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Showing posts from January, 2018

Hanauma Bay memories, history, and changes

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For the Oahu crowd, and visitors to Oahu, today was a milestone that will probably go unnoticed.  In 2002, in response to numerous complaints that the Hanauma Bay Marine Conservation District was being "loved to death," a new visitor center championed by Park Superintendent Alan Hong was opened.  In addition to providing opportunities to learn more about the bay and its inhabitants, a new requirement was that residents and visitors alike needed to watch a short, 9 minute video at least once a year.  


The video emphasized visitor etiquette on the reef, some natural history, some regulations (no touching sea turtles), and ocean safety. The etiquette?  Don't feed the fish, don't touch the reef, and don't stand on the reef.  Volunteers like myself repeated these etiquette guidelines in an introduction to the video, along with a reminder about the prohibition on alcohol and smoking in the park.




So what happened today? Today, after some long and (to me) invisible process…

Do we really need straws?

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The straws come so quickly and naturally that I often don't get the chance to ask them to be left out of my drink.  Then there are those single-use drink packages that come with their own little straw, wrapped in plastic sheathing (I don't buy these).  It is my goal to use zero straws this year, but when the server brings water to your table with the straw already in the glass, to refuse it still means it is going into the trash.

A bill (S.B. 2285) currently being considered in Hawaii would ban the use of disposable plastic straws.  The proposed ban reads:

No individual or business shall distribute, sell, or otherwise provide a straw comprised in full or part of plastic. 

The penalty?  


Any individual or business violating subsection (a) shall be fined not less than $100, and not more than $500 for each offense. In addition to any fine imposed, an individual who violates subsection (a) shall be ordered to pick up and remove litter from a public place as follows:

(1) For the first …

Must they drown?

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In regards to recent articles and broadcasts regarding drowning deaths, I've submitted the following piece to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for publication.


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Hawaii is a tropical island state, and that means locals and visitors alike come into contact with the ocean on a regular basis.However, that also means all the dangers associated with swimming in the ocean exist as well (“Maui waters claim 8 lives,” Jan. 28).
Snorkeling tourists in particular seem to be at high risk for drowning.At many popular beaches, lifeguards are available with advice about ocean currents and other hazards, although sometimes lifeguards don’t seem particularly approachable.These lifeguards aren’t aloof… they are doing their job, continuously scanning the water for swimmers in distress.Their job isn’t to provide basic snorkeling instruction to beginners.
So, the visitors from Nebraska or Tokyo, confident that they can swim because they know they can make it across a 25-meter pool, grab snorkels, masks, and…

Back on Oahu, where cats are easily found...

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So I was in the Sydney and surrounding area for a couple of weeks, and visited a number of coastal cities large and small up the Gold Coast over another week.  Then I visited 3 islands in New Caledonia, including the capital city of Noumea.  I asked about free-roaming cats with security officers, police, and lifeguards... people who are outside a lot, and pay attention to details.  I found 1 cat (in Noumea), and heard lots of stories about cats "over there" but not "here."


Then, I returned to Oahu.  Between the Hawaii Kai Park & Ride, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and Manoa Theater I saw dozens of cats, some clearly socialized, and others very wild.  I also saw many mongoose, chickens, and pigeons running or flying around at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  In Hanauma Bay, I can imagine a complex food web... pigeons, mongoose, and cats eat offerings of cat food, plus garbage, and the cats eat baby mongoose and naive pigeons, the mongoose eat pigeon eggs and squa…

What would you do if the end was coming?

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It's old news now, but you may have heard that residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert on January 13 that a ballistic missile was on its way.  Previously, a report had noted that a missile launched from North Korea would take about 20 minutes to reach Hawaii, with a window of about 12 minutes for warning residents and visitors.  Since the alert was not rescinded for 38 minutes, I suspect a lot of people were looking up at the sky, wondering what was going to happen next.  

In Utah, I've worked with folk to promote emergency preparedness, as a member of CERT (Community Emergency Preparedness Team), our local Medical Reserve Corps, and with the Cache Humane Society promoting 72 hour kits for animals.   The concerns in Utah revolve primarily around fires and earthquakes, but flooding, infectious diseases, and toxic spills are also concerns.  I don't live each day worrying about armageddon.  My first strategy is to beg for mercy from those who have stockpiled food and s…

Frederick Krauss, and the family connection to Hawaii

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My existence in Hawaii comes in pulses.  People in Utah know we visit Hawaii with regularity... conversations often start with "Have you been to Hawaii recently?"  Our friends in Hawaii exclaim, "You're back!"


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The Hawaii connection is from Caroline's side of the family.  Her great-grandfather, Frederick Krauss, moved to the Territory of Hawaii in 1901 to teach agriculture to Hawaiians at Kamehameha Schools.  He was then hired as one of the first ag professors in the land-grant university that became the University of Hawaii-Manoa.  Krauss bought property near the new university from a British ivory dealer, and named the property "Ruralnook."  Krauss built the home in the painting above using plans purchased from Ladies Home Journal magazine (the plans were for a "California bungalow"), and it was completely restored by Caroline's parents in the 1970s or 80s. 



So our family's presence in Hawaii (the Krauss line) began in 1901, an…