On the Big Island, Kevin of King Kayak hosts a triple adventure – Sea Kayaking, Cliff Jumping, and Snorkeling. All six of us ventured out in tandem kayaks, and had a blast. We carefully propelled our kayaks, one at a time, into a threatening looking cave called the Dragon’s Throat. We had to time our trip in between major swells so we wouldn’t get smashed on the rocks.
Then we were offered the chance to jump from another cliff… Which looked to be 50 feet high! Well, actually, it was closer to 24 or something. Ashlyn and Karen were the first to jump, so I decided I had to also. Loren and Bryan were going to jump as well. I’m not much of a heights guy, but I had to do it. When standing there, hundreds of feet in the air (It FELT like it!) Kevin would have you throw your sandals far out below. From that point you were committed – you can’t walk back over those harsh rocks. Then he would tell you when to jump… timed so the swells would be high and you wouldn’t be pushed into the rocks. That helped… If I’m gonna die, I’d rather it be falling a mile into the water than being smashed up on the cliff by a breaker! Ok, I had to admit, it was a thrill!
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Our family had to get back to home and work and school, but fortunately Cherryl and I have none of those to worry about. So we flew to Maui!
A highlight of our far too short time on Maui was a day birding with an expert guide! Wendy, of Explore Maui Nature, was very knowledgeable and a lot of fun! In one day, we went to several different habitats, from shore to marsh to the top of the island to forests and finally to a golf course!
We met early in the morning, and after a while at sea level, we headed for the top of Mt. Haleaka. This is literally the top of the island, and way up above the clouds the view is otherworldly!
One bird I was really hoping to see was the Iiwi. When we got to the forest, one conveniently landed in a tree right next to us! Those shots are my favorite of the birding trip, so I’ll save them till last of this section!
Below is another interesting bird, the Hawaii Amakihi. He’s really not too good at holding still, so I felt good about this shot.
We saw several gorgeous Black-necked Stilts, mirrored in the water.
Zebra Doves got to be so common we didn’t get too excited over seeing them, but I liked this one’s pose.
Far too soon, it was time to move on to Oahu. Cherryl lived on Oahu from ages 9 to 15, and we wanted to find some of the “Old Haunts.” I’ll admit to feeling that Oahu would be the least exciting island of the three, maybe because I’ve always thought Maui or Kawaii were the prettiest. But Oahu blew away my preconceptions! Absolutely gorgeous!
Our VRBO house was right on the water! Just a little bit of lawn and a short sea wall between us and the ocean! Very cool!
The house was a little odd… we had gone to the grocery store to stock up for our time here, and gotten a frozen pizza. (Who wants to spend time cooking in paradise?) When getting ready for dinner, we realized we had no oven! And in fact, we had no stove, either. The pizza was too big for the microwave, so Cherryl cut it in pieces, thawed it in the microwave, then fried it a bit more on a hotplate we found in a cupboard. It was a little weird, but fun. So the rest of the time we cooked on the hotplate.
We spent a lot of time beach hopping, and hiking. I’m not going to label all these pictures, since I’d probably get them backward or something.
We saw this guy get his little daughter and dog on the board and surf in a protected bay many times. They all seemed to love it, and went over and over.
I loved seeing all the waves – smashing against the rocks or just curling over with beautiful translucent coloring. So I’m putting up way too many of them here. Live with it.
This guy was amazing. He flew his hydrofoil kite very well, jumping far in the air frequently. We saw him take one good nose dive, but he was up and flying again in a jiffy!
At the famous Pipeline, the waves were huge and beautiful.
You wouldn’t realize how big the waves were until you notice those are not little birds or something out there, they are SURFERS! The waves must have been 30 feet tall. A big competition was coming up, and many world renown surfers were here, and lots of locals were there to hang with them.
While exploring a forested area, we were excited to see a White-rumped Shama. These are very pretty birds, but this one seemed to want our friendship. He would call to us, and land closer and closer to us. I had a great time photographing my new pet!
He was even so friendly, I wondered if I could get him to land on my hand. He landed on a stump maybe 12 feet from me, and I just slowly inched towards him with my hand outstretched. He faced me the whole time, and I got so I was touching the stump… he turned his back to me, and I could have flicked his tail. He finally decided to move on, but it was great fun playing with my pretty friend!
So we didn’t forget to check out the landmarks of Cherryl’s childhood on the island. The church, the school on the windward side (elementary), and the main school was the academy on the Honolulu side of the island. What used to be called Castle Memorial Hospital was where her parents worked, and is now called Adventist Health Castle. (Like what’s a health castle??)
Then we hunted down Cherryl’s old homes. I’m not going to name them either.
Near Kailua is a bay with an island she said was called “Chinaman’s Hat.” I’m sure it now must be referred to as “Person of Asian ethnicity’s Headgear” or something like that…
OK, just a few more random flowers
Both the Zebra Doves and Pacific Golden-plovers were so common we saw them everywhere… but I still have to include a couple more here.
We had a fabulous time in Hawaii, and with help from our birding guide and new friend Wendy, we added 28 new birds to our life list! Woo Hoo!