Honolulu Star Bulletin (05/31/97)
By Ray Pendleton
How was your Memorial Day weekend? Missing children, monk seals, sailboat races and the Ambassador of Kaena Point all played a part in mine.
Since early 1995, Hawaii's Department of the Attorney General has operated a program called the Missing Child Center - Hawai`i, also known as the Missing Children's Clearinghouse.
Through both public and private funding efforts, hundreds of missing or abducted children in this state have been reunited with their parents or legal custodians without charge.
To assist in raising contributions for the Center, the Waikiki Yacht Club dedicated its annual "Around the Island Race" last weekend for the second year in a row. Some 34 sailboat owners with numerous sponsors from around O`ahu took part.
The first leg of the race on Saturday began outside the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and ended in Kaneohe Bay, where the sailors spent the night at the Kaneohe Yacht Club.
On Sunday, the second leg ran from Kaneohe, north to Kahuku Point and then west to a finish line off Kaena Point. Once rounding the point - and coming under the lee of the island - the boats motored or ghosted on to Pokai Bay for the night.
The third and final leg on Monday had the racers begin off Pokai Bay and return to a finish line off the Ala Wai harbor entrance.
In Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) 1, Les Vasconcellos' Urban Renewal took first place overall, followed by Rick Shema's Charisma in second, and Skip Winterbottom's Desperado in third.
In PHRF 2, Dan Grounds' Boondoggle captured first place, David Welker's Lono took second, and Ned Murphy's and Dan Weyant's Great Red Shark took third.
In PHRF-C, first place honors went to Tiare, driven by Curtis Collins, second to Shibui driven by Park Shorthose, and third to Coup d' Etat, co-driven by Thomas and Charity Palmatier.
In the multihull division, Mark Ott's Breaking Wind won first place, Mark Werkmeister's Makalii took second, and Peter Hershorn's Illusion took third.
As for the monk seals and the Ambassador of Kaena Point, I must regress to Sunday's race, from Kaneohe Bay to Kaena Point.
Principal Race Officer, Phil Drips, had talked me into assisting him identify boats crossing the finish line. He said all it would take was our making a short boat ride out from Haleiwa, setting a floating mark off Kaena Point, finding our way on shore and out to the light on the point, and then waiting for the boats to come by.
The mark setting went as planned and soon we met up with our ride to take us about a half-mile short of the point, where no motor vehicles are allowed. Our driver was State Forestry and Wildlife Division employee Ruben Mateo, and as we came to discover, he is the Ambassador of Kaena Point.
Six days a week, Mateo patrols one of Hawaii's last intact dune ecosystems - designated a natural area reserve since 1983 - and without question, oversees it with diplomatic aplomb. He makes his point about protecting the land with hand shakes, smiles and the voice of a teacher, whether talking to legal bicycle riders or illegal motorcycle riders.
As the winds were light that day, darkness ended our vigil for boats finishing the race without even one being recorded.
Nevertheless, we had no regrets on leaving because we had had the unique opportunity of briefly becoming guardians for a rare monk seal sunning itself on the rocks below and the pleasure of immersing ourselves for hours in a natural, litter-free environment.
Hele on Back