[Pictures at the end of the post…]
The Ala Wai Boat Harbor is an interesting place. It has been here for a long time. If you have ever seen a Hawaii Marina on a TV show, it was this one. It featured in Hawaii 5-0 and the S.S. Minnow left from here for her three hour tour. Like almost all marinas here is is run by the state. The good part is that it is here, and they do welcome transient boats, but you can only stay for 120 days in a calendar year.
The not so good, transient boats are banished to a remote corner of the marina, in what the locals call “Tahitian Docks”, or what the rest of the world would call a Med Moor. Good part is that they have moorings for your bow so you don’t have to drop an anchor. The bad part is that the moorings are in such bad shape that in the last few weeks three of them have broken loose. Also, the mooring buoys do not have permanently installed lines. You have to use your own, or trust the one that the last boat left behind. Imagine backing into your slip while your crew has to tie a line to the mooring ball as it goes by… Ouch… They tell you when you come in that you are in slip 858. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t see the slip numbers from the water! Really?
The staff is friendly, and helpful in their own way. Being a government operation, they follow the rule book rather than think. We just sailed 2200 miles to get here, and to prove our boat is seaworthy the rules say we have to take it out and round the entrance buoy while they watch. The “new kid” has worked here for three years, and couldn’t tell us where the holding tank pumpout was. There are 4 people working in the office. For some reason they ALL have to take lunch from 12 to 1, so the office closes. Customer service at its finest.
Now for the ugly: The Ala Wai Canal drains into the back of the marina. It receives all the stormwater runnoff from Downtown and Waikiki. There must not be any kind of catchbasins because the amount of trash that drains down is truly awful, and it accumulates in great floating rafts in some of the stagnant corners of the harbor. I would guess only about half the boats in the slips are seaworthy. Some of they are truly floating junk piles.
But you know what? A little of the proper attitude and the good is better than the bad and the ugly.