Just as Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi enters its 25th year, and shortly before I put this pen to paper, we lost a dear friend and renowned photographer, Ron Dahlquist.
“I remember calling Ron when I first decided to launch Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi,” I tell the small group of friends gathered aboard the Trilogy catamaran for Ron’s celebration of life. ‘‘‘I can’t afford you,’ I confessed, ‘but would you consider being our photographer?’” With a resounding and generous YES! Ron became our staff photographer for the nascent Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi Magazine, and his spectacular photography graced our pages for many years to follow.
Our captain shares a story, too, reminding us of the full and rich life Ron enjoyed. “And yet he had one regret — that for all the whale-watch cruises he had been on, he never caught the quintessential photo of a breaching whale.” We all laugh. Ron had captured so many legendary photos throughout his career that this small gap in his portfolio seemed impossible.
It is a gorgeous day with cobalt blue skies, bright sun and a cool breeze, reminding us all of the beauty Ron communicated in his work. As more friends shared remembrances, my husband, Jamie, and I lean in close to one another. “The wind is changing,” Jamie says in a soft voice, his eye on the horizon.
But it’s not just the wind; change is constant, and just as the philosopher Bertrand Russell promised, it’s the only thing we can really count on. “Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change,” said Russell.
And change is certainly riding the wind at Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi.
As this issue goes to press, our senior editor, Rita Goldman, is taking on a new role with the magazine. She began with us as a freelance writer and contributing editor more than two decades ago, and in 2007 joined the staff as senior editor. Although she’s the first to admit she can be “ornery,” and we’ve often gone head-to-head, I’ve always trusted Rita to have the magazine’s excellence at heart … and to bring humor to its pages. Now, as consulting editor, Rita remains an integral part of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi … with more time to smell the plumerias.
As Rita (mostly) steps down, it’s my pleasure to welcome our new editor-in-chief, Lara McGlashan, who navigated her move from Connecticut to Maui this past summer despite the pandemic’s challenges. Lara has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, spearheading numerous national and international magazines and writing and coauthoring several books. To be able to combine her love of writing with her love of Maui, she says, is a dream come true. Get a taste of her work on page 32 of this issue with “A Bite out of History,” and be on the lookout for new and exciting digital content.
And there’s more: John Giordani, who started as our creative director in 2012, has returned after a yearlong hiatus. You will recognize the gorgeous design and creative energy that John puts into each and every issue, enabling us to tell our stories with beauty and sensitivity, and to reflect our respect for place and culture. We also welcome Felix D’Souza in his new position as digital manager and Tori Speere as a digital contributor. I could not be happier to have these talented people join the MNKO team for our launch into 2021.
As our afternoon on the Trilogy begins to wane and testimonies come to an end, someone begins to sing “Aloha Oe,” that beautiful, melodic tune written by Queen Lili‘uokalani. We all join in. The mood is sweet, somber, reflective. Then I hear my husband …
“Over there!” Jamie yells. There is a collective gasp on board. A humpback whale is in full breach off the bow. I see it just as it comes crashing down on its side. “Holy smokes!” I shout in exhilaration. A few moments pass as the huge animal disappears into the ocean, and then it’s airborne again, and again … in fact, four breaches in all.
The mood swings instantly from solemn to incredulous, and finally to joyful. I am not particularly religious, but in this moment, I am a believer.
We wish you a 2021 built on the foundation of aloha, and filled with the miracles of hope, enterprise and change.
A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn