Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hawai'i stole my heart!

Tonight is our final night on the Big Island. As I sit in our hotel room listening to the ocean waves break on the rock and feeling the warm ocean breeze cover my body I feel sad and happy. Sad that we have to leave this fabulous island tomorrow and return to cold, depressing winter. I am so happy we came. Hawaii feels like home. It has the ocean, the sun, warm air, warm ocean water, exotic fish and animals, nice people and good food.
Today Barry and I spent time in the ocean. We went to Kahalu'u Beach in Keauhou. The beach was mostly rock with a little sand. I brought my water shoes so it was easier for me to walk over the rocks into the ocean. Barry forgot his so his feet were bare. Despite his cautious walking he still slipped and cut his toes and leg. They are minor cuts but I wouldn't recommend swimming there without shoes. It is a popular beach for snorkeling. There were many people snorkeling. They were looking at the coral and tropical fish. We did not rent snorkel equipment. I did not need it. I could see the tropical fish with my eyes in the water because the water was so clear and the fish so bright. They were yellow, orange, black & orange, brilliant blue, bright green and tiger fish to mention a few. It was wonderful to swim with them in the ocean where we both were free and not confined in a tank.

Since the beach was close to our hotel we were able to return to our room for a quick lunch then headed south to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. On our way we stopped at the Donkey Ball Chocolate Factory so I could buy some Donkey Balls. I purchased a few items, but couldn't resist asking if their chocolate was fair trade. I knew the answer, but was planting a seed. The cashier had to go to the back and ask. When she returned she said they did not know. I told her that if it were fair trade she would know. I explained to her why fairly traded chocolate was important to me. I was glad that they had white chocolate (which I cannot eat), but bought as gifts for family.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge) was such a rich experience. The park contains ancient temples, royal grounds and a place of refuge (sanctuary.) We spent hours walking around feeling the sacredness of this site. The park provided refuge to Hawai'ians who were able to get there. Non royalty who broke Kapu (strict ancient Hawai'ian social system) were killed because Hawai'ians felt breaking Kapu angered the Gods who would send tidal waves, earthquakes, famine and volcanic eruptions. Kapu breakers had to swim through violent and shark filled ocean to reach Pu'uhonua.

The park encompasses royal grounds as well. Kona ali'i (chief, royalty) lived there with their warriors. One of the temples there was built around 1650 and contains the bones of 23 chiefs. There is also a stone wall that was built in 1550 which is 10 feet high and more than 1000 feet long. Also several ki'i (statues) carved out of Ohia trees. One actually stands on the rocks in the ocean. It was a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

Barry and I have been here for a week and there are still so many places and things I want to do here on the Big Island. Barry keeps telling me that it gives us a reason to return. I DON"T WANT TO LEAVE!!!!!! I will miss the call of the ocean. She calls me through all of me senses. My eyes see her beautiful inviting shades of blue, my ears hear the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks reminding my body of the times she has rocked me. When I smell, taste salt, sweat or cry I am reminded of her gentle saltiness.

Hawai'i, especially the Big Island is a place I highly recommend visiting at least once in your life. They even have snow way up on the mountain for those who want that experience. The Island has something for everyone. You can visit a ranch. Ride horses on a ranch or beach. There are magnificent waterfalls and tropical gardens, which we did not get to see, in the mountains. We only had time to explore half of the volcano. Don't forget the green, black, beige (white) and multi-colored sand beaches. If you decide to come to Hawai'i we found the Lonely Planet's The Big Island travel guide to be an excellent resource. We had both the 2002 and 2008 editions thanks to two wonderful friends who loaned us their copies. We used them frequently.

I love you Big Island. You have stolen my heart. I will miss you tremendously when I am back in the cold and barren wilderness of Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

I could smell the salt water as I read your post. I so want to go.