Recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Contest recently celebrated its 19th year here on Maui – The awards ceremony, held on April 20, 2018 at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, presented the winners from approximately 500 Maui County student entries. I attended this Maui style celebration: proud parents and friends brought leis and balloons to recognize the students, who dressed in their best clothes and had the biggest smiles.
The non-violent approach to living in the world continues to be celebrated in one way through the words and insights of the students – in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here in Hawaii, Melinda Gohn has been the guiding light of the Peace Poem project.
Melinda has help from loyal volunteers.
More than 70 students, including four from Molokai, were recognized for their poems: thoughts and words of peace.
As part of the ceremony, Melinda had us close our eyes – and imagine the past.
Suddenly, we heard a voice resonate through the hall and opened our eyes to see the august Bryant Neal presenting Dr. Martin Luther King, J’s “I Have a Dream” speech! Fantastic!!
The Maui County grand prize for her award-winning poem “I Am Running” went to Olena Rondeau, a 4th grader at Roots School of Maui. She was present with a canvas painting donated by Maui artist Davo. Of the poem, Melinda Gohn said in The Maui News article about the event, “Rondeau’s poem uses immediacy with unusually perceptive images and metaphors to create an experiential poem uniquely reflecting Hawaii and the innocence of a planet at peace” ( May 6, 2018 p. B8).
I Am Running
I am running through a gardenia scented twilight
Beneath a raspberry, dark blue and purple sky I am running . . . .
Above me, a canopy of stars
Millions of tiny pinpoints of light
Shining in the night. . . .
Suddenly a meteor streaks across the sky
Red-yellow flames light up the night.
The falling star reminds me
that the world is full of magic”
by Olena Rondeau.
At the ceremony, Gwyn Gorg, President of the African Americans On Maui Association, congratulated Rondeau and all the contest winners and spoke of the importance of a peaceful Maui community.
Hawaii Governor Ige provided certificates for top winners, Mayor Alan Arakawa gave all winners a certificate, and the International Peace Poem Project gave a prize poster commemorating Dr King.
All the islands have such award ceremonies. The Molokai awards are set for May 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m at the Molokai Library; the Oahu awards are June 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.
Congratulations to all involved for recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world.
Aloha (in light & peace), Renée
For 25 years, Kathy has been tending her garden. The result is spectacular. Recently, friends Audrey, Gail, and I were invited UpCountry to see her island paradise.
Before you get too impressed by my knowledge of all these plant names, you should know that Kathy is the source. 🙂
Hohenbergia stellat (left); Azelas (top right); and Amaranthus (bottom right)
The flowers varied in color, shape, texture, and smell.
Medinilla scortechinii (top left); Gail & Kathy (bottom left)
Blossoms of various colors and shapes:
Fishtail palm seeds (left); Bloodleaf (right)
Beauty was everywhere we looked in Kathy’s garden.
In addition, Kathy’s garden has been the source of many of the ti leaves that have become part of the “Leis of Aloha” – begun in Kihei, Maui, at Nalu’s Restaurant and sent around the world as an act of solidarity and love after the tragedies in Paris, Las Vegas, San Bernadino, Orlando, . . . and most recently, with other islands contributing, a 3-mile ti leaf lei was sent to the children in Parkland, Florida. Such leis have also been created for celebration of the Hawaiian outrigger Hokulea’s return from its three year world-wide voyage – “Malama Honua.”
Happy Spring. Enjoy planting – and visiting – gardens wherever you are.
P.S. Banner photo: Obake anthurium
All plant names supplied by Kathy with technical assistance from “the lawn boy”; all photos, except for the ti leaf leis, are by me. 🙂
March 24, 2018 – March and Concert – on Maui – wonderful, hopeful:
The people, the signs, the unity –
The volunteers –
After the March for our Lives, we had the Concert for our Lives, Maui style:
This being Maui, we also saw famous surfers and water people and Hawaiian cultural practitioners. Ram Dass was there! Students came to the concert for free. Adults paid $10 for the fabulous concert. All the proceeds from the sold-out event will help promote sensible gun- control laws.
Not everyone attending the concert wanted stricter gun laws. In going around offering forms for voter registration, I met a man from Alaska who has his assault rifle in his locked gun safe. He explained that he needed the high-power weapon because of bears and moose. Wouldn’t a regular rifle offer protection in the unlikely event of an animal attack? (And then you would be able to eat the meat). He also tried to explain why he didn’t vote – so he wouldn’t be responsible for voting someone into office that he later found didn’t make good choices.
Why do we desperately need gun change in the U.S.?
Mom’s Demand Action (for gun sense in America) notes a few of those excellent reasons we need change:
- Every day, 9 3 Americans die from gun violence.
- Since Newtown, [the Sandy Hook Elementary School 2012 shooting that killed 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members] there have been over 200 school shootings – one almost every week.
- American women are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other developed countries.
- Close the deadly loopholes in our background check system that allow dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers easy access to guns
- Support reasonable limits on where, when and how loaded guns are carried and used in public
- Promote gun safety so that America’s children will no longer be exposed to unacceptable level of risk
- Mobilize popular support for policies that respect Second Amendment rights and protect people
Go to: www.momsdemandaction.org
If you live in the U.S., please Register, Educate Yourself, and then Vote. If you live in Hawaii, you can check your registration status and/or update your information, by going to: https://olvr.hawaii.gov/.
We can at least get rid of the assault weapons and keep mentally ill and domestic abusers from getting guns legally. It’s time for positive action.
Our children are asking for help. Guns cause senseless killings every day in the U.S. – including “too easy” suicides, too easy disagreements and domestic abuse incidents that turn deadly . . . Even the hate-filled, mentally-ill men who see killing others as an option – need help.
We must take action to stop gun violence in the U.S.
In Peace and Aloha, Renée
One reason I love the State Fish of Hawaii is because of its impressively long name. The Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a is colorful and beautiful – and if you can say its name quickly, it probably means you’ve lived in Hawaii for a long time and have practiced saying it. It’s a reef triggerfish, and in Hawaiian, its name means, “”triggerfish with a snout like a pig.”
Recently, I learned that there is another fish here in our waters with an even longer Hawaiian name: the lauwiliwill nukunuku ‘oi’oi.
In “Lauwiliwill nukunuku ‘oi’oi – A small fish with a big name,” Evan Pascual notes in a recent Maui News article, “Lauwiliwili refers to the similarity between the shape of the fish’s body and the wiliwili tree’s leaf, which is oval in shape and turns yellow as it ages.
Nukunuku (snout) and ‘oi’oi (sharp) describe the fish’s narrow, elongated mouth. Together, it loosely translates as ‘long-snout fish shaped like a wiliwili leaf.’
There are two species of longnose butterflyfish in Hawaii: The common longnose butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus) and the big longnose butterflyfish (Forcipiger Iongirosis). They share the same Hawaiian name, stunning yellow coloration, elongated mouth and flaring dorsal spines. Their sleek, flat-shaped bodies allow them to quickly maneuver between corals while their sharp spines protect them from predators.
Nearly identical in appearance, the common longnose butterfly has a much shorter mouth than the big longnose butterflyfish. Their beaklike mouths are used to probe corals and reef crevices in search of small invertebrates and crustaceans, but are also used in cleaning stations to remove crustacean parasites from their fellow reef fish.
Another difference between the two species is their main habitat. The common longnose butterflyfish lives in shallow water environments throughout the Hawaiian Islands and is more visible to snorkelers. However, the big longnose butterflyfish is rarely seen as it lives in deep-water environments beyond coral reefs, most notably off the Kona Coast of the Big Island.
The lauwiliwili nukunuku ‘oi’oi has a unique and perhaps lesser-known history in Hawaii. The British explorer Capt. James Cook embarked on a Pacific-voyage 1776-80 where he and his crew would become the first Europeans to encounter the Hawaiian Islands. During this expedition, which included documenting scientific observations, the big longnose butterflyfish is believed to have been the first Hawaiian marine species to be collected and identified by an English scientist.
In more recent years, over 55,000 public votes were cast in 1984 to name the Sate of Hawaii’s official fish. The lauwiliwili nukunuku ‘oi’oi finished in third place following a narrow defeat by the manini (convict tang) and a landslide victory by the humuhumunukunuapua’a. Today, it remains as a living testament to the beauty and wonder of Hawaii’s reef fishes.
At the Maui Ocean Center, a few common longnose butterflyfish peacefully swim alongside other reef fishes in the Living Reef exhibits. When we look at a coral reef, whether at the aquarium or in the waters surrounding Maui, we often see a single image of a living community rather than the individual species that make up this brilliant seascape. But if you look closely, every animal has a unique role, a connection to local culture, a lesser-known history, and in the case of the lauwiliwili nukunuku ‘oi’oi, a really, really interesting name…”
From: The Maui News, March 4, 2018, C2.
Another interesting fact about the lauwiliwili nukunuku ‘oi’oi is that the Waikīkī Aquarium adopted the longnose butterflyfish as its logo – as it represents a meeting and common interest in the marine environment by both Hawaiian and European naturalists.
Take a close look at the animals wherever you live; you are likely to find interesting facts and have more appreciation of each one.
War or Peace?
On Saturday, January 13, my husband Barry, our friend Gail from Washington State, and I lounged on our lanai on the warm Maui morning. We watched the birds congregate at our feeder: lots of little red beaked Java sparrows, vibrantly colored love birds, red-headed finches, and an occasional Hawaiian cardinal.
As we sipped our coffee, chatted, and laughed, a warning alert blared from my phone. Usually this means a flash flood warning from rain storms up country or a high-surf advisory. Not at all concerned, I strolled into the kitchen to pick up my phone:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Was this it?
In the three seconds that it took for me to run back outside to where Barry and Gail were chatting, the following thoughts (in abbreviated form) raced through my mind:
1) Where could we take shelter? We live in a house of single-wall construction, with lots of windows, set on posts and pilings attached to volcanic rock. We don’t even have basements in Hawaii let alone bomb shelters. For a short while during the 1960s when everyone in the U.S. was afraid the Russians would attack, my dad – as a part-time job – sold home bomb shelters that could be built in your backyard. But that was in the Midwest and a long time ago. (I don’t think Dad sold many, and we certainly couldn’t afford one). At school, we practiced crouching under our desks as a way to be protected from atomic bombs!! Ridiculous!
2) I’ve read Japanese author Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain, a dispassionate but memorable novel based on historical records of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and those who survived. I’ve been to Hiroshima and the Peace Museum there where photos show that people were vaporized by bombs much smaller than the ones available today.
The report from the first Western journalist to enter Hiroshima after the bombing notes –
On September 3, 1945, “Wilfred Graham Burchett entered Hiroshima alone, less than a month after the atomic bombing of the city. He was the first Western journalist — and almost certainly the first Westerner other than prisoners of war — to reach Hiroshima after the bomb and was the only person to get an uncensored story out of Japan. The story which he typed out on his battered Baby Hermes typewriter, sitting among the ruins, remains one of the most important Western eyewitness accounts, and the first attempt to come to terms with the full human and moral consequences of the United States’ initiation of nuclear war. It was published in the London Daily Express on September 5 and appears below . . .:
30th Day in Hiroshima: Those who escaped begin to die, victims of
THE ATOMIC PLAGUE
I write this as a Warning to the World
DOCTORS FALL AS THEY WORK
Poison gas fear: All wear masks
In Hiroshima, 30 days after the 1st atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly — people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.
Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.
In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show.
When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles and you can see hardly a building. It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.
I picked my way to a shack used as a temporary police headquarters in the middle of the vanished city. Looking south from there I could see about three miles of reddish rubble. That is all the atomic bomb left of dozens of blocks of city streets, of buildings, homes, factories and human beings.
STILL THEY FAIL
There is just nothing standing except about twenty factory chimneys — chimneys with no factories. A group of half a dozen gutted buildings. And then again, nothing.
The police chief of Hiroshima welcomed me eagerly as the first Allied correspondent to reach the city. With the local manager of Domei, the leading Japanese news agency, he drove me through, or perhaps I should say over, the city. And he took me to hospitals where the victims of the bomb are still being treated.
In these hospitals I found people who, when the bomb fell suffered absolutely no injuries, but now are dying from the uncanny after-effects. For no apparent reason their health began to fail. They lost appetite. Their hair fell out. Bluish spots appeared on their bodies. And then bleeding began from the ears, nose, and mouth. At first, the doctors told me, they thought these were the symptoms of general debility. They gave their patients Vitamin A injections. The results were horrible. The flesh started rotting away from the hole caused by the injection of the needle. And in every case the victim died. That is one of the after-effects of the first atomic bomb man ever dropped and I do not want to see any more examples of it. . . .
Go to the above link for the rest of the article.
In the Oct. 10, 2016, Popular Mechanics article, Jay Bennett writes:
Also, for those surviving the initial bombing, the radiation sickness caused agonizing deaths. (Also, the birth defects that follow the family of the survivors reach into subsequent generations).
3) I would not want to survive an atomic blast.
4) Even if I did somehow survive the blast, there would be huge problems in Hawaii. Although the Hawaiians were self-sustaining for thousands of years, now “modern” Hawaii imports 90-95% of its food and energy. We are one of the most food vulnerable places on Earth. If there were a catastrophe, we would soon be out of food and fuel. Puerto Rico is still not getting needed help from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017.
In a December 21, 2017 article for Esquire magazine,
Holms reports, It’s been “three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, unleashing the full force of a Category 4 storm on the American territory. The intensity of the 155 mile-per-hour winds and the ferocity of the rainfall led the island’s residents to believe they had encountered something not of this world. . .
The troubles were never going to recede with the storm. The recovery was always going to be long, hard, and frustrating. But reports on the ground in the ensuing weeks quickly made it clear that the federal government’s effort was unacceptably slow and perilously inept. One month after the storm, one million Puerto Ricans—American citizens—were without water. Three million were without power.”
Puerto Rico is much closer to the Mainland U.S. than we are; we aren’t likely to get much help from our current administration.
5) Where was President Trump – and what was he doing with his “bigger button”?
Such terrifying thoughts raced through my mind as I ran back outside to alert Barry and Gail.
Gail, being the smart Microsoft contractor that she is, immediately opened her computer and checked The New York Times. Lead stories included one on the U.S. economy and one on gay rights. There was nothing about missiles headed toward Hawaii. Barry, the always great researcher, ran to the kitchen and turned on the radio. There was nothing on any channel. There were no continuing disaster sirens.
We decided the alert had been a hoax or a hack.
Besides, we were with people we loved, watching birds, and drinking coffee. Our neighbor came up with his cup of coffee. Our other lovely neighbor was off paddling in the ocean. Our son and his little family were on the U.S. Mainland. If we were to go, it would be quick – and besides the crisis didn’t seem real.
Another alarm signal came 38 minutes later saying the first had been a mistake. Later we learned that our president had been playing golf in Florida, so he didn’t overreact to the “news.” The whole situation reminded us that we must check our sources, but it also reminded us that we haven’t really worried about nuclear threats since the early 60s.
At home on our lanai, our little gathering did have a heightened sense of appreciation for the beautiful day, our relationships, our lives, and we poured another round of coffee.
A few days later, the following letter (written by my friend Melinda whom I’ve known for about 20 years) was published in The Maui News:
Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable
As an interviewer and researcher who lived in Hiroshima for over 10 years, I learned that any survival is a fluke. The small bombs that were detonated in Japan vaporized people in an instant, leaving only their shadows. Skin melted off, neighborhoods disappeared, people who were in shelters were sucked out by an intense force and those who survived for a while died horrific deaths from radiation poisoning.
The warning signal is a cruel lie. Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable.
Did you know that in 1929 a law was passed making war illegal? It’s called the Kellogg Brian Pact. It was put forth by our secretary of state, Frank B. Kellogg, and his French counterpart, Aristide Briand.
Did you also know that Hawaii is the first state to recognize the KBP law thanks to Mayor Alan Arakawa’s signing a proclamation making Aug. 27 KBP day? And that Gov. David Ige recognized KBP in a Peace Day proclamation at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in September?
Instead of sirens we need to find a way to de-escalate the path toward nuclear war. Could it be through legal action such as fines for incitement since KBP outlaws war?
If the Koreas and USA can negotiate a cease-fire, surely we citizens of aloha can find a way to prepare for “No More War.”
Surely, we can all work for peace and toward peace.
Religious leaders of all faiths advise peace and love:
Prophet Muhammad, said : “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)
The wise words of Buddha from the Dhammapada further reminds us where we could be putting our thoughts – and actions:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its way with care and let it spring from
love, born out of concern for all beings.”
Gandhi said, “The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbor even though you distrust him. Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. . . .
And what did Jesus say? “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Let’s put our focus and energy on understanding and loving everyone. Our survival and that of the Earth depends on it.
Banner photo: Birds in the papaya tree off our lanai
One of the highlights of our recent U.S. road trip was stopping at my cousin Elaine’s in Effingham, IL. Her grandson, Keegan, a 2nd grader, is in an elementary school that has for the past 28 years been doing a unit on Hawaii.
Since Barry and I were going to be in town, we were invited to answer their questions about our island home.
1) Since it is so far away from the rest of the United States, why is Hawaii a state?
Hawaii is far away from Mainland U.S. A. – that is true.
- From California to Hawaii is 2,471 miles.
- From Japan to Hawaii is 4,980 miles away.
Before it was a U.S. possession, Hawaii was an independent country. However on Jan. 17, 1893, Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown by a group of U.S. businessmen and sugar planters (who wanted to make more money). With the help of U.S. military, the business people forced Queen Liliuokalani, the Queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to abdicate. She give up her rights and kingdom although she was the rightful leader. She didn’t want her people killed.
Two years later, Hawaii was annexed as a U.S. territory and eventual admitted in 1959 as the 50th state in the union.
2) What races live in Hawaii?
- The state’s overall racial breakdown: white, 22.7%; black or African American, 1.5%; American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.2%; Asian, 37.7%; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 9.4%. The Hispanic or Latino population, of any race, was 8.9%.
- More Hawaii residents identify as mixed race – USATODAY.comhttp://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/census/2011-02-24-hawaii-census_N.htm
3) Have you seen a volcano erupt?
- Yes, on the Big Island of Hawaii many years ago, Barry and I saw a volcano erupting!
- Lava and steam have been coming up in various places on the Big Island for many years. Johnny and Sigrid were just there in February and were right by extremely hot, slowly flowing lava.
- On Maui, we have two volcanoes – one extinct (dead) and one dormant (sleeping), so we don’t have lava flows now.
- The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanoes.
Big Island Kilauea Volcano
Go to this link to see molten lava:
4) What are the black sand beaches like?
- Black sand is hot – very hot when the noon sun shines upon it.
- The dark color absorbs the sunlight, so if your feet are bare, you have to run really quickly to get into the water.
- That sand is black because it is fine particles of volcanic rock.
- Most sand in Hawaii is silicon dioxide (quartz) that is white or whitish yellow; it has been broken down from rocks and minerals by wind, rain and freezing/thawing cycles into smaller grains. In a few places, the sand is red.
- Also, sea creatures such as the parrot fish chew up minerals and leave sand behind.
5) What is the weather like?
- Nice – highs are around 87 degrees in June, July, and August and lows of about 64 degrees are in January and February.
- Because temperatures drop about 3.2F (1.3C) every 1,000 feet (305m), the summit of Haleakala is roughly 32F (13C) cooler than the beaches.
- Rainfall is low in Kihei (10 inches a year), but on the east of Maui, is Hana, a rain forest (400 inches a year).
- Hawaii is called a “tropical paradise” because its climate makes people feel comfortable almost every day of the year.
6) Are there a lot of shark sightings?
- No. Sharks do live in the ocean, but they aren’t often seen here in Hawaii. One thousand miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, in the Palmyra Atoll, however, there are about 20 sharks every half mile. So it depends where you are what sea life you’ll find.
- About three shark attacks occur per year in Hawaii. Few shark attacks are fatal. Sharks do not have very good eyesight, so it is best to stay out of the ocean at dawn, dusk, or at times when the water is murky. Sharks are looking for turtles to eat – not humans.
- The Hawaii shark attack rate is surprisingly low considering the thousands of people who swim, surf, and dive in Hawaiian waters every day.
- The most frequently encountered Hawaiian reef sharks are the White Tipped Reef Shark, Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Tiger Shark, Galapagos Shark, Gray Reef Shark, and the Sandbar Shark.
7) Do people really do the hula?
- Yes, the men and women – and children – dance hula. The Hawaiians have a powerful dance, music, and chant culture!
8) How is Christmas celebrated in Hawaii?
- Over half the people in Hawaii practice Christianity.
- Of those, 18.74% are Catholic; 5.24% are LDS; 3.91% are another Christian faith; 0.06% in Hawaii are Jewish; 5.14% are an eastern faith; 0.05% Islam.
- Barry and I have a Christmas tree, church services, and celebrations with our families. Because the weather is warm, we take food and spend our Christmas Day at the beach with our friends and family.
- Because we live in Hawaii, we get to enjoy and experience other cultures and religions that our friends and neighbors practice.
On Maui – Santa arrives by canoe
9) Are there any interesting animals on Maui?
- Yes. Many – many – especially sea creatures.
- My favorite one? Humpback whales that come to Hawaii from about December through February.
Humpback Whale Facts:
- Whales are mammals: breathe air, warm blooded, live birth, have hair, & mom’s produce milk.
- Fifty-eight million years ago, whales were land animals. But there was global warming and less land and food, so the whales evolved back into sea creatures.
- Their trip from Alaska to Hawaii (and then back to Alaska) takes whales 5 to 7 weeks at 3 to 8 miles per hour – each way! It’s about 3,000 miles they swim to give birth and mate in our shallow, sandy bottom, warm water.
- A whale calf is 15 foot at birth and drinks about 120 pounds of milk per day.
- Because their throats are about the size of a grapefruit, the Humpback whales don’t eat for about four months here because our fish are too big. The whales have to wait until they get back to Alaska where there is krill, small shrimp and other small cold water fish for them to eat!
- All whales vocalize, but the males “sing.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo2bVbDtiX8
- Life span: 40-80 years
- Length: 35-45 feet
- Weight 35-45 tons ( 1 ton = 2,000 pounds)
- Importance of whales to microscopic beings: Scientists report that when whales feed, often at great depths, and then return to the surface to breathe, they mix up the water column. That spreads nutrients and microorganisms through different marine zones, which can lead to feeding bonanzas for other creatures.
- And the materials in whale urine and excrement, especially iron and nitrogen, serve as effective fertilizers for plankton.
Come visit us to see other animals, birds, and sea life.
10) Do you have turtles in Hawaii?
- Two kinds you’ll find in Hawaii (among others) are the Green Sea turtle and the endangered Hawksbill.
- At Ho’okipa Beach on Maui, you can sometimes see 25 or more turtles, big and small, basking – resting and warming up – on shore every afternoon.
- Thirty years ago, basking seldom happened. But now, turtles are protected. It’s against the law to eat them.
We have other much more common animals:
11) What can you do for fun?
And of course, you must come paddle Hawaiian outrigger canoe with me. Kihei Canoe Club has visitor paddle every Tuesday and Thursday. Be on the beach by 7:15 am. You will learn the basics of paddling, hear a bit of Hawaiian culture (especially if Uncle Kimokea is there), and get to be on the ocean with experienced paddlers. We never know what we will see. http://www.kiheicanoeclub.com/
As for our time in Effingham, Barry and I had a very good time meeting Keegan’s classmates and teachers – and answering their excellent questions.
Cousin Elaine brought juice and made “Hawaiian” cookies with macadamia nuts and coconuts. We all had a good time.
Of course, there is much more to say about the Hawaiian Islands. Come visit and see for yourself.
Since President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863, those of us in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving Day on the final Thursday in November. We give thanks and count our many blessings – and usually eat too much with family and friends.
One important blessing is our many farmers who provide the food we eat.
A way to become more conscious and make more informed choices about the food we have offered is to get to know our local farmers and their concerns.
If you live in Hawaii, a great way to do that is to join the Hawaii Farmers Union United, a vital community group. Whether you are a family farmer, an avid backyard gardener, or just like to know where you can get good local produce, HFUU offers wonderful workshops, informative meetings, and works on important agricultural concerns.
For more information and to join, go to: https://hfuuhi.org/
Current President of Maui Farmers Union United and Vice President of Hawaii State Farmers Union United, Vincent Mina says about the challenges of farming (and everything else),
“If you do anything substantive, it will be hard. Just get on with it.”
Wherever you are in the world, check out what your farmers are doing. “Get on with it.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family — and all who provide for you.
For the first time in my life, I’ve been bitten by a dog! I always thought that if I wasn’t afraid of an animal, if I didn’t make eye contact, and just walked away slowly, a barking dog or wild animal wouldn’t bite me (bears or sharks, I realized, might be another story).
This method has worked for me my whole life–even once in Waiehu, an isolated community on Maui, when a pack of dogs came charging up the road as I was walking by. Also several years ago in Ubud, Bali, on Monkey Forest Road, I had an adult wild monkey (that weighed about 25 pounds and could have had rabies) climb up my leg looking for food. I stayed calm; it saw I was carrying a water bottle, not something edible, and climbed back down. I was wearing long pants and had been meditating and doing yoga every day, so I didn’t freak out, and the monkey went on its way.
On the same road another time, when Johnny was eating an open coconut, two juvenile monkeys charged him.
Quickly (and wisely), Johnny tossed the coconut; the monkeys went after it, and he was safe (and they were happy).
However, other people are not so wise. Do NOT mess with wild animals!
Had the monkey who climbed up my leg gotten a treat from someone like this woman?
But whether dogs or monkeys, sometimes, I’ve discovered, what has turned out okay before, doesn’t work.
Last Saturday as a friend and I were walking on the road in a residential neighborhood in Makawao, Upcountry Maui, a yappy, bored little dog jumped through a hole in its fence and came charging. With all the confidence of my past experience, I just ignored it and kept on walking slowly away. I’d already passed her house when the dog came up behind me and bit my left calf – leaving four puncture wounds! Now, six days after the attack, I still can’t go in the ocean because of the wound, and I’ve had to go to the doctor.
After this experience and some research, I have revised my thinking about dog attacks. These links give good advice:
1) This site tells what to do to help prevent an attack and what actions to take if the aggressive behavior escalates: <http://www.wikihow.com/Handle-a-Dog-Attack>
2) This source repeats some of the information, but it’s helpful too. <http://voices.yahoo.com/dog-attacks-confronted-aggressive-8440355.html?cat=7>
3) This site helps you “read” a dog’s body language:<http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/what-my-dog-trying-tell-me/15185>
And what did I do? My first reaction to the bite–normally rather quiet me who never curses, started screaming: “What the xxxxx! Whose xx## dog is this? Get this ###XX dog off the street! It just bit me!!” I was pissed and more shocked than really hurt, and I’ve obviously not been doing enough meditation lately.
My bloodcurdling yells scared the dog back though the hole into its yard and brought out the next-door neighbor and his young daughter. I learned that this “jewel” of a dog, Ruby, had previously bitten the neighbor on the hand, Ruby’s owners knew about that attack, and the hole in the fence was not new.
I hold Ruby’s owners responsible. That day, they were both at work and had left their two big dogs, who slept through the whole encounter on this hot afternoon, and Ruby, a terrier/chihuahua mix, out in their yard. Cesar Millan, “the dog whisperer” and writer, says that leaving your dog in a fenced yard is for the dog like leaving it in a big cage.
Millan says that most problems with dogs can be solved by walking it for three hours a day! (He charges a lot for that advice if he gives it to you personally). However, if you don’t have that much time to be the alpha person in your dog’s life, he says at least walk the dog a half hour a day (which would be good for you too) – and put the dog on a treadmill! It’s likely that Ruby hasn’t been walked in a long time; the big dogs may be reacting to the neglect by sleeping.
Once I knew this wasn’t Ruby’s first unprovoked attack, I was very clear that I would report the incident–even though Ruby is a little dog and the bite didn’t look like much at first. It’s not as though I make my living as a leggy model, but the wound bled, became swollen and bruised; it hurt. I’ll spare you the gooey visual.
I reported the attack to the Maui Humane Society right away. Although they didn’t have an animal control officer in Makawao that afternoon, they sent an officer the next day to give citations for unleashed dog and dog bite.
The Maui Animal Humane Society website says, ” Maui County Code 6.04.045 outlines special regulations for dangerous dogs. Owners of a dog that has been deemed dangerous face a maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 30 days in jail should they fail to comply with the requirements of owning a dangerous dog.” From: <http://www.mauihumanesociety.org/UserFiles/File/What_We_Do/Field_Operations/Citizens_Guide/Citizens_Guide.pdf> But the owners can avoid the worst of the penalties if they keep Ruby contained and get her training.
When the Maui Humane Society officer called for my report, I said I would of course go to court. If the neighbor had done that when he was first bitten, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have been attacked.
Thankfully Hawaii is rabies free. However, we do have nasty bacteria such as MRSA, (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to most antibiotics). Puncture wounds are not good especially in hot climates.
A couple of people, including neighbors open for future Ruby attacks, said to me – “Oh, it’s just a small dog. Are you really going to report it?” Yes! It’s the owners who should be feeling guilty about the attacks and making sure they don’t happen again. Zero tolerance should be the policy here. Besides, Ruby and her owners will need to get training–and everyone is likely to be happier and safer as a result.
If you have a dog, be a responsible owner. Of the almost 5 million dog attacks in the U.S. each year (and many involve family pets), half of those injured are children. So train your dog. Train your children (and yourself) about what to do. I know now that it’s not enough to be unafraid; dogs like Ruby will bite.
— Be calm and don’t make eye contact is just the first step in reacting to an aggressive animal. That’s usually enough to avoid a bite, but not always.
— Be ready to back away (I won’t turn my back on a barking dog again), command “No” (in the language of the land), throw something to distract it if possible, and if necessary, be ready to fight if attacked.
— And get medical treatment right away for a puncture wound. A tetanus shot lasts 10 years, I’ve learned, unless you actually get a puncture wound, and then it’s good for only five years.
A dog can be “Man’s best friend,”
But some dogs are bored, neurotic, neglected, and/or nasty. Be aware — stay safe.
Even before dawn, the ocean is beautiful. Paddling in a six-person outrigger canoe, as I do, I ‘m often in a boat to see the sun rise over Haleakala. Now that it is whale season, we sometimes get to see humpbacks too.
Although endangered, humpbacks can be found in all oceans, and they migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator. Our humpback whales come to Hawaii during the winter months to give birth and mate before making the journey back to Alaskan waters, about a 6,000 mile round-trip, about 30 days each way.
According to Earth Trust, humpback whales feed only during the summer months when they are in cold, nutrient rich waters. Opening their mouths bring in about 500 gallons of water at a time. They have no teeth, but their baleen plates serve as a strainer to filter out small fish such as herring and mackerel. They consume 2,000 to 9,000 pounds of fish and krill a day! Approximately 25% of what they eat during the summer is stored as blubber and used for energy and insulation for the winter–when they come to Hawaii. They can lose one-third their weight before they eat again! (<http://earthtrust.org/wlcurric/whales.html>).
The Maui News (2/1/13) reports, “NOAA’s last official full whale survey six years ago found 10,000 whales in Hawaiian waters, with the numbers growing.”
It’s illegal to chase whales or to approach within 100 yards (the length of a football field); however, we can let them come up near us. Adult humpbacks grow to 38-48 feet long and weigh about a ton a foot—so although they are gentle giants, I get nervous when we are really close. It’s thrilling, actually.
We hold our paddles up when we are close to a whale so that vacationing condo dwellers with binoculars don’t report us to the Coast Guard for chasing whales.
Humpback whales become reproductively mature between 4 and 8 years old. Gestation is eleven to twelve months, so when she returns to Hawaii, the mother gives birth to a single calf, which is approximately 13 feet long and two tons! The mother feeds her newborn about 100 pounds of milk, which is 55% fat, each day.
NOAA says, “Underwater nursing poses unique challenges, which are overcome in a number of ways. First, nursing occurs in short bursts. Second, the mammary gland is triggered by direct pressure, so the calf can insert a rolled tongue into the mammary gland and trigger the flow of milk. Third, the consistency of the milk is thick, and much closer to what we would call yogurt, this helps the milk stay together rather than dispersing into the surrounding water”<http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/ABL/Humpback/AboutHumpbacks.htm>.
The calf nurses for five to seven months until back in nutrient-rich waters of the North; then the calf is weaned. By then, the calf has doubled its length and has increased its weight five times to about 27 feet and 10 tons. It will continue growing until about ten years old. Usually, a female humpback will bear one calf every two or three years, which is one reason they are an endangered species. Although no one yet knows for certain, the average life span of humpbacks in the wild is estimated to be between 30 and 40 years.
Last Thursday going out even earlier than normal, we were on the water at 5:30am in the dark with a cloud-covered sky, so we didn’t even have starlight. We came up upon a whale that may have been sleeping. The first indication was when we heard it breathe. We were so close I could have touched it with my paddle! That’s too close. Remember even the newborns are at least two tons.
The humpbacks are in Hawaii from about November until May, but the peak part of the season is from January to March. There is still time for you to see humpbacks here this year. Come visit.
* Unless otherwise noted, photos by me
Hawaii is one of the most racially diverse places in the world; no one group holds a majority. We are Hawaiian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Japanese, Pacific Islanders, Mexican, and other. According to the 2010 census, 23% of the residents of Hawaii claim multi-ethnic origins; no other U.S. state comes close to this percentage. This “mixed plate” of mingling traditions and cultures enriches our Hawaiian islands—and we get visitors from around the world too. Maui is a wonderful place to people watch.
Of the about 157,000 residents on our three-island (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) Maui County, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders now comprise only 10.5% of the population (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/15/15009.html).
According to Sam L. No’eau Warner in “The Movement to Revitalize Hawaiian Language and Culture,” ” The Hawaiian people thrived for 1,000 years after migrating to Hawai’i in the eighth century (Beechert 1985). They had developed highly organized social systems, and upon contact with Europeans in 1778, the Hawaiian population was estimated to be 800,000 (Stannard 1989). . . . By 1878, only 47,5000 Hawaiians still remained (Schmitt 1968). . . .
Hawaiians were economically self-sufficient. They also had a highly developed religious system, which, together with their understanding of the natural environment, nurtured and protected the natural resources . . . Although unwritten, Hawaiian at that time was a sophisticated language with a long and rich tradition of oral literature. . . .
Initially, contact with Westerners resulted in the death of 80% [growing to 94%] of the Hawaiian population through introduced diseases (Stannard 1989).
The present ethnic mix of Maui is the result of migrant sugarcane and pineapple workers especially during the mid-to-late 1800s.” Even today, immigrants come to work in the fields and seek a better life for their children; now most are from other Pacific islands and from Mexico. Children of immigrants lead our Maui businesses and government, and Maui faces show the rich ethnic diversity of its people.
Then there is Little Beach. Go on a Sunday night for drummers and more.
Come enjoy the ethnic diversity you’ll find on Maui.
*All photos by me