Aloha!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Opihi Pickers...

Since I moved to the island there has always been something wonderful about "opihi". It tastes good, the shells are fun to search for and collect, and I really like the local band "Opihi Pickers" (click here if you want to hear a song). BUT I have never met an actual "opihi picker". Until today...

Last year 3 men died on our island alone picking the opihi. It's pretty dangerous stuff. You hang on the edge of the old lava walls and peel the opihi off with a knife. The little buggers grow on the side of the lava where the Earth meets the ocean. That means you are literally hanging by your toes and finger tips, holding a knife prying the creatures off, while waves are smashing and slaming you into the lava walls.


After my LONG run I was taking my usual Sunday adventure and I saw this man hanging on the side of the cliffs. Of course I'm curious... he was picking opihi. Nearly seven years on the island and the first time I ever met a REAL opihi picker and a 100% PURE BLOODED Hawaiian man. Yep, most the locals have a little of "this" or a touch of "that" in their blood. He was 100%!


He gave me the scoop on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING Hawaiian. We talked about Pele and King Kamehameha. He told me all the legends of the island and the canoes. He let me in on secrets and wonders of the Big Island. We talked about how cool it is that the Hawaiian Alphabet only has 12 letters & symbols (Pi'apa) and that he thinks I should go back to teaching because he gets a "vibe" that kids here need me... about that time I started to miss my class at Kahakai, then I missed the little kids of Costa Rica, the tears came... I changed the "school" subject to more fun things, like the ocean and surfing...


About the time we were finishing up our talk on the best places to hide on the island and which beaches have the most beautiful coral and reefs he asked if I like cliff jumping...

YES! Is that even a question?? Who doesn't like launching off rocks into the sea!?! I've jumped a couple spots, he took me to a new one (nothing like hanging with a local for the afternoon). When he asked if I like low or high, imediately I told him "high" and his face lit up like we were about to go jump from the clouds of heaven. It was absolutely beautiful!

The entire Sunday was just "one of those days", where it just went from a good long run to a great afternoon, to a perfect evening...

Mai ho`oni i ka wai lana mâlie.
Let the peaceful enjoy their peace...

.



19 Comments:

Blogger Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures! The island sounds amazing, and I swear that your friend looks JUST like a guy in my hot yoga class :) Love the cliff jumping - especially into the clear, blue, and WARM waters! Sounds like a great day!!!

March 1, 2009 at 7:52 PM

 
Blogger Brad said...

brilliant post.... I'm selling everything... well, apart from my bikes and running shoes and ipod... and I'm moving to Hawaii!!!!!!

March 1, 2009 at 8:26 PM

 
Blogger Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

I just found this on the Internet: http://www.sycycles.com/prod_detail.asp?bid=2&catid=18&pid=71
I don't know if you can see the site, but anyway I found out that they make a 62cm Argon bike frame in Taiwan - is your bike a specific model?
BTW, I really enjoyed your article. While I would not have wanted to jump off the cliff I would have really liked to meet that guy.

March 1, 2009 at 9:07 PM

 
Blogger ADC said...

Beautiful pics Bree. You so make me wanna live on the Big island. :-)

March 2, 2009 at 12:32 AM

 
Blogger Jen said...

I love this story!
What a beautiful day!

March 2, 2009 at 4:14 AM

 
Blogger Damon Steele said...

Bree's got a boyfriend! HA! Just kidding. Cool pics

March 2, 2009 at 5:05 AM

 
Blogger Jenna said...

Sigh. Why do I live in the snow when there are clearly better options. Great pictures!! Great stories!! And has anyone ever told you that you just gobble up life! You crazy cliff jumper you!

March 2, 2009 at 6:53 AM

 
Blogger Beth said...

What an amazing place to live! I'm glad you were able to have a great day and enjoy all the adventure on your island! :)

March 2, 2009 at 6:58 AM

 
Blogger Kiet said...

Oh Bree, you know me as a jokester but all kidding aside, I think this post is a good reflection of how open you are as a person. Like I've told you so many times, you must have amazing karma. Now me, had I run into that guy, I would have immediately thought about the freaky guy from Silence of the Lambs and hightail it outta there. Living in the city is very anti-opening and very pro-judging and yes, I have terrible karma.

March 2, 2009 at 9:57 AM

 
Blogger Cricket said...

I'm jealous of you right now! I wish I was there- it sounds so fun and looks soo good right now! I miss Hawaii- we've gotta get back there soon.
Love you-Cricket

March 2, 2009 at 12:54 PM

 
Blogger Charisa said...

Wow, really cool! I'd never heard of those before!

March 2, 2009 at 2:34 PM

 
Blogger Teresa said...

I love how you accept peoples differences, listen and learn everywhere you go. You are an inspiration and love this story, your passions shine through in everything you do! You look so free on that cliff jump...but OUCH!!! What is the secret to making it not hurt?!

March 2, 2009 at 7:27 PM

 
Blogger Marni said...

Wow..those pics look great! That water is so blue! :)
-marn

March 3, 2009 at 1:09 AM

 
Blogger tinaparker87 said...

Love the pics. The teacher is in you when you are ready.. Lots of races to be won:)

March 3, 2009 at 5:17 AM

 
Blogger Speed Racer said...

Wow. Just beautiful. I love the idea of a Sunday adventure. After my long runs all the "adventure" I have the energy for is sitting on the couch watching Law & Order.

Would I get slapped in the face if I said that your glutes look totally amazing in that first picture of you jumping?

March 3, 2009 at 8:06 AM

 
Blogger beth said...

wow. you've always got a GREAT story...glad you met your Opihi picker to brighten the day. LOVE the picutre of you jumping. that's a total keeper.

March 3, 2009 at 12:07 PM

 
Blogger CoachLiz said...

I don't think I could do the jumping bit. I am totally scared of the feeling of falling. But it looks cool. What do Opihi taste like?

March 3, 2009 at 1:54 PM

 
Blogger allyson said...

Oh my goodness the water is beautiful. It was snowing here in Philadelphia Sunday and all Monday.

March 3, 2009 at 3:09 PM

 
Blogger kerrie said...

that first picture of you jumping is one of the best i've seen...i think it really defines where you are at right now, -just going for it!

March 5, 2009 at 7:40 PM

 

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