#63 Waikiki

One of Oahu's modern myths is that Waikiki and Oahu are synonymous. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oahu is mostly rural and a land of contrast, densely packed with interesting choices. Little by little, we hope to begin peeling the onion. We've got our work cut out for us! But then, sparkling on the southern shore with the island landscape as a backdrop is Waikiki tucked neatly at the foot of Diamond Head. There, within Ala Wai Harbor lies the Waikiki Yacht Club.

We decided to spend a weekend at the club docks with Eliana and our friends from Kansas, Jeff and Tonya Poe. One of the best things about Hawaii cruising is one can move from place to place quickly, even in a boat! The trip from Ko Olina to Waikiki was under 3 hours. Even with winter swell coming in from the north, the trip was comfortable.

Fortunately, Don and Sharry Stabbert were already berthed at the WYC with their beautiful 75' Northern Marine, STARR. So the combination of good folks and good boats in a beautiful place made for a very special time.

Waikiki Yacht Club was founded in 1944. Imagine that. Just three years after Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was drawing to a close. A small group of sailors decided to begin refurbishing older boats and once again take advantage of the wonderful Hawaiian waters to promote yacht racing. Still active today, WYC views itself as the premier yacht club of the Pacific.

Ala Wai Harbor, Waikiki

An early photo of the same spot.

Debbie and Tonya enroute

Eliana berthed at Waikiki Yacht Club

STARR next door.

Blessing Of The Fleet

Every year, the club sets aside a day in February for the annual Blessing of the Fleet! The celebration is an all day affair with dozens of boats dressed up in all their colors. At noon the lines are thrown off and a procession forms to go out to sea where the Chaplain blesses each boat as it passes.

Eliana's crew decided to join Stabberts on their boat. It was, as usual, a gorgeous day. STARR was blessed along with the rest of the fleet. The formality of the blessing was indeed moving and meaningful. I made a short movie of the procession out and the return back. Unfortunately, with the excitement during the actual blessing I missed the most important part. Oh well.

Getting lined up

Blessing Of The Fleet

Pearl Harbor

Being in Hawaii, it's easy to get caught up in World War II history, especially the Pacific front. There is a lot to do in that regard, but the USS Arizona Memorial is absolutely a must. The visitors center contains a wonderful museum you can visit with or without the audio tour headphones. Then prior to boarding the boat across the harbor, they show a movie reliving December 7, 1941 as historically accurate as possible. The trip out and visit of the actual Memorial is well done and touching. I have already visited three times and still look forward to going again.

An amazing map of the Pacific painted on the concrete at the visitors center.

Looking out over the east loch of Pearl Harbor toward Ford Island. You can see the USS Missouri and the USS Arizona Memorial through the trees.

The boats that take you over to the memorial are operated by the US Navy.

USS Missouri open to the public to tour.

The Arizona Memorial


It seems as though we're always learning something new. For this entry, I thought back just in the past few days and came up with three revelations. My more experienced colleagues already know this stuff, but for me it's a victory each time some nagging problem is solved. Here's a picture summary...

We learned in Mexico to keep our spring lines super tight at all times, especially when there is surge coming into the marina. By doing that we eliminate a lot of the fore/aft boat movement which, in turn, keeps the bow and stern lines from total havoc. The only downside is it can begin to chafe the two springs which are crossed together. My solution is to tie the two together with a ball bunge. No more chafing.

OK, here's where I have to retract an earlier statement. I had reported that in waxing the easiest method we found was to apply and remove the wax by hand. Well, I was wrong. I decided to reevaluate the orbital buffer and found that using it to apply the wax at least DOUBLED the speed of the job and probably increases the quality of the work. Use a soft sponge pad and set the speed dial to "3". Always route the cord from above rather than below. Apply the wax in two directions overlapping 50% at all times. This system takes ALL the work out of buffing. No more elbow grease just to scrub off the excess wax.

The engine room bilge has seawater in it at all times due to the dripping of the shaft packing. This isn't normally a problem, but the water was developing an odor and turning black after only a week or two. I had to scrub and clean the bilge with bilge soap all the time. I found an easy solution. By putting a couple tablespoons of household hydrogen peroxide in the water after cleaning, the water stays perfectly clear and without odor.

In Closing

I can't say it enough. Hawaii promises to be much more than we ever expected from a cruising standpoint. It's a rich environment with dozens of diverse destinations not far away. The weather is beautiful year around. The water is warm enough to swim. Abundant sea life. So much to do, we'll never do it all and probably won't try.

Surprisingly, Hawaii is ranked 48th out of 50 states for number of boats per capita. That's right, even Kansas has more boats per person. That means the island waters are pristine and uncrowded. We're now absolutely certain we've got the right boat in the right place to keep us busy for awhile.

Thanks to our friends Jeff and Tonya for all their hard work aboard Eliana.

And most of all thanks to our faithful readers.

Rick Heiniger

N7617 Eliana

Lying: Ko Olina Marina, Kapolei, HI

Mileage: 11,174 Miles


Roger 4/26/2012
You said how long it takes to wash but not to wax. Now, you've changed the wax process. How many man hours were involved doing it by hand and how many now? Hi Roger, It takes one week to wax everything using the new method which included polish and sealing all the metal. Comparatively, it was 10 days doing everything by hand. I think I can shave another day or two off by waxing only instead of cleaner/wax. The cleaner/wax is more work. Rick
Mike Holloway 3/15/2012
Hi Rick, I wrote a note to you when you were heading up the California cost a while back. I follow your blog closely in that I'm thinking moving to a Nordhavn Trawler once I give up my 47 foot sailboat "Moments"and my forty year love affair with the wind. Just a quick question. Based on your earlier comments I'm taking it your heading west when you grow tired of life in the islands. However, if you were to head back to the the mainland what course would you take? I know how it's done in a sailboat but steaming the entire distance seems to suggest a straight line. Thank you and Debbie for your wonderful blog, I always look forward to another post. Best regards, Mike. Hi Mike, We have the range to go direct to Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego or Ensenada which are all places we would love to return to. We probably have the range for Puerto Vallarta, but we would want to have very good weather. There aren't many stops in between any of these locations from here. All the best to you, Mike. Rick
Graham Morgan 3/3/2012
You do not ever mention the Flybridge. Do you not use it? Hi Graham, We have begun using the flybridge here in Hawaii. The weather is usually nice enough for it. We usually come down when it get's windy or cold. Unfortunately, it's not a good place to dock from. I find it easy to maneuver from the wing stations where I can walk around to look at things clearly, and to talk to whomever is on the dock if I want to. Rick
Eb Schenk 2/15/2012
We couldn't agree more with your comments about Oahu and the Waikiki YC. We are anxious to get back to Kokua in KoOlina slip E-21 (hopefully in April) and hope to meet you in person. Do not miss the East side of Oahu and especially the Kaneohe Bay and Yacht Club. The people are extremely friendly and the club is charming. Eb & Pamela Schenk
David 2/15/2012
I've noticed from your posted photos that you didn't opt for the wide-body option, which then gives you sidedecks on both sides. Are you glad you went for this layout? Do you use the port side much for line handling, etc. Would you change your mind if you could do it again? Thanks Hi David, Good question. We like having a walkway on each side. Our standard setup is 4 fenders hung on the side rail either port or starboard depending on the situation. The fenders are set up with hooks on fixed length lines so they work on either side quickly and easily without alteration. Furthermore, we can move fenders quickly from starboard to port without having to drag them upstairs. We store the fenders on the port walkway when underway. When at docked with a port tie, we use the port walkway a lot. In the heat of the day, we appreciate having the port salon windows in the shade. When starboard tied, we like being able to wash the outside of the port windows. We also like it when deploying flopper stoppers and a few other tricky line handling maneuvers such as loading Sweet Charlotte in a rough anchorage. Our salon is a nice comfortable size. I would have a hard time justifying making it larger at the expense of not having the walkway we use all the time. Rick
Robert K. Schnell 2/15/2012
Rick, Glsd to see you're doing SOME work in Hawaii. I'd hate to see you having all the fun while Debbie is breaking her back working. If you'vw gotten pretty good at cleaning that bilge, you might want a little more practice on the Merci. While ww haven't quite made Hawaii, Marcie and I have spent the last month at Red Coconut RV Park in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. Weather has been in the 80's with sun shining, Sure beats those Missouri winters. Keep the shiny side up! Bob```
Charlotte 2/15/2012
We like the fact you are so industrious in researching products and have used many that you recommend. Now - what is the make of that orbital buffer? Thanks, and keep those blogs posts coming ( with recommendations of products you find useful!) Hi Charlotte, I got the orbital buffer from Griots Garage. Go to http://www.autoanything.com/car-care/65A4696A0A0.aspx?kc=ffproduct to check it out. Rick