Voyage of Traveler / Blog

August 2, 2011

Traveler Position Report August 2, 2011

Filed under: Pacific Ocean, Year: 2011, Transpac 2011 — mrlawlerjr @ 3:44 pm

Traveler Position Report
August 2, 2011 at noon PDT
26-00 N, 159-48 W
Course 020 M, Speed 6.5 knots

All’s well aboard Traveler as we make our way from the Hawaiian Islands back to Southern California.

I’m glad to report that Erik is gradually feeling better after a day and a half of sea sickness, and he is able to stand his watch once again.

On July 31, before making our way back home, we sailed west for 35 miles from Hanalei Bay, Kauai, to Lehua, a volcanic crater with the northern side open to the sea, at the Island of Niihau. What an amazing place. It has been described as having the best diving in Hawaii and is considered as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Lehua is similar in size and shape to the crater of Molokini off Lahaina, Maui, if you have been there. We motored into the spectacular crater, but found it too rough to stay, even if we had found one of the submerged moorings. So we then motored around to the outside southwest corner and found calm conditions in the lee of the crater, and one of the submerged moorings. Brian, with an assist from Erik, dove about ten feet below the surface with a long line from Traveler in hand, looped it through the mooring, and back up to Traveler so we could have lunch and go for a swim. Right away, a Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species, came by to check us out. Jeannine, Erik and Natalie all got to snorkel with the seal, close enough to touch her. While Brian and I were scuba diving, we held out our hands as the seal slowly approached us. She cautiously sniffed our hands as if to say “Aloha,” then allowed us to pet her. The Lehua Crater at Niihau was a memorable side trip, and well worth going the extra miles out of the way. If you have Google Earth, the coordinates are 22-01.5 N, 160-05.7 W, on the northern tip of Niihau, the “Forbidden Island.”

Niihau has some interesting history. On December 7, 1941, after participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese Zero pilot crash-landed his damaged plane on Niihau, the westernmost of the eight major Hawaiian islands. The Japanese believed the island was uninhabited, but at the time it had 136 residents, all native full-blooded Hawaiians. As a part of the overall plans to bomb our fleet and planes on Oahu, the Japanese Admiralty designated Niihau as a safe, convenient location for damaged aircraft to land and rendezvous with a rescue submarine. The pilot, Naval Airman 1st Class Shigenori Nishikaichi, survived the crash and was captured and held by four Niihauan civilian guards, making him the first American-held Japanese POW of WWII. Yoshio Harada was born in Hawaii of Japanese ancestry, lived on Niihau with his wife, and served as the translator. Nishikaichi, with the help of Harada, overpowered the guards, who were not taking their duties seriously, grabbed a pistol and and a shotgun, and took Ben and Ella Kanahele as hostages. Later, Ben and Ella noticed their captors were fatigued and jumped them. Nishikaichi shot Ben three times, but Ella, apparently a large, powerful and now very mad Hawaiian woman, took revenge. She bashed the Japanese pilot’s head in with a rock. Harada, the interpreter, then committed suicide with the shotgun. Ben was hospitalized on Kauai and survived his gunshot wounds. The US Navy report on the “Niihau Incident,” especially the conclusion that an American of Japanese ancestry (Harada, the interpreter) went to the aid of a captured Japanese pilot and plotted with him for his escape, was considered when the Congress debated and decided to establish the Japanese Internment Camps. The wrecked remains of the Zero are on display at the Pacific Air Museum located on Ford Island, part of the Pearl Harbor Memorial. For more info, check out the Wikipedia article on the “Niihau Incident.”

Just 2300 miles to go until we are back home in Newport Beach.

Living The Dream,


  1. Michael…..
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in your blog, I also want to thank you for providing my daughter Natalie with an experience of a lifetime! I hope all is going well for you and the crew and I look forward to following your progress on your blog,
    Take care,
    Andrew Goldstein

    Comment by Andrew Goldstein — August 3, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  2. Thanks for the very interesting info regarding the Niihau Incident.

    Comment by Louise Losson — August 5, 2011 @ 5:47 am

  3. What an aewomse way to explain this-now I know everything!

    Comment by Alyn — August 11, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  4. dbG4uN uaqbqimzkjkb

    Comment by buyizc — August 12, 2011 @ 10:20 am

  5. 6k6PLX mbcagcdysjsh

    Comment by wikvdy — August 15, 2011 @ 6:27 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress