By Adam Wells
It wasn’t until we took a helicopter ride over the lava fields that I learned 26 acres of land had fallen off Hawaii’s Big Island and into the Pacific Ocean only a month prior to our visit. Even still, the island was growing. The coastline bubbling and boiling. Lava still spews from the Earth’s core up to the surface of the ocean and continues to form Hawaii. Please reread that sentence. Yeah, I too spend most of my days not thinking much about our planet being jelly-filled.
I grew up in the Midwest. In the center of the United States where the donuts are jelly-filled and the state lines were drawn on a piece of paper during a treaty in the 1800’s. But to be on an island... here the boundary lines aren’t penciled in and agreed upon, they’re real edges. And on the other side of them lies the vast, expansive, powerful ocean churning and frothing and eating away at the shoreline. I suppose all aspects of the world are constantly evolving and reforming but they felt especially tangible here. Where you could watch it happen before your eyes.
Standing on a tiny rock at sea left me feeling hyper-aware of my size relative to the rest of the world. As a mainlander I’m hesitant to make too many grand generalizations about a place I’ve only visited once, but my hunch is that such an awareness begins to affect your day to day priorities on a deeper level. You might be a bit more likely to listen to the birds in the morning. You might not spend so much time wrapped up in your own little bubble. We sure didn’t, but then again this was vacation.
We jumped from waterfalls, we swam with sea turtles, we ran naked into the waves. On a black sand beach I met a guy named Steveo who came to Hawaii for the summer back in 1981. “Heh, it’s been a long summer!” he joked. About 5 minutes into our conversation Steveo saved my life from a falling coconut that came rocketing off a cliff 100’ overhead. Then we cracked the coconut and ate the damn thing. I’m not sure how many cliches you want in one Hawaiian Travel Story but the truth doesn’t care about what you want.
What is it about Hawaii? Maybe it’s the lava, or the surf, or the wildlife, or the plant-life, the black sand beaches, the fresh fruit, the sunshine, the ice cream. Heck let’s do a Panera “you pick two” special and pick any combination you like, they all make Hawaii a paradise unlike anywhere else. In many ways the paradisiacal sensation comes as much from the dreamlike landscape as it does from the mindset that landscape instills. You are connected with your environment, you’re safe but feel small, fragile and astutely aware of the mighty forces in mother nature’s control. There’s an odd parallel between islands and kayaks. Perhaps that’s why they go so well together.
Buy an Oru Kayak.