Now that we've been here two weeks, we're starting to learn our way around the town of Lihue, and will be expanding our range significantly when we rent a car in the next couple days. For now, we've learned a few tricks for increasing our mobility and access to the major shopping areas when the cruise ships call at a nearby dock. We simply wait outside the cruise ship terminal gate and hop aboard the free shuttles that K Mart and other retailers provide. The drivers don't seem to mind as we always tip - something many cruise ship passengers don't seem to do. And when the ships aren't here, Uber rides are only $10 to/from Costco, Home Depot and Safeway.
The marina itself is a very basic, State-owned facility of ~75 berths on stationary concrete wharfs and finger piers. Truck tires are hanging everywhere to protect boats from the two-foot tidal changes and brisk trade winds. One might describe the marina as having an industrial look, as you can see stacks of shipping containers and a propane storage farm right next door. The marina's single restroom is typical Hawaiian style with open ceilings and a beach (cold water) shower. The shower even sports a door, and is very popular with the local community. We are very lucky to have moorage here as there are only a dozen slips that would accommodate our boat in this marina, and only one is for transient yachts. And this is the only marina on the island that has larger slips. Fortunately for us, Kristy the Harbormaster is a super nice lady that really works hard to help cruisers like us. Thanks to her, managing crew arrivals and provisioning for our passage home will be considerably easier than if we were at anchor!
The US Coast Guard is our closest neighbor in the harbor and maintains a station here with two fast response 40' aluminum boats, and lots of activity to observe a few hundred feet behind Huzzah. We have watched them drill in protective suits, disarming each other of weapons under the hot sun, and shouting a lot. Jody already alerted them to the fact that they were flying the Hawaii State flag upside down. We originally thought this act might be on orders from the White House, but it's been flying correctly for days now - so maybe not. .
We've begun to meet more of the locals with boats here, and have been to the Nawiliwili Yacht Club a few times after racing.
A former competitor from my Tacoma Yacht Club days lives here now and races his Olson 30 each Thursday afternoon against five other Olson skippers and a handful of PHRF boats from the Yacht Club. I used to own and race the same type of boat, so I was able to finagle my way aboard his boat. It's not easy working an Olson foredeck in 15+ knots of wind at my age, but that's the position assigned to me. We just won the series, so the crew is happy! And our cruising friends Bill & Deb arrived a few days ago in their 40' sailboat Anakena. Always nice to be with friends when exploring new places!
Kauai is a small island, and the people seem to take pride in that fact. The Aloha spirit just seems a little more genuine here than elsewhere I've been in Hawaii. To me, it almost feels like the Polynesian culture we experienced a short year ago while in FP. We love it here. And the rain squalls that roll through each night and cause us to jump out of bed to close all the deck hatches, just keep it real.
Aloha from Huzzah