Sunday, March 26, 2006

Aloha Kai!

Met Kaiea yesterday! Three months old already and son to my favorite cousin!



More good stuff about Kai can be found here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

See, there is snow in Hawai'i...

March on the East Coast used to mean the last, huge blizzard before Bates Ice Cream faithfully opened on April First (Rain, Snow, or shine: Ice cream even if you had to ski across town to get a cone). March in Hawai'i means the last big snowcap on Mauna Kea, dwindling whales, and Spring Break tourists! Today there is also snow on Mauna Loa.

An article about Bates Ice Cream in Carlisle, Massachusetts.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Inbox Fun

I always knew there was something hardcore Rock and Roll about Pandas! Rock on, Ursine Ace, Gene, Peter, and Paul!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Not an Oil Painting!

The view from my balcony right after sunset tonight. Wonderful clouds!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mauna Kea Artificial Reef?

There is a proposal to sink a retired vessel off Kona as an artificial reef.
The boat would be in 100 feet of water on a sandy bottom. As long as the vessel is drained of any hazardous fuels or chemicals, artificial reefs can be a beautiful addition to the health of the marine environment. I am reminded of the wrecks in Truk Lagoon. While these boats went down in tragic wartime conditions, they now are blooming with life: corals, anemones, and fish nurseries. The wrecks give the life a structure to adhere to, and lift the corals towards the sunlight, providing a reef home in a sandy spot that would not otherwise support life.
From a selfish diving point of view, this wreck would add to the Scuba tourism in this County. It would also offer a place for wreck dive certification and technical diving training. And as much as I personally tend to smack coral-crawling tourists about the head, mostly scuba tourism increases ecological awareness.

My Brother took these photos in Truk Lagoon:

This is the kind of life we could look forward to on an artificial reef:

Massive Rain and Storms, here and on the West Coast.

I listen to the pounding rain outside as I read news of snow in San Diego, rain in Tucson, icy pileups on the Golden Gate bridge. I wrote this 2 years ago during the massive rainstorms that flooded the island. At the time I was surrounded by wild devastation, and the personal sorrow of losing a friend.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

How odd it is to witness a storm that drenches this rock with so much water, then exist for days on end with not a drop to drink (or shower, or flush). The Storm mimicked my mood: pride, tension, a release of pent up energy, then the rain, wind, waves, then the floods and destruction.

The drought of the sinks would almost be bearable: an adventure, a few days of change in routine. Paper plates, showers at work, laundry piling up. Catching rainwater and skimming the leaves out to flush the toilets… Somehow it connects us to the earth and the fury and consequences of nature. Schools have closed, shops and restaurants are cut back. Port-a-potties everywhere and no fountain drinks at McDonalds. But our thirst is made so much worse by the abundance of water everywhere. The whole damn Pacific Ocean surrounds us! Everywhere the rain has caused rivers and lakes that weren’t there before; people’s houses are flooded, my carseat is wet! Oddly enough it was probably the weight of the flooding that caused the watermain to break in the first place.

So this is our punishment for our comfort, ego, hubris…This is our slap for becoming comfortable in the public services that protect us. A dry reminder of our powerlessness in the face of nature, and a wakeup call for our lonely rock. We are perched on this tiny violent shard with Nature’s anger knocking on our door. It is truly an amazing, humbling place.

And exhausting. I have been tired this week. I think I am just pushed too far. Tired of straining leaves out of the toilet tank. Tired of worrying that I will hydroplane off the road and lose my car in class 5 rapids in the drainage ditch. Tired of the rain and the mold in my house. Tired of fighting for friendships gone. Last night I went dancing. I just told it all to get away. Didn’t take a shower at work. Didn’t scrounge for food. Made tea out of precious drinking water… you get the point… So I went dancing: not clubbing, but just dancing hosted by crunchy hippies playing good music. Got my heart rate up and sweated like I had a future date with a shower. Danced to my tiredness, irritation, powerlessness, the storm, and the drought of it all. Drought of water, ease, understanding, patience and friendship. It was great. I was warm, sweaty, expressing. Went home and fell asleep. When I woke up early this morning (early, so I could get to work early and shower), stumbled to the kitchen to start my tea, and to the bathroom… Oh! The simple joy of turning the tap and having water come out! Fresh, clean, hot, potable water! (I would call it a rain dance if it hadn’t been raining forever, already) I may dance again tonight. Or I may go home and experience the simple joys of laundry and doing dishes.

My friend R told me a story of this storm: She lives next to our friend the Magician. During the storm his dove-cote fell over and all his doves got out, and were being tossed about in the wind and rain. She was the only one home, and she was running around in the yard, trying to catch and secure six retired magic doves. The image was so tragic and beautiful: her jungle of a yard on the cliff being blasted by wind, rain and surf. The delicate white doves being slammed into trees, tossed in the wind. The grey/green of the air during a storm like that filled with white feathers. She was able to catch five doves. The sixth dove was blown out to sea and never seen again. I understand why ancient Hawaiians developed their spirituality around Nature. I am not afraid of sharks, storms, eruptions or being blown out to sea. None of these deaths seem particularly tragic: they seem somehow connected to the energy of the planet. Feeding the volcano, so to speak. What does seem tragic is being hit by a bus, an overdose, wasting away with no hope and a beaten self-image... letting a friendship go for the comfort of a bottle and a line in the sand. I think about that dove. I have a secret hope that one day it will appear in some magician’s hat, with no excuses nor explanations, just pop up like an old forgotten friend.

Nature’s balance.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Other Divers are up to:

From Yahoo News:
A team of American-led divers has discovered a new crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster and is covered with what looks like silky, blond fur, French researchers said Tuesday.
Scientists said the animal, which they named Kiwa hirsuta, was so distinct from other species that they created a new family and genus for it.
The family was named Kiwaida, from Kiwa, the goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Congrats to Davis!

A wonderful benefit of living near family:
Went to Hawaii State High School swimming meet to cheer on my cousin, who shall no longer be fast due to the added weight of all his gold medals!



Set the 50-yard freestyle record at the state championship meet in 20.73, breaking the mark of 20.80 set by Punahou's Nick Borreca in 2001, won the 100 free in 46.28 seconds and was part of the Warriors' winning 200 free and 400 free relay teams to help Kamehameha win its first boys team state championship.

(From Honolulu Advertiser)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sunset Tonight during the drive home:

Dreams of Whale Songs...

Went Diving Yesterday with Kohala Divers.

It is March, so the humpback whales are just about ready to leave: Some have left already. Last month diving was like swimming through sound. I couldn't see them, but their songs filled the water around me, and I finally saw one breach (on the surface).
This month there are just less of them. Less Tail Flukes, less spouts, and less songs underwater. I am sad to see them go.
Before the whales come, the whole island feels tense. We ask each other, "Have you seen one yet?" and we tell third party tales of someone somebody knows who saw one already... But everyone is tense until they see the first one. We get excited then disappointed in rocks and waves masquerading as spouts. And then one day in December or so, we finally see one! A single spout right off the coast: We stare at the blue water for another 10 minutes, willing it to reveal it's leviathan secrets.
All winter I have been dreaming of the whales. My dreams are filled with whales jumping joyously out of the sea, spinning slowly, and splashing back into the waves with a crash. And yet I did not actually see one breach until last month, and that whale was far away. So my tension and expectation lasted longer this year. Finally I just needed to get into the water and swim through their songs...