Saturday, August 02, 2008
Reflections from Kaneohe
N 21º 27.6155’
W 157º 48.2652’
Finally. A moment to put down some thoughts.
The original plan was to sail from Honolulu to Vancouver in June, but I was too busy with work, so we postponed the trip until July. Elmar supposedly had his boat, Islandia, ready for the crossing back in June, so he was going to do a month long shake-down cruise around Hawaii. He canceled his lease on his mooring buoy at Keehi Lagoon, but instead of setting off on the shake-down, he continued working on Islandia, moored to the Keehi buoy. The third sailor that had signed on for the Vancouver trip, another friend of Elmar, backed out of the trip, so I asked my friends in Tucson if anyone would like to go. Angela was the only adventurous soul.
When Angela and I arrived in Honolulu, Elmar had the rudder steering mechanism torn apart and the stainless steel pins at the top of the mast removed – the pins that hold the steel guy wires in place, the guy wires being what holds the mast up.
Hoping for a quick repair, Angela and I spent several days chasing down parts at marine supply stores, machine shops, Home Depot. We bought diesel and propane and stocked Islandia with food and fresh water. We helped Elmar install the steering mechanism and the mast wires and replaced temperature and pressure sending units on Islandia’s diesel engine.
Elmar is German and when he was 13, his family was in a terrible automobile accident. Elmar was in a coma for several months and had 28 broken bones. When he awoke from the coma, he had lost both parents and all his memory. He couldn’t even speak. So he had to learn to speak and reinvent himself. The void in his memory of the first 13 years of his life haunt him to this day.
Angela and I told Elmar we could not begin the trans-Pacific crossing because we had commitments to be back at work. I think Elmar was actually relieved. So we decided to set off for a cruise around the prettiest Hawaiian Island, Kauai. This will be a much better trip; much more scenic, relaxing, fun. I suspect I will learn a lot more about sailing on this trip than I would have crossing the Pacific.
We sailed upwind from Keehi to Waikiki on Thursday and Friday we beat upwind all day long to arrive at Kaneohe Bay. We must have tacked 100 times. Thank God for anti-nausea drugs.
We arrived at Kaneohe after dark. There is a huge sandbar that runs through the bay and Elmar wanted to anchor behind the sandbar. We followed the channel lights – right red return – into the bay and found the sand bar by sailing into it at 2 mph. We backed off with the motor and dropped anchor.
This morning, we moved a short way down the sand bar and are enjoying a day of swimming and snorkeling. It is spectacular. Big green Pali cliffs behind us and the full color spectrum of blue-green water around us.
I received a call from my client here in Hawaii this morning. My client’s project manager, the fellow I interfaced with, was a very pleasant 41 year old engineer named Kelly. Kelly suffered a brain aneurism while working out at the gym last week. The latest news is that he has no brain activity and has been taken off life support.
As I type this, I am sitting on Islandia surrounded by spectacular scenery. It occurs to me that I have forgotten how to relax, enjoy myself, enjoy the company of other people, to do nothing.
Tomorrow (Sunday) we embark Kaneohe headed north. I don’t know if we will anchor again on Oahu or make for Kauai.