Friday, January 30, 2015


    It's the look in their eyes or the tone of voice. When I talk with friends from elsewhere I can tell they just don't get surfing. 

    Maybe they are thinking of media "Hey Dude, gnarly man!" stereotypes, or they've never seen the extraordinary athleticism required.
    Tangling with 20 to 40 foot waves is serious business.
    An article in an Island paper detailed more than 120 serious spinal injures on Hawaiian surf beaches. Getting crushed in a wall of water like that pictured above can also kill you.
   The memorial near the famous Pipeline on Oahu's north shore pays tribute to those athletes killed there.

    Along with traditional surfers are boogie boarders, using flippers and a short board.  They too ride the wave and when successful, as seen below, flip up and over the roaring Pacific curl.

    On Oahu's North Shore we watched at the Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea, three of the world's best surfing sites.
     I was surprised to see the scope and depth of the "surf culture" and joked about the traffic and jammed parking, "does anyone work up here?"
   At least some do, as professional surfers. Several "surf shacks" commercially owned homes housing professionals, sit along the Pipeline. 
    They compete, do product endorsement appearances and live only feet from some of the best surf in the world.
      A few of the pros are veteran champions.
  Followed by many young chargers

 During the winter on the north shore they are well observed

  Even watching can come with potential difficulty. The next two frames are a case in point.  I took the first shot at the end of the steps leading to the Pipeline. My friend Jim shot the second frame a day earlier when those rocks and stumps were being used by professionals shooting a competition. 
  The people above are unsuspecting of how quickly the beach can change.  The pros below will remember, and fishing for their gear.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Cahill
   So yea, it's exciting and the rides look thrilling, even appealing.  But this boomer knows his own limited abilities and respects the power of the sea.
    The best I can offer you are pictures, from a safe distance and my admiration for those who catch a wave.

   See you down the trail.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


   One summer after I had complained about "nothing to do" my mom said why don't you go outside and just watch the clouds. All these decades later, I'm still watching. 

   Sometimes there is nothing better for you than just watching them.
     Difficult photo subject, the peacock.  Looks a bit grumpy
    about being stalked by yours truly.  Hoping for a fan spread but left with trying to spot the retiring bird in heavy foliage.

    His crown feathers are fascinating.

   The Hawaiian Common Moorhen is considered a secretive bird. Experts say the population dropped to only 57 birds in the 1960's.  Today it's estimated there may be 1000.  
    It's a challenge to consider there are only 999 others like him, or her.  

   This little guy, a little soft in focus, is a Red Crested Cardinal. He's a cute variation of the Cardinal, the Indiana state bird and mascot of my alma mater Ball State University.  There the male cardinal is full on red.  As my old friend David Letterman, also a Ball State grad says, the "Cardinal is the fiercest bird in the Robin class!"  This guy gets style points.
    This fellow is one of what must be thousands of wild chickens in the Islands.  From my limited and somewhat distracted observation there is indeed a "pecking" order and Roosters crow whenever they feel like it, which is often.

     See you down the trail.

Monday, January 26, 2015



    Over the course of three weeks we've taken great delight in watching guys from elsewhere on Kawela Bay take to the big water in an outrigger.
   Historians say Polynesians who first traveled to the Hawaiian Islands used outriggers.
   Fishing here requires an eye on the breaks coming over the reef.
    On another day on Kawela Bay a family puts out to surf together. 

  A new generation of surfers in training.

   On each outing the outrigger fishermen appeared to be successful.
   Even inside the reef the north shore can produce heavy surf requiring mindful attention.

    The lateral float support, the outrigger, makes the canoe hull more sea worthy and stable. From Australia through Polynesia migration across big water as well as fishing was accomplished by outriggers.
     Paddling an outrigger in seas that routinely toss up 20 foot waves adds a new dimension to fishing from a boat.

      See you down the trail.