Hello Friends and Family,

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Moloka`i Seeing Deeply #1

It was now time for the reason for this whole Hawaii vacation — Eddie Soloway's workshop entitled "Seeing Deeply". I had very much enjoyed Eddie's class in Santa Fe entitled "A Natural Eye: The Summer Landscape" and was tremendously excited looking forward to the next step.

We met at Hui Ho`olana in the (what I would call) the upcountry area of Moloka`i. The Hui is a teaching and learning center striving to provide an environment for inspiration, a safe haven for the growth and nurturing of the creative spirit. The property has been in Richard Cooke's family for generations, was sold and later re-purchased then donated to the non-profit organization run by Richard (Rik or Rikky) and his wife Bronwyn.

Rikky is a fine photographer in his own right and has published a book of photographs and text entitled Molokai: An Island in Time. I own a copy of his book never thinking that someday I would encounter the author/photographer. If I had known, I would have taken my copy with me to the Hui for him to sign.

The Hui is located on a hillside with the main building shown above plus a number of cabins and shared bathrooms located downhill. Our gatherings with Eddie were held in a yurt — in this incarnation, a octagonal building with a peaked roof.

Our meals were shared in the main house with much of the food from the gardens on the grounds. Organic, mostly-vegetarian, quite tasty and nutritious. We had meat only a couple times — chicken and fish. I felt quite satisfied and healthy from the cuisine. If it weren't so much work, I could easily become an almost vegetarian (or whatever you would call someone that is mostly vegetarian with only occasional dishes including meat).


Of course, the funny thing was that some of my classmates began to crave a Coca-Cola — an itch that could only be scratched by going to town (there is only one, Kaunakakai). It became a running joke — gotta get a Coke for whomever. Since we were going out shooting photos each afternoon, that Coke craving was easy to satisfy.

For those of you who do not recognize the plant to the right, it is a papaya tree laden with both green and ripe papayas. With just about every breakfast and often with other meals, tropical fruit such as strawberry papayas (my favorite variety), apple bananas (also a fave), Maui gold pineapple (yep, love it too) were served. We also frequently were served lychee with a delicious fruit inside a very weird looking skin. There were a couple others whose names I have forgotten but found also quite delightful.

Even with the wonderful cuisine, I believe I lost a couple pounds during the week — the food was delicious and filling as well as healthful. I did not feel a craving for snacks between meals or at night (as I often do at home).

During each afternoon we were free to go anywhere on the island for subjects to photograph. Since I had taken a lot of photos on the west end of Moloka`i prior to the workshop, I decided to head to the east end where there is a spectacular valley called Halawa Valley. This photo shows the river that runs out of the valley and into the ocean.

The beach is quite rocky here and the waves were very rough this day. I loved watching the waves crashing on the rocks and sending spray everywhere.

If you then turned and looked up into the valley you could see the lush vegetation and the waterfall that was the source for the water feeding the river. I have chosen to provide you a larger image so you can better appreciate how magnificent this valley is.

I later learned that this valley was the first settlement of the native Hawaiian people as they worked their way from the Big Island to Maui and Lana`i eventually reaching Oahu and Kauai. It was struck by the tsunami that also devastated Hilo in 1946 — although it was less tidal wave and more temporary rise in sea level. Many of the inhabitants of Halawa Valley moved out — to escape the residual impact (salt in the taro patches) or for paying jobs on the plantations and ranches. With all this history I was intrigued by this valley — but please be patient, there is more to the story.

Such a peaceful place where the wildflowers vibrate in the wind. Again a fast shutter speed is needed to capture them.

And just full of photographers! Just kidding — this is one of our classmates, Swati — or more formally Dr. Swati Kulkarni, breast cancer surgeon. She is quite accomplished in her professional life and an excellent photographer as well. The fact that she looks so young (she looks like she is in her twenties) makes me ponder how I have squandered my life programming computers and counting debits & credits. Of course, she can't be too smart — living in Buffalo, NY. I would think anyone with any common sense would find a warmer place to work and play.Smiley Face

Near the beach was a small park containing this old ruined building with vegetation filling the interior. I guessed that the tsunami had destroyed it. I was wrong. A much more prosaic demise, a fire destroyed what had been a church.

To me it was quite interesting to see the construction details. Rock with wood supports in the door and window openings — with some kind of cement or stucco covering it all.

I was just about to leave when I encountered this young Hawaiian man who was going fishing — net fishing. I chatted with him — learned that his name is Joshua — and he consented to let me photograph him as he cast his net.

He explained that there are holes in the shoreline where the fish like to hide — and he knew where the holes were located. However, in the end he was unsuccessful — no fish this day.

But in further discussion it turns out that he leads hikes up into Halawa Valley all the way to the waterfall. He gave me the details which I took back to the workshop to see if anyone else would like to join me on such a hike. Stay tuned — the story of the hike to the waterfall comes soon.

Life is good.

B. David