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Old 08-02-2011, 10:57   #1
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Island Hopping Hawaii in June

Hi everybody! Despite the common sentiment that Hawaii is not exactly cruiser friendly, my fiance and I are still going to check it out for 5 weeks or so. After reviewing the pilot charts and prepping the boat, we're taking off from Channel Islands, CA to Hilo May 1st of this year. I have a few questions for you guys in regards to traversing the islands themselves.

From the Big Island to Oahu, is it best to cross the gnarly Alenuihaha on the more windward side of Molokai, Maui and Lanai? Or, is it a safer route to stick to more of a rhumb line between Kona and Honolulu on the leeward side of those same islands? Maybe that second route keeps us further from the dangers associated with the "I'll-End-You-ha-ha"

I've found a few threads here that were quite helpful, including Hawaiian Sailing yet I would like more specific details, perhaps from fellow sailors who have done a similar trip, if possible. Maybe recommend their favorite anchorages during June, or sites that are absolutley "must-see?"

Additionally, I am having problems finding detailed pilot charts for the Hawaiian islands themselves--I keep finding North Pacific. Are there any out there more specifc to Hawaii itself, and if so, where can I get them?

Thanks for the help, folks.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:14   #2
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

I would be interested in similar information myself and have been having a hard time nailing things down.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:39   #3
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Hi Dr3. As we have only 19 days until we push off, you can imagine the amount of research we have been doing since I posted this!

The Charlie's Charts for the Hawwaiian islands are pretty detailed and a very good source of info. Also, the info found at http://svsoggypaws.com/files/HawaiiCompendium.pdf is a good mix of a few different sailing vessel's experiences at various harbors/anchorages through the islands. This is particularly nice because it offers suggestions on what time to cross the channels, and also suggestions on which side of various islands you should attempt to round depending on what you want to see (for example, the leeward versus the windward side of the big island, etc). Also, they offer info about nearby ammenities at the various anchorages.

We found more in depth pilot charts of weather averages at Maritime Safety Information and I'm glad we've decided to cruise between May 1st and August 1st, as it looks pretty mellow regarding the weather.

When do you plan on going? Maybe we'll catch up out there

If anybody would like to follow us, you may do so at www.sv-shenanigans.blogspot.com
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:23   #4
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

I've not sailed from the Big Island, but I've sailed Maui to Lanai to Molokai to Oahu to Kauai, and I can't imagine not stopping of at least in Lahaina (Maui) and Manele Bay (Lanai). The leeward side of the islands is where most of the good anchorages and harbors are.

On Oahu you have more choices -- Honolulu / Ala-Wai (and others) on the leeward side, and the spectacular Kaneohe Bay to windward.

From either side of Oahu it's a decent shot to Hanelei Bay in Kauai. It's probably easier sailing from Honolulu, at least that's how I did it.

You really should look at Charlie's Charts to get an idea of the various anchorages and harbors, and choose the route that takes you where you want to go. I do recommend that you spend some time exploring the Maui/Lanai/Molokai triangle.
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Old 12-04-2011, 14:09   #5
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

+1 for Kaneohe Bay on windward side Oahu--just beautiful!
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Old 12-04-2011, 16:43   #6
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

It will depend on - drum roll please - the wind. Sailed Hilo to Waikiki in June three years ago; winds were light so went on the windward side of the Alenuihaha Channel.
From Waikiki to Nawiliwili (obviously the downwind side of the Kauai Channel, altho I don't think it makes much of a difference once you get out of Oahu's wind shadow) and then Hanalei on Kauai. Napali coast on Kauai just spectacular (think of the movies Jurassic Park and South Pacific filmed there) and you can anchor on either end of it - Barking Sands or Hanalei.
Anchorage at Kaneohe or mind-boggling state marina Ali Wai in Waikiki - neither should be missed just 'cuz they are unique...
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Old 12-04-2011, 18:19   #7
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

As far as the passage from Hawaii to Honolulu. It is best to go in the channel between Kahoolawe/Lanai and Maui/Molokai. Stay close to Kahoolawe/Lanai to avoid the wind shadow of the windward Islands. If you go south of Lanai, there is a pretty deep windshadow that can extend out tens of miles and have you spending a lot of time powering in relatively sloppy conditions. It's best to leave the Big Island from Kawaihae. You'll miss most if not all the wind shadow of the Island though the channel winds will probably be stronger. If you leave from Kailua-Kona/Honokohau, there is usually a wind shadow that can extend 1/2 way to Kahoolawe. A stright shot sail from Kona to HNL is an exhilerating sail on a reach. You'll be surfing above hull speed for much of the way. Once made the sail from harbor to harbor in under 24 hours.

Be aware that the windline between the trades and the wind shadow is often cut with a knife. You'll be powering one second with no wind and on your ear in force 5 conditions the next second. When you start seeing white caps reef down, as the wind will soon follow.

Still, if you aren't in a hurry, you can anchor along the shore of much of the Islands in Summer. A little rolly but you'll have the windward side to yourself. Will depend on the wind if you can get around Haleakala on Maui but a stop offshore Hana is magical. These anchorages are all leeshore open rodesteads so not for long term stays or spending a lot of time off the boat. The easy route along the shore of Maui offers many anchorages with offshore winds if the seas cooperate. A stop at the Lahaina Yacht Club for a beer on the terrace is an adventure though I find Lahaina, as a whole, a Tourist Zoo. You can anchor all along the Kaanapali coast for most of the summer if you want to just lay back on your boat or go ashore to sample the tourist delights. Had great times tied up at the wharf at Kaunakakai, Molokai. Lanai is fun to explore with a relatively safe anchorage at Manele Bay or Manele Harbor if there is room.
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Old 22-05-2011, 20:16   #8
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Hi everybody. I just wanted to say that we made the passage relatively easily, in 18 days. We are currently in Radio bay, about to take off to round South Point and hang out on the Kona side of the island. This place is so wonderful, it's a pity I hear many yachties complain about how unfriendly Hawaii is to cruisers. We've experienced nothing but aloha!

Thanks again for all the replies and input. We've decided that the whole "play it by ear" attitude is the way to go here. Thanks, and aloha a hui hou kakou.
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Old 22-05-2011, 20:52   #9
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Give me a call when you get to Honokohau. The bar at Honokohau has great schooners. eightzeroeight eightninefive twothreeonenine.
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Old 22-05-2011, 21:33   #10
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Give Waikiki Yacht Club a call if you want a temp slipt in the Ala Wai. Ala Wai will be very tight for slips in July when the Transpac boats arrive. It is great sailing and the people are friendly the powers that be are not interested in the boating community
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Old 22-05-2011, 21:34   #11
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Aloha and welcome aboard!
After rounding South Point there is a heck of a counter current close to shore so stay out in the windline until you are about even with Kauna Pt. otherwise you'll be fighting a 3 knot current. Duck into Honomalino Bay for some true Hawaiian bliss. Hookena at Kauhako Bay is another treasure but a bit more populated.
I haven't been into Radio Bay for some time but if you are out and about in Reeds Bay say hi to Scotty on Faiaoahe (Ingrid 38) or Robert on the red Scepter 36 or Bruce on the West Sail 32.
Have a safe and pleasant stay in Hawaii.
kind regards,
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Old 22-05-2011, 21:43   #12
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gudgeon View Post
Give Waikiki Yacht Club a call if you want a temp slipt in the Ala Wai. Ala Wai will be very tight for slips in July when the Transpac boats arrive. It is great sailing and the people are friendly the powers that be are not interested in the boating community
A friend here in Mazatlan who's getting ready to depart for HI said the Waikiki YC told him their Aloha dock is out of commission due to tsunami damage. Do you know for sure the YC dock is back in service? (I'd like to update him if you're sure).

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Old 22-05-2011, 21:46   #13
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

Quote:
Originally Posted by danisinger View Post
Hi everybody! Despite the common sentiment that Hawaii is not exactly cruiser friendly, my fiance and I are still going to check it out for 5 weeks or so. After reviewing the pilot charts and prepping the boat, we're taking off from Channel Islands, CA to Hilo May 1st of this year. I have a few questions for you guys in regards to traversing the islands themselves.

From the Big Island to Oahu, is it best to cross the gnarly Alenuihaha on the more windward side of Molokai, Maui and Lanai? Or, is it a safer route to stick to more of a rhumb line between Kona and Honolulu on the leeward side of those same islands? Maybe that second route keeps us further from the dangers associated with the "I'll-End-You-ha-ha"

I've found a few threads here that were quite helpful, including Hawaiian Sailing yet I would like more specific details, perhaps from fellow sailors who have done a similar trip, if possible. Maybe recommend their favorite anchorages during June, or sites that are absolutley "must-see?"

Additionally, I am having problems finding detailed pilot charts for the Hawaiian islands themselves--I keep finding North Pacific. Are there any out there more specifc to Hawaii itself, and if so, where can I get them?

Thanks for the help, folks.
I can only tell you what we did, and learned, and enjoyed during six weeks of cruising there on our Cape George cutter.

I highly recommend going south around the big Island, especially at night. The eruption of Kilauea is really something to see. Depending on the winds, you can anchor at Kealakekua Bay in certain areas - avoiding damage to coral. This is where Capt Cook was killed. You can still see the cannon ball impacts on the cliffside. Anchoring in Hawaii is somewhat problematic, although we never really lacked for a place to drop the hook, no anchorage was particularly well protected.

Honokahau is very well protected for tie up, expensive and full. However, when we were there, Ron Frietas, the owner thought our boat to be worthy so let us anchor with a stern tie to the dock. I don't know if Ron still operates the marina, although I suspect he does. If so, tell him Carl and Cheryl from Anthem say hello.

The crossing of Alenuihaha is non trivial. When we crossed, we set out from Puako bay in the early a.m. Mistake. By 10 am, we were taking water on the beam, with spray to the second spreader. Best to leave about 10 p.m. when the trades settle down a bit. By the time it pipes up, you'll be in the lee of Maui.

You should be able to pick up an empty buoy off Lahaina, or anchor off Kaanapali. Hope that helps, and have a great trip.
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Old 23-05-2011, 00:48   #14
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

We left Hilo about 10 days ago, and are now anchored off Big Makena Beach in Maui--about the only decent anchorage in the strong trades.

Kealekekula was nice, Kailua-Kona not so nice, and Honokohau always says that they have no berths.

We downloaded the free Kindle for PC from Amazon, and the ebook "Cruising guide to the Hawaiian Islands" for $10. Its not great, but its better than nothing.
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Old 23-05-2011, 14:41   #15
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Re: Island-Hopping Hawaii in June

The Aloha dock at Hawaii Yacht Club is damaged. Waikiki does not have an aloha dock per se. So check with WYC not sure how book they are and they will be making room for Transpac boats in July. HYC aloha dock is not back in service.
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