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Archive for the ‘kauai’ Category

Bells in a lei

The most awesome dog in the world (yeah, what all moms think) – Three Bells is the official “Coconut Girl” who this blog is named after! A malamute chow chow who would never play fetch on da beach with anything except coconuts – and they were usually bigger than her head. She is going to have to get another round of tests and likely surgery. And because we are outer-island it entails traveling back to Oahu and all those extra expenses. So far we’re at about $16,000 for the vet visits (four different vets – usually about 2-4 times a week since November), surgery, medical supplies, medicine, and supplements. The first surgery alone was over $9,000 and since we have no idea what went wrong last time (the chylothorax was fixed, but she is now leaking serum into her chest cavity and swelling with edema), s0 we are just trying to be prepared. If you have a minute, check out her GoFundMe page – there are lots of new awesomesauce rewards, like organic sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, and more. If can, can. If not, say a prayer! Her next doctor visit is Saturday…. We hope to get her back to the beach and on her paddleboard soon! Mahalo nui loa.

http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Save-Three-Bells

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Hawaii Winter Heating ToasterDon’t laugh at us when we complain, it gets cold in Hawai’i.

Not ice blistering Alaska cold, but cold all the same.

Before you call us pussies, let me explain. In Hawai’i, most houses are semi-contained. Many places here have either no windows or some windows, and the rest is screened in. There’s no heat, and rarely air conditioning. So whatever the temperature is outside, is what the temperature is inside.

So while the rest of the world would have their thermostats moderating something around 65°, we’re getting nice moist chilled air swooping off the mountains below 50° nighttime through the early morning.

The past few days I’ve had to resort to toaster hand warming, running the oven and opening the door, using the still-hot saucepan (after making rice) on my belly and bones, hot showers, foot soaks, jogging in place, ThermaCare neck warmers taped on the back, wool socks and hoodies, and even stuffing my Malamute / Chow Chow under the covers, to no avail. In a few hours I’ll be in shorts and a t-shirt, and the rest of the freezing world will be jealous, but until then….

While we’re on the topic, every year on weather modification sites you will see posts about snow here. To be clear, before there were airplanes, there’s been snow on the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. That doesn’t discount “geoengineering” by any means, nor does it discount the fact that even those not living near the tops of volcanos are shivering.

I might even have to bust out my long sleeve 2mil wet suit top today for our current brisk ocean temp of 75.7 – what, don’t laugh!

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Help Save Three Bells Go Fund Me Hawaii Dog

Coconut Girl Wireless was named after my love, my life, my everything Malamute Chow Chow grrl dog Three Bells (though I always say I’m her dog). She’d look at you sideways if you threw a stick and expected her to fetch it – the only thing she’d ever fetch were coconuts! She’d run around the beach with coco’s twice the size of her head.

About two months ago she started coughing and gagging. I thought she had a doggie cold / kennel cough and was waiting for it to pass, but it only got worse. It ended up being Idiopathic Chylothorax, a not very common condition in dogs (it’s more typical in young small or over-weight large dogs). It was possibly caused by an injury or perhaps a fungus. Without getting into too much detail it causes the lymphatic fluid to fill her cheat cavity until her lungs partially collapse and she isn’t able to breath. We have to knock her out and drain her (half a gallon of fluid) but it only lasts a week until she’s uncomfortable again. We tried a diet change to low fat foods and many supplements without much success, and we need to act fast or it can cause fibrosis of the pericardium. She’s more weak after each draining, and the prognosis without surgery is not good.

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells needs a Thoractic Duct Ligation, Pericardectomy and will have a tube inserted to help drain her chest cavity, which will cost around $7-8,000, not including other diagnostics (X-Rays, ultrasound, echocardiogram, testing of the fluids…). We’ve already spent thousands, but because this happened so quickly – and they offer no payment plan – we just weren’t prepared. Because there are no surgeons who can perform this on Kauai, we had to fly her to Oahu, (and all that entails).

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

The success rate for these surgeries is now around 80%, so if all goes well we’re hoping she can get back soon to what she loves most: swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, making people smile, and playing with kids on the beach!

We started a fundraiser to help with her bills. If you can help, it will be greatly appreciated. Include your address on our GoFundMe page http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Save-Three-Bells and we’ll send you some CoconutGirlWireless stickers! Mahalo nui loa for your kokua.

p.s. If anyone in Hawaii has an furry friend with Chylothorax feel free to contact us, so we can share our experience and hopefully save you time (it was a long road trying to figure this out!). Gentle Vets in Hawai’i Kai on Oahu (thanks Dr. Edhlund!) has a visiting board certified surgeon, Dr. Peter Vogel, VMD, Diplomate, who has 23 years experience and is very familiar with this type of surgery. Mahalo as well to our local barefoot country doc Scott Sims, for diagnosing Bells and relieving her symptoms; and Dr. Basko for helping with diet and nutrition issues.

bells swim2

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We don’t mean sex, drugs and surf babes (sorry, sorry, that’ll be a future post). We mean chicks, as in chickens. If you live Kauai, you gots. And when momma has babies and they make a home in your garden and you’re a bleeding’ heart who can’t help but fall in love with their chirpy poofy fluff, and you want them to stay so they don’t get eaten in the cruel harsh world by the feral cats, well, you need to supplement their diet so you still have some veggies left for yourself. These wild chicks realize they’re not supposed to be doing this, but are so excited about the hemp seeds they can’t help themselves.

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One of the perks of living Hawai’i is that even though everything is extra-expensive, the people who visit here are extra rich. They visit year round and often stay in houses or condos. They stock up the fridge and bar, and then leave before they finish it all. You may not find a huge selection of job opportunities here, you may have to live at home with your parents just to survive, but there are perks to being a housecleaner, vacation rental manager, hotel security, even a surf instructor. The last goodie bag, er, box we ended up with included about $300 in alcohol. (Note: Some bottles not shown due to drinking too much. ;P )

hawaii alcohol visitor bureauSooo, at the end of your next Hawai’i vacation, if you have any left over booze, we’d love to take care of it for you – drop us a line! We’re here to help.

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Despite the rain and wind, close to two thousand [not "hundreds" as per The Garden Island] showed up yesterday at the March in March to Evict Monsanto (and friends) in Poipu, Kauai, to protest the invasion of GMOs on Kauai and throughout Hawai’i. Energy was amazing, and the march led into a party at Poipu Park with live music and heaping platters of local non-GMO foods. The above slideshow of the event and related imagery was taken from a variety of sources including: Regenerations International Botanical Garden / Mac James; Carol Ann DavisSamuel Morgan ShawJamey KauaiDanny Hashimoto; Carol Ann Davis; Justin Zern; Forest Shomer; Geoff Morris; Bill Collins.*

This is a ripe moment, at least in the initial step of labeling GMOs in Hawai’i, as the labeling bill HB174 has made it through the House, and is now waiting on the Senate. Sure at this de-evolved stage the bill will now only label imported GE produce (essentially useless), but to keep optimistic we’ll consider it a symbolic beginning. And there are a number of important related bills on the table that range from pesticide usage, genetically modified organism quarantine, and water rights. We will soon learn if our representatives are indeed there to represent the people or the chemical companies. Hawai’i residents are watching, taking names, and no one’s vote will go unnoticed.  

At the same time, the heavily sprayed GMO fields are spreading from the West side of Kauai all the way into Lihue and the East side of the island (with similar pandemic scenarios occurring on all the islands). The Syngenta herbacide Atrazine (aka the 21st Century’s DDT), which is sprayed on all the GMO corn, has saturated the groundwater and is now present in the drinking water of Waimea. At a recent community meeting on the subject they discussed a few of the issues:

“If you are a male exposed to Atrazine, your testosterone goes away, so you’re demasculinized, or chemically castrated…. And you’re also feminized because you’re making estrogen, which you should not be doing as a male…. We know that the sperm goes away when you give a fish Atrazine, when you give a frog Atrazine, when you give a reptile Atrazine, when you give a bird Atrazine, when you give a rat Atrazine. Testosterone goes down and the sperm goes away and now this correlation says there’s an association in humans as well.” –Tyrone Hayes, Atrazine expert, Biology Professor UC Berkeley (Syngenta actually paid him to do studies, then tried to pressure him not to release them)

It’s also associated with birth defects, low birth rates, premature births, and the Atrazine legacy apparently carries on for generations. One might think it was necessary, but corn yields have gone up in Germany and Italy since it was banned in 1991. Swisse-based Syngenta can’t even use it in their homeland, as it’s been banned across the entire EU. Watch Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s: “How Safe is Atrazine”.

Even if you don’t drink the tap water, it’s in your shower (activated charcoal filters are necessary to remove it), you’re watering your garden with it, it’s in the rivers your kids swim in and the waves we all surf, and certainly some of the local fish we eat. Atrazine also evaporates quite well into the atmosphere in what they call volatilization drift:

After drifting, it comes back into our waterways via rainfall. Atrazine has been found in rainwater more than 180 miles from the nearest application area.

There ya go North Shore Kauai. Add to that mess some Round-up, 2.4.D Herbacide… and who knows what else, to what degree, and how they interact.

Thus far Synergenta, Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Dupont have limitless and unregulated dominion, and the islands are ripe for their rape and pillage. They are still maneuvering to gain control of the water on Kauai – seeds and food first, water next = dependency for all. (Click here to read about the cozy situation between State Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Malama Solomon, Monsanto Lobbyist Alan Takemoto, the Commission on Water Resource Management, etc.).

These crops aren’t a part of some sustainability for the islands, as most of them are test crops / foods that are exported from Kauai. In fact, GMO seed is now the most valuable crop in the state (exceeding flowers, aquaculture, coffee, veggies and taro combined!). No, it doesn’t benefit the state as much as one might think, as like any good corporation they finagle their way around paying taxes:

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce. –former State Senator, current County Councilmember Gary Hooser

And despite what they want people to believe, these chemical companies import many of their field labor and specialists.

Biotech companies are operating on prime agricultural land without producing an edible crop, in a state that currently imports 85 percent of its food. ‘These crops employ a small number of biotech specialists and a somewhat larger number of field workers who could just as easily be employed growing food that we can eat,” says Paul Achitoff, a lawyer with Earth Justice. –Honolulu Weekly, “Bos GMO”

Locals who do work for them have to have a sit-down with their soul and ask themselves if a business immersed in poisoning the environment and unleashing seeds modified with viruses, bacteria and chemicals in open field propagation is worth their own personal gain. The term sell-out has never been more apropos.

Thanks to Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Ohana O’ Kauai, GMO-Free Kauai, Babes Against Biotech and everyone involved. Click here for the schedule of the upcoming marches scheduled consecutive Saturdays of the month on Big Island, Maui and Moloka’i. A`ole GMOs!

Dogs Animals GMOs Kauai Poipu

Don’t mess with a chow chow, or her food. Dogs don’t needs GMOs either! GMOs Bite!

Check out Leslie Larsen’s video of the event:

* We tried to credit each photo but because it’s in slideshow mode the specific credits only show up in the Google searches – if you’d like your image removed simply let us know. Mahalo!

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Hawai’i’s three to four growing seasons a year make it the number one destination location for GMO companies. Lucky for them there are few regulations. As it is on all the Hawai’i Islands, but particularly Kauai, we have little “inland” land, and everything flows with the rain from the mountains to the sea. Chemicals from the GMO farms are now found in the rivers and groundwater. Atrazine bleaches and kills the coral reefs. And yes, the kids all surf in the run-off. The air is so bad in areas near the GM farms on Kauai that residents have to keep their doors and windows shut at all times. Six schools are essentially next door to the farms in Waimea and Kekaha. The GMO farms are spreading; showing no signs of stopping their progress. They introduce invasive species; frankenseeds that are spliced with viruses and bacteria; seeds that produce their own insecticides. All in an open air environment – meaning all of Hawai’i (the land and the people) are the test subjects.

March in March starts Saturday March 9th, 2013 at noon in front of the Hyatt in Poipu. The march will go from there to Poipu Beach Park and will end with music from John Cruz and a GMO-free potluck. Click here for more details.

March in March GMO protest kauai hawaii

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radioactive sea monster

As the Hawai’i Islands and the Pacific Coast continue to get bombarded with Japan’s tsunami debris, it gets harder to ignore the fact that radionuclides are a part of the debris as well. Radiation has been leaking from the plant for nearly two years (millions of bq per hour) and just because it’s “invisible” (or we’re not thinking about it), doesn’t make it go away (or make it dilute/sink/evaporate into nothing). We try to ignore that fish are becoming contaminated and instead pretend it will only affect fish caught in Fukushima waters (as if migrating fish no longer migrate). One fish they tested last week had 2,500 times the legal limit – or 254,000 bq per kilo of cesium alone (so much for radiation levels going down). At least there had been some illusion that Tepco was removing and storing the radioactive water but we were warned they were running out of places to put it. Not anymore.

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Thursday it plans to dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after removing radioactive substances to reduce contamination to legally permissible levels. –Kyodo News

Tepco officially announced they will be releasing millions of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. They’re simply waiting for permission. No, not from some international regulatory commission – seems Japan only need the okay from “departments” within Japan. Hello Greenpeace? EPA? Obama? (lol re: that last one – think he’s busy droning children or maybe he’s working on a new song with Beyonce). Isn’t this an issue that affects the world? Aren’t there some rules against dumping radioactive waste? Wait, there is a lil’ ole international law often referred to as the “London Convention” or “LC ’72”. And yes, Japan signed it – twice!:

The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, passed in 1972, forbids nations and companies from dumping toxic wastes into the ocean. –Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters

Yeah, that’s a law that’s never been broken.

Fact is, the plant has been “accidentally” leaking contaminated water regularly – into the basement, the groundwater, the ocean… and that doesn’t even begin to figure in the runoff and dumping of radioactive sludge into Japan’s waterways – nor the fact that the corium has… left the building. And while TEPCO pumps huge amounts of water to cool the reactors and then filters it, the SARRY system they use mostly removes the cesium, leaving a high degree of other isotopes potentially including strontium, uranium, plutonium (no biggie). Their new Toshiba water filtration system – called ALPS – was supposed to be in effect starting last September, and the inability to get it operational is part of the problem.

ALPS: A new water purifying facility of Toshiba, is supposed to filter 62 sorts of nuclides including strontium. They expected to start the facility by this September, but because of the orders and reorganization of NISA and NRA, they can not start Alps yet. It’s not even known when they can start it. Tepco’s comment made it clear that the operation of ALPS justifies Tepco to discharge the contaminated water into the environment. –Fukushima Diary

This dumping isn’t going to solve the problem. TEPCO estimates the volume of contaminated water required to be stored on site will likely triple over the next three years. If no “first-world” country can friggin’ help Japan figure out their nuclear nightmare, can’t we at least lend them some storage containers? You know, something that can hold a few billion tons of radioactive water?

Arnie Gundersen discussed the issue in December 2011, when TEPCO had announced they were going to dump contaminated water. Protests by local fishermen got them to scrap the idea – hopefully they can do it again.

I wrote to Kauai Surfrider today to ask their stance on the issue. They told me to write to Surfrider Japan. I suppose that’s a good idea, but I do wish Surfrider Hawai’i would be on top of an issue that is going to affect the waters throughout the Pacific, not just in terms of tsunami debris.

Remember that dishwashing soap commercial, where the manicurist Madge has her client’s hand in a bowl of Palmolive? “You’re soaking in it!” (I suppose Madge stating “it’s mild” could be comparable to TEPCO or our government stating “it’s safe” in reference to any dose of radiation). Well, surfers, you’re surfing in it! And if surfers and fishermen ain’t going to complain, who will? We shouldn’t sit back or wait for some “agency” to control the situation, because it obviously ain’t happening. All we can do at this point is spread the word and yell a little louder.

Read more on the ocean situation from previous Fukushima tagged posts here at CoconutGirlWireless, as well as Majia’s Blog: 

Ocean Releases

Ocean Imperiled

And check out NOAA’s Marine Pollution: Ocean Dumping page with links and resources regarding regulations to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment.

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Physicist and philosopher Dr. Vandana Shiva, activist Walter Ritte, and attorney, author and executive at the Center for Food Safety Andrew Kimbrell will be speaking at the Kaua’i Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue January 17, 2013. It’s free – seed giveaway at 5pm, presentation at 6:30. Makana has been added on last minute, and will sing his new “The Story of GMO” song and an adulterated version of “We Are the Many”.

We consider Hawai’i such a pure, natural place but did you know that Hawai’i is the #1 genetically engineered seed exporter? Thanks to the helpful hand of local politicians, University of Hawai’i, and landholders like Kamehameha Schools and Gay & Robinson, Inc., GM companies have been able to lease a huge portion of the land here to biotech firms that proceed to poison it – slowly churning the islands into toxic dust bowls; leaching poisons into our soils, groundwater and, inevitably, our ocean. There are approximately 60,000 acres of GMO fields planted in Hawai’i (many within feet of schools and homes). The little island of Kauai has the most extensive GE crop plantings – 13,000 acres! Hundreds are suing after being subjected to years of pesticides sprayed in their communities. Many can not grow their own organic gardens because they are contaminated.

Wake up Hawai’i – “Seed Freedom is Food Freedom”!

Dr Vandana Shiva Walter Ritte Kimbrell Kauai

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Rainwater Spikes Jan 8

Collected Rainwater January 8, 2012

Curious radiation spikes have been posted for Kauai the past few weeks. Yes, we’ve had pretty consistent rain. Yes, the jet stream has been paying us a visit. (For those out of the loop – or rely on mainstream media as their source of news – Fukushima is still leaking, upwards of 10 million bq of cesium per hour – that’s just the cesium!). Anyway, 100CPM is the alert levels, but according to one person – who has some sensitive equipment and has been doing readings since not long post-Fukushima – he caught many spikes, some actually over 800CPM. Is it a glitch?

Having just gotten a new loaner Inspector geiger counter I was all amped to play with it so I’d been doing my own readings over the course of a few weeks. All my timed counts (from 10 min to 24 hours) have been between 32-37CPM – pretty “normal” – and no spikes over 56CPM. That’s ambient air readings taken indoors (which is pretty open-aired – it is Hawai’i after all) and on the screened lanai.

Today it rained, again, so I decided to tackle some rainwater. Truth be told, I was more focused on my dog and whether or not she might chase after the chickens, so I didn’t do the timed count. Instead I just ran the counter for a few minutes. It fluctuating between 30-50CPM; spiking to 56CPM a bunch of times.

Radiation spikes iphone

Outdoor Air near iPhone

There was an hour or so break in the rain, during which time my boyfriend attempted to mow the lawn. I wanted to see if it kicked up any radionuclides. The counter was reading much higher than I’d seen since I’d had it, averaging between 50-64CPM. That’s when I realized I had it held near my iPhone. I ditched the phone and it went back to typical background levels. I later tested the phone and the 10 minute count showed 53CPM. Suffice to say, I’m not going to be eating my iPhone any time soon.

I decided a car swipe may be in order (see video below). Yes, yes, I know, water readings / car swipes can all be misleading. And as my detector does alpha, beta, gamma it picks up everything. The meter was spiking to 124CPM. I waited a few hours and did another 10 minute reading and got 39CPM for the average. Meaning its decay rate was quite rapid. Radon perhaps?

Thing is, our “natural” radon levels in Hawai’i, according to the EPA, are supposed to be low. (Well, here’s more of an explanation of radon in Hawai’i). So what’s the deal? While we’re on the subject, in case you didn’t know, it IS National Radon Action Month :P

Some suggest the isotopes may still be Fuku Satan-spawn. Could this have anything to do with the wash-out and breakdown of other radionuclides? Uranium perhaps? We did have a huge Uranium-238 spike in Hawai’i (among other high radionuclide findings) post-Fukushima. They are finding uranium in people’s urine on the Big Island. Can the Geothermal be adding to the problem? Maybe a little depleted uranium weapons testing? Something else military-oriented like the missile tests they are conducting at the Sandia Kauai Testing FacilityIs there some relation to how radionuclides combine with the aerosols we are constantly being bombarded with (a la strontium, barium…) and / or military chaff (titanium, aluminum…)? Or is it simply a mix of volcanic rock, soil/gas pressure rises, and rain?

Also interesting perhaps to note, radon concentrations often increase with thunderstorms. Though there was little talk about it, cancer-causers Xenon and Krypton-85, which suggests nuclear fission, was released from Fukushima in amounts 2-3 times higher than Chernobyl. Krypton increases atmospheric electricity, and is considered by scientists to be an amazing weather modification element since it penetrates the entire atmosphere and persists for decades. Fact is, Hawai’i had consistent thunderstorms for about a year post-311. But that’s a whole other story….

Anyway, I suppose one of the main questions is, if we’re getting readings over the 100CPM “alert” level, regardless of the source, should we be concerned?

Note: Following day reading off a 2 foot square swipe off car = 96CPM. One hour later = 52 CPM.

Radiation CPM uSv:hr milli sieverts per year guide

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I hadn’t heard of Calavera Swimwear until I wrote an article last year entitled: “Swimsuits Surfer Girls Should NOT Wear“. A number of women commented and recommended I check out Calavera, and eventually the company contacted us with an invitation to try their suits. Now, as a surfer grrl who has been designing the perfect suits and wet suits in my mind (and on paper) for the past, um, 25 years, it was nice to see a company follow through on the dream concept of suits that stay on and look hot! On top of that, they’re really good quality, made in the U.S.A., and you don’t have to close your eyes when a wahine wearing one paddles in front of you and lifts her leg for a duck dive (Brazilian bikinis have their time and place, ahem). Calavera proves you can combine sexuality and functionality – and their innovative designs address issues most female athletes have when it comes to swim/active wear. No more yanking, tugging, sore necks and worrying about being undressed by the waves. We decided it was time to chat with Anna Jerstrom, founder and designer of Calavera, about her inspiration and the evolution of swimwear for surfer girls.anna_headshot2

When did you start surfing?

I was a “late bloomer” as far as surfing is concerned and didn’t discover it until adulthood. I was in the office late one night (one of many) and booked a trip to Costa Rica. I had no idea it was going to change my life so drastically but within six months, I had traded in my high-flying investment banking job for a life as a surf bum.

What inspired you to start designing your own suits?

I have always been a hobby designer, making my own clothes. When I moved to Costa Rica, the sewing machine came with me. Calavera came about from a personal frustration with the type of swimwear available on the market. Most suits just did not work for surfing. Having to adjust, check and tug all the time was really distracting.

Most of the big brands are focused on fashion apparel for the beach girl. While I love a cute bikini, there is a huge opportunity to take that cute suit and put performance at the center of the design process to make it functional. So, that’s what we did!

What’s the magic behind a Calavera suit?

Calavera is all about “under the hood” construction: fillers, tight-weave elastic, iron-on stabilizing materials, etc. These elements combine to make the fit durable but without sacrificing style. In terms of design, Calavera bikinis have loads of sass with a little punk rock thrown in.

Essentially, I am making swimwear for myself. Sure, I want to look good on my board, but I don’t want to miss the wave of my life because I was trying to adjust my bikini. So the suits are a combination of my own style and my desire to perform as a surfer. Apparently that’s an experience a lot of women can relate to.

What are some of the things that are unique to Calavera as a company?

The company represents a lifestyle, a passion and a kinship. At the heart of it are the Calavera girls – women who have decided to pursue their dreams and will let nothing stop them.

Where is Calavera made?

All the Calavera products are made in the US of A, specifically in Downtown LA. I’m trying to keep production streamlined and local in order to maintain a lighter “footprint” while supporting locally owned businesses.

What are some of the craziest situations where you have tested your Calavera bikinis? I saw something recently about a car wash…?

Yes, indeed! We bribed a car wash guy in San Jose, Costa Rica, strapped a couple of our Calavera girls on the hood of our car and drove it through the car wash. Verdict: the suit stayed on. You can see the whole thing unfold here.Calavera Poster

All Calavera designs are tested thoroughly in the water at Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica, which has some of the heaviest waves in the world.  There have definitely been some gnarly situations, but it is one of those places that literally isn’t surfable when waves get really big. But we love hearing from our customers about their experiences and exploits, so we’d welcome tales of big wave riding in Calavera designs.

Who is the Calavera team?

  • Evie Johnstone is a British native based in Costa Rica. She is on the National Circuit there and also writes a really good blog – Evie Surf – about her life in Costa Rica and as a pro surfer.
  • Jordan Hundley is currently number 38 in the world and she is the “baby” of the Calavera crew.
  • Amy Luis is the flow boarding world champion. (Check this video out of Amy sporting the Calavera rash guard. The thing doesn’t even move!)
  • Ami Berg is an amazing East Coast girl who helps train women in the special Olympics and teaches children with autism how to surf.
  • Heather Jordan is a native of Southern California who chose to postpone a shot at a full-time career in surfing in order to pursue a higher education. A well-traveled surfer, Jordan presently surfs on the UCLA women’s team and took 4th place in the College Women’s division at the NSSA National Championship.

We are also on the hunt for another crew member. But any girl who puts on her suit, paddles out determinedly and charges has the heart of a Calavera Girl.

Tell us a little about some of the riders you sponsor.

We want our customers to feel like they are part of the team; that she could be that Calavera Girl. As such, we take a slightly different approach than many brands; we want our team to be approachable and relatable. While they are all very accomplished surfers, they represent much more. They are the fearless, feminine water warriors. When the girls get together you are guaranteed to have a crazy good time, get very little sleep and make some fantastic memories.

Besides surfers (and the Queen of England), what other kinds of action-sports gals like Calavera? 

We’re thrilled that Calavera has started to spread among all kinds of water and beach sports. There are so many female athletes that struggle with the same issues as surfers and it is super exciting to see how Calavera is resonating with active women all over the world – beach volleyball players, stand-up paddlers, wake boarders, flowboarders, triathletes,  runners and many more.

I saw you added larger sized suits (DD). How is Calavera working for larger-sized surfer girls?

Avery in Calavera Pine Trees Kauai

Local Girl Avery Lookin’ Hot in Calavera’s 2013 Siren Suit; Pine Trees, Kauai

It is tougher for larger chested women to get the support they need. We have gotten a couple of feedback emails from DD ladies saying it is the first time they have ever been able to surf in a bikini, which is really rewarding for us to hear. I feel strongly that surfing and other watersports should not be about your size, and we want to try to cater to all kinds of shapes and forms. It’s about following your passion.

Calavera has been doing runway shows. Is it a new thing for a real surf suit to be attractive enough to show on a runway with “fashion” swimwear? How’s the experience been?

The challenge for Calavera is to communicate the functional aspects of the suit, since they are mostly hidden solutions that don’t really come across on the catwalk. Ideally, we’d put on a fashion show at a place like the Wave House in San Diego and have the flowboarder girls showcase the suits in action. One day we will pull that off!

I know a lot of women have dreamed of creating their own clothing/swim suit company; how did you get the ball rolling?

It is really just a matter of going for it. It is much like surfing – you just have to commit to that drop, even if it looks impossible – because that is the ONLY way you are actually going to make it.

How did you get the funds to start the company?

I was lucky to have a financial and business background so I could tap into my network for seed capital.

What were some of the ups and downs?

Life as an entrepreneur is full of unique rewards and challenges. Seeing a stranger wear one of your designs is definitely a high. Production, on the other hand, is riddled with challenges. You have to be able to think fast on your feet and address complications as they arise.

What is your marketing strategy?

Avery in Calavera

We love how all the tops utilize crisscross or t-backs, to avoid extra strain on the neck!

Calavera is a brand experience, a crew you join not just a bikini you put on. Our product is our core backbone, but beyond that we want to give all the female water athletes out there something to identify with. I love the phrase “Fearless Femininity” as it really captures what we are all about.

What might you say to wahines who want to start their own company?

It is important to do the research. Figure out how big the market is, what the profile of your consumer is, how much money you need to make it work, etc.  Generally there is a much higher chance of success if the product solves a problem or improves someone’s life in a novel way. The consumer is generally much more receptive to buying a solution rather than a product.

We love your website! Who does your web design?

Avery Smiles in Calavera

We surfed in the suits across Kauai. Here our girl Avery bodyboards 3-4 (Hawai’i style) shore break. No need to readjust even after close-out barrels. That’s something to smile about!

Thank you! I founded Calavera with my brother who is a very experienced e-commerce developer and strategist. The web shop is his baby and I am in awe of his creativity.

Why did you decide to only sell online? What are the advantages and disadvantages to marketing this way? When will Calavera be available in stores?

We launched online only initially because it allows us to connect directly with the consumer and start generating cash flow. Wholesale is the next phase and we’re just starting to test those waters. You have to prove sustainability and relevance in order for stores to take a chance on a new collection and having a robust online sales track record with demonstrates there is a demand for our unique brand. The disadvantage is that in doing so, you take inventory risk onto your balance sheet and as a small company it is hard to tie up your resources. Calavera has chosen to manufacture locally to ameliorate that problem, and we can refill our stock much more quickly than if we were relying on overseas factories.

What do you envision as the evolution of surfing for women? 

It is fantastic to see how surfing and other water sports are taking off among women. I think the top pro girls will continue to push the barriers, but I am also excited about the way surfing has become more mainstream and part of many active women’s lives. I have so many situations where women tell me they just started surfing and how much they love getting out in the water to de-stress from their careers and busy lives. Surfing has brought so much happiness to my life, and I get excited to see others experiencing that “surfing crush” for the first time!

What’s next for Calavera?

We are expanding into new active wear garments that look as good as they function. We’ll continue to come up with new and unique solutions that empower women to focus on performing in their chosen sport.

Can you give us any sneak peaks of new designs?

We’re launching a slew of exciting products in 2013, extending our reach a bit. We have a brand new swim top design which worked like magic when we put it to the test in Costa Rica, and we are introducing a pair of shorts and a full coverage bottom. Our best-selling “Glam” top is also getting some new sassy colors, and we are working on a one-piece with some new solutions never seen before in surf wear.

Evie 2012

The Siren suits; like a second skin!

WE’RE SOLD! We’re so smitten with this brand, we’ve decided to help them launch into Hawai’i shops. Right now you can purchase Calavera at Hanalei Surf on the North Shore of Kauai, with more stores coming soon. (Check back with us as we’ll be updating the list of HI locations.) Next time you’re in a bikini or surf shop and you don’t see Calavera on the racks, make sure to ask! And if you are a Hawai’i store owner/ buyer interested in carrying Calavera, feel free to contact us to help you set up an account or contact Calavera direct.

Wanna learn more about Calavera?
Check out a preview of their new short Water Warriors – coming to a film festival near you!

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Mac Nut Hawaii 2

Mac Nut Trees Typically Drop Nuts From May Through December

What’s a girl to do when the guy at the farmer’s market has a couple bunches of basil left that he practically wants to give to you (sometimes it pays to arrive late). Well, if you’re a girl in Hawai’i with a mac nut tree that just won’t quit, you rush home to make a batch of Mac Nut Pesto.

Here’s our quick un-recipe (measuring cups be damned):

  • 2 bunches o’ basil
  • 2 cloves garlic. (Heck, I’d add even more if it was just for me. What, I’m obsessed!)
  • 20 mac nuts
  • Organic Oils

So in a nut shell, the hardest part of this recipe is the nut shell.

If you don’t have a mac nut tree, it’s good to buy your nuts in the shell. They last longer and are less likely to be rancid. Order online from Monika’s Mac Nuts in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i – they send them to you ready to crack. But cracking takes some finesse – we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hawaii Mac Nuts MK Wares Pottery

If you have tree access, don’t pick the nuts directly off of it. Instead, wait ’til they fall in their soft green husk. And though it’s recommended that you harvest the nut within a day or two after it has fallen, we often don’t get to it ’til the nut is part way or completely out of the husk. Cons: Potential mold, heat respiration, creatures nibbling on your nuts. Pros: less work, the unused nuts becoming natural compost for the tree. On the side of the tree that gets more shade, the nuts are sometimes moldy, but otherwise they’re typically fine.

Once you have the nuts de-husked, you want them to dry out a bit inside the shell. That allows it to lose some moisture content and shrink; making space between the nut and the shell. After that it’s easier to crack and separate.

Typically I put them in a flat bowl and for a month keep them in the window sill that gets some afternoon sun (it’s difficult to get things to dry in high humidity, especially if you live in areas with less sun and wind exposure). You can also use a food dehydrator over the course of a few days.

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

This time though I grabbed them right off the ground and wanted to use them as soon as I could. Solution? Stick them in the oven at a very low temp for a few hours. The idea is to try to keep it as “raw” as possible and not heat the oils. Sure, it’s not enough time to really dry and shrink the nut much but it sure makes the shell easier to crack. And though you’ll still have to nudge the meat out, in this case, keeping it whole isn’t a priority anyway.

Though hammers work, I splurged on a $20 Australian Crack-A-Mac from Monika’s. Tip: Crack it on the little dot that appears on the shell.

Once you de-husk and de-shell it’s pretty simple: throw it all in the food processor.

It got a little ADD when it came to choosing the oil and I ended up including a splash of: Dr. Bronner’s* Coconut, Epicurean Organics Olive, Udos, and Nutiva’s* Hemp (sign up for Nutiva’s newsletters – they have amazing Tuesday sales).

Mac Nut Pesto

Use whatever oil you have – even more Mac Nut – but you gotta have some olive oil for that Mediterranean flavor. Look for organic, cold pressing, extra virgin, and for the light sensitive oils always get them in a darker glass. Also because the mac nuts have a good amount of Omega 3, you’ll maintain a decent balance even if you are adding oils that are high in Omega 6.

Our mac nut pesto came out yummy – ate it on pasta, sprouted breads, crackers, added to more oil to make a salad dressing. Eventually got reconstructed into a cream cheese salmon spread for a few wayward poppyseed spelt bagels.

Mac Nut Pesto Toast

Cheap, yummy and healthy – what’s not to luv

* support companies who don’t use GMOs and helped fight for GMO labeling!

Note: If you want to grow your own mac nuts, they do prefer a decent amount of rainfall. Check out this video.

Quick plug, the cute lavender / blue / green stoneware in two of the above photos is from MK Wares who makes the most beautiful pottery. Check them out.

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Sirens blastin’. Shorelines evacuating. Iceheads scrambling. Drunks kickin’ it at the bars. Tourists being… tourists. My boyfriend making pasta.

Our perfect storm is: the current advisory level 15 foot surf, a pushing high+ tide, and tsunami all on approach.

We prepare for the worst, and hope for the best of course. Indo and Japan left lasting impressions on our Ring of Fire psyche. Most of the time, these tsunami warnings lead us to staring at a barely rising shoreline. #Failnami

Still, the last manini tsunami swell that hit Hawai’i from the Japan quake didn’t look like much when it arrived (a few feet), yet caused millions in damage at the harbors. This is forecast to be larger but it all depends on where and what angle it hits (looks like Maui may get the brunt; while Honolulu traffic may be the real nightmare).

Yup, Hawai’i is easily the most prepared state in terms of  tsunami drills, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center operating on the ‘better safe then sorry’ motto (perhaps partly inspired by a lack of funding to release new buoys / repair broken buoys). For the record, I prefer being prepared for the just in case.

The DART tsunami warning system, which often gets less than stellar reviews, received the message something was a’brewin (but with a lack of data it supposedly took a while for them to call the tsunami due to confusion over the epicenter. I’m guessing we will likely get more details of this in the days to come). 

Basically the DART system reads the seismic waves, which travel around 11,000km/hr as well as the tsunami waves, which travel at 800km/hr.

Note the red mark indicated the moment that sparked the buoy event. The Hawai’i buoy went off within approximately 30 minutes of Alaska.

Station 46410 South Cordova, AK

Station 51407 Kailua-Kona, HI

Wait, back to surfing…. One thing surfers are going to bed concerned about is whether this will effect their morning session (call us focused). The early winter advisory swell in effect at present is going to be quite enticing. Keep in mind: The last few tsunamis did bring in interesting deep water creatures (including a Great White). Yeah, that’s a random tidbit. But seriously, if you do paddle out after a tsunami, check that the advisory or warning has passed and be conscious of the continuing surges that create strong currents and rips, which often last for days after the event. Be safe!

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For the first hour or two after the planes spray, you can see the remnants of the actual line(s), followed by many random criss-cross patterns that come from the ocean and cross Hanalei Bay.

Our sky pollution in Hawai’i is caused mostly by a volcano and the purposeful spraying of “chemtrails” by planes. Criss-cross patterns that make no sense considering the very particular air traffic to and from Hawai’i, with a specific “start” and “stop” marker that doesn’t appear as a continuous “contrail” (there’s not supposed to be an on/off switch), and that don’t evaporate as a contrail would (there needs to be specific conditions required for a contrail to form and then not dissipate). Often we can watch them doing it. Other times they** spray over the Pacific Ocean, and let the trade winds or Kona winds carry them in, after which we observe the absolutely clear, crisp blue sky disappear before our eyes as a blanket of color-muting haze.

The strips degenerate into ribbony wisps so the sky appears more white than blue. It starts in the morning and lasts a majority of the day, sometimes supplemented with more sky painting in the afternoon.

Those with asthma, respiratory and allergy issues are worst hit, but even those who don’t have health issues notice burning eyes, shortness in breath (as if you spent the day exercising in a very smoggy city or smoking a lot of cigarettes) and/or fatigue.***

Sure, we are abused by military exercises in Hawai’i, they like to call it “chaff” in the news ["What looked like rain wasn't rain, it was military chaff" –Guy Hagi, KGMB weatherman, 1/16/2012], and it’s suggested spraying here is done to affect radar. Often you hear people call the haze “vog” (volcanic smog), despite the fact that when there are trade winds, which is a majority of the time, they push the vog away from most islands except S/W of Hawai’i Island.

The chemtrails (and HAARP affected clouds) are seen more and more often (especially over the past five years) here and around the world. In fact, the most immediately dramatic effects of this spraying that I’ve ever witnessed was visiting Morro Bay; when I got up early to check the surf, and watched about five planes – flying back and forth – absolutely saturate the skies. Within an hour the beautiful morning was gone, yet anyone who woke up late and only looked up at the sky after 7 a.m. might have thought it just another foggy day in the central coast of California.

What are in these chemtrails, and what is the purpose behind them, are addressed in Michael Murphy aptly titled films “What in the World Are They Spraying?” and the just released follow-up: “Why in the World Are They Spraying?” Watch the full length movie here. Spread the word. Start a dialogue. It’s kinda hard to look up in the skies, witness with our own eyes, and deny what’s going on any longer.

For the most updated picts/info check these wacko fringe groups who are obsessed with the outdated notion of blue skies and clean air ;) : AirCrap.org; Kauai Sky Watchblog / Facebook page; Maui Sky Watch; Maui Clean Sky Ordinance FB (Maui residents craft legislation to ban aerosol spraying; read the actual bill); Chemtrail Awareness; Stop Spraying California; GeoEngineering Watch.

* It still attracts cuckoo birds, too.  ** No, I don’t know who “they” are – from the climate engineers, government entities, private companies, pilots spraying – but considering all the military in Hawai’i I would assume they would be most efficient in getting the job done. Then again, you could just use Hawaiian Airlines….  *** Certainly not complementary to the health issues people may be having post-Fukushima (including the cesium which invades muscle tissue).

Chemtrails at Kealia Beach, East side Kauai

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WHO: The Kaua’i chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will monitor the environmental impacts of battleships and warplanes of twenty two nations.

WHAT: 2012 RIMPAC (the Rim of the Pacific War Exercise), will surround Hawai’i with weaponry and war in order to practice at potential Naval sea battle.

WHERE: Off the coast of Hawaii

WHEN: June 29 to August 7
(more…)

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