Hawaii - Profile
- Hawaii, the 50th state of the USA, is in fact an archipelago stretching across the North Pacific from the remote Kure and Midway atolls to the more developed and heavily populated islands in the east.
- Hawaii is very different to the rest of the Pacific, mainly due to the strong American influence, also being very developed and commercial, such as the world-famous Waikiki Beach, although the old ways do survive in some places.
- The ideal landfall and start of a cruise in Hawaiian waters is the small port of Hilo on Big Island as it is upwind of the entire archipelago. Hilo is a very pleasant place to unwind after the long passage from mainland USA and also to visit the interior of the spectacular Big Island.
- In most places in Hawaii only part of the sightseeing can be done from the cockpit, as many of the interesting places are either inland or difficult to reach by boat. The Big Island is an excellent introduction to Hawaii with its magnificent Kilauea Volcano, orchid gardens, cane fields and scenic coastline. A definite stop on the lee side of the island is at Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook lost his life in 1778.
- The former whaling capital of the Pacific, Lahaina on Maui island is another popular cruising stop, as is the marine park at Hulopoe Bay on Lanai with its superb underwater scenery. Busy Honolulu with its excellent facilities has many tempting sights which should include a visit to the Bishop Museum, especially for those planning to continue their cruise to other Pacific islands, as many of the art treasures from these islands have been collected there.
- A good place to take one's leave from Hawaii is the northernmost island of Kauai and its spectacular Hanalei Bay, the set for many a South Seas movie.
- It is currently not permitted to stop at the more remote locations of Midway (or the National Wildlife Refuge or Battle of Midway National Memorial) or Wake Atoll.
- The number of marinas in Hawaii is less than one would expect in such a developed place and, on the whole, yachting facilities are below US standards. The number of cruising yachts is not very large, except in the summer when many yachts make their way across from the mainland and facilities are stretched to the full.
- With a few exceptions, marinas are state-owned and operated. This means that they are subject to standard regulations and also that docking fees are lower than in private marinas. Berths are assigned on a first come first served basis, but one may reserve a place either by writing a letter or telephoning in advance. The first three days are no longer free for visitors. Yachts registered to the state of Hawaii are eligible for the lower residents rate at marinas and moorings. Some yacht clubs also have docking facilities for visitors.
- Major repair work and services, such as hauling out and hull, engine and sail repair, are available only at Honokohau Harbour on Hawaii (Big Island), at Kewalo Basin, Keehi Lagoon and at Ala Wai Boat Harbour in Honolulu on Oahu Island. Smaller repairs can be made at Hilo, Lahaina and Nawiliwili.
- Marine supplies in the main yachting centres are good and there are several chandleries with a wide selection, including charts. Whatever is not available locally will be ordered from the mainland and air freighted to Hawaii in 48 to 72 hours.
- Provisioning is good everywhere and Hawaii is a good place to victual the boat, especially if planning to cruise the outer islands of Micronesia or the South Pacific. However, the prices are 25 per cent higher than on the mainland so all non-perishable stores should be bought before leaving the USA.
The climate is subtropical in the low coastal areas and temperate in the mountains. There is no rainy season but showers, sometimes downpours, occur in winter. The islands are under the influence of the NE trade winds and are only rarely affected by tropical cyclones.
The Islands have a significant impact on the prevailing trade winds. Katabatic winds may be present and the trade winds can be funneled into the areas between the higher islands, yielding wind speeds that may be double the surface winds elsewhere.
There is also a surface current that moves in the same direction as the trade winds.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
Line Islands: Palmyra Atoll
* indicates port of entry