Flowers near Lake Lonoto'o, come show me the goldfish!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
"But a diversion the most common is upon the Water, where there is a very great Sea, and surf breaking on the Shore. The Men sometimes 20 or 30 go without the Swell of the Surf, & lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan about their Size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, & their Arms are us'd to guide the plank, thye wait the time of the greatest Swell that sets on Shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing Velocity, & the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the Swell, & as it alters its direct. If the Swell drives him close to the rocks before he is overtaken by its break, he is much prais'd. On first seeing this very dangerous diversion I did not conceive it possible but that some of them must be dashed to mummy against the sharp rocks, but jus before they reach the shore, if they are very near, they quit their plank, & dive under till the Surf is broke, when the piece of plank is sent many yards by the force of the Surf from the beach. The greatest number are generally overtaken by the break of the swell, the force of which they avoid, diving and swimming under the water out of its impulse. By such like excercises, these men may be said to be almost amphibious. The Women could swim off to the Ship, & continue half a day in the Water, & afterwards return. The above diversion is only intended as an amusement, not a tryal of skill, & in a gentle swell that sets on must I conceive be very pleasant, at least they seem to feel a great pleasure in the motion which this Exercise gives."
Thus, Lieutenant James Cook, commander of the Discovery, 1779, recorded in the ship's log the first written description of Hawaiian surfing by a European.
In the last few days I spent my first Christmas ever away from home. I tried my best to ignore it but I actually did get kind of sad but as I've been told, I'll get by with a little help from my friends. Help came to me in the form of a large percent of group 77 caroling through the village of Ma'asina where we spent our holiday together and with our host families. Its funny how things happen when they are needed most. I was actually feeling really down about the holiday when I heard 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' approaching from down the road. This made me smile because in no way imaginable does this place represent a winter wonderland. I usually pass the oportunity to go caroling but seeing my friends made me happy and I figured that if I joined them then I could help spread that positivity to others in my group who were feeling blue further down the road. I went for a long walk with Lola and got some words off chest and I think she did the same. We walked to the far end of the break and swam the entire distance of the coral barrier that surrounds Ma'asina's portion of the bay. The waves were huge but this time around I didn't hurt myself at all. The day before, you see, I realized that the ocean was upset with me because of something I did very regretfully a few weeks ago. I was spearfishing and rather than catching proper sized fish and eating them, I murdered 4 innocent tiny fish including a beautiful butterfly fish that was no more than two inches long. I felt awful about this, in fact I had a dream about those fish last night. The ocean was not happy. The other day when I went snorkeling I got caught in a current through a channel and lost a sandal and the bottom part of my snorkel. I was dashed against rocks and I still have wounds on my back. After diving very deep to retrieve my belongings I sat on a rock half submerged in the waves to catch my breath. I didn't even have to check but I already knew that the necklace I had just put on was long gone; and it was. I asked the ocean, "are we cool now?". When I left the waves stopped and the rain calmed. Either way, my second return to the bay was very enjoyable and I'm glad I finally got to take Lola out to swim. When we were in training I think she found it hard to leave her fale and do things like snorkeling because of whatever reason the village provided but it was nice getting to show her around the break. Christmas day was very intoxicating, at least for my family. I really wasn't feeling like drinking and aparently when I was out swimming they had already began drinking heavily. They were nice and jolly when I returned but they passed out soon after. Honestly I really didn't feel like being in Ma'asina anymore so I hitched a ride back to Apia with Sitivi. As far as I know, most of the other volunteers are still there until tomorrow. I ended up a hostel near the NUS campus. It was still early in the evening and I made some rice and sat there in silence. I didn't realize this but I was being watched by a group of Australian volunteers from an apartment next door. They were having their Christmas party and one of them came down and invited me to come have desert and a few drinks. This was cool. I got to infiltrate the AusAid infrastructure and learn all about how they work. They are really cool people and I laughed at a shirt that one of them was wearing that read, ''I am NOT Peacecorp". They must be fed up with being called Pisikoa, but really it means volunteer and not just Peace Corps. We stayed up late and hung out then watched Gremlins, which I haven't seen since I was a tadpole. The day actually turned out to be okay. A little positivity can go a long way.
I have quite a bit of time left before the school year begins. I am going to use this time to explore Upolu and Savai'i. I am very interested in finding the best surf breaks and spending more time at Lalomanu especially on weekends when there are more international travelers. I'm currently on a mission for waterfalls. I'm really interested in the ones you can dive off of. I'm not so sure that I will be attending the New Years party in Savai'i. I'm enjoying this solo path through the islands and I am still working out things in my mind that need to be straightened out. I'm happy again. I never was unhappy, just homesick. Things are bright and I can't wait to get back into the ocean. My surfboard is my new best friend. Hands to the sky.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Swearing in (i fa'asamoa ma fa'apalagi)
Monday, December 18, 2006
Aleipata island group
An old picture I stumbled upon from the tsunami evacuation
Click this picture for a full-size map
Pacific Reef Heron