Part 3: It’s blowing 30 knots on the windward side of the island, producing 12-foot seas in Alenuihaha Channel.
By Richard Thiel — October 2002
It's blowing 30 knots on the windward side of the island, producing 12-foot seas in Alenuihaha Channel, which divides Hawaii from Maui, so we decide to hang here another day. We head up to the north Kohala Coast to Malae Point, where Gaffney says there's good snorkeling, which turns out to be an understatement. Besides seeing densely populated Yellow and Achilles Tangs, Orangeband Surgeon, Moorish idols, and a raft of other psychedelic specimens, I spot a four-foot battleship-gray reef shark and Meyers reports sighting a manta ray that measures some six feet wide tip to tip. Our voyeurism satiated, we head a half-hour south to Puako Bay, a marine preserve, and have dinner anchored a few hundred yards off singer Neil Young's house.
We're underway the next morning at 8:45, bound for Maui. Although it's dead flat here on, we're expecting things to get sporty in Alenuihaha Channel, given the trade winds, so everything is secured. Hawaii's snow-capped peaks are astern as we enter the strait, where seas are running six feet on the beam, but Kakela's Naiad stabilizers manage the roll. We pass the collapsed crater Molokini, a popular snorkeling spot, at 12:15, and then we're in the flat waters of Maalaea Bay. Docking at tiny Maalaea Harbor, we search for suitable souvenirs and sample the local microbrews. The next day we haul anchor and head west to Lahaina, the old whaling port and one-time capitol of the Kingdom of Hawaii, pick up the Baldwins' mooring, and rendezvous with Piper for a day of fishing off Molokai.
The following day, Super Bowl Sunday, we devote to, sorry to say, fruitless trolling, heavy snacking, and snatches of the game. But while we'll have no photos of granders, we enjoy two consolations. The trip out and back is a grand ride, since Baldwin recently repowered Piper with a pair of 1,050-hp MANs that produce an easy cruise of 35 knots. And we get close-up views of Molokai's spectacular shoreline, including the famous leper colony at Kalaupapa, which is still extant, although the population is free to come and go at will, and Father Damien's small homestead.
It's a quick run back to the mooring at Lahaina, where I spend one last night on Kakela before reality intrudes. As I grab my duffel bag the next morning and head up the dock, I spot a spectacular rainbow in the distance. Beneficent omen? Given the fact that I'm headed back to New York, probably not. But then again, considering how well the last one turned out, maybe so.
Kakela is available for charter for $26,000 per week out of Hawaii or $25,000 out of Maui, plus expenses. Piper charters for $1,500 per day.
Bob Saxon Associates Phone: (954) 760-5801. Fax: (954) 967-8909. www.bobsaxon.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.