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Posts Tagged ‘Maui’

In the US, December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day. Pearl Harbor Day was established to remember and honor the 2,403 citizens of the United States who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The attack catapulted the United States into World War II, with President Roosevelt declaring war on Japan, calling December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” As the years pass, fewer people are alive who remember the day from personal memory. Pearl Harbor Day is not just a vague day of remembrance for me. My father was a World War II veteran, having served in the US Navy near the end of the war. He was not in the service when the war started, nor in 1941. Like many other young men of his day, he volunteered when he was old enough to do so. Why he picked the Navy, I don’t entirely remember. He got seasick and he couldn’t swim. He had to communicate in semaphore, which he laughingly told me he could never master during his brief stint in the Boy Scouts. When the war was over, he left the service, tried out a couple of colleges, and then worked for others until he struck out on his own as a business owner in San Francisco. Where would my father have ended up if he hadn’t been in the service? Not sure. I think he had already dropped out of high school. I don’t think he could have afforded even the little bit of college he attended if it hadn’t been for the G.I. Bill. He was a child of the Great Depression and a bit of a rebel kid, from his telling of it years later. He never considered himself to be a member of any sort of “Greatest Generation.” As I mentioned before, Dad said he felt that every generation rises up to the challenges of its day. Some though, you would have to acknowledge, have had far graver challenges than others.

When I was living on Maui, my sister and her family would come to visit. During one visit, we all spent a few days on Oahu. My sister, Mike, and I went to Pearl Harbor, and we went out by boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was an incredibly moving experience for me. I’d have to look back at my old blog entry (if I still have it) for more details, but I remember feeling less sad than I thought I would but also completely in awe of the magnitude of the events of that day. And still very sad for the Navy service members who lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona. And throughout Pearl Harbor. Hearing and reading about it don’t generate the feelings that come when you stand above the wreckage of a sunken ship somewhat frozen in time. Or see the wall of names of those who died. I’m grateful I had the experience to visit the memorials and exhibits in person. As more and more years past, fewer and fewer visitors will have had stories of World War II told to them in person by someone with firsthand knowledge. As it is, those of us with “Greatest Generation” parents and grandparents probably didn’t hear a lot of stories to begin with. It seems to be a shared trait of many WWII veterans to have rarely shared stories of their service. When my father halted his cancer treatments over 10 years ago, I realized I had no idea where he had traveled during his Navy career. I went out, bought a large paper world map, grabbed some pens, and put the map in front of my dad. I told him, “Now you show me where you went, where you stopped, how did you end up with those carvings you said you got in Africa?” I’m glad I had the chance to do that too. There’s a big chunk of collective history we are losing year after year.
And with that, I’ll post a few pictures from my trip to the USS Arizona Memorial. It’s been over 10 years since I was there, so I don’t know how much its operations have changed. I think it was shut down for a while. I hope there are still opportunities for others to visit it.
On a lighter note, December 7 also happens to be my parent’s wedding anniversary. And this year would have been their 50th, if my father was still alive. There’s a whole other set of stories about their meeting, and marriage, and wedding day. Mom loves to tell people a few particulars about the day. Maybe I’ll share that on a separate blog. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

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So, I’ve posted a few things that I miss about Maui.  I thought I should post a couple of positive things about my life away from Maui.

Paying bills.  Being able to pay bills is a very positive thing.  I am immensely happy to be paying off all my bills.  The last couple of years on Maui were slow ones for my side of the pay check contributions.  Work from California was barely trickling in and I was working less than half time for many months.  Bill balances were carried over, much to the consternation of Sweetie (and my father if he was watching me around that time).  I didn’t love it either, but it was easier for me (than Sweetie) to just ignore the monthly charges.  I fretted but felt that I would get my feet back under me eventually.

Now that I am back to a full-time job with a steady full-time paycheck, I am loving being able to pay my bills and start socking away money every month.  *sigh*  Nice.  Not that I don’t have new stresses from said full-time job.  But I remind myself how nice it is to pay off my bills.  And that helps.  I have a couple of personal loans I’m paying back and it feels good to be able to do that also.  I can still stress about money if I think about it.  Especially given the long list of house projects that Sweetie and I are compiling.  Some optional.  Some probably soon-to-be mandatory.  Think sewer pipes.  Fun times.  But at least I don’t feel overwhelmed on a weekly basis.

So, much as I miss the laid-back loveliness of island self-employed living, I can appreciate some of the benefits of the daily grind.  Given that I’ve landed in a nice workplace with some interesting projects to work on, I’ll keep my nose to it until the day I become a professional poker player.  ha! 

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I don’t think I can explain this without sounding demented so I’ll just say, sometimes on my evening walks I think to myself: “I miss those squashed frogs in Maui.”

Walking around my neighborhood in Maui, either up the hill or into town, I was sure to see an almost paper-thin shell of a frog from time to time. There they were – on the road, the side of the road, in the gutter.

I’m not saying I like seeing poor smooshed frogs on the road, but it was amusing to me how incredibly flat they were. I think frogs are the flattest roadkill in the world. Usually, by the time I see them, there are no guts involved. It’s just something that looks like a cardboard cutout of a frog on the ground. It’s kind of funny. Right? Funny.

Nowadays, I walk around the flat terrain and sometimes, up ahead in my field of vision, I will see something flatly splayed out on the road or sidewalk ahead of me. I walk towards it thinking I will again be amazed and amused by the sight of a poor unfortunate frog. But no. It’s just a rag or something like that. Boring.

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I enjoyed a couple of new experiences the last few weeks with our latest house guests.  One guest requested a trip over to the northwest side of the island to see the Nakalele Blowhole.  I had to admit that I had never been over there.

So, off we went.

The blowhole is north of the whole Lahaina/Napili/Kapalua shoreline area of West Maui.  Most people drive up from the south because the road narrows to one lane shortly north of the blowhole.  That’s about as far as most drivers go.

Turns out, the day we decided to drive over was a pretty huge surf day.  The blowhole was exploding!  We didn’t hike down to the base of the blowhole because the waves coming over the rocks next to the blowhole were huge.  As it was, we stayed up above the blowhole on the rocky ledge and we still got soaked from head to toe.  More fun than your average water park!  I got to do quite a bit of rock scrambling which makes me happy.  My buddy was talking to me, then he turned around and when he turned back I had already lifted myself on top of the next rock ledge above us.  He observed: “You’re very climb-y!” 

The outing was so enjoyable, I suggested to my next house guest that we drive over for a quick walk down to the blowhole.  One of my former housemates had stopped over from Oahu and had a free afternoon.  So, off we went.  This time, the surf was big but not nearly as huge.  We walked all the way to the bottom and I got more close-ups of the blowhole.

Then, with M. driving, we did the top-of-the-West-Maui drive.  Whew!  That is one long stretch of winding narrow driving.  There are two spots of road on Maui where, if you look at the map, the road seems to disappear.  The hard part about driving around the southern edge of the island is the road is not paved.  I’ve done it once with Sweetie.  I don’t remember that road being super narrow.   But there were some pretty huge craters of potholes in the dirt.  On the northwest side, this small portion of road from the north of the blowhole back around to Kahului is narrow!  It’s paved but you have to pull over for any cars coming the opposite direction.  Luckily – not many people drive it so you don’t really see that many cars.

Not my favorite way to travel on a road, but I’m happy I can now say that I have, on separate occasions, driven around the entire island. 

And here’s some Nakalele Blowhole for ya:

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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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Nice day in the water today on Maui.

I took my buddy Ice on a whale watching trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation.  As I have mentioned before, out of the whole whale season (roughly November to April), the best time to see whales is full moon February to full moon March.  That is according to one of the naturalists on a boat a couple of years ago.  Well, here we are in late February and the whales were hopping and breaching today!

We started off with a little greeting by a couple of dolphins.  They swam past the ship soon after we left the harbor.  I’m not used to seeing the dolphins, but I managed to get off a good shot as they swam under the boat and appeared right beside us.

 

Then, on to the whales.  We saw several whales “logging.”  This is when they are just kind of floating horizontal on the top of the water.  Just hanging out.  We saw some blow from a mom and calf.  We saw some whales from far away.

My buddy made some comments like: “Well, at least the boat trip is nice,”  and “We saw more whales from the beach.”  But, true to form – the whale watch provided plenty of breaching whale shots.  In fact, one whale breached several times right off the side of the boat and it was the closest I have ever seen a whale breach. 

Ta da!

and……….

 

and……..

 

Finally, as we made our way back to the harbor, the captain suddenly slowed the boat.  For……no….not another whale.  A little Honu was about to cross our path!  I barely got him with his little head sticking out of the water.  You can see him at the bottom of the picture.

 

All in all, a good whale watching day.  Aloha!

I’ll leave you with some more visuals from today.

And, one more video to completely bore you.  Same whale breaches twice!

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…..and I have the scrapes and the headache to prove it!

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