Tuesday, April 2, 2002 Waiting to have dinner at the Keei Cafe.

Petroglyphs Carved into the Lava by Ancient Hawaiians - It sure looks to me like the man at the bottom is sailing a windsurfer with a fully battened sail

Today was another fine day. I had a nice slow start to the morning spent reading about the geology of the Island. It is a lot more interesting than I had originally thought it would be. Then I swam out to the point south of Hookena. The visibility in the water is still limited from the high surf we have had for the last few days so I swam a lot faster thinking about how sharks like to attack in murky water (a high school senior had his foot bitten off by a shark last week on Kauai while boogie boarding in murky water caused by a lot of rain their). Of course there are no rivers here on the Kona side of Hawaii and when I say the visibility was poor it was still about 35-40 feet, which is better than it ever gets back on Martha's Vineyard. In any case I swam pretty hard and it took me 11 minutes 15 seconds out and 13 minutes coming back. About twice as fast as the first time I did it. My conditioning is paying off, I have become a pretty strong swimmer. I feel pretty good about that. One of my highest priority goals for this winter's trip was to get in shape, to get strong, to strengthen my back feel good rather than feeling pain. I'm still learning how to deal with my back. I've cut out the running for now and it does feel better, I was getting what seem to me to be the first signs of sciatica. I've been there and I don't want to go back. Swimming always seems to make me feel better. This is a great place to swim because there is so much to see.

Petroglyphs carved into the Lava at Pu'u Loa in Volcano National Park. The small holes are where the ancient Hawaiians put the umbilical cord and covered it with a rock so that the newborn would be protected by the spirit of the place and lead a long and healthy life.

I spent the rest of the morning playing around with casting 'petroglyph' turtles in the black sand on the beach. I had made a plaster 'master' which I pressed into the sand. Then I removed it and poured plaster into space it left. I reinforced it with some wire and let it harden before digging it out. A layer of the black sand sticks to the plaster so that when it is turned over it sort of looks like it was made out of the lava.

First Petroglyph Turtle Hanging around my tent site

My vision is to make a larger version of the "Petroglyph turtle" cast out of concrete in the sand which I will take to Two Step, the bay next to Pu'uhonau o Honaunau, the Place of Refuge,and sink it on the sand patch surrounded by coral where a bunch of cement blocks have been placed spelling out "ALOHA". I figure it is a perfect place to put a nice piece of sculpture, especially of a turtle since Honaunau is well known as a place the turtles love to hang out.

Having made two versions of "Petroglyph Turtle" I knew I needed to look again at some turtles swimming to see how well I was getting it. I think I'll try making more versions in the smaller more manageable size, before deciding what the large one that I make for Two Step will be like. It is an interesting challenge: first I've got to make it and then I've got to figure out how to get it out into the bay and lower it into place. I do wish I had an underwater housing for my video camera. It would make a fun video. Maybe I can find someone with a housing to video the project.

Sunday, April 7, 2002 Having breakfast at the Coffee Shack

I'm feeling pretty good, if a little hung over. Yesterday I finished making my big "Honau" (turtle in Hawaiian). On Friday I built the wire frame, the 'Ferro' part, then yesterday I embedded the wire frame in concrete, the 'cement' part, and so now I have a Ferro-cement turtle curing at my campsite at Hookena.

Making the wire structure for the Ferro-Cement Honu at my Hookena tent site studio

When I signed it this morning, the concrete was hard to scratch, but I still need to keep it covered and damp for a couple more days for the cement to cure. I don't want to end up breaking one of the flippers just because I lacked the patience to wait for it to get strong enough to move. It is also a good thing to have some time to figure out how I am going to move the sculpture to Honaunau Bay, launch it into the water, get it out over the sand patch, and then lower it gently down to its new home next to the ALOHA spelled out in the sand with cement blocks.

Stating to cover wire frame with concrete

It has been a lot of fun doing this project. It is something new so I have to figure out how to do a lot of technical things I haven't done before. I seem to like to do things like that, where I have to solve problems as I go along. It sure keeps me from being bored. The feedback has also been good. One thing about making sculpture in public places is that people like to see what you are doing and talk about it. So far some kids think it's cool, and both the 'haoles" (white people) and the Hawaiians I've talked to like it. So it is pretty certain that art critics would be dismissive because nobody needs an art critic to elucidate them about what the sculpture is, what it means, or the reasons why they should like it.

It's a great feeling finishing a piece. Note the black volcanic sand covering the concrete.

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