March 22, 2020
I have only ventured out to the store once or twice, taken the girls on flash flood watching drives, we all made it to the path a few times, we’ve walked Ea and Lani Roads to no end, I even took a drizzly bike ride on my 45 minute loop up Kawaihau and Kahuna Roads, but today was the first time since the quarantine that I have ventured farther afield than Kapaʻa town.
The weather has been pleasant since Thursday, since the kona storm finally drifted off. I had tentative plans to meet M– at Mahaʻulepu this morning but he couldn’t make it. I briefly thought about Anchors and Nukoliʻi as I packed up the truck, but the wind was too brisk. I thought the north shore would certainly have better waves but I was worried Kalihiwai would still be too muddy, so I made the drive south.
I pulled up to the cliff around 8:10 and just watched for a while. Low tide was close to 9:30 a.m., bottoming out at 0.01 feet but much of the near shore reef was already dry. The near side of the bay was dirty, red orange, frothy, but a sharp line separated the mud from the surf break, showing the hard edge and direction of Mahaʻulepuʻs dependable current. The waves were small, crumbly, but frequent enough for me to head down the hill, across a newly minted sand flat that had completely buried the tide pools in front of the stream. The river itself was a brighter dirty red, headed for the open ocean via the sandy spot right in front of the house, instead of straight out across the rocks, impeded by all the new sand. I walked across all this and sat under the trees to watch some more.
The skies were classic, blue and white, the air was bright, saturated, the sun warm but the breeze cool. The water was a beautiful green across the surf break, but the outside peak of the outside wave sparkled translucent blue as it pitched over. As I stood on the edge of the reef, waiting for a wave to deepen the water enough, I noticed the inside section was the color of tea, fading to that brilliant green I saw from above.
I wasn’t hoping for much more than just a quiet few hours paddling in the sea. And at first, the waves met my low expectations. Over the course of the two hours, I found some fun ones, a few shoulder high runners. I even found myself dropping into a section that just opened up and curled right over my back, perfectly.
When the sun was high enough to tell me how long I had been out, I found a left and headed in, through the stinking red water in front of the house. The water felt thick on my skin, like rinsing a butter knife in cold water, like a film of sea foam mixed with the island mud coating me. A quick rinse from the canteen, and I sat to finish my coffee, looking at all the waves that I could have ridden.