Star Date: February 2013
Hello Dear Family
"Aloha E Komo Mai"
(Hello! Welcome. Hawaiian)
Hawaii, a land of mystery and miracles. These unique, remote islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean offer a true taste of paradise to all who end up on their shore. Returning for our annual "Vacation from our vacation" as Joseph calls it, is a highlight of each year. Spending time with family and friends, making more warm memories to carry with us around the world, is a true gift. Getting here is often a long trip from some far reaching corner of the globe and it is good to just relax and unwind in the warm loving arms of our beloved Hawaii and the chic, tropical apartment in Mariah & Shane's new home.
This visit was truly full of miracles, the main one being able to help at the home birth of Kaimana Mann, son of lovely Mother Mariah and great Dad Shane, brother of 3 year old Kayla. Every morning started with a tap, tap on our door as Kayla yelled, "Tutu? Grampy? Want to play ?" We had fun playing with this cute little ball of energy. She certainly reminded us to lighten up & stay young. Next year there will be more hiding, reading gardening and playing as Kaimana tries to keep up with his sister. Kayla joined us visiting her soul mate, Great Grandma Gami, in her Hale in Honokaa. With 86 years difference in age, they connect on a different level, on a level of life that few take the time to experience and enjoy. It was always a trip full of tea parties, beaming Gami, painting our nails with gold sparkles, dancing and painting pictures; and our friends the 'llamas in pajamas' and miniature horses in the green rolling pastures of Waimea along the way. Visits to see my Mom, Gami, road trips around the island, meals and outings with family and time shared with dear friends kept us busy for the 2 months awaiting Kaimana's arrival. Did I say we were resting in Hawaii? Well maybe more refreshing ourselves!
Uncle Kevin, had this year returned to the Big Island, where he was raised, and embarked on his very successful new career in Real Estate. He seems to have found his niche, using his people skills to help happy clients find a home and settle in Paradise. He is happy to be so close to family. Much better to share dinner, hiking and beach outings than face the winters of Colorado. One of his night jobs to make ends meet in Hawaii (the price of living in expensive Paradise), led to yet another mystery in the vibrant water off of Kona.
Mantas. These mysterious, gentle giants grow to over 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1500 pounds. They lack the dangerous stinging spike on their tail of the deadly sting ray but look quite ominous as they feed on plankton and small fish strained through their gaping mouths. Working on a Blue Sea Cruises boat, Son Kevin invited us to join him on a Manta Night Snorkel. The manta ray night snorkel was voted "one of the top 10 things to do in your life" by the Travel Channel! Now I know why. Going out on the rough seas, enveloped in the pitch black night certainly pushed my envelope. The cold swells were totally forgotten as these colossal creatures attracted by the boats lights, performed a ballet; swooping back and forth, gliding within inches of the awe struck onlookers wearing only a snorkel and wetsuit. The cold water was my only problem and I had to return to the boat to regain some body heat. After experiencing this amazing encounter, the heat of the moment wasn't even extinguished by the cold rinse off before heading back into shore. Kevin, being raised in Hawaii, was as at home in the ocean as on shore.
When living in Hawaii it is common to have incredible experiences outdoors and with creatures of the ocean. Daughter Mariah, also at one with the ocean, went out with myself, Kayla and our friend Star to swim with dolphins. At 9 months pregnant it was a fun experience as the dolphins, attracted by the double heart beat, came close for a good look at Mom to Be and no doubt have a talk with Kaimana, floating just a couple feet away. The swell was starting to rise but we were caught in yet another other worldly Hawaiian moment. On the way back into shore I will never forget a wave crashing on the rocks, splashing 4 stories high, and as the water receded the boat was momentarily perched precariously on the edge of the next 4 story high wave looking down to the rocks below. We were in suspended animation as the Universe decided our fate. Our clever captain floored it and rode the wave across towards the harbor entrance and soon we were snuggled into the safe little cove, still buzzing with excitement.
While swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and paddling outrigger canoes in the water surrounding Hawaii we have encountered many marine animals and fish (including a rare shark) and have many tales to tell. Hawaii may be expensive but the best activities are outdoors and free; compliments of Mother Nature. One such memorable outing Joseph & I were kayaking in Kiholo Bay in search of whales who come to birth their babies yearly. We didn't have long to wait as 3 headed right towards us. I yelled, "What do we do?" Joseph replied, "Just keep heading straight." We played an exhilarating game of chicken with these creatures the size of buses, now quickly bearing down on us. At the last moment two of the whales veered on either side of our small kayak and the middle guy, as curious of us as we are of them, rolled over on his side and not 6 feet below the kayak was an enormous eyeball looking up at us. We waved and continued on. Later we jumped off the kayak and swam down to enter their realm, an underwater world full of astonishing singing and aquatic sounds.
When we paddled back to shore we shared whale stories and our friend told us how he had promised a mainland friend that if he went kayaking it would be totally safe amongst these gentle giants. To the horror of his land loving friend from California, one of the curious whales had surprised them under their kayaks and actually lifted his friend's kayak up out of the water on his back for an instant before he submerged!
With daughter Mariah's 35th birthday Dec 24th, Kayla's 3rd on Dec 25th, Christmas, Kevin's 30th Feb 2nd and now Kaimana's pop out day Feb 5th it was a time of non stop celebration! We sprung Gami loose once again from her excellent care home to be immersed in the festivities, putting a bed right in the living room next to the tree. We cooked, baked traditional Croatian 'povatitsa' bread, danced, sang, exchanged presents and had a real loving family time.
A pleasant surprise visit from a friend, Barb, in British Columbia found us exploring with Kevin's red 4x4 jeep to inaccessible Makleavena Beach. This is still one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Sometimes you have to work hard to enjoy the rewards. In Hawaii "Life is a Beach!"
Jump into the flow of life and ride it. Another miracle or is it an 'ordinary'? It all started one day as someone burst through our hotel room door in China, shocked to see us inside. We spent over 6 weeks on a remote beach on Hainan Island escaping the icy fingers of winter during our 14.5 months in China. (see 2006). Our new friend for life, Jianashe, a Qi gong master who had been looking for a place to move his retreat, apologized profusely and invited us to visit his Qi gong center a mile down the beach. We shared a lively Chinese New Years celebration with hundreds of fireworks along the beach and I learned and practiced Qi gong for the next 3 weeks. I also helped them with English and to set up a webpage, then making contacts with like minded energy workers worldwide. This was one secret that needed sharing!
monthly over the next 7 years. A large group from New Zealand
loved his center and spread the word. Jianshe had wanted to
travel and share the East with the West. Seven years later he
had not only been granted a much coveted passport but had taught and
visited in 9 European countries.
And so it goes.........................................Next flying back to Guatemala, to feed our addiction as market junkies! Until then Keep Smiling and remember to slow down and notice the miracles of life around us. Jump into the flow of life and connect right now. Pause and remember. Give Thanks for 2 seconds. It's that easy. We are glad you stopped by. Thanks for keeping in touch. After over 6 weeks with little outside chance for emails it was wonderful to return to an inbox full of well wishes! Take care!
Love, Light & Laughter,
$1.00US = a
little less each year!
A NEW highly recommended, tropical apartment in Kailua
Kona, HI, just minutes from the ocean and town. Only $59/night
in this top vacation spot is hard believe (discount for longer
stays). We had written that Hawaii, our home, was really
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Interested in real estate in Hawaii? Let hardworking, professional Kevin find the right place for you!
Kevin Walmsley - Realtor®,(S)
Connect on Facebook / Connect on LinkedIn
For a fascinating and inexpensive look "Under"
For a manta experience of a lifetime contact:
http://blueseacruisesinc.com/index Phone # is: 808.331.8875
The Big Island of Hawaii is exactly that - BIG.
We have tried to highlight a few more of the
spectacular beaches, hikes and drives to keep
you busy while visiting. Where else can
you go swimming in the warm water and rest on a hot beach in the morning
, drive up to 14,000
ft and throw a snowball in the afternoon and
watch the sunset over a river of orange lava
flowing into the ocean?
An island of diversity and true beauty.
(for more see Feb 2012).
One of the most popular drives on Hawaii Island is the stretch of Highway 11 from the old sugar plantation town of Keaau to lovely Volcano Village on the outskirts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. How many places on Earth can you drive right to the edge of a live, fiery, erupting volcano? Not many. But here on the Big Island of Hawaii, there are several spots where you can drive up and experience nature at its fieriest.
Perhaps as a reflection of its popularity, more and more bed-and-breakfast operations have opened in the area, along the scenic drive known as the Volcano Heritage Corridor. Look for the brown and white signs along the highway, which indicate areas of historical interest.
Along the way, sights and points of interest include historic Keaau (with the modern conveniences of Keaau Village Market), an old coffee mill, a winery, nature preserves and several art venues featuring the marvelous creations of resident artists. For years, the mana (miraculous power) and legends of the Volcano region have been a source of inspiration for some of the Islands’ finest artists, including painters, woodblock printers, photographers and sculptors. You, too, may be inspired by the Heritage Corridor, one of several on this big, Big Island.
The entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just off of Highway 11, located 26 miles from Hilo, a 45-minute to one-hour drive. The admission fee is $10 for each private vehicle, which is good for seven days (not transferrable). Just beyond the park’s entrance, spend time at the Kilauea Visitor Center, where an introductory film and displays provide an excellent introduction to region. Current eruption news is also available here.
Visitors with limited time head straight for the Crater Rim Drive around the impressive Kilauea Caldera, which has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. Currently, the caldera is spewing giant clouds of sulfur dioxide, so the southern flank has been closed indefinitely. Still, several hours can be devoted to exploring all the sights along the northern portion of the road, including short hikes to Thurston Lava Tube, Devastation Trail and the Halemaumau Crater Lookout. Also save time to visit the fascinating Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, featuring excellent information about volcanology. The museum is also a good spot from which to view Halemaumau’s fuming vent, especially after sunset when the massive pit glows red with fire.
For those with no time constraints, continue toward the coastline on the scenic Chain of Craters Road, which follows past lava flows from the heights of Kilauea down to the sea. At the point where the Chain of Craters Road begins to descend, there is a magnificent view of the coastline, and you can see plumes of steam whenever molten lava spills into the ocean. The road descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles, ending near the coastline where a lava flow cut off all access nearly 10 years ago. Except for restrooms and a shaded pavilion with picnic benches at the lookout on Chain of Craters Road, there are no other public facilities, so be sure you have adequate water, snacks and a full tank of gas.
Kilauea’s East Rift Zone eruption, which began in 1983, is the longest continuous rift-zone eruption in written history. Kilauea, which means “much sprewing,” is the world’s most active volcano. Volcanic activity, including oozing streams of magma spilling into the ocean, is always changing. Daily reports are posted at the visitor center for those who hope to view the dramatic nighttime sight of fiery lava meeting the sea, and the towering steam plumes it creates. Certain precautions must be taken for any hike into this area. The National Park Service has a four-minute video entitled, “Plan for Safe Viewing of Lava Flows.”
On your return to the park’s entrance, save time to visit the charming Volcano Art Center Gallery, which makes its home in the original Volcano House Hotel, built in 1877. Just outside the park, Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park is a lovely side trip, and it’s free. Take Mauna Loa Road to the park entrance, which is located a short drive off Highway 11. In this vast area of volcanic activity, the park features a forest of koa trees that have escaped centuries of eruptions, with a wealth of bird life that make this oasis its home.
The Hamakua district is famous for its elevated coastline, once covered with vast fields of sugar cane, which are today being replaced by a variety of new diversified crops, including world-class coffee and colorful tropical plants. The fascinating heritage of the early plantation days is still evident in towns like Honokaa and Laupahoehoe, where a tiny museum transports you back in time. Rugged gulches spanned by old railroad bridges dot this wetter windward side of the island, a vibrant green jungle fed by streams and waterfalls flowing down the sides of 13,796-foot Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands.
Heading north from Hilo, keep an eye on the right for signs that lead to the lovely 4-mile scenic drive through Onomea, along a curving coastline draped in tropical jungle. Along the way, make time for a visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The garden of delights was created by Dan Lutkenhouse, who dreamed of making his Onomea rain forest accessible to folks who have never experienced the beauty of a flower-filled wonderland. A wooden walkway leads to coral footpaths down by the sea, where waves crash into the jagged lava coast of the pristine little bay. Admission is charged.
At the tiny town of Honomu, turn inland to Akaka Falls State Park, one of the most popular natural wonders along this coastline. A short, self-guided walk (less than half a mile) through the jungle of bamboo and towering tropical trees leads to two overlooks, one offering a view of the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the other to the 400-foot Kahuna Falls. Akaka Falls gets the more prominent billing because Kahuna Falls is off in the distance from a lookout along the pathway, whereas it seems you can almost reach out and touch Akaka Falls from its lookout. Parking is $5 for nonresidents. Restrooms and picnic benches are located at the trail’s headway, on the edge of the paved parking lot.
Other favorites in this area include World Botanical Gardens and Umauma Falls. Like Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, World Botanical Gardens was the dream of a man in love with nature and crazy about plants. Walt Wagner, a former Oahu high school teacher and botany major, got together a hui (partnership) to finance his dream, a phylogenetically (by family relationship) arranged series of gardens. “This is the northernmost continuously flowing river on the Big Island,” Wagner explains, “and this is what Akaka Falls would have looked like a million years ago,” before it evolved from a series of falls into a single falls.
Another side trip off Highway 19, in the direction of the sea, leads to the tiny peninsula of Laupahoehoe. This is one of the most scenic places along the vast Hamakua coastline, an outcropping of flat land surrounded by cliffs on one side and jagged black lava on the seaside. Years ago, the area was populated by a community of fishermen and farmers, who grew taro on the terraces below the cliffs. Tragically, an April Fools Day tsunami, which devastated both Hilo and Laupahoehoe, killing 20 students and four teachers who were at the peninsula on April 1, 1946. Miraculously, two children and one teacher survived.
Today, the community has moved to higher ground, but the peninsula is still a popular site from which fishermen launch their boats, and where residents come to the shoreline for picnics and to pay their respects at the memorial that commemorates the tragic loss of life here more than half a century ago.
In recent years, even more devastating tsunami have taken their toll on communities in Asia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, commanding an international call for more technically advanced warning systems. To learn more about Laupahoehoe and the phenomenon of destructive tsunami, stop into Hilo’s world-famous Pacific Tsunami Museum, located at 130 Kamehameha Ave., or visit tsunami.org.
Near the town of Laupahoehoe, at the 25-mile marker, take time to visit the fascinating Laupahoehoe Train Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s plantation heritage and the history of the Hilo Railroad, which operated from 1899 until the 1946 tsunami, when giant waves caused irreparable damage to the tracks.
There’s more to explore: the three seaside gulches, including Kaawalii and Maulua. Serious explorers can reserve a cabin at Kalopa Native Forest State Park and Recreation Area, or just stop by for an open-air picnic within the arboretum of native plants. This is one of the most scenic drives in the world, filled with magnificent views, spectacular waterfalls and a jungle of tropical flowers.
Take time to explore quaint Honokaa, a sleepy plantation town with some amazing little stores and restaurants that will take you back to the 1950s. For many years, Honokaa was famous for its macadamia nut orchards, an industry that flourished into the 1990s.
At Honokaa, follow Highway 240 to Kukuihaele
and beyond to the spectacular
Waipio Valley Lookout, the
highlight of any drive along the Hamakua Coast.
At the 800-foot-high grassy lookout, you can
enjoy a picnic or snacks, while gazing down on
the lush valley, its scenic black sand beach and
the taro farms that dot the landscape. The
hazardous, narrow road into the valley is
navigable only by four-wheel-drive vehicles.