Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Far Too Wide For Me

Posted by todblog on October 1, 2012

September 28, 2012

I apologize for this LATE story but, it’s one that has weighed on my heart for a long time…

In December 2010, we traveled to visit Hawaii and reconnect with friends and family that we haven’t seen in a few years. We haven’t done a very good job of keeping the kids grounded in where they’re from and all the ties they have to the islands. We spent two weeks and island hopped from Hawaii to Molokai to Oahu and did as much as we could in such a short time. The fragrant sweet moist tropical air and the sound of the waves gently lapping  on the sand was a real homecoming for me. Of course, what would a trip be without eating great food. That was another void quickly filled as we hit the deli section of the grocery store and bought tako and ahi poke. I couldn’t get it down fast enough.

Tako poke and passion orange juice on the beach at Waipio Valley… Ono kine stuff!

We got to reunite with some old friends and did some fishing and diving off the Kohala Coast. It was just like I remembered and I was hoping that those would be great new memories for the kids to have. Growing up in the islands and having those activities available to you all the time can make you take them for granted. Would our short vacation be enough to rekindle their memories and recollections of their early childhood life in the islands? Would it be enough to keep them interested and make them want to come back?

Dylan Shiraki, Brandon Mah, Jacob & Gerald Shiraki ready to go spearfishing

Boogie boarding at Waipio Valley

Playing in the river at Waipio Valley

Gearing up for a deep sea trolling adventure with Captain John Whitman

Mahimahi fell for an opelu trolled behind the kayak

Back on shore showing-off his nice mahimahi!

Baked mahimahi was killer!

Taking a hike in Hawaii Volcano National Park. Looking at the large tree ferns and forest birds above.

Plants take hold in the cracks and crevices of this pahoehoe lava flow.

Walking through Thurston Lava Tube

Checking out the steam vents in the a’a lava flow.

Our next stop was the island of Molokai where we found ourselves eating all kinds of ono grinds like pulehu dried tako and opihi, parrot fish, papio and dried teriyaki deer meat. When it comes to ono local food, leave it to Molokai people to do it right! Our trip to the Hawaiian islands was long overdue and once again I remembered what it’s like to come home again.

Getting on the puddle jumper for a short flight to Molokai

Drinking fresh coconut water

Catching fresh tako (octopus, he’e)

Master chef, Glen Sakamoto cooking the tako on the barbecue grill (pulehu).

Ready to slice and grind!

Jessica is whacking da opihi with some help from Mahina

Opihi (limpets)= black and yellow gold

Beach break on east end Molokai with Maui behind us

Halawa Valley, end of the road East End.

West End axis deer hunt

West End Molokai Deer Hunta! I forgot just how RED that dirt is over there.

Uncle Ed Misaki taking us for a morning papio (Jack crevalle) fishing trip

Nice papio fell for a small feathered jig trolled behind the boat

Nuff for dinner!

Steamed papio for dinner!

Molokai farewell where your friends can still see you off at the gate and then line up at the end of the runway to wave goodbye at takeoff.

Our last stop was to the island of Oahu to see more friends and family and of course eat more good food. Our dear friend Bitsy was super gracious to offer her home to us during our visit. Located right on the slopes of Diamond Head and on the beach, how could you say no to that! It was a gorgeous place to stay. The sound of the sea reminded me of childhood weekend getaways to a Malaekahana beach house where the surf lapped the shore continuously. Whether we chased sand crabs with flashlights, had an evening bon fire on the beach, searched at sunrise for Japanese glass ball floats stranded on the beach, or body surfed all day, the sound of the sea rushing in to meet the sand never ceased.

Bitsy and Jacob boogie boarding in front of her beach home.

Surfing from Bitsy’s backyard

Showing the kids how to catch mongoose. I still get um!

Of course you gotta stop for shave ice

A real treat was having mom come down from Kauai to visit us on Oahu.

This is how I remember Hawaii… walking on the beach clutching your dive gear and sand between your toes. It’s a wonderful feeling.

We packed a lot of things into this trip and it went by WAY too quick. I pray it won’t take so long to return to the islands again. It’s obviously still got a grip on my soul and speaks to me ever so loud and clear. I really miss the beaches and the ocean. Ironically, the very water I love is what puts so much distance between us, over 2,000 miles of ocean between Hawaii and Oregon. I suppose that’s a good thing otherwise the islands would be overrun with people at a quicker rate than it is currently.

Personally, I struggle with the idea that maybe I’ve done the wrong thing by taking the kids out of the islands to pursue and provide them other opportunities. They have benefited in many ways but, the price we paid is the lack of extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) and being raised in a different culture. It is definitely a trade-off, they still take their shoes off before coming into the house, bathe at night, and eat plenty rice. However, they don’t know any Portagee jokes and their pidgin stay junk. Da kids won’t have the same ties to the islands as I have and we will be one of the many thousands of families who’ve left the islands to take up life on the BIG BIG island of North America. One day I hope to return to the islands and I’m hoping it won’t be too seriously overpopulated and drastically different from the memories I cling to… Hopefully my kids will want to return one day and visit me in my rocking chair and flip the tako on the grill for me.

You can take the boy out of the island but, you can’t take the island out of the boy.

I wish that there were someway to walk across the sea
It seems to me I always lose when fighting any homesick blues
I do believe this ocean is far too wide for me.
Far Too Wide
Peter Moon
Cane Fire Album

5 Responses to “Far Too Wide For Me”

  1. Oh my, Tod! You have me crying…what a wonderful blog. You’ve said it all. You’ve shown your beautiful family so much of Hawaii. I also dream of moving back and can only hope that the powers that guide us will bring us there together with our children someday. Thank you so much for sharing!


  2. John Whitman said

    That’s a great story Tod. Glad to see you back in action, you have great writing talents that should be shared.


  3. Great story and pictures. Thanks for sharing the experience.


  4. Pili said

    Awww….Miss seeing your mom….wonder if she remembers me coming to dinner w/you to the house back in highschool?


  5. Karen said

    Your mom looks great. Enjoyed every photo! Thanks so much. And you did the right thing because you are able to do with the love for the islands. Love you guys!


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