Monday, May 12, 2008

Kamehameha and the Kauai Channel

From: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Why did Kamehameha have trouble with the Kauai Channel?
Question: Why exactly did Kamehameha have difficulty crossing the Kauai Channel with a large party and not have that same problem with the Kaiwi Channel, Pailolo Channel nor the Alenuihāhā Channel?

It is a two part answer. The first part is obvious, the second part less so.

First, the Kauai Channel is 2 to 3 times and more the distance of the other channels. Most of the crossing is exposed to the wind and wave elements and not blocked by any land as with some of the other interisland routes. If one can imagine the rough, uncomfortable crossings in either the Kaiwi or Pailolo, multiply that duration by 3 times longer.

Second, the more interesting reason is the following:

A crossing of Kaiwi Channel, Pailolo Channel or the Alenuihāhā Channel can be done at an angle either into or with the wind and waves. A Kauai Channel crossing cannot be done either into or with the normal tradewide. It has to be perpendicular to the prevailing tradewide. For a craft on the surface of the water, pitch and yaw are more easily dealt with as opposed to roll, thus the term 'huli." Going perpendicular to strong wind and waves for at least 70 miles and 2 hours or longer is going to create a lot of roll opportunities. Things that move fast on the surface of the water will experience more unpredictable movement in the Kauai Channel relative to the other channels. This is why the Kauai Channel is different from the other channels beyond the greater distance involved.

Aloha, Brad

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