Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hawaii Part 1 | Preparation

I'm not sure where my fascination with Hawaii started. It may have been after watching the National Geographic Video: Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise. It may have been reading James Mischner's Hawaii. However I think it was watching Magnum P.I. and scenes from movies like Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark. I had always thought my dad had taken a series of phenomenal photographs of erupting volcanoes when he and mom visited Oahu and Kauai in the early 70s'.  I later find out he purchased the slides in a gift shop.

I was fascinated by the tropical plants, colorful shirts, and breathtaking scenery (its hard to use that word after watching Seinfeld's Hamptons weekend episode). I watched the T.V. show 'The Byrds of Paradise', another show set in Hawaii. The show also starred a young Seth Greene who I went to camp with as a kid. He had always been the obnoxious redhead in real life and thus was not acting in the all time great 'Can't Buy Me Love.' Seth bragged about how he was the fastest waiter at camp but kept his acting career rather hush hush (he was in Spielberg's Amazing Stories if you remember. But I digress.

My friend David (who I knew as Lucas from kindergarten) spent his summers in Hawaii with his grandparents. He and I had devised a plan to go out and volunteer with the park service to hunt feral pigs and goats during high school summer vacation. We never got around to do it.

I wrote a paper in college titled 'Don't Hawaii The Galapagos' based on my recent visit to the Galapagos Archipelago where I visited night clubs and grocery stores in what I thought would be a pristine set of islands. But no, they were being developed with soccer stadiums and bars like Hawaii. At this point I never thought I would actually get to visit Hawaii. In fact, I watched re-runs of Magnum P.I. every day after English class freshman year, the class for which I wrote the above mentioned paper.

I then got into what are commonly called 'Hawaiian Shirts,' purchasing all that I could afford from the local thrift store in downtown Fredericksburg, Va. I had only one rule with my shirts, they had to be made in Hawaii.

College continued and I learned more about the biodiversity of the world and things that could be applied to Hawaii and its unique ecosystem. As previously mentioned in the Martha's Vineyard post, I learned about the theory of Island Bio-geography.

A friend from college (Brian) was dating a school teacher that lived in Hawaii. She would scour thrift shops and send me Hawaiian shirts every few months. My roommates joined in and soon we were known for our festive garb at parties. We often referred to the Simpsons episode:

Homer: Marge, the boy was wearing a hawaiian shirt.
Marge: So?
Homer: There's only two kind of guys who wear those shirts: gay guys and
       big, fat party animals.  [sad] And Bart doesn't look like a big,
       fat party animal to me...
Marge: So, if you wore a Hawaiian shirt, it wouldn't be gay?
Homer: Right.  Thank you.
-- "Homer's Phobia"

Graduation was approaching and I was looking for jobs. I applied for positions with a variety of Federal offices to work as a biologist and study the effects of introduced flora and fauna in Hawaii. Like all other Federal jobs that I have applied for in the past 11 years, I never heard back.

I began working in fly shops after college read up on fly fishing in Hawaii. I learned of bonefish and species of jack that could be caught on the flats.

It wasn't until 2002 that actually going to Hawaii became a possibility. THW and I discussed where to go on our honeymoon and I insisted on Hawaii. June 2003 found me on a plane headed west, 4 fly rods in my bags, and a few boxes of saltwater patterns. I had corresponded with a fellow Restonite who lived and worked in Oahu. He worked at Nervous Waters Fly Fishing and helped me plan my trip. I fished all around the island and only landed a trevally and lizard fish. I got to see a bonefish that was gutted on the beach by a new friend. I vowed to return one day with nickel sized pink crabs like those found in the fish's gut. I returned to the mainland with my first pair of flip flops since childhood and a whole lot of what I now refer to as Aloha shirts.

In 2004 I began my teaching career. I spent the next four school years incorporating the National Geographic show into my curriculum. I watched the prime time soap North Shore as it had some scenes from Hawaii and could not let the fact that Lost was filmed in the Archipelago aid in suspending a bit of vicarious tourism through watching the show.

Throw Alan Burdick's interview on NPR as one of the most fascinating things I've ever heard of Guam and Hawaii. 

I have spend the past 7.5 years referring people to Nervous Waters on fishing websites and message boards. Telling them to use pink, nickel sized crabs for bones. I didn't think I was going to ever get back to Hawaii.

THW tells me in the spring of this year that she has a conference in Hawaii. I had hoped to tag along. It was not until I left my job at Booz Allen that I knew I could go. No more having to ask permission to take leave, no more bull crap protocol e-mails in the process. You could not simply ask for leave, you had to almost earn it via the wording in the text of your e-mail to at a minimum of four other people.

I just got off the phone with Nervous Waters and plan to stop by in a few days. From their site, it looks like they have a variety of tying materials. THWpodcasts (this counts as a work trip!) That is if I'm not too full of Saimin and believe me, I will be eating a lot of Saimi!

So I am  my own boss now and can plan my clients around fishing trips. The trip is just a few days away and here is what I have prepared:




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