Much to be thankful for in Hawai`i

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 11/23/02)
By Ray Pendleton

Although I often examine the problems and concerns of Hawaii¹s ocean recreation community in this column, with Thanksgiving Day just before us, perhaps now is a good time to reflect on how blessed we really are.

To begin with, I would challenge anyone living here to take a globe of the world and spin it slowly while trying to find a more perfect place to live.

Situated, as we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just south of the Tropic of Cancer and some 2,000 miles from the nearest major land mass, our location, for many reasons, is hard to beat.

Our weather is as close to year-round perfection as you might find anywhere and it's due to several factors.

The waters that surround us are warm, but not so warm that they encourage the numbers of hurricanes and tropical storms often seen by those living in the Caribbean and along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. There, the warm shallow waters and the Gulf Stream tend to promote storm production.

Also, that meteorological feature called the Pacific High - an area of high pressure that wanders about to the north and east of the islands - not only cools us with trade winds in the summer, but also creates one of the best sailing venues in the world and makes our air pollution disappear.

In the winter, that same Pacific High often creates a buffer to ward off most of the effects from storms that cross to the north of us. And yet the energy generated by those storms continues on unimpeded, to develop into the North Shore's giant winter break.

Hawaii's isolated location in the middle of the ocean - and some might say our economy - also largely insulates us from major population spikes and their corresponding environmental pollution.

Certainly, we do have some measurable water pollution in the form of urban runoff and sewage and petroleum spills, but not nearly so much as that faced by most mainland communities.

For example, I can't imagine an Atlantis Submarine operation offshore most mainland coastal cities anytime soon. Or, for that matter, being able to easily spot colorful, tropical fish in transparent, turquoise water in any U.S. commercial harbor, other than Honolulu's.

When you can look out over the ocean and watch a humpback whale breach beneath the brilliant arch of a rainbow, or be entertained by dozens of dolphins spinning across white-crested waves, you know you have much to be thankful for.

And, I would finally submit that perhaps the biggest blessing bestowed on us was Hawaii's inclusion into the United States of America.

For those who would argue otherwise, I would suggest they give some foreign ports a try before making their final judgment.

With something like 70 percent of the earth covered by water, there is a huge selection of islands to chose from. But I have to believe most people would be hard pressed to come up with even a close second to Hawaii's archipelago.

The Eagles noted in a song years ago,"Call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye." Still, I'm willing to take the chance. How about you?

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