The Squall

I went sailing with a friend on Sunday. The day started off calm and sunny with light winds…nice conditions for pootling along on the water.

My friend let me steer. The boat was behaving well, so I didn’t have to do too much to keep her headed in the direction we wanted to go (toward the Chinese tanker anchored offshore).

Saw a number of flying fish. Wish I could get a photo of them!

As we got nearer to Chang Hang Xi Wang, the sound of thunder alerted us to a change in the weather. Looking toward shore, we could see clouds and rain stretching from the Wai‘anae Range to the Ko‘olau Range.

Koolau rain

My friend checked the marine weather report. Eek! Flash flood watch with the chance of funnel clouds for the south shore. We decided we’d better get back to the Ala Wai as soon as possible.

We took pics of Chang Hang Xi Wang before turning back to the east:

Chang Hang Xi Wang offshore

The sky was getting darker as the clouds and rain moved towards the ocean:


Uh oh RO RO! We had an unexpected encounter with a car carrier.

uh oh ro ro

(Note: We weren’t that close…zoom lens!)

Felicity Ace leaving Honolulu Harbor (earlier than indicated in schedule):

Felicity Ace


Sky looking rather scary:


Time to put away the Nikon and fancy new phone. The rain started to fall and increased to a downpour. The horizon disappeared.

My friend asked me to steer again as she took in the sails. It was hard to see the buoys marking the channel into the Ala Wai because of the falling rain ahead and the water being blown into my eyes. I was wearing a hat with a brim, but found myself wishing for a proper tarpaulin hat and foul weather gear. I can’t remember the last time I was soaked so thoroughly.

Needless to say, we made it safely into the harbor. The sky was already beginning to clear as we arrived at the slip.


Ala Wai Scenes

Best intentions and all that…we didn’t make it out of the harbor this past Sunday.

There were still things of interest.

The doves made a new nest on my friend’s boat. Here are the nest and eggs moved into a flower pot:

dove nest

Unhappy parent:

sad parent

New word of the day: propagule

red mangrove propagule

Crab munching on a fish:

crab with fish

I like porcupine fish. They are cute. I’ve named this one “Commissioner Bele”:

Commissioner Bele

(No, it’s not Photoshopped!)

There was a skirmish between two small puffers. A black one was attacking a smaller brown one. It was actually a bit traumatic to watch. The small brown puffer’s only defense was to puff up:

puffer conflict

It eventually managed to swim away. I hope it survived.


Ala Wai sunset

Photography From a Sailboat

Some days, the shots are good. Yesterday, not so much.

The camera’s auto focus wasn’t cooperating, so I had to focus manually.

China Airlines plane just after taking off from the reef runway:

China Airlines

Not too bad considering it was moving fast.

Stationary tanker (Smart Lady)? How hard can that be?

out of focus Smart Lady

Meh. At least the ocean looks good.

We were waiting for Maersk Misumi to leave the harbor. The time posted in the DOT shipping schedule came and went. 😦

Headed back to the Ala Wai, we saw Manulani in the distance. The shots of her passing Diamond Head would have been very nice if they were in focus!

out of focus Manulani

At last, a fairly decent one:


Hey, what happened to the ship?


The best shots of the day were of the Atlantis XIV submarine, which we came upon by chance.

Atlantis XIV submarine

Huki Nui with the sub in tow:

Huki Nui towing Atlantis XIV

I usually see the sub being towed out of the harbor when I’m on the ship. First time I’ve been this close.

Back in the harbor, a happy crab:

crab with bread


The big news of the weekend was tropical storm Flossie. It can be a bit of a pain, but it’s better to take the proper precautions and prepare for the worst.

I went with my friend to Ala Wai Boat Harbor to see to her boat. It was such a nice day, it was hard to believe that a tropical storm was approaching.

Some parts of the harbor are gross. Organic and inorganic debris:

marine debris

Despite the not-so-nice conditions, one can find various marine life.



Tilapia (lots of them):


A hungry spotted porcupinefish:

mm crab


Homemade rat guards on Heather’s lines:

homemade rat guards

I didn’t do a whole lot on my friend’s boat, but I did manage to tie a turk’s head on the wheel:

turks head

Doing something traditional made me feel good.

After leaving the Ala Wai, we went to check up on FOC. It was good to see that things seemed to be normal.

Sunday Adventure

Another pleasant afternoon off the south coast of O‘ahu.

In previous posts, I touched on my fondness for looking at things from different perspectives. This post continues on with that.

Hello R.J. Pfeiffer!

RJ Pfeiffer

I’ve seen the Pfeiffer in the harbor (and had the honor of piping for her, oh, what seems like a lifetime ago), but it’s pretty cool to see her out at sea.

There goes Kawika after taking the pilot out to the ship:


Heading into the harbor:

RJ Pfeiffer heading in

The USCGC Kittiwake was speeding along but slowed down…


Uh oh. For a few moments, we wondered if we had violated some maritime rule we didn’t know about. Glad to see the ship go on her way into the harbor. We headed off toward Diamond Head.

Mystery bird:

what bird

And it’s actually in focus! Too bad it was so far away and heading away from the boat, so no ID.

All good things must come to an end and it was time to return to the Ala Wai.

A little while back, my friend went on a trip. When she returned, she found she was playing host to a new family: Unexpected Guests

The youngsters came back to visit:

the youngsters linger

Level horizons courtesy of Photoshop.

Threatening Weather

Thunderstorms and heavy rains were predicted for yesterday. Along with the prediction came grey skies, VOG, and uncomfortable humidity down at the harbor.

Birds continue to drop seeds/nuts on to the deck of the ship. I picked up more to add to my collection.

We put up a new banner on the port side of the ship. It seemed to be a decent size while being handled on deck, but it is really dwarfed by the size of the ship.

FOC with new banner

Since we last pumped the ballast water between tanks to correct the ship’s slight list to starboard, the list has slowly increased again. We decided to transfer water to even her out.

I didn’t feel like doing much more work, so I left with a friend to hang out on her boat in the Ala Wai.

A wandering tattler (‘ulili) in breeding plumage, landed on one of the concrete piles by the boat. Very cute!

wandering tattler

Forest of masts at sunset:

masts at Ala Wai

Puffer conflict in the shallows:

puffer conflict

The one on the right chased the other one off.

Post Tsunami Warning Post

(I’m only getting to this now because I’ve been a bit under the weather.)

A group of us went down to Pier 7 to add mooring lines to the Falls of Clyde. As expected, the civil defense sirens went off at 06:00 and ships were already getting underway to leave Honolulu Harbor.

After we did what we could for the Falls, I accompanied a fellow FoFOC board member to Ala Wai Boat Harbor to help her take her boat out to sea. Before going over to her boat, we went to look for something to eat. Due to the circumstances and the relatively early hour of the day, there weren’t many choices.

The scene outside the McDonald’s near the harbor:

tourists McD

We eventually managed to get some food (not McDonald’s). We returned to the harbor and hung out with some friends who were also taking a boat out, until we decided it was time to leave. We were one of many. It was quite amazing to look out at the horizon and see so many different types of vessels.

out to sea

The view towards shore:

towards shore

And of other vessels:


Pi‘ilani, usually seen hard at work in Honolulu Harbor

After we returned to Ala Wai Harbor, we went back to Pier 7 to check on the Falls. We were relieved to see that the old girl was fine.

We were in time to catch the parade of ships returning to Honolulu Harbor:

ships returning

Robert C. Seamans
Robert C. Seamans

It was a unique experience, but not one that I’d like to repeat!