Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aloha: Part II

I know it has been a little while since I began my story about my Hawaiian adventure, so I think it’s time I continue on with the story. Here’s part II:

After our day of relaxation and exploration, we were given the opportunity to get up early and join friends and members of the Waikoloa Canoe Club for an excursion to remember: go out into the open ocean in a six person outrigger canoe and maybe have the opportunity to get close to some of the migrating humpback whales! Cam and I were thrilled at the opportunity, to say the least! 

When we arrived, we of course had to get a lesson on the in’s-and-outs of these graceful water crafts. Outrigger canoes are extremely efficient (when filled with strong paddlers) and stable in flat water. One of the first things they tell you is NEVER lean to the right! If you lean right, you will capsize the boat! So when you cease paddling, or should you need to look behind you, you must leant to the left.

 Along with that tidbit of important information, we also got a paddling lesson because paddling in one of these boats is somewhat different than usual. Your body must stay in a straight line; so your power and strength must come from your arms and core. It was fascinating to learn but even more so to put it to use…which is exactly what we did next. We were divided up into teams of 6 and set out into the small bay and headed out to open water.

It was amazing! The rowing was strenuous but worth every burning muscle my body felt. We were fortunate enough to row out into a pod of whales as well and for the first time in my life, I saw these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat, with my very own eyes!

After finishing up at the canoe club, we made our way back to our hotel room to change and set out on yet another excursion. We wanted to spend the latter half of the day exploring the sights of the North part of the island. We set off heading to where the highway ends at Pololu Beach.

After about an hour in the car, we reached a very crowded, and very narrow, view point…literally where the highway stops. From this point, if you could find a place to park amidst all the other tourists, you could look down on the black sand beach far below and gaze out at the beautiful coastline. We decided to brave the trail truck down to the beach.

As if seeing the folks coming up off the trail, breathless and exhausted, wasn’t deterrent enough…just looking at the trail that lead down was enough to scare many hikers from attempting it. But not us! We took the challenge and made our way down the muddy switch-backed trail to the beach below.

It was about a 15 minute hike down but what awaited us at the bottom was simply amazing. The beach was actually covered with black pebbles instead of sand, a phenomenon that locals say happens several times of year. The tide washes these rocks onto the shore littering it for several months, and then, just as they had come, the tide washes them back to sea and the beach returns to black sand!  Sand or pebbles the beach and view were breathtaking!

After we spent a little time exploring this coast-line gem, we made our assent. To our amazement, it only took us 15 minutes to make it back to the car…we never had to stop once! We were proud. J We made our way to our car and headed back along the road, the direction in which we came.

Making our way back to our hotel, we made a quick stop at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. This was the site of Kamehameha I's religious ceremonial temple, as well as the temple dedicated to the shark god (which is no longer visible but lays submerged beneath the waters of the calm bay just in front of the main temple), and John Young’s homestead site. It was fun to explore the grounds and read the boards provided along the trail to educate you on what you were viewing. The visitor center was quite small but a wealth of information!

We also stopped at Lapakahi State Historical Park which was an old Hawaiian fishing village. It was a short, self-guided tour that led you around the village, giving you history and representations of how these villagers lived. Cam and I love history, so this was right up our alley and a fun stop for us both!

We finally made our way back to our room where we relaxed and rested to prepare for the days ahead!

To be continued…

And hopefully part III will follow a bit sooner than this one!


And as a quick side note...today was Day of the Mushroom! I hope you all enjoyed mushrooms in some way! I know these ambrosial fungi sautéed with garlic olive oil still holds a very special place in my heart!!

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