An 808 way of life


Hawaii allows you to set a path, find one or follow one. Get busy moving because small moments make life.

Hawaii can be experienced without crowds of people, and for most of us who find our way back again and again it’s what we thrive to do … avoid crowds. Discovering a new beach or a spot where throngs of people haven’t landed is one of the best things about the experience. In my early visits to Hawaii, my photographs were sprinkled with people. As I moved off the beaten path and found new trails, my photos opened up and I learned the meaning of “keeping the country – country.”  Lately I’ve been asked, “where are the people?” My responses vary – but the norm is, “what, don’t you see them hiding in the brush?” Look close – find your own path.

Surf808 finds the hidden surf and roads less traveled

forest and treesSummer is still sizzling in the middle of the Pacific. Fact is, the temperature stays fairly constant most of the year. Yet another reason to live aloha. The paths leading away from tourists are not hard to find – you just have to look or Google the trails marked “steep or dangerous.” Actually, trails on all islands except O’ahu are typically void of tourists. Most people would rather be at a beach or resort (might be one in the same). When you Surf808, you’ll find the roads less traveled and vantage points from which you can capture people-free images. Aloha!


Clear view of Moloka’i


New Year. New energy – new images.

With a three month break behind me, I’m ready to re-enter the blogsphere.

Looking at Moloka'i at sunset

Old Hawai’i: Kalaupapa and it looks like Father Damien to the left.

The Pacific is bluer off the coast of Moloka’i.

A Moloka’i moment just to remind all of us that life isn’t “all about work.”

Monday’s are just about the right day of the week to think ahead. Yep, just thinking. Just sayin’. Word.

When I dream, this is my backyard. There is a hammock, a cold drink in hand, and my wife napping beside me. Aloha.

Banana-nana, Jojo my man protecting his snack. And my ring.

Sunny delight and a bit of summer on a cloudy day.

Red dirt truck. Dead deer optional equipment.

Along the roadway (dirt road) we stopped to check on a stranded motorist. It was missing a few parts and in the bed of the truck was a dead deer – covered in maggots. The smell, was, lovely. My wife wouldn’t get out to view the mess. I on the other hand got up close … and this is the only image to survive the shoot.

Black and white and sunny all over.

What did you hear?

What are they saying?

It’s warm somewhere. Isn’t it?

Old school view, new view for me.

Blessings from Moloka’i.

Moloka’i moonscape.

Jojo is still on vacation.

Splashy splash splash.

A path of freedom, a path to sites unseen. When it’s red in color it’s easy to follow.

Big orange lava crush. Yes, those are really orange.

Red, red, red. Wash your clothes, wash your clothes, wash your clothes.

Green, green, green. Go green!

Hawaiian graffiti. Nicely done.

A different kind of plumeria day.

Plumeria kind of day.

Moloka’i – what an island. Click this.

A dreamy sunset, a clear beach, Pacific waves – beside my wife. Dreams do come true.

Some view, huh?

Thorns sharp as tacks, long as nails and all along the beach. Kiawe trees distribute them for free.

In front of Linda Reyes’ home, the official director of marriage licenses on Moloka’i.

Bottles without the pitbull: only on Moloka’i

During my previous visit I ventured – on foot – near this wall and was met by two pitbulls who seemed friendly enough. HA! This time I got the shot. I snapped this image from the vehicle while driving. I call this a ‘drive by shooting.’ In any case, the home is at the back of the prettiest bay. Clear water, two boats moored ready for fishing, and the water is calm – really. About 300 yards or so of snorkeling water sits just behind the reef — just prior to catching the Moloka’i channel (which is very choppy). Bottles like these wash up – and end up – on the wall of fame. NOTE: avoid the dogs.

To borrow a popular tagline, “I’m lovin’ it.”

From the lanai of our condo the grass is green, the Pacific is blue and the breezes – oh, those are warm too.

In my dreams this is what I saw.

Ames makes the camera smile (me too).

I like holding my wife’s hand. It’s really soft and she usually smiles too.

Look from Moloka’i to Maui. Imagine, it’s just 30 miles away.

From Moloka’i to Maui with lots of Pacific blue in between (click).

Christmas Eve 2010: Wedding Images

Sunset with storm off the coast near O’ahu: Christmas 2010 (click image)

Papohaku Beach, Moloka’i, Hawai’i. Perfect in every way.

Hike to La’au Point. Six miles round trip from Dixie Maru Beach. Whew.

The day began with a serious hike. Not a typical out and back day hike. No, I’m talking about a full-on hike to La’au Point – in the mud, through the woods and we didn’t stop at grandmother’s house for cookies and a nap. The trip to La’au Point is tough — add in soggy creek beds full of mud from Sunday’s 4″ of rain and you’ve got an adventure.

Sure enough, it was red and redder. Funny how that theme keeps popping up?!

The three mile trek required about an hour and a half. Ames was all smiles and certainly a trooper – cracking jokes and laughing as we plowed through the muddy trail. Upon arrival at La’au Point, we found a monk seal napping in the middle of the beach. After locating some chairs, we nestled into ‘relaxation mode.’ Ah-aloha.

We sat and watched the surf while we ate our lunch – and I shot some video and snapped some images. Both of us agreed that the rest period passed too quickly. With a return trip of three miles, we knew we needed to gather our gear, the backpacks and head back toward the car.

The return trip seemed quicker. I suspect it was because we knew what to expect. Thankfully the trail had dried a bit – so our trek home was a bit easier too. All in all it was a nice setup for a beach wedding. Enjoy the images.

Papohaku Beach, Moloka’i, Hawai’i: video snapshot. Looks like a wedding at sunset. Aloha.

Papohaku Beach, December 24, 2010. Images from my pocket camera and a snap from the video camera. Official images to follow. Aloha.

Kalawao, Hawai’i – on the island of Moloka’i, just east of Kalaupapa. Oh yeah.

Moloka’i, Hawai’i: sun, drinks, camera, chill. Repeat often.

Maui, Hawai’i: so close (really, it’s just 30 miles away).

The sunny side of Kalaupapa. Aloha-ahhh.

Funny how the fruity drinks seem fruitier in Mason jars.

Lunch spots are sorta, kinda … good.

Moloka’i, Hawai’i: sunsets seem to be a bit brighter.

My first moonset. Yes, that’s the moon setting over the Pacific, not the sun.

Moloka’i, Hawai’i: view of the Pacific at sunset. Aloha.

Eight photo series of Moloka’i: lava bomb eggs hatch more lava.

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: red dirt, lava bombs, sun. Aloha.

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: more dunes of privacy.

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: flowers along the way.

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: miles of views (click to see 1500 pixels).

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: follow the road … it flows to the Pacific.

Eight photo series – Moloka’i: what lava enjoys daily.

Eight photo series of Moloka’i: 808-style. Rocks, scrub, trees. Scrub wins.

Moloka’i in all her glory. Sometimes the photo ‘talks story’ very nicely.

“Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.” William Hazlitt

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains.

It’s dry somewhere, just not here. Can I get a shout out for dry, sunny-warm-shine weather?!

It’s sunny somewhere, but just not at home. I suspect your mind can call anywhere home if it suits you. Home is what I see here.

Flowers convey sun-warm-shine. Puts a smile on your face, huh?

Moloka’i, my last few hours were spent contemplating a return visit.

Surely. I can only imagine what Moloka’i will offer up a year from now. Nothing new I hope. After all, the way it is, well, is the way it should be. I for one would like re-visit my home town and re-visit what I knew as a kid. Much to my dismay, a whole bunch of country music types and a host of folks who love the country bought up and then developed my home town. Today there is a HUGE (ginormous) mall that stands were I once rode horses and hunted birds. It’s a painful reminder of what the retailization of America has done to our world as we know it.

The road pictured herein (to seclusion) is a road I anticipate re-visiting – with an expectation it will be the same. Assuredly I’ll work, on my own time using my personal resources to positively impact the solitude, the sameness and the way of life Moloka’i expects for itself. Now and in the future.

Don’t change Moloka’i, let Moloka’i change you.

There is something very unique about the island of Moloka’i. Very unique. It’s people and the way of life respect one another in manner that cannot be described – it must be experienced. I’m not suggesting that every neighbor gets along 100% of the time, but I am suggesting that the community is driven to thrive from what the land and sea offer up. The more pronounced attitude is simple – what can I do rather than what can I take. I might add, that’s very different from the continental US.

Short on time – so my time to talk story is short. In the coming months my website will expand its focus to include the life, the experience and the unfolding of history on Moloka’i. If you ask yourself the question, “why is he doing this?” I’ll answer you this way. If I can positively affect the mindset of just one person to rationally listen and understand that Moloka’i doesn’t need a resort nor luxury estates then I am imparting aloha ‘aina. Imagine, to affect just one person to take action by giving of themselves either in time or money to join the island in its quest to do what it’s done for many, many generations — just be.

Aia no i ke kö a ke au.

Moloka’i sunet after a Moloka’i Muleride.

I’ll post a longer story later about the mule ride to Kalaupapa (Thursday, March 11th, 2010). For now, here is the image I captured last night at sunset. Click on the image to see a larger, 1500 pixel width image.


Moloka’i, another hike to La’au Point. Contribute to the land and it gives back.

This past Tuesday, March 9th, I found myself at Kapukahehu (again). Primarily because the beach is accessible, the current isn’t terribly swift — unless you wonder 300 yards from shore. Through a public access point with parking for about 20 cars (rarely will you see more than 5), you’re in a private world all your own.

I felt the true spirit of aloha at this beach.

My typical day (at home) is filled with ‘doing’ and while on Moloka’i I had no intentions of changing my routine. As I ate my lunch I kept thinking about a hike towards the Kaupoa Camp to re-visit it. The camp had that kind of impact on me.

Imagine, a beautiful plot of land with an appropriate green approach – once a tentalow-style camp that is now abandoned. Palm trees cut at the base or left to die (without fresh water). Each of the tentalows are in  various states of I would classify ugly decay.

The site is weathered and tattered and reflects a bad attitude by its owners, MPL (Moloka’i Ranch). Misuse of this land reflects an irresponsible attitude by MPL – the company who continuously lands on the wrong side of aloha.

{Herein is a view of the original site – as it was when managed and cared for …}

MPL doesn’t undestand “Aloha ‘aina, malama’ aina, ahupua’a style living…”

According to Puanani Rogers, team lead for the Ho’okipa Network, “Aloha ‘aina simply means to love and respect the land, make it yours and claim stewardship for it. Malama ‘aina means to care for and nurture the land so it can give back all we need to sustain life for ourselves and our future generations, and, an ahupua’a is an ancient concept of resource use and management based on families living in a division of land that connects the mountains to the reefs and the sea.”

When I stopped at Kaupoa Camp all I could do was sigh. From the abandoned camp I headed south toward La’au Point. It made a lot more sense to pickup debris and plastic bottles nearer to La’au Point than Kaupoa Camp. The trip south passes Kahaiawa Point then to Aholehole Flat to Kamaka’ipo then onto Sam Wrights Beach and then to La’au Point.

At La’au Point, I put my KP-hat on and did what I could to clean up the area. Working in and around the area I realized there was much to be done … so I kept moving. When I was down to my last 1/2 liter of water, I packed up my bag and said goodbye to La’au Point.

Leaving the area I noticed that bits of white coral (marking the path inward) where either knocked off their lava rock perches or were blow off by the strong winds that blow from the Kaiwi Channel. I picked up the bits of coral on the ground and placed them back on their lava rock perches. Doing so gave me another opportunity for a reflective moment. I imagined the large groups of people who have continuously visited and managed the area at La’au Point – and that felt really good. I felt the spirit of aloha.

One thing is certain, La’au Point, in its current state, is proof that Moloka’i residents understand and value aloha ‘aina.

The return trip back towards Kapukahehu was full of smiles.


Moloka’i, the hike to ‘Ïlio Point. Tread softly.

Monday I elected to hike from Pu’u o Kaiaka near Kephui Bay to ke Ana Puka (cave). Some of the inland approach on this hike is very dusty and dry, but worthy of experiencing. Along the route you’ll cross Põhakumãuliuli gulley and continue north along Kawãkiu Road.

Using the Bier map (from UH Press), you will be able to locate a heiau atop a small bluff. Please, when nearing the site, tread softly and if you see any debris (man-made), remove it from the area and pack it back out of the area; dispose of it in a trash can or recycle bin when you return to the place where you’re staying. Also, when at the heiau, do not disturb the rocks, and by all means do not stand on them. Imagine yourself in church – as you would not stand on the alter itself.

This is an important point to make because not everyone is aware of the significance of a heiau. Basically it’s an ancient temple complex, whose name signifies “capture (hei) of invisible power (au).” Many heiaus that exist today have often been destroyed down to piles or walls of stones. When you see one (as pictured here) please be respectful of the area.

From Kawakiu Nui Bay, I walked northward and inland somewhat to reach Kanewai. The views from this vantage point are spectacular. As you look north, and if you’re a hiker, you’ll want to keep going because the views are impressively better the higher you go. The blow holes below you provide a nice stopping point to admire the scenery and enjoy the experience. You’ll see the vastness of the Pacific and the deep rich blue hues that make the image unforgettable.

Northward you arrive at ‘Ïlio Point (dog point), and you’re met with a nasty signpost. When I read the sign I was outraged at both its presence and the fact that something horrific occurred in this area …. I’m talking about bombs being targeted to the area (40’s/50’s) as a practice method. Unbelievable, really.

The coastline and sheer lava cliffs are clearly cracked and separated due to explosive devices, so is the landscape itself. Lava is fragmented and crumbled about as if hammers were used to break it apart. Furthermore, there are number of military-style buildings just east of the area that are abandoned, many of which are burned, or overgrown with vegetation.

Commentary: if the military had the audacity to bomb the area then why not have the respect to clean it up? The US military has a penchant for blowing up, but cleaning up doesn’t make the punch list. I clearly understand why local residents and long-time families of Moloka’i are not warm toward outsiders. I get that – and when you (if you do) visit ‘Ïlio point, you’ll understand what I mean.

I blew by the warning signs as if I didn’t see them. In fact, the signs encouraged me to keep walking, exploring and looking about the area. I wanted to know what was there, and better yet, who was there. I saw a huge clean-up project in the makings have made plenty of mental and physical notes about doing so – along with photographic images to document my findings. More about this later.

From ‘Ïlio Point, I continued toward Keonehänau and Ana Puka. Whew, I was feeling the pinch of a lot of miles under my legs. Having just hiked the hard route to and from La’au Point the prior day, my legs complained loudly. As you can see, the views are awesome. This area is some 4.1 miles from where I started.

If you elect to hike to the area, I suggest you bring ample water and some food. In addition, I recommend that you tell someone you’re hiking to the area because there is no cell service (HA) in the area. It’s easy most of the journey, but the length and duration actually mark it as a medium-advanced or advanced hike.

When I returned to the car I grabbed some cold water and walked to the beach so I could wash off (in the Pacific) and relax. I had just enough time to sit for a few minutes before I gathered my equipment required for my sunset routine.

I’ve already posted the photo of that sunset – which I believe was a warm mahalo from Moloka’i for treating it kindly. Mahalo back at ya.


Moloka’i sunsets are gifts of a lifetime. Aloha.

(click this image)

Moloka’i, the hike to La’au Point. There is a ‘best’ way there – and back.

In ancient days, Molokai had two sacred areas marking the wehe and the pani of Makahiki (the opening and closing).

On the eastern side of Molokai the wehi was located at Kapu’upo’i in the proximity of Halawa. The pani of the Makahiki was that of La’au. Both of these areas were revered as sacred places and treated with the reverence of such. Cultural sites ranging from keiau to ko’a can be found throughout this area.

Some upfront advice about this hike. Whatever you do, please pack all your debris and bring it back with you. Second, when you get to La’au Point, keep your voice down, mind your manners if others are present and if someone is cleaning up the area, offer to help. Additionally, make sure you fully understand that La’au Point is a VERY important place for Moloka’i residents. Imagine visiting a church and treat the La’au Point area the identical same way. If you want to appreciate the area by chanting quietly and offering your personal mahalo for such a place, do so.

Remember …. La’au Point is … ‘ike ‘ia e ka nui manu (known by many birds, or recognized by many people).

Because Moloka’i Ranch has attempted and is still in the process of planning a development near La’au Point (bad idea BTW), I elected to hike to La’au Point to see it for myself. I like adventure.

My starting point was near Hale o Lono Harbor. I drove down the dirt road from Maunaloa and surveyed the area to make sure I could leave my car parked at the gate for the duration of the hike. There were a few families camped near the harbor – but it was totally cool.

Prior to my start I assumed it would take 4 hours to hike out and back (including a lunch break at the site).

The initial leg of my hike took me past Kanalukaha Beach and then westward beyond Kapukuwahine Beach. In several spots the sand was so deep that I felt as if I was walking in deep snow, but obviously it was warm and moist. The deep sand made my backpack feel even heavier and my heart rate climbed in response.

When I approached Kahalepohaku Beach, the coastline looked more like an up and down lava-coaster. I knew it was going to be a challenge to traverse. Between sandy beaches there were lava breaks that required accurate steps and careful movement. Enjoying the scenery wasn’t included in these sections. Nearing Keawakalani Point, I knew the trail would ‘run out,’ so I attempted to hike upward in hopes to find a break that would allow me a true trail route. No dice – it was a waste of time and energy.

I took 2 liters of water, but had consumed over half of it by the time I arrived at La’au Point. My lunch (sandwich, power bar) and papaya (cut) proved to be very refreshing. The trip to La’au Point from Hale o Lono required 2.5 hours – which included very few stops to sip water or snap photos. I knew I could not return in less than 2 hours.

At La’au Point I made a poor decision: I elected to take the trail up country rather than backtrack to Hale o Lono. Bad decision.

I stopped at the La’au light tower ‘area’ to view the ocean and gather what energy I had left in my already fatigued legs.

Walking the La’au Point Loop you find mostly red dirt and lava bombs. I climbed past Kamaka’ipo gully and then across a very dry stretch of land that was (as I found out near the end of my hike) on the Moloka’i Ranch property. The very property that has a zillion signs posted reading: “PRIVATE PROPERTY – if caught you will be punished under the full extent of the law.” Great.

By the time I reached the Hale o Lono trail, I knew it would be only a mile or so before I reached the car. Thankfully a couple of locals offered me a ride in the bed of their pickup. I accepted with a hardy thanks. While it was a short drive down the hill, it felt great to be moving in a vehicle rather than by foot.

When I arrived at the car I ate the extra snacks I brought and drank the cold water like I had crossed a desert. Based on the calculations using my map I covered 10.4 miles in 5 hours.

Ok. For hikers seeking an easier route (there is an easy route and it’s NOT by boat!).

Take 460 west and turn right onto Kaluakoi Road. Follow it all the way down until you make a hard left – at which point you’re still on Kaluakoi Road. Follow it until it dead ends at the Percell Ohana Hale and make a right turn; park at this beach access point. You’ll walk across the beach area and you’ll find a trail behind the beach – DO NOT use the trail that accesses from the side of the beach as you’ll find a nice view and that’s all.

The trail at the back of the beach is the trail you’ll take all the way to La’au Point. When using this route, you’ll pass Kaupoa Camp (now vacant). You’ll continue past Aholehole Point and Kamaka’ipo, then Sam Wights Beach and you arrive at La’au Point in just 3 (three!) miles. Ergo it’s a 6 mile out and back excursion. Nuf said. If you need a map (I suggest you have one with you), buy the James A. Bier version. It’s the most accurate.


Moloka’i, Hawai’i: March 6th, 2010 sunset. A nice stage for another beautiful day.

Moloka’i, Hawai’i. A gallery of the day. Aloha.

Moloka’i. Casual, authentic, and accessible. Please tread softly.

My day was fairly active – lots of hiking and exploring. I sat very little today. I’m a cyclist, not a walker. Oh well,  with a 30lb backpack life is more fun! None the less, when called upon the body will do what it is commanded to do. Naturally, the visuals around me, the sweet smell of plumeria, and an ocean roaring were enough to keep me moving. Ha.

What a day.

If I added up what I did and shared the details I would miss out on the fun because there is so much to share. My rest days are few on this trip; Friday-Sunday. Come Monday, I will be head to the Nature Conservancy in upcountry Moloka’i to be part of a trail maintenance program (volunteer work; I’m from the volunteer state). I’m doing some of that each day and interviewing locals about cruise ships, La’au Point, and their desire to keep Moloka’i a friendly isle. From an  internal brainstorming session yesterday, I’ve assembled several ideas that are possible fits. I’m going to test those ideas today at Saturday Market. We’ll see ….

For now – ke aloha from Moloka’i.

Moloka’i sunset March 4th, 2010

What an adventure getting to Moloka’i. I left at 6AM and arrived in Hawai’i at 4:45 HST. Just in time to get to the rental car, the store, a cold beer and the place where I’m staying. Just in time for a sunset. Just right the right dose of medicine for a work week that hasn’t been so much fun.

On the plane from Chicago I sat next to “Judy” who taught me sudoku. She also taught me that staying active when you retire keeps you young. At 70 (she looked 60), she is more active than some of the people I know at my office who are 30. Whew. Her schedule sounded booked most of time. In any case, I enjoyed hearing her talk – and the time zipped by. Imagine, Judy’s first visit to Hawai’i, and I’m on my 8th. We had some things to share.

The inter-island flight was interesting too. I sat next to a nice woman who is from Moloka’i. She was traveling from O’ahu (where she is in college) back to Moloka’i where her husband and children live. We talked a bit about Moloka’i and the potentiality of cruise ships visiting Moloka’i in the near future. As a true Hawaiian, she spoke of the importance of the land and the reef that surrounds Moloka’i and supports the island’s life. She said, “it’s basically the fridge for people on the island.” Interesting, because cruise ships are notorious for dumping waste, plastic and crappy-crap into the oceans of the world. “Not here is my hope,” she said.

I agree 100%.

Cruise ships to Moloka’i are a bad idea. For all those who are in favor of the idea, I suggest you imagine a tour bus showing up in front of your house every day, every week and think (really think) about the impact on your lifestyle. Just think, you’d have a tee-shirt shop nearby, a store to buy diamonds, superWallyWorld, even more traffic lights, more police, more crime, more, more, more. But isn’t that the American way? Huh.

Cruise ships to Moloka’i make about much sense as socialized health care, paying teachers less than politicians and America’s ‘retailization’ mindset.

Aloha from true Hawai’i.

Tattoos by the numbers.

This is my 1,000th post on the PhotoMotoBlog.

More than 574,480 unique visitors have been to this site since its inception.

The weekly average the past four months has been in excess of 14,000 unique visitor per week.

My busiest day was February 17th, 2010 with 2,359 unique visitors.

Folks logging on my site originate from 37 different countries and the Hawaiian Islands.

Google is used to translate my site into 12 different languages.

I’ve logged more than 400 hours creating the site.

There are 2,535 images contained in this weblog.

Interestingly, it uses just a ½ MB of space.

The masthead has changed more than 100 times.

The posting rules have been broken once; that person didn’t break the rules again.

My blog site ‘encouraged’ management to create a ‘blog posting policy’ within my company.

This site has spun off into 22 other weblogs that I’ve created; the unique visitor totals for all sites is greater than 4,000,000.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to monetize several of my sites (no ads please).

The best part is that I really don’t care what anyone thinks about the content, the images nor the layout.

Somehow I’ve managed to connect with people whom I don’t know … for those folks …  mahalo nui loa!

Thank-you for logging onto my site.


Traffic jams on Moloka’i. Nice.