Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maui, Wowie!

Forget the amber waves of grain, forget the green, green grass of home, forget the purple mountains' majesty, forget the Painted Desert and the Black Hills and the Blue Hole - just color America white.

On Tuesday, January 11th, I read that a whopping 49 of the 50 United States had snow on the ground.  Even the Big Island of Hawai'i, way up on the summit of those two big-ass volcanos, reported 6 inches.  Apparently the only one to escape the cloak of winter was Florida.

Huh...interesting, I thought to myself.  I never knew that such statistics were...well, statistics, but I guess people are keeping track.

Being somewhat naturally curious I browsed the web for a past date when, should it ever have happened, all 50 had been documented with some of the fluffy white stuff on a single day.  I figured the search would lead me decades back, maybe to the 19th Century, but lo and behold on February 13, 2010, a tiny patch of lingering snow was photographed atop Mauna Kea in Hawai'i.  On February 14th the headlines in print and online read something like: "Oops, we were wrong.  It was all 50!"

Did I mention Hawai'i?  Okay good, 'cause I adore me some Hawai'i and love to talk about it, think about it, read about it, write about it, go there, plan going there, take people there, and go back there.

With the above in mind - with the freezing La Niña winter of 2011 upon us, and with my tendency to perk up at the mere mention of the Hawaiian Islands - here's another literary blast from the not-too distant past, but one I hope you'll enjoy until the next new installment of The Headlands Report goes to press.

So read on all you ali'i kanake and wahine - all you royal men and women - to more escapades, to more fantabulous stories (if I do say so myself), and to more thrilling, some might say harebrained, hikes.

*  *  *  *  *

Maui, Wowie!

The convict tang is a handsome little tropical fish, the size of a large mango, perhaps, and a silvery white in color, with five or six vertical black stripes that no doubt conjure up the image of a prisoner’s jumpsuit.  My companion and I were happily snorkeling on the surface in one of the small coves at La Perouse Bay, the remote marine sanctuary of blue water and black lava in south Maui, when a school of maybe two hundred convict tangs swam into view.  Already thoroughly enjoying ourselves, already delighted with the diversity and number of fish and coral, the sight of them stopped us in our tracks…uh, swimming.  Below our floating, motionless bodies, the dazzling collection of stripes undulated together as one living, breathing, kinetic, Op Art sculpture, sparkling like a jewel as light filtered in from above, slowly cruising up and down and over the underwater landscape in search of food.  Together we watched the fish go calmly about their business, mesmerized and smitten once again by the beauty of the undersea world.  And by what was shaping up to be a splendid vacation.

I’d like to say how far niente, do nothing, it all was, that September week on the Valley Isle; how we lazed around and read books and sipped mai tais and napped and daydreamed as we moved from the pool to the beach, from the pool to the beach.  I’d like to say how we retired early and rose late, clocking in a solid nine, ten hours a night.  I’d like to say that I don’t feel like I still need a vacation after my vacation.  But it was my good friend and hiking buddy Linda’s first visit to Maui, and I was eager to show her the island.  Plus I had a killer guide book that on a previous trip had led the way to some incredible experiences, so I was ramped up, ready to repeat several of them, and to chalk up some new ones to boot.

We snorkeled once, twice a day and kept our Maui Dive Shop rental gear in the trunk of the car, just in case.  We searched out and enjoyed the recommended best of the spots - Honolua Bay, Black Rock, La Perouse Bay, of course, White Rock at Palauea Beach, Molokini Crater - waking up way too early in an attempt to beat the wind that usually whips up like clockwork late every morning.  I have not snorkeled so much since I lived on Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and though I was a bit nervous at some of the unfamiliar sites it was tremendous.

On several days the 80-degree water was swimming pool calm, with 50 or 60 foot visibility, sometimes greater.  We swam alongside countless green sea turtles: some small, some huge, some dark and algae crusted, some sporting beautifully colored shells of matte green and yellow stripes and squares and waxed-to-a-rich-patina geometric shapes.  One, two, three at a time; gentle and graceful creatures, wary of us at times and utterly unfazed by our presence on others, regarding us curiously and drifting so close we could’ve kissed them.  Other prime aquatic finds included a shy spotted eel exposed as it snaked along the reef, a camouflaged octopus that inked at a fellow snorkeler when he swam too close, regal Moorish idols and pufferfish, blue groupers and tiny colorful wrasses.  Plus the more numerous reef residents: velvety black triggerfish, sleek and shiny crevalle, parrot fish, butterfly fish, needlefish, trumpet fish, the iconic Hawaiian State Fish humuhumunukunukuāpua’a, and finally a gargantuan manta ray at crescent moon-shaped Molokini, emerging from the blue depths and flying in circles mystically before us as we floated in 75 feet of water.

*  *  *

On Monday, our first full day, Linda and I drove north from Kahana, intent on two sites that I had explored before: We dunked our lily-white butts in the Olivine Pools and watched the Nakalele Blowhole erupt in a misty, 30-foot salt-water geyser from beneath a lava shelf at the edge of the sea.  It had rained overnight, turning the powdery, rust colored dirt into dangerous, slippery muck, so the steep descent to the pools was even trickier than on my previous visit.  Linda bit the dust, I mean mud, landing with a yelp not fifty feet from the car, so we knew we needed to proceed slowly and be extra careful.  The sky was still gray and threatening, pelting us with brief downpours as we descended, but we were already clad in bathing suits so it made little difference.  The less than ideal weather had kept many people indoors, and it was only 10 a.m., so we had the human-sized tide pools all to ourselves for a while, a rare occurrence at the popular attraction.  Soon a nice young couple from the mainland arrived; we struck up a conversation, took pictures of each other in the water, and vowed to meet later in the week for the trek out to La Perouse Bay.

On the drive back to Mahinahina we were inadvertently engaged in a little drama, urgently flagged down by a man at the side of the road.  Linda rolled down her window and together we listened to the saga, thankful that it wasn’t us; reminded by his plight that although the islands invoke a vision of carefree paradise they also harbor plenty of hazards.  We shot each other cautionary looks as he talked but ended up helping the man, a groom from New Orleans, rescue his freshly issued marriage license from an abandoned rental car.  He and his bride-to-be had been caught in a nasty storm earlier in the morning as they drove around the top of West Maui.  A surprise rock slide had them screaming and swerving on the narrow road until they drove over a large boulder that pierced the oil pan, rendering the car useless.  We drove him several miles back to the disabled Mustang to retrieve the documents, avoiding the remnants of the slides that still littered the road, then returned to the 38-mile marker to rejoin his betrothed and the rescue van from the rental company.  The van, just like his rental car he sadly discovered, was not insured past the marker.  Someone told him that it’s good luck to have bad luck the day before your wedding.

*  *  *

Tuesday I woke up, yes early, and caught a puddle jumper to the island of Oahu for a surprise visit with my sister Thea and brother-in-law Pete. They were also vacationing in Hawaii, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary far from their home in Cleveland, Ohio.  The covert plan seemed to work perfectly; Thea had no idea that anything was afoot until Pete mentioned the need to stop at the airport after visiting Pearl Harbor.  It was my first time on Oahu, so I was all eyes and questions as we drove out of Honolulu to the North Shore, home of Jaws and the other massive winter surfing waves.  I had envisioned the area much more built up, with multiple mega-resorts lining the beaches, and was pleasantly surprised by the funky, ramshackle houses, the overgrown yards, and the quaint two-lane road that meandered through the area.  It was a nice little tour – they had been up earlier in the week – and I was thrilled to finally experience the renowned destination, but I soon discovered that their motives for a return visit were not totally altruistic.  After tracking down Giovanni’s, the area’s original shrimp truck, and after devouring the menu of shrimp scampi and sambal, I understood why: Heaping, delicious mounds of extra-garlicky or super-spicy crustaceans served on paper plates with white rice, enjoyed sitting on picnic tables, enjoyed sipping a canned guava drink, enjoyed with my sister, and I would’ve returned the next day if possible and the day after that.  Lingering under a tarp with an assortment of other happy folks, a tropical rain shower softly pattering away, I thought: What in the world could be better than this?  The humble, al fresco meal immediately soared to one of my most memorable dining experiences, ever.

After lunch we drove back toward Honolulu, parked at the Manoa Falls trailhead and trekked up the waterlogged path.  The afternoon rain persisted, pelting the canopy of trees above us, dripping down through giant-sized houseplants and onto the trail as we walked.  The impromptu outing turned into quite a nice hike; it was much longer than I had envisioned and a bit tricky because of the slick trail.  And although it was brown and muddy because of the rain, Manoa Fall was nonetheless a lovely setting, probably 50 feet high and surrounded by a grotto of lush green foliage.

Back at the condo we quickly changed into dry clothes and toasted a blinding pink and orange sunset with a bottle of bubbly on their postage stamp-sized lanai.  We spent the evening peeking around Waikiki, briefly watched an outdoor hula performance, and had dinner at Sansei, a Japanese-inspired restaurant with pristine sushi, a very good wine list, and a large, somewhat confusing menu of appetizers and entrees with a definite California Cuisine influence.  After dinner we sauntered back down Waikiki Beach to their abode overlooking the marina; I immediately passed out on the couch as they packed up and readied the condo for departure the next day.  It was a wonderful visit (somebody pinch me); such a blast to be able to meet them, surprise my sister, and share a bit of their celebration.

*  *  *

The next morning, back on Maui, after Linda retrieved me from Kahului Airport, we promptly drove to mile marker #6 on the Hana Highway, donned our packs, and climbed through a hole in the fence, unsure what lay ahead.  Our destination was the four waterfalls of Na’ili’ili’haele (try to spell-check that!), one right after another, the last supposedly in a gorgeous setting that few people get to see because of the remoteness and difficulty of the hike.  Just our cup of tea, I thought.  My trusty guide book had the hike listed under it’s “Adventures” section, and I had read that section over and over in armchair preparation, so I guess I should have known that it was not going to be a cakewalk.

Well we were certainly not disappointed by the “adventure” part.  In fact, we almost didn’t make it.  Several times.

The trail quickly led down into a valley, and after our first minor obstacle - a short leap across a deep, rushing, water-filled gash in the land - made it’s way through bamboo forest to waterfall #1.  A pretty setting, but the creek was brown and muddy due to recent rains, the landscape surrounding it oddly parched in spite of said rains.  We rested briefly and consulted the book again, preparing for the next leg of the hike.  Onward through more stands of clicking, clacking, noisy bamboo, the light an ethereal and soft, tinted jade, to waterfall #2.  No wait…first we had to scale a nearly vertical incline of bare mud and rock, so steep and improbable at first glance that we thought it prudent not to continue.  But bamboo, we ultimately discovered, is extremely strong and anchors itself fiercely into the earth, and we desperately wanted the prize, waterfall #4.  So we used the plant to our advantage, pulling, stepping, slipping, crawling up and down the steep 15-foot slant until we found a way, sweaty and muddy and panting by the time we reached the top.  Waterfall #2 was also a bit of a disappointment – barely trickling, with another brown, muddy pool at its base – and is as far as most people go, the guidebook stated.  We rested and regrouped.  “If you choose to continue,” I read, “here’s what to expect.”

And here is what we discovered.  Besides the vague trail, slippery rocks and roots, multiple stream crossings, heat and humidity, unfamiliar territory and the like, we were soon faced with what the book described as…"a dilemma": a sheer, daunting wall of bare stone, a cliff, straight up, with no other passage around it. Perhaps 20 feet tall, maybe more it was, with a suspect, free-swinging, off-kilter rope ladder, first rung waist high, last rung just before it disappeared over the top.  I gave the ladder a half-hearted try, felt it start to sway wildly with my fist step, then climbed off.  This is it, I conceded; it’s been fun, but now we turn back.  And we almost did…until we heard voices approaching from above.

“Yeah, I’ve done this hike several times,” the young woman said, peering down over the cliff edge to our unbelieving, upturned faces.  “The ladder looks nasty but it’s really sturdy.  Here let me show you.”  And throwing a leg over she swiftly and deftly descended.  Her companion followed, we chatted about what lay ahead (soon to be revealed), and then they departed, leaving us more determined than ever.

By the time I struggled over the top I was trembling, out of breath, and wondering if this wasn’t just plain, old foolish.  In the back of my mind I could hear my mother’s voice, chiding me as I explained, after the fact, the details of the hike.  “Where’s the smart one in the group, Peter; the sane, level-headed one who says ‘maybe this isn’t such a good idea?’”  But Linda soon appeared beside me, and after some nervous laughter at our accomplishment, and after the somber realization that we would now have to climb down the rope ladder on our return, we enjoyed a relatively level but slippery path (Linda landed on her ass, again) to waterfall #3.

Let me restate that.  We could see the waterfall, gurgling picturesquely, maybe eight feet high, but it was at the far end of a long, narrow pool of ochre-hued, murky river; flanked by sheer moss and tropical plant-covered stone walls.  And we were supposed to get in the stream and swim half a football field to get there, then haul ourselves out of the water and climb up the actual waterfall to the top, where the trail resumed.

Okay, well…it’s been fun, but there is no way I’m getting in that giardia cesspool, that leptospirosis incubator, that nasty looking water no doubt full of invisible, jagged-rocks and tangled tree branches, I voiced.  You see I’m slightly obsessed with microbes and the diseases they cause, plus my imagination gets the best of me when I can’t see what’s below the surface.  Linda, however, was again undeterred.

“Let me just see what its like,” I heard her say as I plopped down and took off my pack, already envisioning the mysterious, flu-like symptoms of nausea and diarrhea and aches and weight loss that would surely flare up months after my return to San Francisco. Plus its fine; we’ve made it further than most, I thought, as she tentatively eased down the riverbank into the murk.  One, two, three steps she descended, then immediately slipped and disappeared from view.  Resurfacing in an instant, sputtering, fully drenched, she found an underwater ledge, stood up and told me that, just like the women from the ladder had avowed, the water was very refreshing.

The sidestroke came to my rescue.  Freestyle would have gotten my head too wet with all the splashing: my mouth, eyes and nose a beeline for insidious, unseen organisms.  And breaststroke would’ve certainly had me bashing my frog-kicking shins or feet or arms or elbows against insidious, unseen rocks, so sidestroke it was.   Fluidly and effortlessly, albeit after a short adjustment period of panic and flailing, I swam my way toward the fall.  The water was, just as they had said, cool and rejuvenating, but as I stared up toward the narrowing walls of the canyon I couldn’t help but wonder, again, what other surprises lay before us.  For the umpteenth time I found myself thinking that the guidebook obviously needed a good revamping, that the seriousness of the “hike/climb/swim” could not be overstated, and that the chapter describing the actual trek could use a whole lot more detailed information.  But then for the first time in my life I found myself scrambling out of a river and scaling a slippery waterfall - successfully, as is obvious by the fact that I’m writing this - and plodding on toward the final push of the hike.

Linda blatantly burst out laughing when we finally, thank god, rounded the last bend in the stream and looked up at our big “prize”, waterfall #4, which turned out to be a meager drizzle of brown, barely spitting, barely trickling down a dehydrated cliff into an equally uninviting, muddy pool.  I just stared up in disbelief, silently shaking my head back and forth.  This was it? And when she discovered that I had left the waterproof camera, bought expressly for the purpose of documenting the scene, back with my gear at the far end of the swim, well, she just about doubled over in hysterics.

The hike back to the trailhead was a relief compared to the initial trek.  It was still treacherous, with slick and uneven footing; still full of the obstacles we had faced on the way up, and Linda remained quite amused by the whole disappointing outcome. Every so often I heard her chuckle out loud, blatantly lampooning the phrase from the guidebook:  “Yeah, walk around the corner and claim your prize,” she would laugh.  “Oh, yeah, what a prize…It was barely spitting.  Spitting!  And then on top of that you forgot the camera.”

But at least we knew what to expect.  We eased back down fall #3, hopped into the dubious stream and swam back to where we had left our packs, retraced footsteps through fragrant wild ginger, boulder-hopped, safely descended the rope ladder, and slid on our butts down the slippery rock incline.  At long last, waterfall #1 greeted our tired and sweaty and dusty and very grateful approach to the trailhead.  Leaping over the earthen gash, finally back in the bamboo forest, we walked up the last hill toward our car.  We had made it, intact.

Well, almost.  On my very last step of the hike, on my final stride back to civilization and safety, I tripped over the wire fence. Viewed from behind, Linda said, it looked as though I was going to vault headfirst into the road, and after all we had survived be crushed by oncoming traffic.  Lucky for me the road was blessedly empty as I lurched toward the asphalt, bit the dust, then stood up and checked my hands and knees for blood. Moments later an SUV full of tourists whizzed around the corner, slowed when they saw us (we must’ve looked like we had been living in the jungle), then continued on toward Hana.  Tada!  It was a most fitting, slapstick finale to the outlandish afternoon adventure: a finale that, of course, for my hiking companion supplied even more delicious fodder for amusement.

*  *  *

When I was last on the island of Maui, during a very rainy March week, Ka’anapali Beach was wall-to-wall bodies, a jumble of catamarans and parasailers and jet skis and keikis (kids), definitely not my preferred scene.  After one quick look-see I avoided it like the plague, opting instead for the less crowded sands of Napili, Kahekili, Palauea, and Po’olena’lena.  But I had not made it down to Dig Me Beach, the recommended best part of Ka’anapali (yup, that guidebook again), and I still wanted to snorkel at Black Rock, the prominent fist of lava that juts out from the shore.  So after escaping the waterfall hike alive, and after rinsing off our mud-caked clothes and bodies in the sea at Mama’s Fish House, we found ourselves setting up beach chairs and towels just in time for sunset.  Just in time for a spectacular sunset!  The water was a calm turquoise, the offshore islands dark, exotic silhouettes, and the enormous, fiery sky a violent finger-painting of pink and orange and red and blue as the sun sank.

Traditional Hawaiian music wafted dreamily over Dig Me Beach from the hotel behind us, lovers and newlyweds strolled hand in hand, and daredevil cliff-divers vaulted from Black Rock into the sea.  It was a supremely idyllic setting.  Following a brief snorkel - Linda had her first, close up sea turtle encounter - we sat back, uncapped a cold bottle of beer and toasted a most extraordinary day.  After all the fresh air, after the the physical and mental exertion of the hike, after some very good snorkeling and the rejuvenating effects of salt water, a sense of satisfaction drifted over me like the warm Hawaiian trade winds.  The sky turned purple, darkness slowly descended, and on Black Rock a nightly ceremony, compliments of the Sheraton Maui, began.  To a baritone narration describing the legend, one by one a series of tiki torches on the rock was lit by the evening’s designated fire-bearer.  Then, marking the sacred portal where departed souls supposedly escape Earth and cross over into the afterlife, the man took off his lei and cast it from the cliff.  He followed the offering with an easy, graceful swan dive from Black Rock into the blue.

Corny?  Sure, a bit.  But the ceremony is nonetheless very well done, and I’m a sucker for anything that honors Hawaiian custom and legend, both in danger of being lost to the modern world.  I’m now also a sucker for Dig Me Beach: that first evening, plus two more subsequent sunset visits during our trip, blessedly un-crowded and with even calmer seas, has made a believer out of me.  Strip away the circus that can consume the place during busier times, find a quiet stretch of sand during the off-season, swim, snorkel, unwind, and hopefully discover for yourself the naïve, timeless allure of Ka’anapali.

*  *  *

If it’s Thursday it must be La Perouse Bay.  Oh, if only every Thursday could be La Perouse Bay, it would go something like this: Wake up nice and early, corral all your gear – snorkel and mask and fins and guidebook and sunscreen and water and snacks and hats and other protective clothing and sturdy hiking shoes – throw it all in the trunk of the car and drive to the end of Makena Alanui Road.  Then start walking.

But, more than anything, be careful.  Even if you’ve been there before and you know what treasures await, stifle any urge to hurry.  Take your time and watch your step.  The land is a jumble of razor sharp, a’a lava, a vast, rugged peninsula of black rock formed by Maui’s last volcanic eruption some 300 years ago.  The trail is vague at times, the wide-open vistas can diffuse your focus on staying upright, and the wind, when it’s roaring, can knock you down.  One slip, one stumble, and your hands or knees or, god forbid, your face, could emerge a bloody, sliced up, emergency-visit-to-the-hospital mess.  The payoff, however, a series of small coves with evocative names like Fishbowl and Aquarium, far, far removed from any resort, is without a doubt worth all the effort.

Linda and I started hiking a bit later than I had hoped but still arrived early enough in the morning to be only the second car at the trailhead.  Through another hole in another fence we walked along a sandy trail shaded by thorny kiawe tress and then out onto the bare lava shelf called Cape Kina’u.  Although I’m pretty sure that the area is never all that crowded, especially compared with more accessible spots, I was relieved to see that against the stark black moonscape only one lone figure preceded us.

Zigzagging our way over the crunchy path, climbing up and down slabs of brittle lava buckled up like tarmac after a 9.0 earthquake, skirting around oddly colored pools of brackish water, we slowly made our way out to the Aquarium.  I had been once before and kind of knew where I was going, but even so it took a good half-hour of walking before we reached the cove.

The rugged, impenetrable appearance of the peninsula - desolate, bare black stone in all directions - belies an intricate, delicate ecosystem.  Posted signs warn hikers to stay on the trail, stay out of the water at certain spots, and to respect the unspoiled preserve.  The ‘Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Reserve Area, as it is officially known, harbors some of the youngest land on the planet, violently forced from the center of the earth – in geological time - not that long ago.  The weird pools of water, the ones completely cut off from the sea, some dyed a bizarre yellow and ringed with new green plant life, contain fragile anchialine organisms and help support endangered, native birds.  And beneath the surface of the ocean an absolutely pristine landscape, mostly lava but with the beginnings of vast coral communities, with some of the highest fish counts and finest snorkeling on Maui, awaits discovery.

And so Linda and I frittered away our Thursday morning and early afternoon, spending about four hours on the adventure from start to finish.  By the time we climbed from the water, trading excited volleys of “Hey did you see the…”, we noticed that a few other small groups of people peppered the shoreline.  We had unfortunately not connected with the young couple from the Olivine Pools, but sure enough, as we sat on the sharp rocks by the crystal clear water and relished the recent snorkel, they appeared on the horizon, tentatively picking their way toward the Aquarium.  A pair of men swam from the cove, took off their fins and joined us as well.  I asked if they had seen the oh-so-dreamy school of convict tangs, and by the way their faces lit up I knew they had.  As we chatted with our fellow adventurers I felt again a unique sense of camaraderie bubble up inside me.  The isolation and beauty of the place, the effort required reaching it, the stunning scenery, both above and underwater, and the obvious elation of those who make the trek creates instant bonds.  There is no doubt that you are sharing a truly remarkable place.

*  *  *

Our remaining vacation on Maui passed in a similar if slightly less arduous fashion.  My skin bronzed from so much outdoors, my waistline seemed to decrease in an oh-so pleasing way, and muscles from swimming every day began to re-emerge.  In between more snorkeling and exploring I even found the time to read a book from start to finish, and to simply relax on the beach.  Dining on grilled mahi-mahi and ono from Honokowai Okazuya Deli, sipping some cheap, screw cap Aussie wine on our lanai after the sun disappeared, Linda and I laughed over the day’s various escapades and relived the big adventures.  On Saturday, our last full day, we signed on board the Paragon and ventured out to Molokini, a first for both of us.  I had of course perused the guidebook over and over, diligently searching for an outfit that combined the right size (smaller) boat with an ample sense of fun and a prime anchorage at the island.  We chose well.  The boat didn’t have a slide into the water and we certainly didn’t miss it, we ate sandwiches instead of barbecued chicken and didn’t mind, and we gratefully drank cans of frosty Budweiser instead of pitchers of mai tais.  It was perfect.  The crew was refreshingly ribald, our time at Molokini was spent immersed in what we came for, snorkeling, and sure enough, while the other schmucks motored back across Auau Channel on the return trip, our captain hoisted the sails.  The catamaran flew over the turquoise sea and a rush of salty spray drenched most of us on board.  It took a bit longer to sail, tacking back and forth, but obviously no one cared as we whooped, hooted and hollered our way back to Ma’alaea Harbor.

*  *  *

I am always dismayed when people trash-talk the Hawaiian Islands, quickly dismissing them as a tropical, airbrushed, Disneyland destination for couch potato Americans.  The Hawaiian Islands that I know, granted some much better than others, offer a diverse, outdoor playground extraordinaire, a singular and fantastic collision of fire and water and earth.  And don’t even get me started on the thousands of humpback whales that converge on the archipelago during the winter months.

With just a few simple steps, or perhaps a few, slightly more determined strides, a natural and wild Hawai’i remains easily within reach.  Sure you have to want to find it; sometimes you even have to leave the hotel pool or the beach by your resort. But I know its there.  I’ve seen it, just like I know that a spellbinding, surprise school of convict tangs is somewhere in the waters of La Perouse Bay, calmly going about their business and hopefully awaiting my return.


*  *  *  *  *

Although I have more stories and essays from past trips to the Hawaiian Islands, I'll spare you from reading those a while longer.  But only a bit, because if this uncommonly frigid weather on the west coast continues (I can feel people back east rolling their eyes) I'm gonna want to have myself a little trip down memory lane, and if I do I'm gonna want to share it with you, my 18 devoted followers.

Eighteen!  Is that it?  Sheesh.  A full year of scintillating, spellbinding documentary, prose and poetry and I have less than 2 dozen fans?

To channel Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame...Ahh, well, my Little Loves; I'm grateful for each and every one of you!  Let's face it: The Pisces in me wants to create, and I'd be still be writing and posting even if no one followed.

Peter J. Palmer


  1. hahahahahahahahahaha dear peter palmer I see this photo and I am glad you have one I took long time ago god bleess you i'm still missing ya...nice photo Dolores...xxxooxxxxxxxxxxxoo

  2. ifor got peter happy cinco de mayo at town hall 5:00 pm