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Month: September 2016

Snorkeling from the Beach, Lydgate Park, Kauai

Snorkeling from the Beach, Lydgate Park, Kauai

In my last post about snorkeling, I said that rough waves had bounced me around when I was snorkeling from a boat along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. After that Dottie had said that we (that is, I) wouldn’t snorkel from a boat again. She noticed a beach close to our condo in Kapa’a that was supposed to be a good spot for beginning snorkelers like myself. It was Lydgate Beach, which was only a little over a mile from our condo.

Lydgate Beach is situated on the east coast of Kauai. When we went there, heavy waves pound the shore. Flags warned that entering the water was dangerous. A great feature of Lydgate Beach, however, is its pond, which was created several decades ago after a resident of Kauai went to Italy and saw such a lagoon protecting bathers there. The lagoon is about 50 yards by 40. It reaches a depth of 4 to 5 feet. With the breakers rolling in, I was glad for the large rock barrier between us and the ocean.

On Maui, I had learned that you back into the water, so I had that down pat. As soon as I had the fins, the vest, and the mask and tube on, I backed in, lost my balance in the slightly undulating waves, and splashed down. Hmm, even protected snorkeling pools can throw you. Up again. And down again. Like the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” Finally, taking very small little tiny teensy weensy steps, I made it into the deeper water. But even so, I struggled a number of times to keep my balance.

Inside the pond are many beautiful fish. I didn’t see any coral, but I imagine that it would have trouble growing there. One of the fish was about twelve to sixteen inches long, eight to ten inches high, and perhaps four inches from side to side. Its mouth was a big smile like a clown’s face. The fish was blue and yellow with some darker stripes (I don’t do colors much, because I’m color blind) running from tail to close to the mouth. It had tiny, almost transparent yellow fins that fluttered in the water. Another fish about the same size had dark vertical stripes running most of the length of its body. I didn’t see either of these fish on the chart of fish in the park or on the waterproof guide back at the resort.

Waves boomed on the outer rocks and gushed through the openings among the boulders. Snorkeling close to them was fun, but bouncy. Great clouds of tiny bubbles poured into the pond near the rocks, making it hard to see fish, but they were interesting to see just for themselves.

The next day we drove back, because I had not taken a photo of the plaque memorializing the creator of the lagoon. Or of the pond itself. The sky was overcast, the wind was up, the waves lined up to thunder against the shore. A couple strolled hand-in-hand in front of us. I could have had lagoon to myself.

© J. Russell Burck, 2010

Here’s the Deal on Hawaii

Here’s the Deal on Hawaii

OK, this is the deal on Hawaii: Pronunciation. I get pronunciation. My last name, Burck, gets pronounced as Burch, Buick, Buck, and when people try to be faithful to every letter, Bursick (never Burkick), When people hear that my name is pronounced like Burke from Ireland and see that it is spelled in a way they couldn’t possibly guess, they often spell it right. But many also fall back into Burk or Burke, even Bourque. And today, Monday, April 12, 2010, Burck.

Our two tour guides in Oahu put me on to the issue of pronunciation. Our Monday, Apr. 5th, tour guide, Loretta O’Hara, drove us up to the Polynesian Culture Center in Laie on the North Shore. Before she got to pronunciation, she brought us up to speed on Aloha, as in ah-LOW-HA. It’s a spiritual word, to be said from the heart and center of one’s being. All together now, ah-LOW-HA. As in, “Is everybody having fun?” “Yes.” “I can’t hear you.” “YES.” “Ha” means breath. Ha is the name of the big Polynesian show at the Polynesian Culture Center and it directs our attention to the unending breath of life. This show is quite stunning, with beautiful music, strong drumming, and powerful dancing.
Loretta said that lots of people pronounce Honolulu as if the first two syllables were the same as the town, Hana, that she hails from, which is at the end of a famous road on Maui. She just happened to have been born and raised in Hana, so she knows the difference between Hana and Honolulu. She has just built a home in Hana, from which she plans to commute to work in Oahu. She says that people who come to Hawaii say Hanalulu. Oh, no. The o’s are long, Hoe-know-lulu. As we progressed toward Laie, another nice practice round, Hoe-know-lulu.
Our Sunday tour guide was Kenoe, for short. I don’t think she pronounced her whole name, but she did write it out on the sticky label that we wore to identify us as part of her tour group. Both she and Loretta emphasized that one doesn’t say Hawaii, with a “w.” Speaking properly, one says Havaii, as if the “w” were like a German “w,” as Volkswagen.
We’re now in Kauai. All during our trip round-the-island of Oahu, I kept hearing our tour guide pronounce Kauai in some way I couldn’t quite replicate, except that the vowel, “i,” was pronounced as in Hawaii—a long “e.” I’ve been saying Kauai the way that I think is prettiest: kuh-WEYE. Yes, it’s not so pretty to see. This is the pronunciation that I used most with people in the know about speaking Hawaiian. Correct speakers quietly, unobtrusively, but always, repeated it back to me as I should have been saying it. Earlier I had tried COW-a-i and co-WOW-i. WRONG. Finally, I heard it correctly and could say it correctly. You say Kauai just like Hawaii, without the “v”: Ka-WA-e.
Next week we’re on to Molokai. As long as I can remember, this island has been named mow-low-KEYE. Uh-uh. Not at all. After a number of false starts and true corrections by Hawaiians, I finally heard it: mow-low-KAH-e.
© J. Russell Burck, 2010