We've been living aboard Huzzah in the Ali Wai Marina for a month now, and have thoroughly enjoyed our Hawaiian experience! The weather has been fantastic, sans a few days of rain. Our location provides us easy access to all the services and amenities we need with a huge shopping mall, grocery stores, big-name hotels, a copious number of restaurants, marine chandleries, and the ubiquitous Costco, Home Depot and Walmart stores. In contrast to our stays in Mexico and French Polynesia, this is almost too easy! To date, we have hiked up Diamond Head, visited most of the island's major beaches, walked the fashionable shops on the strip (apparently, people do buy designer shoes and handbags when on vacation), ridden the city busses, watched surfers carve big waves, and patronized many of the local restaurants. The good news is that our outings have contributed to us walking about 4 miles a day. And a special treat for us has been spending time with Jody's parents Stan & Jerry! Their condo is less than a mile away, so getting together for meals, a football playoff game or a walk has been fun and easy.
The never-ending boat projects have received some attention as well. After 19 years', the main cabin windows were beginning to leak (especially after the last passage), and needed to be replaced. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but totally underestimated how difficult cleaning the old adhesive off the aluminum frames would be! After 4 days of effort, the new windows were finished just in time for our first big Hawaiian winter rain.
The cruiser community here is small, but the people are awesome! We've made friends with sailors that have (or plan to) sail the South Pacific, so we have a lot of common interests. Most are younger than us, working to fill their cruising coffers before moving on, but cruising sailors don't seem to have generational differences. Our new friends have gone way beyond normal levels of kindness by loaning us their car, or taking us to/from the airport, and helping us with the marina bureaucracy. And all are game for a spontaneous cockpit party.
Our marina is not part of the upscale environment that surrounds tourists visiting Waikiki. In marked contrast to the gorgeous hotel lobbies, pools and well-kept shops, our marina is a dilapidated backwater armpit. The marina water is polluted with every type of floating garbage one could imagine. People have died (it's true) from flesh-eating bacteria contracted from falling in the water here. The cinderblock restrooms have been trashed, most toilet doors are missing, and few showers still function. Homeless people are everywhere digging thru the garbage and drug addicts sleep and shower in the marina's open restrooms. The land portion of this marina is a sketchy place. We pay a $150/month liveaboard fee to use locked restroom facilities, but most liveaboards apparently don't. They say it's not worth paying as they're just a bad as the unlocked ones, and the undesirables get in anyway. We agree. While many of the marina docks are fairly new (since the last tsunami), there's no sign of any maintenance since. The dock gates are broken and chained open, so people wander our docks unchecked. It only took a few encounters with druggies for Jody to opt out of the marina restrooms. While some liveaboards here are cruisers like us, the vast majority are here for the cheap accommodations. You'd be amazed how many 30-40' fiberglass sailboats built in California 40+ years ago have people living on them here. At $300/month, it's a bargain. These liveaboards have an entirely different mentality than most folks you meet on a dock. They seem to know very little about boating, and take almost no pride in their boat. There are numerous examples of hoarders piling junk on their decks so high you can't even recognize the boat.
I'm guessing these folks were raised in a bad trailer park somewhere. If there was a better choice for a marina, we wouldn't stay here. But private marinas and the yacht clubs have long waiting lists, and the sister government marina is the next harbor is reported to be even worse - which is hard to imagine. It would be hard to find a shoddier marina operation anywhere in the world. In short, a poorly managed facility, even by local government standards.
Outside the marina is another world entirely. The Hawaiian residents are super gracious, and couldn't be more friendly. The Aloha spirit is everywhere, and we love walking amongst the community. As someone said to me; "so much aloha, so little time". Once you traverse the marina parking lot to the beach or main streets, this place sparkles. Easy to see why so many come here.
Like is good aboard Huzzah in Hawaii!