Without question the most popular destination for long-distance sailors is Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. Most vessels under 80 feet put in to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, located right next to the world-famous tourist destination of Waikiki Beach. Within this harbor is a state-run marina with nearly 700 slips and two yacht clubs, the most notable of which is the Hawaii Yacht Club, where we kept our boat. Founded in 1901, the HYC maintains a dock they refer to as the "Aloha Dock." Aloha in its simplest translation means "welcome," and this long face pier designated for transient sailors is often filled with as many as a dozen vessels from all over the world. Yet, when we've spoken to these cruisers, few say they've stopped at any other Hawaiian port. To learn why, we set out from Honolulu in late September 2013 to explore. Before we did, we asked a few of the more experienced local sailors for their best picks for anchorages and tactics for crossing the sometimes boisterous channels between islands. We were generally surprised at the unfavorable comments we got concerning cruising conditions. We heard lots of advice, which mostly centered around ways to avoid getting beaten up too badly between the islands and ways to avoid anchorages with too much surge.