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Posts Tagged ‘kauai’

A lil’ meme for the Hawai’i tourist, who doesn’t always comprehend the intense environment here. Who thinks when the hurricane or tropical storm warning has ended or been cancelled, you’re in the clear. Who doesn’t pay attention to high surf or those pretty signs that line the beach warning you not to go in. Who think they can handle the waves here, because they’ve surfed before. Who go to the shoreline to get that perfect selfie, only to get washed away. Who think (or don’t think) it’s okay to be oblivious because you’re on vacation! Problem is, tourists die here every year, because they’re not paying attention. If you’re “that guy” (or girl) this one’s for you!Hawaii-Hurricane-Tropical-Storm-Oahu-Maui-Kauai-Big-Island-2

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Sometimes DIY and low-budget surf collide to create something that wouldn’t pan out on Pinterest but does bring a bit of mirth in a way-too-serious surf scene. Cummon, who wouldn’t like kickstart a new brand of metal chain locking surf straps? Who wouldn’t like chains wrapped around their surfboard and banging on the roof of the car as they drive? While surfboard theft isn’t as common on Kauai compared to the other islands, have a feeling this won’t catch on Maui, Big Island or Oahu either (well, correction, we can kinda imagine this being a hit in Puna lol).

* metal chains surf rack

As seen in Hanalei, Kauai, Hawai’i

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Hawai’i is known as the drowning capital of the U.S. – and Kauai is known as the drowning capital of Hawai’i. It may be surprising to learn, but snorkeling is one of the leading causes of tourist deaths in Hawai’i. snorkel kauai

Kauai’s first drowning of 2016 was a 75-year-old Oregon man, Harry Evans, who was found unresponsive whilst snorkeling off Poipu on Kauai, Hawaii.

The surf was small in the area, and the waters calm, so this ocean-related death would not have occurred due to large surf, swells, or strong currents.

Even though snorkeling is a relatively easy activity, people can panic, get stressed, fail to breathe properly once water gets in the mask and/or snorkel, especially when they aren’t used to snorkeling in ocean conditions. They may already have health issues, which put them at greater risk. Many tourists come to Hawai’i, rent a snorkel, and go directly into the ocean with very limited or no experience.

In one Australian study, it was shown the main causes of snorkeling deaths were due to 1) cardiac arrest 2) surface drowning 3) drowning after extended breath holding 4) trauma. The majority were cardiac causes (half of these had known cardiac conditions) and surface drownings. This most often occurred in sober, middle-aged to older males snorkeling in a supervised setting (tour group). “Fatal silent snorkeling syndrome” refers to people who have suffered a cardiac problem and are found floating silently in the water, often close to others.

In our study, people who died of cardiac causes were typically well males (median age, 65 years) who were noticed floating silently in the water, often close to others. We call this the “fatal silent snorkelling syndrome”. Cardiac causes of death defined at forensic autopsy include myocardial infarction, valve rupture, previously undiagnosed congenital valvular or coronary artery abnormalities, and unrecognized myocarditis.

DyingForVacation_H4-300x0-c-default-1People feel safe because they often go out in groups – whether it’s with tour companies or friends and family. Tour groups often have inadequate proportions of instructors to participants. It’s impossible for them to check in on you one-on-one. The problem with snorkeling, if someone is not directly checking in with you, you could be having issues without anyone knowing. You would still be floating above the water as if everything is fine. Friends and family unfortunately are focusing on their own experience first. They are also not necessarily trained in life-saving techniques. On top of that, there are endless beaches on Kauai, and limited life guards. If you are found unresponsive, it may take time before you get the proper medical attention.

If you have any health issues particularly of the heart, if you are not familiar snorkeling in the ocean, or if you are under the age of 15 or over the age of 60, it’s imperative you have a one-on-one snorkeling partner.

health_1_900x670Snorkeling is a wonderful way to experience the ocean environment. Here are some tips to staying safe:

  1. Always train with snorkeling gear in a pool before snorkeling in the ocean.
  2. Learn snorkeling safety.
  3. If you are not the best swimmer or in top physical condition wear a buoyancy vest or emergency inflatable PFD vest or fanny pack.
  4. Stay in shallow waters.
  5. Always make sure to check ocean conditions before going out. Ask a lifeguard. When in doubt, don’t go out.
  6. Snorkel at lifeguarded beaches during hours when lifeguards are on duty (be cautious of going out close to dusk).
  7. Make sure if you go on a tour boat they have experienced guides with training in rescue techniques, life-saving certifications, as well as defibrillators on the boat.
  8. Always have a snorkeling partner and that you are consistently checking in with them.

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When you’re a writer and need to get stuff off your chest, you have to write it down. Normally I don’t bother sharing much of the musings about so-called “famous” people, they deserve their privacy – plus shoots, in Hawaii you surf every day with someone who’s had some fleeting (or legendary) moment of fame via surf. But when that someone’s being a douche, they should be called out on it, regardless of who they are. And sure, every surfer has had their douche-y moments in the water (some are conscious of it, some not so much), but this incident was particularly entertaining. 2015 was the *gulp* 30th anniversary of the first time I ever went surfing. So to have Laird Hamilton gift me with this quote was pretty special. Here’s to purging for the new year!

“You never saw me on a short board?! Then you just started surfing!” –Laird

Surfing Hanalei Bay. It’s a pastime that some on Kauai only partake in on occasion, as it’s so often over-crowded and a bit agro. Today was one of those mellow days with fun-high surf, a relatively sparse crowd, and waves for all.

Winter fixture Laird Hamilton was out. It was early in the season and the first time I’d noticed him since his return from summering in the ‘Bu (yeah, I actually wrote that).

I was surprised to see he wasn’t on a SUP. He looked like a kid, sitting on a board he could actually sink, and I thought it refreshing (not to mention he’d be less able to hog all the waves). So when he paddled near me, after an aloha exchange, I mentioned, “I’ve never seen you on a short board.”

His mood altered split second. “Well then…”, he tisked, “you just started surfing.” He repeated it a little louder and a little more annoyed, “You never saw me on a short board?! Then you definitely just started surfing!”

Wait, um, huh… waht just happened? I waited for a crack of a smile. Nope. He wasn’t joking.

My thought process went something like: Is he thinking I think he’s never short-boarded? Does he think I never saw North Shore?  LOL. Did I accidentally threaten him in some way? Is he really so cocky as to tell a chick that she must be new to surfing because she never saw him in the water on a short board. Is this the best example of inductive reasoning gone awry?! My mind was reeling with questions!

He actually repeated it a few more times. Then went on and on about himself but at that point I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I got all caught up in the energy of the incident… this massive ego… becoming palpable… expanding way beyond the sphere of mere mortals. Maybe someone drank a lil’ too much Laird Superfood Coffee that morning?

He paddled inside, caught a wave, and the vibe out in the water mellowed.

When he made it back out, he took the opportunity to engage a few of the local guys in the pack and went off on some tangent about people who were trying to put him down. He brought up some guys who did this when he was body surfing the other day. “I was going to go in and get my fins and a french fry box… and surf it better than them.” The guys in the water kissing his okole joined in: “Yeah, yeah!” “I would have paddled in and gotten an old door” “Yeah, and beveled down the edges” “Yeah, yeah” “That would show them!” “Yeah!!!”

**Oh boi**

It wasn’t as if Laird was directing this all at me, yet it was obvious my comment – tweaked in his head – inspired the loud discussion that I was supposed to overhear. Bulleh 101. All I could think was, Girlfriend, you know better, don’t you mess with the mind of a narcissist.

After his third wave, Laird paddled back out towards me, and at that point I had to laugh it off and said, “I dunno dude, I was just saying I’ve surfed out here with you like 100 times and I’ve never seen you on a short board. That’s all. Not sure where you decided to go with that…”.

He gave me a pondering stare. Started paddling away. Then turned, paused, and said, “Ohhh, it was a complement.”

I guess I was either with him or against him.

“Uh, well, basically” I replied.

And he smiled…

So, my special quote may not have been North Shore-worthy, but it was close. And whenever there’s a good excuse to include any reference to the flick you really shouldn’t pass on the opportunity: “Burkhart you bastard!”

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2364896_web1_corals

If you haven’t read the full oxybenzone study yet, you should. It’s pretty devastating what this popular sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone is doing to our corals. This barely touches on what it does to other sea life and humans (or the negative effects of all the other toxins in these products). Ask your local stores why they are selling this crap to people and contributing to destroying the ocean ecosystems. Ask the person spraying these all over themselves and their children (and anyone around them) to read this study as well as the many articles available online about the toxicity of oxybenzone and chemical sunscreen ingredients.

FULL STUDY: Oxybenzone and Coral Toxicity

Hawaii Tribune Herald: “Sunscreen Devastating to Coral”
Huffington Post: “Sunscreens Could Be Killing the World’s Reefs, Study Says”

EWG: Guide to Sunscreens

20080130-sunblocked-coral

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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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