Cruise to the Unknown
by Glen Pang


On Saturday morning I prepared to take my recently acquired Ranger 26 ft sailboat, KiPi Kai, on a 30 mile cruise from Ala Wai Boat Harbor to Pokai Bay on the Leeward coast of Oahu with a group from the Yacht club.

Since this was my first cruise to unknown territory I wanted to be sure to sail near the rest of the group.  But I left an hour late, 9:10 am, and Seaquel left an hour early, which kept me about an hour behind, watching two boats in the distance.


Navigation:  using dead reckoning I figured that I would arrive at Pokai Bay two hours after rounding Barber’s Point.  Seeing the pictures of Pokai Bay’s entrance on the HYC Cruising Society web site pages helped me to confirm the location.  In my haste getting ready for the cruise I did not secure fresh charts of the Leeward coast, and my ship compass had no fluid and needed to be fixed.  A Google map helped me determine that there are no other harbors within an hours’ sail of Pokai and Waianae Harbor, but I still was not sure where the place was.

Using my binoculars I could see the “sticks” of sailboats in the adjacent Waianae Harbor, which told me “aha, that must be it, let’s check it out”.  Also I had watched Seaquel’s sails disappear in the area, and although they were so tiny in the distance, that was another navigational aid which confirmed the approximate area to approach land.

As I approached nearer I could see two masts behind the protective rock wall of Pokai Bay. It was Seaquel and Alchemy.  As I sailed up the leeward coast I had totally missed the two giant radio tower antennae.  The lesson I learned is to have as many navigational aids or markers as possible.

I met with the amazing wonders of cruising on several occasions on the trip.  I saw whales jumping out of the water, making huge sprays of water.  Along with the excitement was fear that they would hit or ram my small boat.  So I began to hit the hull to let the whales know I was there.  I made sure not to hit in three short and three long thuds, because, you know, …a submarine from Pearl Harbor might surface to aid my SOS signal.

Single handing a boat on longer trips can bring out the creative imagination in you.  I even felt free to talk to the whales!  They didn’t respond though.  No, wait, maybe they did.  I asked them to stay away or to come close but not hit my boat, and none of them did.

On Sunday two turtles hung out all day within Pokai Bay.  On one of my snorkeling trips to check the anchor, one turtle came up from the depths to greet me.  We both were a bit apprehensive; I wanted to pet it but stopped because he/she might think I intended to hurt it.  I could see some fear in the turtle’s eyes.