09 June 2009
As the wind died down on yet another atypical day in the tropical Pacific, I found myself heading back to the ocean for one more round. I spent the day searching for the unknown, the unattained-- in the vast un-tourist explored land of the Maui Upcountry. (Of course, I did the most touristy thing possible before this and snorkled with Japanese tourists. Gotta wash your hands clean sometimes, right?)
For me, it is home away from home. California with an ever-expanding coastline. Redwoods, fog, ranches and even the occasional vineyard speckle the "countryside" between 2,000-6,000 feet edging along the giant Haleakala mountain and crater that forms one half of the island. It is home to Cafe 808, arguably (and in my mind) the best damn plate lunch a Hawaiian can offer, deep in the heart of Kula and literally a point of no return on the island 3,500 feet above the sandy beaches and the resorts that inhabit them. I would love to live here. To be in California without the hassle of being in California. The 405 at 5 p.m. could be 5,000 miles away!
But as I desended back down into the reality of my comfy little shack on the dry side of the island, I was beckoned back to the water and the ocean much like any local seems to be at this time of day. Whether it be surfing, fishing, drinking, etc. it seems all Hawaiians find their way to the sea that surrounds them at some point during the day. It is as much social as it is a emotional grapple. A stress-reliever. A dependency, much like some of their forefathers were dependent on it centuries ago.
Speaking of centuries ago, the last lava flow on the lsland of Maui was in the late 18th century, on the south-south=east (the Dirty South if you will) side of the island. Two of the resulting lava flows are situated at Āhihi Bay on the southwest shore of East Maui. Here, lava rock clashes with an almost seregenti plain of dry wood and brush. The two landscapes coincide with one another yet struggle in beauty in the naked eye.
I had some time to kill and had never been past the touristy south side of Wailea (I had been through the treacherous "pot farm" route on the south that comes after Hana), and heard of a good surf spot through a bartender the night previous. My father and I drove out through the lava fields and came upon a rather acne-laden teenager biking his way to the same spot, and he gave us further directions. I strapped on the fins and prayed that lava rock would not be present. Of course, it was.
By the time we got there it was already 6:30 in the evening. But the 4 other locals (2 white, 2 hawaiian) in the lineup warmed up to me and accepted my presence after my first few lines, that consisted of just a semi-tiny left-handed break. It was just the hour I needed to cap off a day where I saw almost all the sides of an islands culture and topography in a single day.
By the way, not the hunky dude surfing....this is me....(the Doug took the photo from his phone in the car...lazy ass)
Tomorrow.....The Hangover review and the Taking Back Sunday review. Promise jah.