July 12-July 18, 2020

July 12, 2020

The moon is half full today and the tides are similar to yesterday, low in the early morning than basically high tide all day. I met M— down at Mahaʻulepu and we were in the water by 8:00. Two of the doctors were out, but they didn’t stay long. A skinny lady on a rasta colored wavestorm paddled out from the new makeshift camp we had seen on shore. She got stuck on the other side of the current, catching little inside lefts over and over again. Once she headed in, her friend paddled out on a white wavestorm outfitted with a fishing pole. He sat just beyond us, jigging his line up a down, and was gone in a matter of minutes, having drifted with the current almost to the cliffs.

M— and I talked story about the mess that this world is, particularly as school is set to “open.” We talked about other messes too, in his typical dry fashion. We paddled against the current, as one does in life, and took turns finding extremely fun waves, also a feature of living. Most waves today were strong, bowling at the peak, and running all the way in to the shallows. I found a few that tipped just over my back as I popped up, a few that turned into ramps for airs at the ends. At one point, the skies opened, just after the winds picked up, and it rained hard for five or ten minutes. It was that kind of rain on the ocean that splashes up so much salt water, everything starts to smooth out. Waves look like hills in an OʻKeefe painting and everything is quieter behind the sound of the rain beating the ocean, the water that is being rain becoming the water that is being an ocean, a series of waves.


Raining at Lae Nani

In the afternoon, I took the girls down to Lae Nani to meet C— and his kids. We sat and talked, again about these fucked up plans to force us back to school buildings and classrooms, while the kids played in the saltwater river. A couple, a meathead and a skinny woman in a thong, walked by us with their huge pitbull loping behind. The dog not only was off leash but had on no collar. The couple went in the water to snorkel right next to where the kids were playing and off course the dog tried to follow them, scaring the kids. I asked the guy if the dog was his and he said “Yes, sheʻs fine.” I asked if he could tie her up and he said “What the fuck for? Why?” After explaining that he canʻt have a loose dog at the beach, he just stared at me. After saying the kids were scared (they had run away by this point), he said “Oh, really…?” The question of the narcissist.

They got out in a huff and walked themselves and their dog as close to me and C— as possible without saying anything. Shortly thereafter, the skies opened again and C— and I tried our best to hide towels and bags from the rain. The kids kept playing in the river.

Once the rain let up, we spent the rest of the time bodyboarding and body surfing the sweet little waves peeling across the sand bar, pitbull free now.

July 13, 2020

Today Erin and I had hours and hours of online workshops and meetings, my first at 7:00 a.m. The kids had their 1:00 online summer class and Erin still had two more hours of virtual meetings to attend to. I took the kids out of the house a little after 2:00, to go play at the river. I knew the water would be high with rain but I just needed to get us all out.

When we pulled across the bridge at the far end of Hauaʻala, I could see that the river was running high but it wasn’t muddy. When we got down the bank, through the 10ʻ high buffalo grass, I saw that the pebbly shore that usually allowed us to walk to the little falls was totally covered. I also immediately saw a little, perfect river wave where the water gets deep and narrow. 

The wave at Kapaʻa Stream

We were able to play and have fun, building dams and ponds and catching little fish. Eventually the girls floated around in the shallow eddies away from the swift water in the middle. I kept looking back at that little wave and eventually pulled off my shorts and took the beater board out there, in just my black boxer briefs. I had a hard time getting into the wave at first but eventually figured it out on the third attempt and body boarded for a while, drifting back and forth staying in the moving pocket. Shortly after I got out, the wave disintegrated. Maybe a rock shifted or the water level changed just enough, but it was fun while it lasted.

July 16, 2020

The moon is on its way to new, to renewal. I was talking to Erin about that word today. The connotation is one of returning to former newness, or former quality, but literally, to re new is to become new again, not the same. I like that the moon becomes new when it is not visible and that it is remaking itself into a different celestial light as it grows through the sky each month.

The low tide today was at 0.0 feet, just before 6:00 a.m. High tide was somewhere around 2:00 in the afternoon. The girls went to hang with M–, Erin went on a hike and then worked on her next essay for Merwin, and I headed back to Mahaʻulepu. There was almost no one there when I arrived. Just one spear fisherman headed up the cliff as I headed down. The morning sun, shielded by large white clouds, turned the water into silver and black. As the sun peaked out, the outside sets started to glow turquoise, like they were lit from inside. The waves were fine, topping out at chest or head high, and mostly slow and soft. A few bombs rolled through with nice ramp sections, and some of the smaller ones let me ride all the way in up onto the almost dry reef. Eventually a woman paddled out, getting in the water in front of the house and then paddling straight across the shallows. She sat way inside most of the time, near where M— or C— end their waves, but she found some decent insiders. We chatted eventually, about the day, the waves, the crowd, why Mahaʻulepu is special, and then I found one last wave and headed in.

I cracked my right big toe pretty bad on my way up the hill, the same toe I broke 15 years ago at Shipwrecks. I am certain it will just always be sore.

July 17, 2020

Calm Morning at Anchors

When I have something, a tool, a door hinge, a bolt, that is stuck, I have one method for fixing it. Spray it with lubricant and then open and close, open and close, by force, until everything moves smoothly again. Sometimes I use the same philosophy on weird noises in a vehicle or other gas powered devices…rev it it hard and then see if it works. Sometimes I use this thought process on bodily injuries, too, with a strained finger or twisted ankle, just move it through the pain to see if it goes better. Anyway, I decided to put my very sore toe to the test this morning. I had planned on not surfing for at least a few days, with how difficult it was to walk all day yesterday but the winds were just too perfect to ignore Anchors.

I paddled out around 7:30 in the morning, about an hour after the negative low tide, but the tide is always low at Anchors. I figured I would mostly paddle around, find a few small waves, and just test my foot. I ended up having a very fun session catching mostly rights. I was able to get in early, before the air drop, setting myself up for making the second section and ducking under the lip as the wave bowled and bent. I am now always prepared for this wave to be fast, powerful beyond its size, but I still marvel at the power and speed, these waves rushing in out of open ocean unslowed by any reef or sea floor until they hit the shallow reef outside the Kapaʻa Public Library.

Towards the end of the session, a light wind came up, so light I could barely sense it on my skin, but it changed the glassy, hollow rights into lightly folded swells that were much less predictable. The last two waves I caught started as rights but both urged me to cut back left after my bottom turn. My last wave was great, challenging, fun. I took the steep drop, bottom turned to take the right, ducking a bit as the wall tipped over my back and then I cut it back left, hard. I saw the left running out down the line, the bottom dropping out even as I made my turn. For a moment I thought I might not make it, but I pumped down the secondary drop and everything lined up for a brilliant, long, fast left, all the way to the edge of the slab on the inside, where the eponymous anchor lay half buried in the island.

I paddled in, tired and happy. As I hopped off my board in the shallows and my feet hit the sand, I saw something bright blue rolling in the shore break. I reached down and pulled up a cool little cobalt blue bottle that once held milk of magnesia, medicine for people long since dead. What will someone pull from the sand 90 years from now that we once used to heal ourselves?

Milk of Magnesia bottle from Anchors

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