#62 Ko Olina

First impressions are often predictably accurate. Tell tale clues, one at a time until suddenly a conclusive thought emerges. As Debbie and I visited recently, it hit me... "People here are generally happy." Probably not much to analyze . Smiles and neighborliness. A climate conducive to living outdoors and a front porch mentality. Maybe when we're happy, we imagine everyone else is too.

The Waianae mountain range parallels the coast. It blesses the whole area with calm, clear ocean waters coupled with a near perfect, 80 degree climate year around. For centuries, this stretch of coast was reserved for Hawaii's royal families for vacationing. It has always been rural but with abundant produce, great fishing, and plenty of room for goats, pigs and chickens. Originally, the territory from Pearl Harbor all the way along the coast to the summit of Mount Ka'ala was called Ko Olina. Not surprisingly, Ko Olina from the Hawaiian language means "Place Of Joy".

Today, Ko Olina is the name of the development that contains our marina. It's an easy drive from Honolulu, east up the H1 until just after the freeway ends. Nearby is the non-touristy Kapolei, a clean town with almost anything one might need without going into the city.

Ko Olina itself is built around four spectacular lagoons connected by a continuous walking path and park environment. Each lagoon is unique in some way, but all similarly have massive beach areas with zero entry swimming. Immediately behind the beaches are zoysia grass and trees. Spotted along the way are public use bathrooms, beach showers and water fountains. I would say, round trip on the path is 3 - 4 miles.

Immediately inland from the lagoons are a series of properties including Marriott's beautiful Ihilani hotel and Disney's brand new resort, Aulani. These are backdropped with a gorgeous golf course. It may sound crowded, but it's not. The design is relaxed with amenities enjoyed by locals as well as visitors.

One interesting attraction of Ko Olina are the weddings. We've heard on average there is a wedding every 15 minutes. Chapels dot the way along the water front. Photographers and white limousines everywhere. I'll admit, this would be a sweet place to have a wedding. Having seen a few, this way of doing it seems relaxed and everyone seems to be having a good time.

Sunset on Lagoon #4

Lagoon #3

Girls playing.

Walking path

Sunday Afternoon

New Year's Fireworks. Absolutely spectacular display shot simultaneously from all four lagoons. This photo was taken from Eliana.

Mother and daughter.

Lagoons protected by breakwater rocks.

One of several wedding chapels.

Ho hum. Another sunset.

Ko Olina Marina

That brings us to Eliana's berth at the marina which is situated just behind lagoon #4. Chuck and Suzanne Krause team up to co-manage the facility keeping it in top notch condition. The surroundings are garden like. As Suzanne says, we wake up to the sound of birds singing rather than horns honking. Speaking of birds, we are shocked there are no gulls, herons or pelicans in the marina. The only birds around are land based species. The docks stay super clean.

Speaking of neighborhoods, there are approximately 25 live-aboard locals in the marina. Our dock neighbors have been awesome. Slowly, we're learning the local ways and means on about any topic. Most of all, we're getting more local knowledge about Hawaiian cruising than you'll get in 100 cruise guides.

Home Sweet Home

Chuck and Suzanne, harbormaster team.

Harbor Setting

Friend, dock-mate, long time resident Michael Cornell

One of hundreds of species of beautiful birds. I think this one is a red crested Cardinal.

Before Signing Off

Eliana is in excellent condition. No problems I can think of to report. It's wax time again, so we're enjoying the project as a good excuse tospend more time outside. Debbie is really enjoying the local farmer's market in Kapolei early each Sunday morning. Nothing else exciting.

We love Hawaii so far. While here, we plan to visit each island over the next year or so. We'll use Ko Olina as our home base in between. As we discover new things, we'll do our best to keep you posted.

Rick Heiniger

N7617 Eliana

Lying: Ko Olina, Hawaii

Mileage: 11,127 Miles


Hi Rick and Deb, Sounds like you guys are really enjoying the Hawaiian Islands. We have been visiting the Islands every Jan. since 2001. We spend our time on the Big Island, Kona side. We always make time to get in 4-5 days of sport fishing, gotta love that fresh Ono, yellow fin and Blue Marlin. If you guys are heading to the Big Island anytime from Jan. 29 - Feb. 12, let me know and maybe you could join us for a day of fishing off the Kona coast, you would enjoy talking to our Captain, he has spent years along the California coast. Best Wishes, Greg Lundquist Wabash, Indiana
Sue McKenney 1/17/2012
Dear Rick and Debbie, Well, I happened upon your blog in the Nordhavn site whilst deeply researching the 68, 75 and 76. (purchase hopefully this year or early next, we are Aussies but may purchase in the US) That was the end of it! I cannot pull myself away from your story...Rick, it is beautifully written with extraordinary photographs and with excellent technical advice particularly whilst we are planning what we need to option into our vessel. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time and effort to give the rest of us a window on your paradise. ISN'T OUR PLANET AN AMAZING PLACE? Absolutely breathtaking. I was sold on Nordhavn well before reading your blog, but you have doubly confirmed our confidence. I am still reading November last year and am looking forward to catching up but not willing to miss an installment, purposely avoided reading the individual blog contained here LOL. Warm regards
eb Schenk 1/16/2012
We are Eberhard and Pamela Schenk, Aliso Viejo, CA. We have been in slip E21 with our boat KOKUA at KoOlina for almost 2 years and love it too. We just returned on 12/31 to CA and missed the fireworks! Cheryl, Michael's wife, has done a great job taking care of KOKUA when we are not there. Loved your pictures very much and could not have described the KoOlina area any better. Plan on returning in April to sail to Molokai, Lanai, Maui and possibly the Big Island before heading back to So.CA. This is thefirst time I blogged, am I doing it right? Eb
Marian Henderson 1/16/2012
Hello in Hawaii! Here in Bellingham Washington we are SNOWED IN!!! Thinking of you in the tropics you lucky dogs. Really enjoyed all the photos, especially of your grand-girls. I'm asking for a camera like yours for my birthday, it's fabulous! Or maybe it's all in the operator. Keep those posts coming. We'll be on Maui in October, maybe we'll rendezvous. At the moment Bullfrog Boats are getting ready for the big Seattle and Vancouver BC Boat Shows coming up. Happy New Year. Love, Mr and Mrs Bullfrog :) Marian and Craig
Kathy Clark 1/16/2012
Great update - thanks! Shear Madness is finally back in the water and we're looking forward to being back in cruise mode very soon!
Vic Lafrank 1/15/2012
Good job, you two! Keep on keeping on! At first I was apprehensive about a long ocean voyage w/only one main engine, but you've proved that by careful selection of engine and generators, electronics, etc., crossings can be done safely and sensibly. I'm glad to hear that the little engine that could is still purring along, no doubt due in large part to your preventative maintenance and prudent use thereof. Pls keep posting as time and circumstances permit.
Marcia 1/15/2012
It has been a while so we wondered if you were still in Hawaii Curtis and Marcia
Roger Burman 1/15/2012
Hi Guys, the photos look great. Where are you planning to head next? There is a boat show in Seattle (I believe you were in Seattle recently with Eliana?) We have been invited to a "Nordy Owners" get together. My wife and I are flying over for the boat show to look at some Nordhavns. Are you planning to go? Thanks always for the Blog updates, there arte great! Roger Hi Roger, Sorry we won't be able to make the boat show. Too many things on the calendar as it is! No idea where to from Hawaii. As it stands now, we'll head back to the mainland, but as you know, plans change. Rick