Monday, December 02, 2013


Nature is majestic


The Kīlauea volcano in Kona. We had never been on a volcano, let alone the crater of the volcano with steaming vents. Evan was disappointed we didn't get to see some real lava flowing. The whole island is made up of lava rock and is constantly growing because of the lava flow. What struck fear in my heart was to be told that people on the island slept with half a tank of gas in their car at all times in case any one of the volcanoes erupted and they needed to be evacuated.

Nature is surprising

A 15 minute walk  from our apartment is the shoreline. It isn't manicured or disneyfied. It's raw and unadulterated. That means it's uneven and slippery rocks and extremely frightening for me to watch my mountain goat children prance from rock to rock. Amongst the rocks were tidal pools filled with little surprises for JED to discover. Sea urchins in different colours and sizes, sea cucumbers that their grandpa wanted to bring home to make soup with, living up to the Chinese stereotype that we would eat anything, hermit crabs that took walks all over Jordan's when she picked it up and I insisted had to be returned to the exact rock pool she picked it up from and tiny fish and crab that Muffin continually exclaimed about. We spent 2 afternoons there and I saw Evan, more than a few times, just stand still look out into the ocean's expanse and just smile.

Nature is whimsical

The twins discovered a large praying mantis just chilling on our rental car. Muffin fought them and insisted it was a grasshopper. They insisted Packrat remove it humanely and release it into a bush. But not before they pointed out all the differences and similarities between it and the grasshopper.

We took JED out on a glass bottom boat as well and while it was fascinating to see the coral fish in their natural habitat, the highlight of the trip was to come across a pod of spinner dolphins. They came close to the boat, they jumped, they spun and they twirled. It was an unrehearsed circus act. They stayed for ten minutes, turning around to beckon the boat to follow them. And just as soon as they showed up, they disappeared without a trace.

Nature is breathtaking

Sunset is about the most awesome time on the islands. The sky is a cacophany of colours and even though the drive was a long one back from the volcanoes, we could not help but be awestruck in wonderness by the colours in the sky.

Nature is frightening

When in Hawaii, do as the natives do. And what they do is to spend all their time on the beach. So that is what we have been doing. And the beaches are mostly lovely and inviting. JED fell in love with this beach 10 miles away from our resort called Hapuna, in Kona. So we went two days in a row; the second day with boogie boards that the twins were now itching to try. 

Unfortunately, Hawaii is also known for its huge crest waves that people surf and powerful rip currents that can pull unsuspecting swimmers underwater. And the second day we were at Hapuna, there were the ominous red flags planted all over the beach and more people on the sand than in the water. 

It took about 10 seconds to see and hear why. The waves curtaining most of the horizon were coming in fast and furious and crashing so loudly Muffin put his hands to his ears. Packrat remarked that the sea looked like Milo because of all the sand that was being tossed up by the force of the waves. 

No way was I going to let them swim but Packrat waded them a little out just to feel the remnant wash of the wave. They became pretty good at spotting the big waves and knew instinctively to run towards shore. 

My favourite snapshot of nature however can't be photographed. It's the multitude of bright stars against the black velvet night sky here. Because it's so dark in Kona, the stars really twinkle like diamonds. We even managed to see a couple of shooting stars. That has made Packrat barbeque dinner every night because it gives him the opportunity to sit and stare at the night sky while the meat cooks on the grill.

Our experiencing nature here isn't as if we were in Tibet, Nepal or trekking in the jungle somewhere. It's pretty sanitised. And even then,  in JED's words, 'it's still pretty AWESOME'.


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