Written by Brennen Montoya
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Being on an island in the middle of the ocean is an interesting lifestyle needless to say. Have you ever wondered what it was like living on an island during a pandemic? Well, it’s actually not too bad if you live on the islands of Hawaii besides Oahu. In Oahu the cases for COVID-19 have been on the rise. The rest of the islands well it’s quite the opposite. Although island travel quarantine is mandated for 14 days to outsiders. This hasn’t stopped the local Hawaiians from exercising and enjoying their everyday activities.

Before the pandemic you’d see rushes of tourist lining up the bars and restaurants. Now it’s quiet and enjoyable for the locals to do their normal routines. Visiting with some of the locals I have gained perspective in their everyday lives which involves surfing, fishing, hiking, jogging, yoga, volley ball, drum circles, camp fires and star gazing. How do they do all these things without the spread of the virus?

I contacted the surfers and started taking photos for their groups. Asking a local surfer Rory Pascarelli he explained. “Well surfers we are rebels at heart, but we don’t want our aunties and uncles catching the virus so we stay in contact through via phone to stay connected, and we just meet up in the waters.” Since there isn’t causable spews of COVID-19 through the water you can visually see surfers lined up waiting for their of their turn to take on the next big wave.

Photo of surfer Rory Pascarelli

Then we have the fishermen. Everyday in Hawaii you will see few men here and there 6ft apart, fishing in the coast line reeling in their fish. I asked a local man what he does to enjoy his activity during the pandemic. His response was, “Us fisherman we live for the fish, and we will die for the fish.” Jokingly we laughed together and he also explained “This is how we feed our families. No matter what’s going on in the world, we will still find away to feed our families. Our favorite restaurants might be closed and might be out some jobs, but that means there is so much time we enjoy fishing and family. So to me, it’s not so bad!” These guys are really making the best of it during these interesting times we live in.

Photo of local fisherman
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pacific-islands/resources-fishing/recreational-and-non-commercial-fishing-pacific-islands

Next we have the hikers. Although some hike trails may be closed on some islands. Luckily I got the opportunity to take a hike. While hiking I would ask questions to locals along the way about their experience being avid hikers during this time. One male hiker explained, “I’ve been hiking for years. No pandemic is going to stop me and my wife from enjoying the out doors and exploring!” His wife stated “It’s really not a bad thing to do during these times, why not be out staying fit in a natural environment while burning some calories?” This makes sense, since you can contract a virus in the gyms. That is a brilliant way to do some exploring while exercising!

Photo of local hikers at waterfall
Photo by Brennen Montoya

Visiting a yoga group I saw that this too was done outside and six feet apart. As I was stretching every joint in my body I got a kick out of this group! Everyone around seemed healthy as an ox. The instructor explained “Well we need to stay connected and grounded to the earth that is beneath us. Yoga is a form of mediation and practice that releases negative energy. As far as I’m concerned, I feel that connecting and doing yoga helps keep the virus far away from us because of the diets and exercises I encourage others to try. So far no body I know has the virus.” That is an interesting way of battling these times with healthier alternatives and such a lifestyle! I personally starting using some of her practices to keep sharp during this pandemic.

On the islands a particular group that stood out was the volley ball players. Usually played three on three. Small groups would take advantage by creating small leagues to play against. By keeping the groups small and local they have completely avoided any problems with the virus itself. Visiting with the dedicated players I had been fortunate to come across her take on the pandemic and it was quite simple. She stated “I’ve been playing volleyball my whole life. As this pandemic came sweeping across the island I knew exactly what I was going to I do and keep doing, volleyball!” She explained this while cleaning up her scrape on her knee. What dedication these players have.

Photo by Jeff Ter Har

Once the end of day time starting hitting the horizon, I could hear drum circles from miles away. I found myself in a group listening to a very passionate drum circle. Locals were humming and singing chants together to bring life into the evening. One of the drummers explained, “We have a community here, and we’re very serious about it. Even though we gather people we make sure that our community is aware of the social distancing practices so we’re allowed to come together and interact mindfully. No matter what tries to separate us in the world weather it was war, hatred, or even this virus. We all stand under the same stars.” He was right, I looked up and could see the most beautiful stars gazing down at us all.

No matter where people are in the world we can still not let COVID-19 effect living an adventurous life. We live cautiously but not separated. Together under the same stars, we all are united.

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