Ponohouse is for sale

I should have posted this long ago, but for some reason I neglected to. We’ve decided to sell our fantastic home in Maui. We love the place, and we’ll miss it when it’s gone, but we’ve had it for nearly twenty years, and it’s time to change things up a bit. Living in Hood River and Maui is pretty great, but I want to see more of the world, and even more of Hawaii. I don’t like short vacations–I like to stay long enough to get a real feel for a place. I want to surf more of the famous breaks around the world, and that always takes time to get used to the nature of a spot. It doesn’t make sense to just leave this place empty, and it’s too special to rent–the thought of a renter living here without taking as much care with it as we do is not pleasant. So it’s for sale, and it’s been on the market for a while–which is a huge surprise to me. I think people looking to buy a high-end home here focus on the west and south sides. A huge mistake. The tourist side of the island has no privacy, the only places that are quiet are gated enclaves, and even there the beaches are not private. It’s hotter, drier, and dusty from agricultural dust and pollen. All of our friends who live there keep their windows closed and air conditioners on. Their water bills to maintain little lawns and a bit of landscaping are more than triple what our are, as are electrical bills and property taxes.

Ponohouse is quiet, private, and comfortable, and has no air conditioning or heating–and no need for it. The prevailing breeze blows across 2000 miles of ocean–there’s no dust or pollen in it. It sits on the inside curve of a gulch, 250 feet above the ocean. There bay it overlooks is unspoiled–there are no building on it at all, and nothing between Ponohouse and the ocean but trees so far below they look like bushes. We have a 180 view of the ocean and sky. Here’s a video of the property:


And I website I built to show it off.






Murmuration – My All Time Favorite Video

I like these two girls, great faces, fantastic attitude. And I love this video. Pop it up to full screen though, that’s a must.


Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

This important and educational article was written by Mario Vittone and should be shared globally.

The Incident – The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know? – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response (IDR) – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:“Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly before their mouths start to sink below the surface again.

Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Doing this permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

Throughout the IDR, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

From beginning to end of the IDR people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs”.

Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006: 14
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.
Other signs of drowning on the water:
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.
So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Swim Forrest, Swim

Swimming is a GREAT geezer exercise. It’s low impact, easy on the joints, and it’s generally concentrated on the upper body. It’s relatively easy to exercise major parts of your lower body–walking, running, riding a bike will all do–but upper body exercise is a little harder to come by. It’s also very important if you’re doing other water-related sports like surfing, stand up paddling, canoeing or kayaking, or even fishing.  But when you start doing it more you’ll want to do it better. It’s no fun to be splashing away ineffectively while others are gliding past.I’ve been swimming since I was five years old–and haven’t improved much since I first started. Last summer in Hood River my friends were all on the Masters Swim Team, and were after me to join. After watching them swim I decided not to–they were way faster–but I decided it was time to get some coaching. I really had no idea how much my swimming skills had atrophied.

When I was in my early 30′s I lived in Long Beach, California and after work I would ride my motorcycle to Newport Beach, bodysurf sometimes at the Wedge, and then swim straight out for a mile or so, watch the sun go down, then swim back. I did that a few times a week most weeks. If I tried that now I’d be huffing and puffing in a hundred yards, but my recollection is that it was pretty effortless back then.

So now I’m back in Maui and hanging out with Bill Boyum a lot. Bill is an all-around waterman and a heck of a good writer. More about that later. But Bill swims a lot, and he called my bluff on giving me some pointers. So we met at Baby Beach to get things rolling. Bill swims with goggles and small bodysurfing-style fins. I happened to have the same fins, so I’ve got that going for me. I’m not interested in sprinting so much as distance swimming in open water. It’s a different discipline. I think my sprinting will ultimately improve as well, but for now I’m concentrating on distance.

Here’s what he showed me so far:

1. I need to keep my body as straight as possible in the water. My legs were hanging down some to compensate for my head raising too much. I was bending my knees too. When your body is straight in the water you can knife through a lot better, if your legs are hanging down or you are kicking from the knees like a frog you’ll have too much drag. Concentrate on bringing the head down so it brings the legs up. Your head weighs 8 to 12 pounds. Lifting that amount of weight out of the water when your body is at near neutral buoyancy is sure to make your legs drop. I’ve been trying to exaggerate this by getting my chin to my chest when I think of it.

2. Roll to breathe, extend to breathe. If you lift your head to breathe you’ll drop your legs which puts the brakes on. Instead, roll your shoulders and body to the side that has the arm extended. Glide and breathe in. Roll back flat and breathe out while you stroke. Roll, breathe in. You can breathe on every stroke at first, or every third which gives you a clean side to side alternation.

3. Reach, Dammit, reach–You need to get your arm way out there. Lose a couple of inches to reach to sloppy technique and you’re giving up five percent of your travel with each stroke. Multiply that five inches times ten thousand strokes and you’re a long way back.

4. Keep your legs in the slipstream. Leg kicks don’t do much for propulsion, their purpose is mostly to keep your legs up in the slipstream behind your shoulders. A gentle flutter kick that originates in the hips is optimal for distance freestyle swimming.

So I’ve been practicing this quite a bit, and I’m seeing some improvement. But in the course of looking at some swimming books I rediscovered a swimming approach called Total Immesion. And I can tell right away that Total Immersion is for me. The focus is on streamlining the body, gathering power from the core instead of just your arms. Practicing specific, non-intuitive moves to improve overall performance. I’ve ordered the distance swimming book and DVD, and I’m waiting impatiently for delivery. In the meantime I’ve been looking at videos on youtube and practicing the elements. I’m seeing substantial improvement already.