It’s been two months since I’ve swum to Black Rock. That’s how long it took to recover my strength from the swine flu that nearly killed me. It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning and I get right in the water at Hanakao’o Beach Park, pull on my fins and propel myself below the surface like a fish. No matter that my body protests against the exertion, today I’m going to do it. I come up for a breath and find myself meeting the challenging look of a crew member of a canoe about to be launched. Will I be such a fool as to block their progress? He decides that I will not. It is quickly apparent that this is no mere outing and that these are serious Hawaiians, three strong fellows covered in the ritual cross-hatching of sacred Hawaiian tatoo, two others concealing their fat under heavy shirts, and another so covered in leis, the ceremonial leaf and flower garlands of Hawaii, that he might have been an offering to the gods. Where were they going? I had no idea, but it did strike me as a happy coincidence that I had been selected, so to speak, to be the first spirit they met on the waters. They would surely not have attached much importance to it, but then spirits are notoriously elusive.
Later, after I had returned from my swim and was reading on the rocks just south of the beach, a tourist lady asked me why there were so many flowers in the sand. I told her I was reasonably certain that it had something to do with some kind of sacred voyage that had embarked earlier.