Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ships Today...Planes Are So-o...Sunday.

What an unexpected treat:  As I looked out at the blue Pacific this morning, there was a tall ship, seemingly anchored in the vicinity of a tanker.  I watched for nearly a half-hour and finally the    Kaiwo Maru, a four-masted training barque out of Tokyo, got underway, heading for the harbor.  My guess is she arrived early and decided to wait until the appointed time.  Just a guess, however.

As she was approaching the harbor entrance beacon, I noticed what appeared to be a most curious  navy ship traveling at high speed to the east.  I'd never seen anything like it, but thanks to Google, I quickly found out it was the USNS Millinocket-JHSV-3.  Click on the links to both ships to find out more about them.

As the strange navy ship rapidly disappeared from view, I focused the camera on the Kaiwo Maru.  For those of you who have followed this blog for the last two years, you may recall my posts about her previous visits to Honolulu.  Luckily for us, she was berthed at Pier-10 today, so we were able to watch two highly-skilled tugboat captains "shoehorn" her in behind the Le Sein.  Le Sein has been moored there shortly after a fire over a week ago, likely for repairs.  Here we go!

This is what I saw first this morning.  You can barely see the Kaiwo Maru, nearly at the horizon.  Click on this, or any of the photos for a closer view.

She's heading for the harbor with one of the two tugs standing-by.

Have you ever seen anything like the USNS Millinocket-JHSV-3?  It's part of the U.S. Military Sealift Command, which explains the "USNS", instead of simply, U.S..  According to "Live Ships Radar", a website which tracks every ship with an active transponder, the Millinocket was traveling at 22.2 knots and she's capable of going much faster!

The folks aboard that sailboat in the upper left of this photo, must've had quite a thrill seeing the Kaiwo Maru approach the harbor entrance, escorted by those two tugboats.

In the harbor now, the two tugs are maneuvering her toward her berth behind the Le Sein in the left side of the photo.  From our vantage point, it looked like it would be a very tight fit and that those tugboat captains would surely earn their money today.

A crowd of young cadets on the bow, watching and learning how a vessel reaches her berth.  Notice the bowsprit in gold.  Click for a close-up.

A tugboat nudges the stern toward her berth.

Seems impossible that she'll fit in this tight space, but I guess the tugboat captains were pretty certain.  I was surprised to see how much the ship heeled-over due to the tugs pushing.  I always thought the bow of a tug was low enough to the water line that this wouldn't happen.  Wrong!

Almost there.  The line-handlers are busy doing their job.

The welcoming committee is eager to greet the crew.

Michele kept track of the action while making her breakfast.  Without doubt, this is the most amazing kitchen window view we've ever had! :)

I'll end this post with a photo taken at Fort DeRussy today.  After watching the Kaiwo Maru come in, we headed for the beach.  After an hour snorkeling, we relaxed for awhile here at the Hale Koa Hotel pool.  The pink hibiscus were particularly showy today.

Hope you all had a great day, too!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Sunday At The Beach

Sort of...Michele dropped me off at the Mamala Bay Golf Course just after noon.  It's the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam golf course, located along the shore of what used to be called Hickam Air Force Base.  The two bases were merged back in 2010 as a cost-saving measure.  I worked on my golf game while she visited the base Exchange for some recreational shopping.  At about three PM, she picked me up and we headed for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam beach.  After a nice swim, we had a wonderful late lunch at Sam Choy's Seafood Grille.  The restaurant is located on the beach with excellent views of the aquamarine waters of Mamala Bay--just about the prettiest we've ever seen.  The camera is hard-pressed to even come close to real color.  

Both the beach and golf course aren't far from the taxiway to Honolulu International Airport's reef runway, so I had many opportunities for photos of aircraft today from a completely different perspective.

Here's how things looked from ground level for a change. :)

How lucky can you get!  This was a simple shot of the aquamarine water and those small sailboats, when this bird decided it was time to do a fly-by.  It seemed like the most "natural" way to open this post which features so many "mechanical" birds.

View from one of the two practice putting greens.  The emerald water is a slice of Mamala Bay which the course runs along side of.  If you click on the image, you'll see an aircraft nearly hidden by the palms, just above the water.  It's on the reef runway of Honolulu International Airport, getting ready to take off.

One of my "implements of mass frustration". :)

At the beach, Michele looks at the beautiful scenery, while a Korean Airlines 747 taxis to the reef runway.  It's almost the same color as the water, and instantly recognizable.

Kids and parents enjoying their Sunday at the beach, while a Hawaiian Airlines B-767-300 is about to take the reef runway for takeoff.  In the far distance, a tanker is anchored.  Click on any of the photos for a closer view.

From the blurry areas behind the engines, you know the aircraft is at full power and rolling for takeoff.  Notice the orange wind sock standing straight out.  It's not from the engine exhaust, but the strong trade winds, which kept us very comfortable today.

Airborne!  In the distance, you're looking at the north end of Diamond Head and some Waikiki condominium towers.  Those are fiberglass kayaks adding a splash of color to the foreground.

A Delta 747-400 ready to go.  Our friend and Delta Flight Attendant, Barbara Smith, may have been aboard today.  She has been hoping I'd be able to get some photos of this aircraft taking off and today we got lucky!

On her way.  This shot was taken from our table at Sam Choy's Seafood Grille at the beach.

Lift off!  Diamond Head provides an appropriate background.

Gear coming up and on her way.

Back to our lunch. :)  I chose this beautifully colored drink to slake my powerful tropical thirst:  The "Green Flash". 

Michele tried this refreshing drink called a Li Hing Margarita.  The normal salt on the rim has been replaced with li hing, a dried plum powder with a sweet-sour-salty taste. 

We both had one of these monster burgers.  We should've shared one!

Another shot from our table.  That's a United Airways jet heading for the reef runway.

A stand-up paddler enjoying the late afternoon.  The detail of this sixty or seventy yards distant shot amazed me.  Click on the image for an even closer look at the splash and the board leash.

It was a good day.  Hope yours was, too.

*Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the U.S. Marine killed and the 21-injured in the crash of a V-22-Osprey aircraft today on O'ahu.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Little Of Everything.

Here we go:

A long way down.  The two specks you see on the wall of our building, are window washers hard at work.  Click on the image for a close-up.

Long shot of a tanker called, Eships Falcon, approaching Honolulu Harbor, with two tug boats standing-by to guide her in.  She's a oil/chemical tanker, flagged out of Liberia.

She's getting closer.

Safe harbor and not far from her berth now.  Click to zoom-in.

The Crystal Ace, a vehicle carrier, arrived a couple of days ago, but I can't say what brand of cars she was bringing in.  The late afternoon sun did a nice job illuminating the scene.

Don't even ask.  We saw this "vessel" in the harbor a few days ago, but I'll need to call the Harbor Master find out what in the world it is, and, what it does.

A tug boat working the Matson Navigation Company's container ship, Mahimahi, to her berth.

I'll close this post with the sunset from May 10th.  It was a beauty.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wine Bottling At Oeno

Saturday, we did something most unusual and lots of fun.  We were invited by the family, who for the past two years allowed us to share their special Chinese New Year celebration, to join them for a wine bottling party at Oeno in Kailua.  Click on the link to learn all about this interesting business.  For starters, Oeno is pronounced, "EE-NO", after the Greek Goddess of Wine.

The family label:  SYL, standing for their father's favorite phrase:  "Snooze You Lose".  They submitted this design to Oeno, who prints and has them ready for the bottling party.

Oeno interior.  Their temperature-controlled fermenting room is in the back, out of sight.  That's Michele on the right, setting-up the Italian antipasto tray we brought.  The colorful art on the walls is by a local artist.  Along the left wall are the work stations with the equipment for bottling wine.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

This is only a portion of the food everyone brought!  Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and good old American favorites kept the dozen of us busy.  Some fabulous desserts, too.  We had to bulk-up for the arduous work ahead! :)  Along with the feast, we drank the very wine we would later be bottling.  I have no idea how the fingers on the hand in the photo can bend like that.  Must've been a optical illusion...at least, I hope!

Demijohns of wine waiting for other guests.

After the wonderful repast and plenty of wine, Oeno co-owner, Mr. Bryon Crowther, gave us a quick demonstration of how to properly fill the bottles, cork them, add and shrink foil caps with a heat gun and finally, label them.  Luckily, there was no heavy machinery or vehicles to operate!

Time for us to go to work.  That's Randy at the corking device, with his wife, Allison, on the left, busy with the heat gun used to shrink the cap, sealing the bottle.  The back of the head to the right belongs to family friend, Elaine.  She's applying front and back labels to each bottle after Allison seals them, which you'll see in the next photo. 

Allison with the heat gun behind, and family friend, Elaine, obviously quite happy with her labeling job.  That, or she's had a little too much vino! :) 


Another very happy lady hard at work filling wine bottles, and about to top-off a nearly-full one.  She is a family friend, however, due to a combination of imbibing too much product, my advanced age and trying to concentrate on corking bottles, I'm sorry to say that her name escapes me.  Cynthia, admiring her work, has taken over labeling duties.


Nan's having a fun time.  She's the lovely lady who lives in our building and for the last two years, has been so very kind to invite us to her family Chinese New Year celebration.  She's a talented golfer, too!

When living in Italy, (1994-1996) odd as it may seem, we never bottled the wine we helped make.  Adelmo Pietretti didn't waste time or money on bottles.  He, or his wife, Ilva, simply drew what they needed directly from the storage tank into a pitcher or empty bottle.  When he brought wine to us, it was always in an old 2-liter pop bottle--a clever example of recycling! :)  And what a coincidence:  Adelmo told us his red wine was called, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  This wonderful wine is primarily made of the grape varietal Sangiovese, blended with Canaiolo Nero and small amounts of other local varieties.  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine should not be confused with the Montepulciano grape varietal, grown primarily in the region of Abruzzo, and used in the making of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine.  Confused yet?  When all is said and done, it's all good.

What a jolly bunch of wine drinkers...er...I mean bottlers...wine bottlers.  Front left, is Mr. Marshall Zeigler, co-owner of Oeno.  What a wonderful group of family and friends.  Michele and I were so grateful to be included.

We departed the shop at our appointed time of seven PM, with full bellies, four bottles of superb Tuscan Montepulciano red wine and lots of leftovers.  It was a wonderful experience with an even more wonderful family!

Have a great week everybody! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

An Old Story.

Having no idea how many visitors look at "older posts", I thought I'd share an old story, recently told to immensely-talented fellow blogger, Candace X. Moore.  I hope you enjoy this retelling.

It was way back in 2011 when we were living in Portland, Oregon.  Studio spaces were many and affordable, and mine, back then, was in the 1921-vintage Board of Trade building.  I'd just arrived on a warm July day and about to enter the building when I noticed a man with a walker, leaning against the corner of the old structure, enjoying the sunshine.

Though he seemed perfect for a portrait, I shied away from the stranger and headed inside.  In the short walk to the elevators, regret crept in and I decided to go back.  Luckily, he was still there and I sheepishly introduced myself.

Mr. Charles Daniels was polite and listened quietly as I explained about what I did, my studio in the building and my interest in having him consider being the subject of a painting.  I even offered to pay him for his time.  To my surprise he agreed to accompany me to the studio.  We had a good time getting to know each other and he agreed to pose for a few reference photos.  He took direction very well and we got the photo I hoped for.  Soon, he was on his way with a promise to return the next day for what would've been my first experience working from a live model.

Mr. Charles Daniels, July 19, 2011.  This is one of the reference photos taken in my studio during our first meeting.

This turned out to be the photo used for his portrait.

Charles failed to arrive at the agreed time the next day, or the next.  Luckily, I had a great image to work from and resigned myself to doing another portrait from a photograph.  Sometimes, on the jog home, I'd see Charles, seated outside a downtown restaurant and bar.  I'd stop and tell him how the painting was coming along and he'd tell me what he'd been up to and offer an excuse why he hadn't been able to come by the studio.  Our chance meetings remained congenial and friendly and I enjoyed his company.

The portrait as of December 15th, 2011.

I worked on the painting for at least six months and eventually finished it sometime in January, 2012.  In February of that year, I felt good enough about Charles' portrait to submit it as an entry in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters open exhibition.  It was agonizing waiting to learn if it would pass the first hurdle in the jury process, and how sweet it was to receive written notification that it did!

This is one of my most cherished mementos.  It's the official notification that all three of my submissions made the first step of the jury process.  What a day this was!  Click on the image to enlarge.

January 23, 2012.  If memory serves, I considered the portrait finished.  Charles came by and seemed very impressed with the painting.  He spent most of the visit with a big smile on his face--that was my clue.  He'd also changed quite a bit in the six months since the reference photo was taken.  His hair was longer for the winter months and he was thinner.

The next round of the jury process demanded that selected paintings be sent to London, England.  After researching the cost to send it, have it picked-up after clearing customs, then transported to and unpacked at the gallery, I decided it was simply too expensive.  If it failed to win an award, or wasn't purchased, I'd have to face the expenses of packing and shipping it home.  It was an easy decision to be content with, "what might have been."

 The painting stayed in my studio for the next several months.  Charles had no room for it, but told me he thought his sisters might take it.  That didn't work out.  In October, 2012, the lease on my studio would expire and the plan was to move my stuff into our second bedroom to save money for the move to Hawaii.  There was simply no space for the large portrait and I worried about its future.

I saw Charles outside the restaurant one more time prior to leaving the studio and he mentioned his son, Gavin.  He was filled with pride as he told me Gavin was also an artist.  As we talked about him, the thought occurred that maybe he'd like the portrait.  Charles gave me his phone number and I lost no time calling him.  Gavin sounded really upbeat and friendly and eager to see his father's portrait.  We set a date for him to visit the studio to see it.  We met in the building lobby, and Gavin was all he promised to be.  He's full of energy and has a smile that could light-up a room.  We had a great time  talking about his father and his own career as a graphic artist.  He was quite pleased when I invited him to take the portrait.  Of course, I made him swear a blood oath to take good care of it, and said that I'd be happy to take it back if he couldn't.  We shook hands, bear-hugged and he was on his way.  I could not have been happier about the new home Charles' portrait was going to.  It belongs with family.

Gavin, Charles' son, in my studio before taking the painting home.  I'm so grateful he took it.

This amazing story happened because of the decision to go back and say hello to Mr. Daniels.  You never know when life will take a turn like this, so always go with your heart and don't be timid or afraid.  I hope something like this happens in each-and-every one of your lives someday, too.