One reason for hesitating about this Hawaii trip was the possibility of me being too hot. I truly need mild temperatures. My sister assured me that the weather would be mild due to the wind. Actually, some find it cold at times and I think I would rather put on my shirt, and it only takes a shirt or very light jacket, to escape the coolness that keeps me from over heating, but, not from over eating, what I have done on several occasion already. I am taking this morning, sort of mid-point in the trip, to write about the trip and unwind a bit. Let me take you through what has happened thus far.
I said the winds blow here, the trade winds, and with Kauai being surrounded by open ocean, that means waves. We are staying at the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club in an area of Kauai called Poipu. The bay here is very interesting. It has breaking surf, rolling surf, calm swimming, surfing, snorkeling, so many types of ocean to enjoy.
It was early the first morning, when I heard a rooster crowing right outside our window. Did I tell you that chickens and roosters are abundant on the island and run wild everywhere, including your house, if you leave the door open. This offending fellow, who interrupted my attempts at slumber, crowed a few times and then began to work his way along the complex making sure everyone could hear him clearly. As his crowing became fainter, I rolled over to try to sleep a bit more. A few minutes later, he came again, like a snooze button. I could have become angry, but instead, I got up and headed out to see the sunrise.
I thank the little rooster now because I ended up on the point watching the the sun move up the horizon and photographing every moment. A great sight and photo opportunity. Once it was up, I turned slightly and began to photograph the surf. Waves are extremely fascinating and I now have hundreds of wave photos, each one different, just as snowflakes are said to be different, even though you can’t see the differences easily, beautiful waves showing the power of the ocean.
I have gone to the point three days in a row and took today to sleep in. The weather in the tropics can change instantly, however, not drastically. Sun, then a bit of cloud, sometimes rain, and all in a matter of moments. Sometimes you just turn around and there you see a rainbow. On my early morning visits to the point to capture the sunrise and waves, I have seen a dead eel, the tail of a pacific type lobster and Monk Seals. The seals are an endangered species and spend their nights feeding and avoiding sharks. When morning comes, they often drag themselves out of the water on the sand or lava rocks and sleep. When one appears on the beach, a little Hawaiian fellow rushes out to put up signs and rope off the area keeping the growing crowds away. I have also observed a local fisherman climb out on the lava rocks, into the surf, to throw his net. A couple of times I have also caught the sunset.
The other night, I was appointed BBQist for a family and friends dinner. There are a couple of areas here that have BBQs, perhaps there is only one area, and I went and lined up with the guys to cook my assigned eight steaks in the dark, well, there is a goosenecked light. I was warned not to overcook them. I have become better at this since my wife stopped telling me to cook meat well to make sure everything is dead. Thus, I cooked, piled them on a plate and sent them in with my son and orders to have them approved or sent back. We went in to eat another huge meal.
I don’t think there is anything like a big city here on Kauai. I would not even consider any area to be a particularly busy urban area by mainland standards, however, they do have Costco, Wal-Mart, Kmart and a mall. We did go do some shopping, but, did not buy anything.
My sister and brother-in-law, our hosts, have a collection of snorkeling equipment, so off I have gone a few times, with my new little waterproof video camera, to see the underwater sights. I now have many minutes of video with fish, the kind I have only seen in somebody’s big aquarium. From an inch or two to many inches and many colors, they swim by and, when they think you are going to get too close, they swim quickly away, often inviting a chase. A few may become curious and, if I stay still, will come closer to see the red camera. I should just hang around to see what they might do.
Yesterday was surfing day. My sister had arranged lessons with an older king of surfing guy. We had to drive to the other side of the island, a trip of about an hour and a half. We drove through some towns, some looking like what I expected surfing towns might look like. We passed the run down dilapidated hotel used in the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii.
Finally, we got there, found the little shack by the side of the road where we were to check-in and get our rash guards—shirts worn to protect one’s chest from rubbing on the surface of the surfboard and getting sore. Then we headed down to the beach in a well used park. Mitch greeted us in a traditional manner and met my notion of what a old-time surfer might be like. He was in no rush, he assured us and said he was going to get us surfing.
Beginning on the beach, he guided us, in his own unique way, through what we would be doing in the water. Then, it was time to get into the water. We paddled a bit and then, with him waist high in the water watching each small wave, sizing it up for us, he sent us with a push and then the orders, right knee, left leg, pivot. Even with the very small waves, it was tough to get it right. Once you did get it, the board would provide quite a nice ride. My son, a snowboarder and much more agile, got into doing a pop-up—jumping straight to his feet. He even got to hopping and turning to face the other side of the board. Oh that kid again!
Then there is POG. On the very first day, we entered the lobby of the resort and there I saw a table with two drink dispensers, nice ones, glass and silver. One had ice water and lemons, the other had a pinkish-orange drink. I had to have some and when I tasted it, I very nearly went crazy. So refreshing and nutritious tasting—yummy! My sister said, maybe it is something they call POG. POG, as it turn out, stands for Passion fruit, orange and guava. Invented in 1971 by Mary Soon, who won the Kaleakala Dairy internal competition for a new drink, it seems to have become the official drink of the Hawaiian Islands and mostly rare anywhere else. I have ordered it in restaurants and seen it at Costco here in a big jug. I have read that some of it is mostly water and sugar, and therefore is called a nectar instead of a juice. Oh well, it is great stuff.
Hawaii is a strange place. Very pleasant. Always the same. What is the weather like? Usually the same, the temperature, usually the same, the wind, usually the same, the waves, usually the same, the tide, usually the same, etc. Everything is always the same, very pleasant and, I am told, usually the same all year around. Would that get boring, I’m not sure. It is so strange, you can make plans to do something and usually count on being able to do it. No back up plans for rain! Even if it does rain, the rain is only for minutes, or you just go ahead anyway because it is not cold enough to cancel plans. Strange!