Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE
Here’s what we think. Life is an adventure and it’s super important to enjoy the ride. That’s why we’re gone surfing! Wally and Kani come too. They love to catch a wave.
We put a towel in our backpack, and we fly all the way to Hawaii.
Here’s what we know about Hawaii. Hawaii is part of the United States, but it does not touch any other state. It is about 2,390 miles from the continental United States and nearly 4,000 miles from Japan. It is located in the Pacific Ocean, and it is the only American state that is an archipelago! That means lots of islands. It actually is the largest island chain in the world. The islands are really volcanic rocks! They were created by volcanic activity in the ocean. There are 132 islands, but on only 7 islands people live. These are Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau.
The weather is absolutely awesome for surfing! Hawaii has a tropical climate. It is warm and wet all year round. The cooling ocean winds keep the temperatures mild, but in some places it can get very wet. Here’s a very fancy fact. Mount Waialeale, on the island of Kauai, is one of the wettest spots on Earth! It gets about 450 inches or 1,150 centimeters of rain in an average year. When you’re a fish, you must absolutely love Hawaii.
Mountains are a big part of the Hawaiian landscape. There are lots of mountain ranges, peaks and valleys across the islands. Oahu has two mountain chains, the Koolau and Waianae ranges. They are connected by a central plateau. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano. This means that it sleeps. It is the highest point in Hawaii. Much of the mountain is underwater. If it would be measured from its oceanic base, it would be 33,000 feet tall. That is higher than Mount Everest! There are also active volcanoes. Their names are Kilauea and Mauna Loa. When you’re walking around Kilauea, you must not wake up Madam Pele. She lives close-by, and when she is angry, she might let Kilauea erupt. It’s very important to walk on your tippy toes when you visit.
Lots of different people live in Hawaii, and they all live up to the aloha spirit! The aloha spirit is a way of life. It’s about spreading kindness, working hard, and respecting yourself. You must always respect yourself because there is only one you, and you are awesome!
On Kuhio beach we pass by the bronze statue of Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku. We use our magic and say the word, “Makai,” to wake him up. Makai means to the sea. And that’s where Duke likes to be! When he opens his eyes, he says, “Aloha, Frederick and Sophie! I have been asleep for a long time.” We say, “Aloha, Duke!”
They call Duke the father of modern surfing and the King of all Swimmers. He introduced surfing to the Atlantic Coast of the United States, to Australia, and New Zealand. He also liked to swim and play beach volleyball. In swimming, he won three Olympic gold medals for the United States, and he set world records in freestyle and relay racing. He was also terribly brave. In 1925, Thelma, a 40-foot yacht, capsized near Newport Beach in a wild sea. Duke used his surfboard to swim out three times to save eight passengers from drowning. You can read muchly more about Duke here: Duke Kahanamoku (You Should Meet)
In 1934, Duke became the sheriff of the city and county of Honolulu, and he was reelected 13 times! Many Hawaiians saw their Duke as the fulfilment of the King Kamehameha prophecy “that before the native Hawaiian race died out, one man would bring it fame.” Speaking of fame, when Duke lived in Los Angeles, he played parts in over 28 Hollywood movies. Here’s what we think. That’s a lot of movies.
Nowadays, there’s Duke’s Oceanfest with nine days of water sports events. That’s when his statue welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. People like to hang flower leis over Duke’s statue of or lay them in front of it.
Together, we surf all day long and watch the sun go down. Duke says, “Just take your time, the wave comes.” There’s nobody else who understands the ocean as much as Duke. When we leave, we say, “Mahalo nui loa,” and, “A hui hou kakou,” to Duke. That means thank you from the heart and until we meet again.
Frederick & Sophie