My Birthday Hole
Trip Start Aug 13, 1997
5Trip End Aug 13, 2009
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I have this list of things I want to do before I die. People call it a Bucket List, but I think "Life List" sounds a lot better. That and Jack Nicholson's eyebrows really creep me out, so I don't want my hopes/dreams/goals/crazy ideas associated with him (or his eyebrows) in any way. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, he was in a movie titled "The Bucket List." I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole, but I digress.
Back to the topic. On this list were such fun topics as "Dig a ridiculously deep hole," "Bury a time capsule," and "Make a treasure map" and we decided that's what we would do to celebrate my birthday
We all piled into Ashton's Jeep and started out to the windward side of Oahu, to the jungle around Kaneohe Bay (which we will call "Location 1a"). The ocean is very close, so we planned on going swimming afterward. We hauled all of our gear to the site we planned to dig. The second we got there, ants started swarming up our legs. It was like a horror movie, or that scene in The Mummy where the beetles swarm over the guy and devour him. Interesting. There were a lot of mosquitoes too, and none of us had bothered to bring bug spray.
We managed to dig about 14 inches down before we hit a lithified sand layer (sand that had turned to rock). I knew we should have brought a pick ax. The best part was 3 of us are geologists, one is an archaeologist with a strong background in geology, and one was an art grad student specializing in sculpture. Now I know what you're thinking, but none of the scientists ever thought "Hey... maybe not the best place to dig." Needless to say, the art student wouldn't stop laughing at us.
We gave up shortly after hitting the sand layer, threw all our stuff into the ice chest and the mailbox (which we were using as the time capsule), and rushed down to the beach to wash all the ants off. We figured maybe we would have better luck digging on the beach (Location 1b), but quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. We were sitting around taking a break when a woman came up to us and asked us what the shovel was for, because there were a lot of sacred burial sites around. Ashton assured her that he had read all the archaeological reports and had spent quite some time taking gravity measurements in the area. His cover story for the shovel: we were practicing for a giant sand-castle sculpting tournament to be held in LA next month. Ashton is a excellent liar. She left fully convinced of our sand sculpting skills. Ashton was just relieved she didn't ask what the mailbox was for... he would have had a difficult time with that one.
We had a rather lengthy discussion as to where we would try next and came up with several possibilities. My favorite was walking across the ocean to Chinaman's Hat (the water is very shallow) and using the mailbox as a floating device. This plan was quickly vetoed seeing as a mailbox flag does not make a good sail and Gretta is terrified of sharks (yes, there are actually sharks there)
We ended up piling back in the Jeep and going to Makapu, one of the local rock climbing sites. There's also a fairly secluded beach there where we figured we might have some more luck. Sadly,we got quite lost and kept driving around in circles around Kailua. Its an island for crying out loud. It shouldn't be that hard to follow the coast, but oh, it is. We finally got out the road map and were still wandering around lost... turns out it was upside down and we weren't where we thought we were to begin with. Either that or the island is backwards.
We finally got there and commenced the excavation of location 2. We were about a foot down and Ashton encountered a rather nasty tree root which he couldn't saw through with my little utility knife. We changed digging directions and got another 4 inches before we hit an old lava flow. That pretty much describes the expression "stuck between a rock and a hard place." Ashton solved the problem by burrowing into the sand bank. There was no way we were going for a location 3, or even 2b for that matter.
We gave up when the roof of the tunnel started collapsing. We buried the mailbox (with the flag up, of course) and spent the rest of the afternoon snorkeling and cliff diving. I think next time maybe we actually will build a giant sand castle. A valuable piece of information: if you are ever on Oahu and have the urge to dig a really deep hole... don't. Go to the Big Island and dig in the pumice... you can get a 10+ foot deep hole over there with very little effort.