Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Practice

Richard and I live in the evac area close to the Kailua shore, and I began receiving NOAA warning messages at 1:30 a.m. but my cell phone sound is "off" during the night.  I'd gone to bed so early that by 4 a.m. I'd awakened and saw that my cell phone was brightly lighted.  It was a tsunami text message from Doug who is 5 hours later than we are. Richard and I got up, did some packing and  went to breakfast at a local fav restaurant (Zippy's), and then packed up our essential goodies.  Knowing the big wave wasn't expected until 11:20 a.m., and knowing he couldn't just sit around waiting, he went to Honolulu to shop!  I went to Alli's to help with kids while she prepped for an overnight . . . just in case, even though she's not even in an inundation zone.

Richard found the stores in Honolulu were closed, so he went up to the Pali Lookout overlooking Kailua, and soon after, several hundred others were there with radios and bbqs. On H-3, cars were parked alongside the highway and even in the center strip, again with bbq's and party spirit.  Heck, why not?  You can't do anything to stop a tsunami.
Alli and I and the boys left for a hike up 400' overlooking Kailua so we'd be able to see the big wave come in.  There were about 25 other people packed on the tiny hill up there, with myriad doggies, snacks, and drinks.  Under the full sun, it was hot with very little breeze, but luckily, clouds passed by on occasion to mask the sun from us.

Here's the view from where we hiked, overlooking our town of Kailua.

Alli quickly found friendships with 2 off-duty NOAA ladies!

The group quickly outgrows the little cleared tip of the mountain.

The overflow group hiked to the next hill.

Sam and uke, with Alli and her little Ben.

Sam found a chatting buddy.

It's a wrap, folks.  Back down the mountain with O'ahu unscathed! 

Maybe I'll have Richards pictures tomorrow, taken from the Pali.

Our Neighbors!

The best neighbors (from CA) you could ever wish for, and they happened to be on O'ahu for a week.  They were a great reason to drive up to the north shore so we could see where they stay, trot through Waimea to the falls, and have dinner at the venerable Haleiwa Joe's.
Unpretentious Haleiwa Joe's Restaurant, with outrageous Ahi.
We photographed our way through acres of gardens to the falls, yakkety-yaking all the way!  Here's Richard shooting a flower, and below is the actual outcome of the shot.

Spectacular flowers and trees

This tree, backlighted by the declining sun, was sparkling!

And back on February 21, we kayaked out to Chinaman's Hat
There's Jim and Sally

Surrounding us at Chinaman's Hat are the beautiful Ko'olau Mountains, a volcanic crater.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friends of the Family

What do we have here?  A Sam-caught lizard far left standing on his hind legs, assorted beetles too small to see, and a caterpillar under a milkweed leaf.  Sam has been catching beetles  for some time now, and knows how to play nicely with them, and "trains" them, as in loud shouts of "No! No!" when they go somewhere off limits!
We're all in this together!  Mr. Caterpillar is lounging on Sam's left hand.
There's so much fun in a backyard, isn't there! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beach Friends

"Hi there.  Are you visiting?  Where from?"  Great beach openers, sometimes!  Richard is on the left, with Tom and Nancy who are here from the NE, not far from where I lived for 14 years!  They were renting on our street here in Kailua, and we met for a 2-hour breakfast at the in-town Kalapawai.  They returned to the mainland the day before the 2010 Great Tsunami (that didn't materialize).  Good planners!!  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Koko Crater "killer" Hike! 1,048 leaps over railroad ties!

For the last couple of years, Richard and I have driven to and from Hawaii Kai area and passed by these intriguing stairs (in the photo, they rise from the top of Sam's head).

I have had a nagging desire to know more about them, and then to wonder what it would be like to climb them, and then remembered how old I am!

Alli and Dave did it a couple of weeks ago, and I started forgetting how old I am.

Then today, the call from Alli, "What'll we do today?  Maybe Koko Crater?" 

Here's where the trail begins.  1,048 stairs, steep stairs!  We're sitting on #1 -- see how deep it is?

Bear in mind that Alli is carrying a 50lb pack with Ben and complete supplies, including diaper change, loads of water, snacks, first aid supplies, etc.  She's wondering as much as I am whether I'll pull through, and how Sam will do.

The view at about 300' up.

About 300' up.  A patch of shade at the bridge where we guzzled water, snacked and then scrambled over a stretch of steep, loose dirt in order to avoid the "bridge".  The "bridge" is simply railroad track where the ground has collapsed.  Today we have bright sun, it's quite warm, and very little breeze.  Sweat drips off our sunglasses!  But not a peep of complaining the whole day!
Here's the so-called bridge.

From the "bridge", the last half of the hike looks like this!  Mostly, I just kept climbing and not looking up.  Click on the image for a better view, and when you do, you'll see little dots near the top --- they're people!
Again, from the "bridge", looking down at what we've already climbed, BUT, compared to what's ahead, this has been a cakewalk.  These are deep "stair"s and uphill, but ahead it's REALLY STEEP.  I started to stand up straight and quickly realized I'd topple over backward!  Imagine Alli with a 50 lb pack on her back which is holding a prized little guy named Ben!
We did it!  View from the top, looking north at Sandy Beach and into the crater.
Even Gramma made it!  And 5-year old Sam shined with exuberance, even offering to help us up at various times.

Hawaii Kai is on the right, and the well-known snorkeling place, Hanauma Bay is on the left.
What Alli looks like coming down with two kiddos. That was hard work!
Ta-daaaa!  We made it!  No wrangling, snarling or snipping anywhere!  It took concentration, yes, but it was an achievement for all of us.  Richard was surprised and congratulatory when he got my phone call, not realizing we'll probably go up again to recover a cute little penguin-shaped stone that Sam left at the top!  So . . . dearest Richard . . .  you can join us, can't you???
Gramma cleans up pretty well!  Richard and I are out with Judy and Mike from high school days, at the Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki, enjoying the sunset, pupus, and . . .
Hula with Kanoe Miller, a former Miss Hawai'i

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Kayak Day!

Test driving a new kayak that didn't "cut the mustard".  Too tippy.
Here's Richard, outfitting his Hobie Kona.
Off to the beach!
Flat Island in the background, and the Twin Mokes (Mokulua) Islands to the right.
It was a gorgeous day, with advancing rain clouds. 
We still have sun at Flat Island, but look at the rain coming down in the background!
Nice rain over there . . . but it passes very quickly.
Love this rock just off Flat Island.  Trying to figure out something artsy-fartsy to do with it.
Twin Mokes.  We've been there a few times, and will go again.  Very tricky wave breaks as the water hurls between and around the islands.  I usually have to hang out just offshore, and watch a few others charge the beach before I get up the gumption!
Today was such a nice day -- we really enjoy kayaking.  Richard BBQed a wonderful steak as our reward for some exertion . . . finally!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Backyard Shenanigans at our Cottage!

Sam is incredible!  He catches and delicately holds lizards!  Look at those lips!  I've never seen a lizard face this up close!

Sam spied a lizard escaping into hiding in our chair . . . but where?

All kinds of helpers -- Allison's hands rifling through chair pockets (above), Richard helping below . . .
Ben pointing (at right) and Sam's head is COMPLETELY in the chair pocket, as shouts of "keep your mouth closed" running amok!
You can hear Alli's squeals, right?  Hand over HER mouth, in case it's a "jumper lizard", I guess.
Success!  Sam got 'em!  He bites pretty good!
I love this picture!!
Look at Sam's gentle hold on the lizard.  He put him into a container and biked him home (with Alli jogging Ben home in the stroller), and released him in their backyard.  We have dozens of lizards in each of our yards, but very few get to change habitat like this one did!
Ben loves beach chairs!  You can bet, if I'm sitting in one at the beach, he'll say, "Gwamma UP?  Gwamma UP?" while tugging me out of the chair so he can sit there.  Truly, I can't refuse him, he's sooooo cute!  Today, he got the chair out and then insisted Richard get the other one out and sit in it next to him.  All's well, now.
A little pretend relaxing -- which lasted all of about 30 seconds!
The kids like this little snail rocker . . . even this big kid of mine!  She almost "hulied" with her coffee!