The Kula Kai is No More

I’m sad to report that the Kula Kai is indeed gone.

An email from John Eveleth, one of the harbor agents for Kewalo Basin, confirmed that she was removed from the water and broken up late last year.

Kula Kai


Holiday Ship Spotting

Rather than spending my holiday sitting at home in front of the computer, I returned to the harbor.

The Coast Guard ships were looking very sharp, dressed with flags. Here’s USCGC Rush:

USCGC Rush with flags

The usual barge traffic. Some boats on Ho‘omaka Hou:

boats by boat



“O STAR” no more! The painters were busy painting on the rest of the letters (a bit crooked) in her name:

O Star no More

Tosakaien Maru rat guard:

Tosakaien Maru rat guard

Despite the blustery wind, it was a nice day, so I decided to go walking. Instead of one of my usual routes toward ‘Ewa, I went to Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park.

A different view of Mindoro Star. The painters were definitey busy:

Mindoro Star

Some kids were jumping into a fenced off drainage canal. Not a good idea. Who knows where the run-off is coming from!

drainage canal

Cranes left at the Ehime Maru memorial:

cranes at Ehime Maru memorial

After basking for a while in the sun on top of one of the hills, I continued on to Kewalo Basin.

Did I mention it was (and still is) windy?


I was sad to discover that Kula Kai was gone. I looked around, but didn’t see her anywhere.

Her berth, next to the modern sampan Nisei, is now occupied by Betty H:

No Kula Kai

I hadn’t heard any news of her removal. A quick Google doesn’t turn up anything. She was in very poor shape, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they finally got rid of her.

Another vessel in sad shape is Vida Mia:

Vida Mia in sad shape

She needs a lot of TLC and varnish!

Here’s some info on her from WoodenBoat magazine’s website: Vida Mia

Time Running Out for Kula Kai?

A trip to Kewalo Basin isn’t complete without a visit to the old Kula Kai.

Kula Kai name

This notice (dated May of this year) was posted on board:


Poor girl. Last I heard, a group was trying to save her. Have the plans fallen through?

Photos showing the condition of parts of the wood hull:

poor condition of wood




FG 108

The bilge pump works:

bilge pump works

Male spotted boxfish swimming along the hull:

male boxfish

Taking a Break

Surprise, surprise…I didn’t go to the ship yesterday. I was invited to go on a 6-hour sail on a catamaran.

It seems that Honolulu Harbor isn’t the only place with cool fish. Walking from the parking lot to where the boat was located at Kewalo Basin, I saw male and female spotted boxfishes, a humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (Rhinecanthus rectangulus), and squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana).


There were three of them and it was fun to watch them change colors.

Anyway, on to the more scenic stuff.

Here’s the view looking toward the entrance to Honolulu Harbor. The Star of Honolulu is leaving for her morning whale watching cruise:

Star of Honolulu

On the way out, it was a real treat to see a Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi):

monk seal cropped

Canoe with Diamond Head in the background:

paddlers Diamond Head



Hawaiian green turtle (Chelonia mydas) poking its head above the water:

green sea turtle

Diamond Head with lighthouse at lower right:

Diamond Head

The wind was blowing from the south/southwest, so the aircraft approaching Honolulu International Airport adjusted their flight paths accordingly. This brought them closer to shore than normal.

Hawaiian aircraft

Looking into Honolulu Harbor with downtown Honolulu in the background:

downtown Honolulu

Can you see Falls of Clyde? 😉

Oo, I think I see my house!


On the return to the berth at Kewalo, a different view of the poor Kula Kai:

Kula Kai

The stern to the right belongs to a modern sampan, Nisei.

It was a long, but fun day.

Kula Kai Update

Last year I posted this entry about the Kula Kai:

Last of Her Kind…Another One

Since I was in the area (Kewalo Basin) yesterday, I thought I’d pay her a visit.

Kula Kai at Kewalo

What I saw made me quite sad. I suppose people feel the same way when they look at the Falls.

As you can see, she needs quite a bit of work to preserve her.

Kula Kai stern

Kula Kai twds bow

wood detail

rotten part

I hope she gets the help she needs.

ETA: Just found this link: Kula Kai in Danger of Sinking

Seems she will be hauled out and turned over to a nonprofit organization.

Final Efforts Made To Save Historical Vessel – KITV

Final Efforts Made To Save Historical Vessel – Video – KITV Honolulu.

KITV News report about the Kula Kai (poor thing), along with a short bit about the Falls at the end.

Last of Her Kind…Another One

Those who have followed the story of the Falls of Clyde know that she is special because she is the last of her kind…an iron-hulled, 4-masted sailing oil tanker. Yesterday, while out taking photos for a design project, I came across another special vessel at Kewalo Basin.

Although she looked quite sad and forlorn, I could see that she was nothing like the other fishing boats moored nearby. I was intrigued by her and snapped a few pictures.

She is the wooden-hulled sampan Kula Kai…the last of her kind in Hawai‘i.

Kula Kai at Kewalo

When I looked for information about her, I came across this article written by Bob Krauss, who was one of Falls of Clyde’s champions when he was alive:

Kula Kai Vessel Last of Its Rugged Kind

I wonder what the Fates have in store for Kula Kai?