Monday, August 28, 2006

Ua he`e nalu hou `o Sue

I know most of you aren't interested in the surf stories, so this is for Chris, and Bruce, and Terri. And, in a way, for myself - telling them allows me to relive the waves. And isn't that why we tell surf stories?

As predicted, the swell picked up on Thursday. The outer reef at Tonggs started breaking regularly enough that folks were tempted to sit outside and try to catch a few out there; but they weren't quite big enough to ride them into the second reef. Rice Bowls, a right-handed wave just Ewa of Tonggs also started to break and that pulled quite a few surfers over to there that might otherwise have been surfing Tonggs.

I have been thinking since I've been here that I should take the board into town and surf Pops or Threes sometime. But Tonggs is right there. I can watch it from the condo and head out when it's at its best. I've surfed it enough that I know exactly where to line up to get the best waves that come through. It's not a great wave, but it's been really good to me this trip.

Thursday I paddled out just as the tide was starting to come in. The winds had died down, so the conditions were very clean. The first wave I caught was a right that swung wide into the channel. I was only partway out to the lineup and this wave was head-high, so I knew there were some decent sets rolling in.

When I had been out on the previous day, there was quite a crowd. Mostly sitting on the inside; when the sets came through the three or four of us taking off outside had to dodge boards and bodies floating in the whitewater. Today the sets were bigger, and the same group was sitting outside, but there was no one on the inside. It made for a very nice session since there were more waves than surfers.

Later in the day, Sue and I went out for another surf lesson. The tide had come way up and the waves were battering the seawall and rushing back out to sea. This made just getting down the ladder into the ocean a bit of a challenge. Sue got onto the board just as a wave was coming in, and managed to ride the backwash a good ways out. We didn't need to go too far out to find an area where we could practice. She caught a couple of nice ones and got to her feet briefly.

Even this far on the inside the waves were chest-high and the backwash from the wall would occasionally jack them straight up just as they were about to break. Sue took off on one of those and had a spectacular wipe out with the board sailing six feet up in the air. She came paddling back out, though, and was ready for more.

On Friday I went out and the same folks were out again. But the swell was definitely dropping.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Day in Pictures

For Jamie on her Birthday.

We rode TheBus to Makapu`u Beach Park.

We were making our way to Makapu`u Point to find the lighthouse.

We walked up the road to the lookout and trailhead.

The trail wrapped around the point on its climb.

It was very hot...

...and a long way down.

I searched for the Lighthouse...

...but didn't see it on Moloka`i.

Sue suggested looking a little closer to shore, where Lighthouses are wont to sit.

And there it was!

As we hiked down to the shoreline the lighthouse followed us a little ways; but we sent it back.

The shoreline was a cliff face in front of a series of tidepools...

...fed by the surging waves.

Hiking was mostly a matter of walking across the tidepools.

While avoiding the surging waves.

Which occasionally hid behind a rock.

The only other people out here were some fishermen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ua he`e nalu `o Sue

No new pictures to post, so I'll consolidate all the boring surf stuff into one article.


Monday morning I was scheduled to meet Ken and Greg for dawn patrol down at Canoes. For the first time in my life I missed a scheduled DP session. I woke up around 7:30 or so, way past time.

I still wanted to get out in the water, so after Sue was done working we put her on the surfboard and I took my boogie board and we paddled out to Inside Tonggs. We found a fairly secluded area and Sue caught the very first wave that came along! Okay, I gave her a little push, but I think she would have caught it anyway. It was a nice little left and she rode it a good ways. Hootah. We gradually worked our way out to the outside. Sue didn't catch anymore waves like the first one, but she paddled into a couple that were a bit bigger. It was a great morning to just be out in the surf and splashing around.

After our session we wandered into town, found some platelunch, and then made our way back along the beach. Sue collected some shells and bits of seaglass. By the evening we were both tired and sun-burnt, so we cooked up some marlin and had a quiet night at home.

Tuesday morning I was scheduled to meet Bruce and Greg for dawn patrol. I didn't oversleep this time. I got up and waxed the board while watching the grey outline of surf roll into Publics. I knew a swell was due today, but it obviously hadn't arrived. I climbed back into bed thinking I'd rather paddle out when the waves come up.

And come up they did. I watched Tonggs most of the day. Around 1:00 the first sets started arriving. They became more consistent as the afternoon wore on, but they were competing with a rising tide which worked against them. By 2:30 I decided it would be better to cope with the high tide and a lineup full of tourists, than to wait for better conditions and the pau hana crowd. It was a pretty good session. I was able to find a decent lineup marker and keep from drifting in between sets. I pooched one takeoff, but caught my fair share of waves. A good session, and a long one; I was out for about two hours.

Clay picked us up in the evening and we went downtown to Greg and Janice's condo for dinner and lots of geek conversation.

The swell is still holding, and is supposed to get bigger tomorrow. I'll probably paddle out in the next hour or so. And maybe we'll get Sue out for another surf lesson later on.
On edit: I paddled out for a two-hour session. The sets were nice, but inconsistent. I don't think Tonggs is catching the swell as well as some other breaks.

On Surf Heights
In one of the first posts I mentioned that wave heights here in Hawai`i now use 'Mainland' measurements. I've always thought that while having some standard measurement size is probably good for surf-forecasts, it would be better to have a different nomenclature for surf stories. If I say to someone that it was 6' that doesn't capture my mindset while I was out there. For some people 6' would be terrifying, for others not worth paddling out. I suggest we should use...
Chrispy's Subjective Wave Heights
  • Flat - Not worth paddling out
  • Small - Flat but I paddled out anyway
  • Fun - Just below my comfort zone
  • Perfect - Exactly the right size
  • Big - Above my comfort zone.
  • Huge - I really shouldn't have paddled out.
  • Out of Control - I didn't paddle out.
These heights translate easily from surfer to surfer, since we've all experienced them. If you tell a fellow surfer it was huge, they conjure a picture of huge in their heads which brings with it the context of the rest of the session.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kani Ki Ho`alu

As mentioned in an earlier post, August is a month of various festivals around the island. This past Sunday they held the Ki Ho`alu (Slack Key) Festival. Although the festival was not a reason for coming here in August, it was certainly an added bonus once we selected that month for travel. This is the fourth slack key fest I've attended, at various locations, over the past couple of decades. This year it was held at the Bandstand at Kapiolani Park.

The performers were up in the shade of the bandstand, surrounded by bright sunlight, so the only way to get a good picture was to practically climb into their lap and use a flash. I decided against that. Instead I'm offering a couple of pictures to show the setting.

And even a picture to show the company. From left to right is Sue, Janice, Greg, Bruce, Irene, and Clay. Not pictured is all of the ono food everyone brought, including Sue's cream puffs.

For the first time, the show was carried live on a webcast at It's worth listening to Taimane Gardner, a 17 year-old ukulele player who was just amazing. Actually the whole show is worth a listen. At one point Led Ka`apana brought out all of the students from a slack key workshop which was held last week. I had considered signing up for it,and if I had I would have been up on stage with Led, playing Slack Key Lullabye. Oh well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Made in Hawai`i

The threat of the jellyfish still hung heavy over the small surf of the south shore yesterday. It seemed as though we could feel their hatred seething up from the ocean below the condo (They hate our freedoms!). When we could take it no longer we fled inland via TheBus (jellyfish are notorious in their aversion to public-funded mass transit systems). We felt safe enough by the time we reached Ward Avenue to venture out on foot. Knowing there would be safety in numbers, we made our way to the Neal Blaisdell Center where there was an exhibition entitled "Made in Hawai`i". Inside we found rows of booths displaying local food and crafts, a stage with local performers (Sean Na`auao, followed by Frank Delima), and more food and crafts. Sue found a pair of earrings to wear to tomorrow's Slack Key Festival and I found lots of food samples.

While at the show I got a call from Clay, who had finally arrived on island. He was going to make his way to Waikiki and we agreed to meet for dinner later that afternoon. After he hung up I realized I had forgotten to tell him of the Jellyfish. The poor fool would have to learn for himself.

We made our way home, stopping for groceries and beer. The sun was setting when we got home and the offshore menace seemed to be quiescent for the time being.

While walking the streets near the exhibition Sue found an interesting looking thing and brought it home. We don't know what it is, and yet we can't bring ourselves to throw it out. I fear we have allowed a new horror into the condo...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Link of the Day

Okay, this has nothing to do with Hawai`i, but while reading James Wolcott's Blog (which is also quite good) he mentioned The Comics Curmudgeon. It's a pretty good read, if you still find yourself reading the Comics pages in the paper or online, even though you don't know why you do it.

Aloha Friday

We met Bruce and Irene, Greg and Janice, and Ken (a visitor staying with Bruce) down at Tiki's Grill yesterday evening to hear Sean Na`auao and Robi Kahakalau. The music was good but over far too soon; the time just went by very quickly sharing food and drinks with friends.

The small swell we had this week is pau, my tide calendar is warning about box jellyfish, and there were 15 people out at Tonggs this morning. So, although I considered paddling out into flat, crowded, jellyfish-infested conditions, I ultimately decided to go for a run. Around the park, past the zoo, down the Ala Wai, up to the beach, and back to the aquarium. It felt good, but I'm pretty tired now.

Sue's working at the moment (and a big shoutout to all the folks at RadioFrame Networks, enjoying their company picnic today!). In a little while we're going to hop the bus into town. I have to run an errand down in Honolulu and then we'll do a little shopping.

Bruddah Clay arrives in town tomorrow! Hey brah, the number here at the condo is 924-5413, call us when you get in. Bruce was talking about dragging you down to the Hilton to hear Olomana.

Hmm, no new pictures. Here's one from last Sunday. We went down to Hawai`i Kai with the whole gang and watched The Surfaris play in the park.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Assault on Mt. Leahi

Hiking is one of the many pasttimes that Sue and I enjoy doing together and climbing Diamond Head is something we had been planning since the very inception of this trip. It's a fairly reasonable hike, almost a mile in length and about 750 feet of elevation.

Every guide book suggests getting an early start to avoid the heat of day, since the inside of the crater, where the trail is, is a desert environment. There's a little bit of wind at various points, but mostly it's an arid climb. Our path would be a little longer than most, since we don't have a car and the entrance to the trailhead is on the back side of the crater.

We prepared ahead of time by freezing some bottles of water and making a couple of turkey sandwiches. So when the day of the hike came, we were off at the crack of noon heading up Diamond Head Road (we've definitely adapted to local time). The walk to the entrance was fine; a cool wind in our faces and a moderate climb. We'd pause at each bus stop to see if the #14 was coming. It past us as we crested the top of the hill. We marched around to the back side, paid our $1 entrance fee, and stopped for lunch before beginning the trek.

The actual hike is hot, but not difficult. There were people running up to the top, a woman in hiking gear with a small child in her backpack, and the requisite Japanese tourists in flipflops smoking cigarettes. The view is the whole point of the trip and it really is nice. All of Waikiki and Honolulu on one side, and Kahala and Kokohead stretching out in the other.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Roll Call

Today is kind of a quiet day. I got up really early and walked to Waikiki to meet Bruce and Linda for dawn patrol at Canoes (their boards are at the racks, so that's pretty much where they surf). It was good, the swell is still holding, but the surf would have been better down at our neck of the woods.

I also did some laundry and hopped a number of busses in order to do a little grocery shopping.

And since today is a quiet day, instead of our usual fun-filled blog we're going to do something a little different. I want each of you to go down below this post, where it says "Posted by Chrispy | time | comments" and click on the comments link. There you will have the opportunity to leave a message. It doesn't have to be fancy, just say "Hi" if you want. Then click on "other" and type in a name. Your name would be good, but any name is okay.

Go ahead.

Don't be shy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New swell in town

The National Weather Service said that there was a low probability of a SSW swell arriving last night. It didn't. It arrived this morning.

I awoke early this morning, as I do most mornings, to back pain. Nothing much I can do about it except get up, take some ibuprophen, start the coffee brewing, and check the surf. The surf looked okay, but there was a pretty good-sized crowd out for 6am. I had my coffee and read the news, but I kept coming back to the window to stare. That's usually I sign that I should paddle out.

Finally around 8am I could no longer resist the salmon urge. I waxed the board, kissed Sue goodbye, and went on out. My subconcious must be pretty good at reading these things, because when I got out to the break there were only two other people out. The dawn patrol had paddled in to get ready for work, and it was time for what Carpenter Rick refered to as "The Gentleman's Hour".

I caught a few nice waves and then there was a lull. The two other fellows paddled in and were replaced by a young couple. Back in the day, when I surfed here more regularly, Tongs had a definite local-vibe. People knew each other and outsiders, while not explicitly shunned, were not given the best waves. That seems to have changed quite a bit. Every time I've paddled out here this trip, there have been a number of tourists, usually couples, as well as quite a few women surfers. In fact, this morning was the first time I had been out when there were more men than women. It's a nice change.

The young couple arrived mere moments too late for the set that wandered in. It was aiming for the outer reef and I was paddling for the horizon as I heard behind me "Paddle, honey. Paddle! PADDLE HARD!!!" I didn't see them again for a half hour.

The set was 4' and punchy. The waves would ledge up such that the take-offs were an easy glide into the top of the wave, followed by an elevator drop as it turned concave. I caught as many waves as I could until my arms began to protest. My final wave took me far inside, where I passed the earlier-mentioned couple. They had found a location that was right for them.

Sunday mele

One of the really special things about the Hawaiian arts and music scene is its accessibility. On any given day you can catch the likes of Led Ka`apana, Dennis Kamakahi, or Martin Pahinui in an intimate setting. To most of the tourists sitting around, it's just another part of the scenery that has undoubtedly been constructed for their trip. But it's as if you wandered into a pub in Ireland and Van Morrison was singing.

In the summertime this accessibilty is amplified by countless city, county, and state sponsored events. One such event, taking place yesterday at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand, was the annual Na Hula Festival. Being a dancer, Sue had wanted to see some Hula so we made a point of being there. The festivities opened with Mayor Mufi Hanneman presenting a citation to two sisters, both Kumu Hulas, who have brought their respective halaus to the festival in each of the past 66 years. Both aunties were still spry and still played and sang as their halaus danced.
One of the coolest parts of the show were na keiki. The youngest girl in this group was 3, and she looked like she was having the time of her life. She also was better than some of the girls who were easily twice her age.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pearl Harbour

Since we arrived here there has been a great deal of digging and construction going on in front of the condo. A couple of days ago they finally finished it up, filled in the holes, and poured fresh concrete over everything (shh, don't tell - we put our initials in the concrete). The result? The fountain is working again!

Yesterday we had planned to take a hike up to the top of Diamond Head. Well, maybe planned is too strong a word; we thought we might like to take a hike up there. In the morning we realized that we hadn't really planned it and had no food or liquids. Instead we decided to hele on over to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour.

We knew the bus we needed to catch, and the time it was scheduled to depart, so we got to the stop about 5 minutes early and waited. And waited. A half hour later, the next scheduled bus rolled up, right on time. So, either our time is way off from TheBus time, or the previous bus was waylaid, or something. The ride itself took a little over an hour. At least we had seats, an obvious benefit of boarding the bus at the first stop. Before we even got to the other side of Waikiki the bus was full and was no longer stopping for folks on the street.

It's been 27 years since my last trip out to the memorial and they've really built up quite a display. When I was in the Air Force at Hickam I came over to Pearl Harbour, stood in a short queue, and took a Navy skiff out to the Memorial. This time we went through a line to check Sue's backpack (you can bring a small camera and whatever fits in your pocket; no bags of any sort), then got our tickets (still free) for the introductory movie. We arrived around 11:30 and our movie time was 1:30. We wandered over to a public mess tent and got a reasonably-priced sandwich, fries, and drink. Then we killed some time wandering through the museum and the book store.

Finally our number came up and we were herded into the movie theatre (Moo!). The movie was well done, explaining the events that lead up to the attack, the Japanese reasons for it, the attack itself, and the aftermath. Does it really take 60 years before we're willing to discuss the reasons for being attacked? Will Aaron be an old man before anyone delves any deeper into 9/11 than "They hate our freedoms?" Well, better to not get political here, but it's very hard not to draw comparisons between the two attacks when standing at the memorial of one of them.

Following the movie we were ushered onto a Navy Skiff (larger than in my previous trip) and brought to the memorial. The memorial obviously hasn't changed. It really is well done, allowing each visitor their own interpretation rather than forcing the architect's viewpoint.

We endured a somewhat nicer bus ride back into town and stopped at the Royal Hawaiian's Mai Tai bar, where Led Ka`apana was playing. We had a beer and listened to the music for a while. Eventually Led had to take a break because a wedding was about to take place on the lawn a few feet away. If it had been my wedding, I would have asked him to point the speakers our way and play "Slack Key Lullabye". But that's just me.

Dinner? Ulua sauted in onion and ginger, with a coconut-lime syrup. Hey, we had to improvise but it came out pretty good. :-)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Surf, Sea, and Sam's

After a couple of cups of coffee spent watching small clean waves go unridden, I paddled out to Tongs. (I'm the small yellow speck over Sue's right shoulder). As the tide continued to drop the waves eventually found a water depth they liked and I got quite a few nice little rights - even though Tongs is generally a left-hand wave.

The one problem with delaying so long before paddling out was that it completely threw off our meal schedule. Sue generally doesn't eat breakfast and is ready for lunch around noon or one o'clock. It was now 10:30 and I was starving. I wolfed down some pineapple from the fridge, which held me off until we could have an early lunch. Sue had a little bite of pineapple which eventually made her quite sick. No more pineapple for Sue!!

This probably won't mean anything to anyone but Chris and Clay, but the old Diamond Head Market has reopened at the corner of Montsarrat and Campbell, they've now got a small, upscale, market with an espresso bar as well as a plate lunch stand. I had a mixed plate. Also of little interest to anyone: the Bueno Nalo that had opened on Montsarrat is gone, I don't know if the original in Waimanalo is still going or not.

We got home, and as mentioned Sue was feeling the effects of the pineapple. She took a nap and I read the newspaper. When she awoke she was feeling better and we took the boogie boards out to Tongs. The tide was very high and the waves were just kind of crumbling. This was Sue's first time outside on the boogie board and she did really well, catching 4-5 waves. She needs to learn to open her eyes while she's riding though; she's missing a great view!

Since it was a Friday night, and we haven't been out to a really fancy restaurant in a very long time (although we cook our share of fancy meals), we went over to Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant.

We started with the Gnocchi Trio as an appetizer, it was part of their Garlic Festival celebration. Then, to our surprise, came a baked potato soup followed by an Island Geen salad with a creamy soy/sesame dressing. By this time Sue was already getting full. Finally the entree arrived, Garlic Encrusted Porcini Mahimahi (Sue had hers without the mushrooms) with Kapakahi Mashed Potatoes and a vegetable medly of squash, yams, and red peppers. Ono!

This, to me, is the perfect blend of gourmet food and local sensibilities. No manini portions. No extra charges for soup or salad. We were completely stuffed at the end of the meal and were forced to skip dessert; although the menu had a few things that looked quite tempting. We also elected to skip the bus ride home and walked/waddled back down Kapahulu to the beach and then down to the condo, under star-filled skies.

Friday, August 11, 2006


It's a bright and shiny morning. Sue is already up and working. I'm considering paddling out into flat but clean conditions. Just another day in paradise.

Yesterday the waves were pretty choppy and my arms were still tired from surfing the day before (it's going to take a little while before I can surf every day), so I opted for a run.

Digression: I think one of the reasons I manage to stay in better shape here, is the convenience of it all. Want to go surf? Walk over to the ocean and surf. Swim? Same location; but leave the board behind. Run? Head out your front door, turn left (or right), and start running. A surf trip in Seattle is a full day adventure.

Anyway, off I went down Kalakaua. I was feeling a bit more sure of myself, and when I got to Diamond Head road, instead of turning left and circling the park, I went right and began the more scenic run to the lookout. I considered continuing on around, doing the full loop, but Montsarrat Ave is under construction and I didn't want to run through that on the way down. So today was an out and back. Not very far, but a nice workout.

Sue and I walked into town (I'm beginning to think I need a macro for that phrase) for lunch. We split a Korean BBQ plate lunch (Mmmm... chicken katsu) at a little shop off of Kuhio, and then continued on to the only Lappert's Ice Cream shoppe left on O`ahu. We did a little shopping and then hopped a bus back home.

Our bus passes are really paying off, we can walk until we're tired and then just wander over to a bus stop. O`ahu's mass transit system, TheBus, has always been good, and they've continued to maintain it. There's a recording that announces the upcoming stop and the attractions around there. The busses are clean and air-conditioned, and you can get pretty much anywhere on the island very easily. Maybe it's the number of tourists using it, or maybe the island isn't as caught up in the cult of the SUV. Either way, it's a much nicer way to get around.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I paddled out to Tongs on Fred's board for dawn patrol this morning. It was small - flat with occasional 2' sets - but it felt nice. Only a couple of people out, and the wind had calmed down. I caught 4 or 5 waves, on the last one I noticed about 5 people paddling out and decided to head in. There's just something about a day that starts with a little surfing.

Sue and I walked into Waikiki for lunch. We made it to Keo's on time today and were rewarded with a Roast Duck Salad and Evil Jungle Prince (a curry dish common over here but not seen too much in Seattle's Thai restaurants). Both were spectacular and we left feeling quite full. A walk down to the post office, by way of the ocean, helped a bit.

Our calendar of events for this week said that Herb Ohta Jr and David Kamakahi were playing at the Tropics Bar in the Hilton, so in the afternoon we hopped the bus down that-a-way to hear them play. They are both still young and really just getting going as far as stage presence; but they are both excellent ukulele players who obviously play together often. It shows in the easy way they pass the melody back and forth, as well as their ability to pick up on where the other person is going and jump right in.

TheBus got us back to the condo in time to make a dinner of Marlin Ginger Coconut Soup. Yum. Now we're sitting back, watching an episode of Deadwood.

There's just something about a day that starts with a little surfing.

Tuesday night

A quiet day. Sue and I each worked in the morning. Around mid-day I logged off and got a little laundry done. We had a lunch of left-overs and went off for a walk up Diamond Head road. It was one of the moments on this trip when I felt most at home. Not off surfing, or traipsing through Waikiki, but just taking a walk down an old familiar street with the girl of my dreams. We can spend so much of this life trying to find out who we are, where we belong, and who our other half is; I've answered all of those questions and now I just want to spend my time living that life.

We walked down to the aquarium for a concert this evening. The final in their Ke Kani O Ke Kai series. Similar to the Zoo Tunes concerts at Woodlawn Park Zoo in Washington. The band was Na Palapalai, a falsetto trio, accompanied by a Hula Halau from the Big Island. The concert was catered by Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant and was very ono.

We walked home as the full moon rose over Diamond Head.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What's this?

Time to tap the collective imagination of everyone out there. What is this thing? Paul Bunyan's Tee Shot? Pele's Crystal Ball? It was last seen heading around Diamond Head, towards Moloka`i. Apparently being pursued by a tug boat (not shown).

An apple napple for the most creative answer.

On Edit: Sue points out that the photo doesn't really capture the scale of this thing. It's taller than a cruise ship!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday (early evening)

This morning started with Macadamia Nut pancakes, topped with coconut syrup. It probably should have started with a session out at Tongs, now that I've got Fred's board, but it was windy and small.

Sue logged in and worked remotely for the better part of the morning. I went out for a run around Kapiolani Park and the Zoo. It feels good to be running again. It always does when I come back home and start up again. I can never seem to sustain it back on the mainland though. It's just one of my Hawai`i things, I guess.

I got the guitar out for the first time on the trip. It's going to take a while for me to regain my calluses. But it's nice to be playing again.

After Sue got caught up with her work stuff we decided to take a leisurely stroll down to Keo's for a Thai lunch. Unfortunately, the stroll was a little too leisurely and we arrived just as they were putting the closed sign on the door. :-( So we continued strolling. Saigon Thai doesn't even serve lunch. Pho just didn't seem to fit the bill. The Brew Moon doesn't have a kitchen in their Waikiki location (but the beer is just $3 all summer long). Finally we found ourselves at a Korean BBQ spot in the International Market Place.

We finally strolled back into the condo around 5 or so, ready for a beer. Not sure what we'll be doing for dinner, my feet are tired and I don't feel like walking back to town. We'll probably find something in the fridge, good thing we stocked up the larder before we turned in the car.

Life is settling into a slower pace. I hope it doesn't become too boring for you reading along at home.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday evening

I've stopped tracking what day of our vacation this is. I expect a time will come when I won't even know what day of the week it is. That's a good thing.

Today started with an upscale breakfast at the Hau Tree Lanai. They've done away with the linen table cloths and napkins, our society's inevitable march into entropy I guess. But the food is still wonderful, and the view can make you feel that you've slipped back in time to the era of Jack London and slow luxury liners.

The reason for the special breakfast, aside from the fact that it was a beautiful Sunday morning in Hawai`i, was to bid "aloha a hui hou" to Liz and Rae. The remainder of their summer vacation will take them down a different path, as Aaron's already has. We drove them to the airport, endured the slings and arrows of Homeland Security, and packed them off on Hawaiian Airlines with the traditional gifts of orchid leis and apple napples.

Although I'm glossing over it, please reread my earlier post of the misery of American air travel. It applies even if you are just attempting to get two teenage girls onto an airplane. Mooo!

At this point we also bid aloha (without the breakfast, leis, or pastries) to PBJ, our faithful Alamo rental car. Sue and I will rely on our month-long BusPasses to get us about. We took our community chariot to Ward Centre for a micro-brew, a Kua `aina sandwich, and a little shopping. I picked up a couple of CDs - The Barefoot Natives' self-titled disc (which is playing at the moment) and Hapa's Maui CD. Now we're back at an unusually quiet condo, reading the Sunday paper and watching the beginnings of a sunset.

A new phase of our adventure has begun.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Day 6 (Evening)

A shot of Sandy Beach from the Blow Hole.

Hanauma Bay at low tide can be a daunting experience. Having passed through the orientation video (yes, I'm now checked out on the use of the bay), we were quite sensitive to putting out hands, feet, or okoles on the reef. But when you're floating with your face 9 inches above a sea urchin and a sudden surge from the ocean offers to let you get better acquainted, it's hard to just keep swimming.

After snorkelling for a bit we were planning on hiking out to the toilet bowl. But there was a large fence blocking access to the trail (the trail out to the witches brew was similarly closed). I seem to recall a time here in Hawai`i when people realized that the ocean was actually dangerous and took what precautions they thought best for themselves and their loved ones. We've reached a point where the most interesting parts of this country are roped off and inaccessible for fear that some yahoo will stub their toe and sue the government. I feel as though my generation owes a serious apology to those that follow for this state of affairs. In fact, feel free to club any lawyer who is approximately my age as my way of saying sorry.

But meanwhile, back in paradise...

After snorkelling we had lunch at Zippys, so the girls can feed the Napple monkey that has taken up residence on their back. We stopped by Bruce's and made arrangements to get Fred's board from Hugh's house (Hugh is out of town BTW). We thought this was going to turn into quite the caper, with Bruce and I breaking into the house, but instead Bruce had the board waiting for us when we got to Hugh's house at the rendevous time.

Now it's getting late, and we've just finished a yummy dinner. Blackened Shark (just to assert our dominance in the food chain), Opah sauted in a macadamia nut and garlic batter, rice and salad. Sue and I shared a Bordeaux while the sounds of a concert drifted in from the Waikiki Shell across the street. Lizzie was very excited about the bands that were playing - The Fray, and Uber Skank(?). Beats me, I'm old and waiting for the slack key guitar festival in a couple of weeks.

On edit: I've been informed that the band is Hoobastank and they suck. Frankly I like my name better, and if there are any German, all-girl, punk bands out there, they are free to use it. Provided they club a lawyer first.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Day 5 (Evening)

The sun has set under cloudy skies. The die-hards at Publics are finally coming to the realization that they need to catch something and head in, or face the reef in the dark. Back at ka hale water is boiling for a dinner of ravioli and veggies in a garlic cheese sauce; not too fancy but nobody wants to get up, get dressed, and hele into town.

This afternoon the girls and I surfed Canoes. Sue had been feeling poorly since last night and stayed on the beach. The waves were nice, 3' and pretty consistent. I was able to get a few waves in between lessons.

We came in after an hour or so, tired and hungry. And no place calls to a tired hungry surfer like Kua `aina. Fortunately they now have a town location, so we didn't need to drive to Hale`iwa; merely fight the traffic into Ward Centre and back. Soon we were back at the condo, nipping into our respective burgers (mahi for Rae). Once they were fortified, the girls took the boogie boards and paddled out in front of the condo. They seem to be turning into true surfer grrls.

Tomorrow we'll be up at the crack of dawn and heading off to snorkel Hanauma Bay.

Day 5 (Early morning)

The latest predicted swell has not quite arrived, but there seem to be hints. The trades are back with a vengeance, making the prospect of paddling out to one of the Diamond Head breaks a chilly affair. Still, I may take the boogie board out to Tongs in a little bit. The waves appear rather disorganized, as does the small crowd of surfers out there. Boogie boarders are the hyenas of the surf world, scavenging the waves that the surfers miss and giggling like, well, you get the picture.

For those of you following our menu. Last night's dinner was fresh Au, sauted in garlic and ginger, with rice and a bed of romaine lettuce. We also had a very ono plate lunch at Ala Moana food court - I had the Kalua Pig with Cabbage, while Sue had the Chicken Long Rice. The girls had spaghetti (what can ya do?).


I paddled on out to Tongs. The sets were infrequent but about 4' and sweeping wide. The surfers, while decent wave riders, didn't seem to know the break very well and would lose the lineup between sets. I remembered some of my old lineup markers and eventually I was sitting on the peak by myself. Caught a few nice drops and skimmed along the faces. My attempts at spinners were mostly 180s, giving me a nice view of the wave before it ran me over.

Came in and made a breakfast of fresh pineapple and papaya, pancakes with coconut syrup, toast, and Lion's Kona Coffee.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 4 (Late morning)

The swell seems to be pau, and the trades are back. Tongs had some very windy peaks, so I opted to go running. I did a lap around Kapiolani Park and finished up at San Soucci beach. I was not too tired at the end - all of the cycling I've been doing seems to be paying off.

Sue's been working all morning. I dialed in to the office for an hour or so.

Since everyone got a lot of sun yesterday our plan is to do mostly indoor stuff today. Our first stop will be Ala Moana shopping center. Then maybe a trip up to the North Shore to introduce everyone to the original Kua Aina sandwich shoppe.

A new swell is supposed to hit this evening (3 in a row!), if the conditions look good I'll probably do a litle dusk boogie boarding.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 3 (Afternoon)

3 days in, and I finally put feet on fiberglass. We went into town this morning and rented a board from the concession where the girls got their lesson. I took Greg's board out of the racks and Sue and I paddled out to Baby Canoes. Since outside Canoes was pulsing at 4' Hawaiian, the inside was a respectable 2'+, so maybe more of a teen Canoes than a baby, yeah? We managed to get Sue up on a couple of waves and then we paddled in to let the girls have a shot.

Rae caught the attention of one of da guys giving lessons and he said "Mind if I give her a hand?" You mean I don't have to push her into a wave? "Sure brah!" He did and she was up and riding.

Liz and I paddled way over to the Ewa side of Canoes, pretty far out. This gave me my first opportunity to catch a couple of real waves. Greg's board handles like a coffee table; but hoo it was sweet to be surfing again. Liz managed to paddle into a couple waves on her own, which is pretty impressive for her second time out. She did a little pearl diving, but still.

By this time I had been paddling around for over two hours, on my first time out in 5 years, and I was (am) pretty thrashed. But still, being able to drop into a couple of fun waves after all this time was good for my mental health. I can still surf!

Lunch was a disappointment. Since we were in town, starving, and in need of beer (some of us), we opted for Cheeseburger in Paradise. The service was abysmal; and not in a "Hey, we're running on island time" kine way more of a "Hey, we don't know what we're doing" kinda way. Avoid at all costs!

A quick trip to Zippy's on the way to the condo landed us some Napples, and we were home. Now we're all laying about in a state of happy exhaustion. I'm sippin' on a cold Kirin and all is right with the world.

Day 2 (Late evening)

The day began with rain. We'd had a few scattered showers the previous evening and they moved in with more zeal overnight. I logged in to the office for a few hours until we lost the internet and then we went into Waikiki for the girls' surf lessons with Kevin. It went really well and both girls were up and riding in no time...

Liz catches a wave at Baby Queens.

Rae catches a wave as Liz paddles back out.

We are very inefficient with our trips to town. We walked in for the surf lesson, then walked back to the condo, then walked back to Waikiki a few hours later to have lunch at Duke's. By the middle of the afternoon we had probably logged about 5 miles or so in flip-flops so everyone was a bit tired and sore. We seem to still be very much in the run-around-and-do-stuff mindset of a vacation. Part of that is undoubtedly the girls' influence since they will only be here a week and want to run around and do stuff. I'm hoping to get Sue and I into a more relaxed frame of mind.

Later in the afternoon we went over to Bruce's house in Hawai`i Kai and did a little kayaking. That was nice. It had a calming effect on everyone. On our way home we swung through CostCo to pick up a few essentials. Then we were back to the condo for a dinner of seared Ahi and Caesar salad.