- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

28 November 2012; Honolulu, Hawaii.

 In the morning the wind finally veered all the way to the East and became a following wind. The velocity reduced to 10 knots but only for a short while. Shortly after we entered Kaiwa channel between Molokai and Oahu and the funnel wind effect caused the wind to breeze up again to nearly 20 knots. The swell slowly diminished and by the time we came in the lee of Koko head it had mostly disappeared. Koko Head is a protruding cliff that comes out from the land in the same way as Diamond Head does, which is the next cliff/mountain top to the west. During the night the two are not dissimilar and the accumulated sailor’s wisdom in the pilot guide warns to be careful here. Many a ship took a turn to starboard too early, thinking it was sailing past Diamond Head and seeing the lights of Waikiki beach on the sb side. Not every captain realized the mistake on time and some ships ran aground in this area. We did not make that mistake, as we had read the pilot guide of course and we turned to starboard once we were past Diamond Head and saw the port of Honolulu on our starboard side. 

Coming from the East you cannot see Aloha Tower as it is obscured by several large (banking?) buildings that dominate the sky line. It was not until we were well inside the harbor entrance that the famous tower came into view. We were assigned to dock at pier 10, which is right under the tower. This is from where all the famous ships in white sailed to and from Hawaii. Especially the Matson liners, whose dock scenes have been recreated with large murals in the baggage hall. Being a dock from the past, it is not that long and that means that most modern cruise ships have to dock at a cargo pier. Thus we saw the Star Princess docked away from Aloha tower when we came in. The Statendam nowadays classifies as a small ship and thus we were the perfect match for the Aloha Tower dock.

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To the dock at Aloha tower is only a few miles from sea, so the approach can go quite fast if you keep the speed up a little bit.

By 14.30 we were docked, 15 minutes earlier than I expected by courtesy of a quick maneuver and not having to wait for a shore gangway. At this dock we have the option to hook in a main deck shore gangway and then the guests go down to street level by escalators. However due to a decision making process that did not involve me, it was decided that the ship would use its own gangway on the street level.

I was all in favor of that one, as it goes much faster with docking. With a fixed shore gangway you have to park the ship on an inch, and as shore side is never able to decide at once which inch is the correct inch, it can take awhile. With our own gangway we can simply stop where there is space and it does not matter if that is a foot more one way or the other. Plus our gangway is at street level and thus there is no fuss with escalators or elevators.

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Aloha Tower looming over the ship. Just to the left you can see the Star Princess. she is too large for the Aloha Tower piers and was thus parked at a cargo pier. 

Within 10 minutes after the first mooring line went ashore, our guests could stream ashore as well. They were stopped for a moment to receive a Hawaiian Lei, courtesy of the ship, before they continued with their invasion of Honolulu. Quite a few went directly to Hilo Hatties to stack up on Hawaiian shirts etc. Among those was roving reporter Lesley, who under the excuse that I desperately needed a Hawaiian shirt, came back with two dresses for herself for the deck party tomorrow night. We only have one party, so the reason for two dresses eluded me completely, but as we “saved money by spending it”, there was not much I could say. I saved at least $ 60 dollars yesterday due to the discount on the dresses and as a understanding husband, I can completely follow this logic.

We will be here for an overnight and sail tomorrow evening at 2300 hrs. I have asked the HOD’s to arrange the schedules for the officers in such a way that everyday somebody has at least a day or a night off, and can have some R & R. It was breezy when we arrived but tomorrow should be a wind still day with temperatures in the high seventies with sunny skies.

5 Comments

  1. Captain, I have a wife with the same logic(who hasn’t). So Lesley saved $60, that can be spent again on a $90 dress, for sale for only $60. Again a saving of $30. Aha, some pocket money for the next day and don’t buy something for the original price, otherwise the shopping is over.
    Great to read about the first habour of the 30 day journey, we hope do do that one in a future cruise. Nice weather over there, here the first winter showers will come over us this weekend. We had the first night frost, so you know what that means! Boerenkool(farmerscabbage) with gravy and sausage. Real dutch treat. We will save some for you.

  2. Missed Career at Sea

    November 30, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Thank you, Captain, for a name I didn’t know before (Kaiwi channel for Moloka’i channel).
    Making a right around Koko Head a ship would end up in Hanauma Bay – not good for ships, but a lovely aquarium to swim in.
    The large and tall buildings are simply (“Americanized”) office buildings. There are some architecturally beautiful and older low-rise buildings downtown.
    Too bad, I couldn’t make it this year to wave the ship in at the Aloha Tower area. Were the hula girls doing the honours instead, Captain? At 1430hrs it was perhaps already too warm. There is a webcam in the Aloha Tower offices, if only I had known your arrival time …

  3. Aloha Captain Albert,
    I have been following your blog and hearing from passengers on board who are to help get supplies donated to Fanning Island. I want to thank you for the help you are willing to give to that endeaver. I have a ministry dedicated to helping Fanning island (especially the people there) get clothing, medical and school supplies. I have also been able to help your other sister ships do this as well. Please feel free to visit my website http://www.pacificcaremissions.org for helpfull information on needed supplies and what has happened on previous HAL ships sailing to Fanning. I’d be most interested in communicating with you further by email rich@pacificcaremissions.org as I have a few specific needs and reccomendations for those supplies to be effectively delivered and received correctly by the Island and the officials there. I believe my input to you could be beneficial to you before arriving there.
    Best regards, RICH
    P.S. will you also be doing the February sailing to Fanning as well?

    • Good morning,

      Thank you for your email. We are glad to be helping out there on the Statendam. I have passed this on to the officers on board who are helping out with this. I have asked them to contact you for further details. I will not be on board for the February sailing as I will be on leave, hence me forwarding it to the hotel officers on board, who will be there now and also in Feb.

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      Capt. Albert

  4. Many thanks Captain. I will reply to the Human Rescource Manager’s email I received.
    Had I known you were such a compassionate captain with a great desire to assist destinations in need I would have tried to connect with you earlier. My friend who has sailed there in past(couple times) told me you had a great Blog and I now see that is true.
    There have been other captains and staff on other ships who were not so interested in helping the passengers and Islanders, and the passengers were surprised about that. You will be a true Blessing to many.
    I am so looking forward to reading more about your journey, especially the Fanning Island calling. I really hope you can personally visit the island and maybe see all the supplies your ship will donate. To tender into the channel and see the island closeup, along with smelling the air is something to experience.Only a few people will ever experience it.

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