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I missed it last week, but Kilauea has been in constant eruption for 10,000 days.  Happy Anniversary!

I never managed to make it over to the Big Island of Hawai’i while living in Maui.  Too bad.  I hear the Aloha spirit is most alive over there, still.  But maybe someday, on a trip back to Maui (not my packing trip in June), I will make my way over to the Big Island. 

Aloha.

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Hawai’i Tsunami Warning [Update 4]

Hey folks,

New event for me while living in Maui.  We heard the tsunami warning sirens this morning.  Definitely not the monthly test.  There are waves coming from the huge 8.8 earthquake from Chile. 

Maui is not under any evacuations orders.  They are just running the sirens to keep people on alert and telling folks near the coasts to be on the watch.  The local news is showing long lines at all the gas stations.  Some gas stations are starting to turn people away.  And they are evacuating (voluntary) people from coastal areas to shelters.

The first waves are supposed to hit the Big Island around 11:05 a.m. our time (we are currently 2 hours behind west coast time).  I think Tahiti got something like a six-foot wave.  I think it will just be a swell – honestly, probably smaller than the huge waves we had on the beach when my mom was here.  Of course, tsunamis are not nice waves – just a large push of water.  The local news is telling people to stay out of the water. 

Guy from the Tsunami Warning Center is now saying Hilo may get a one-meter wave.  Soooo….I think we’ll be fine.  Our house would be fine even with a huge wave since we are on higher ground.  However, I think we may force our house guest to stay put today since traffic may suck at different places around the island.  You pretty much cannot drive anywhere in Maui without at least driving partway on a coastal highway.  Our local news says they are getting messages from people around the world worried about friends and family in Hawai’i.  Local news coverage is streaming online at www.hawaiinewsnow.com 

Aloha.

UPDATE

The first waves are about 20 minutes out from Maui.  Several areas have been evacuated and most of the roads are closed now.  We are watching the live news coverage as the first waves are about 8 minutes out from the Big Island.  We’ve been asked to stock up on water.  Our power generation and wastewater treatment plant are at sea level so they are worried about sewage washing out. 

UPDATE 2

Live cams from the Big Island are posted on the local news coverage.  Not much happening yet.  Helicopter just swooped down to an idiot in the water on Oahu to yell at him to get out of the water.  Here on Maui, there is a line of cars near our home as people are driving up from lower areas.  Our biggest towns on Maui are at sea level.  The airport at Kahului is still open.  A couple of our neighbors are on their roofs, but I don’t think we’ll be able to see anything from here.  

Update 3 (12:01 p.m.)  

We are watching the live cam from Hilo Bay on the Big Island.  The most dramatic parts are when the water gets sucked out of the day.  Beach areas and rocks are exposed for a couple of minutes.  Then, the water comes back over.  The surge coming in doesn’t look that big.  Someone calling in from Kahului Harbor here on Maui says the water is getting sucked out but, again, I don’t think the incoming waves are big at all.  Not noticeably different than normal waves. I think our biggest wave will be 6 feet.

UPDATE 4 (1:30 p.m.)

Well folks, looks like the worst of the tsunami event is over.  The cars have returned to their homes.  The uninterrupted news coverage is off the air.  The first official measurements show that Kahului had the biggest wave surge at……..wait for it…….wow……..3.2 feet.  Yup.  That was our tsunami.  3.2 feet.  I am happy to say that the ocean was kind to us today and I am happy to know that all of our early-warning systems work well.  Some people may grumble about being evacuated today but you know what? They would complain louder if they stayed home and were swamped with a giant wall of water.  So, good job Hawai’i.

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Wow.  Just wow. I’ve been gushing about this all day – just let me blab for a little while longer and then I’ll talk about something else.

I’ve been parked in front of my laptop most of the day watching live coverage of the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau (rhymes with wow!). This is a surfing competition held at Waimea Bay on the north shore of the island of Oahu. The event is an invitational and the holding period runs from December through February. However, the Eddie doesn’t “go” unless the surf reaches the height requirements: waves must reach a minimum height of 20 feet (Hawaiian measurement – this is based on open-ocean swells and can result in wave face heights of 30 to 40 feet).  The man himself – Eddie Aikau – was born on Maui where he began surfing at age 11.  He moved to Oahu where he became a world-famous surfer and the first official lifeguard on the island at Waimea Bay.  Eddie died at the age of 31 after the Hokule’a canoe he was aboard capsized, dumping the entire crew.  Eddie paddled away to go for help.  While the crew was eventually rescued, Eddie was never seen again.  You can read about the history of the Eddie HERE

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Eddie. In that time, the event has only been completed seven times. Most years, the waves are just not high enough.

This year, the ocean was generous and today was an epic Eddie.

Now, I’m not a huge sports fan. The older I get, the more disillusioned I am with professional sports. I think many professional athletes in the “major” sports are overhyped, overpaid, and over-full-of-themselves. Since my father died, I’ve been watching less professional football, NASCAR, golf, and tennis.  Sweetie is not a big professional sports fan, so we just don’t watch much.

But I am a big fan of a good competition. Give me my summer and winter Olympics, some Top Chef, a little Amazing Race, and, of course, loads and loads of poker on ESPN. I love watching the best of the best show off their skills doing something I will probably never be able to do.  And as a certified news junkie, I cannot help but be inundated with anticipation of the possible running of the Eddie when I watch my local newscasters every year around this time. So, when word came last week from our weather guy (a surfer) that some huge swells were heading towards the islands, I was as excited as a non-surfer could get. Sweetie and I even braved the crowded roads on Sunday to go over to one of Maui’s best spot to catch surfers. The best surf spot on Maui is Jaws but it’s a pain to get to, so Hookipa Lookout works for most folks.

And today?  Today, the Eddie was a go!

The news came before 8:00 a.m. this morning and by 8, I was sitting at my laptop with the live webcast watching the heats.  What a day!

The competitors each went out twice in groups of seven.  Each group had their time out on the water to catch four waves for scoring.  Then the next group.  Then the next group.  And so on – from 8:00 a.m to about 4:00 p.m.   Each surfer could end up with 8 scores and they took (I think) the top 4 scores for a final score.  The surfers have 8 chances, which is good because some waves were bigger than others.  And there were some spectacular wipeouts today. 

The competition was AMAZING.  Simply incredible.  The Quicksilver group had several camera crews set up from shore and provided non-stop coverage of the waves and surfers.  Again, I am not a surfer – haven’t even spent a lot of time following the sport but wow, this was pretty cool. 

Some observations:

  • I saw some very gracious competitors today.  Every guy that came off the beach and stopped for an interview was fairly humble and gracious.  They paid tribute to Eddie.  They said they were honored to be invited.  Of course, these guys are super pros and may be as arrogant as sin.  But then, the pure light of competition adrenaline in an athlete’s eyes can be inspiring when they are in the thick of it, arrogant or no.
  • Wow oh wow – Clyde Aikau!  Wow.  Eddie’s younger brother was one of the competitors today.  He was amazing.  He got at least one great wave, which should be in the video of Heat 2.  Keep in mind, Eddie’s younger brother Clyde is now 60 years old.  He won the event in memory of his brother in 1986. He is 60 years old and out on the massive waves showing the young pros and grommets HOW IT IS DONE.  Wow. 
  • The waves were high yesterday and the director made the call – No Go.  Disappointing for the surfers but, in light of the conditions today – good decision.  The wave sets were big today and I think the overall conditions were much better than yesterday.  The commentators, the competitors, and even my surfing-happy weatherman on the news tonight all said that this may have been the best ever run of the Eddie.
  • Crazy crowds.  One of the competitors said this was the largest crowd he has ever seen.  At one point, one of the Quicksilver commentators said the police estimated the crowd at 30,000.  Hard to gage from the video coverage.  It didn’t look that crowded and I don’t know how that many people can cram into the viewing spaces along Waimea Bay.  But I believe it.  I cannot even imagine how many workers on Oahu called in “sick” today.  An Australian couple on the local news tonight said they walked about five miles from where they parked their car.  I’ve driven along the north shore before – I think it’s just one way in each direction the whole way.  I can easily imagine having to hoof it for 5 or 6 miles today.  Crazy.
  • (edited)  Big waves.  When the big sets would come in, the surfers were waiting for the biggest waves.  The commentators would like of laugh and say to each other – “Look at that!  That’s a 20-foot wave and no one is going for it.”  They were waiting for something bigger.   I’m not exactly sure how the scoring was done, but I think the surfers basically have to successfully get to the bottom of big waves.  No big manuevers or theatrics.  Just make it down.  On the videos, when you see one of the surfers riding the wave waaaaaay out back to shore, that generally meant that it was his last wave of the set and he was getting out of the water.  The crowd loved it, of course.
  • The competition – speaks for itself.  The video clips are at the Quicksilver site
    Heat 2 has a clip of Clyde Aikau.  I think Heat 8 shows the two perfect 100 scores during the last set of the competition. 
  • Heat 2

(Updated)  I still can’t seem to embed the videos but Heat 8 is definitely worth taking a look at.  These were huge sets and both of the perfect 100 scores of the day came from this set – one from Greg Long and one from Ramon Navarro. 
  Heat 8

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For some odd reason, Sweetie and my visits to California often seem to coincide with funerals. Most of the time we don’t plan it that way. Long long ago I once flew back to California just to attend a funeral. I hate to say I couldn’t afford to do that these days. But. I don’t think I can afford to do that these days unless I really need to.

A year ago Sweetie and I were able to attend his mom’s cousin’s funeral. We were here in July when we learned that a good friend of his family had died and attended that funeral with his mom, sister and (our new) bro-in-law. I was able to attend another aunt’s funeral – was it two years ago…. or last year?? Wow, I can’t remember. I also attended the funeral of one of my dad’s best friends while visiting California.

Big Sis, Mom and I just attended a funeral yesterday. We learned that my last aunt on my father’s side died. For Big Sis and me, all of our aunts and uncles are now gone on my dad’s side of the family. For our cousins, our mom is the only Auntie left. I stood next to my cousin C. yesterday and asked her – Do you realize that, other than mom, we are now the “elder” generation? She told me that, yes – she had actually thought of that herself. What a generation shift! It doesn’t seem that long ago that Big Sis and I were running through my eldest aunt’s house at Christmas, chasing our cousins’ kids and waiting for that perfect present from Uncle H. Now, one of my cousins is a grandfather and another one just sent his son off for his second year of college. My father’s parents had six children. Out of those six came only seven grandchildren. I am the youngest of the seven and haven’t even had my own kids yet, for heaven’s sake! But here we are. The next line of the family. Six of us were at the funeral yesterday. Somehow we seem to keep meeting up at funerals. We hug and catch up on new jobs, retirements, vacation, kids, grandkids, and surgeries.

There are few people I know who would say they enjoy attending funerals. However, given the death of a family member or good friend, I am glad for the times when I can pay my respects in person. Many people would say that funerals are not so much for the dead as for the living. I think it’s true to the extent that a lot of people need that odd ceremony to feel like they have said “goodbye.” For me, I needed my dad’s funeral to tell people a little about his life. And to thank those who came for being in his life. No, I don’t like funerals. But I value them. I’m not sure why I seem to time my trips with them, but I think I appreciate the cosmic calendar that allows me to attend as many as I can.

Now, if I could just avoid another one for a long stretch of time, I’d be happy.

By the way, Father Damien was canonized in Rome today. Kind of a big deal in Hawai’i.

http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/524658.html?nav=10

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The Island of Lana’i

I am heading off for a new adventure tomorrow.

Sweetie has to work over on the island of Lana’i and I am tagging along.  I’ve never been over to this little island.  There is a harbor and resort area on the water.  There is Lana’i City a few miles up the hill.  I think they have streets from First to about 13th Street.  Maybe 6 streets running across.  And…..I think that is it.  There is not much there, probably no Internet at the place we are staying.  I only have a little bit of work to do this week.  Sweetie will be working.  So what shall I do with my time?  I think the Internet break will be great for me.  I’ll be reading a lot.  Maybe get some writing done.  There may possibly be a trip to the beach in my near future.  Hmmmm…

I’ll have more to report in a few days.

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I was driving back from the grocery store the other day. I ended up behind a truck with a bumper sticker that I see every so often here in Maui. It said “Slow down. You’re not on the mainland anymore.”

Which just kind of makes me laugh.

I think that people who live in Hawai’i can justifiably gripe about several things. I think tourists do create more traffic on the streets here. I think that people who move over and buy up houses cause the slow sprawl that seems to be taking place. I think that people who move over and buy up expensive houses drive up the price of property on the island, making it harder for the average person to buy over here.

But I really don’t think the locals can complain about mainlanders driving too fast on the island. Because, from my experience, it’s the locals, not the tourists who drive crazy over here. When I see these bumper stickers, I want to ask:

“What do you say to the locals who screech past my house every Friday and Saturday night like NASCAR Cup chasers?” We don’t live in a touristy area and the crashes (five of them so far) and gunning engines are common. Mostly at night. More so on the weekends. I don’t think these are mainlanders.

“What do you say to the locals who tailgate everyone?” I get tailgated on the way to the grocery store by delivery fans and other cars going to the grocery store. These are NOT mainlanders behind me.

“What do you say to the locals who get impatient and speed past everyone while driving, legally or illegally?” I know for a fact the guy who hit us head-on on our drive back from Hana last year was NOT a mainlander. He was a local who was pissed off at a slow tourist and tried to pass another car over a double-yellow line, going around a curve.

Serious advice to travelers on the road to Hana (and elsewhere on Maui). Unless you are one of the speed demons these bumper stickers are addressing, let locals pass you on the roads. When we drive to Hana and back, we always pull over when it’s safe to let people pass us. We like to take the drive slowly, but we don’t want to piss other folks off. When you see space to pull over, just let people pass. It makes for a much more pleasant trip (if you don’t get hit).

Anyway, like I said – there are some legitimate gripes about mainlanders. But, having experienced the driving behavior of Maui inhabitants, I always laugh a little when I see this bumper sticker. Do these folks *really* not know who the speeders on Maui are?

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