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Monday, December 28, 2009

Hawaii's Climate is just about Perfect

Hawaii’s Climate is just about Perfect.

I grew up in the high desert regions of the west in Idaho, Utah, and Arizona with a four season’s lifestyle that included mild summers, beautiful fall colors, and very cold winters with lots of snow. (Because the word “cold” is subjective; let me just say that in Idaho, I remember mornings when it was 30 to 40 degrees below zero…Fahrenheit) As I grew up, it seemed that spring came later and later every year. March and April often were just sort of mud months. Things would start to warm up and bam - another snow storm would hit and send us back into winter. Luckily I did a lot of skiing and thought I could never give up my winters. I was pretty sure that I needed four seasons.

Then I got into bike and triathlon racing. In order to have a great racing season, it was necessary to have a long summer with lots of time on the bike. I started to spend my winters in Arizona so that I could train outdoors all winter. I soon realized it was pretty easy to go without snow. I didn’t miss it at all. Spending December in shorts and t-shirts was pretty nice. But let me tell you, summers in Arizona are brutal and worse than winters in Idaho. When people try to tell you that 120 degrees in the shade is okay because it’s a "dry heat" don’t listen to them. 120 degrees with or without humidity isn’t fun.

During the last 30 years or so, I’ve spend weeks and months at a time in Hawaii. Hawaii has an ideal climate year round. From the moment you step off the plane, the first thing that you notice it the moisture in the air; that and the fact that much of the airport in Honolulu is open air. Why have walls when the temperature outside is perfect?

The humidity is only a problem until you learn to dress down and relax. Ditch your shoes and socks and put on some sandals. Put on some shorts and a short sleeve Aloha shirt – after all you’re on vacation. Everybody in Hawaii is on vacation. Even if they don't know it, they're on vacation. Once you acclimatize, you’ll start to notice that your body actually likes moisture in the air. Your skin will feel better, your hair will look and feel better, and your sinuses will improve. Why wouldn't they, you’re breathing clean moist air that has just blown 3000 miles across the Pacific Ocean. When I fly home to the high desert plains of Utah, the first thing I notice is that my nose dries out and my sinuses starts to bleed, my hands and fingers develop painful cracks, and my hair gets all full of static and becomes brittle. My skin dries out and I get itchy. I long for moisture again.

Hawaii’s temperature stays nice all year round. The average temperature in Maui ranges from highs of about 80 to 88 Fahrenheit through the year and lows down to about 65 in January. Water temperatures range from about 75 in the winter to 73 in the summer. Kauai weather is a little cooler with temperatures averaging about 2 or 3 degrees below what you can expect on Maui.

Think of that the next time you’re out shoveling your driveway. I do.

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