24 Oct - Honolulu
It's amazing how early reverse jetlag makes you get up! Going to be
heck on the way back. Walked all the way down Waikiki beach, looked at
some beautiful girls, rented boogie boards and did some bodysurfing.
Went to Duke's Canoe Club, had the best darned fish... incredibly fresh
Opah, done jack style, which is the perfect combination of spicy on the
outside and tender on the inside. Decided to hit the conference
reception afterwards, which we thought was a mistake until I saw someone
else sighing and said "hey, having a good time?" trying to improve her
evening. She said "actually, no" and launched into a particularly
witty, cutting diatribe in an Irish accent. I started giving it back to
her (though I couldn't make any points on her) and Frank chimed in... we
ended up going to the pool bar and closing the joint. Noreen is a riot
and a fascinating person, originally from Dublin, teaches at Strathclyde
U. in Glasgow and is taking a job in Sydney next month so she can retire
somewhere warm! Sounds like a plan to me.
Got up early and ran down to the opening of the conference, listened to
Nathaniel's keynote about how he's a luddite and a crackpot instead of a
guru now. Didn't say 'hi', but am wondering if his "guppy lake
restoration retreat" net-free zone is free to geeks in need of a real
life? Sounds like he's directing it at more PC people (social
workers?), instead of those of us who really need to get away from the
net. Hall comments overheard were very negative, but I thought he had
some decent points. Visited Noreen's paper on Privacy. Went on the
sunset dinner catamaran cruise, which was most way lame. It was really
a barge made to look a tiny bit like a catamaran. Learned that the Hawaiian
word for thank you is "Mahalo".
Just got back from dinner. GREAT Italian-Japanese place, Antonio
Pietro's. Everything's really fresh, from the european-style salad and
the cheese to the seafood in the pasta. Frank performed the "Ooo Aah
Icky Aah" dance, but stopped when I went for the video camera. So you
all will miss a hot... um, lukewarm part of the trip. Cold is good too,
he's back from getting my ice pack. Frank says "Ooo Aah, Icky Ah-ah" to
everyone. We're getting along really well, altho I made him feel guilty
and get me the icepack 'cause he pushed me in the pool 'cause I beat him
horribly at gin rummy. Grin. Banged up my leg, but I was having too
much fun and laughing too much to notice until we were upstairs. We've
played gin down by the pool the last couple of nights, the hotel staff
are all starting to get to know us joke around.
Our presentation is tomorrow, we went over what we're going to say this
afternoon. Nice, small conference facility, overlooking one of the
best beaches in the world. Don't think there's one day that we haven't
made it down to the beach, at least for a swim. This morning we got up
early and went out on a boat dive. My ears were clearing better than
they ever have, (thank Djerassi for Afrin!) and everything was way
cool. Saw 5-6 turtles, one as big as a man, some Moorish Idols that
resemble angelfish because of a trailing dorsal wing, a couple of
long nose butterflies, lots of little
wrasse and big puffers that just loved us, and a big moray eel that we
got to watch take off. Seriously thinking of doing more dives because
my buoyancy and ears were so good this time. Frank definitely wants to
do more dives, but we need to balance my wanting to do shallow stuff and
his wanting to do wrecks. I'll definitely stick with novice dives, tho
I'm a lot more comfortable now (salt water is so much easier and more
fun!) because I've heard from both Ro and Mike Wayne that it can be
really dangerous out here. Frank's a great dive buddy, which helps a
lot. And (Chad says very proudly) I use less air than him! Novices
usually use more, and he's got at least 22 dives compared to my 7.
Got up, had a swim, and got ready for the presentation. We set up the
computer for our demos, and took a low-tech approach to the overheads,
since Frank had gone through all the effort of printing out nice copies.
That was a bit awkward, though we got very good responses on the paper in
general. The room was pretty much standing room only, about 50-80 people
with a lot of questions, primarily wondering about comparisons of different
products, and our views on the Microsoft media player versus SMIL standard
tools. Afterwards, one person from Volvo came up to talk, and we arranged
to get together the next day and talk more in depth about Ford/Volvo issues.
We have decided not to head over to the big island to see Ro Nagey (he's got
a cattle ranch now!) Got a call from him though, it was great catching up.
Just going to stay here. We definitely both want to see Pearl Harbor, I want
to see Hanauma Bay, and Frank wants to do more dives, especially a wreck.
We're doing pretty good at learning to do like the turtles and hang loose,
though. Plus Frank is a great travelling companion!
We discovered a good little noodle house... Happy Deli, good yakisoba and
soba noodle soup "Sian"?
We moved our stuff out of the room and went on a wreck dive, the Kahala
barge. 70 feet, my deepest yet, descended very slow, watching the other
divers around the barge from above, with very good visibility. Frank did his
first penetration (I didn't feel ready to go in). Circled the wreck, then
went over the top. Having an anchor rope for descent and ascent is very handy!
The surface was very rough when we came up, hard to catch the boat. I was
feeling quite queasy, went back into the water and swam around a little to
feel better. Then nearly lost it when I put on my weight belt for the next
dive, had to sit down and take a deep breath, kept reminding myself how much
nicer it is *in* the water and got suited up fast. The second dive of the
day was called Turtle Club, and we saw our biggest turtle of the trip. Frank
and I went off by ourselves with one other diver, Victoria, around some coral,
and spotted an old guy with a shell over 5 feet long. Amazing when you got up
close to him! Sort of waved his flippers at us, looked at us awhile, then
swam off. 4-5 turtles total this dive.
We were really tired when we got back to the hotel, so we got a taxi, had it
take our stuff over to the other hotel (exactly half the price, a block and
a half from the beach rather than right on the beach) and then headed over to
meet with our Volvo IT counterparts. Discussed organizations and direction,
gave them a bunch of names and ideas about how to interact with Ford, then
headed downstairs for a conference session.
29 Oct - Hanauma Bay & North Shore
Rented a car today to go over to Hanauma Bay, arguably the most beautiful
spot on the island. Perfect, sheltered bay, with some serious coral reef,
you approach it from above (we took the trolley down because we were lugging
SCUBA gear) and it looks like something out of a tahitian fantasy, with the
palm trees and the perfect beach. Visibility was pretty bad on our dive,
but it was a beautiful day, and everything was pretty casual... the turtles
in Hanauma Bay are the friendliest you'll ever find, because it's a nature
preserve and people feed them... there was one that kept circling us until
Frank nearly had a head-on collision with him! We left over 1250 lbs of
air for the trip back in, which was a good thing, because the current was a
killer coming back through the inner reef, could barely stay in one place,
much less make headway! Used up about all of our air, and really needed to
stay down, because the current was worse on the surface.
Came back to the conference hotel to pick up April Ballard for lunch...
we decided to try to find one of the "shrimp trucks" that had been highly
recommended. Ended up going all the way to the North Shore, which was
actually really great... through the Dole pineapple plantations to
Pupukea Beach Park, where we played on the rocks and found a shrimp shack with
the best, freshest Ahi of the trip... possibly the best food, outdoors, with
an incredible view of the cove with the tide splashing over the reef like a
waterfall. We took more time than we intended, and April was a little
concerned that we got back to the conference so late, but we all had such a
great time that it was worth it.
Frank and I headed out and found a nightclub called Scruples, did a little
dancing... actually managed to get Frank out on the floor.
Planned to go to Diamondhead, actually ended up hanging out on the beach
and by the pool, doing some shopping, then over to chinatown. Not much to
see in the afternoon, so we went by the Aloha Tower, did more shopping, went
to Gordon Biersch brewery for dinner. They gave us a free beer sampler, but
didn't really want to drink much with a dive in the morning, so we just tasted
a little and ended up with lemonade... really great food there, though!
Wonderful Mahi-Mahi, actually incredibly tender and fresh.
31 Oct - Honolulu
Got up early for an 8:00 dive right off Waikiki... the
wreck of the YO-257,
a navy yard oiler.
This was our most advanced dive of the trip, 100ft for 27 minutes with
a wreck penetration. Large holes have been cut in the side of the tanker,
though, so there are always several ways out, and it is not considered a
technical dive. We went out with a large boat, and the day started with a
huge rainbow all the way across the sky, ending in Honolulu... could even see
a bit of a double rainbow. Just one of the many things that Hawaiians
consider good luck... they're just lucky to live there! We went on a larger
boat, with more people, including three dive controllers, one of whom stayed
with me when I had some trouble with my ears and had to go down really slowly.
We saw the
the size of the tanker!
tourist submarine, a much larger boat than I was expecting, almost
Eventually ended up having lunch at Okonomiyaki Chibo, really nice upscale
place, good okonomiyaki and yakisoba. Hung out with April and Sarah most of
the afternoon, and we started to head off for dinner, but Noreen showed up
and had to buy us a drink and talk for awhile... really nice to see everyone
and say goodbye, play a final hand of gin by the ocean.
In the evening, we got costumed up a little bit and went out to walk down
Kalakaua and see the other costumes (quite a parade, the street was packed!)
then to Moose McGillicuddy's for a bite to eat and partying. Wow. The place
must've had 3-400 people in it, by far the wildest halloween party either of
us had been to. Think that was because of the large contingent of Navy types?
There were some great costumes, very good music on average, and everybody
ended up on the dance floor at one point or another. It was quite easy to
lose Frank in the crowd, but I saw him out there dancing several times,
totally without any need for me to prompt him. Between the hot kitty in the
cat outfit and the chorus girl with the fruit outfit (Jenny, who I danced
with most of the last half of the night) I think I'm danced out for the year
(that or I need to go next weekend!). We didn't quite close the joint, it
was about 3am when Frank and I got exhausted and had to leave, and the party
was still going strong.
1 Nov - Pearl Harbor
Got packed and ready for our plane home, moved our stuff out of the room,
and took a shuttle down to Pearl to see the Arizona memorial and the USS
Missouri. The monument was kind of spooky, and a long wait, and it was nice
to see the big BB-class battleship, just off active duty from the gulf
conflict and moved to Pearl last year. There is a 1-2 hour tour which we
didn't really have time for, but climbed up to the bridge, took a bunch of
pictures, and went through some of the topside rooms. Definitely worth a
The plane ride home was a typical red-eye, didn't get much rest. Time for
work again, and once more into the cold!
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