Monday, August 2, 2010

July 31, 2010, 20:16 HST

N 22°12.658’, W 159°30.097’
Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i…Paradise, with a few kinks…

Today Richard and I went to the Hanalei farmers’ market and for the most part had a good time. It was located in a field behind the Hanalei Poi Company, adjacent to the taro fields. There were booths with organic farmers there selling papayas, bananas, mangoes, various vegetables, honey and other great stuff. There were also booths present with artisans selling koa wood carved bowls, sea glass and shell jewelry, and local goat cheese. In addition to these booths, there were also booths selling tie-dyed shirts (made in Honduras), straw hats (made in China), and other things that were neither made in Hawai’i nor made by farmers. I mean, isn’t the operative word here farmers? While I don’t mind so much the vendors selling "made in Hawai’i" goods at a Hawaiian farmers market, I do mind vendors who are selling crap made outside of the United States. Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m not as vigilant as I should be about buying locally, and this is something that I have told myself that I need to be more aware of moving forward. But check this out…there you are in Hawai’i and you want to buy a souvenir. So you see that coconut shell with the painted sunset on it and you think, “Oh, that’ll look great on the mantle!” So you pick up the painted coconut, turn it over and find a “Made in China” sticker on it. How is that a souvenir from Hawai’i? Then we wonder why so many people are out of work; nothing is made in America any more! PS...nothing painted on a coconut shell would look good on your mantle.

But I think I’m getting a nose-bleed from standing up on my soap box so I’ll step down now.

We did buy some papayas and Richard bought a coconut from this guy standing at the back of an old truck wielding a machete. The deal is you buy the coconut, the guy hacks off one end of the shell exposing a small patch of the inner shell. He then takes a bore-like tool and makes a small hole in the shell so you can stick a straw in to drink the coconut water. You drink the water, bring the coconut back to the machete-wielding guy and he splits the coconut in half and uses a special tool to scoop the coconut meat loose. The coconut water and meat were a little too “green” for my tastes, but the whole “eating a coconut in paradise” experience worked for me nonetheless. Check out the video below of Richard getting us a coconut.

Behind the Hanalei Poi Company building we spotted a small flock of Nene's, the Hawaiian state bird.

We returned to the boat for an afternoon of sitting in the cockpit, watching dolphins swim by, and swimming around the boat. At one point I noticed a red ball floating by the boat. We decided that it was a mooring ball so I donned my mask, snorkel and fins and headed out to recover it; it was only about 100 or so feet from the boat. Once I reached the mooring ball, I looked down the line expecting to see it free floating but instead I saw a cinder block attached to the working end of the line suspended in about 50 feet of water. Despite the oddity of seeing the cinder block, I grabbed the line and started swimming back to the boat. Back at the boat, Richard and I decided to ask our neighbors if they had any ideas what we should do with the mooring ball (our neighbors are kind of “local”). Richard tried to lift the mooring ball and line into the dinghy, but the weight of the hanging cinder block made it kind of difficult so I dove down and tried lifting the cinder block up towards the dinghy. It was damn heavy! We finally got the mooring ball and cinder block into the dinghy and motored over to our neighbor’s boat. After talking to them, we decided to beach the mooring ball on a spit where the Hanalei River meets Hanalei Bay, figuring if someone came looking for his/her mooring ball in the bay and didn’t see it, maybe he/she would spot it on shore.

Having dropped off the mooring ball on the spit, we were heading back to our boat when I noticed that my neck was starting to burn. I immediately thought, “Great! I’ve got a sunburn on my neck and I’ll never hear the end of it for not putting on sunblock.” When we finally reached the boat, the burning in my neck had intensified. I went into the head (aka bathroom) to look in the mirror but couldn’t see anything on my neck. I asked Richard to look at my neck and he asked me why. “Because I have a searing hot pain on my neck and face,” I said. It felt like someone was grinding white-hot broken glass into my neck and face. We quickly looked up these symptoms in our medical reference and discovered the wonderfully horrible world of stinging hydroids.

Stinging hydroids are plant-like creatures, related to jellyfish, that are described as “beautiful, fan-like creatures that pack a painful sting." Great! What happens is that when the water is turbulent, pieces of the hydroids, that are usually attached to rocks, coral, mooring lines (hmmm?), etc., break off and become random, microscopic missiles of pain floating around in the water…the same water that we’ve been swimming in for the past few days.

We fired up the laptop and Googled “stinging hydroids + treatments” and found a plethora of articles. The treatment involves an acidic compress (vinegar on a face cloth) for about 30 minutes followed by application of hydrocortisone cream; special emphasis was placed on not applying fresh water as this might re-activate any remaining nematocysts on the skin resulting in more searing pain. Richard commented that I would smell like a pickle for the rest of the night and that was fine with me.

After this minor crisis was averted, we got ready and went to a luau. This luau was being put on by the Hanalei Canoe Club Youth Programs, so we imagined that it would be less cheesy than a luau put on by a chain hotel. In fact, it was better than one of those cheesy luaus. The food was good, though we both thought that they could have put a little more food on our plates. Richard and I both enjoyed the poi!

Having finished our plates, and still hungry, we decided to walk into town to get something else to eat. We ended up at Hanalei Gourmet and had a great plate of smoked local fish (marlin) and beers. We followed that up with some ice cream and walked back to the boat.


Just another day in paradise…with a few kinks thrown in for good measure.


The Coconut...Part I
video

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