I have good news to report regarding connectivity and successful test calls today for our upcoming ODLP live videoconferences/webcasts from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, today– but before going into that news I’d like to share two rather amazing news items from the local paper in Honolulu. One of these I actually saw, the other I have indirectly experienced, and wished I could have seen!

The first amazing thing which we saw yesterday as we drove back along the coastal road to Waikiki from Pearl Harbor was this: a 20 story rocket launch pad owned by the company Sea Launch:

Sea Launch Pad in Honolulu

We were totally blown away by how HUGE this structure was. According to the local news article “Giant launch pad makes Isle pit stop,” this structure was created to be a mobile oil drilling platform and saw service in the North Sea. Now, it is deployed to the South Pacific to launch rockets into outer space. WOW.

The tower you see to the left of the vessel or structure is the Aloha Tower, which is 10 stories high. This was the largest seafaring vessel I have EVER seen in my entire life. Amazing.

The second news item concerns something else extremely big: Huge waves on the north shore of Oahu. Ever since watching the outstanding 2004 movie “Riding Giants” the existence of “big waves” on the north shore of Hawaii has fascinated me. When I was here last November to keynote the Hawaii Library Association’s annual conference, I learned that the “big wave season” for Oahu’s north shore is later in the winter, usually December through February. I visited the north shore briefly with my aunt that trip, but the waves were low in November. this is a photo I took then (November 12, 2006) of the beach at Camp Erdman, near Makaha, with Waimea Bay in the background:

Camp Erdman beach

Today and yesterday our schedules have been full of equipment setups and testing for videoconferences, so I unfortunately missed the 40′ waves which were reportedly hitting the north shore of Oahu on Monday. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to go OUT into or onto those waves, but it would have been amazing to see them and see others surfing them. This is a photo taken by a photographer for the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper of surfers on Monday in Waimea Bay:

40' waves in Waimea, Hawaii

Whoa! Those are some BIG waves. The following paragraph from the news article really caught my attention:

At Waimea Beach Park, the yellow tape barred people from the left side of the beach, and no one was allowed to body-surf or bodyboard, said Kerry Atwood, an ocean safety officer at Waimea for 18 years. “It’s very dangerous when the big sets come in — the whole area goes underwater,” Atwood said. “It looks like a sandy beach, but when the larger sets come, it surges and you’re under six feet of water.”

Yikes!

If you’re interested in watching movies about surfing huge waves, you can find other suggestions (in addition to “Riding Giants”) on the WikiPedia page for Big Wave Surfing. Saturday before our plane leaves we may head up to the north shore for a chance to see Waimea and the surrounding area again. Compared to the furious bustle surrounding Waikiki I found the north shore to be quite “tranquilo.” A much slower pace, and far fewer people, which are both good things if you’re wanting to find some time to relax anywhere!

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