To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, October 16, 1999

We’re not leaving
the home rock

TEN years ago, my wife and I sailed a boat from Seattle to Hawaii. After 26 days, we reached the Molokai Channel. On a clear day when the trades are on, you can fly over that stretch of ocean and see the waves reflected off the islands. They form a crosshatched pattern -- almost plaid.

Blue-water swells lift a boat, carry it over the crest, tip it left, tip it right and set it down in the trough -- yawing this way and that. The sequence repeats rhythmically, day after day. By comparison, the Kaiwi Channel creates a motion reminiscent of the sturdy-cotton cycle in a washing machine.

We arrived in early July. At first, Oahu was just an unmoving cloud in the afternoon sky. The sun set, but the distant lights of Honolulu persisted on the western horizon. We bounced and thrashed through increasingly chaotic seas. Diamond Head, our "home rock," appeared and grew larger as the night lengthened.

For almost a month our view had been water, sky and celestial bodies. Running past Makapuu Light, reaching around Hanauma Bay and churning toward the Diamond Head buoy we stood on the deck, hung on and drank in the scene.

From offshore at night, Oahu is a magical place. Suburban streetlights cascade down the ridges and valleys like streams of lava. As you turn the corner at Leahi, Waikiki and Downtown come into view -- it's improbably gorgeous. The ocean subsides, the trades drop to a gentle breeze and Hawaii embraces you.

As we neared the Ala Wai entrance the eastern sky brightened. We dropped the sails and quietly started the motor. Coming up the channel, we saw the dawn patrol waiting in the lineup at Kaisers to catch the first clean waves.

Life in Hawaii isn't perfect -- events prove that again and again -- but Hawaii never lets you forget that perfection is possible.

From that unforgettable day, Hawaii has been home. Whatever happens, we plan to stay.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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