A First Timer’s Guide to O’ahu, Hawaii Christian Vetter March 4, 2008 Dispatches, Hawaii 25 Comments I decided it would be in my best interest to move to Hawai’i. There wasn’t much of a reason for it, really. I’ve been obsessed with the Pacific since I was a little kid. I watched too many Looney Tunes episodes, I suppose. Remember the outrageously stereotypical savages of the Pacific that were always trying to throw Bugs Bunny and his buddies into the boiling cauldrons? You could argue those savages were actually based on Melanesia and not Polynesia but let’s not argue semantics. The fact of the matter is that cartoons warped my brain and at twenty years old, I’m still living in a fantasy world of pirates, savages, and delicious rabbit soups. So I suddenly find myself in Hawaii. I’m technically going to college (bogus), but I have plenty of free time to kill. What does one do in such a situation? No bearings, no vehicle, no bus pass ”¦ just island. I arrived a few days before the semester started to try and conquer the land. Turns out, I laid on Waikiki every day and read Into the Wild. Chris McCandless and I share the same birthday, in fact. That is wild. Sunset, Waikiki © gavdana If you’re traveling to O’ahu, odds are you’re going to get sick of Waikiki pretty quick. It took me three days of local exploration to discover said fact. The people are endless. If you decide to walk the strip of Waikiki – Kalakaua Avenue and a couple others – it’s not likely to hold your attention for long. People painting themselves metallic and standing unnaturally still for extended periods of time just isn’t very interesting. So where do you go? Transportation is an absolute must. If you’re going to stay on the island for just a few days, pick up a bus pass (a 4-day pass is $20.) And if you really have the means, pick up a rent-a-car. In my case, I met a local friend. She has a car. Righteous! The island suddenly became much smaller and manageable. After a month of living here, I’ve visited some wonderful spots. Sure, they may be pretty well known to anyone familiar with Hawai’i, but for someone just passing through, these are four must-see spots. #1 – Hike Diamond Head It might be a contradiction due to the amount of tourists that are also interested in Diamond Head, but the sights really are beautiful. And it’s close to town! Bike, run, bus, car ”¦ it’s all manageable from Waikiki. Anyway, Diamond Head is a now dormant volcano. You see the crater on the walk up – a crater of a once explosively active volcano. Try and tell me that isn’t badass and I’ll tell you you’re wrong with a slap of my white glove. Diamond Head, Oahu © skyseeker Parts of the path are paved which is kind of a bummer, but it’s still gorgeous. Also, I saw numerous overweight middle-aged men struggling up the 173 stairs to the top, so be careful. The trail may be more daunting than I give it credit for. Regardless, with whales breaching in the distance the sights of the island are truly breathtaking. The water has this fantastically surreal blue hue, as though someone painted it. It’s like The Truman Show. I kept waiting for Ed Harris to beg me not to leave. #2 – Sand Beach After you’ve descended the great heights, you should head over to Makapu’u or Sandy Beach on the eastern side of O’ahu. Either makes a great place to lie prostrate on the sand and pass out from sun exposure. Bring a big blanket and you’re done. The waves at both beaches have a very steep break on the shore, so be careful. People have gotten hurt from the intensity of these large waves. Makapu’u has some wonderful little islands to gaze at and fantasize about. I kept daydreaming of dancing around a giant bonfire on the tiny, deserted islands. If you want to make it a reality: bring drums, I’ll grab the headdresses. Makapu’u is also a nice place to body board. If you’re ill-equipped, just launch yourself into the waves. You will get pummeled and fun will be had. Once again, be careful as the current gets pretty powerful. The Pacific is an awe-inspiring place. This is the most relaxing of the locations I’ve been to thus far. I brought along my iPod, a copy of Treasure Island, and a giant towel. Gazing at the waves and listening to Grizzly Bear is a good route to take. I’d recommend it. If you’re looking for a good place to grab some dinner, on the way back (in Hawaii Kai) head to Kona Brewing Co. They have unbelievably delicious pizza, and they brew ten beers as well. From what I’ve sampled, you can’t go wrong. Go. Enjoy. Let it happen. #3 – Head Towards Electric Beach It’s twenty-five minutes from Waikiki or Honolulu by car; by bus, a little over an hour. Electric Beach takes its name from the power plant right across the street. Okay, the plant is really ugly. But it works! The plant pumps out warm water exhaust into the Pacific. Sounds terrible, right? It’s not. The warmer water has allowed for marine life to flourish in the area. Strange, I know, but trust me. Grab your snorkel and fins or your BCD and tank and get out there. The surf and current are typically calm. When I went, it was pouring rain and the conditions were still wonderful. Within five minutes of snorkeling, sea turtles were spotted. I waved to the turtles, blew them kisses, and loved them with my entire being. As we moved on, we saw some great fish and incredible coral. The visibility is seemingly infinite and the depth is only about thirty feet. As we continued to swim around, we saw some divers. I wished I was with them, but all I could do was give them the Okay! to which I was greeted with a Hang-loose! They are my people. I love them dearly. Dolphins in the Open Ocean, Hawaii © jurvetson As we continued to swim through their bubbles, we heard squealing. My comrades and I surfaced. Dolphins? Precisely! Spinner dolphins, at that! I got as far out of the water as I could and saw them jumping a few hundred yards away. “Dolphins!” I exclaimed. “We should go after them!” I was excited. “Really, dude? You want to swim after dolphins? That’s brilliant,” was the response. Cynics. I began swimming after them. The dolphins must have sensed my presence for they began swimming towards us. Out of the blue, two dolphins and their baby swam at us. It was unbelievable. We were suddenly surrounded in a pod of 30 or 40 dolphins, diving and swimming around us. After ten minutes of this ecstatic affair, they disappeared as quickly as they had come. Going to Electric Beach is a wise choice. #4 – Lastly, Visit the North Shore Waimea Bay is stunningly beautiful. From the Waikiki area, it’s forty-five minutes by car or approximately two hours by bus. But during the winter months in Hawai’i, Waimea Bay’s waves get into the “Oh my God, that wave is gigantic!” range. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, the waves are said to be in the 30+ foot range for the next three days. That’s damn big – the kind of waves that few expert surfer bros can handle, let alone a jackass like me. I went when the waves were calmer so I could jump off the giant boulder in the bay. I’m no mechanic, but my guess is the boulder is nearly thirty feet high, larger than it may look from a distance. As I fell through the air, all I could think is “%&*$ shouldn’t I have hit by now?” And I did. It’s a rush! There isn’t much to see in the snorkeling department, but if you wander far enough along the beach, you’ll find countless rocks and crag-like structures to explore. I saw dead crabs, stagnant pools of collected water, and people passionately making out. I either looked like a stalker or paparazzi: walking around shirtless with my camera around my neck. Creepy. Anyway, stick around for the sunset. It’s marvelous. Afterwards, pick up some of Manny’s huli-huli chicken. This dude grills the finest chickens after they’ve basked in delicious spices over an open-pit coal bed. Everyone stands around the pit and rids themselves of the cool night air. We met some wonderful folks from Utah in the few minutes we waited for the food. Manny’s great too. Conversation rolls around the grill freely. After a day at Waimea Bay, it’s a great way to wind down and see some friendly faces. After you have savagely chomped your meal down (I’ve transcended utensils), grab some shave ice. Aoki’s Shave Ice is the bomb. Literally. I got a Volcano shave ice. Make sure you get the ice cream in the bottom — otherwise it isn’t even worth it. On the ride home, listen to the Beatles’ White Album. Or Devendra Banhart’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. Trust me. They’ll do you right. By the time you stumble back to your hostel or public bench, you will conk out instantly with pleasant thoughts of volcanoes, dolphins, giant waves, and shave ice coursing through your soul. 25 Responses Sheila @ GoVisitHawaii March 4, 2008 Nice post! Like you, I much prefer spending my time on Oahu away from the crowds of Waikiki. I especially love the North Shore as well as the East side of the island as there are many, many picturesque spots. Reply Christian Vetter March 4, 2008 Hey, thanks! The North Shore takes the cake for me. Just getting up there is a journey in and of itself. It makes every visit that much more incredible. Reply Hawaii Vacation News Roundup for March 6th March 6, 2008 [...] has written a First Timer’s Guide to Oahu with some interesting [...] Reply Sassmo March 6, 2008 You shouldn’t send people to these places without giving them all the info they need… For instance you make Sandy’s sound like a picnic, when you should be informing them of the very real danger. (This quote was lifted from a Honolulu Star-Bulletin article) “[Sandy] beach requires a great deal of expertise, and even the experts get hurt,” says Jim Howe Jr., Honolulu City and County’s chief of lifeguard operations. “To use the analogy of ski slopes … it’s a double black diamond run.” Reply Mike March 6, 2008 Sassmo, thanks for the heads-up. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to any particular Hawaiian beach/location. Christian is simply conveying his own personal experiences. As always, it’s important for and incumbent upon any traveler to research and perform their own due diligence on any upcoming trip. Reply Sassmo March 6, 2008 Mike, I went to the University of Hawaii and was a resident of Oahu for 8 years. I have more than one friend/classmate who has been seriously injured at Sandy Beach, including one that will spend the rest of his life in a wheel-chair. This article is headlined as a “First Timers’ Guide” not a “First Timer’s experience,” and as such should take the time to warn people of the precautions they might need to take. Hawaii has a really hard time with tourists treating their beaches, mountains, etc., like a giant theme park without considering the consequences. They get hurt and then act like there should have been a lifeguard there to catch them. This results in a large loss of tax dollars because of settlements with the injured persons or the closure of certain areas or both (see Sacred Falls – hiking trail is closed and the state payed something like $8mil to the families of hikers that didn’t take the trail seriously and were killed). Reply Christian Vetter March 6, 2008 Makapu’u is just past Sandy Beach. They experience the same conditions, the same current, and the same shore breaks. As noted in my article: “The waves at both beaches have a very steep break on the shore, so be careful. People have gotten hurt from the intensity of these large waves.” and: “Once again, be careful as the current gets pretty powerful.” I’m not ill-advising anyone. I know of the dangers. I don’t think telling tourists there is more to do beyond Waikiki is a risk of a loss of tax dollars. Every state “has a really hard time with tourists.” People get hurt anywhere. They still have just as much right to these locations and beaches as anyone else. My apologies if you believe I’m treating my time in Hawai’i as a giant theme park, but I assure you I’m not. If you would like to continue the discussion, just shoot me an email. Reply Sassmo March 14, 2008 Christian, I wouldn’t mind continuing this conversation via e-mail, however, yours isn’t listed anywhere on this article. The reason I’m so adamant about this issue is that there is a difference between saying “people have gotten hurt,” as opposed to “people get hurt there every day.” Unfortunately, there are many tourists who show up either not knowing or not caring about the precautions the State of Hawai’i has in place, such as “strong current” or “dangerous shorebreak” signs. “If youâ€™re ill-equipped, just launch yourself into the waves. You will get pummeled and fun will be had.” When travel writers describe places like Makapu’u with statements like this, it gives the danger a casual tone that underplays the importance of official warnings. The result is lots of people that feel prepared and insist on getting into the water even though the “If in doubt, don’t go out” or “fins required” signs are posted. Also, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t put words into my mouth. I never accused you of treating Hawai’i as a theme park, nor did I say that sending people beyond Waikiki is a risk to tax dollars. I’m a strong advocate of getting people out of Waikiki. I hate Waikiki. In my 8 years on Oahu, I probably spent about as much time in Waikiki as your average tourist. You’re wrong in saying that tourists have just as much right to certain locations as anyone else though. Hawai’i was seized from the Hawaiians and even though the islands are governed by the United States now, the native people, their culture, and their sacred places should be given the utmost respect. I never had beef with you Christian. I wrote my original two comments because I have a problem with your article being headlined “A First Timer’s Guide to Oahu, Hawaii” as opposed to “A First Timer’s experience of Oahu, Hawaii,” and I think I’ve done a pretty good job explaining why. From what I can tell you’re a pretty intelligent guy (kudos to you for the quick adoption of the okina, btw. Even long-time transplants are bad at using it). I’m sure by now you’ve had a glimpse of what I’m talking about and the longer you live there the more you will come to understand. Good luck in your stays and feel free to e-mail me anytime if you’d like to discuss this further or just talk story about Oahu. My e-mail address is my username at GMail. Aloha, Sassmo Reply HI resident March 18, 2008 I have to agree with Sassmo, I had the exact same thoughts while reading! This otherwise very decent article downplays the considerable dangers at Sandy’s and Makapuu. From the same Star Bulletin article Sassmo quoted: “For those who are unfamiliar with this beach [Sandy's], it has the highest rate of broken backs and necks in the nation. This is not a beach for children or weak swimmers.” I don’t think you could overstate the danger here. The local kids in the water make it look easy, but they’ve grown up in the ocean. I’m glad you had only good experiences at these places, but conditions very considerably day to day even hour to hour, and your “first timer” readers really need to know the dangers. Here’s the link to that article http://starbulletin.com/2002/03/24/news/story3.html aloha Reply Legos March 19, 2008 Hmmm, I say let the tourists and settlers go to Sandy’s and get broken. Maybe it’ll discourage people from coming. While you are in Hawaii, have you ever considered how you’re presence there is allowed by American colonialism, and how you are contributing to perpetuating that colonialism? Most people from the mainland don’t, but they aren’t confronted by it. So maybe if we ask you straight out it might help you reexamine what you’re doing there. For instance how racist cartoons created in a society trying to dismiss natives as simplistic savages to excuse colonialism has now inspired you to go out there and live your cute little paradise dream. Or how you’re presence is using up more resources on an increasingly resource scarce island, leading to increased cost and Hawaiians being forced to go to the mainland. Reply Christian Vetter March 22, 2008 I accept and appreciate the feedback regarding my child-like lack of respect for the waves of Sandy’s and Makapu’u. It has been noted, and very doubtfully will ever be forgotten. The mysterious Hawaiian resident is right — that article should be read side-by-side my adventure tales for a better understanding of the dangers that await. Legos – as a Pacific studies and journalism student, yes, those thoughts have crossed my mind. I’m not sure how my whimsical ways are responsible for American colonialism (I do believe that was Dole), or how racist cartoons are AT ALL relevant to this discussion*, but I do believe I’m very strongly confronted by the issues of Hawai’i. As far as me reexamining what I’m doing here: I am a full-time student. I also work at a dive shop to respectfully show water-lovers how to view the wonders of the sea without endangering the fragile ecosystem. I am in the process of joining a research team to conserve coral and fish species in Hawaiian waters. “My cute little paradise dream,” is a lifestyle choice, one that will ultimately aid the islands that I both love and care for. I think Mother Earth will forgive my light usage of resources for what I’m doing in return. And yes, on the side I may be subject to my youth and may engage in sometimes silly (occasionally ignorant) activities. But let it be known: I leave only my footsteps (and sometimes I spill a few barrels of oil for good measure. Aha!) I’m sorry to spark the ethnocentrism and hate that reside deep within you. Emperor Palpatine would be proud. *Historically (as you seem to be quite the history buff) the “savage” stereotype was associated to Melanesians, not Polynesians. Europeans typically viewed Polynesians as a race of humanity fresh out of the Garden of Eden — a raw clay they could mold. Sure, that may be ignorant, but it’s hardly racist. Europeans thought Hawaiian culture was wonderful. And, if it wasn’t for the tourists, Pacific cultures would be extinct. The money they bring in keeps the dances, chants, and culture alive. Otherwise it would be assimilated into one giant globalized mass. A final question to reflect on: Did you realize that getting published on the internet is harder on a man than castration and sodomy? Goodness gracious. Reply Legos March 22, 2008 Lol. Pacific studies? Really. Did you run this article by Vilsoni? I bet he’d love your response too. Especially the part about how tourism keeps Pacific cultures alive. Classic colonial maneuver there. Also, what, natives only count as natives if they bang their drums and dance? GO down to Hawaiian studies and ask Osorio to dance for you to prove he’s a native. Seriously, I couldn’t have made you seem like a bigger colonial if I tried. What about Hanlon? He’s still there right? I know noone coming out of one of his classes would be this mindless either. Surely the program hasn’t degraded that much. Better yet run this by Hawaiian studies. Then you’ll find out what’s harder than castration and sodomy. And speaking of the program, let’s see what you just tried to do there. You’re a full time student at a University set up in large part to justify claims that the overthrow and Annexation were helping to civilize Hawaiians and the Asian immigrant population. A University that still has not entirely extricated itself from colonial processes. The PAcific studies program was originally funded by the United States Federal government as an Area Studies initiative to research ways to keep a hold of their Pacific Colonies during the cold war. And then you used your position as a participant in that program to justify your claims of superior knowledge over a Native, to promote tourism. Wow, almost sounds like colonialism. You don’t need to be Dole to be a colonial, because colonization didn’t stop with Dole, which you are a perfect example of. (also, the whole, bit about saying you’re not a colonial because you’re not Dole, also standard colonial rhetoric. Colonization is not an act, it’s a series of overlapping and often only indirectly linked projects and activities. Overthrow’s one of them, but so is settlement, and that’s what you sound like, a settler. So, no you’re not Dole, but in a way, well you actually are.) Perhaps instead of reading Into the Wild on the Beach, you might want to read up on colonialism. Ask your instructors, I’m sure they’ll have some suggestions. Also I don’t want to give away the ending, but the idiot who goes into the wilderness unprepared dies a horrible death. Ok. Racist toons, you brought them up. Not only did you bring them up, you said they are the reason you wanted to go to the Pacific. How is that not relevant to the discussion? As for the confusion between melanesian and polynesian, we’re talking about twentieth-century American culture, not enlightenment era Europe. So the split between mela and poly, a bullshit split anyway, which should have been clear in some of your early Pacific Studies classes, was insignificant since during that era, American ideas about islanders where far less differentiated than what you try to imply. Looney tunes racism is not nineteenth-century ethnography. It’s straight up American racism intended to promote white rule over the world (and non-whites in the continental United States) as normative. But of course you’re not one of the bad Haole though, you love Mother Earth. So protecting the environment means you’re not a colonial? Tell that to Teddy Roosevelt. You leave a minimal impact on the environment etc. And just because you leave a minimal impact, son that still is more impact than if you hadn’t moved there. But those aren’t the only resources, what about housing? What about jobs? Finally, the revised Hitler analogy. Really? That was lame. Colonials using claims of racism(even thinly veiled ones) to dodge Native claims of their colonial douchebaggery? So 1995. We had that fight, Trask won. Again, I advise you update your reading list. Considering the Bullshit load the Journo department gives now days, I know you have free time. Reply Legos March 22, 2008 PS. Your lifestyle choice and those of thousands of other seeking to chase their whimsical ways is helping a lot of Hawaiians make the lifestyle choice of being homeless out on the west side. Right down by Electrics. Go and look up the rates of Hawaiian homeless alongside the rates of mainland settlers and corresponding housing shortages. Reply Christian Vetter March 22, 2008 I think your entire history lesson was just undermined by the fact that you confused a Star Wars reference with Adolf Hitler. Sorry, bro. That’s a strike out. I had no idea Emperor Palpatine was fighting for the Nazi Army. Did you know that Captain America and Wolverine were there too? Yeah, lesser known fact. I think my reading materials are just fine. Mahalo. I don’t go to UH either. I don’t know those professors you’re making all these witty remarks about. I can walk over there and ask them to dance for me, though, but only if that will make you feel better. Adieu, good sir. Reply Legos March 22, 2008 Hmmmm, if you couldn’t figure out that Palpatine’s human superiority policies were modeled after Hitler, then you probably take the slow bus to class. Stormtroopers? The uniforms? The methed out look? You not only fail at not being a colonial douche, you fail at pop culture referencing too. What school do you go to then? Because unless you’re taking night classes at one of the On-base schools, they’ll tell you your analysis sucks too. It also makes it that much lamer that you tried to use that as a way to promote your authority. I also note that the only points you can respond too are the Palpatine reference and what school you go to, not the absolute lack of understanding about the colonial situation you are stewing in at this very moment. Reply Christian Vetter March 22, 2008 You’re just a silly human being, aren’t you? If my presence is so upsetting to you, you should hop on a double-hulled canoe and cruise to new lands like your ancestors did. That’s what happened when resources ran low! The fresh water lens is estimated to run dry in the next decade. You’ve got time to find some trees and make it happen! That theory is just as realistic as assuming that if Americans hadn’t shown up, the Aussies or Japanese wouldn’t have dominated these islands just as quickly. Now. This discussion is over. I’m not going to fuel the flame any longer. You can take your racist aggression out on someone else’s blog now. I’m sorry I fail at being a colonial douche. Reply Christian Vetter March 23, 2008 Upon rereading this outrageous flame war, I realize that I lost my cool and would like to apologize to anyone it may have offended. I wasn’t expecting my first published article to receive such a *warm welcome*. It’s rare for me to get my buttons pushed in such a way that I’ll fall into the ranks of internet wars you read at the bottom of every blog or youtube post. That said, I’m not going to change my writing style, so if you’ve read this and don’t like what you see, please avoid my articles in the future. We’ll all be that much less offended for it. There. Now I feel better! -Christian Reply Legos March 23, 2008 Lol. I love it. If you Hawaiians don’t like it, you can leave!!! You’re such racists not being happy to be an American colony!! Also, the Japanese and the Aussies were riding the same colonial wave. The criticism isn’t America-centric but rather aimed at this broader colonial culture and it’s perpetuation today. You don’t Lose your cool that often cause you probably don’t hang out with people that will call you on this stuff. But now that you’ve been called, and it’s obviously a sore point. Are you going to think about your role in colonization and try to do something about it, or are you going to duck your head and pretend this never happened? I’m being serious here, are you going to look at why you got so angry and lost it? What it is about the buttons that got pushed? Or are you just going to chock it up to “Internet flame war” Cause there was a lot more gong on than that. You’re living in a colony, and people are becoming increasingly aware of the situation, and starting to work against it. So are you going to work for colonization or against it? Reply Christian Vetter March 23, 2008 If you want to continue the discussion, email me at email@example.com. Reply TravelDude April 25, 2008 Wow. I can feel the love on this page. Some people just need to relax a little more and enjoy life, and not take things to seriously. Reply Mike Richard April 25, 2008 TravelDude: Couldn’t agree more. Don’t be surprised if you just reopened a can of worms though. =P Reply Christian Vetter May 6, 2008 Feelin’ da love. Reply Clint Salica January 6, 2009 Alright after reading this very long post I am come to a very good idea of what is going on here, I really think as a culture we all just need to chill and enjoy life. This life is way to short to hold life long anger against any person, I love all and love Mother Earth, I started surfing in Japan about 4 years ago and found a new vision of life, there is a strong respect for the earth and what she gives us! As far as Legos says I will agree with him to a point just because I have seen it being that I have been living in Northern Japan for the last 5 years and seen alot of White Amaricans making jackass’s of them selfs and now looking at what locals in HI dont like mainlanders. I am getting ready to move to Oahu in about 4 months and really keeping an open mind on all of this, after being the minority here in Japan and finding such a strong love for the culture and the life style, I am seeing things thru a larger view and cant wait to live the life style of the great culture that is in HI. Reply Pua June 14, 2010 Aloha Christian: I don’t know if you’re still out there monitoring this, but I want you to know that I completely appreciated your article. I enjoyed it, it made me smile, and it brought some really great memories along with it. I’m a local, born and bred, and now living on the mainland. I, like many native Hawaiians, have strong feelings about many of the issues raised here. HOWEVER, I don’t feel that your article should have elicited the kind of response it got and I think you were treated unfairly. It seems you were made entirely responsible for the theft and overthrow of the kingdom. How the heck did THAT happen? Geez. I appreciate the fact that you accepted responsibility for your lighthearted approach to Sandy’s. It most definitely is a break that requires the utmost caution, and yes, people get injured. I myself broke my nose there when I was 13 (got OWNED by a sneak attack wave). Still, I don’t think your writing, your writing style, or the content of your article was disrespectful to Hawai’i, her beauty, or her people in any way. I think, on the contrary, it’s irresponsible to attack those who have pure intentions and who truly are trying to learn about, grow with, and appreciate the beauty that is Hawai’i. Yes, Hawaiians have a bone to pick, and many, like those on the side of the Sovereignty issue, which I would venture to say certain comment authors might be, gauging by the anger in his/her “attack”. But I think we also have kuleana in taking into consideration who and where we target our “barbs”. I just don’t think your article merited that kind of response. I hope, over the time you’ve now spent in the islands, you’ve grown to love her and her people even more than you obviously did before. As far as I’m concerned, I sense the force is strong within you. ;) Reply Christian July 12, 2010 Hey Pua, Wow, thank you for the comment! I actually stumbled upon this article randomly after my girlfriend asked me if I had ever been published. This was the first time I had ever been published at all, and I was pleasantly surprised to see such a nice comment after all this time. My skin is certainly thicker than it was back then. I was heartbroken to see my first publication marred by Internet warfare. I wish I hadnâ€™t reacted so unfavorably and fueled the fire, but câ€™est la vie. Lessons are learned. I have, in fact, been living in Hawaiâ€™i all this time and I love it more and more with each passing day. Iâ€™ve learned many things during my time here, surrounded by the sea. I wish you well, and I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for taking the time to comment. (P.S. Iâ€™m sorry about your broken nose when you were 13. Sandyâ€™s is scary. Iâ€™m sure many of my past critics would be very happy to know that, two and a half years later, I never swim there anymore. ïŠ) Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Let\'s Make Sure You\'re Human ... *Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA. two − = Comment Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.