Ships Named Kauai

I never understood the tradition of naming ships after geographic places, or people for that matter. I guess they ran out of cool names like Endurance and Resolution.

So I never thought there might be boats named after Kaua’i, but I’ve heard of two recently. Neither are really famous, and both are or were associated with local shipping companies, as you might expect.

The first is the 720-foot container ship SS (steamship) Kauai, built in 1980, modified in 1994, and operated by Matson Navigation between Hawai’i, Seattle, and Oakland. In one article, SS Kauai got caught in a bad storm off of Washington state and had to be rescued by a tug boat. Because the internet has everything, here are some photos. They’re taken from some website unknown-to-me that gave me a security warning, so I took the liberty of copying them and republishing the best of them here.



Source: bridgedeck.org


Source: A photographer named “goldfish”

On the open ocean, on a calm day


Source: A photographer named “goldfish”

I guess this is what our container had to go through sometimes


Source: A photographer named “goldfish”
I hope she displays her name proudly

Superstructure and ship bell
Source: A photographer named “goldfish”


Source: A photographer named “goldfish”

Sadly, I doubt the SS Kauai ever gets to see Kaua’i. I think Matson transboards the containers to smaller barges for the neighbor islands. I guess Nawiliwili harbor couldn’t even berth her.

After the island names had all been taken in the fleet, it seems that Matson has turned to other names. Thus there is a SS Lihue, and their roll-on/roll-off car transport barge (ro-ro in the jargon) is called Wai’ale’ale (7,700 tons, hull #252 finished in Sept 1991 by the Bollinger Gretna shipyard of Harvey, Louisianna). I probably shouldn’t look for one, but I just don’t see the connection.

The other Kauai namesake is a much older steamship Kauai that sunk in shallow water in Mahukona port (more like a landing pier) on the north-west coast of the Big Island. A Big Island blog called A Darker View (the author is an astrophotographer) has an article about it, with this great picture and map goodness. What’s interesting is that it is accessible to snorkelers because it’s only 15-20 feet down, with a huge propeller to see.



Source: darkerview.com

According to the International Handbook of Underwater Archaeology, “the wooden-hulled ship went onto the reef [in 1913] while carrying railroad parts and bags of sugar between the islands.”[source] That book has a whole chapter about Hawaiian wrecks, for example the iron-hulled SS Maui lies on a “lava reef” a few miles south on the Kona coast. There might also be a cannon offshore of Waimea on Kauai, from a Russian ship bound for the Russian Fort there.

Which reminds me, I do know of a few potential wrecks near Kauai, but I’ll save that for another post.

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/ships-named-kauai/.
© 2017.

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