Friday, August 27, 2010

Season 1, Episode 15. The season finale.

Ok, so it is only one year late...but here is the final slideshow episode from my first year in Maui.  This is episode 15.  It is only the last few days from last November right after my dad and brother left and before I went back to Utah.  There's a few pics from my trip to Big Island, and the rest is just random from my last few days.  Again, most pictures will be boring to you, but as this is my digital journal, they're meaningful to me.  Aloha!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scuba Duba Doo!

So I finally got to go diving.

Scuba diving has been something I have wanted to do my whole life and I've always felt a little weird that I haven't done it yet seeing as how I've done just about everything else humanly possible in the water and love it so much.  And just as I is now one of my most favorite things to do EVER!  These pictures are from my first ever dive at Mala wharf, an old Pier that collapsed in a hurricane in 1993.

Tera and Dread Jake.  Garrett in the back.

Reef shark!
The old pier.
Spotted Eagle Rays.
Underwater pole dancing?  Go Tera!
Dread Jake and a cool starfish.

Cool Tera has cool gloves.

 So I have actually been diving every day since!  No pictures though....frowny face.  Today at work though I got to dive with dolphins!  On our way back to Maui from Lanai we came across a pod of spinner and spotted dolphins and since we had a very small number of people today the captain let us jump in with them!  It was pretty sweet, unfortunately an open water dive with tourists means I didn't have a free hand to take my camera into the water with me, but the dolphins were really cool.  I did get some shots before we got in.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scratch That

In keeping with my new tradition of blogging about surfing, like I originally planned when creating this blog, I have some surf news.  Tonight's report pretty much tromps last nights report.  Remember that epic wave I caught last night?  (see previous entry)  Well, add about 5-10 feet to that wave, then times it by 10.  LNW+10ft. x 10 = Greatest Breakwall surf session EVER!  Tonight had nothing to do with beautiful sunsets or pretty colors, tonight...was all about the waves.  The biggest waves I have ever seen here on Maui.  Every set had at least overhead waves with a few double overhead sets coming about every ten minutes.  This means these waves were 10-15 feet high!  Do you have any idea how it feels to get hit with a 15 foot wall of water?  I do, and it's pretty incredible.  Whats even more incredible than getting churned around like a rag doll in a washing machine is RIDING a 15 foot wave!  The only thing that has come close to making me that silly with happiness is a 60 degree spotless slope of shoulder deep powder.  I rode these perfect waves for three hours tonight.  I've never surfed that fast, I've never surfed wave faces that big or for that long, I've never made such fun turns,  I've never been worked that hard...until tonight.  And tonight, most definitely takes the prize for being my most epic surf session ever.  Now I must go drain a gallon of sea water out of my sinuses...

Das da good kine brah!

So contrary to what the naming of my blog implies, I haven't really reported on the surfing that much.  I shall now make amends for this travesty and blog giddily about how much I love to surf!  In fact, one of my most favorite things to do in this whole beautiful world is surf breakwall at sunset.  Breakwall is the name of the surf break a few blocks from my house, it is so creatively named on account of it's proximity to the harbor's breakwall.  I have written about surfing here at sunset before, but I am going to do it again because it is so amazing.  Tonight was no exception, well except one, that I'll get to in a bit.  The colors in the sky were still as beautiful as ever, the clouds above the Maui mountains were lit up in a way I've never seen before.  The mountains had gone dark the sun still lit up the bottoms of the clouds above the mountains, the effect was quite breathtaking.  The whitewash behind crashing waves leaves lots of tiny bubbles that when they pop send tiny sprays of water into the air, the low sun lights up these little droplets and the effect looks like a golden blanket covering the water.  Across the entire horizon the sky is a smorgasbord of pink, yellow, orange, blue, purple and black.  The palm trees light up like they are on stage when the sunlight hits them from such a low angle.  The Luau at Lele still provides Polynesian rhythm with it's drums and music.  It's still as beautiful every night as it ever was last year.  But tonight, the difference was this one wave...One wave that has filled me with endless giddiness.  A wave that I will recall every time things in life seem to be a little less than awesome, to lift me up and remind me how amazing life is.  Waves are measured by their height from the top of the wave to the bottom of the trough (looking at the wave from the beach)  Hawaiian style of measuring used to be from the back of the wave, but to stay politically correct we'll use the official measurement.  So saying a wave is overhead, means that it is at least 6 feet high in my case.  (it's over my head, scientific)  Normally I would put the average wave height at breakwall at about 2-4, this would be a good day anyway.  And tonight this was the case.  But in every swell there are always a few waves that break the day's mold.  These are hard to catch though because you have to be in the right spot, and if you've been catching small kine waves all day you will be in too far (too close to the beach) these larger waves break much further out.  But tonight, by the great graces that be, I found myself completely surprised by one of the most gorgeous waves I have ever seen at breakwall.  And I was in the perfect spot!  I caught the wave with only a few paddles, and shot down the face.  My first bottom turn back up the wave was so fast my face was only inches from wave face.  I got at least 10 bottom turns and just as many top turns, I was ripping off the top break getting the nose of my board all the way out of the wave and bombing back down into the trough at speeds I'd never felt on a board before.  And this wave kept going and going.  It was such a long ride!  At the end I was making another bottom turn with a huge giggly grin on my face when I noticed something I have never seen at break wall.  This wave was barreling!    Oh it was gorgeous, unfortunately I was not expecting this and since I was making my bottom turn I was not in position to get into the barrel.  I tried anyway though, well duh.  But alas, getting into a barrel after it's closed is all but impossible...water is heavy.  So I just got knocked silly off my board.  The ride was over, but my exclamation as soon as I came up said it all, "best wave EVER!!"  When I got back in the lineup several bruddahs actually told me how sweet of a ride that was, this my friends = Hawaiian respect.  I probably sound like a hippie to most of you, but Reed, Josh, Audrey, or any other surfer who might be reading this, you know exactly what I am talking about.  It was most definitely, Pono.  Everything is awesome my friends...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

F = MA

The Kaulana of Maui

So, although I am now famous Island wide as El Asesino de Plastico, yesterday I fought I battle that I lost miserably. It wasn't lack of strength, determination, or will that was my downfall, however, it was Newton's laws that did me in! On my boat the Kaulana of Maui (see above) we go to two snorkel spots everyday. The first is on the island of Lanai, the second is on Maui at a place called Mala. At Mala there is no bullet buoy on the mooring so I always have to jump off the boat and swim around to find it. Normally I sit on the bow and wait for the captain to get the boat as close as he can using the gps, he stops the boat, I jump in and he reverses until I signal that I have found the mooring. So yesterday I jumped off the bow of the boat after giving the captain the thumbs up and yelling "diver in!" so he knew I was going into the water. Everything normal. Now, keep in mind that The Kaulana is a 70 foot catamaran (it's not small). We had come to a complete stop making it safe for me to go, except the captain somehow seriously misunderstand my signals. Is soon as I hit the water he throttled up, I was already diving for the ocean floor and headed towards the starboard side where I knew the mooring to be. But alas, all those years of swim and polo practice were not enough (sorry for goofing off so much coach) as the two 1500 HP diesel engines quickly overtook me and WHAMO! The starboard keel nailed me in the back! A total blindside. I tumbled under the keel for a few seconds bouncing off the boat every few feet like a human bobber in a washing machine. About the same time I realized what in the world was happening, and after I had released my underwater cursing rant (I only curse under water, I promise) I realized what lies at the back of the boat, A large 3 foot diameter spinning prop of death! I probably wasn't nearly as close to the flesh eating blending machine as I thought, but that didn't matter! Human flesh + large metal prop = almost certain's science. I was scared, and of course you all know that I don't get scared of anything! So I paddled my guts out and kicked my chicken legs like never before to get clear of the boat and finally popped up about mid ship, right under the captains pilot helm. "Hey! What are you doing under the boat?!" The captain yelled at me... Ugh, that was an annoying question from the man that just ran me over. I've got some gnarly bruises (I don't bruise easily) and bumps but I'm fine now. Lesson learned though, never go in until I'm SURE the captain is done moving the boat around! And the laws of inertia are very heavily favored against me... I think I'll start going into the water from the side of the boat from now on too...

The worst part, got lousy tips that day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My life among the tourists...

Have you ever had a scattered brain? I have...

Gaining respect in Hawaii comes from how many tattoos you have, how successful you are at growing marijuana in a bucket in your backyard, and how you act in a lineup (surfing).
Getting respect in Utah comes from your job title and salary, where you went to college, for what degree and for how long, whether you served a mission, and your marital status (after age 25). I'm pretty low in both places, and I couldn't care less.
What's the deal with the "f" word? Seriously, just because I'm a dude that doesn't mean I want to here that word shoved between every syllable. I miss my friends that don't talk like that.
So I have a dream job in paradise...except for maintenance days. Along with trusty sidekick Tera (well, almost trusty, don't trust her with a wet vac), I pulled bilge tank duty the other day. A bilge tank is the lowest section of a vessel, it's filled with swash tanks, or tiny metal compartments filled with all sorts of crossbeams and other fun, sharp, metal objects. A bilge tank contains bilge water, for your convenience I looked up bilge on wikipedia, it says "Bilge water can be found aboard almost every vessel. Depending on the ship's design and function, bilge water may contain water, oil, urine, detergents, solvents, chemicals, pitch, particles, and so forth." So let that paint a picture for you, now in this painted masterpiece add about 110 degrees, poor circulation, and Dallon and Tera with a roll of paper towels, a wet vac, some degreaser, and a pressure washer. now stare at this painting for 6 hours! Oh but don't worry it didn't get boring at all! Tera managed to dump the wet vac onto her head, only to repeat this feet later. The second time though she was much wiser and instead of on her head she dumped it all out over the newly spit shined sections we had just cleaned! But I forgave her because getting the wet vac all wet gave me the shock of my life. Literally! I screamed like a little girl getting chased by a spider, falling into cold water, and seeing Zac Effron take his shirt off...all at once! But on the upside, I have a new funny tingling in my whole left arm. And at the end of the day, the Maui Princess has the cleanest bilge tank that NO ONE will ever see! Should have called Mike Rowe, good times, good times.
Working on a cocktail cruise:
  • I've been told I have the greatest mother in the world because I don't drink or smoke. I agree.
  • I'm been kissed while her husband took pictures.
  • I've been invited "back to our room".
  • I've made lots of new friends. None of which I will ever see again.
  • I've learned how to mix all sorts of drinks that I'll never taste.
  • I've fallen of the boat. I wasn't drinking.
  • I've discovered dance moves I never knew I had. Who rocked the boat?!
  • I've learned how vulnerable drunk people are.
  • I've increased my appreciation for the fact that I don't drink. Thanks Mom.
  • I've memorized all the lyrics to "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire. But who hasn't...
Cutting a two inch thick rope at 20 feet deep with a tiny pocket knife...not an easy task. But I've done it before. My bucket list just keeps getting shorter!
Watching shark week and working in the ocean everyday = awesome pranks on silly co-workers who are afraid of sharks! for example:

The other day there was a mass panic amongst the bobbing, snorkeling tourists when someone on the boat spotted something large in the water. Captain Dave ordered me to slay the man-eating beast and like a monkey on a banana tree I attacked with zeal! The water being my natural habitat I was able to catch the aquatic monster while whisking bikini clad touristas onto the boat with one hand and fend off the attacker with the other. The battle for strength, honor, and dominion of the sea was brief but fierce and alas, the hero, the knight, the warrior, the man...broke the surface a victor and claimed his oceanic throne! That slimy floating garbage bag didn't stand a chance! I ruled the day! At this very moment it sits in some landfill where it belongs, never to torment a hapless tourist again! Surprisingly though, everyone on the boat, after swimming for their lives, didn't find my flailing, kicking, and splashing about one bit humorous when they found out my opponent was just a trash bag. I however, had a great laugh...
My best friend and roommate Reed just left. This happened last year too. We come to Maui together, holding each others hand for comfort and support. Then he leaves me here all alone. Now I know how all his girlfriends feel... I had to move to a new house because the room we shared held too much memory and emotion for me to handle. So I live in a new place now, with a room all to myself...on the bright side, maybe I'll blog more.
Luckily, before Reed left we stowed away on a boat and went to Molokai. We found some 12 year old kid to be our tour guide (thanks Nathan) and explored the last Hawaiian island I hadn't been on. We tried to hike down to Kalaupapa, site of the Hansen's Disease (leprosy) colony. The colony is on a peninsula below the highest sea cliffs in the world. You would know them from Jurassic Park helicopter scenes. But bullocks...the colonists had recently revolted against the evil caretaker and in the battle somebody cut the elevator cable so there was no way down. I also heard something about a mudslide taking out a bridge, but whatever happened all I know is that we weren't able to make the hike. Bummer. I'll go back, sorry Reed. So instead we hiked to some other waterfalls and woke up a giant lizard. I also learned that my bare feet don't have as good traction as Reed's shoes. That hurt. But we slept on a beach, a three mile long beach (the longest in all of Hawaii) and had the whole thing to ourselves. Well, except for all the sand crabs that cozied up with us. It was pretty awesome. There are no people over there on that side of Molokai, just a ghost town and a dilapidated resort. So that morning when we still had the entire beach to ourselves, we did what any normal person would do, dropped our drawers and ran around and snorkeled the way man was meant to be! It was Reed's birthday after all, gotta wear the suit on your birthday! Beware of burning your buns if you choose to snorkel in the buff however...ouch! Molokai was cool.
We saw a shooting star that made us both think someone took a picture, it was just like a camera flash. Then a few nights later I saw one so close I could actually see it break into pieces and could see actual flames. Those were both awesome. Everything is awesome.
Once, it took me 15 minutes to find the mooring, I could touch the ocean floor before I could see it that day. THAT was a little disheartening, they never show the ocean like that on shark week.

Ahhhh, so much less scattered now. Mahalo!