Driving back from Lihue yesterday, I noticed the usual "ring around the island" that appears after heavy rains.
Wailua was totally chocolate, as was Kealia and apparently just about everywhere else. Still, as The Garden Island reports today, it wasn't brown enough to warrant an official brown water advisor from the state Department of Health.
Such advisories are rare because they're bad for business — the tourist business, that is.
Meanwhile, unsuspecting visitors are exposed to who knows what as they play in our ocean and streams.
The problem, of course, isn't limited to the period following rains. I noticed a photo of stand-up paddlers in Tuesday's edition of The Garden Island with the caption:
Stand-up paddle surfing students get help from Krishan Yatagama of Kaua‘i Beach Boys at the mouth of Kalapaki Stream, Monday, as people elsewhere in the state kept an eye on the approaching Tropical Storm Felicia.
Now who, if they knew the truth, would knowingly put their body into Kalapaki Stream?
As Dr. Carl Berg of Surfrider Foundation of Kauai notes in today's article on brown water:
Berg, however, said there are many beaches and rivers not monitored by the DOH and methods used to collect samples are not comprehensive enough, citing Kalapaki Beach as an example.
“Kalapaki is one of the worst polluted streams around,” he said, adding that samples are not taken in close proximity to the stream, potentially skewing data.
It seems that putting the tourists in remote vacation rentals close to the ocean and streams, while failing to warn them of the dangers or offer tips about evacuation and emergency procedures, isn't the only way we do our beloved visitors wrong.