Drive by Car, Sail by Boat

One day, Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa (AKA Capt’n Kiko) and I were talking about words and phrases unique to our island speech patterns. “Drive by car,” “fly by plane,” and “sail by boat” came up. At first blush, they seem rather self explanatory. So, why would we express ourselves that way?

Yesterday, while researching something entirely different, I came across this passage in a DLNR report:

The Roads of Kohala and Kona (1902) In 1902, Charles Baldwin penned a series of articles in the magazine, Hawaii’s Young People, describing the “Geography of Hawaii.” In his discussion about the roads on the island of Hawai‘i, he presented readers with a good description of travel between Kohala and Kona. Baldwin wrote:

In traveling around the other islands of the group, we usually follow the seashore, but with Hawaii the case is different, for, to avoid waste regions and to accommodate the inhabitants, the road goes far inland in places. As the government could not always afford to build more than one road around the “big” island, that one was put where it would be of the most use to the greatest number of people.

During my first tour around Hawaii I met a gentleman who said that he had driven around the island. I had always supposed that this was impossible, as there was only a trail between Kohala and Kona, but there was his buggy and horse which he had purchased in Hilo. Later, I discovered what he had done—and others like him, who claim that they have driven around Hawaii. Putting his horse and wagon on the little steamer Upolu, he had sailed around to Kailua; but as the Upolu has since been wrecked, you cannot now “drive” around Hawaii.

So, indeed, we need to be very specific exactly how we travel. It IS possible to “drive by boat!”