Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dog Days of December

It's December 21, the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. And it's been nothing but hot and steamy on the islands with no wind. It reminds me of late August on the east coast. HHH we used to call it - hot hazy humid. Good time for some afternoon couch napping. Not something I normally experience on the winter solstice. But hey, it could be worse.

Two years ago we were back in the Hood at this time. It snowed for two weeks straight leading up to Christmas and never got above freezing. I had a lot of shoveling to do!

Then after the snow, it rained hard for two weeks (flooding in the town plus rain on the ski area) and after that several weeks of an inversion settled in the gorge (freezing fog!).  So actually, right now I don't mind hot and humid so much.

But some wind would be nice.  We have had some nice surf sporadically.  The north pacific is currently in what the weatherman call an "omega" block. Sounds like a cheap sci-fi film from the 70's.  But this is for real. We got low pressure to the west, a high way up north, and another big low to the east.  A picture tells the story...

The good news there is another decent north fetch is setting up to bring some nice surf for Christmas day.  All those new surf boards are going to get wet!  There's also an outside chance the trades might sneak in the day before.  I'm not holding my breath but maybe we'll get lucky.  We got lucky one day last week and I got a picture of Julia coming in to prove it...

Other exciting news from other blogs...  Jeff at Maui Windsurfing reports that the meeting regarding the kiteboarding FAA waiver didn't change anything.  The controversy from the windsurfing side was that a month or so ago a kiter had initiated an altercation with a windsurfer or two and this occurred in Uppers where kiters are technically not allowed. The kiter knocked down a windsurfer (after some verbal back and forth my wave stuff) and then tried to run over said windsurfer who was still in the water.  To me kiters are generally not a problem in uppers as long as they don't crowd everyone out.  It's sort of the same situation that SUPs and surfers are going through.  Kiters can generally out maneuver windsurfers and because they require more room in general (hello 50 ft lines)  they can possibly take all the waves.  But again this is normally not an issue with most kiters in Uppers. Be nice to find out who the one bad apple is and specifically ban him though.  But that story didn't come up so looks like no changes and hopefully we'll all just get along.

And moving on to other news... I got a story.  In my last post I mentioned coming down with a sudden fever and feeling lousy for a week.  Actually I'm still not feeling 100% and it's been three weeks since this started.  Anyway, last week I got a call from the doc and it turns out they sent my tests to Oahu to screen for typhus, just in case (takes more then a week to process the test).  Well it turns out that's what I had.  Lucky for me they put me on exactly the right anti-biotic (doxycycline) two days after symptoms started (when I had a temperature of 103) and that was early enough to avoid major problems - at least that's how it appears.  This is murine or endemic typhus, not to be confused with typhoid fever (completely different) or epidemic typhus (which is a slightly different bug and is the plague like typhus that has killed many millions in the past).  Murine typhus isn't quite that bad but it can still be deadly and/or cause pretty severe health issues.

So Maui actually has a fair amount of this typhus going around.  I had no idea.  Some years they've had as few as 5 cases, other years 40 or more.  And the health dept told me many cases are unreported.  The good news is I'm now immune.  Whoot!  As for how I got it - who knows?  It's spread by fleas that can come from small furry mammals.  I've decided that I might be a victim of the Kanaha wild cats who overrun the park every night.  Cute but deadly!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Get Busy Living Or ...

Today was one of those almost achingly beautiful days that Maui can have this time of year. The wind is now calm, and will be for a few days. I could care less.  I was happy to be outside this morning and gaze at the palm trees pointing into the crystal blue sky.  I could smell the sweet fragrance of plumeria drifting over from a near by garden.  The temperature was a perfect 80 and the air was as dry as Maui can provide. There was a very happy cat leaning and rubbing against my legs. In the distance I could see the north shore spreading out with small but fun breakers playing on the reefs.

Life isn't always going to be this way.  We should never take the good days for granted when they're here right now.  Just last week I was feeling much worse.  In fact I had a bit of a health scare that in retrospect was quite trivial.  But I'll admit to a few anxious moments.  It began with a routine paddle out with Julia to the line up at Hookipa.  I caught my first wave.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  But when I paddled back out I felt a strange sensation - my heart was suddenly pounding hard against my ribs.  I could feel each pulse from my abdomen through my chest and right up to my ears.  I sat on my board hoping this would go away right now.  It did to a small degree but I had no desire to be riding any more waves so returned to shore and sat there thinking WTF?!  I'm not a spring chicken so anything possibly wrong in the heart area is not cool.  When Julia came in we decided to hang on the beach and I slowly relaxed.  But when I got home later that evening I started feeling dull pains in my abdomen and a generally not so good feeling that I later learned is called malaise (an actual medical term). I could not eat.  We considered a drive to the ER.  I decided to try a fitful sleep and see how things felt in the morning.

OK, lets face it, we're all temporary on this planet.  One hundred years from now we'll all be gone and our deeds mostly forgotten.  And every day takes us closer to that destiny.  So what's the big purpose of it all?  I'm not trying to answer that.  But I do think one thing we should do is take advantage of whatever we got, right now that we got it, and start living it and enjoying it.  I'm convinced most of us are taking ourselves and the miracle of our existence for granted.  I'm convinced most people are caught up in maintaining their status or socio-economic level and they have forgotten what it's like to purely enjoy a single day, or a single moment.  Get out there. Enjoy it now.

The next morning I went to the local clinic and they listened and poked and drew blood and hooked me up to an EKG. All amazingly normal. No heart attack or crazy arterial blood clot or any of that.  I did have a slight temperature and my WBC was a bit high indicating a not so serious infection.  And nothing more.  The doctor assured me that an infection can in fact make your heart pound way harder than normal. Nothing particularly worrisome about that. Though I was greatly relieved, I still had a ways to go and spent the remainder of the week mostly on a couch, with a fever that got up to 103 (briefly), and generally feeling like, well malaise.  Just a short a walk to my car totally wiped me out. I felt like I aged 30 years in one day.  Seven days later and I'm just getting over this.  Just.  I missed a week of nice wind and waves.  Oh well.  Could have been worse. Much worse.

This evening Julia and I had dinner with friends down at Kihei.  The sun was starting to set on one of the more beautiful days I have ever experienced.  We decided to take some pictures and have some fun with it.  I was amazed at how great it felt to be almost normal.  You never know when things can change.  You never know when the awesome vacation you were putting off simply cannot happen because, you never know.  Watch a young child doing something they really enjoy.  They are fully in the moment. They are loving life. Remember that feeling.

Copyright © 2011 Jamin Jones, All rights reserved.