Monday, April 13, 2015

Hawaii... Part 1

First off, I know that I've been a terrible blogger for the last year.  I've had a lot of personal things going on that have made it hard for me to be collected and put my thoughts down on paper and definitely, I have not been funny.  So... moving on. 

Hawaii!!!  The land of secret beaches in the middle of lava flows. 
I have been talking with one of my best friends for at least two years about taking a vacation somewhere - we've talked about London and Paris, all over the United States, and finally, Hawaii.  Paige is one of my sorority sisters from college and we are very much like two peas in a pod - minus that she carries a gun for work and I'm typically accessorizing the crap out of myself.  Well... she turned 30 this year, and I never took a 30th birthday trip - so we decided to make Kona, Hawaii, our big trip.  It's perfect - her family has a condo here and so basically all we had to do was get here.  Perfect.
She brought me a lei at the airport!  HAWAII!!!!
I've never been to Hawaii.  Growing up, our family vacations consisted of wherever we could go in the camper (i.e. NOT Hawaii).  I did get to spend a lot of time camping on a beach in Mexico - something that most people will never get to do (namely because now people get beheaded for even stepping foot in parts of Mexico).

Even growing up in California, I was never much of a beach kid.  I can't remember ever spending much time there (with the exception of Mexico).  I'm sure we went, but I just can't really remember it.  I have a vague memory of camping near the beach with my parents and my cousin and it being cold and rainy the entire time.  That being said - this could just be some dream I had once and it never actually happened.

Moral of the story?  I haven't spent much time in the ocean.  One time, in Mexico, a kid camping near us stepped on a sea urchin and impaled himself with no less than 70 quills in his foot (that's why you wear water shoes kids!).  It led to my first child-sized anxiety attack - in a less than ideal location - a boogie board in the middle of a deep tide pool.  There's some debate in my family about what happened next - but the general consensus is that I screamed my head off until my mom crawled out on the rocks and rescued me (thanks Mom).  I was 8. Add in the discovery of movies like Jaws and the ocean has been ruined for me since.

I am now 31 and am generally consider myself to be relatively tough. Well... tell that to the sea turtle who scared the shit out of me yesterday.  (And yes, he was 20 yards away - something I didn't know when Paige said 'Oh look - a sea turtle!')  Here's the thing about the ocean:  it is TERRIFYING.  For those of you who think sharks are the only scary things out there - you'd be wrong.  I have discovered my new greatest fear: manta rays (no - not manatees - I've conquered that fear - or at least laid it to wait until my next Florida or Puerto Rico trip).

See.  Terrifying.  And no, I didn't take this picture.  I will never in this lifetime be that close to one of these sea monsters. 
Manta rays are like the giant bats of the sea (and I don't particularly love the bats of land either) and here in Hawaii, they grow to a wingspan of something like 12 feet (sometimes bigger).  12 feet.  12 FEET.  We saw one at a distance yesterday - I mean a LONG distance, like 100 yards - and while it was beautiful, it also made my stomach jump into my throat.  People do night scuba diving with these creatures here and let them swim all around them - they are attracted to the flashlights.  Hell to the no.  Those people be crazy.

I'm looking forward to trying snorkeling (yes, I'm 31 and haven't snorkeled since I was probably 8) but I'm also terrified that I'll have a full fledged freakout in the water.  Water creatures are squirrely and the current adds to the mystery of where they are going.  On top of that, I'm not a super great swimmer - I can swim to save my life and the life of someone who is drowning - but besides that - not really great.  I didn't grow up swimming... that's not a thing we did in Montana a lot.  Floating the river?  Yes.  Jumping off the bridge into the river?  Yes.  Swimming?  No.

Turns out that I'm much better with scary land animals.  Maybe it's because we're on the same playing field.  When I get into the water, I very much feel how a fish out of water must feel.  I have been raised to know how to handle running into a bear in the woods - but put me in the water with a sea turtle and I have no idea what to do.  And before you say it, those suckers bite - I've seen it on NatGeoWild.

So... fingers crossed for my impending snorkeling experience.  I've borrowed an underwater camera so I can chronicle the entire experience - complete with scared face underwater selfies. Maybe I'll even get a picture or two of fishies.

I should be off - Hawaii is a land where everyone gets up at the crack of dawn and sitting out here on the lanai (can I please start calling my patio that?),  I'm pretty sure I just saw a small child out jogging with her parents. That probably means its time to get my butt in gear. Unfortunately, no one that I'm staying with understands the importance of coffee like I do.  At least Paige knows that I'm much more amenable to life in general after a cup of coffee. That's the joy of having a friend for 10+ years.

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