Monday, Monday

Aloha!

It seems Monday is the day people most often dream of running off to an island where the living will be easy.

Every day when Mike goes to work as the Captain of The Scotch Mist (www.scotchmistsailingcharters.com/) out of Lahaina Harbor, some tourist will say, “Wow, you must have the best job in the world!”

So here is a look at Mike’s day. First up, the Hawaiian monk seal on the beach in front of his friend Barry’s house, where he often stops off before work:

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Being a monk seal must be hard work, because he needed a nap

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Then, onto the boat. They are still seeing whales this late in the year on the whale watches
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And then there are the champagne sunset sails (well, everyone but Mike and the crew gets champagne…)

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From the outside looking in, yes, Mike’s job looks perfect to many. He’s basically getting paid to live a Jimmy Buffett song, right?

But scratch the surface and you will find long, long days in the hot, hot sun. And the skin cancer that required 30 stitches in his left cheek. During the busy whale season (January-April) he might leave the house at 7 am and not get home till 9 pm. And although his commute isn’t bad, it does take 50 minutes.

Sometimes boat trips get canceled due to not enough passengers. So he might have a snorkel trip that’s over at 1 pm but the evening sail doesn’t start till 5 pm, with no sail in between. He’s sitting in Lahaina with no work–a “split shift”, and not paid for those extra hours.

If there are no trips scheduled yet for a workday, he is home but on call. Like a doctor, but without the fabulous wages…yet still responsible for twenty-five lives. He can’t really go anywhere or do anything, because he might “get a trip.”

But in all, when he’s actually on the water behind the wheel he’s loving life. So, all in a days’ work, eh?

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Hope wherever you are, and whatever you do, you’re having a good Monday.

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.
Aloha, Jamaica

There’s a New Kid in Town

Aloha!

Mauidailyescape is rolling out a new Page. Realizing there was so much interest about Mike’s career as a surfer, surfboard shaper, and founder of “Country Surfboards”, you can now click on “About Surfer Mike Turkington” at the top of the page.

Since he’s pretty much the source of information for this blog on Hawaii’s history and the explainer of its many quirks, I figured it was high time he got his own page.

Let me know what you think, if you have any questions, and feel free to comment away!

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Treasure Trove of Surfing Photos

Aloha!

So Mike made the LA Times today, on the front page of the Local section… it can be searched under “A wistful wave to the past.” It is a famous vintage photo of him surfing, and it is also featured in Krista Comer’s book: “Surfer Girls in the New World Order.” Photo by Tom Keck. Here is the link:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-surfing-photo-archive-pictures,0,5720568.photogallery

Try also: latimes.com/news/local/la-me-surf-photos-20130616,0,1679754

So proud of his contribution to the sport, and to the world of surfing… Enjoy the article.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Road not Taken

Maui Weather Today: High of 85. Low of 72.

The Road Not Taken…in Maui

Aloha!

My niece Alyssa just graduated from high school. This is what I will tell her:

When you move to Maui, it’s a pretty sure bet that you are not one to follow the crowd. This sounds counter-intuitive, I know, since the crowd thinks it wants to live here. But to actually leave your home, your family, and move to Maui is something entirely different. Now you’re walking the walk, not just talking the talk. I sorta envy those who grew up here..they have such close family ties. I miss my family and thought they would visit much more often than they do.  But it’s a different world now, it’s expensive to fly, it’s expensive just to get by.

All I knew was that I wanted to live somewhere warm. I was sick of being cold my whole childhood and I was determined to do whatever it took to leave the Chicago area. First I moved to California. Then to Hawaii. Everyone wants to know: how can you afford to live there? How can you own a house? They write to me and ask me that.  I once saw an interview with Michael J. Fox where he talked about the concept of “selling your twenties to buy your thirties”. While my friends were grooving at concerts, going on cruises and living the good life in their twenties, I was saving money, then building a house and delaying gratification.

It’s about choices.

I have a friend who built a house and also bought a bookstore in Mexico. People ask her, too, how did you afford to do this? Her answer: sacrifice. She and her husband lived in the Bay area, worked very hard, and saved every penny they could. They chose not to have children. They bought the land, then built the house with cash, little by little, making trips to Mexico to do the work themselves.  Choices.

Today the choices are even less clear: technology whispers from every corner “buy me, buy me”. Eric Gilliom http://ericgilliom.com/and Willi K http://www.barefootnatives.com/ from Maui did a song about Maui where they talk about not owning a cell phone and driving a Maui cruiser (junk) car. The Road Not Taken is often a beater car covered with red dirt in Maui. It’s often a cinder-block house with jalousie windows. It’s often a bunch of roomates.

My Kenmore dishwasher is 33 years old. I am not making this up. It came with the house we tore down to build this one. It looks like someone tied it to the bumper of a car and dragged it behind.  The racks inside are broken and rusting. It’s quite noisy. But is still works. So we are not rushing out to replace it to the tune of $700-$1,000. Every single thing on Maui is expensive.

I was in Foodland in Pukalani yesterday and they have hit a new personal best of $6.49 for a loaf of rye bread. I will soon not be buying bread! Also, our coconut tree in the front yard was dying, so we had to have it removed. The Samoan guy wanted $200. but Mike talked him down to $150. plus all the tangerines he wanted off our tree. The Ironwood tree is enormous and was threatening our roof. It was going to be a King’s ransom to get it trimmed, so Mike shaped a surfboard, had it glassed, and traded the tree trimmer for the board. (A Mike Turkington surfboard is a coveted item: www.amazon.com/The-Curt-Mastalka-Collection…/B002M4NM0M  or https://www.google.com/search?q=mike+turkington+surfer&hl=en&prmd). Every day now it seems we say “There is more going out than coming in.” I know it is the same across the country…but what is the cost of living where you live?

Between the cost of gas, and food (bread!) and electricity on Maui, I don’t know how people with three children are keeping up. A commentary by Lisa Darcy in the Maui Weekly http://mauiweekly.com/ Executive Director of the Ho’omoana Foundation, talked about how she is “witnessing more people in need who are doing everything right and still unable to meet their basic needs or their family’s basic needs” because so many agencies have had to make cutbacks. Lisa ended with these words: “As long as I have (dental) floss, I am in a socioecnomic bracket well ahead of most of the world. This is not something I take for granted, nor that fact that I have a warm, safe place to sleep tonight.”

Moving to Maui is The Road Not Taken. It’s well and good to tell yourself the beaches and warm weather will make up for not having “things.” It’s another to be able to afford bread and to be able to put gas in your car.

A hui hou (Til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

Stuff and Nonsense

Aloha!

All the guys I know on Maui who are homeowners, are hoarders. There’s something about living on an island that does this, and I kept trying to put my finger on it. Now, I know. THE BOAT MIGHT NOT COME IN!

When I first moved to the island and was living at the condo (see the previous “Moving to Maui” posts) I loved that I had brought only my bicycle and one suitcase. I felt free and unburdened from all my stuff back in California.I could really get used to this lifestyle, I thought. Then I met Mike.

I honestly think he kept it from me as long as he could. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” he was hiding from me wasn’t another woman, oh, no…it was his collection of “stuff.” A lifetime’s worth. The detritus of an adrenaline junkie’s sports equipment, to start with: About a dozen surfboards (google “Mike Turkington” or www.imdb.com and you’ll know why). He surfed professionally, and is an acclaimed board shaper. He co-owned “Country Surfboards”, the first surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu. Okay, so I’ll give him the surfboards.

But then he raised me the windsurfing equipment, enough to outfit six people. And the two motorcycles. And the two bicycles. AND a shop full (three bays worth) of tools, board-shaping equipment, and things I don’t even know the name of. I just know it takes up lots of room. What happened to my zen-like lifestyle? Gone, baby, gone.

When you’ve grown up on an island, you have lived through the reality of “the boat didn’t come in”  through dock-workers strikes, hurricanes, etc. You have lived through the infamous toilet paper and rice shortaages. You also know how expensive everything is to replace, so you never, ever throw anything away. In short, you hoard.

I had this illustrated to me personally during one Christmas, when I wanted to bake Christmas cookies and went to Safeway to get butter. I looked all over the store, and finally asked the produce guy: “Where’s the butter?” He answered in pidgin, with a straight face: “da boat tip ovah.” I just stared at him, expecting him to laugh. “No, really,” I said. “Where’s the butter?”

DA BOAT TIP OVAH!” he said, more loudly than necessary, like I was deaf or something, and mimed a big ship going over.

I blinked. So this was how it was going to be.

Then there was the empty shelf at Long’s in Lahaina when there wasn’t a single envelope to be had. And the Foster Farms chicken shipment that never came in when I had planned to feed Mike’s visiting folks honey-drizzled almond chicken. Lesson learned: always go to the grocery store with a back-up plan. The shelves could be empty, and they often are.

I think I’m missing a huge opportunity here. I should create a new reality show: “Hawaii’s Hoarders”. I’d be willing to bet that the stuff they hoard on an island would be more interesting than the stuff mainlander’s hoard, and the islander’s stuff gets passed down from generation to generation, because they all know that boat might not come in.

Do you know where your backup stash of toilet paper is??

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the right.

Aloha, Jamaica