Offering someone a job in a risky business far from home with no guaranty of success can be tricky. Location was our strong point. Hawaii calls for most people living above the twenty-fifth parallel. Never mind that rent and food alone eat up most of every paycheck. Getting Dave to visit, getting his feet onto the beach of this fair shore gave us our best chance of hooking him and yanking him into our little boat. One impassioned and overly enthusiastic call and he agreed to a visit.
His plane set down on the runway in February, 92’. He’d left Santa Cruz in dismal winter weather. Taking off from SFO the ocean below him slowly shifted from muddy shades of green to deeper blue as he rocketed closer to the islands. He landed in warm weather under sunny skies. In those days, before Jet-way tunnels were installed on Kauai the effect of arriving in paradise was romantic. The graceful young flight attendant in her floral uniform opened the hatch and you walked down a metal staircase directly into a blast of bright tropical sunlight and the moisturizing humidity of paradise. Dave emerged at the top of the stairs with a smile; he may have already had a Mai Tai. He crossed the tarmac to the breezy open air terminal of Kauai’s inter-island airport. We draped him with orchid leis and hugs then directed him to our version of limousine service.
We proudly drove a dull blue 67’ Plymouth Valiant. The best car 150 bucks could buy. It was decorated specifically for arriving visitors. We had glued a sandy beach to the dash including a few shells and a rubber shark and spray painted Aloha Limo across the doors. A cup and a pair of rubber slippers were permanently forgotten on the roof just over the driver’s door, held there by glue. Concerned citizens gestured wildly as we drove off into our two-week recruiting effort.
The quality of the sand at Pilaa is like flax seed. It is shiny, smooth and sensually soothing to the touch after the mid-morning sunshine warms it. Dave was laminated there. He lifted his head to slide a sandy forearm under his chin, coral grains stuck to his cheek. Behind him the infinite mass of the Pacific gently surged under early beams of light. He had dozed off and it wasn’t even noon. “I could get used to this” he said. My spot had lost its optimum temperature. I rolled across the soft incline. After the waves break on the outer reef they ripple in over shallow coral beds and sluice onto shore. The sluicing affect leaves thin patches of sand with the perfect aggregate. The highest grade flax. I rolled to a nice spot to warm my skin after our dive. The swim fins and masks lay half buried next to my spear and a shimmering blue-green fish that would soon be lunch.
The Latitude was having the desired effect on Dave and the three of us were having fun being together. After I finished baking and Dave woke up we would go find a new beach to play at each day. We cooked brightly colored dinners and filled the kitchen with conversation. We plotted dream restaurants or the next morning’s location for our ocean entry. Finally with the warmth of the sun baking him to a light brown Dave began to ask questions relevant to someone planning a move. He committed to a year’s sabbatical from Santa Cruz in order to help us open the evening half of our operation, Pau Hana Pizza. By April he was back to the island with several boxes of Bachelor packing. Important tools of the trade like a Tennis racket, Surfboard, dive gear, swim suits etc. He set up camp in the living room and began looking for a decent rental.