The Two Week Hurdle

Sunset at Waikiki

Its sometimes a challenge explaining that working in paradise is not “working” in paradise. In fact, work here involves plenty of difficulties that make things more of a challenge. Luckily for us, they are far outweighed by the good stuff, and afterward are great for laughs!

The first time I moved (out of my parents house for college, when I was 18), a wise friend told me that I had to stick it out for more than two weeks.  Around two weeks, the excitement has worn off and you start to really miss things about your prior life.

Lauren working hard at the Oceanwide Science Institute office, where Simon spends most of his days.

We’re about there now.  Since there isn’t any fantastic diving to distract us yet, I am starting to take distinct notice of things like how difficult it is to get around Honolulu.  I often find myself daydreaming about our grocery store and nice kitchen accessories in San Diego.  Even more tantalizing is the memory of my beautiful, perfect, not-sagging-in-the-middle mattress with MY sheets on it!

Fortunately for me, there is very little time to ponder on these niceties because there is more than enough to do here!  We are both writing like crazy trying to get drafts of our most recent work to coauthors before we get on the research cruise.

Simon’s screen, heavy with matlab code

Simon is attempting, with similar desperation, to write enough code so that when the acoustic data starts pouring in, we can make some sense of it. When we do need a break, we try to spend it outside enjoying the island.

We spent most of Saturday taking advantage of the empty office and getting work done.  We walked the two miles to the beach in time for sunset, and made good use of my travel hammock.  We had a three mile hike through town to get home, past famous Bailey’s.  We stopped at the beginning for dinner at a highly recommended spot, Ono Hawaiian Foods, where we shared a platter.

Hammock time after a long day
Our Kalua Pork “platter” at ono’s. By far the best thing was the dark purple sweet potato!

We continued walking, feeling not quite full, when we smelled something amazing!  We stopped for second dinner at Glad Yakitori. This was my first yakitori experience ever and I LOVED it.  And just in case that wasn’t enough, we got some Yogurtland for dessert before we made it to our house 🙂

Well worth the wait, this was some of the best chicken we’d ever had
Want some aloha-wear? Go straight to Bailey’s, where you can choose from 15,000 new and used shirts ranging in price from $19.99 to $4,000

Clearly, this luxury was too good to last. On Sunday, we went on a hike with a coworker.  She assured us that it would be very easy and mellow since she was bringing her 12-year-old niece along, who isn’t particularly accustomed to hiking.  I should have realized we were in trouble when the guys in the group pulled out special boots- soft, water repellant shells with steel spikes on the bottom for traction.

Apparently in Hawaii “hiking” means “Tough Mudder” and/or “Boot Camp for the Marines,” because that’s about what we got.  I think we only walked 4 or 5 miles total, but it took nearly four hours.  The trail started out fine, meandering along a stream and crossing it periodically.  It was raining on and off, but warm enough that we didn’t mind not having raincoats.

There were fresh water crawfish in the river- we didn’t have a bag or we would have kept some for dinner!

We were hiking up the Palolo Valley to a waterfall, and the jungle was very beautiful and green.  Eventually we moved away from the stream and began climbing. The trail then continued along the edge of one of the canyon walls.

We made it! Looking cheerful at the waterfall, blissfully denying the fact that we have to go back the way we came

Imagine, if you will, a standard sidewalk.  Then take away half of its width.  Tilt it on a 20 degree angle towards a sheer drop off.  Take away half of the width again.  And coat it with the slipperiest substance you can think of.  This is what we walked on for the rest of the trek.  You’ll have to trust me, because we were too busy clinging on for dear life to take photos.

Lauren trying desperately to remove some of the layers of mud she accumulated on the way to the waterfall
Let’s just say we were seriously coated in mud

Ultimately everyone in our party slid down the cliff face at least once (we won’t say how many times Lauren did it), and the most experienced hiker in the group slipped down 20 feet!  He couldn’t get back up to the trail, so continued down to the river and met us at the waterfall.

The waterfall was beautiful, and we all made it out without injury.  Our host apologized repeatedly, saying that the hike has NEVER been that slippery before.  If my shoes weren’t still wet from cleaning all the mud off, I’d laugh too 🙂

Really, it was a beautiful spot to have lunch. And I earned that sandwich

Tomorrow we pick up a new rental car and begin shopping and testing equipment for the research cruise!  There is so much preparation for our 24 days at sea, and loading the ship begins on the 25th.  We want to have all of our gear tested, dried, and boxed up before then.  They provide food, but we also need to shop for a month’s worth of toiletries each (we are in separate male and female quarters), and backup rope, line, clips, and other goodies in case any of our gear fails and needs a fix on the ship.  Simon insists that he must continue eating All-Bran on the ship, so we need that too apparently. Hopefully we will be underwater this weekend, and our next post will have a photo of a fish!

This lightweight hammock is one of the coolest gifts my husband has ever given me. It even makes up for some of the tougher ‘adventures’ he drags me through

2 thoughts on “The Two Week Hurdle”

  1. A different sort of adventure it is to live and work without the comforts and conveniences of home. It is fortunate that you are both clever problem solvers:). Good luck getting everything done before part II !


  2. Best of luck on your adventure on your research cruise. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying your updates. I hope you will still be able to keep in touch while you are at sea. Calm seas and be safe!


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