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Oahu

There is this funny thing that happens when you cross the international date line. Besides the floating checkered line, if you are traveling from west to east you actually go “back in time”. When booking your hotel for arrival you need to select the night before your actual departure date not the same day. I made this mistake and arrived on the island without a reservation for that night. Thankfully we were able to call ahead and get a room at the same hostel we would be staying at the following night.

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My first morning on the island started early as headed over to Pearl Harbour which was an hour journey on the local transit. Upon my arrival I was required to check my bag before I was allowed to enter the historical site. I queued up for my free USS Arizona ticket and visited this site first. A short video of the events surrounding the site and the attack on PH was shown before boarding a shuttle boat to the sunken battleship. The USS Arizona memorial is quiet and peaceful place. The memorial is set floating perpendicular to the length of the sunken ship allowing full view of the ship. On this morning the water was flat and easy to see the ship below the surface. One thing I did notice was the oil still leaking from the Arizona and floating on the surface immediately overtop of the wreckage. In the memorial is a dedication wall to all the men aboard the ship that lost their lives the day of the attack. In addition to the main list is a smaller list at the bottom of all the men that survived the attack and have since passed away. Upon their passing, most of the survivors have elected to be interned in the sunken wreckage with their fellow sailors with the dedication wall reflecting their presence. After short ride back to the main tourist centre I purchased tickets to visit the USS Bowfin and the USS Missouri. The USS Bowfin was one of the submarines used during WW2 and is now open to the public for tours. If you have never been on a submarine I recommend taking the opportunity to visit one. The interior has been restored to original condition and truly gives you the sense of being trapped in a floating coffin. My final stop at Pearl Harbour was at the USS Missouri. The Missouri was docked on the day of the attack and sunk. The ship was “refloated”, repaired within two years, and returned to action in the Pacific to fight the final year of conflict in the Pacific. The Missouri is most famous for being the venue of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. The USS Arizona and USS Missouri are now parked a couple hundred yards apart with the two ships respectively signifying the beginning and end of WW2 for the American military.

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After finishing my visit I grabbed a bus back into town in search of a Walmart. I was in need of a tent and other related supplies for the upcoming week of camping that I would be doing. After a successful adventure I dropped my purchases back at the hostel and headed for the beach. Waikiki is a popular spot for many tourists to layout in the sun and go for a swim. This beach was almost as busy as Boracay but much more developed off the beach with regards to hotels and business. I met up with Kat for dinner and we caught up on each other’s adventures from the day.

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Friday morning I parted ways with Kat as she was headed home and I was headed out to play another tournament. I picked up my rental car, loaded up all my gear for the week ahead, and began my journey to the east coast of the island. I stopped at almost every lookout and snapped pictures along the way as the vistas were beautiful. I arrived at my destination of Waimanalo Bay well before my estimated time of arrival as the island is much smaller than it appears on a paper map. My destination for the President’s Day weekend was the Kaimana Klassic. There is nothing quite like camping on the beach, drinking beer, and playing ultimate for a long weekend. I setup camp expecting it to be windy and raining on me in the middle of the night. I went for dinner and returned to my site finding my tarp blown out but my tent still holding it’s ground. I took down my tarp because I didn’t want to listen to it flapping in the wind all night. This turned out to be a poor decision because it rained in the middle of the night. My low end tent started to leak in the height of the storm and I got up to remedy the situation. The easiest solution was to wrap my tent with the tarp and hope for the best. The solution worked for the night and through the rain of the next morning. Once the sun came out I was able to bail the water out of my tent that had worked it’s way in the night before. That’s right, there were puddles in my tent. Thankfully the weather took a turn for the better and it didn’t rain for the remainder of my time on the island.

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Once the tournament had finished up on Monday I packed up my gear into my car and headed north along the coast to my next camping spot at Malaekahana State Recreation Area. Even though it was a holiday Monday the grocery store was still open and I picked up some snacks for the evening along the way. I arrived at my destination just before the gate was closed for the night. In Oahu, every night the front gate to the park is locked preventing vehicle traffic from entering or exiting which means if you were locked out it was a 2 km hike into the grounds to find your campsite in the middle of the dark. It was dusk at this point and I setup my tent as quickly as possible in the fading light. I gathered only what I needed for the night and tossed it in the tent before I headed out to the local beach for some star gazing. The stars were bright and unobstructed but the critters on the sand grabbed my attention. As the moon had come out the Ghost Crabs had taken to the shorelines in search of a late night snack. Thankfully they were not interested in me and were peaceful in their hunt for food.

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Tuesday morning I packed up my tent and hit the road to travel along the north shore to visit the large waves and warm waters. It would appear that I had just missed a competition that had just wrapped up the day before and I wouldn’t be around long enough to see the beginning of the next competition that would be starting the coming Thursday. I stopped in a few locations watching some of the locals take to the surf and enjoyed many of the views. At this point I opted to head for the west coast as it was the leeward side of the island. It was a scenic journey the whole way with little traffic to speak of. I travelled up the coast until the road ended at a state park and public beach. I parked my car and suited up for a swim in the waves. The shoreline was steep at this location causing the waves to crash onto the beach which made for perfect conditions to play in the waves. The water was crystal clear blue and warmer than the windward side of the island. The waves were powerful and came crashing down from great heights. Here is an idea of the highs and lows of the surf. When standing at your waist the ocean would drop as low as your knees when being sucked into a large wave and could come over the top of your fully extended arms above your head. I had a blast playing around in the surf for over an hour. I showered at the provided facilities and headed south along the coast in search of food before heading back to my campsite on the opposite side of the island for the night.

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Wednesday was my final day on Oahu. I was up early, cruised the coastline one last time before heading into town to return the rental car. I spent my remain hours on the beach of Waikiki enjoying one final sunset before getting on the local bus to the airport. To my benefit I had checked in online before arriving at the airport because the line up for Air Canada was approximately 300 people long. I was able to walk right up to baggage drop and onto security in under 5 minutes.

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My Oahu visit was exactly what I could have hoped for. I didn’t enjoy the crowed and commercialized Waikiki beach and area. I did enjoy the rest of the island including the panoramic views, terrific local food, and the fantastic beaches and state parks. When I return to this island I will likely plan my visit the same way with the majority of it spent outside of the core tourist district.

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Happy Kaimana

The Kaimana Klassik is in it’s 28th year and attracts approximately 32 teams from the USA and nations across the Pacific rim. There are two divisions, Open and Women’s, with a deep talent in both pools of play. The food was great, the weather turned great, and the experience was great-er. Let’s talk about the weekend.

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Let’s talk venue. The camping site is at Waimanalo Bay is just 10 yards from the public beach, a beautiful background to setup your camouflage tent in front of. I brought a tarp for shelter because apparently that is the Canadian thing to do. I looked like a crazed camper for over an hour digging holes to secure my tent and tarp as the winds were forecasted to gust into the evening and overnight. Upon checking in at player registration I was advised to tie my tent to a tree because the winds were going to be even stronger on Saturday. The fields were located at the Waimanalo Polo Fields just across the street from the camping site, a short 10 minute walk from tent to field. Headquarters was a cube van, the multipurpose tent was open sided with a stage at one end and the food at the other. The fields looked and played great throughout the weekend with 8 fields setup in total. The toilet situation was a cluster of 20 port-a-loos with outdoor lighting for evening visits although the entire field was surround by thick bush and it was well watered by the end of the weekend.

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Let’s talk weather. The weather was an animal. It started out just a bit breezy before turning gusty and then downright hurricane like. Then the rain came in the middle of the night soaking everything. The rain only let up long enough to get to the fields and get the first round of games started before it was like being in Seattle in February. The rain fell sideways through the first game and into the second game before a delay was announced. Once the system broke the sun came out for the rest of the weekend with the wind slowly tapering off through Saturday, Sunday, and being rather calm on Monday. It was down right hot Monday morning at 9 A.M. as we played our quarterfinal match up.

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Lettuce talk food. Included in the player package was a disc and reusable branded plastic cup, plate and chalice. Kaimana offered easily the best spread I have seen at any sporting tournament that I have participated in to date. There was tin foil to cover your plate to offer a sanitary surface to load your food onto at each meal. Every morning was the typical bread product, spread product, and fresh fruit. The bonus here is the smoothy station that was a blender continuously going producing a never-ending slurry of ice cold fruity beverage. Instead of using ice cubes and diluting the smoothy, frozen fruit was used to chill the cocktail without losing the flavour. Yes, there was an alcoholic version if you so requested. Lunch was catered in at an additional cost but it was worth it. I had some succulent pig and rice for lunch that I won’t soon forget. There was also traditional Poke and other items to enjoy that were fairly priced. Dinner was a theme each night and there was always lots to eat. Seconds were available to all after the buffet had been open for a reasonable amount of time each night. In addition to the scheduled meal times were the snacks that randomly appeared throughout the day. There was pop, juice, fruit, cheese balls, chocolates, and much more. The beer was tapped from dawn to dawn so there was no reason for an empty cup. Each night the liquor bar would open with two featured mixed drinks along with the standard five liquors that were over poured and mixed to your choosing.

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Let’s talk teams. I was part of the Aloha Spirit Team (Hat team) in the open division along with 17 other of my closest stranger friends. We were joined by some of the remaining players of a former team that has played every Kaimana since it’s beginnings, Sarcastic Fringeheads. Thank you to Nathan for the team shirts! On the team were a few residents of the Hawaiian islands, a bunch of west coasters, some east coasters, and 3 Canadians. The talent was deep and nothing says camaraderie like pass the beer jug. I had a blast playing with this team for the weekend with our showcase performance was beating Stanford in a sideways rainstorm. On the championship Monday we managed to win our way into the semi-finals of the beer bracket. We battled the Japanese team, Freaks, with their smooth and disciplined style of play knocking us out of contention. Not to go unnoticed was the women’s bracket. There were more teams in the Women’s bracket than the open division which was a welcome change and offered up some great play throughout the weekend.

Let’s talk volunteers. This tournament was run completely by volunteers and there was no shortage of passion at this tournament. The King of Kaimana, Mondo, was in attendance again this year helping out and playing a few points to extend his streak of playing in every edition of Kaimana to date. I have to extend a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this tournament be it in the planning, execution, or clean up and to all the sponsors. Your work does not go unnoticed and it will be one tournament that I would be excited to return to again in the future.