Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

Kona, Hawaii, 7/3/21

Once again the sunset last night was spectacular. As long as these marvelous sunsets continue, I will keep posting them.

Yesterday we visited Kahalu’u Beach Park. This park is about a mile from our condo, near Keahou. When we first arrived in Kona two weeks ago, the park wasn’t open. The reason, we learned, is that coral were spawning and they did not want swimmers and surfers disturbing the young coral.

The beach here is salt and pepper sand, composed of lava sand and coral rubble. Getting into the water is a little treacherous. You walk in through a channel in front of the lifeguard stand that takes you over slippery rocks. Actually, getting out is harder than getting in. Once in however, there are thousands of reef fish. In the first twenty minutes, I saw hundreds of yellow tang, some convict tang, some humuhumunukunukuapua’a (reef trigger fish), parrot fish, angel fish, raccoon angel fish, moorish idols, and a whole bunch of others I couldn’t identify. Michael spotted a turtle. There are also sea urchins hiding in the cracks. A lot of different kinds of coral. The water is shallow and the bay protectted by a reef.

A group of volunteer protectors of the bay greet you and explain what you can see. They also tell you how to avoid harming the coral, mostly by not standing in certain places in the bay, particularly, the coral formations and rocks out beyond some bouys that mark the entrance channel, and by wearing reef safe sunscreen. They caution against using reef-friendly sunscreen, as some of the products are billed, because these do not protect the reef. I won’t name the reef friendlies because it is easy to figure out that they are the big names in sunscreen and suntanning. Instead, the reef-safe sunscreens are the mineral-based ones such as Raw Elements and All Good. Do I think these will save the coral? Not by themselves. I think reef safe sunscreens are a necessary, but not sufficient, measure to protect coral. We clearly need to do what we can to end carbon emissions. Warming oceans contribute as much or more to coral death as oxybenzone and other pollutants.

The warming climate is obvious in the heat wave in the Northwest, the wildfires in California, and the increasingly intense hurricanes. Even in Hawaii, the global warming is evident. We have not had a day here in more than two weeks, in which the temperature has not reached the mid- to upper-eighties. That was unheard of when we lived here in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Perhaps a day or two a year would reach the mid-eighties. Most days were in the seventies. I remember one day when the temperature at Honolulu airport reached 89 in August, and everyone was aghast. it made the local news because it was a record high. I think we have reached that at least twice on this trip.

We visited the Sack n’ Save in Kona, which claims to have Hawaii’s best poke. Judging from the line at the poke counter, a lot of people agree. We picked up a half pound each of tako (octopus) poke and Hawaiian spicy ahi (tuna) poke. Mary Fran doesn’t care much for tako, so there was more for me. This tako was mixed with kimchee. Of all the things there are to like about Hawaii, poke is at the top. I am not a fan of poke bowls, which have become popular on the mainland (we even have two in College Station as well as at the sushi counter in HEB.) You don’t get much poke n the bowls. They pad it with rice, lettuce, edamame, and avocado. I don’t have any objection to any of those, but what i really want is the poke. You haven’t truly experienced poke until you have sampled all of the varieties in Hawaii.

We also picked up some teriyaki pork to grill. These were thin slices of pork marinated in teriyaki sauce. It was so good served with rice and salad.

Breakfast this morning was papaya and apple bananas from the farmer’s market down the road. We also had avocado from Waipi’o valley, cooked with scrambled eggs.

Speaking of eating, today’s news reported that Joey “Jaws” Chestnut won the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest for the 14th time with a record breaking 78 dogs in ten minutes. Wow. The same news story also said that last year’s women’s champ skipped this year because she is pregnant. Her husband is also a competitive eater who finished high in today’s contest. So many jokes to be made about the marriage of two champion eaters.

Daybreak, Kona, Hawaii, 7/4/21, Independence Day

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