While on a stopover at Kaunakakai, Molokai, we saw a bulletin board notice at the general store offering "Free Kittens." Well, Kittens are hard to resist but we were concerned about how well a cat would adapt to the cruising life, not to mention the risk of going overboard. After thinking it over we decided to call the number which was answered by a nice young mother who lived on the other side on the island. Since we had no transportation, she agreed to join us for dinner the next evening aboard the Kentucky Princess with her son and our new kitten. After a very enjoyable evening spent visiting with our new friends and thinking of names for our new kitten, we decided upon "Moku," which means "boat," in Hawaiian.
Moku only had one night to adjust to her new surroundings, as we needed to set sail for Oahu early the next morning. This crossing of the Kaiwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu is very rough. It is known as the "Molokai Express" because the currents can run up to six knots. All Hawaiian channel crossings are dangerous, but the Molakai Express has many surprises for the unwary sailor. This day was no exception, and after a rough crossing we were very happy to drop anchor in Maunalua Bay after crossing the channel and rounding Kawaihoa Point with Koko Head Volcano protecting this anchorage. Our first question after getting settled was, "How did Moku do with this rough crossing? Did she get seasick? Do cats get seasick? Was she frightened?" We soon found out when we let her out of the cabin to get some fresh air. She made a bee line for our ensign fluttering off the transom, and was soon hanging off of the end of the boat batting at the flag. She was not fazed a bit by her first crossing, and never let rough weather stop her from engaging in hair raising exploits.
People often ask what it is like to cruise with a pet. As for Moku, I don't think there are any comparisons. She was a great joy to have as a companion, but was absolutely fearless. She kept us in terror during any kind of weather because we never knew what kind of stunt she would pull next. On the occasions when we docked in a marina instead of anchoring in the bay, she learned to get off of the boat and explore the docks.
One of the joys of visiting Lanai is mooring "Bahama style" in placid little Manele Harbor. However, it has one funny quirk that can be a rude awakening for the unsuspecting visitor. This normally serene anchorage is sometimes subjected to a brief but intense storm which rips into the harbor off of 3,000 foot Mt. Waiakeakua at 45 knots. After an hour or so the wind dies and everything gets back to normal. An hour of intense winds in a small anchorage can do lots of damage, especially if it hits at 2:00 a.m. Needless to say, we found ourselves in a Chinese fire drill, trying to keep the Kentucky Princess from going aground or hitting other boats, all of whom were experiencing similar problems. While on the bow fighting with the anchor in the midst of all this chaos, what do I discover but Moku inbetween my legs playing with the anchor chain! I had to laugh, but I really had other priorities than playing with Moku at that moment.
Would I Recommend cruising with a pet? For us, Moku was a great joy, but she used up her nine lives and then some. She now lives on land. It may not be as exciting for her, but life is much safer. We did everything we could think of to keep her as safe as possible. When at anchorage, she had her own little float with a ladder so she could get herself back on the boat if she fell over (which did happen once). I feel very fortunate to have gotten Moku. She added great pleasure to our cruising aboard the Kentucky Princess. But I am just as glad that she is now safe on land...
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Captain Dan Collie
3463 State St. #435
Santa Barbara, Ca. 93105
Tel & Fax: 805/569-3761