Friday, March 23, 2007

Mike Lee's "I ran the rock" club

If you're a professional woodturner and visit O'ahu, you might be lucky enough to join the Mike Lee "I ran the rock" club. Sharon and Pat had arranged a rendevous with Mike at Ko'olina Cove where Mike works out when the waves aren't good enough for surfing. This is a nice, quiet cove for swimming. Mike has a special rock that he hides and retrieves for a surfer workout called, "running rock." It's an endurance and aerobic workout that surfers do to build lung capacity so that if you are knocked off your board by a big wave, you can stay underwater long enough to surface and find air. Makes a lot of sense, but the exercise itself is somewhat unusual and very challenging.

Here's the site where we made camp for the morning.

The view across the cove is of the Ko'olina resort. The resorts on the coast have to allow public access to the beach, and this spot was very nice in that it has good facilities and parking.

The first item of business for "running rock" is to find the rock. Mike has the perfect one - flattened and with a flat side you can put towards yourself as you pick it up. It weighs about 90 lbs by Mike's estimate. The guys took the first turn at it this morning. Mike Lee, Pat Kramer and Craig Mason (L to R)

Here's Pat having a go at it. Actually, this was just a practice pick-up. The rock is placed out in deep enough water that you have to submerge to pick it up and then run with it underwater.

Pat's a longtime surfer and had no trouble running the rock 50 or more paces across the cove.

Craig also had no trouble with it. He did one turn using the snorkel - head down and charge across the cove. Unfortunately, he wasn't looking ahead and neither was this other guy. Oops. At least the rock didn't land on anyone's foot.

I'm pleased to report that Sharon Doughtie, Teri Mason and I also had success in running the rock. I found it really challenging to just get down to the rock to pick it up. The lifting was also a bit challenging because of the awkward size of the rock and the barnacles that bit into your skin once you had a grip. However, I managed 27 steps (woohoo!).

It all reminds me of a Farside cartoon that showed a panel of dogs on the sidewalk of a busy street, gathered next to parked cars. One dog was being congratulated, "All right! Rusty's in the club!"

After running the rock and doing some swimming and having a look at some of the fish in the cove, I came back to our picnic spot to dry off and then take a walk about to see the local fauna.

The rocks at the cove entrance were covered with these black crabs.

I also scored a new bird - a Wandering Tattler, which is a winter migrant to the islands.

It was keeping pretty busy foraging for morsels to swallow and avoiding the surf coming up on the rocks.

This is a calcareous algae growing in one of the tide pools.

This interesting rock has erosion features that, according to Craig, are caused by sea urchin behavior. It reminds me of some offcenter turning work that Michael Werner does.

After a morning of vigorous exercise, it was time for a lovely picnic lunch. Everyone brought food to share and it was a nice time for all. Here's a pic of Teri, Craig and Pat.

Lunchtime stretched into some nice conversation time. Here's Mike Lee, the leader of the "I ran the rock" club. Thanks, Mike!

Toward the end of lunch we were joined by Ben Carpenter and his friend, Nick. Ben's a young turner/sculptor who's doing some really interesting sculptural work these days. He's visiting the islands for a few weeks and was on O'ahu for the day.

Here's Ben's friend, Nick. They were highschool buddies.


While we were sitting around visiting, a couple of doves wandered into camera range. This is a zebra dove.

And a close look at a spotted dove.

It was a very nice morning, but we had to go back to the windward side in the afternoon. The leeward side is where the cove was. That side of the island is pretty dry. As soon as we came over the pass (or through the tunnel), we hit a big rain shower. This is a view from the road, looking up at one of the mountain chains on O'ahu.

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