Cool Off at the Beach
Our trade winds have returned, but some days can be muggier than others, and still we sit and sweat. One place to cool off is the beach. That might sound odd, but it’s true: Right now, the ocean is warmer than normal. Credit climate change for that. As a result, the air above the water is warmer than the air above the land. Warm air rises, and as it does so, the cooler air rushes in to replace it. This creates a brisk offshore breeze — a natural fan that can be especially invigorating after a quick dip in the sea. Give it a try!
It is still, very still. Where are our trade winds? They are what make a hot day not so hot. They are what brings rain. And in large part now, they are AWOL.
As it turns out, there are now 28% fewer trade-wind days than there were in the 1970s. That’s kinda scary. Climate change is more often than not experienced at a distance: Boston is buried in its worst snowfalls. California sets a new record for forest fires. Mississippi River towns flood. These incidents seem isolated, and some people still have trouble putting the pieces together. In Hawaii, too, it’s easy to write off this still spell. It’s just that there are so many of them these days.
When it’s hot like this, be sure to protect yourself. Planet Sun’s products are great. So is spending some time indoors at places like the Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art. Early morning and late afternoons are the best time for the beach. And hats come in handy.
We love our Hawaii with or without daily trade winds. Still, it’s best to be careful.
When was the last time your neighbor handed you a bunch of bananas? It happens all the time here, at least with neighbors whose yards include banana trees. Our most recent bunch from Mitch is in our kitchen now, ripening. Up the road, another neighbor has avocados ready to pass along, plus white ginger blossoms.
I’m not convinced that Hawaii is any more neighborly than Iowa, whose residents were unfailingly kind to me as I passed through years ago. But there’s something about the exotic nature of the gifts here that makes the act of sharing super-special.
An easy, fun way to share your own aloha is to give someone a lei. We reserve them for special occasions, but isn’t today — on vacation in Hawaii — a special day for you? For way less than $20, you can make someone feel cherished all day long. And he/she will smell great, too! Try Lin’s Leis on Mauna Kea Street in Chinatown. That’s where we go.
Expect the Unexpected
This morning, as I was putting in my contacts, something fell from the ceiling onto my head and then into the sink (no traction on a bald head). I don’t see very well without my contacts, so I didn’t learn for about ten seconds that it was a baby gecko. It was tiny and bumpy and brown, and it had no clue what to do next. With a soft wave of my hand, I encouraged it to scamper toward my wife’s side of the countertop, where it remains.
On Saturday at Baby Makapu‘u, a series of tide pools across from Sea Life Park, I was wading in the warm water with five kids, ages 2 to 7. We decided to move en masse to the adjacent pool to frustrate ourselves further in our tiny-fish-catching effort, and just as we stepped onto the sand, a 12-foot Hawaiian monk seal plowed right through where we had been. She kept on swimming, not 20 yards from shore, finally finding her way into the open ocean.
This is Hawaii, where we have hurricanes, tidal waves and active volcanoes. The other, smaller phenomena of local life are equally active in drawing our attention, and you’re bound to have a story or two to tell when you get home. In our islands, expect the unexpected: It will find you!