Thursday, January 22, 2015



   At first sight, the trees take your attention as you enter
Waimea Valley considered a sacred ahupua'a, land that runs from mountain to sea.
   This wahi pana, place of kings and high priests, is a remarkable botanical garden. It is how this land was before development and commercialization.  It is a glimpse into origins.

    Common name for the tree above and below is Canon Ball.  Any questions?

   Deep canopy and lush forest enliven your imagination to
 ponder how Captain Cook's English sailors must have regarded this paradise when they landed here, looking for water.
  One begins to understand how natives of this land were shaped by the stunning beauty and richness of the natural order.

   Life here is rich, exotic and vibrant. One can sense how all of it is part of the same web.

   Hawaiians say the mana or life force and essence of those who lived and ruled in this valley remains. It is indeed an extraordinary place, and to this writer's mind a satisfying world away from Waikiki Beach on the other side of the island.
    Oahu's north shore is legendary for big waves and big wave surfing.  Shortly after sunrise on a day when the waves were 30-40 foot, my friend Jim caught this series of shots of surfing photographers getting caught off guard.
 Photo by Jim Cahill
 Photo by Jim Cahill
   What a desperate moment, fishing for your gear!
 Photo by Jim Cahill
Photo by Jim Cahill
   Those are expensive cameras, lens and tripods to get soaked and in some cases lost.
    I was able to catch a shot of what may have been the safest camera platform of the morning

     The flight controller had this drone down at wave level, between swells and then rapidly got it out of harms way. It was a neat side show.
     The other good spot was high ground.
    The eyes of the two surfers, the veteran and the boy speak volumes about the big waves.

   See you down the trail.

Monday, January 19, 2015


   Mark Twain, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson and Ernest Hemingway all found refuge and inspiration in the Hawaiian Islands. 
    The abounding beauty is but one of the captivating influences that engage the mind and put the muse to dance. The melding of Polynesian culture with indigenous history and native personality is rich. Add to that, color,   aroma, food, and a special relationship of people with nature all playing out in the unique light of a Pacific Island and you have a blend for reflection, appealing to writers and countless artists.
      William Faulkner said a writer needs experience, observation and imagination. Twain, London and Stevenson found it here.  
       On a previous visit, working on a documentary, a helicopter pilot with whom we worked told me the land and the Hawaiian people are connected in a special way and he said the land is alive. There is an energy and power to life that abides on land that has emerged from the sea by power of the ring of fire. Observing and experience life here stokes the imagination with volcanic power.
     These frames are works of reflection in degrees of intricacy. If you have a moment, decipher how reality is bent by reflection.
  The following are a trio in tribute to the dancing palms.

   The following frames may take a moment to determine how up is on the bottom.

   Wishing you moments of reflection and inspiration.

     See you down the trail.

Friday, January 16, 2015


    Around the northern point of Ohau, away from Waimea, the Pipeline and Turtle Bay lays stretches of undeveloped scenic beauty dotted by local communities of Kahuku, Laie and Hauula near Sacred Falls.
    The north shore appeals not only to surfers and fans, but those who like nature, country, local culture, agriculture and a very laid back mood.
   "Keep the country, country" is the call on signs and bumper stickers.  Here, as in communities close to nature, there is the tension between the way it is and the desire of developers. 
    I have preferred other Hawaiian Islands because of the heavy tourist development and building of Honolulu however the local and authentic feel of the North Shore and from here south to Hauula is delightfully pleasing. There is an easy accord between simplicity, balance and allowing the beauty of nature to be dominant. 
    The world has enough high rise condos, hotels and resorts. I'm with those who find favor in true local culture and perspective. Here it is country and it feels to this outsider that is how it should be.

 History looms in a strange juxtaposition on a point between Kawela and Turtle Bay. The beauty of paradise interrupted by an artifact of WWII.  The bunker stands at the tip of Protection Point.
 The fortification was one of many along the shoreline, protecting the Kahuku airfield that housed B-17 and B-24 aircraft.
  Here in paradise or on beaches and rises in modern Europe,  I am struck by the paradox and contradictory force of such beauty being the scene of historic and heroic battle.
    This banyan forest on the north shore has been a scene in many films and productions, the most recent being Hunger Games.

    Better that such paradise be the setting for only play war.  Were it that way everywhere, huh?

    See you down the trail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


 The agility, skill, patience and beauty of a seine fisher working a craggy point on Kawelia Bay on Oahu's north shore. 

   Minutes would pass with barely a discernible motion while the eyes were tracing the game.

     I watched, transfixed for a couple of hours of this ballet like action which resulted in several captured fish.

   I sadly note the passing of David Odell, a California friend and one of the true gentlemen of this age.  David was an intellect with a range as wide as his worldly travels. Though journalism and documentary work puts one in a league of travel and world travelers, David and his beloved Betty were the two most widely traveled people anywhere, certainly that I've met There are few places they have not been.  
   David was also a wise counsel and a true peacemaker. His skill and grace served him well and made him a perfect member of boards and there were many he served.
    David and Betty were in Bali when he collapsed. 
    In December of 2012 I posted about David's decision to retire from active tennis.  Here is a reprint.

First Published December 21, 2012
     An era came to a sad but noble end today. I think of it as a ghost of Christmas future.  
     A tennis partner quietly announced at the net as we were shaking hands at the conclusion of a match, that he would no longer be playing. David said he could not trust his balance anymore and he didn't want to take another fall, as he has twice this year.  David is an octogenarian.
     I didn't play tennis until we moved to Cambria.  My court sport in Indiana was basketball, but wanting to stay in shape I began as a late aged neophyte on the tennis court. It took months of some awful play before I was worthy of joining into a foursome.  David, Phil and Janos were the first group to ask me to sub from time to time.  They were also the first group to ask me to join as a permanent player.
     I play three days a week in three different foursomes now, but the Friday morning 9AM foursome on Court 1 was the "mother's milk" of my tennis play.  David, Phil and Janos allowed me to learn and grow and they are a delightful group of guys. After our play, we always end up at Lilly's coffee deck for wide ranging conversations and a good dose of friendship.
      David and I were often partners and there would be times he wore a frustration at what had departed his game. But there were also those times when his wicked cross court shot, or a hard hit liner would do the job and was evidence of a man who had great game.  He particularly enjoyed, as I did as well, when we would rally back from being down and win the match. We both would leave the court with more spring in our step.  He remained a competitor though he knew his days of being an excellent player were history. He loved the game and he continued to play.  
     David was also the picture of a gentlemen competitor at all times.  He evinced a great sportsmanship and integrity.  He is also a true gentlemen in every other regard.  A class act if ever there was one.  As well traveled as anyone I've met, even among other globe trotting journalists, David is a great joy in social settings.  We hope he will continue to join us for our post match coffee.
      Our buddy Phil has been on medical leave of recent, though his love for the game is pushing him to get back on the court as well.  In my few years of play I have come to know that love of the game and can understand how tough it must be to hang it up.  David will now take up lawn bowling, of which there is a tough league in Cambria.  And he may join the ping pong matches.
      I am indebted to Janos, Phil and David.  I will miss David's enthusiastic narratives and droll humor as we play. And I hope at some distant match, holiday season or other wise, I can leave the game with the same class and gentlemanly style as David.
      And for the record David's quick returns and well aimed shots earned us several points today.

      Goodbye friend!

      See you down the trail.