Waves, Whales and Wags

Aloha!

We are staying on Oahu’s North Shore with Mike’s brother and sister-in-law. It’s a time of tears and remembrances (Mike’s mom passed away last month), but also of laughter and telling stories around the kitchen table.

The North Shore is busy – – TOO busy for someone like Mike – – who remembers the old days when there was no traffic and he had surf spots practically to himself.

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Now there’s a surf contest every time you turn around,
and the daily surf lineup is fierce with competition for a wave. (I used to think surfers were mellow before I met Mike. Ha!)

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Traffic, which is one way into Haleiwa and one way out, single lanes – – (unless you’re willing to drive the looonng way around the island), is snarled and tempers flare. I’ve sat for an hour trying to go from Haleiwa (Ha-lay-ee-va) to Foodland, and that’s normally a 10–15 minute drive. The world is getting smaller, there are more and more people, and Hawaii is no exception.

As if the waves aren’t enough of a draw, there are the whales. We had all walked to the beach for sunset, lawn chairs in tow, and the sun was a brilliant orangey-red thanks to the VOG factor (volcanic organic gas). Riveting–until we noticed the whale puffs to our right…then it was like a tennis match – – faces swinging left to sunset, right to whales, back to sunset, not wanting to miss anything.

We had all swung right when two very large whales broke the water surface and did a perfectly synchronized double-breach, mid – air. Like 4th of July, the crowd oohed and ahhed. It was as if we were at Sea World watching a dolphin show, but with huge whales, in the wild, with no trainer. Mike said he had seen a double- breach maybe 30 times in his entire life in Hawaii. I had never seen it. What a special moment. No photo of course – – and if I’d had my head glued to a camera I wouldn’t have truly experienced it.

Then there are the weddings (and engagements) taking place on the beach… Flashes going off from large professional cameras and processions of barefoot dressed – up bridesmaids and beaming brides.

Lastly, the dogs, who frolic with circles of friends in the water, on the shore, and sometimes in a conga line. I half expect them to dance, they are just so darned happy to be Hawaii beach dogs.

So if you come to Oahu’s North Shore, be sure to pack your patience – – particularly if you have your heart set on the famous Matsumoto’s shave ice. The line is always out the door!

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

The Logisitics of Living on an Island

Aloha!

Friends recented visited us from Oahu’s North Shore, and shared a story about trying to buy a car on the mainland. “But why would someone go all the way to the mainland to buy a car?” you might ask.

Well, there’s the fact that it costs around $8,009-$10,000 less on the mainland. And there’s so much less to choose from in Hawaii. (We won’t cover what it’s like trying to buy a car on Maui…. if the Oahu folks feel less than excited with their prices and selections, you can imagine our dilemma. Here, cars are first shipped from the mainland to Oahu, unloaded, put on a boat with Young Brothers and they ship them to Maui–with the attendant mark up. The last time we bought a used car we flew to Oahu, bought it, and had it shipped back to Maui.)

Sound crazy? Such are the logistics of living on an island.

So our friends called around on the mainland, located the exact car (Jeep) they wanted right down to the color, and put down a deposit on their credit card over the phone. Then they bought plane tickets and flew to California with the intention of driving their brand-new car around for 10 days rather than having to spend the money on a Rent-A-Car.

Except, that’s not what happened. They got to the car dealership and were told that their car has been sold. Seems the salesman was not allowed to take a deposit over the phone, as in, “We don’t TAKE deposits!” Our friends fired back, “Well someone here sure did!” But they apparently had put that salesman in the Jeep Witness Protection Program and wouldn’t let them talk to (yell at) him.

Lots of negotiating ensued as our friends worked their way up the management food chain. They demanded their airfare be covered. They demanded money for a rental car, since they now had nothing to drive and hadn’t budgeted for a rental. On and on it went.

But management wouldn’t budge. Our friends had to get on the phone and start all over trying to find the Jeep of their dreams. As luck would have it, they found one for less money, and it all came out okay in the end. But it was very tense there for a while–they probably got a few grey hairs. They still had all the time and paperwork of registering, licensing and then shipping the new car to Hawaii–and every person they talked to from the DMV to the dealership to the shippers gave them a different story. Quite the run-around.

Just thought I would share this as one of the essential logistics of living in Hawaii: do we REALLY want to go try to find a car on the mainland, then have to ship it, to save about ten grand?

And just in case you are wondering: we recently shipped a car from the mainland that was already registered in California. It was significantly higher to register it in Hawaii, as was the insurance. California charges for registration according to how old the car is (so the fee drops over time) and Hawai charges according to weight. I’m pretty sure my car weighs the same from one year to the next! So this explains why every year when I would say to Mike, “Doesn’t it seem like our registration should’ve gone down by now?” that I was pipe – dreaming. It’s not going to go down.

Logistics are those things that people who have never lived in Maui
1) don’t think about, and
2) probably don’t believe, even after we explain it to them.

One of those joys of living on a rock in the middle of the ocean!

A hui hou. Mahalo for reading along. 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

Progress

Progress

Aloha!

There have been lots of changes in the 12 years since I began going to Oahu’s North Shore. So much of what passes for progress is really just a tearing down of the old and established.

In the old days people build a simple beach shack on the waterfront. Now those shacks are being torn down and fancy mansions are going in. This is all outside money, locals can’t afford to buy beachfront anymore. Just as anywhere, someone will always have deeper pockets. But the simple, laid-back beach lifestyle seems to be disappearing. Any given weekend on the North Shore shows cars lined up, jockeying for positions to park. People who own land get aggravated, trying to keep tourists from parking on their lawns, and in their driveways. Mike finally had to sink posts and string chain across his mom’s lawn to keep Tourist’s off it. There is a 30-year-old avocado tree in her yard there with the best avocados I’ve ever had. The pit is small, and the flesh is like butter. People come along and pick the avocados without asking, and one girl was picking so many she was reselling them at a fruit-stand. Not cool.

Here is a before photo of a beach shack on the North Shore, right at waterfront:

North Shore Beach Shack

They tore down the house next to it, and here is the brand new one being built:

New Beachfront House, North Shore

It may become a vacation rental, which will mean a clash of the old and the new, with lots of people, cars and loud parties.

Mike has three brothers and someday they will be faced with the decision to keep the beach house or sell for a tidy sum. I don’t know which way it will go, but I do know the North Shore is not the laid-back place it was. And people from thirty or fifty years ago would really have some stories to tell.

As Carly Simon sang, These are the Good Old Days.

A hui hou (til next time) . If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow Button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica