Lucky We Live Hawaii … Even So.
Hawaii is a long way from anywhere. In fact, this is the most remote populated spot on the globe. It’s five hours by jet to Los Angeles or San Francisco and an additional 30 minutes or so to Seattle. It’s about the same to Tahiti or Samoa. Anyplace else – Guam or Australia or the Philippines or Japan or China – is a lot farther. And there’s nothing in between, but water.
That bothers some new arrivals here … that and “rock fever”, which is best described as a form of claustrophobia. It’s never been a problem for me, but it hits some of those folks when they leave the beach behind and go for a drive. They head inland, drive for 20 minutes, and suddenly there’s the ocean in front of them.
A number of years ago, I was part of the Honolulu city administration and was one of a half dozen department heads with the mayor when he was given a briefing by CINCPAC* out at Pearl Harbor.
One of the briefing officers, a Navy captain, demonstrated what was, at the time, a very sophisticated satellite image of the Pacific Ocean surrounding us. He pointed to a blip on the screen and identified it as the last known position of the Russian ballistic missile submarine with the assignment of destroying Pearl Harbor in the event of the unthinkable.
One of the people in our group asked how much warning we would have should that actually happen and, as I recall, the officer said it would be something less than an hour.
Well, then, he was asked, where would be the safest location on the Island of Oahu?
The officer hesitated a bit, then said, almost apologetically, “Well, you know, this isn’t a very big island.”
Uh, OK … point taken.