Crusin’ Kewalo Basin

Remember Kewalo Basin?  I mean the old “Kewalo’s”…


Remember McWayne Marine Supply on the Diamond Head side entrance?

I wish I could’ve found a picture of the old store.


And way on the other side of the basin – Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant.


Remember when there used to be the Glass Bottom Boats at Kewalo Basin?  I never did go on the Glass Bottom Boats.  Did you get to go for a school excursion or maybe a family outing?


How about the Kewalo lunch wagons?  Remember Kanda Lunchwagon?  Share your memories of Kewalo’s with us.  Glass Bottom Boat excursions, “Sea Cruise” party boat, fishing off the docks, karaoke at Fisherman’s Wharf bar, surfing at “Harbors”, etc.  Yes, Point Panic and John Dominis Restaurant is also considered part of Kewalo Basin.  😉





69 Responses to “Crusin’ Kewalo Basin”

  1. Norman Chock says:

    I was trying to remember the name of that restaurant at the end of Kewalo Basin where my parents used to take me for the best steak around.

    • Rodney says:

      Hi Norman, Was that Sampan Inn that Tiffanie mentioned in the previous post? It was located on the Diamond head side of the harbor next to the fish net house – I think. LOL

  2. Rodney says:

    Hi Tiffanie, and welcome to the MLC blog. Thanks for your post and maybe someone will be able to recall your grandparents and the Sampan Inn.

  3. My grandparents owned The Sampan Inn in the 50’s til the early 60’s…does anybody remember them? Walter and Ethel Miyashiro….he passed away when I was a baby and my Grandma just passed in March. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, just trying to piece together some memories…..

  4. Rodney says:

    Thanks for the story, Ocean Lover!

  5. Seawalker says:

    One July 4th, got invited to sail out at Kewalo Basin to watch the fireworks. What a treat! The aerials just seem so much more brighter in the darkness of the water.

  6. Seawalker says:

    @hydroman – Knew a Joe who worked at Bumble Bee Tuna Factory. Ring a bell to you?

  7. Mark'75 says:

    @visitor: oooohhhhh….I work with one of your classmates now!! LOL

  8. Ocean Lover says:

    Ho! How did I miss THIS TOPIC?????

    Once after eating dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf…you folks remember the paper menu’s that you could use as a mask?……we went outside when an aku boat was unloading.

    My mom started “talking story” with one of the crew and next thing you know they gave us this big otaru (the BIG AKU) which they wrapped up in newspaper for us. My dad would always retell that story………

    Guess mom was an “aku bird”……………

    Good times.


  9. visitor says:

    @Mark ’75 – No, much older…63rd

  10. Mark'75 says:

    @visitor: uhm, 71st class?

  11. visitor says:

    @Mark ’75: Sounds like you were shortly after me. I was on “C” Watch. Went to the desk after 4th Watch too. Used to do Fisherman’s Wharf SD while assigned to receiving desk.

  12. LINDA KATO says:

    Last night we enjoyed our FREE movie WRATH OF THE TITANS in 3D:!: Lots of action ❗ A delightful evening with my family ❗ 😀

    Last week we enjoyed our FREE movie 21 JUMP STREET, adult humor, definitely NOT for children ❗

    I am grateful for FREE movies ❗ 😀

  13. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Wednesday ❗ 😀

    Have a great day everyone ❗ 😀

  14. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!

  15. hydroman72 says:

    @Yoshi – people still poke squid but not too much. If you dive for coins you must be one good swimma!!!

  16. LINDA KATO says:

    Good evening everyone ❗ 😀

    Great memories ❗ 😀

  17. Yoshi says:

    Hydroman72 – we use to poke squid with our slings back in the day (wen had all rocks over dea) before they fixed up the place. I miss kewalo lunch wagon and diving for coins. those were the days.

  18. hydroman72 says:

    @Rod – yes that’s the structure we’d stay on. It brings back a lot of memories. So does anyone know what it was?

  19. Mark'75 says:

    @visitor: I was assigned to the receiving desk after fourth watch from around July ’79 to about May ’80 on ‘B’ Watch.

  20. Mary C says:

    When we were little kids, we’d get to go to Fisherman’s Wharf for really special occasion birthdays and stuff. I remember they had a “treasure chest” that had these little toys you could pick from and play with while waiting for your dinner. I don’t remember dinner or what the food was like, but definitely remember the treasure chest!

  21. visitor says:

    @Mark ’75 – The mix plate was my favorite…but “one rice and two mac salads.” The mac salad had bits of head cabbage, not sure if that’s what gave it such a nice flavor. Also, I know about ‘special duty’ at Fisherman’s Wharf. You used to work at receiving desk?

    My dad purchased a boat from McWayne’s.

  22. snow says:

    my dad worked at c&e radio, which was right next to mcwayne. the fishing boat captains would call him on his days off when their boat radios weren’t working, so sometimes he took us there with him, while he stopped to fix someone’s radio before they went out fishing. he’d often bring home aku or ahi, fresh off the boat! those were the days… but after a while, i started getting tired of eating fried fish and even sashimi! 🙄 it sure would be nice to get free fish again!

    my mom took us on the glass bottom boat several times. i guess it was when mostly after we first moved to hawaii and during our suimmer vacation.

  23. Sherb says:

    Checkout the photo of Marineland Honolulu on this website!

  24. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Tuesday ❗ 😀

    Enjoyed all of your stories ❗ Nice memories ❗ 😀

    Have a great day everyone ❗ 😀

  25. LINDA KATO says:

    M: You worked out a lot ❗ Is that how you stay trim ❗ 😀

  26. Rodney says:

    @Sherb – Thanks for posting to the blog, Sherb! And Welcome!

  27. Sherb says:

    @hydroman72: Marineland eh? I have a very dim memory of seeing sharks in a tank near Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant when I was really little. That must have been the place. Wow, thanks for the memory!

  28. M says:

    @Seawalker, in those years I was in the best shape of my life. Did the Waikiki rough water swims, Marathons, Dick Evans around the island bicycle race and the Ironman.

  29. Seawalker says:

    April 1st, and it’s no fooling. Wrestlemania 28. The Rock vs. John Cena. It doesn’t get any better than that. Can you smellllllllllll what the Rock is cooking, you jabronis? 😆

  30. Seawalker says:

    Went to the HCDA meetings a few years back. Even gave a written testimony once. That’s the one with all the boat owners at Kewalo a hemming and a hawing about this and that. Our memories are good times at Kewalo Basin, but, today it’s all business out there.

  31. Seawalker says:

    @M – Did mine in the early 90’s. That was when you think you’re young, but actually you’re old stage-in-life. Didn’t have the SUP and swimmer areas back then. Used to stick to a schedule, even when the jelly fishes were out. On race morning, was so jacked up that I had to stop in the water to catch my breath to prevent hyperventilating. Good fun and good challenge. Days of youth.

  32. ankleBYTERS says:

    Fisherman’s Wharf closed ❓ When ❓

  33. dihudfan says:

    found out why they always say… no eat at the lunch wagon that has no line… for awhile we used to eat at the lunch wagons every saturday, when was working at the Advertiser… always enjoyed, except for the time we ate at the lunch wagon with no line…………..

  34. dihudfan says:

    my mom, pop and uncle worked for Hawaii Tuna Packers… mom in the canery, pop on dry docks and my uncle was a pilot for one of those tuna boats… used to visit there alot, as a kid… even got to go out with my uncle, sea sick… funny but nevah ate at those lunch wagons, till high school days with my surfing buddies… I stopped eating fish for awhile after visiting the cannery, but eat it now… it used to be a fun place to play…

  35. Rodney says:

    Paula and I made it a point to dine at Fisherman’s Wharf before they closed. It was such a throwback in time.
    As @Newman wrote – seeing all the grandma waitresses in their sailor uniforms. The best was the tiny sailor hat they had pinned in their hair, offset to one side. So cute!

  36. Mark'75 says:

    Back then Spencecliff Restaurants hired a special duty officer for closing at Fisherman’s Wharf (because of past robberies). It was a choice job. When you first arrive, there would be a large bowl of clam chowder waiting for you. That and a couple of salt crackers was the best!

  37. Rodney says:

    @Mark’75 – LOL!

  38. Mark'75 says:

    Sometimes the people in line at the lunchwagon would tense up when the metermaid guy arrived (worrying about their paking meter)…….until he got in line!

  39. volleymom2 says:

    @Mark75- you triggered my memory! It was the mixed plate my parents would order! I loved the long rice and meatloaf with the gravy!! yum yum, I am salivating.

  40. M says:

    @Seawalker, when did you do the Tinman? I did it in the early to late 80’s.

  41. Rodney says:

    @hydroman72 – was this the structure you guys used to play on?

  42. hydroman72 says:

    Wasn’t it Bumble Bee tuna factory there too?

  43. Mark'75 says:

    I remember McWayne Marine Supply as the main sponsor of Let’s Go Fishing with Bruce Carter.

  44. Seawalker says:

    I remember filling out the half-page excursion form in elementary school. How in the world do you fit Glass Bottom Boat in that short line? Anyway, took the form home for the parents to sign and to collect a couple of dollars from them. Don’t recall boarding the boat or the bus ride to Kewalo. Must have been memorable. LOL

    Used to swim during lunch when training for the Tinman. Afterwards, we used to buy the large mix from the lunch wagon next to the pier. Like all the goodies @Mark mentioned, the luncheon meat was the best. Would wolf that buggah down in one breath, and even scrapped the gravy off the plate for good measure.

    @72view – I think it was the blue and white lunch wagon we used to buy from. Had a bunch of aunties working, IIRC.

  45. LINDA KATO says:

    Good evening MLCers ❗ 😀

    Nice memories ❗ 😀

  46. hydroman72 says:

    I remember going to Kewalo Basin often. We used to snorkle at Ala Moana and we’d be dropped off at Kewalo Basin. Fishing for barracuda in Kewalo Basin took some skills. If you’d catch one, you were the “man”. (lol)
    At the makai end of McWayne Marine Supply, pass the nets drying, there was “Marineland”. (I think that’s the name) I remember going there for school excursion and they had sharks. One highlight was a man was standing in the water and as the sharks swan by, he’d grab one and lift it out of the water. Can’t remember how big the sharks were but being a kid, dat bugga was big!!!
    Just outside of Marineland on the Ala Moana side had a structure in the water where we would climb and stay for the whole day, fishing and swimming. (Don’t know what the structure was for)

  47. ankleBYTERS says:

    Another don’t remember MLC moment. I do know that it was there 😆

    When my kids and I were in HI back in ’96, we took a ride in the submarine and the beginning point was from there. They’d take us all on a boat out into the harbor where the sub was. We’d climb aboard and our underwater trip began. Afterwards we had lunch at the Wharf….clam chowder. I do remember ordering plate lunches from the lunch wagon but don’t remember the name.

  48. M says:

    Happy Kuhio Day!

    I can’t remember if I ever went inside McWayne’s. I remember getting plate lunches at the lunch wagons.

  49. mitchkeys says:

    @ Rodney The laptop is there so I can take a nap and no one sees….

  50. Rodney says:

    ** For those of you who missed Blaisdell Nites, check out what you missed (courtesy of Supes):

    There will be more Blaisdell Nites coming 😉

  51. Rodney says:

    @Mitchkeys – Good seeing you at Blaisdell Nites too! Took me little while to find you playing keyboards for the Calientes. I couldn’t see you behind your laptop. Time for an iPad. 😉

  52. Rodney says:

    @NKHEA – For some reason, I remember big green tinted windows on the McWayne Marine Supply building. I don’t think I ever went in, but didn’t they have tall ceilings to accommodate a showroom of tall boats? Wait, maybe I did go in there once for use the toilet.

  53. Rodney says:

    @72view – I remember those net drying sheds! Sometimes you’d see the fishermen sitting inside making repairs to their nets.

    And the tuna packers. I remember the pink 2 story building with the driveway ramp going up. We used to call it the “kamaboko factory”.

    And yes, the hauna smell on Kona wind days. No, I didn’t go McKinley, but KCC caught the same breeze. LOL

  54. Rodney says:

    @72view – Wow, how ironic that I posted this topic. I’m sorry to hear about your aunty’s passing. Just know that your aunties provided many, many ono meals and MLC memories for a lot of us. And we are forever grateful.

  55. Newman says:

    I used to go to Fisherman’s Wharf till the very end. Not for the food but for the nostalgia. It was kind of cute seeing the grandma waitresses wearing the sailor uniforms. I used to surf Kewalo and Point Panic a lot during the eighties. Now, with the smooth roads and all, it looks nice but I miss the character of the old potholed path past John Dominis.

  56. Mark'75 says:

    Oh man, how I miss the lunchwagon’s large mix plate!!! Teriyaki beef, roast pork, hot dog, luncheon meat slice, small square slice of meat loaf, macaroni salad, long rice, two scoops rice, all smothered in thin gravy…..and a can Passion Orange juice!!! The mouth watering already.

  57. Kage says:

    Good Morning.

    Not many memories of the old Kewalo Basin.

    I remember going to John Dominis a couple of years before they closed. I grew up hearing about how nice it was then listening to the Perry and Price Saturday show. High expectations. Went there for a Christmas party and it was bad. They ran out of plates for the buffet, the tables were sticky, the carpet was worn, the whole place was just worn out. I was not surprised when they closed.

  58. mitchkeys says:

    I remember the Sampan Inn and they had some nautical things on the wall if I remember. Years later with a band called Kaleo O Kalani, a trio of ladies, I played at some dive bar at the end called The Galley….cockroaches were crawling all over my amp and running up my pants….it was so gross!
    And on that note, nice seeing you at the Blaisdell Nites Rodney. Boy, you and Paula sure get out a lot! I was joking with Brian Nakashima that the only reason I go out is because I have to play….if not, watchin’ tv in the bedroom is my style. :0)

  59. volleymom2 says:

    My dad would always buy the plate lunches from the lunchwagons at Kewalos and then we’d go eat at Ala Moana Park. Dont know which wagon, but had some mean mac salad and the meatloaf and curry was so ono… thats all I remember. My brother would take his bamboo fishing pole and try to catch fish in the stream. I remember all those black crabs coming out from under the rocks. Went on Glass Bottom Boat ride once, pretty cool… John dominis- twice and expensive, lol!

  60. LINDA KATO says:

    My late uncle was a professional fisherman and had his boat docked at Kewalo basin. I loved being able to eat fresh fish, osyters, crab, etc. all the time for FREE when we were kids, thanks to my uncle.

    We loved dining at Fisherman’s Wharf or having brunch with the family at John Dominis Restaurant. Miss those places ❗ Nice memories from that part of town ❗ 😀

  61. LINDA KATO says:

    Good morning MLCers ❗ Happy Monday ❗ 😀

    Enjoy Kuhio Day Holiday if you have the day off ❗

    Have a great day everyone ❗ 😀

  62. NKHEA says:

    Howzit Rod,

    I used to love going to McWayne when I was small 😕 don’t know why tho :l I just used to love looking at the boats 🙂

    Still go to the park couple times a week 🙂

  63. KHS68 says:

    Good Morning All!

    Dad’s favorite restaurant was Sampan Inn — on the Ala Moana parkside of Kewalo Basin. I remember eating breakfast and dinners there.

  64. hemajang says:

    Nice remembrance by 72view….I don’t have much on Kewalo Basin other than going to Fisherman’s Wharf (they still open?) once decades ago and John Dominis a couple times. Never been to McWayne Marine. Kewalo Basin is one of those places you really don’t explore unless you have a specific reason.

  65. KAN says:

    I remember going to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner (for a second date before a concert, I think) back when I was 16. That was a big deal for me since I didn’t spend much time town side and I was (and still am) L7.

  66. 72view says:

    There were two Tuna Packers on the Fishermans Wharf side of Kewalo’s and I dont think there is a person who went to McKinley who could forget what it smelled like whenever the “Kona” winds would blow. One of those packers was Coral Tuna they had a jingle that in part went: “If you like aku you’ll like Coral tuna to, cause Coral is the tuna Hawaii packs for you”.

  67. 72view says:

    Hey Rod, funny that you should choose this topic for your blog at this time. Last weekend I attended the Celebration of Life for my Aunty who had run the Arakawa Lunchwagon, (the Blue and White one, I think) at Kewalo’s for decades. She along with another late Aunt also ran the old Sampan Inn which was located on the same side as McWaynes only further in at the end of the net drying sheds next to the old UH Marine Research Facility. The Restaurant was located right across from where all the old Tuna boats docked, boats that had names like, Kilohana and Neptune and all the fishermen would come and eat at there. My mom used to help out there occasionally and I remember her coming home once talking about how they had watched from a distance, as Elvis cruised back and forth offshore on one of the boats as part of the filming of one of his movies filmed here. On weekends when my mom would help out at the restaurant I would hang out with my cousin at Kewalo’s, sometimes we would fish other times just hang out. We would lie or sit on top of the piles of nets in the net drying shed, and to this day i can still smell the ocean on those Nehu nets. Sometimes when I am down by the ocean and the smell of the sea comes to me, I recall those distant days and the simplicity and innocence of it all.

  68. Lori B says:

    My very first job was sitting in a booth and selling tickets for one of those Pearl Harbor tour boats that docked in Kewalo boat harbor. (Sheesh…can’t remember the name of the boat!) My duties also included catching the rope and tying it to the moor (?) as the boat pulled in…I was always terrified that I’d miss and the boat would slam into the dock. (Even though they promised me that wouldn’t happen…you never know!) The worst, though, was when there was a strong coffee grinds smell when the boat pulled in, which meant someone lost their lunch during the cruise!

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