Hawaiian Journal
page 8


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South of Makena


Here I am, wherever I am, after a long long day’s journey. I’m on a beach somewhere south of Makena where someone’s building a much-protested condominium. This could be the long white sand beach that people talk about and the nude beach could be over that low cliff. But I don’t know. Was it worth it? I don’t know. Tomorrow will tell me that.

I have lots of food but I’m not sure about my water supply. I should get a bigger canteen. But oh, oh, can my shoulders stand any more pounds? At least I don’t have to worry about rain here. And at this narrow end of things people can’t bring four wheel drive beach buggies. It’s funny, seeing sunset over the ocean after so many sunrises.

This man bears frogperson’s gear. There must be something interesting over that there cliff.

How’d I get here? I walked from Hana, got a ride to somewhere around Nahiku junction, another ride to Kahului, a ride to the end of Kihei, a ride to the end of the smooth road, I walked some, and a ride here.

I’m surprised I can’t see Pu’u Olai from here. I guess the island out there is Kahoolawe, the bomb test island, but I’m not sure.

That was amusing on the radio today, how John McVie of Fleetwood Mac got busted in Kahului Christmas eve, and the Maui authorities didn’t know who he was.


Thursday, January 15, 1981

This place, a short climb from where I was, seems to fit the description of the sandy nude beach. It has a conspicuously placed NO CAMPING sign on the approach. That’s okay. I don’t mind sleeping where I was. I guess I’m near either Pu’u Olai or Maluaka Point. The little island is obviously Molokini, but what of the others? Lanai, Kahoolawe, and part of Molokai behind the west Maui mountains, I guess.

I met a man named Yana who lived in South America with the Indians, He’s on his way to Indonesia, going to catch a boat out of Lahaina in a month or two. He went through What am I doing here? changes much like mine before he found this place. I told him how to stay at Seven Pools and Hana.

The surf here is dangerous. The sand slopes steep into the ocean.

The top of Kahoolawe is completely barren. The lava looks blood red from here. It looks like it’s been bombed.

Molokini has a white tower on its high cliff, which Yana tells me is a lighthouse. He’s playing a high-pitched flute over on the point.



Molokini, with small boat, from the short beach south of Makena. It looks grayish green around the lighthouse, brownish fuzzy elsewhere, like dry grass or shrub. Bare rock or dirt on the steep edges. Funny how the cliff below the lighthouse resembles a face.

Yana says he doesn’t like American culture. He said after living in the jungle with the Indians in South America and coming here, he had to laugh. It’s hard for me to argue with that, since I’ve never lived with the Indians for years. Still, one of the biggest problems different cultures have to overcome is the tendency to ridicule each other’s values.

Here in daylight the ocean is pale bluish green. I wonder what makes the color so different.

There’s some sort of short-billed sandpiper, first shorebird I’ve seen in a long time. Oh well, shall I try to draw it again? It’s too far away.


Running quickly, because
of the pulse of the water’s edge,
a sandpiper searches.


I can’t even get a rough haiku that’s any good. Oh well.

I like this new, pale sea color. Perhaps the white sand has something to do with it. I think there’s a sand bar over there. It’s hazy today and I admit I’m already bored here. There’s not much to see on a sandy beach without ghost crabs. It’s kind of desolate, semi-arid, a barren beach but for one bird, pale waves, and hazy views of other islands which themselves look none too verdant from here. True, the ants, those ubiquitous red Maui ants with long feelers, are here.

Hmm. After the fact, I kind of like that sandpiper sketch. The bird was dark sandy gray above, much paler belly.


A Green Measuring Worm

A green measuring worm
on a poetry magazine
crawls past “new space
out of you with each heartbeat,”
to the edge of the page,
to my shoe.


Right, of course, I’m in the middle of the ocean instead of at an edge. That’s why the tides are so minimal. There’s hermit crabs of some sort and tiny fish in the rock pools here, but not much else. The fish are of a mottled black and white sort that camouflage well against the black lava and white coral bits present in these pools. At least the camouflage works well when they hold still, which isn’t often.

A hermit crab in a heavily encrusted shell with orange and black legs, orange antennae and mouthparts and black eyestalks.

I put it in a shallower pool in the sun to draw and it moved quite rapidly into a shady place.

This hermit crab likes to spend most of its time sitting still and filter-feeding. Its shell is a somewhat misshapen, awkward load.

Now it’s climbed out of the pool all together. This is a real balancing act. I put it back in the pool where I found it. There’s another one here, in a similarly misshapen shell.

Well, I sit down to bathe in a tidepool and find such colorful hermit crabs! There’s things of interest for me here yet if I but have the patience. There’s a smaller hermit crab in a regular black shell, actually lots and lots. And there’s a green mottled crab on the rock, about pill-size.

There’s a hermit upside down. It flipped itself over fast. Just like in Pagoo, they stick their butts up all kinds of shells. There’s one in a shell that doesn’t quite fit. And that one near my foot’s got some hunk of coral. The larger ones have more makeshift homes because the snails that grow on these rocks don’t grow so big. The shells they have are wave-mutilated and often over-heavy with encrustations.

That stentor-shaped stuff grows here too. I’ll find out what it is eventually.

A mongoose sneaks through the woods.

I have $201 cash which means I’ve spent $49 in ten days.


Friday, January 16, 1981


After midnight
the gibbous moon will set
north of Molokini.


The ocean is not so much a drone here as a complexity of spurts. It looks to me as if this nude beach is right between Pu’u Olai and the sea, the approach from the south side of the hill. This is the warmest night yet. I can’t even pull the sleeping bag completely over me. There’s cockroaches of all sizes here, and I just saw my first Hawaiian sowbug.

Well, here I am, almost on top of what can only be Pu’u Olai. The main beach is toward the northern end of Ahihi Bay, despite what my last ride told me.

So that’s why you can’t see Molokini from the main beach. Part of the mountain blocks the view.

Pu’u Olai is a cinder cone, about the same size as Kau’iki in Hana. Funny, both nude beaches are tucked behind cinder cones. Pu’u Olai means Earthquake Peak.

Is it a normal obsession to want to fix exactly where I am on a map? Where I am is important to me. I’m fascinated by geography and maps.

I don’t know about the taste of some hippies. It’s too hot, too dry, too hard to get in and out of here. It’s interesting how these prickly pear cactuses grow woody trunks with bark over their older paddles. These, my book tells me, were imported from South America by homesick gauchos.

The trees that Yana says have such hard wood are kiawe trees.

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