so Maui must really be something.
Maui is called the “Island of the Valleys,” and as we get closer, I find myself straining to make out the details of the lush green landscape. We can see a tropical rainstorm hanging suspended over the west Maui Mountains drenching them with water, and to our delight, producing a beautiful horizon-to-horizon rainbow. It is little wonder this place is so green. The continuous flow of water from the mountains will no doubt keep things growing for a long time.
Although I have never been here, the island of Maui has always seemed special to me. Arriving by sailboat makes it even more so. In fact, I have looked forward to visiting here for so long that our arrival is like a religious experience for me.
Our level of excitement rises even further as the old Whaling town of Lahaina comes into view. In the old days, the harbor at Lahaina was filled with great wind powered Whaling Ships. Today with my imagination turned up to number 10, I can visualize those great old ships at anchor.
We anchor Super Star about 75 yards off shore then lower our rubber boat (called a Zodiac) into the water. I have developed a real respect for the fact that there is a lot of work associated with sailing, but I am enjoying this experience and I feel it is well worth the effort. After attaching the outboard motor to the Zodiac, we climb in and head for Lahaina Town.
Lahaina is an old Whaling Village with a rich and interesting history. On the way in Rob reminds us that we are coming ashore in much the same way that the men from those Whaling boats did many years ago. Well, almost the same way. They used a human powered “long boat.” We are roaring toward the dock in a rubber boat powered by a gasoline engine. Still, at this point I do feel a somewhat connected with the past.
My thoughts are jerked back to the present when the Zodiac bumps into the dock. There are several rubber boats tied up here and they look like a herd of strange gray sea creatures. Finally, with some effort we find a place to squeeze in and then make a shaky exit to the dock. (Have you ever tried to stand up in a rubber boat?)
THE PIONEER INN
Leaving the dock our first stop is the world famous Pioneer Inn. Rob points out that it can be somewhat difficult to get past the Pioneer Inn without stopping for a drink or two. In fact says he, it can be even harder getting past there if you do stop for a drink or two!
It is at the Pioneer Inn that I first notice that although I am no longer on the boat everything is still rocking. (This is before I have a drink.) I cannot believe this. I had to develop “sea legs” for the boat, and now I have to get use to being back on land. I hope the liquid in my glass will solve my problem.
After our brief stop at the Pioneer Inn, we continue on to the Ocean View Restaurant and have dinner. While we are eating, I look out the window and see Super Star gently rising and falling with each passing wave. I find it hard to believe that I finally made it to Maui, and that I arrived on the wonderful boat that now lies at anchor beyond the window. I ask Linda to pinch me because I want to determine if this is only a dream. Ouch – she took me seriously, and it’s clearly not a dream.
During dinner, we discuss how best to spend our time on Maui. We decide to rent a car and drive to the top of Haleakala Crater in the morning. Haleakala (pronounced HA‑LEE‑AK‑A‑LA) is 10,000 feet high.
I volunteer to go for the car while the others set out to see more of Lahaina. Rob is feeling the need to relax a bit so he decides to return to Super Star. Linda goes with him so she can bring the Zodiac back to pick up the three intrepid ocean voyagers after their night on the town. We chance to go into a local bar, and they have a really good house band playing. We cannot believe our luck. It is Fleetwood Mac preparing for their world in front of a live audience.
WEDNESDAY, July 7th (“Sailing” day number 4)
Today we get up early so we can spend the entire day on Maui. I did not sleep well last night because Super Star was really rolling around. At breakfast, Rob tells us that the movement was caused by a “strange” swell pattern. Good grief Charley Brown, this boat has been rocking’ and Rollin’ ever since I arrived. How am I supposed to tell a strange swell pattern from a normal one? With warm gentle breezes and a clear blue-sky, it is another “boring” day in paradise.
After breakfast, we climb back into the Zodiac and return to Lahaina. We will head for the top of Haleakala Crater if I can remember where I left the rent-a-car last night. Soon we we’re driving past sugar cane fields, and I cannot help but notice that some of them are on fire. It turns out that they burn the cane fields to make the harvest easier. The fire clears away the slash and clears the fields of insects and rodents. Fortunately, the smoke is quickly blown away by the famous pacific trade winds.
Maui is beautiful all over. On the way up the mountain, I see several places I would like to live. Since this is a tropical island, flowers grow here in abundance. The humidity and the sunshine make this a perfect place for growing flowers and every house has a beautiful garden.
THE HOUSE OF THE SUN
Haleakala means “House of the Sun.” We begin our trip up the mountain in a soft rain falling from a cloud that appears to be stuck to the mountain. This condition is normal because in Hawaii you often find a cloud hanging over a mountain. It is caused when the warm humid air is forced up the side of the mountain by the wind, and then when it meets the colder air above it condenses and forms a cloud. (Please remember this, because it will be on the test.) Haleakala being 10,000 feet tall is no exception to the aforementioned phenomenon.
We soon pass through the cloud layer and into the cool dry air above. The sun is extremely bright at the top of Haleakala, but the air is cool. This is quite a dramatic change from the warmth below, and we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are still in Hawaii. This has to be one of the most dramatic changes in temperature I have ever experienced. All of us (including the car) feel the effects of going from sea level to 10,000 feet in such a short time. It is a fact that the ride up this mountain is the fastest assent by car to 10,000 feet anywhere in the world. (Remember this because it will also be on the test.)
The view from on top is well worth the trip up. We are standing at the rim of a volcanic crater that looks like it belongs to another world. From this lofty vantage point, we can see the island of Lanai where we were yesterday. We can also see the largest island in the Hawaiian chain. It is the island named, Hawaii. It is known locally as The Big Island. On the island of Hawaii, we see what looks like steam coming from a famous active volcano there. Because Haleakala has been dormant for hundreds of years, there is no steam or any other activity occurring, but while we stare into this strange pit, clouds begin to creep through an opening at the far end. This gives the appearance of activity in the crater ‑ it also makes this place seem even stranger. I am really glad we decided to come here.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Climbing to 10,000 feet (even in a car) makes one hungry, so we decide to descend the mountain and seek out some food. The under powdered rent a car comes down the mountain much easier than it went up and soon we reach the town of Makawao. (MACK-AH-WOW) We are encouraged by Rob to stop at Poly’s Mexican Restaurant for lunch. Poly’s is a vegetarian restaurant, and as such, they do not use meat. Rob does not say anything about this at the time so I think I am eating real meat in my Taco.
After our meatless meal, we continue on to the lush Iao Valley. (Pronounced E‑OW) This valley is probably best known for the tall pointed rock formation called “The Iao Needle.” It is very green in this valley, and as you might imagine, very wet. Because California gets little or no rain in the summer months, most of the natural vegetation turns brown. I just came from there and I am overwhelmed by the deep shades of green that I see here. We take several pictures of this lush garden valley then move on.
It is now mid afternoon and we are all getting tired. On the way back to Lahaina, everyone falls asleep in the car. (Well not everyone, I am driving.) Could it be that they do not want to hear the rest of my detailed explanation on the inner workings of a computer? I wonder how long have I been talking to myself?
Upon our return to Lahaina, everyone wakes up and we set out to explore more of the town. However, we soon end up right back at the Pioneer Inn. “The Pioneer Inn, again,” you say. You must understand it is hard to get past that place without stopping. They serve such good rum drinks there. AARRGG!!! I must admit my memory of the remainder of the evening is a bit fuzzy. I do remember that when return to the boat, we get into an hour of jokes and continuous laughter. Of all the nights aboard Super Star, we will no doubt remember this one.
THURSDAY, July 8th (Sailing day number 5)
We conclude our stay in Lahaina and set sail for the northwest end of Maui. I do not remember if the “strange” swell pattern returned last night because I slept like a rock. It is a beautiful morning and it feels good to be back at sea again. As they have done all along, Rob and Linda work hard to insure that we all have a good time. Linda is a good cook, and has had a way of making our shore excursions a lot of fun. In short, the trip is going well, and except for occasional talk of feeding me to the sharks if I tell just one more joke, all of us are getting along real well.
Leaving Lahaina, we have to use the engine for the same reason we did on the way in ‑- very little wind. This time it is ok because just a short distance up the coast we can see the wind line on the water. Crossing over the line we find the wind blowing steady and the waves are meeting us almost head on. (My kind of sailing) I love the salt spray in my face and the wind in what little hair I have left.
When we arrive at our destination, we discover that we cannot spend the night where Rob had originally planned. The direction from which the wind is blowing makes the anchorage impossible. This is unfortunate because Rob has generally had good luck seeing, indeed even swimming, with Dolphins in that area. We sail to an alternate cove (Honolua Bay) which is not far from the first choice. When we get there, we find another sailboat at anchor. Slowly the movement of the ocean swings it around, and we see by the name and city painted on the stern that it is from Sausalito California. Hey, that is where I live. Well how about that. It is not such a big ocean after all.
Rob tells us again about his good luck in the past finding and swimming with Dolphins in this general area. However, thus far we have not seen any. I really want to see (and possibly swim with) a dolphin, but it looks like it is not in the cards. Everything else is great so I can’t complain. Oops, I spoke too soon. We are at anchor close to a road used by large trucks going back and forth to a construction site and we can hear the rumbling of their engines. If that is not bad enough, every time they come around a “blind” curve in the road, they give a blast of their horn. Tomorrow, maybe we can sail to a place that has never heard of trucks or horns.
FRIDAY, July 9th (Sailing day number 6)
After breakfast, we depart Honolua bay and head for the north shore of Molokai (the last island we will explore before returning to Honolulu.) Immediately we can see that the crossing between Maui and Molokai will be exciting and in sharp contrast to the crossing between Lanai and Maui. We sail in and out of rain showers all the way across the channel and we are in the middle of a moderate rain shower as we round the east end of Molokai. I always seem to be at the helm when it is raining and today is no exception.
From the very beginning of the trip, Rob has been telling us that the visit to the north shore of Molokai would be the highlight of our voyage. I really can’t see how this trip could get any better, but now I am thinking about what Rob said about Molokai. I peer through the rain and the mist and strain to make out the details of the island. We soon sail out of the shower and the dull gray curtain of rain lifts to reveal the most dramatic landscape that I have ever seen. Towering green mountains covered with white waterfalls rise majestically from the restless ocean. I begin experiencing Deja vu and I find myself sailing in a dream that I had as a child. Rob was right when he said this was to be the high light of our voyage.
Anyone who knows me will testify I am not often at a loss for words, but right now, I am finding it difficult to say anything. Indeed, as we drink in the scene that slowly passes before us there is complete silence on Super Star. The silence is finally broken as each of us tries to describe the sights that pass before us. However, words just do not seem to work in this situation.
The mountains that rise from the sea on the north coast of Molokai are said to be the highest coastal mountains in the world. Our attention is captured by the numerous waterfalls that cascade down the face of almost every mountain. At one point, we count as many as eleven waterfalls on the face of a single mountain. With all the rain in this area, the falls will no doubt be active for some time to come. We sail along the north coast of Molokai and because of the winds in the rain squalls, and the following sea, we are moving at a healthy pace for a sailboat. The rain showers continue to come and go as we sail, and at times, they lend a phantom‑like quality to the island.
Finally we arrive at the cove Rob calls Kie Ava Nuie. It is pronounced KAY‑AHVA‑NEW‑E, which means Land of the big Ava. Ava is the Hawaiian word for Kava. It is here in this dramatic setting where we will spend the next two days. Now I understand why Rob was so excited about coming here.
We turn into Kie Ava Nuie and I am mesmerized by the lush green jungle spreading back from the ocean. Rob quickly points out the large rocks that present a constant threat to us and he attempts to focus our attention on making a safe anchorage. I am trying to help him anchor the boat, but my attention is constantly diverted by the beauty of this place. We do not get the approach right the first time. We turn back out to sea and try it again. This time we all give Rob the assistance he asked for and we make a successful approach. We drop both anchors. Rob dives into the water to wedge them securely in the rocks. By hooking our anchors into the rocks, we will have a better chance of not drifting into the big rock formations that comprise the shoreline. If we were to break loose and drift onto these rocks, Super Star would be destroyed!
During the dive to secure the anchor, Rob comes face to face with a large eel. The only thing he can do is to kick his orange swim-fins in the face of the eel and hope for the best. The eel does not think the orange rubber fins look very tasty, and he retreats back into his cave. After Rob climbs back aboard Super Star, we lower the Zodiac into the water and attach the engine to the transom. Rob starts the engine then invites everyone to join him for a tour of the area.
Our first stop is a large sea level cave. It is a lava tube about thirty to forty feet across and fifty feet high created by volcanic activity in the geological past of Hawaii. The coral inside is a pastel color because it has never been exposed to sunlight, and dozens of crabs are set scurrying about as we approach. Also, several birds known as Sooty Turns fly around in an excited fashion reacting to the noisy invasion of their normally quiet domain.
We inhale as much of this experience as our senses will hold, then roar out and continue along the coast. Outside the cave, we encounter large swells and I begin thinking about the fact that I am not a great swimmer. I have complete trust in Rob so I don’t give it much thought.
After a short ride, Rob takes us into another cave. This one is actually a tunnel and inside it is filled with the most beautiful turquoise water I have ever seen. (Eat your heart out Walt Disney.) I quickly begin taking pictures of the water. However, our enthusiasm is dampened when Rob tells us that, in the past, people with very expensive very sophisticated camera equipment have tried and failed to capture on film the beautiful water in this cave. I feel that he must be wrong, but when I get the pictures developed, I find out he was right. My pictures of the water in this cave didn’t even come close to what we saw so I don’t keep them. What a shame. The sight was unbelievable.
After a short stay, we leave the cave and head for a place where there is a beautiful waterfall. I take several pictures of this place and they turn out great. Rob suggests that we swim ashore in the surf and romp around in the waterfall. No way Jose! Riding around in this raft is enough excitement for me. The surf is crashing wildly against the shore, and we wisely decide to pass on the waterfall. On the way back to Super Star I take some pictures of the strange rock formations that have been carved through the centuries by the wind and sea. I did not know it at the time, but when I get home, I find a picture that has captured what looks to me to be the likeness of the famous Hawaiian chief, King Kamehameha. I am extremely pleased and fascinated with that picture.
Rob takes us back to Super Star then goes ashore to speak with John Wilson, (that’s not his real name) one of the few inhabitants of the area. While we watch from the deck, the young Hawaiian boys that live in Kie Ava Nuie put on a diving show for us by climbing up the rocks and plunging into the ocean below. They are having fun and no doubt, like kids the world over, they enjoy showing off. I tell my shipmates that I would not dive from those rocks if you held a gun to my head. However, I must confess that later I find myself thinking that I might like to try it just to see what it was like. (I never do.)
Rob goes over to the rocks and asks the kids if they would like to go aboard Super Star?” Without hesitation, they jump into the Zodiac. They are thrilled to be invited on board and are talking a mile‑a‑minute to each other. I quickly discover that they are not necessarily speaking the same language that I speak. They are speaking “Pidgin English” and Rob says we may not understand all the words. He is right, but I find I have little trouble talking with them. Well, that is when they stop talking long enough for me to say anything.
John Wilson comes aboard with the kids and stays long enough to share a beer with us. He lives in a hut that he built himself, and along with these kids and their parents, are the only inhabitants of the area. Only nine people live here. I try hard to imagine what it would be like to live in this remote place, but I cannot. I love this area, but I do not think living here in such isolation would be my cup of Java Juice.
During the time we are anchored here, a helicopter is bringing supplies to the family that lives above on the bluff. They have been away for a few months, and have just returned to build a better home for themselves. Here we are in a quiet jungle area listening to the sound of a helicopter every hour or so. Oh well, it does beat truck horns.
With the sun getting low on the horizon, we have dinner and view yet another magnificent sunset. After the sun goes down there is not much to do so we turn in for the night. Once again, the sound of the surf against the rocks is a constant reminder that danger is not far away. I trust Rob’s skill and judgment, but my military training taught me to be alert for the sake of everyone concerned. As I did at Lanai, I wake up every couple of hours during the night. I never have trouble falling back to sleep, but every time I wake; I cannot help but stare at the thousands of stars that are beyond the open hatch above me. Since stargazing is a love of mine, I really enjoy the opportunity to look at the beautiful night sky in Hawaii.
SATURDAY, July 10th (Sailing day number 7)
Today we are scheduled to go ashore and explore this strange and fascinating place. I am anxious to get going because Rob has been telling us about the geography and history of the area. There are many interesting things about Hawaii and we find comfort in at least two of them. In Hawaii, there are NO snakes and, there are NO poisonous plants. In fact, until the white man came to Hawaii there were not even plants with barbs or stickers. I am told that the early “Christian” missionaries brought the barbed plants to the island to force the native Hawaiian people to wear shoes. Now that’s really special.
We come ashore on the big rocks and work our way along a stream that flows past John Wilson’s hut. John is up above helping unload the Helicopter. We take a minute anyway to look into his dwelling. It is simple and it looks comfortable. Outside is a stream that provides us with fresh sweet drinking water and later a refreshing shower. We are told that soon the running water will produce electric power to make life in this remote jungle area more comfortable. From my point of view, I feel that this primitive life style is better in some ways than my life in the big city. Then again, I have only been here for two days. We continue up a wet narrow path until we reach the plateau where the family lives. The place is overgrown with foliage and it is clear that no one has tried to stop the advancing jungle for quite some time. These folks have their work cut out for them.
After a pleasant 45-minute visit with the family, we continue up the mountain to a large rock that Rob has named “Energy Rock.” Upon reaching the rock it becomes clear why Rob gave it that particular name. Our journey has been all uphill in a hot humid jungle so we sit on the rock for a while to get our energy back. I guess it does work somewhat, but what I really want is a cold drink.
After our encounter with “Energy Rock”, we move into a dense wooded area where I find another rock. This is a very special rock because carved in this rock is a picture of a man tossing a net over a fish. These rock carvings are called petroglyphs and are historical records of activities that took place here over a thousand years ago. The air temperature today is over 80 degrees but I develop goose bumps when I realize what I have just discovered. I want to take several pictures of this exciting find, but I have only one exposure left in my camera. When I develop the film, I am disappointed with the picture. The flash washed out most of the detail. However, I do end up with a picture that in the future will no doubt draw my consciousness back to this event, and if I am lucky, I will recall the feeling I experienced this day. It is exciting for me just knowing that in a way I shared something with a civilization that had been here a thousand years ago. I can’t help but wonder if they would understand the world I live in or if I could relate to theirs. Too bad the rock cannot literally bring us together.
Except for the wet slippery spots, where I am forced to call upon my skiing skills, the trip down the mountain is much easier than the trip up. When we get back to John’s hut, we take turns standing under a natural shower. It is a most welcome way to wash away the warm humid Hawaiian jungle before returning to Super Star.
SUNDAY, July 11th (Sailing day number 8)
Time is moving much too fast for me now and the thought of leaving Kie Ava Nuie is not a happy one. Rob and I bring the Zodiac aboard and lash it to the deck while the others clean up, pack up and stow everything that needs to be put away. After the Zodiac is secure, we begin raising the anchors that have dutifully held us in place during our stay. Rob starts the engine to help us raise the anchors. More importantly, the engine is needed to keep us from drifting onto the rocks. After what seems like an endless struggle, the anchors are finally up. The anchor drill is punctuated by broken bowsprit but now we are again headed for the open sea.
As we depart, I catch sight of a shark swimming along side the boat and loudly announce my discovery to the others. Rob estimates its length to be about 10 feet. I reach for my camera to record this event, but because I had to change film, it is in my cabin below. Rats, I wanted to have a picture of a shark, but there is no way I can get below and back up in time to take a photograph of this shark. Oh well, at least I did get to see it.
Shortly after leaving Kie Ava Nuie, we pass the famous leper colony of Hawaii. This colony has been there for over a hundred years, and it was for many years, a testament of man’s inhumanity to man. Then one day a Catholic Priest by the name of Father Damien came along and over the years built a beautiful town. He also improved the harsh life of the people inflected with the disease. Leprosy (also known as Hansen’s Disease) has long been eliminated, but the town remains. It will soon become a park, and no doubt introduce thousands of people to the North Shore of Molokai.
Looking back at Kie Ava Nuie, we see a rainsquall engulfing the beautiful cove. Somehow, we managed to depart at just the right time. I am back at the helm and enjoying my lot in life when my eyes begin to play tricks on me. I think I see a Dolphin leap into the air about 100 yards in front of the boat. I consider telling the others, but I decide that it is probably just a reflection from the intense Hawaiian sun on the waves. Besides, everyone knows how much I want to see a Dolphin, and I do not want to be accused of “crying Dolphin.” (If you’ll pardon the expression.)
The wind and the swells, both coming from almost directly aft, are pushing us along at a good clip. I now feel right at home with Super Star’s large wheel in my hands. I let my thoughts run wild as we sail effortlessly along with the rhythm of swells. In my mind, I try to recall scenes from sailing movies where the hero was at the wheel of a magnificent sailing vessel on an exciting voyage. I recall how dashing the hero looks as he slowly scans the horizon with squinting eyes. Well I don’t know if I look dashing, but because of the sun and the wind, I too am squinting as I scan the horizon. Then through my squinting eyes, I see not one, but two Dolphins leap into the air almost directly ahead of Super Star. Rob also sees this beautiful sight so I do not have any hesitation about yelling “Dolphins ahead!” Linda and Mae rush topside and Bill comes out from under the canvass cover we call a dodger. Rob goes forward for a better look then yells back, “let’s follow them.” I feel my pulse rate rise as we begin the chase, and I stand ready to comply with Rob’s every command.
My spirits soar when I become aware that we are closing the distance between them, but suddenly they are no longer going in the direction that we want to go. Rob told me to follow them no matter which way they went, so I turn Super Star to the appropriate heading and we slice across the waves in wild pursuit of “my” Dolphins.
If you know about sailing, then you know that when you change direction in a sailboat you have to adjust the sails to accommodate the angle of the wind. Well wind be damned, we change direction as required and deal with the sails as best we can. It is a wild pitching and rolling ride as we constantly meet the wind and the waves from different angles in our reckless pursuit of those beautiful Dolphins. To their credit, Linda, Mae and Bill do a marvelous job of managing our sails through the demanding situations of the chase.
After what seems like much too short a time, the Dolphins vanish. For a time, everyone keeps their eyes searching the sea in an attempt to relocate the playful pair, but it soon becomes apparent that our new friends have decided to play elsewhere. “They can’t do that to us,” I yell aloud. I am taking this personal, and I feel disappointed that we did not get even closer. No matter we are all happy to have had a brief encounter with a life form that in some ways is very close to humans. My interest in Dolphins has been enhanced by the kinship that Rob seems to have with them. He always refers to Dolphins as, “our Dolphin brothers” I am beginning to relate to the way he feels. We finally catch sight of the Dolphins about 150 yards ahead of us and now I know our encounter is over. They look so small against the backdrop of the endless sea.
I wave a symbolic good‑by to the Dolphins as they disappear beneath the waves. Rob suggests a new heading back to our original course, and after casting one last glimpse in the direction of the Dolphins, I respond with the helm.
The activity level aboard Super Star now seems quite low after the excitement of the Dolphin chase. However, in the food department things are moving along as usual. Somehow, Linda always manages to keep a constant flow of food and drink coming from the galley. I have totally given up on losing any weight.
We reach the west end of Molokai in the late afternoon. It is flat with a very long stretch of beautiful beach and is in sharp contrast to Kie Ava Nuie. Actually, there are several beaches here. There is also the Sheraton Molokai Hotel. It is modern looking, and from my point of view, it has an advantage over many of the other hotels because it is situated in a beautiful remote location.
We drop anchor about 75 yards off the beach and relax for a while. I am now very relaxed. I begin to wonder if I can ever return to the “life in the fast lane” existence I left 10 days ago. Again, we finish the day with a magnificent sunset. I am now taking these sunsets for granted, but I always watch them.
MONDAY July 12th (Sailing day number 9)
After breakfast is over everything is stowed. The anchor is returned to its proper place on board and again we are under way. Today we sail to the island of Oahu, which means that our adventure will be ending soon. This will be the final transit of the trip. I can recall several occasions in my life when I wished that time would stand still. This is definitely one of those occasions.
As we sail, we attempt to recap the events of the trip for each other and the conversation conjures memories of events that took place only a few days ago. Already they seem carved in the distant past. I hope my tape recorder will help me recall the details of the events we experienced.
As we get closer the island of Oahu slowly grows. It is clear that the odyssey is ending, but approaching the island is a beautiful sight. This takes my mind off the short time left on the trip. All the way to Oahu, I look for Dolphins. Unfortunately, I never see any.
We enter Kaneoai Bay and sail past the Marine Corps Air Base where the incredible sound from the departing F-4 Phantom Jets in full afterburner destroys the quiet of our sail in a noisy, but somehow fitting, welcome back to civilization for this aviator turned sailor.
On the way in Rob and Linda discuss the channel markings. I listen to Rob’s discussion and I feel that I could bring Super Star in without any help, but as always, Rob is keeping a watchful eye on our progress.
Our destination is a small sand island (sand bar) where we encounter several local families enjoying a day in the warm Sun. We drop the sails and coast until the sand rises to gently meet the keel of the boat. After we make contact with the sand and come to a complete stop, we back away and anchor in water deep enough to accommodate the draft of Super Star. Linda dives in the water and drags the anchor closer to the island. I dive in too then walk to the island made of sand. The water is very nice and I feel so good after getting wet. Now let me see; do sharks swim in shallow water?
With the approach of night, the locals leave the sand island and again we are alone. We are only about a mile from the island of Oahu, but we have the feeling of being much farther removed. What a great place to live!
TUESDAY July 13th (Sailing day number 10 ‑ The final day)
All things must end and this trip is no exception. Aware of that reality, I vault (ok crawl) out of my bunk. We have our last delightful meal from Linda then take a trip around Kaneoai Bay. Finally, our trip has ended. It starts to rain again and I feel the rain is simply an extension of how I feel inside about this trip ending. It is raining so guess who is at the helm? The rain clouds resting against the mountains provide a magnificent backdrop for the final chapter of my time aboard Super Star.
Throughout the trip, Rob always had an answer to the endless string of questions we ask. Even in the final minutes, he continues to answer our questions and provide us with an interesting tour of the area. We sail and eat, and eat and sail, then as quickly as it began, the trip has ended. It is time to dock Super Star and for us to part company. For the last time I relinquish the helm to Rob so he can bring us into the dock. After all lines are secured, I go below to collect my belongings. I am sad at the prospect of parting company with Rob and Linda and it feels strange to be leaving Super Star after our fabulous voyage. On shore, Bill, Mae and I say good‑bye to Rob and Linda. These two people provided us with 10 fun filled and memorable days, and in the process took very good care of us as well. I wish that our time together was not over, but it is.
As we walk toward the highway I want to turn around and take one last look at Super Star, but I cannot bring myself to do it. I know that from now on, she will just have to live in my memory. (I didn’t realize it then, but I was to be wrong about that.)
The bus ride back to Honolulu is interesting, but it is in sharp contrast to the last ten days. We pass shopping centers, residential areas, and busy streets, showing us yet another side of Hawaii. The most dramatic part of this is the view of Honolulu as we come over the mountain pass known as the Pali. In the past ten days, we have seen these islands in a way that most people, including the inhabitants, will never see them. I know that I shall remember this experience for some time to come!
Unfortunately, there is a sad postscript to my log. Several months after my trip aboard Super Star, she went aground when the owner (not Rob) and some friends were sailing her in the Honolulu area. Rob got the news when a friend called to tell him about the story that was playing on the 10 o’clock news. It was no doubt very painful for him to see Super Star being pounded by each incoming wave and slowly turning into a pile of rubble. It appears that my plans to sail aboard Super Star again will never be realized.
In March of 1983, Rob came to the San Francisco bay area to pickup another sailboat to be used in the charter program in Hawaii. The name of this boat is “Contessa.” Like Super Star, “Contessa” is a fifty-foot boat. However, she is of a different design. Rob invited me to sail with him when he brought her out of the boat repair yard in San Rafael. It was good to sail with him again if only for a few hours.
Linda returned to San Francisco in the fall of 1982. We got together several times and then she departed for a two-year sailing adventure around the Pacific Ocean. I have not had seen Bill or Mae since the trip. However, I enjoyed their company on Super Star, and hope I see them again some day.
As for me, I was deeply affected by my experience aboard Super Star. It created within me the desire to sail and explore the many interesting places that can be reached by boat. Ask anyone who has experienced a sailing vacation and they will no doubt tell you that in today’s jet powered, computerized world, sailing offers an interesting combination of excitement and relaxation. I highly recommend it to all that seek a fun vacation. In fact, not only can a sailboat transport you to another place; it could be a vehicle to take you to another time!
WAIT…NOT YET THE END
I returned to Hawaii in February of 1984. This time I had the opportunity to sail with two delightful hosts, Vince Kelly, and Junita Oros on a boat called “Mid Night Sun.” In addition to taking me back to some of my favorite places, they showed me some interesting places that I had not visited before.
At the beginning of this cruise, I told my new shipmates the story of my trip aboard Super Star in 1982. This helped prime all of us for what was to come. However, it did not prepare me for what would happen at Lahaina.
Approaching our anchorage to the west of Lahaina, I saw a vision that made me think that I may have been in the sun too long. I am looking at Super Star! This cannot be possible, I am thinking–am I to believe my eyes? After all, I saw pictures of Super Star after her demise. Fortunately, the others with me see her too. Thanks to the fine work of a man named Gary Shipp, (that’s really his name) Super Star lives again. Gary purchased the damaged Super Star and rebuilt her.
Later in the evening, we make contact with Gary. I told him that several months before she went aground I had spent 10 great days sailing aboard her. To the delight of everyone, we are invited on aboard to inspect his restoration job.
Just being aboard Super Star again brings forth a flood of happy memories. I am amazed at the fine restoration job Gary did. To me it seems fitting that a boat Rob once called “the pride of the Hawaiian fleet” is in such good hands. Gary is a very pleasant person and is a wonderful host aboard his boat.
The crowing glory came as we were leaving. In honor of my being a Super Star alumnus, I was given a coffee cup that has Super Star embossed in gold letters on the side.
I feel that Gary would be a good skipper and a good host for the Ocean Voyages charter program so I encourage him to contact them and again make Super Star available. If he does then maybe, just maybe I will have the opportunity to sail aboard her again.
Oh yes one last bit of unfinished business. Remember the “mice” in my drawer back at the first anchorage. Well the sound I was hearing that sounded like mice scurrying around in my “chocolate drawer” was actually made by shrimp eating the sea growth from the hull of the boat. I had never experienced that sound before. When I found out what it really was, I felt a little foolish about trying to capture mice that were not even there. Honest guys, it did sound like mice!
Sailing the Islands of HAWAII
A GulfStar-50 Sailboat
By Jim Sayers
July 2nd ‑16th, 1982