Hawaiian Swan Song

 .......or The End Is Near...again.

With only a few weeks before my current assignment ends, Ms Darlene joined me once again for Thanksgiving here in Honolulu.

 Virtually every year, instead of going home, Darlene often joins me at my assignment location.  Last year, it was in New Mexico where we spent the holiday in Taos at a ski lodge.  Other years on we were diving on Maui or enjoying a Subway sandwich sitting on a concrete bench in Solvang, California.

When she visited this time, the first few days were presented with rain


even though there were a few afternoons that gave us a few wonderful sunsets.

So as Thanksgiving day approached, we drove up to the Oahu north shore to watch the surfers at the Pipeline in the rain.

We often sat in the rockers in front of the Moana Surfrider hotel watching it drizzle on the never ending parade of tourists.

One evening, we sat on the back porch and listened to music under the Banyan tree along with a younger military couple who were about to end their tour of duty here.

As the weekend began to dry, we found ourselves taking the island tour again, driving around the island to see landmarks we had always enjoyed seeing, taking little side trips and eventually discovering the Vans Off The Wall 2015 surfing competition.

While the weather was great and the waves were huge, the powerful waves were so far out you really needed binoculars to see them.

We sat in the cool sand watching and I found myself always craning around sightseers trying to get a decent photo.

At that distance, by the time I blow up the picture and crop it, the details are limited but still, I enjoyed myself

That Sunday was Darlene's last day so we took one more scenic tour back to Honolulu so she could catch her flight back to Louisiana.   I miss her still.

So, a week later, this is my last weekend here and quite possibly my last post from Hawaii this year.  With that in mind, I made it back to Sunset Beach again to find the place looking about as smooth as Lake Pontchartrain.  Moving on west, I stopped off at the Pipeline again to see the wave a little bit better than Sunset but not exactly 20 footers.  It seems that when surges come in, it moves the sand bottom around which affects the wave's distance from the beach and their height.

With the waves being a bit tamer, this brought out a different crowd.

There the usual really good amateurs, some old and some young.

As a matter of fact, there were several female surfers that I had not been seeing earlier.

While some of these women took the easier waves, others took to the larger ones.

I believe there were as many women out there this time as men and definitely were not timid.

I sat a lot closer to the water this time and even got wet with a couple of rogue waves.  Fortunately, the Nikon and Samsung phone did not suffer.

As I was about to leave, I was shooting away when this girl in one of the smallest bikinis I 'd seen, walked right in front of me.  So, in keeping with the theme of another post I made a few weeks ago, I submit to you......The End is Near.

Shuji Akiyama

While working here in Honolulu, we received a call from one of our client's granddaughters who would be bringing her grandfather for some personal business.

I have no idea why but after seeing him on the appointment calendar, I Googled his name (Shuji Akiyama) and low and behold I found myself looking at a notable part of American history. 

Mr. Akiyama is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who had fought in World War 2 in the European theater.  Born November 25, 1921 on the big Island of Hawaii, he came to Honolulu to continue his education.

Here is a nice video narrative in his own words.     https://vimeo.com/50815876  

Shuji was 20 years old when, on December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese fighters and bombers attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, severely damaging 4 battleships and sinking 4 more along with 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers.  Over 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack.

Along with several more Japanese-Hawaiians, Mr Akiyama volunteered for the U S Army and found himself traveling across the U S mainland headed for Camp Shelby, Mississippi for training and later on in fierce fighting in France with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

"The 442nd fought their most famous battle in France where they rescued the "Lost Battalion" breaking through the line to rescue 211 men that were cut off by German troops. The 522nd FAB also participated in the drive into Bavaria which freed inmates from Dachau prison that was being marched to their death. The 442nd, including the 100th, was the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States for its size and length of service."  Source at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/030437 .

 He was honored in France as well.

I am sure he never dreamed in his youth that he would be thrust into such a role in life.  It was a role he never planned and during battle, probably had only one goal and that was to live another day.  We can not control what life throws at you but you can control how you respond and he tesponded with courage.

Mr Akiyama is very hard of hearing now and had some difficulty understanding me but his granddaughter would lean to his ear and reiterate my questions.

Still, I was very honored to meet him.