Friday, April 30


Ever since Joey was a kid growing up on a ranch in Texas, watching Hawaii 5-0, he dreamt of someday going to Hawaii, and soon got his wish as a young eighteen year old U.S. Marine. That trip was short lived and he didn’t get off base much, but he had already been bit my Hawaii. He never forgot that trip and still remembered every detail, but never made it back. Twenty years later he got an offer to work a gas plant shutdown for a month in Hawaii, including condo, plane ticket and a rental car. He was all over it…. and before that job was over he’d already set his sights on living there fulltime.

Flash forward seven years and Joey found himself laying in that hole in the mountains in Colorado, unaware if he’d ever walk again. It was at that moment that he told himself he was moving to Hawaii……and if he is able to walk again……….he was going to surf.

daily life 034 We could have rented boards and taken surf lessons the day we got here but after thinking we didn’t need to, and then having my surfer girl guru also say we don’t need lessons, we decided to do it the way we do everything……in a slow, organic way. Joey spent the first month tracking down used boards (amongst all the other household stuff we had to accumulate to create a home for our family). We also watched the waves….a lot. Joey talked to surfing friends, lifeguards and locals. He absorbed everything like a sponge. Then he had to get to work.

He spent the next month working the same shutdown that first brought him over here back in 2002. He chooses the night shift so we can still hang out and go to the beach during the day but after working 14 hour days, seven days a week, our beach trips became scarce. Then he had an allergic reaction on his arms from fiberglass from work, so that, combined with the sheer exhaustion of working a shutdown, surfing was put on hold.

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We now have five surfboards,  10 ft. and  9 ft. longboards, and 7.5, 6.5 & 6 ft. short boards. We had to buy leashes for most of them and every single one of them had to be repaired for dings. We could have spent $40 a board to let a professional do it or Joey could watch instructional YouTube videos and send me to the store to buy resin and fiberglass and only spend $30 total. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to add up the math on that one. Note, the folks at City Mill in Waianae were awesome, they took the time to help me find everything I needed and were extremely nice to me.

Joey never did let those boards go to waste, though, during their down time. He had to leave his weights behind so he used the boards in place of his dumbbells. That’s Joey ………. always thinking, always creative.

Now, the boards are ready, the arms are healed, once broken leg is strong and only slightly in pain, but the surf in Makaha is way too much for a newbie. It’s not just too much because of the big waves, though, it’s also pretty busy, and the surfers are pretty territorial……not that he’d ever invade their turf anyway, but at the advice of friends and lifeguards the place for him to learn is at a beach the locals call Rest Camp or, the beach behind the Army Recreation Base. You have to go through a guard gate to get there, and that must keep a lot of the unwanted’s out, because we’ve experienced nothing but the friendly’s.  The water’s a little scary, though. First paddle out we noticed how close the reef is below us! I fell off my board and scraped foot on the bottom ,and I was way out there! It’s a solid rock floor about four feet under the water, so when you fall you have to make sure to fall sideways. Fun stuff. This is my biggest problem, though: Good wave day = lots of surfers. Little to no surfers = paddle like a dog to catch maybe one wave. Joey doesn’t care either way, so I take pictures while he learns to surf without me. pokai bay 136 Turn around Joey! Turn around!!

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Because Joey doesn’t care that the waves aren’t that great he was the absolute only one in the water this day. It was flat and as calm as could be when out of nowhere this set rolled in. Patience is a virtue in surfing. You can see the rock under the water in this picture, and somehow Joey has avoided crashing into it.

Recently in Makaha beach our 13 yr old friend tried boogie boarding only to get jacked by the locals there not letting him catch a wave. They actually did something to his board to make it flip back and smack him hard in the face with it. Here at Rest Camp we have experienced men going out of their way to help Joey out.restcamp 150 This surfer, kayak surfing for the day, watched Joey and gave him some tips on when to stand up and where to stand, and then Joey caught THE VERY NEXT ONE! restcamp 182 And the one after that! Once that kind “soul surfer” helped him out, it all clicked, and now Joey says it’s like riding a bike. He actually even said to me before we made it home that day, “I can’t wait for my first competition!” That man! I’m still trying to stand up and he’s ready to compete!

surf & sea 126 Jake has caught the bug too, and whenever he can pry himself from videogames, he joins us. Jonas got hit in the knee with the tip of his board first day out where the pain lasted a week, so has no more interest in surfing at this point. surfin 149

Joey’s proof it’s never too late to teach an old dog, new tricks. A fine specimen of a 43 year young man, if I do say so myself. Love ya, babe!

The Power of The Shore Break

Winter in Hawaii is something amazing, and it’s not the warm weather either, it’s the power of Mother Nature and the sheer force of her waves. Even when the water looks relatively flat, the shore break can be so dangerous that they have to flag the beaches warning everyone of the dangers, with their motto:

 If in doubt, stay out.

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The strong tug pulling the water back into the ocean to create the large shore break wave is impossible to run from. The local, insane teenagers relish this ferocious wave while the rest of us run for the hills.

Kaena Beach 061 Getting hit by this wave is equivalent to being inside a cement mixer.

Kaena Beach 062 The waves don’t just affect the water, they also make a huge impact on the beach. Most days there’s more sand on the beach than ever a need for, and on the weekends large gatherings stretch from north to south.

Kaena Beach 065 But on big wave days some of the beaches area aren’t even accessible.

Kaena Beach 070 The picture below is from the rocks right below where the above photo was taken, on a day that we were exploring tide pools. Notice the abundance of fluffy, soft, sand?

Yokes (5)Here is the same area about a month later after the waves have washed all the sand away exposing more rocks below. The tidepools we were on are in the far left of the picture, and straight below was all the soft, fuzzy, sand.

Kaena Beach 075This is just common nature around here, but it is still something that amazes me. The sheer amount that places can change around here. Sometimes the beach is ten feet wide, other days it could be a hundred. I still want to think the weather will predict the waves, too. Like if it’s calm and sunny out, I expect the same for the waves and then am shocked when we get down to the beach to see the oh so familiar, orange warning flags and waves fifteen feet high. Hawaii in the winter is truly something powerful. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the summer too, though, when it’s much calmer.

Also on these rocks pictured above, while on one of our morning cruises up the coast, Joey and I saw something that we don’t get to see very often at all……….can you spot it?

droid 158 In the middle, then down about an inch….it’s a monk seal! He blended in so good with the rocks I have no idea how I spotted him, and I only had my cell phone with me so this is the best I could do, but what a treat!

Hawaii never gets old.

Wednesday, April 28

Yokohama Pool

The stretch of coastline from the center of Waianae to the north end of Kaena Point is about ten miles, and Joey and I usually take a cruise up this stretch almost daily, just to enjoy the views, the weather, the waves, and maybe get inspired for the day. Often we go alone, but lately Jewel has been going with us more, and when she does, she always wants to take a dip in the pool. The pool is a large tidepool at the end of the sandy beach before it turns completely to lava rock.

The pool is in the center of this picture, and has a man and two small children in it.

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The reef breaks the waves from crashing in, so instead they gently roll over the rocks and make small waterfalls into the pool.The best part of this pool is the safety from the waves but also the abundant amounts of fish & sea life, and lack of spiky urchin. Here’s Jewel swimming in the pool on a big wave day:

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And here’s Jewel in the pool on a small wave day:

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And here’s Jewel as a baby on our first ever trip to Hawaii, and her first taste of sea water:


Some things we just never outgrow.

Saturday, April 24

The Black Pearl

My friend, Kimberly, wrote me on Facebook saying she heard the pirate ship from the Pirates of Caribbean, The Black pearl, was here in Oahu. I quickly wrote her back and told her …No ma’am .since I saw on TV that itBlack Pearl (1)

was at Disney Island. A couple weeks later and we were around friends that seem to know everything happening on the island so I asked them, just for the heck of it, if The Black Pearl was indeed on this island, and not only did they know it was on this island, they knew it was in Kalaeloa. That is the closest and absolute best place for us, for it to be. It’s just at the bottom of the Westside, so nowhere near Honolulu.I read a blog on that described where it was so Jake, Jewel and I headed off to see if it’s still there and if we can get pictures of it. I followed the GPS coordinates from that blog post and the navigation got me into a construction site cul-de-sac …….and this was all we got to see. I said…. oh well guys, this is it. sorry.

Then Jake took control of the GPS and he found another road on the other side of the ship. After my failed attempt to get us around, I finally listened to Jake’s directions and he led us straight to it. I love a smart kid.


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The pirate ship is on dry dock getting a makeover for filming of the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie this summer. From the looks of it they’re building a whole new rear on it.

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After taking a few minutes to get our shots, and ooh and ahh over the size of the beast, we decided to check out the harbor a bit. It’s really industrial-ly but I saw beach beyond all the concrete and steel, and wanted a closer look. Black Pearl (19)Jewel caught me in action!

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It wasn’t until I got home that I thought I probably could have walked down this beach a ways and have a whole new view of the pirate ship. I’ll definitely have to do that next time as I plan on coming back often to see the changes.

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Black Pearl (35)

Jewel has been picking her camera up more and more lately and naturally, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m going to help her learn to post her pictures to facebook so she can share them with her friends and family. This is one of her pictures from today, completely unedited……… inside the harbor, where even the ugliest steel tankers look gorgeous in this water.

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It was a fun day, even when Joey and Jonas didn’t go with us, saying they could just see the pictures when we got home. Normally, I may not have gone either, but I didn’t let that hold me back today and I’m a little proud of myself for that.

For full set of photos, including updated transformation pics check out my Flickr page here.

Sunday, April 18

Barking Sands A.K.A. Ma'kua

Makua 008 

Normally when we go to Barking Sands it’s to get thrashed around in the shorebreak, and spend the day soaking up some vitamin D. Going near the rocks and the reef is something we normally like to avoid during those activities, but since the gates to the beach are locked during the week we decided to park on the south end of the beach, forcing us on the rocks. I don’t know how we’ve missed this spot before, but as soon as we came down from the rocks we saw this cute little cove.

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But until you we got right up on it, we had no idea know how amazing this cute cove really was.

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At first it appeared just like the normal reef along the westside, but it had these wonderful little deep pools in them that were the perfect size for our kids…AND no noticeable spiky urchin.*Makua 026

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The view of Makua Valley from them wasn’t bad either. Now I think I know what all the SAVE MAKUA bumper stickers are all about. And if THIS isn’t IT, it should be.

For the record, this probably isn’t the safest place to be playing, either. Every once in a while a really big wave would come in and the first instinct is to get out fast and run, only it’s faster than us. Jewel would try to get out and that would just cause the wave to rush over her harder, pinning her to the side of the pool, scratching her leg, but eventually she figured out how to ride out the big sets.

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Where’d she go? 

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There she is!

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I now know why we’ve never seen this spot before………..because there is usually someone in it, and out here it’s just plain rude to crash a spot like that when another family is enjoying it. I almost feel guilty even blogging about this spot………it’s that  special.               


These next two pictures were taken with my Moto Droid phone and had to be included because they’re two of my favorite pictures from that day.

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 Makua Droid (6)

I don’t know how long this current adventure is going to last, but I am definitely not ready for it to end yet.


* My toe………. had NO PROBLEM finding the spiky urchinMakua 035

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