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Earth Day 2011

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Hawaii Island , Kauai , Maui , Oahu
Apr 22, 2011

(Blogging from Bistros. Or Moloaa Fruit Stand on Kauai.)

[ Marine Debris: an Ocean Story from NOAA Ocean Media Center on Vimeo .]

Today is beach clean-up day at Mahaulepu on Kauai, Haleiwa Beach Park on Oahu, Kaanapali on Maui, and Kahaluu Beach Park on Big Island. Folks will walk the shoreline or wade into the water. Many will slip snorkel masks over their faces to explore life under the lip of the ocean’s surface. Some will kayak, canoe, surf or sail. A few will participate in the many beach clean up days scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, which just happens to be my dog Nickel’s fifth birthday—or, more accurately, Emancipation-from-the-Pound Day. Adoption Day.

Moderate trade winds are expected for the weekend. And sun. Lots of sun.

When I arrived at Moloaa Sunrise Fruit Stand this morning, two people preceded me in line. A man, hoping to order--and receive--an espresso before the Kauai Bus was scheduled to arrive in some five minutes time, fidgeted. He wore biking gloves on his hands, the only evidence that the bike perched against a palm tree belonged to him.

When the order-taker-cashier-chef finally pushed back a screen window to take the biking-man’s order, he opted for change for a $5 bill—bus fare—instead of his espresso, which the order-taker-cashier-chef said “took a while” to make--like most everything here. A petite woman ordered a Tropical Treat smoothie made with papaya, mango, banana and pineapple. I ordered a soy chai latte.

The surf forecast for the weekend is typical for April. A modest northwest swell is due with “potential for a slightly better pulse moving in for early next week,” according to Surfline Forecaster. Meanwhile, the current south-southwest swell will fade through the weekend only to be replaced by another next week.

Moloaa Fruit Stand is not so much a fruit stand as a snack shop—a healthy, good-for-you snack shop. They serve coffee and tea—with soy as a milk alternative. They serve sandwiches on multigrain bread with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, grated carrots and onions—and nori as a wheat-free bread alternative. They serve vegetarian sushi and tahini salad. And they offer protein powder, spirulina, bee pollen, yogurt, macadamia nuts, dates, shredded coconut and ginger as add-in’s for smoothies. Even before the rest of the island's restaurants woke up to the sustainability movement, this place was already sourcing produce from local farmers, many of whom work their fields and orchards in the valley below. The restaurant also serves locally-made Anahola Granola and sells locally-made Noni Leather.

A few picnic tables sit in the shade of palm trees, but I opted for a counter seat on the lanai the wraps around the kitchen. Lyrics of songs threaded their way from Kong radio playing in the kitchen. Deejay Ron Wiley gave the weekend weather forecast between island tunes by Kalapana and Kimo Kahoano.

Down from me, a young couple waited for their order. He wore a T-shirt that said, “Peoria Rescue.” I figured they were on Kauai for their honeymoon, from Peoria, Illinois, where he was a fire fighter. I know Peoria, Illinois, I wanted to say, but I didn’t, because I was at Moloaa Fruit Stand to write. But I couldn’t help but remember my experiences with Peoria, Illinois, when I worked as an account supervisor for an advertising agency and visited clients at Caterpillar. That was a long time ago.

I sat facing the highway. Moloaa Fruit Stand is located just north of the 16 mile marker on Highway 56, and so I saw the bus when it rolled in—10 minutes late.  Kauai style.

I will spend this Earth Day afternoon as a docent at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge doing my part to instill the wonder of nature upon the hundreds of visitors who stop by this top sightseeing spot on Kauai. I expect to hear the eerie mating calls of wedge-tailed shearwaters in their burrows under naupaka bushes. I expect to see Laysan albatrosses flying overhead. Watch great frigatebirds chase down red-footed boobies in pursuit of food. Chat with Thomas-the-Amazing-Photographer, my fellow volunteer Charlie, and Ranger Jen. Maybe we’ll even see some humpback whales still plying Hawaii’s waters.

And you? How will you honor this day and the planet on which we are so honored to call home?

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