and that wasn't it

Feb 16/17
The next night was just as bad if not worse... Kim's boat started a little waterfall - INSIDE and onto the electrical. i got my clothes on really fast to run outside and disconnect the shorepower... somehow there was so much water collecting on the roof that then got sloshed around in the unusual high waves and found their way into the inside somehow... last night was a bit better, but every noise was in a half asleep state mistaken for more water gushing in. it didn't, i didn't get much sleep nevertheless... the germs (germans) are here, i hope it'll clear up for them. for the day i dropped them off at the MOMA, museums are good for rainy days...

winter storm

Feb. 15
we had a nice little storm come through last night. the boats were rocking and rolling, they actually still are. my egg basket went flying and  my roses fell over. oh, and my clothes fell off the shelf - i know, i've been meaning to put up straps to keep them in in a sea, only the harbor is so benign most of the time, that i keep forgetting...
the air is gorgeous today after so much wind and rain.

last day and a half

Back on Oahu in the evening of Feb 4th. Hugh is gone somewhere, N. and A. are off to another function, i just want to chill and bond a bit with Lao Tang. We hadn't had a chance to talk about the "incident" and also just about him as a person. it is so hard since we don't speak the same language and if i ask somebody else to translate it automatically gets censored. i often heard, we can't ask this, it's not good, or i can't really explain what he just said... and since Hugh's not here, i find some help in a bottle. ho djio (drink alcohol), gem bei (bottom up), that's how it starts, but traditional people warm up and the conversation, still in mime and drawing and hand signals will go to wo tshiang wode djia (i miss my home) over wo tse tao (me too) to actually finally coming out to my sailing buddy and feeling relieved as he just shrugged, telling me that that's quiet common in china too, only that a lesbian couple finds a gay couple to have two pretent straight marriages. hey, my chinese is getting better!

I also ask him to tell me sailing terms in chinese, i figure that i can pick up the regular stuff from anyone, or in a class, but he's the sailing master. i'm very happy that we got to have this moment of sincerity together.

Feb 5th
I take the bus out to the north shore, i want to see Roz's boat. the ride is nice enough, 1.5 hrs on public transport are usually pretty educating... Roz is picking me up in Haleiwa and we drive out to what seems pretty nowhere where Brocade is parked next to a half constructed house. she's got two guys helping out and after taking some pictures i offered to help. what else would i do, i'm all the way out there. So i get to install some cleats for her sea anchor, we go and have coffee and a snack for lunch and buy some epoxy filler and silver paint at the hardware store. the rest of the day i fill in dents and
 holes (including the two i accidently drilled in the wrong spot...)

it was interesting to talk to her about all the stuff that needs to be done, logistics, organizing... i hope i was able to give her some good input, i really want her project to succeed. And so do many other people, helpers everywhere, though she says there's nay-sayers and saboteurs as well...
i was amazed to find out that her shoes are actually screwed to the boat, and that the sandals she's wearing are from the lost and found box at the waikiki yacht club because when she arrived rowing to hawaii she was barefoot since the shoes stayed with the boat.
after packing up we went to the waimea beach to watch the sunset and then i got a ride back to ala wai with Ian who was flying back that evening.

Back at the boat i got to bond with Hugh a bit and hang out on the lanai a last time with Jimmy and Mike and Liz. tomorrow i'll be on a plane back to Sausalito. It's time.

Maui, surprise, surprise

Mon Feb 2 - Wed Feb 4
So we arrived in Maui. I had no idea where we were going and who exactly would be there to meet us. All i knew is that there will be a presentation at 4:30 in the afternoon in Lahaina, that somebody builds replica hawaiian canoes, and that there is much interest in Princess Taiping.
The woman who picked us up from the airport wasn't of much help, she was visiting from alaska and didn't really know much. she had just offered to be the driver to pick us up...

We pull up to a house, it is a private house in a small side road in Lahaina, it is gorgeous, like an old chief's house, hawaiian style, like a church in the jungle, like a temple, but with a good size woodshop behind the car park. it's getting more and more mysterious. The driver says: "We're here." and "Keola built this house."
an african american woman appears, says hi - bye and is off to the beach. then a philippino american comes out to greet us and lead us into the house through a back room. she's apologizing, everybody is busy, you can put your stuff here, we're so happy you came! Someone will get you in a second. I still don't understand...

Then we get  ushered into the ceremonial room. A round of backrests on a woven matt, a fur in the center with smudgings and obviously ceremonial stuff. walls lined with wooden tikis, models, altars of different religions. where are we!? Apela the hostess greets us, thanks us for coming, says something about "indigenous mind" and "PhD class" and we get let into the circle to sit. All women, different ages and races, one man who needs translation into spanish, Nelson, Angela and i as guests. I wonder if they knew where we were going to and just didn't ell me or if they were just as surprised.

i feel great, i am surrounded by sisters it feels, everybody in the room is a healer of some sort, researching and upkeeping indiginous traditions. Apela is telling the story of her life journey and how - even though she is native american - it keeps connecting with China. that's why we're here, we're a manifestation! This is a class she is teaching for the wisdom university. we get lei-ed and greeted with a prayer, then a lady of chinese descent tells her story, how she found her indigenous mind, her ancestors, and through that herself. it was very powerful. Busaba Yip, PhD is now the steward of the Wo Hing Temple in Lahaina where we'll go in the afternoon for the presentation. things start making sense...

We go for lunch to a chinese restaurant where angela finds a painting of the 8 fairies crossing an ocean. she feels connected to this old story because amongst the 8 fairies was one woman, just like she is the only woman of 8 crew on the princess taiping... Also at lunch is Keola, Apela's husband, the builder of the house, the creator of the beautiful wood carvings and paddles that are all over the house, and: the master kahuna for hawaiian canoe building. i am stoked!

After lunch we have time for Keola to show us his shop and some of his models. we discuss canoe building and things that he came up with. He tells us how back in the 70s when he was one of the first people to "revive" hawaiian traditions, he would go to secret sacret burial caves to find leftovers of a canoe some chief was buried in to figure out how the lashings were done, how the wood got connected, which direction the adze would be struck against the hull. He explained to us the evolution that happend from the marquesan voyaging canoes to the hawaiian ones due to the rough conditions in the cannels between the islands.
even though he made the masts for Hokule'a he prefers to build more traditional canoes, he is more into the boatbuilding and the design aspects than the wayfinding which was what the first Hokule'a trips focussed on.

After the presentation at the temple we went back home and had good conversations, about boats and design, sacret geometry and the formula of phi, and other conversations about sacret white lions, indigenous fires, the travels our ancestors have undertaken and how we are all related. i feel very special, and of course i was landing here, a healer amongst healers, a boatbuilder amongst boatbuilders, a student amongst students, a seeker amongst seekers... 

i get to sleep on a futon in the ceremonial room. special...

On the following day i take the bus across island and go and visit my ohana, Malia, Dee and Jenna, and Lesbian, we have a great time and it is so good to see tham and catch up that i forget to take pictures... then i catch the last bus back and arrive in time for the awa (kava kava) ceremony, just in a familiar circle with our hosts, their friends and helpers, not all students. then dinner followed by more discussions and drawings and connecting on many levels. i feel very happy.

The rest of the time is spent walking around, shopping some souvenirs and learning about the land, all important fresh water, the lizard (dragon) myths and truths, white lions, white tigers,  i run into a white cat who accompanies me for a bit in an outdoor market. women, female powers, blood. the first canoe Keola built is named Mo'o lele, lizard/dragon. hmm it all makes sense now... this is what i came here for. this is a spiritual retreat, a door opened that no money can buy. i get invited to stay, i get fed, i am welcomed back. i feel the power, and Apela felt it too, and even Kim at home... pretty cool!

Hawaii: go away to come back inspired

ten days visiting Princess Taiping in Oahu
Jan 27th
It was hard to leave my lover's arms to catch the bus to the airport at 7:07am, but we managed. Kim dropped me off at the bus stop, i was at the airport in no time. everything went smoothly, including the public transport to downtown Waikiki and the walk out to the last pier of the Ala Wai Marina, where, right next to the fuel dock, the Princess Taiping is resting.
The weather sucks, it's overcast and fairly cold. Sitting in the "Poor Boyz Yacht Club" at the ocean (and sun set_ side of the fueldock/store, i can see squalls pass by behind the surfers and paddle boarders of Waikiki.

Things are not all good. ACai has been sent home after him and Lao Tang got drunk and into a fight. I was bummed to find out that my little brother wasn't there to meet me... Ahue has flown back to Taiwan also, so there is only 4 crew right now.

The other disappointing news is that i missed the sail of Princess Taiping together with Hokule'a. bummer! but we'll see if i can sneak aboard for one of their training sails....

So i got my old bunk back, with just me and Hugh in the crew hold. Interesting how things never happen the way you expect them to from the distance...

I just called my friend Caroline who actually lieves in this marina, but she unfortunately is in SoCal until after i leave. I have some other people to call, but first i want to arrive, i feel my soul is still underway.

There is little birds everywhere, pretty little fearless doves, and some redbeaked rascals of the wren family. A lady from the Chinese Historical Society brought us the special new year's dinner. here we go again with all that good food...

After dinner i had a chinese lesson with Lao Tang, this usually involves wine and me getting really good at saying something by the end of the night only to forget it all by next morning... well, actually i think i have a better chance of retaining something this time, since i DID practise some before i came here. Since it's only Lao Tang and i, he is learning english as i learn chinese. we get good in explaining things by miming and drawing. but how do you explain the difference between "welcome on board" and "we come on boat" without being able to translate!? we're laughing a lot... 

It is nice mellow to sit on deck and chat. I worry and wonder though, the crew is down to 4 now, they need at least 4 more for the passage. cabin fever... how do you call it on a boat? and when will the weather be better.

at least i feel my soul has slowly arrived, just in time for bed time... wan an (good night)

Jan 28th
It was nice to sleep in my old bunk, a little too still here in port but just as uncomfortably comfy... if that makes any sense :-)

everybody got upearly, and by the time i crawled out of bed, hugh was gone and Lao Tang had already run 8 miles on the beach. we had pancakes for breakfast with neigboring cruisers Robert and Brenda from Australia, and then i went online in the store to book our flights to maui. the ferry is hauled out exactly the week we want to go on it.

I talked to Roz Savage who just moved to the north shore, so we are shooting for saturday to hang, but maybe she'll come for the presentation of our expedition tonight. gotta excuse the carbon emissions involved with driving across the island, i understand if she won't make it.

we had a chinese buffet lunch at "buffet 100" in the ala moana shopping center with taiwanese dignitaries, most notably the granddaughter of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the father of the chinese revolution,  Mrs. Lily Sun, who is also the president of the chinese women's benevolent
 association of hawaii... amongst other things.
She had presents for everybody in form of calligraphies of quotes of her grandpa's. the presentation was conducted by rank, so the director of the taipeh economic and cultural office before the vice director, then the captain, etc.
by the time we reached the crew, we weren't posing for photos anymore, and we actually didn't get a calligaphy. instead, what i found very thoughtful, a bi-lingual english-chinese version of the buddhist heart sutra. she insisted that this particular booklet will be very helpful on a voyage in such a small craft. the mantra 
was accompanied by a little red envelope, it is for good luck and contains money. sometimes it is a symbolic gift and has just a dollar in it, but this one contained $20.

present for the whole lunch was a photographer from the local chinese press, clicking away, but also eating a good deal.

after lunch we all carpooled to the monument of Mrs. Lily's grandpa for - guess !? - more photos. here is mrs. Lily dusting off the statue before the official pix, so it would be nice shiny (speaking of shiny, she had on super glitzy golden sneakers!), and Hugh who was thrilled to meet the second princess of the honolulu lion dance Dan Yuan.
the whole time at lunch i got to look out past ala moana park onto the surf and was wondering why we need to be sitting in an airconditioned restaurant inside a shopping mall...

the meeting with the hokule'a people got postponed until tomorrow, looks like we'll be able to sail on her.

Nelson has a cold and angela has a bad neck, they are both stressed out, i can tell. we have another hour of dillidaddle before the presentation tonight, so everybody is napping and reading/resting. i might go for a walk...

aaaah, barefoot in the sand, feet in te water! i didn't have too much time, but man, i hope i get to go somewhere more rural. it is rediculous to be in such a tropical place in a totally urban environment!
today the sun was out, so hopefully i'll get a little color... it is still pretty, the outrigger canoes are out like every evening. then off to the talk which was good, i actually learned some things about the junk i didn't know before. afterwards i went for a beer with Roz, who did show up, and her friend Scott. We talked about her boat and what needs to be done, a bit about me and my adventures etc, the human impact on the world and the power of now. pretty regular aware person's talk, i suppose :-)

back at the fuel dock i met Mike, nice, scruffy boat guy. he proceeded to offer me rum and invite me for a boat ride down the ala wai. he was already a bit tanked and after laying it out to him that this will not be a way into my pants and that there will be no other way either i did agree to the boatride - well, and the rum...

so we took his dismasted 14ft sailboat with a 5horsepower outboard up the canal and then into the even smaller waterway between UH and the golf course. there there were actually trees lining the banks, but our propwash was flourescent purple from the golf course fertilizer... gross!
nevertheless it was a neat experience to be on the dark water in the dark, unseen by the lit hustle and buzzle of downtown waikiki around us. yeah, and i despise golf courses!

what is this human need to pave and groom everything, to cover a beautiful beach garden with concrete, asphalt and highrises, to then neatly arrange tropical plants in a landscape of fake concrete rocks, airbrushed to look like lava...
So many people who take so much as a given. i tried to have a conversation with one of the chinese ladies yesterday about resources and sustainability and she thought we were on the same page as we talked about Hawaii's electricity being generated from oil that needs to get imported from overseas instead of utilizing the naturally available resources the islands have to offer, like sun, wind and waves. she proceeded to tell me how her electric bill is about $450 a month for all the air conditioning and fans she needs at night. not a thought spent in building better ventilated housing or changing one's comfort level not to use so much electricity. only how to obtain things cheaper personally. i felt disapointed, all that on the wa to Dr. Sun Yat-sen's statue that proclaims the revolution from feudal china and the wellbeing of all people as a community, working together for a common good. Free air conditioning for everybody who chooses to live in a tropical island can't be the answer!

Thurs Jan 29
Another beautiful day with patchy clouds. A lady already came to bring us breakfast and a big tub of beef and pork jerky she mad for the voyage. i was going to go on a walk, but went online instead and then Kanya came to take us to another buffet, this time a bitt healthier choice and we actually were nearly at the beach. At last i got some sun. 

From here we went on to Sand Island all the way on the other side of Honolulu harbor in the industrial part near the airport to visit Hokule'a. She is tied up right at the boatbuilding school and this afternoon is actually part of the class, and because we are special guests, we wil go sailing! YES!

The captain is a young woman names Kailani. Unfortunately, for this sail, they had changed the traditional crabclaw rig to a marconi rig which they would use to sail upwind. It's part of the crew training to get familiar with both rigs. She's pointing quiet alright with it.

The sail started with everybody holding hands, a hawaiian prayer and then everybody in the circle introducing themselves to the group.

They have a chase boat with them at all times, i guess since that famous surfer died during a capsize...
So we got towed out the channel and then set sails. All of a sudden Kailani is pointing out the blow of a whale abaft of us and just as i look, a huge humpback leaps out of the water. "do it again" i wisper getting my camera out - and sure enough it does, and i get the photo!

Then i got to steer the boat along Waikiki. It's similar to steering with a tiller, but the oar is only attached at deckhight to a thwart and not only moves port and starboard but also up and down. this can be used for advantage since the blade part would be out of the water when the tiller part is all the way down to the deck. Equally, if you lift the tiller part up as you steer, the blade part really digs deep into the water.
I see danger of getting whacked by the tiller in a wild sea. there is little helper oars on the inside of each hull that help make steering easier by counteracting weather helm. i imagine that on a big passage with steady conditions, one will not need the big center oar at all.

the action of "uni" means several people rowing the boat sideways with the steering oar. more effective than sculling since the blade can actually be pulled out of the water.

I got to gybe the boat and steer a bit more until i gave the helm over to somebody else. at one point when going upwind we actually had the steering oar out of the water and lashed on deck to practise steering with weight. Kailani said that the boat is very sensitive to weightshift and especially for the long voyages all stowing needs to happen carefully and balanced and then, as provisions get used, other ballast like anchors etc will get shifted to keep the trim.

They are planning a trip around the world starting next year and everybody is training for that voyage. It doesn't look like they are looking for crew because they have enough people who want to go. Kailani wasn't very encouraging when i said that i lived on mainland and couldn't really come practice every week... 

coming back to the boat we were greeted by some kids who came to make us traditional hawaiian dinner, with poi, pork and coconut dessert. Eli, Sasha and Liz, who is actually interested in helping out and coming along as crew.

Fri Jan 30
Today the sun is out right away, only few clouds are hanging on the mountains behind town. Today we're open to the public, so who knows, lots of questions all over again, i guess i'm ready... tonight i'm invited to go sailing on the friday night race. i sent postcards to kim and silvio.

An afterthought to yesterday's discourse about the paving of nature and then imitating it in a contained space. Maybe it's a good thing that Waikiki was built for the masses who will feel quiet satisfied with a fake waterfall in the hotel lobby and armchairs on the beach. This way the real waterfalls and pristine beaches will be spared the foot traffic and remain wonderful for the few who seek them out, don't mind the mosquitos and treat nature with respect.

I realize that this is somewhat wishful thinking because developers can't wait to build more golf courses or housing/hotel/condo developments. and just like the mountain bikers who create their own illegal trails, causing erosion and the spreading of sudden oak death amongst other things on Mount Tam at home, the nature lover will move into a condo near the waterfall, driving their car hours to work in town and not realize how much they actually contribute to the destruction of the thing they love.

I finally went for a long walk along the beach, feet in the water, calf workout to the other end of waikiki and then back along the main road. the whole downtown area is basically a humongous shopping mall lined with designer stores and then the ABC store for the poor(er) people on every block. I bought a little t-shirt for Silvio in one of the ABC's, then i saw a t-shirt for Kim in a Ed Hardy store, but i didn't buy that one, the price tag said $120 - that's crazy, it didn't even have anything special on it, just a t-shirt!!!
obviously this is all totally overpriced and geared towards japanese tourist and rrich people. the cool pants i saw at the diesel store were over $200 and a cute purse with a tattoo design that said "wild girl" was over $500. i mean, it would have been a nice gimmic, but i believe even if i had that much money i'd find something better to spend it on...

there were at least 3 indoor shooting ranges as well.

so i just proceeded to walk back towards ala moana, across the ala wai bridge and down to the "local" beach in the park to take a nice nap in the sun and then slowly mosy back to the boat.
at 5pm we met up at G-dock with Alwin and the skipper and some other guests to race in the friday night regatta.

it was a gorgeous time out, from ala wai canal bouy to diamond head and back. i have no idea if we took any considerable place, i don't think so, but we had a great time, including the green flash at sun set which i believe doesn't exist.
look into something bright red long enough and you're bound to have a green dot in front of your eyeball!
A little bitter taste was left by this woman on board who was lecturing me and interrogating as well about my immigration status. she was asking how i got a greencard for being a boatbuilder as if there weren't any americans to do the job. i wasn't going to lay my life before a stranger in a social setting that is supposed to be fun, so i just told her that there obviously weren't otherwise i hadn't gotten the job. the skipper made her shut up and apologized. i still think she could have kept her thoughts to herself, stupid bitch, especially with angela and lao tang for taiwan/china on board, as well as the ucranian guy from florida, ivan. i should feel above this crap and i appreciate all others on board trying to make up for that and make us feel welcome etc. but i really don't like to have my right to do what i want questioned, and definitely not threatened. it took some concious breathing and looking at the ocean to not take her serious or let it get to me. (as you see, aparently it still did get to me. grrrr)

The State of Hawaii who owns the marina gave notice yesterday that nobody docked at the fuel dock is allowed to live aboard. and they won't make an exception for transient boats, cruisers, or even this special cultural exchange expedition... everybody is to leave within the week.

today we were talking about how - what - if. would the y come and arrest us? Nelson smirked, that would be good publicity for the boat that sailed already 1.5 times the pacific for cultural exchange with hawaii. (did you know that dna testing links polynesians with taiwan!?)
we thought we should have a "sleep-in" when the deadline is up. just invite the whole community down to sleep on the boat. what are they going to do!?

sat jan 31st
ah the tours are over, all day long, blablabla, boatbuilding, living aboard, materials, history. it was interesting though also, you always meet cool people. now the rest of the crew has gone out to dinner and i'm hanging out, reflecting and drinking beer.

this morning i met joel from the junk raft project, he happens to be in town for the green expo. later we'll all hook up with him, Roz, and i.

Roz Savage, the incredibly motivating and inspiring ocean rower, who is preparing her next leg from Hawaii to somewhere en route to australia; Joel Paschal who, together with one more guy, sailed a raft built out of 15000 empty plastic bottles, a bunch of old sailboat masts and a cesna airplane cabin from long beach, ca to hawaii to raise awareness about plastic pollution in our oceans. well, and little me who manages to hop on other peoles adventures. though i feel i just got such a tiny glimpse of sailing this junk replica on the voyage from SF to San Diego. i wonder what my next adventure will be... i talked to kim and silvio, that was really nice. it feels so good to have a family and to "belong".

i took a nice hot shower after another stuffy night below decks. this evening there is some breeze though that makes affairs quiet chilly. somebody brought us a case of tsingtao and i'm afraid that, between Lao Tang and i it'll be gone by tonite.... oops

i love being on a boat!

it is brewing inside me what adventure we should go on next. the wall of china has to wait until silvio is old enough, and i need to stop smoking and working on my stamina. in 2013 i'll be 48 and probably 50 by the time we're done- that is good, but the 5 years until then will need some purposeful adventures. 

we ended up way too late that night, with Roz, Joel and his friend Remi who works in a big boatyard on the west side. we just sat on deck of the princess taiping, had beer and chatted. after Roz took off back to the north shore mike came over in his dinghy and we ended up taking a boatride to the harbor pub where i had a delicious bacon cheeseburger BEFORE i discovered the roaches on the seat, and wall, and floor,... it was still delicious! then we hung out on the lanai until we ran out of supplies and decided to not wait for sun rise.

sun feb 1st
i woke up waaaay too early, or better got woken up at 7am by an amplified ukulele and a guy singing hula songs. it was the sunday morning marine swapmeet at the fuel dock...

the rest of the day was filled with tours on the boat, standing around, talking. in the evening we were invited to a dinnerparty at somebody's house in pearl city, i ate too much, learned how to play UNO, chatted some, and then was glad when it was over. i was beat and fell asleep in the car on the way back...

tomorrow we'll leave for Maui.