It’s time to repair the repairs
I could see it from my office window, and like a sewer spill in the Ala Wai Canal, it wasn't pretty.
"It" was the Ala Wai Harbor's 400-foot-long D Dock that, after being condemned last July, had recently been declared by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to be safe for mooring a maximum of 37 boats.
The DLNR hired a contractor after the condemnation to fabricate a galvanized steel framework for the length of the main dock. Plywood sheets were then overlaid and fastened to the frame for additional stability and safer footing.
The DLNR noted in a news release on Nov. 17 the repairs would strengthen the dock and extend its useful life until permanent replacements can be built.
Nevertheless, the sight from some 300 yards away of numerous truncated dock fingers -- one floating on its side from the main dock like a Pearl Harbor relic -- prompted me to give D Dock a closer inspection.
D Dock, as most harbor users know, is one of three floating docks (B, C, and D) that extend laterally from a comparatively new concrete pier. Each is held in position with pilings at the ends of a number of fingers that separate and allow access to individual pairs of boats on either side of the main dock.
Before D Dock had deteriorated from age and a lack of proper maintenance to the point of being condemned, it and the other two were capable of collectively mooring close to 180 vessels.
This past week the boat count on D Dock was at 11 as I carefully made my way out on its freshly painted plywood deck.
As I had seen from my office, about half of the fingers were missing, but what I hadn't seen was that many others had danger warnings stenciled on them.
The odd thing to this casual observer was that a few of the fingers that had been stenciled were hard to distinguish from those that boat owners were being allowed to use.
It also occurred to me the stenciled warnings were located for approaching foot traffic, but any boaters pulling into those slips would be unable to see the warning.
Other features I hadn't seen from a distance were the steel cables that had been installed to secure the dock to the pilings where fingers had been removed. These would also be hazards as they all dangled somewhat obscured beneath the water.
Still, with the current lack of adequate moorings in the state, there's little likelihood the DLNR won't fill what's left of the D Dock's slips.
As one newly arrived boat owner told me, he wasn't exactly thrilled with his slip, but at least he had electricity and water hookups that were not available at his previous nearby mooring on F Dock.
If you have forgotten, F Dock is the one the Waikiki Yacht Club donated to replace another condemned dock more than a year and a half ago.