Last night we camped at Kumu Campground at Anahola Bay, one of the very few private campgrounds on the island. Kumu is run by the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association. It is one of thirty homestead associations controlled by native Hawaiians eligible for lands set aside in trust. It is on the northeast which seems to face the trade winds. The bay is beautiful with the typical crashing waves and lots of golden sand. A stream cuts the bay into two at high tide. A small native village encompasses the bay. The houses are small, unpretentious and designed for wind flow to keep them cool, one story and off the ground by a foot.
We arrived in a windstorm and parked the van between the beach and a bamboo wall used to protect tents from the winds. Trudy is keen to stay in the tent rather than the van. Three in a van works beautifully but it does heat up. We look at the 40% chance of rain tonight forecast and Ian and I try to persuade her that the van might be a better option but no. So we set up the tent and prudently throw a tarp on top. It doesn’t quite cover the tent and practically flattens the tent. Trudy tells us how Wayne would do it. Wayne runs the horseback trips in northern BC that Trudy goes on. ‘He would add a line above the tent just so here and that would hold the tarp up off the tent.’ That may be but we only have one 12ft line, a 6ft beach salvaged faded line, a shoe lace and a foot of blue ribbon. We try alternative tie ups only to see the tent sink lower and lower. We admit defeat and retire to the van.
By now, into our second pound of Costco cheese and having a cooked chicken twice the cost and half the size of the Costco $4.99 chicken we agree with Justin of Whitehorse who a few days ago on hearing Trudy’s horror story of actually having to go INTO Costco, up to now a source of pride for having avoided it, for chicken, replied sanguinely ‘Umm, yes but their roast chicken is the best deal on the island.’, Trudy is coming around to agree with our decision to do a Costco shopping foray. after all, we may need more cheese.
The wind and crashing of the waves doesn’t let up but provides a pleasant sound to sleep by. Our alarms go off: mine at 6:25 and Trudy’s at 6:30. I like to sleep in hence my psychological five minute sleep-in time. Today is a conference pre-meeting day that Trudy has to attend. She is here for the annual Pacific Seabird conference and I get to tag along as her guest, attending the poster session, opening water ceremony, a few select sessions and the dinner. Kumu is the closest campground to the conference, a 30 minute drive south, hence our early alarms. It isn’t really the closest, but the closest that allows camping in a vehicle. Lidgate campground is only ten minutes from the conference site but stories abound about the vigilant patrolling of permitted camps. Josh, Janie’s owner, told how one couple setup a decoy tent but the park staff didn’t fall for it and took down their empty tent and hauled it away. Salt Ponds doesn’t allow vehicle camping either but they turn a blind eye.
We drop Trudy off at the conference resort and scout the place. Hot tub! Outdoor showers, pristine beach, swimming pools and…Starbucks! Ian and I figure we can enjoy the comforts while accessing the van during the day. But not today, we have shopping to do- buy a bigger tarp and put up a tent.
We decided that Wayne was correct and we needed a centre line to hang the tarp on. We used the 12 ft laundry line and scavenged some poles. It looked solid when we left it in the still blowing 40mph winds.
We headed back to the conference to participate in the Sacred Water Ceremony. Trudy had arranged our contribution, a small vial of snow melt from Ian’s garden. Those who wanted to participate brought water from their homeland (chlorinated not allowed and it had to be boiled).
Three young Hawaiian men blew on conch-type shells to start the proceedings. They are students in a school, a school that focuses on Hawaiian culture, they are students of Sabra Kaunas, a renown Kumu (teacher) on Kaua’i who opened the conference with the theme ‘Ho ‘okahi Kakoe i Ke aloha (we are made one through aloha). She had each of us come up, introduce ourselves and say where our water was from, then we poured it into a large turned-wooden bowl. Water came from all over the Pacific including Japan, Alaska, Ottawa, Chile, New Zealand, California and even the Antarctic. Sabra then, sang a Hawaiian song and added salt to it. Not just any salt, but the salt from Salt Pond where we had camped a few days ago. She said the salt had been farmed for hundreds of years. It isn’t sold, just used by local Hawaiians. Then she walked the aisles sprinkling us with sacred wai (water) from which all life comes from.
That was followed by blessing songs, drumming, and dancing. Sabra emphasized that these songs and dances are not the typical ones for tourists but ones of the people.