You can find our favorite cruising guides and resources here, with comments based on our experience with them, good or bad.
Noodle’s Notes: On Fifty Years of Sailing in the Hawaiian Islands – this is a great, up-to-date free online guide written by Bill Leary, who has been living, sailing and cruising in the Hawaiian Islands for a lifetime. We met Bill during a Kaneohe Yacht Club race event and were fortunate to find out about his guide. We used it extensively and found it to be the most accurate and up-to-date guide out there.
Cruising guide to the Hawaiian Islands: this is the primary reference cruising guide book to Hawaii, available both in Kindle and Paperback format. It’s outdated and I found many of the descriptions of the anchorages on the ‘optimistic’ side, but it was the only book I could find and it was a good start when we arrived in the islands.
Charlie’s Charts is also severely outdated, and did not acquire it which was probably for the best. If you feel comfortable getting your information in digital format, I would probably skip both books.
Cruising Hawaii: good online compilation of information and resources, to be used as a companion guide to richer resources. Good tips on swell and NOAA buoys.
Noonsite Hawaii: Good overview for boats arriving to Hawaii for the first time.
The Hawaii Compendium: From SV Soggy Paws. Good companion to the resources mentioned above.
Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond (Oahu Revisited) : I always like getting travel guides for our destinations and use them as a companion to the cruising guides. They usually offer richer information on fun things to do on land, and this one is my favorite for Oahu.
Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook : see above.
The printed cruising guides to French Polynesia are outdated at best, and impossible to find, so we’ve been using the wealth of online information compiled by the awesome SV Soggy Paws: http://svsoggypaws.com/files/
We found the compendia very useful and usually up to date, although things change fast enough here (usually for the better). Let’s just say you might be pleasantly surprised by weekend opening hours for grocery stores in the larger towns.
For weather information, we also use meteo.pf which seems to have the most accurate local weather information, updated twice a day.