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
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.
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.
Lying: Ko Olina, Hawaii
Mileage: 11,127 Miles