Hui Wa'a Kaukahi

Nui a lehulehu na mokupuni, 'a'ole lawa ka manawa

So many islands, so little time!

Kayaker's view of Koko Crater

Weed Out the Wimps 2024

Cover photo and story by Sandy Johnson

February 22, 2024

The annual Weed Out the Wimps paddle was sure to be canceled due to the high wind forecast until Terry saw that the Thursday before might work. I was anxious to mark this one on my map as I had not done it before. It came down to showing up that morning and making the decision to give it a go. The wind had shifted again and we were back to the original launch site at Makai Pier. Our leader, Steve, had doctor’s orders not to go in the water so he sadly helped with the carpool instead and Bill watched over our boats until we returned. It was an unofficial paddle since we had no paperwork with us.

By the time we launched, maybe close to 10 am, the whitecaps were showing, but it still didn’t feel that bad until we three intrepid paddlers (Eileen, Stan D. and I) got out past the Makai Pier. Stan’s radio was not working despite charging overnight so he communicated with his whistle and paddle signals. The wind increased as we continued and it was quite a challenge to get over to and out around the Makapu’u lighthouse. I seriously considered turning back when I felt like I wasn’t going forward and the swells increased. Was it worth it? Stan reminded me that once we got around the point the wind would be at our backs most of the way. Good ol’ encouraging Stan! He told me later he was 50% sure I was going to quit at that point!

We made it past the hardest part and lived to tell the tale. Now I know why sailors swear a lot. The choppy waves and recoil off the cliffs kept us saturated and on high alert but we did not huli or stop to take photos! I saw one magnificent whale tail in between swells blocking my view. It became almost calm as the wind pushed us toward our destination. Stan had stayed near me but we didn’t catch up to Eileen until the end, despite her attempts to go slowly. The washing machine turbulence started up again as we approached Koko Head and persevered around that point, but not nearly as bad. We navigated the breaking waves into the calm close to shore to finish our paddle with a smile and the usual groans as we attempted to stand up. Eileen had made the unique choice of crossing the reef instead and was rewarded with some water time.

That day,the 22nd of February, would have been my dad’s 95th birthday if he had lived 60 more years. I bet he would’ve been proud of me, I know my mom is.