Six years later, some progress shows

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (04/10/99)
By Ray Pendleton

Water Ways just turned six years old, so I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some of the stories from its first year in 1993 and give them an up-date.

In one of my first columns, I wrote about a place I consider perhaps the most pleasant waterfront destination O`ahu residents can find by car or boat.

I am happy to report that Annette Nahinu's La Mariana Sailing Club is not only still thriving, but is even better than ever.

It still has open slips for visiting boats and plenty of parking just off Sand Island Road. And, because Annette continues to up-grade the South Pacific decor of her restaurant, and the sing-along crowd from the old Tahitian Lanai has made La Mariana their home around the piano on Saturday nights, it may be the last touch of old Hawaiiana left on the island.

Six years ago I also noted that, for the first time, the Transpacific Yacht Race had changed in its starting procedure by using a multi-day staggered start. That change, designed to give smaller, slower boats a head start, so the fleet arrives here closer together, has generally worked well, and will be used again this year.

One of the people I featured in a '93 column, and continue to quote over the years, is economist Mike Markrich. As a proponent of the ocean recreation industry, he has provided us all with a rich source of information regarding the value of our marine activities. Is it not unfortunate that the state always seems to turn a blind eye to his data?

An often reoccurring subject of Water Ways has been the Hawaiian name for this column, the Ala Wai. As the canal that collects the run-off from the surrounding watershed, including Waikiki, it is also the source of the floating debris often found in the boat harbor of the same name.

Six years ago I wrote about how a couple of summer squalls a day apart caused havoc in the harbor. During the first downpour, the debris catch basin became filled and state crews closed it to capture the floating trash. Unfortunately, before they cleaned out the trap and opened it again, another gully-washer hit and inundated the marina with additional tons of water-borne garbage.

Have things changed? During last week's rain, the catch basin again filled with tons of trash and instead of closing the trap's boom, state crews left it open. The next day's Kona wind, together with a minus tide, caused the accumulated flotsam to back out of the trap and then inundate the marina. Different tactic, same result.

On a more positive note, in 1993, I also wrote about the formation of a new sailing organization created for women.

After observing how few women took an active part aboard most of the boats sailing in the Friday night races, some 60 ladies established the Hawaii Women's Yacht Racing Association. Their intent was to help their members learn all aspects of sailing, to become confident of their skills and to get involved.

Six years later and HWYRA is still going strong. It has its own regattas and meets monthly at the Hawaii Yacht Club. In fact, its next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 15, and will feature John Kolius, the Aloha Racing Team's America's Cup skipper. If you would like to attend, give Janet Lee Davis a call at 371-0385.

Judging by these few stories, things really haven't changed much since this column began. But it seems to me that where positive change has occurred, it was through the efforts of people who worked hard and cared.

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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