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Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

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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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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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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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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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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What’s an activist to do when he lives next to a school and wants to inform parents and their kids about an important cause? He makes a sign and puts it in the front yard. Kauai pro surfer and fighter, Dustin Barca, wants parents, kids – all of Kauai’s residents – to wake up. The island is inundated with GMOs, pharma-crops, pesticides, dust from the GM fields, constant chemtrails…. If the kids here are going to have half a chance, we need to provide them a healthy environment that includes pure food, air, and water. (And it doesn’t hurt that this info comes from someone that kids look up to).

We just happened to be driving by and stopped to take a snap – and Dustin ran out to talk story: “The only way we’re going to do this is everyone working together!”

A few days later – after three solid days of aerial spraying so thick we could hardly breath – he posted on his Facebook page: “Everyone Call the Department of Health and Complain about the Planes Spraying Poison on US and OUR Children!!! 808-241-3323 LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE!!!” Go Barca!

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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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There’s certainly a plus to fertile soil, constant rain and amped-up grow seasons. Within fifty yards of my front door, for example, I can scrounge up avos, papayas, grapefruits, lemons, limes, coconuts, guavas, mac nuts and ginger. A lil’ walk around the ‘hood adds noni, mangos, aloe, apple bananas, mountain apples, tangerines, breadfruit, ‘shrooms (yeah, da kine), Hawaiian peppers, lemongrass, taro, sugarcane and pineapples. For a longer hike, I grab the backpack for coffee beans, cacao pods, sapote, soursop, jackfruit, dragonfruit, warabi, lychee, rambutan, starfruit… And that’s not even mentioning what’s planted in the garden or the amazing array of tropical flowers available to decorate a feast.

One machete, telescoping saw, fruit picker, spear and a dash of ingenuity (plus a little trespassing) and you can certainly survive off the land. The ability to climb a coconut tree doesn’t hurt either.

A locale with such a variety of fruits ripening at different times makes for fun foraging for cocktail beverage ingredients. A huge plus if corn syrup, artificial flavors and sodium benzoate make you wanna hurl (and let’s face it, most margarita mixes are disgusting).

Now for the tequila. Foraging on the cheap in Hawai’i stores can be difficult, so I opt for Costco’s Kirkland Añejo. Though most connoisseurs will say añejo and extra añejo are best sipped as they’re too expensive for mixing and don’t mix well with citrus, this one is different. It’s inexpensive and comes in a nice huge bottle, is decently smooth and masks well in large quantities. And I think the fact that it’s not as good as most quality añejos actually works to its advantage in this case. Other agave tequilas in this price range just don’t compete (and I don’t like clear tequila). Plus if the mixers are mostly free, and the alcohol is relatively inexpensive, you can afford to invite more friends over to share.

Right now, it’s lilikoi (aka passionfruit) season. Typically, lilikoi is sweet and sour with some grounding bitterness in the seeds. It’s quite refreshing but the most common varieties can be a little too tart. Then there are Jamaican lilikois – a whole other ball game. A perfectly well-rounded blend of all those flavors without the sharp edges. They grow on vines and cover certain landscapes, usually hanging  just out of reach on trees. This is where a fruit picker comes in handy. Often, you will find pinhole bug pricks but unlike guava, the skin is thick and the fruit acidic, so the insides are typically clean – but definitely keep your eye on soft fruit.

The amounts I’m giving aren’t precise. I’m leaving room for people to feel it out and create to taste. You may want less alcohol on a full moon, more alcohol after a stressful day ;P. Depending on the mood, I make it different every time and usually serve it on the rocks. If you like your margaritas blended, you should pre-freeze some lime juice.

One shaker’s worth of The Lilikoi Margarita:

  • 3 Jamaican lilikoi. Cut and squeeze out contents: juice and seeds. You can also in a cheese cloth to get the most juice out of it but I don’t bother. I like to freeze these in ice cube trays for the off-season; also works well for the blended version.
  • 3-4 Key limes, depending on size and juiciness; best if you can pick fresh and let them sit a few days. Those cheap mesh bags full of key limes at the grocery store, usually from Mexico, picked too green, coated in carnauba wax, that you can barely squeeze a drop of juice out of? Yeah, skip those.
  • 1 orange (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut syrup or 1-3 tbsp simple syrup* made with raw coconut sugar (optional; if you add the orange you probably don’t need any; note that raw coconut sweeteners are less glycemic than agave syrup)
  • 3 shots tequila (Kirkland’s Agave or a nice reposado)
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot Maui Okolehao Liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  • Alaea salt (pink Hawaiian) or Li Hing Mui (ume/dried plum; OnoPops makes a natural variety as most are chock full o’ red dye and aspartame.)
* Simple sugar: On a stove top, low heat, equal parts sugar and water. Stir. No need to overdo it; only heat just enough for the sugar to dissolve.

Add ingredients and ice to shaker; shake well; strain over ice. I allow some lilikoi seeds and lime pulp to pour into my drinks. If you like salted rims, rub lime on the rim and dip in the finely ground Hawai’i Alaea or Li Hing Mui. If starfruit is in season, cut a star-shaped slice and use as garnish.

P.S. If you are visiting Kauai and would rather snorkel than forage, the best margaritas on the North Shore can be found at the St. Regis (they make a nice one with ginger) and The Tavern (get the Lychee-Rita; if you don’t like yours too tart, ask for a little extra lychee puree). By the way, I often add ginger to my margaritas (fresh or I use a few teaspoons of my fermented ginger “bug”), but I make those with grapefruit and lychee. I’ll do that recipe when I’m drunk during lychee season. :P

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Lots of headlines like this over the past couple days:

“O’ahu’s South Shores Invaded by Mysterious Creature”

People are tying the “mysterious creatures” to tsunami debris, Fukushima radiation, and – why not – End Times. And because KHON2 news couldn’t seem to find anyone on the beach or at the local aquarium who’d ever seen them before, or had a name for them, it’s a big mystery being posted across mainstream news and conspiracy web sites.

It’s something many have never seen before. And no one we found knew what they were.

“I definitely want to know where they came from and what they are all about,” says beach goer Scott Paddock.

Even the biologists at the Waikiki Aquarium are scratching their heads. They’ve been getting reports of the pea-sized crabs from Kahala to Ala Moana, all this week.

“The lifeguard called and asked what these things were because she had reports of surfers were actually have these things crawl up on their boards and onto them,” says Norton Chan, Waikiki Aquarium Biologist.

Some scientists tentatively tagged them as baby 7-11 crabs, a few molts shy of forming a shell.

Well, I don’t know about other surfers out there, but I’ve had these almost translucent, purple-ish “larve” crabs crawl up my legs many times when surfing on Hawai’i Island (although, ehem, the Big Isle could be considered by some a sort of “End Times” destination). Anyway, this occurred well before 311.

So really the only mystery is why they are “beaching” themselves. Not to dismiss possible pollution issues, Fukushima radiation dangers, but more than likely this is related to recent hurricanes in the area, not the impending apocalypse.

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We had to deploy Trap-A-Roach Hoyhoys last week to deal with those 4″ long tropical flying cockroaches that have been making their presence all too known. These glue traps are the best option to chemicals and they actually work. Only problem is, on occasion, other lil’ creatures check them out. I’m guessing the geckos, who eat bugs, are trying to get to the ones that are still alive, caught on the trap.

This morning when I looked at the Hoyhoy I had in the hall closet, I thought a leaf or something had gotten caught in it. But after a double take, I realized that the something was breathing. It was a Mourning Gecko, otherwise known as Lepidodactylus lugubris.

Emergency surgery performed today without a license. Patient: 3 1/4″ long, brave and cold blooded.

There was only ten minutes before I had to leave to help with a surf lesson. Here’s my think-quick play-by-play solution (accomplished #1 and #2 before I left and the rest upon return):

Items needed: scissors, water, tweezers, coconut oil, towel, small bowl and plate.

Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

1) Cut the cardboard of the glue trap just around the gecko.

2) Place gecko in tepid water (or hold her* and place portions of her glued body in the water. Avoid getting her head wet). This will soften the cardboard and make it easy to seperate from the glue. (She may also be thirsty. Allow her the opportunity to drink – though my gecko was not interested.)

3) Pour an ounce or two of coconut oil onto a small plate or bowl and dip gecko in it. As my gecko was getting free, she got more squirmy. I held her and lightly massaged the coconut oil into the affected areas, dripping more oil on stubborn spots. She seemed to like the belly rub and relaxed. Be careful to keep oil out of their nose, glottis (they can suffocate) or their eyes (they don’t have eyelids, but clean their eyes with their tongue).

4) Be patient. The gecko’s skin is thin and you don’t want to tear it or remove limbs by pulling too hard (though yes, they will grow their tail back if they “drop” it). The coconut oil will start breaking apart the glue. I carefully used the tweezers to pull the glue off.

5) Remove excess oil before releasing her back into the wild. Since geckos breath from their noses, the coconut oil isn’t going to be a problem on their scaly skin, and their setae are self-cleaning, but it seemed better to rinse/towel off the oil, since it attracts dirt.

6) One kiss goodbye (not necessary for normal people).

Geckos are considered good luck in Hawai’i. Hopefully she’s having better luck outdoors!

*This species is parthenogenic, with no known males. Females engage in pseudocopulations to produce viable eggs. (Uh-huh, you go grrl!)

All clean.

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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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There are a few groups I like to donate to when I can, and this is one of them: Project Hawai’i. Project Hawai’i helps with homeless families on the Big Island and Oahu including day camps, sleepover camps, holiday meals, Christmas gifts… little things that are HUGE things in the lives of homeless keiki. Summer camp is just around the corner and right now, for just $4.50 (as they say, the cost of a latte) you can provide a meal, or $12.50 for whole day’s worth of meals. Tax-deductible donations can be made through their goal chart page “Summer Camp Food Menu Drive”, or mail a check direct to: Project Hawai’i, POB 1844, Kea’au, HI 96749. Mahalo for your kokua!

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There’s been little news regarding what coastal communities should expect as the debris from the March 2011 tsunami starts showing up on the shores of Hawai’i. As it hits Midway and makes its way down the island chain, we can’t ignore the reality: It is coming. Considering how many people chose Hawai’i as their vacation destination; how many billionaires chose it as their home (or second or third home); and that our current President is from Hawai’i, one might imagine that more action would be taken to prevent the trash from dirtying our shorelines in the first place. Will it carry radioactive materials? Will it have diluted enough to not have a major impact? How will it effect our beaches? The marine life? Surfrider is bringing together experts in the field of marine biology, marine debris and ocean currents for this conference, which will take place at Kauai Community College cafeteria on Saturday, December 10th from 9am-12pm. Everyone who lives in or visits Hawai’i, everyone who cares about the environment and oceans, should either be at this event or watch it streaming at Livestream.com/surfriderkauai.

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