30. On Board a Submarine

Bob & Betty on Submarine30.  On Board a Submarine

The front page of the Hilo newspaper had the story that a WWII pocket submarine was anchored in Hilo Bay.  They were on a final goodwill tour around the Pacific before retiring.  One of the sailors on board was from Honokaa, a small town up the coast near Waipio Valley, and the folks there were throwing a luau for the sub crew.  The captain and a skeleton crew were left on board.

Thinking we had an opportunity for some fun and a gesture of aloha, we grabbed a couple of pineapples from the store and launched our little sailboat to go out to the submarine to hand the pineapples to the guys left on board who were missing the luau.

Why in the world did they anchor the sub way out by the entrance to the Bay, exposed to the swells coming in off the Pacific?  We sailed alongside the sub bobbing up and down, and yelled “ahoy!” to a sailor on board, as we waved the pineapples.  They invited us to come aboard – wow!  I looked at the sailor standing on the round side of the bobbing sub.  He was wearing regulation leather soled shoes, and had his hand extended to help us up — chance it?  I took a deep breath and he pulled me aboard and helped me walk across the deck where I met the captain.

The captain thanked us for the pineapples, and explained it was their last tour.  He said his wife thought he had been “lost at sea” for 30 years, and wouldn’t know what to do with him when he got home.  Then he asked if we would like a tour below.

The steps of the ladder going down were so far apart that Betty couldn’t reach the second step, so one sailor lowered Betty to another sailor down below.  The inside of this “pocket” submarine was very tight, and we had to turn sidewise to move along the passageways.  Nobody with claustrophobia here! We saw the stacked bunks, and the control room.  It was hard to imagine living for many days in such tight confinement. I greatly prefer boating on top of the water!

The sailors lifted us up and out, and we slid down the side to our 10 ft O’Day, and sailed back to the beach.  Another once-in-a-lifetime experience on Hilo Bay.

Has anyone ever been on a submarine or Navy ship?  Love to hear your story!

29. A Taste of Sailing

29.  A Taste of Sailing

We got our first taste of sailing when our insurance agent, Norm Westly, told us a group was starting a sailing club, and we could rent a small boat.   Would we be interested?  Absolutely!  It was a 10 ft O’Day.  As a prerequisite, I taught Betty to swim in the  pool before we could use it.  It was great fun to sail around the smooth water in the Bay inside the breakwater wall.

One of the club members had a 19 ft Mariner, and invited us to go out for a sail on a beautiful afternoon.  When we rounded the end of the breakwater and moved into the gentle swells coming in off the Pacific, I looked at Betty to see her big smile — we were both hooked!  There is something about the rhythmic movement of waves as a boat sails over and slides down; rocking like a cradle to calm the spirit.
The club joined some power boaters to do a boat parade along the Bay front.  Our neighbor was a carpenter, and helped us build a thatched hut on our little sailboat, and a sign, “Hicks Mobile Home.”

A local builder was Hicks Homes, and the judges thought we were a commercial float, so we didn’t win. The club president gave us a bottle of champagne anyway, because everyone thought we had the best boat.

Any boaters out there who would like to share their first boating experience?

28. Living on a Cinder Cone

28.   Living on a Cinder ConeUnknown

The MacEntire house was perched on the side of an old extinct volcanic cinder cone called Halai Hill. However, we learned that when lava moved below the mountain it could affect different areas above — like where we were.

One morning we awoke when the house started to vibrate, and we were like dice in a shaker.  We could hear Mary Mac’s glass collections falling upstairs.  EARTHQUAKE!

We jumped out of bed and ran to the street in case the house slipped from it’s hillside perch! When the house (and street) stopped shaking, we went upstairs to check Mary’s glass treasures.  To our surprise, all the little vases had fallen onto a rug, and nothing was broken. Whew!  To give an idea of the vigor of the shaking, a jar of mayonnaise in the refrigerator had tipped over.

We were “shaken up” but no harm done — another experience of living in Hawaii.

27. God’s Provision for Housing

Unknown27.  God’s Provision for Housing

After the movie at the Palace Theater, we were met by an older couple in the lobby who inquired if I taught at the college.  That confirmed, they asked if we would be interested in house-sitting.  Our lease at the Low apartment was almost up, so yes, we would.  They asked us to follow them to their house.  Our first clue that something unusual was happening was when they drove away in an old Bentley, and headed up Halai Hill, an extinct cinder cone, – to the end of the street.

And so we met Mac and Mary MacEntire, and moved into the lower level apartment of their house while they went journeying around the world.

The house was perched on the side of the hill with a fantastic panoramic view of Hilo, the ocean, and cane fields behind us.  Our one bedroom apartment was behind the garage and workshop.  The main house was a flight of stairs up, and the gardener had a small apartment below us.images-1

Johnny, the gardener, worked at a papaya packing plant, and brought rejects for us to enjoy!  He also brought us wonderful avocados, bananas, oranges and pineapples from the yard.  Mac had anthuriums growing under fern trees, and huge beautiful orchids.

Mac was a self-made millionaire welder whose hobby was helping world sailboaters who ventured into Hilo Bay.  He had a telescope on the porch to check boaters arriving, and if they looked okay, he took his loaner jeep down and often brought them up for dinner and to share their stories of sailing the South Pacific.  We loved to be included!

How long would they be gone?  Until they got back!  And then it was okay to stay on rent free for a while in case they wanted to go again.  Their second trip was to the mainland U.S. to go “hunting” for blue glass in desert areas – Mary Mac collected blue glass and antique bottles they found.  This time, we were to pay “rent” – whatever the utilities were for the house while they were gone the first time.  I thought it was about $40 a month – so we paid that for the rent.

Our house sitting for the Macs lasted three years.  Thank you Lord for such delightful housing!

God’s provision – the house on the hill overlooking Hilo Bay.

Coming! “Danny the Dragon”

Danny #4 - pComing! Danny the Dragon

People keep asking me, “When is the next book?”

We are excited that Ashley Otis, our artist extraordinaire who illustrated Mouse in the Manger, is hard at work on illustrations for Danny the Dragon.  Ashley has completed four illustrations so far and they are gorgeous!

Danny the Dragon is a delightful rhyming story of a gentle dragon who has the courage to be his own person, and the courage to stand up to challenges when needed.

Heeeeeeere’s Danny!