In Hawai'i

We’re in Hawai’i. Really Hawaii. The Big Island. I’m here as guest author at the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy in Kamuela. Our friend, David Giff, is the lower school librarian. David is a former Oregonian who used to teach at Oregon Episcopal Academy, one of my favorite schools. (Every school I visit is a favorite school, but I have a special relationship with the ones that are close to home since a lot of the teachers and students are friends and neighbors.)

We’re staying in an enormous condominium apartment at Waikoloa Beach. It’s about as big as my house in Portland. Doris and I rattle around in it like two ghosts. We haven’t even looked in some of the rooms upstairs. Looking out over the gardens in back we can see the lava fields. They go on forever. The Hawai’ian islands are volcanic and several are still active. Especially the ones here! This is where Kilauea Volcano is, in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The trade winds were blowing strong that day. The wind blew the chair pillows off our back porch and almost to the lava fields. That’s an odd juxtaposition, isn’t it? Climbing over lava rock to retrieve a deck chair pillow.

There’s so much to do. Yesterday we drove to HAP in Waimea to make sure I knew my way to the school, even though I don’t have to be there until tomorrow. Our tour nearly ended there when David showed me his library. He has a big section of books related to Hawai’ian history, science, and culture. Doris had to pull me out so we could get back on the road.

We took the Kohala Mountain Road up the lee side of Kohala mountain. We went as high as 3500 feet. Spectacular views. We ended up on the north side of the island, in the town of Hawi. Doris found a bead store where she discovered a selection of abalone pendants. She and our cousin Jean are devoted beaders. Doris is going to Sarasota in a week. Abalone beads are apparently rare. She tells me that Jean is going to love these.

The best part of the day was driving from Hawi through Kapa’au to Pololu Beach. We stopped at the end of the road for a spectacular view from the cliffs. Looking way, way down, we could see a black sand beach. There’s a steep trail leading all the way down. It must be a spectacular hike. However, neither of us had hiking shoes and I have a troublesome knee. We decided to save the hike for another day, especially as there was so much to see from the top of the cliff.

Whales! This is the best time of the year for the Humpbacks. We’re used to whale watching in Oregon, so I let my eyes scan the sea for signs of a spout. Sure enough, I glimpsed a familiar plume, followed by a a horizontal splash of white water. What’s that? I borrowed the binoculars. Whales! Spouting, breaching, leaping straight out of the water! What a show!

Doris and I stayed on the cliff, watching the whales, until the pod moved on. Then we drove back the way we came, down the coast road, stopping at every likely-looking spot to see if we could see any more whales. We saw a few.

Our last stop of the day was Spencer’s Beach, a oasis area with a sheltered cove. We didn’t see any whales, although we saw lots of people swimming and snorkeling in the water. A Hawai’ian man sat by one of the shelters, playing his ukulele and singing. We sat and listened. The gentle surf gave a perfect accompaniment to his high, sweet voice.

David met us for dinner at the Fairmont Orchid, a lush hotel not far from where we are staying. We watched the sun go down. I sat, enjoying the view as a man in Hawai’ian dress blew a conch shell and lit the evening torches. Doris went further down the walkway with David to find a good spot for a photograph of the setting sun. They also discovered a sea turtle, swimming just off the beach.

What will we do tomorrow? Shall we take the four hour drive to see the volcano? Shall we hang out on the beach with the whales and turtles. So many choices!

AND THIS IS MY JOB!!!!! I’m working!!!!

How’d YOU like to be an author?

body> html>