Goodbye Hawaii

Sue is on her way to the airport to fly back to Vermont. The Superbowl party is over. The sushi and Korean ribs are all gone. The extra chips and guacamole put away. My bags are all packed, ready for an early getaway at 6 tomorrow morning. I’ve spoken with friends and family today on the phone before that phone gets put away until June. The 3G on my ipad shuts off tomorrow and I’ll be back at the mercy of internet cafes and wireless hotspots.

Penny made sure that our last days in Hawaii were not idle ones. Yesterday we started the morning visiting a lagoon where 6 male dolphins made their home. The women who work with them there gave us lots of time and attention, answering our questions and showing us the life of her wards there. We also fed 2 Hawaiian sea turtles that will be released into the ocean sometime next year.

As we left, we had to climb up a small set of stairs. Our thighs reminded us of how we had started our day the day before with a climb up the 996 stairs of Coco Head. Like Diamond Head, Coco Head is a volcanic mountain that juts up on the horizon facing the sea. During WWII, men were stationed at the top as lookouts. In order to get up there, they ran a funicular trolley up the side. Now, the trolley is long gone but the trestle steps and rails are there, albeit not in the best condition. Unlike Diamond Head, there were few tourists who attempt the steep climb. It starts out fairly gradually and then is more like a ladder straight up to the top. The many athletes in this area use it as a training place (much like the stairs at the ski jump that I trained on before I left home). That training certainly helped but I was still a sweaty mess when I triumphantly reached the top with its 360 degree view. It was worth the effort! We could see the bay where we had snorkeled the day before, the view of the city and Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean on all sides. We searched for the whales that are often off the coast with our binoculars but without success.

The hike down was more of a challenge for me. With slippery dirt and gravel and some rough steps, we had to sidestep down parts. I challenged myself to walk on the trestles where there was a 20 foot drop underneath (something we bypassed on the way up) and celebrated quietly in my head when I made it across.

This morning, we did get to see the whales as we did a 2 1/2 hour hike around the perimeter of Diamond Head along with many Sunday athletes running, walking and biking. We could see several blow spouts and some of the humpbacks weaving their way through the water off the coast. I love seeing them out there. There were lots of surfers in the water as well, catching the waves. The beaches were full of people settled in for the day by the water and the shops of Waikiki were busy as usual. We had done some exploring there a couple of times having questions answered at the Apple store and sampling at the Honolulu cookie store (twice, I confess).

Judy had asked that we go to an authentic Hawaiian luau while we were here. On Friday night we went to Paradise Cove for a fun evening. We got there as they opened at 5 for the “games”. We each got a braided palm frond with flowers in our hair, matching turtle tattoos on our ankles, a turn at spear throwing and a calm ride in a canoe in the lagoon there. We were given shell necklaces and two free drinks while we wandered the gorgeous grounds with musicians playing for our entertainment. Before dinner, there was a ceremony with beautiful girls and muscled men who pulled the cooked pig from the pit. We ate outside with a huge buffet of mostly delicious foods to choose from – pork, chicken, fish, salads and a variety of desserts both healthy (fresh fruit) and decadent (coconut and chocolate cake). During dinner, there was lots of entertainment with the traditional hula dances as well as a variety of Polynesian dances and music. We all started to fade about 8:30 and slipped out a little early to beat the traffic home and get to bed early. There is always another busy day waiting for us here.

Tomorrow, the alarm will go off early but this time I won’t be climbing any mountains or swimming in the sea. The day has come to head off for the next chapter of this adventure – 3 weeks in Bali. I have a long 11 1/2 hour flight to Seoul, Korea and then another 7 1/2 to Bali. I’ve put a couple of movies on my ipad, have a couple of books to read, music to listen to and sleep to catch up on.

My next post will be from south of the equator, somewhere I’ve never been, and the other side of the Pacific. It’s scary, exciting, and all new. Thanks to all of you for your support and comments and I apologize for not being able to respond to them all. I’m ready now to move on, after a great time here in Hawaii. Now, if only the Patriots had won the Superbowl, life would be all good.










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  1. pam perkins

     /  February 6, 2012

    Ellen, To your next adventure. Bon Voyage, and we’ll anxiously await your next post from Bali. I am green with………

  2. Phyllis

     /  February 6, 2012

    What a wonderful adventure! I must admit I am wicked jealous. And totally happy for you. Following every step!

  3. Janie

     /  February 6, 2012

    You are, of course, one of the luckiest girls in the world! Safe traveling!!!

  4. Karen

     /  February 6, 2012

    Ellen, I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels thus far, especially since many of them are to places I’ve had the privilege of visiting myself. Wishing you well on the next leg of your journey.

  5. Carolyn Froeberg

     /  February 6, 2012

    Have a wonderful adventure!

  6. Pennt

     /  February 6, 2012

    Loved having you share Hawaii with me. You are a fabulous guest and I’ll miss you bur wish youbwell in your travels.

  7. Tracy Bradley

     /  February 6, 2012

    Ellen, you are such a wonderful writer! I love your photos and you captured your time here beautifully. Great to spend time with all of you.

  8. Anne Cowan

     /  February 6, 2012

    Safe travels, Ellen. It is wonderful to get your updates. The time will fly by, I am sure! Have fun and don’t have any regrets about passing up some wild opportunity. You will be at these places only once in your life!! ENJOY!

  9. Sandra Timko

     /  February 6, 2012

    trestles tracks with a 20 foot drop? That is why you are doing this journey and I am sitting home in front of my computer. You are up to the challenges that this trip will bring.

  10. Jane Rosser

     /  February 6, 2012

    Ellen, You will love Bali and its people, food, arts and temples. As to your scooting across 20 ft high logs over precarious caverns, just remember “when in doubt get on your hands and knees and crawl”. You’ll find this advice especially relevant in Nepal where some bridges consist of 1 foot wide planks widely swinging above huge drops! We love your blog and are VERY envious. J and K

  11. Sue Janos

     /  February 6, 2012

    So glad to have you share your journey with all of us!Enjoy

  12. Pat White

     /  February 6, 2012

    Be safe and bon voyage,dear friend! Pat

  13. Mary Kay

     /  February 6, 2012

    Safe travels my friend. I’ll be here in my armchair watching your journey.

  14. Janie Sherwin

     /  February 7, 2012

    Ellen – we all miss you at Curves, and I must say your courage is amazing. Not sure I’d be up to all your exploits, but I do read with yearning your recounting of your adventures. Maybe someday …

  15. Barbara

     /  February 7, 2012

    Ellen- there’s not much to add to any of the other comments other than to echo the enjoyment of the wonderful adventures, the envy, the appreciation for your photos and the love of your stories…..and there are many more to come! Please be safe and enjoy the next destination.



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