Our ship Decisive, on Kauai, plots a course for two cruises every summer: “Kauai Cruise,” which is underway right now, and “Summer Cruise.” Kauai cruise is usually 5-7 days and we stay close to home. We circumnavigate Kauai anchoring at different beaches along the way, staying a night or two at each one and we have a family cook out. Sometimes we go over to the island of Niihau which is close, 17.5 miles, and it’s visible from Kauai.
Kauai Cruise gives us a chance to get our teamwork down, get the hang of provisioning and cooking on the boat, and to make sure the boat and crew are squared away for Summer Cruise, which is longer, usually 14-25 days.
On Summer Cruise we travel much farther, we cross the channel from Kauai to Oahu, which is 120 miles away; Oahu is not visible from Kauai. We like to get underway before dawn and the trip takes approximately 8 hours depending on the sea conditions. Most of us get at least a little seasick crossing the channel, but it’s quickly forgotten. After that we anchor in a bay off Oahu for a rest. Sometimes we circumnavigate Oahu over the course of our long cruise and sometimes we cross another channel from Oahu to Molokai, which is 66 miles. From Molokai you can see the Islands of Maui and Lanai; it’s really cool.
We have had a lot of great experiences on our cruises. We try to go into port at the Coast Guard Station at Sand Island, on Oahu, there we eat a meal with the coast guard and look around the base. We also go into port at the Honolulu yacht club and check out the city. One of my best memories is when I was on the helm for night watch when we were anchored off the coast of Molokai, the sun was just about to rise, everyone else was asleep and it was really quiet when a Manta-ray jumped up out of the ocean about a foot, it was amazing. The conditions can get rough out there, the wind swells get big.
I remember one day we were crossing the channel and we were just about in the middle, so you couldn’t see Oahu or Kauai, it was just us and the ocean; I was sleeping in the galley but suddenly a huge roller (wave) comes, it goes through the bridge and splashes on my face, I quickly woke up to see the stairs from the bridge to the galley rushing with water, as if it were a waterfall.
When out at sea together for this amount of time your ship bonds, it’s basically like a big family. My Skipper likes to plan the timing of our Summer Cruise so that we return home one or two days before school starts, this way when we start school we can sit in class and think about the amazing adventure we just had the week before, almost like a dream.
These days at sea count toward your Long Cruise Badge once you make the rank of Ordinary Sea Scout. The Long Cruise Badge represents 14 days at sea and after that you earn a red arc for each additional 14 days at sea, when you reach 5 red arcs you earn a white arc.