Truly lucky we live in Hawaii
Most veteran readers of this column would probably agree that in the process of presenting subjects of interest to recreational boaters, I have often painted a rather negative picture of the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources, as well as the Legislature that controls its purse strings.
But no matter how accurate that picture may have been, with Thanksgiving just four days away, perhaps it's time to lighten up on the criticism and point out some of the things Hawaii's recreational boaters have to be thankful for.
The first thing that comes to my mind -- after a glance from my office window overlooking the Ala Moana Bridge -- is the DLNR Boating Division's quick action a couple of weeks ago to have the Ala Wai Canal's trash trap emptied.
An earlier heavy rainstorm had filled the trap to overflowing with both natural and manmade debris. By hiring a contractor to scoop out and truck away the debris before it sank or drifted away, the harbormaster kept several tons of trash from polluting the harbor and ocean, as well as creating a hazard to navigation.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will reserve comment for another column on the fact that the Boating Special Fund had to pay for picking up after polluters from as far away as Manoa and Palolo Valley.
Undoubtedly, Hawaii's comparative lack of air and water pollution is something all ocean users can be thankful for. Our relatively small population on the most isolated island chain on earth is thankfully incapable of creating the amount of contamination that's found along many continental coastlines.
Honolulu's motor vehicles and industry obviously produce air pollutants, as we see those days when the Chamber of Commerce will point to the sky and call it vog (volcanic fog), rather than smog. But, for the vast majority of the time, the near-constant trade winds keep our skies clear and incredibly blue.
Our surrounding waters maintain their rich azure hue in much the same way.
The shear volume of the Pacific Ocean and its currents that flow around us like rivers quickly dilute and carry off the various pollutants we constantly pour into it.
Finally, we must be eternally grateful for the ambient temperature of our air and ocean as they are unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else in the world.
According to the Hawaii Data Book, the surrounding ocean temperature ranges from a comfortable 70 degrees to a tepid 81-plus degrees over the year. Warm enough for comfort, but cool enough to deflate most hurricanes.
Combine that with daytime air temperatures that similarly go on average from a low of 70 degrees to a high of 84 and you have got to wonder why anyone would live anywhere else.
So whether your ocean recreation involves swimming, surfing, diving, paddling, sailing, fishing or just wading in a tide pool, why not take some time this week to give some thanks for being able to say, "Lucky I live Hawaii."