Big Island Hawaii
I remember from my days of traveling here that The Hawaii National airport has outside gardens. This is perfect as I always crave breathing Real god made air, I don’t care if it’s muggy air, rainy, frigidly cold just as long as it hasn’t been pumped thru a system, recycled for our breathing enjoyment.
The Hawaii National airport is special as most of it is exposed to the outdoors. The planes are right there and you could touch them as nothing is blocking you from doing so save maybe the length of your arms. Palm trees frame the open breezeways and it’s highly common to see large palms and other tropical flora frame the large plans like Air Canada (I bet that plane is really happy) although it is scheduled to leave for frosty Vancouver in an hour. Anyway the greenery surrounding the plane acts like a large lei around the fuselage and you can’t help thinking that this is what airports are like in paradise.
When I make it to the Big Island door-to-door I have been traveling for 16 hours and I am beat. It’s funny how not moving can just wear you out.
When I walk into my room I see that I have a balcony that is almost out over the ocean. There are lights pointing into the water and as I go to unpack, something in the water catches my eye. There’s something really big in there. I go out onto my balcony and what I see makes my eyes well up with tears it’s so beautiful. Five giant Manta Rays swimming around. They’re doing loop d’loops and showing off their white bellies. Sometimes they’ll tip to the side like a plane in an air show. Their wing span must be 6 feet and as they come up out of the water to feed I can see they have the friendliest faces. Watching them you are totally in awe of these creatures and at the same time as delighted as watching puppies play.
I spend the next morning with Danny Akaka, who I have had the pleasure of working with many times in Girl Meets Hawaii and Great Hotels so it’s really wonderful that he is a part of Great Weekends as well. He is a Hawaiian treasure who makes it his mission to pass on the spirit and History of Hawaii to all who visit. He also knows all the words to “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” from Sound of Music. Falsetto voice and all.
One of the best parts of this trip is seeing Mauna Kea, considered the tallest mountian in the world. When measured from sea level. Altitude sickness is an issue since we’ll be climbing 13,000 feet and will lose about 40 percent of oxygen. We’ll also be going from 87 degrees with a lot of humidity to just above freezing and completely dry. We are all really excited about what feels like a good old fashioned school field trip.
We watch the sunset at the top of Mauna Kea. Absolutely beautiful! From this view we can see Maui and the top of the 10,000 ft. Volcano Haleakala.
Ever blow a Conch shell? I got to try at the Luau at Kona Village. I’ve never been able to do this and thought that this time was going to be no different. But for some reason my first attempt I was like Wynton Marsalis and blew a note that even made the Conch blower impressed. Even my camera crew was taken a back and we just all stood around sort of stunned. Of course when I had to do it in front of 100 people. Nada.
When I come back to my room the next night the Manta rays are not there. I wait. Then go back to wash my face. As I go to turn on the TV I glimpse down and see one of them. I literally jump up in the air and yell Yay! Like I’m 8 and have been told I get to ride a pony. I go out onto my balcony and this time I tell them hello and how nice it is to see them again.
I now think I am becoming too attached to the Manta Rays. I start to get excited to see them when I put my key card in the door. It’s like they have become my pets who greet me when I get home. (Whenever I come home, I will first hear my cat Fiona jump off the bed before she runs up to me) I love it but when I don’t see them the last night I think it’s an Omen. And I’m right the next two days are awful with bad news all around. I miss those manta rays.