Friday, July 23, 2010

Outrigger Canoe Paddling


Today I want to share one of my favorite sports that is in full swing during the summer months.

This is outrigger canoe racing season in Hawaii.... only a couple of races are left before the last regatta culminating in the State races. Canoe races are great fun to watch, and even more fun to participate in.

Each canoe club has divisions from the keiki (kids) to the Golden Masters. I paddled for Hawaiian Canoe Club in Kahului for many years. My club has always been very competitive ,often winning the State Races. We have done a lot for the kids in our community, and we take racing very seriously. Even though I have not raced for years, I still feel a kinship with my canoe ohana. The camaraderie and bonding is born out of a deep respect for this sport and the Hawaiian culture. It is a lifetime connection.

Racing in and watching the State Races is awe inspiring, as this is when the revered koa canoes come out to shine. Members of our canoe club hiked through upcountry forests until the perfect koa tree was found. After prayers many hands brought the tree down the mountain to be lovingly fashioned into a beautiful vessel. Getting the koa canoe up and running takes finesse and a lot of hard paddling, it is heavier, but once it is going...................

When the regatta season is over, comes long distance paddling. After training for short races, it is time to get out into the open ocean and go for distance. At this point of the summer paddlers are in good shape and jumping at the chance to get in the zone and become one with the ocean. It is a hypnotic rhythm with a very particular stroking method and pace. I used to sit seat one, the stroker of the boat, the person who sets the pace. When in long distance it is important to be able to feel the waves in order to catch as much of a push as possible. There is a special point when you feel that the boat is about to lift ..and that is when the stroker can dig deep and change the intensity of the pace. It is such an amazing feeling.! I have raced accross a few channels in the open ocean. The 40 plus miles Ka'iwi Channel runs between Molokai and Oahu. The pictures posted here are from that amazing race in of my favorite photographers Mike Elhers took the shots from the escort paddling buddy with an AMAZING reach, Susan Ramos, seat four, is in the boat racing her way across this awesome challenge.

My daughter's family used to have a 4 person canoe and we spent some great times surfing the waves in the canoe........oh, how incredible to dig in hard and feel the canoe lift up on the face of the of my all time favorites feelings rushing down a wave in an outrigger canoe !!!!!!!!!

Outrigger canoe racing caught the attention of the ali'i (royalty) during the later part of the 1800's. It was reported that canoe competitions were fierce with intense betting and high stakes.

The early seafarers made their way across the oceans in sailing and paddling canoe. Great distances were covered in large well stocked double hull canoes. The warring Hawaiians would paddle across dangerous channels, fight a battle, loose, and have to paddle back.

That put some perspective our our races, one of our coaches used to remind us of this fact.

So, state races are in Oahu this year, coming up soon...check it out, and island hop over to Maui for a different pace.....You'll be very happy that you did.

See you out there, and remember to tell the special people in your life just how much you care.

" Ho O Makaukau. Hoe Hapai. Imua~ Huki": "Get ready, lift paddles, forward... pull!"

Commit, and go for it!

Much Aloha,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Going, going, gone green!

Upcountry Maui photograph from Green Traveler Guides Review of Upcountry Maui


There has been alot of talk about "green" in the last few years...Since I started the restoration of "this ol house" 15 years ago, I've always felt that I was in the green zone, or at least headed in the right direction. Recycling has always been part of the way that I approach life, especially given my HUGE love for antiques and restoration.

Luckily I am not one of the folks who stores lots and lots of old things in case I ever need them.

I made a deal with myself a long time ago, to buy a piece, I must sell another...that keeps me from becoming overrun with goodies. However, I have gotten alot of mileage from my stash of old windows and lumber., (and even used nails , my friends and family will testify to that!)

Some of my favorite things to re-cycle are the old plantation style furniture from the Territorial Era. These pieces are basic with crown molding, made from fir and usually stained dark. It takes some effort to give them new life, but I love seeing them in the B&B as era pieces. My display is all found objects from the property.

As far as green practices in the B&B, I do ask folks to re-cycle and unplug items when leaving for the day. Besides using organic cleaning products, I try to line dry when possible. As much organic fruit from my garden as I can harvest is served for breakfast, and the compost goes to the chickens. I have plans to restore the old cistern to use rain water for the garden, and relocate the old bread oven to use.

These practices have been a way of life for me for some time now. There is always room for improvement. I have many projects I'd like to do to make things even greener, but I have come to the conclusion that Rome was not built in a day, and neither will Hale Ho'okipa Inn be everything I want it to be in a day. When I figured out this was a wonderful work in progress, I relaxed a bit so I could enjoy and smell all the wonderful flowers I've planted.

I am so happy to support the growing trend of Green Travel. There is a wonderful, award winning site called Green Traveler Guides, and what a site it is! A very impressive lay out, great information, and they even link to Green Travel blogs...I have alot of reading to do to catch up to these folks. Gary and Peggy Diedrichs personally check out the local green scene before they reccommend it. I love networking and am very happy to spread the word about Peggy and Gary's green travel guides. ( What a sweet job, somebody's gotta do it!!)

I also have been working with Responsible Travel out of Europe for some time now. I know that traveling does require energy and leaves a carbon footprint. I'm hoping to step lighter and "leave no trace" as often as possible. The reward of experiencing other cultures and the wonderous sights of our world is the attraction, let's do so with care and consideration.

I hope this post today gets some folks excited to come and experience the greener side of the islands. It's a growing trend, so get your feet wet , you'll be happy you did.

Here's to stepping lighter and having a great time doing it!


Monday, July 5, 2010

July Chop Suey

Aloha ~

It's the Fourth of July weekend and upcountry is rockin! It's been a great week with some fun guests. The week started with a wonderful family from Shanghai, a sweet Italian couple and a happy mainland couple. It was quite the International House at the breakfast table, with Italian, Chinese and English going back and forth across the delicious fruit salad. I even learned how to say good morning in Chinese! The international departures were followed by a couple of quiet days with a friendly East coast couple I thoroughly enjoyed.

Being the Fourth of July weekend, cowboys and cowgirls are now the name of the game. A Portuguese ranching family from the Big Island are staying at Hale Ho'okipa for the weekend's festivities. The rodeo bull riding was Friday night, this morning was our wonderful parade, followed by more rodeo tonight and Sunday, and live music from Upcountry Sundays and Mana'o Radio at Cassanova.

I always enjoy the beautiful horses and riders in the parade. From the little ponies, to the working horses, each one is decked out for their prance down Makawao Ave. The riders are always a crowd pleaser as well, a tiny tot on a BIG horse, a "Cowgirl Hall of Famer", some sassy outlaws, and even Avatar on a blue horse!

Today's parade had more politicians that I cared to see however. I think anybody who was running for anything showed up in Makawao today. I am not kidding, we must have had a half dozen mayoral candidates, as well as state office seekers. Each one tried to outdo each other...the candidate that went all out came with a large cheer leading squad who delighted the crowd with their wild arials. Makawao is the "it" place on the 4th, our parade must be the longest one around, especially in election years.

We are having some relief from the drought this week also . It's been a bit chilly at night for July, and, yahoo, a little rain to green everything up...that has really has not happened yet, but I sure hope we continue with the sprinkles for a few more days.

The plumerias are in full bloom, with many colors to choose from. I'm excited to see if the deep red plumeria has a few more blossoms this year. There is nothing like a good ol fashioned plumeria lei, especially a full one that is strung with flowers all the way around.

The peach tree is still sporting a few late bloomers, I ate a couple of ono peaches off the tree today. There are also lots of papayas, and bananas galore. Good sunshine and some water makes everything grow so well.

While I'm talking about the garden, I want to share this request, do something nice for the earth this week, our wonderful planet needs all the Tender Loving Care we can give! Help on a clean up, plant a tree, put your hands on the earth thinking healing thoughts. We cherish our beaches and the life giving ocean.........

Hawaii is a special place to experience the wonders of nature. Everyday I wake up grateul for my beautiful home, and the walks on the beach, or in the mountains. It's pretty grand, or to borrow a phrase from my UK guests, "Brilliant!!" (I love that)

Sooooooo.......plan your fall trips right now, it will be here before we know it. Every season has something unique and special here in the islands. Fall is crisp and wonderful with stellar sunsets!

Stay tuned for a fall special that I'll post soon.

Here's to hoping one and all are finding something to feel good about.

A hui hou and Aloha,