Family Project: #17in1

If you haven’t noticed, I have moments of extremism and as long as I balance it all out, life is excellent. This year my family and I have committed to growing our relationships through creating conversations around our experiences. The first project was assigned to Jayden Boy in his video: Family Rules.

Our second project #17in1 came about when Lilinoe and I were driving out to Mokuleia. An idea of swimming at different beaches around the island of Oahu popped into my head, came out of my mouth, and Lilinoe agreed it was a fantastic one! So, we planned.

The Plan

The original plan was only 14 beaches. I know I say this as if it wasn’t enough and well, obviously it wasn’t because I increased it by 3 (there were more, however I compromised with my more reasonable partner)! We were also supposed to do this in August, unfortunately our four schedules could never sync until September 2, 2012. And, just so you know, it’s not only my busy schedule. Chelsea has volleyball, hula, chanting, President of the Student Council, high school, homework, developing her own business, chores, and being a teenager. Jayden has archery, improv classes, skateboarding, reading, homework, elementary school, drawing, dreaming, cruising, surfing, and being a kid. Lilinoe, may all of the gods bless her, she has all of everything we do, plus focusing on her own business. Phew!

How much time did we spend at each beach?

Once we had our list of 17 and route, we decided we would spend approximately 20-minutes swimming in the waters of each beach. No reason for that amount of time, we just agreed that it would be long enough, however not too long. Plus, we didn’t have anything to do that day except our family project, so we weren’t beholden to the 20-minutes. However, I always need a plan, even if it’s not followed to perfection, at least there’s some framework of getting to the goal.

How do we manage content publishing?

We didn’t want to publish the same content, so we came up with this plan:

  • I was to upload a scenic photo of the beach using TinyApp and share on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Lilinoe was to upload a photo of herself with one of us to Hipster and share on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Chelsea was to upload a photo of herself and Jayden (although, there are some of just herself, but that’s another blog post) to Instagram. (She doesn’t have accounts on any other social sites yet, she’s not too interested right now.)
  • Jayden Boy was to upload videos of him at each beach to Socialcam and share on Twitter. (Yes, we know.).

All content was to be hashtagged #17in1 and #ponolife.

List of the #17in1 Beaches

We live in Aiea, so our plan was to be in the water at Makaha beach by 7am. Fortunately, we heeded our bodies need to rest, so we actually jumped into the water at 7:30am. We were not in a rush, even though my habitual mind felt tendencies to be promptly on schedule. Instead, I let go and surrendered to the experience.

After Makaha Beach, we swam at the following in this order: Nanakuli, White Plains, Mokuleia, Haleiwa, Waimea, Sunset, Laie, Punaluu, Kalama, Kailua, Waimanalo, Sandy’s, Kaimana, Queen’s, Walls, and Ala Moana.

There were many more beaches to visit along the way, however some of the choices were preferences while others were strategic. For example, we picked up lunch from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and sat on the wall at Laie Beach Park to peel our succulent shrimp. Since we were already at Laie beach, we decided to swim there. We added Kaimana Beach after learning that our friends were picnicking there, unfortunately by the time we arrived we missed them. Walls is where I learned to bodyboard and it’s where I taught Jayden Boy, so it’s our “family spot”. You get the idea.

Lessons Learned

For those of you thinking about taking the challenge and we strongly encourage you to do so, here are some things that we learned and observed along the way:

  • Makaha Beach is simply gorgeous at sunrise and the water is refreshing. If you can imagine, for half an hour the four of us had the beach all to ourselves. I especially enjoyed watching Jayden Boy and Lilinoe body surf in the shore break. And, we shared with Jayden Boy that his father’s ashes were scattered way out in the ocean from this beach.
  • Nanakuli Beach has the clearest water! Having spent most of my beach days on the South or East shores, I was amazed at the clear water at Nanakuli. Unfortunately, the nearby stream has been neglected so the visual of the built up debris was disappointing.
  • Mokuleia was very windy which is why it was a popular spot for kite boarders, however the water was refreshing. We swam in pools created by the coral, after wading through patches of seaweed.
  • Haleiwa beach was the most disappointing on our list because it’s badly eroded. I would like the leadership of that community, our island and State to focus on replenishing the sand and building it back up to the beauty of its past.
  • Plan for traffic and lack of parking at Waimea Beach. We swam in shifts and Lilinoe and I took turns circling the parking lot. Waimea Bay lures you in with her beauty and we spent more than 20-minutes with her. Definitely one not to leave off your list.
  • Traffic on the North Shore is no different than that across the island of Oahu. Make sure you have a bumping playlist on your iTunes that keeps the family motivated.
  • A caravan of various vehicles was headed west from Kahuku and they all proudly flew the original red, yellow, and green Hawaiian Flag. All four of us, without hesitation, threw our shakas out the window and greeted each vehicle as they drove by. It was a proud moment for me to see such organized unity even if it was just a caravan around the island.
  • Sunset Beach was our favorite! We wanted to end our mission and just be with the water. This is another one you do not want to leave off of your list. Oh and this is during non-Winter surf season. If it’s high surf, yeah you won’t want to swim here or Waimea Bay.
  • One piece of logistics we did not plan for were bathroom stops. I don’t have any advice here, we just had to compromise our preferences and use whatever public facilities were available.
  • As we drove along the Windward coast of the island, the skies were overcast and the wind cold. We then realized we should have started in the East and end in the West, like the sun. Looking back, I wouldn’t change the route because when we ended after 8pm, I was much more comfortable with my family at Ala Moana beach than I would have in Makaha. My reason has more to do about being raised in town rather than any stereotype you may be thinking about as you read this.
  • We only went into the water at Sandy’s up to our calves because the shore break was classic wicked! Be smart and be safe!
  • Power up! Make sure to hydrate the night before and not with beer! Also, be sure to bring a power source to recharge your devices. Our Sierra has a USB port, however my iPhone eventually died at Kaimana Beach.
  • Surrender to the fun of it all! Create memories with your children and the love of your life.
I was pleasantly surprised that both Chelsea and Jayden Boy kept up the same level of enthusiasm from Makaha Beach to Ala Moana. We had many messages, texts, and comments from our family and friends wanting to join us the next time. Next time? I don’t think so. It’s one of those experiences that are a once-in-a-lifetime and well, we can check this one off.
We’ve already been discussing our next family project, in the meantime we’re working on individual and family principle statements and vision boards.