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2012 Return to reality Chapter 1 Hawaii travel summary · 2.02.12 by colin newell

Looking back on what I have written about Hawaii, I smugly thought to myself…

I have most certainly written everything that has to be said about travel to, living on and returning safely from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Fail on that account.

Magic Sands Beach - pretty safe but keep your wits!

This trip was entirely different – we embraced it differently – we approached it more from a “If this is the last time we do Big Island Hawaii for a while, let’s approach it like the buffet table on the 1st night of a cruise…” perspective.
Which was very effective. Did more stuff. Went more places.

Photo above – the up view at Magic Sands Beach – Alii Drive Kona – could have shot my horizontal perspective but that would have been bikini’s and bronzed dudes!

Tried some different things. Have a few more things to suggest. And some warnings for those who need to be reminded that, hey, listen up… there are hazards and you need to be warned.

Directing that more yours truly than anything else – but it makes for a good story I think.

Right off the top, this is going to be the last month long departure from home for some time to come. We both work – we both have a solid family connection here – and dang it, I love Victoria and I am a home body – and becoming more of one as time goes on.

That said, 25 odd days in paradise is hard to beat. And I have discovered a couple of things.

Crate Iki - be careful! Rocks, heat, fumes!

Thing A:) I take very little time winding down into the Island groove… often as little as a couple of days – this time was no exception.
Here is how it works: Plane arrives on Kona mid-day. Get off plane. Get baggage. Collect some brochures after visiting the lav. Get on shuttle to rental car kiosk. Thank you to Avis for years of great service! Drive to Kona Brewing company for a pizza and a beer. Drive to Cost Co for a quick shop. Drive to Safeway for some more supplies. Drive to Kona village condo to “get in” and dump bags. By 4 PM we are by the pool with a drink in our hands. If we are feeling energetic, we head down to “Don the Beachcomber” (great Mai Tai, very sketchy food) for a quick snack and a couple of strong drinks…
and in bed early because we are exhausted from being up at 5 AM for the 6:30AM connector flight from Victoria to Seattle.

Photo above – Iki Crate hike – 2.5 hours – take a minimum of 1 liter of water per person. You will lose this amount of fluid. I did and I didn’t have enough water. Result: Next chapter.

Note to readers: I avoid Vancouver International Airport in favor of Seattle because, IMHO, everything is better in Seattle. Another blog on this subject in the future.

Early days in Kona include medium to long walks early in the day to get acclimated – Kona is not tropical and not overly hot but it is not the North West and you will get dehydrated pretty quickly if you do not pay attention and badly sunburned if you do not load up with sun block.

Alii Drive - good eats, people and ocean watching

So – quickly: What did we do more differently?
The weather was really good and the surf was not too high so we spent way more time at Magic Sands Beach on Alii Drive – a great small beach about 1.5 miles from our Condo (at the Hale Kona Kai…) It is a great beach for body surfing (board surfing further down the beach) and snorkel. Average shore break is 3 to 7 feet this time of year and has to be considered very, very dangerous to those not familiar with Hawaii water hazards.

Photo above – the calm that is Alii Drive on a Wednesday (Cruise ship day) directly across the street from Island Lava Java Cafe – photo by Shari Morkin of Illinois

More people drown in Hawaii than any other state or Province in North America.
In 3 visits early on in our trip I witnessed three mishaps requiring Life guard and/or first responder intervention – Life guards in Hawaii actually are Firemen if I did my research correctly.

A couple of the mishaps involved turning ones back on the water. Here is the thing. Never, ever turn your back on the ocean – If you are in the wrong position when the wave breaks it is like having a 600 sq. foot apartment filled with water dropped on you. Best case scenario – you will get picked up and tossed backward 15 or 20 feet. Worse case: You will tumble under the water and your head and neck will get pushed into the sand. I saw both these things happen – and it is not pretty – and it is particularly frightening if you are just visiting and this is the start of your vacation.

Personally, I learned my water limits in 1996 – and that means never go much further out that waist level in the water – because the breakers are going to be double or triple that. Prepare to jump or tuck and torpedo under the approaching break – know how and it will save your life.

In the next chapter, more about… you guessed it… Hawaii!
Hawaii Photo-Gallery here.


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