A first-ever trip to Hawaii. My expectations are high, but the islands exceeded my wildest dreams. The islands are stunning, spectacular, magical, incredible. Maureen and I will return soon.
In the week leading up to the trip, I have to pinch myself to confirm that I am not dreaming. That in fact, I would soon be in the exotic, famous Hawaiian Islands.
The trip starts out frantically, which turns out to be a harbinger of things to come. On the morning of our flight to Hawaii from Florida, we are already running late—we needed to be on the road by 4 a.m. to get to the airport in Jacksonville for a 7 a.m. flight. I have spent the night at Maureen's house. Fumbling to unlock the door of my house to load up my luggage into my truck, the key to my deadbolt BREAKS IN HALF. No problem, I think to myself. I'll just get my spare key, but when I look, I discovered that I have loaned the key and have not gotten it back. Fortunately, Maureen had a spare and I quickly retrieve it from her.
Our flight is first to Dallas-Ft Worth. From there, it is a 7-hour flight over the southwest and the Pacific Ocean to reach the islands. It is uneventful, which is exaggerated by the fact that the two books I have brought to read during the long flight both turned out to be deadly dull. I am stuck reading airline safety manuals and watching the in-flight movie without sound.
Our American Airlines flight touches down in Honolulu. We are immediately struck by one of the pleasant aspects of the islands: They feature nearly perfect weather year-round. Light sea breeze, warm air, moderate humidity. Stepping off the plane lets us know, up front, that we are in paradise.
Each of the islands, we learn, is nearly surrounded by gorgeous beaches, with interior, inland areas boasting countless, dramatic, picturesque waterfalls often hundreds of feet tall.
The ocean waters in the Hawaiian Islands are crystal clear, since very little nutrients wash into the waters from the volcanic soils, which means no seaweed or other, similar forms of aquatic vegetation. In fact, we find the waters to be so very clear that they glisten like sparkling diamonds. A very vivid appearance, and therefore nearly perfect conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving amongst the rainbows of coral reef and tropical fish.
For each island, we find that summer days are usually partly overcast with either high or low clouds (depending on which side of the island you are on), and usually show a morning or afternoon pattern that you can count on each day depending on which island you are in. Throughout our stay on the islands, it seems that throughout morning and evening, sunshine would be nearly continuously and intermittently interspersed with very light drizzle or mist events (requiring a great amount of use of your "intermittent" function with your car's windshield wipers).
An unfortunate feature we notice on each of the four islands we visit: There is very meager bird or mammal population. The birds are small in number due to the exploding mongoose population, which we see several of, dashing across the street in the way that we see squirrels back home. The mongoose were originally imported to the islands to control rats, and happily feast on Hawaiian bird eggs.
As you will notice in my travel log descriptions, many of the names of locations on the islands are nearly impossible to pronounce—even for natives. Maureen and I decide, early on, that instead of engaging in humiliating, self-flagellating, brain-damaging efforts to try to pronounce the names, we will simply abbreviate the names. Therefore, for example, Liliuokalani Gardens became "L" Gardens. Maniniowali Beach became "M" Beach. Laupahoehoe Peninsula became "L" Peninsula. Honaunau Bay became "H" Bay.
Below are links describing our adventures on the four islands we visit...
This link shows photos from our trip. When the link brings you to the Picasa photo album page, select “slideshow” in the upper left.
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