Stuff That Washes Ashore In Kailua

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - October 13, 2010
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Randy Cates stands on what was a trimaran

Kailua Beach has seen its share of unexpected visitors over the years.

Many may recall what washed ashore on the morning after the Fourth of July fireworks celebration in 2001. Kailua residents woke up to find the beach littered with pyrotechnic equipment and debris. The barge that was used to launch the fireworks drifted onto the reef overnight and one of its hulls was punctured. Hundreds of pounds of equipment fell into the ocean and volunteers spent nearly two days recovering items and cleaning the beach.

Then in January 2004, a rising tide brought in a training mine that was out at sea for many years. A U.S. Navy ordinance disposal team determined the mine was not carrying explosive charges, but it was enough to scare hundreds of people out of the water.

And just two months ago, a barnacle-covered blue 55-gallon plastic barrel filled with an unknown liquid washed ashore at Kailua Beach. AHazmat team determined the liquid was dangerous to humans. It was disposed of, but not before a portion of the beach was briefly shut down.


Of course, other unwanted visitors have come ashore including tiger and hammerhead sharks, dead puffer fish and the occasional massive influx of Portuguese man-ofwar. But nothing has grabbed the attention of so many beachgoers as what recently washed ashore at Kalama Beach.

“I thought what on earth is that,” said Kailua resident Stephanie Langkamp. “It’s like a UFO. It really looked from far away like something really massive like an alien came to the beach.”

The guessing game continued for several days.

“Kids have been coming up with theories they think it’s an airplane,” laughed Kailua resident Bart Dame. “Someone said it’s a Klingon Warbird that’s crashed, or Kevin Costner’s vessel from Water World and he’s drinking in the bars in Kailua.”

Turns out the massive vessel was what was left of a trimaran that was brought in with high surf and a rising tide. It was estimated to be about 50-feet wide. It was covered with barnacles indicating it had been in the ocean for a long time.

“It just really amazes me how this current and the power of the water really brings these massive pieces to our beach,” said Langkamp. “This is probably the biggest I’ve seen so far.”

Dame went one step further. “When we were kids we used to find glass balls. This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen washed up on Kailua Beach in years,” he laughed.

After sitting on the beach for nearly four days, the state hired marine salvage company Cates International to remove the vessel at a cost of $8,000. Owner Randy Cates and his crew worked tirelessly to remove the old vessel that was not only an eyesore but a safety hazard as well.

“Some kids already were playing on top of it over the weekend, and who is responsible for that if something really happens?” asked Langkamp, who was concerned about someone getting hurt. “I just walked on top of it and it’s very slippery.”


“The trimaran has actually been out about 12 miles. The fishermen have been enjoying it. They’ve been catching a lot of mahimahi out there, and I so guess within the last bunch of days it kind of shifted course and came over here,” said Meghan Statts of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

The vessel was slowly escorted away from the shoreline, putting an end to several days of imagination, guessing and speculation. It’s still a mystery where the trimaran came from, but when it comes to Kailua Beach, that’s part of the magic.

Cates and crew cut it up and disposed it a Keehi Small Boat Harbor.

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