Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography:

1960-1963


page 39

HAWAII
April, 1962

We also visited the island of Hawaii for one week in April. On our way back, we barely missed the plane, but it flew around in a circle and picked us up!.
This was my second visit to the Main Island, aka "Orchid Isle", while Fran and Elizabeth Shepard had some interesting experiences dating back to 1946 when they had had to run for high grounds on north Oahu at the time he was writing the first edition of his "Submarine Geology" and was chased by the April 1, 1946 Tsunami;
typically, "Frantic Fran" had pushed the drafts away and used the opportunity to study the heights to which the tsunami had risen by recording the elevation of the debris lines around the islands - which he published in 1950 together with G.A. Macdonald and Doak Cox ("The Tsunami of April 1, 1946"; Bull.Scripps Inst.Oceanog., v.5, pp.391-455);
in the second edition of "Submarine Geology", he had some good details to tell about Hilo which he pointed out to us when we drove through there.

Right after that, we visited the Mauna Kea Macadamia Nut Factory, where the packing ladies generously offered: "Go ahead, fill your pockets!" I looked stunned and asked: "Our bags?" "Yes" - upon which I pulled a dozen sand sampling bags out of my pockets and filled them to their surprise and delight.

Herb and I SCUBA-dived at Captain Cook's Monument and were astonished to see the sharp limit at exactly 100 foot depth between living coral above and bare seafloor below. I think it was on that occasion I got the idea to study reefgrowth on submerged lava flows. Little did I know that a year later I would be diving for Black Coral in Maui with Ricky Grigg who then went on in the mid-1960's to dive on actual lava-flows off Hawaii (see video: "Fire Under the Sea: The Origin of Pillow Lava") - which combination inspired my idea on "lava-surfing"

One morning while surveying we came across Bill H.Westerland, a retired gentleman who had lived in his car and waded through seagrass for several months to recuperate from some bad disease. He was now very happy and healthy and was proud to be our first (and only) "agent" to send us survey data after we left the island. I could envisage a Corps of Retirees doing beach surveys and hope Sea Grant people will implement the suggestion!

In the four decades since our visit, and also checking the WWW in 2002, I found that:

  • Hawaii is twice as large as all other Hawaiian islands together
  • it boasts 11 of the world's 13 climatic zones
  • it served as base for one OTEC experiment and still has the interesting "Energy Park" initiated by John Craven, self-anointed "Ancient Mariner"
  • it is growing new real estate by continuous eruptions of Kilauea
  • the next Hawaiian Island, Loihi (already has 5040 links!), is in the throes of birth while passing over Tuzo Wilson's Hawaiian "Hot Spot "
  • here are the Hawaiian beaches surfed on the WWW , with links and acknowledgments.
    BLO fecit 20021205 snow and Sinterklaas: treated ourselves to mai-tai and macademia nuts... - COMMENTS, PLEASE ? - next page - contents