Letters for Monday, June 3, 2019

Lumahai man was a good friend

This letter is in regards to the dead man found at Lumahai Beach. Lumahai is our daily beach. We bring our dog, swim and walk this beautiful beach.

We became acquainted with this man 15 years ago. We saw him every time we walked the beach. He lived deep in the trees. He took care of the beach as well. He did not want trucks to drive down the beach. He made elaborate sculptures with driftwood. They were to prevent trucks from driving down the beach. He also dug large circular holes to prevent trucks from driving on the sand. I started planting coconuts along the beach. After a while he followed my lead and started planting coconuts, too. Someday the coconuts will be tall and thriving.

He was a very private man who acknowledged us with a nod and nothing else. He would pet our dog every time we passed his way. Sometimes you would hear him howl up in the brush where he lived. He would walk into Hanalei town in his board shorts and long beard to pick up supplies.

We haven’t been to Lumahai since the rains of last year. I always wondered how our friend was doing. I am sad to hear of his death and want to acknowledge this man and his love of Lumahai. I know there are people who had some confrontations with him. After respecting his special space he became our Lumahai friend.

I just want to send him off with knowledge that he will be missed.

Richard Porto, Princeville

Reflections on Memorial Day and what really matters

I recently read an article titled, “Getting lei ready for Memorial Day” (TGI May 24) that takes place in Lihue. It contributes to the veterans who served our country, and they were honored at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe. That happened on May 27. Paying your dedication and tribute to the veterans who served for our country is something that is so important as if you could never see them return from the war again.

Memorial Day is a day where we all honor the fallen soldiers who contributed so much to our country. It is a day where we mourn for the families that lost their family members in the war. It is an important day, so it should be taken seriously, instead of being taken as an extra day off or a day to go to the beach, etc.

When I visited the Memorial Day ceremony at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery, it made me think how important it was to me because of how much time that the soldiers risked on the battlefield. My dad is a veteran and I’m blessed that I have him as my father.

Hearing people making lei for veterans is a great community thing to do, as it honors the veterans who saved and served our country. It also beautifies the veterans cemetery and makes it look wonderful. More than 500 lei were made by multiple Kauai schools, and they’re being dedicated to the veterans on Kauai instead of being shipped to Oahu.

Wendell Batangan, Hanapepe

Do research on types of snorkel masks

Tuesday, a woman was rescued offshore of Ke‘e. Lifeguards found her unresponsive. Reports are she had been using a full-face snorkel mask.

One year ago, our family was visiting Po‘ipu and witnessed a drowning. The man was using a full-face mask.

I returned the next day to ask the lifeguard if he faulted the design of the mask. He said “yes.”

A possible explanation: exhaled CO2 was collecting inside the mask rather than being fully exchanged, as with a normal, straight-line snorkel. This could result in light-headedness and eventual loss of consciousness.

The lifeguard then informed me that the previous day’s victim had been revived in the hospital and was expected to recover.

That week, I read a report in The Garden Island of the then-current controversy about this innovative mask design. I began to caution any snorkeler I saw with a full-face mask that they would need to stay alert and frequently lift the mask to take breaths of fresh air. And I returned the mask I had bought for a full refund.

The Garden Island would do well to again print an article about the perils of the full-face mask. We can all take responsibility for alerting friends and strangers of this potential risk.

Chip Sharpe, Bayside, Calif.

7 Comments
  1. Wailua auntie June 3, 2019 7:14 am Reply

    Thank you Richard, for taking the time to write the Lumahai friend’s story, through your eyes.
    It is appreciated.


  2. CommonSenseish June 3, 2019 7:29 am Reply

    In regards to the full face mask. A few of my family members purchased them last summer and love them, I tried it out and discovered you do have to breathe a bit heavier than a normal snorkel, it was a bit uncomfortable for me, and felt closed in. I’m not much of a snorkeler in the first place so I did not use it for more than just a minute of checking it out. But my family members seem to have no problems using it. Prayers to her family.


  3. KawikaW June 3, 2019 9:51 am Reply

    Aloha Mr Sharpe.. Your post is not accurate. The lady that was rescued at Ke’e was not using a full-face snorkel. The report details have been updated. I have been using a full face snorkel mask for 6 years. An Italian company called Ocean Reef invented them, and I use one of their masks called Aria. The problem is all these knock-offs being made now. Ocean Reef has the patent, so all these companies try to copy the design and have no clue what they are doing. There was an independent laboratory in Florida that did a bunch of testing in April on all the full-face snorkels currently available. Ocean Reef masks were the only masks that passed the testing. ALL of the knock-offs failed…Like you say, do your research…


    1. Jim June 7, 2019 9:43 am Reply

      KawikaW, I agree with you to a certain extent. i purchased the Ocean Reef Aria for my wife to use as she was always getting water in her “standard” die mask (it’s her hair, not her mask : ) ). Being a retired mechanical and structural engineer, I researched the design and its’ attributes and short sided design flaw.

      Great concept, however the designers (IMHO) did not provide an adequate tube diameter for proper air flow from the snorkel to the face mask. The volume of air is NOT sufficient except at very low breathing rates. My guess is they did not perform any fluid dynamics (yes, air is considered a fluid) on the design as the tubes need at least twice the design diameter.

      The original poster is correct in many of his facts. I go to near hyperventilation states when I snorkel at moderate swim rates. I warn anyone I see with them to this danger. Better safe than sorry.


  4. Ka'aona Kipuka June 3, 2019 3:31 pm Reply

    Mr. Porto, DOGS aren’t allowed on Lumahai Beach. You also stated in your article that the recently deceased was against “trucks driving on the beach”. So he would then take it upon himself to dig large holes in the sand as to deter said activity from occurring. Some of us do that with some sense of safety & responsibility applied. So for him to dig those holes just because he was against it was completely stupid on his part. What if the occupants got hurt from the vehicle flipping over due to the holes in the sand. If the county or state didn’t want anyone driving on the beach then they can go about preventing it from happening. Not Joe private citizen just because you’re against something. I’m against idiots speeding through my neighborhood but I’m not out there laying down spike strips…


  5. Kuli waha June 4, 2019 7:01 am Reply

    That guy was blocking off “his” corner of the beach like he owned and didn’t want anybody else on his property. Always see him walking back with bags of groceries. Did you ever see him coming out of the bush with trash? Nope. Just a creepy dirty bum. If you felt such a strong connection with him you should have let him move into your house. That’s hilarious “he nodded at me so we are really good friends “ I won’t even mention him bothering girls down there.


  6. commonsense June 6, 2019 12:48 pm Reply

    Dogs are allowed on beaches as long as they are on a leash because all beaches are public property.


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