As of this writing, the Good to Go with Patti Beth Gang is still cruising our way around the beautiful islands of Hawaii. We’ve learned that Hawaii is the only state that is actually growing. I don’t mean “population” or “financially”; I mean the state is growing. They add on to the physical size of the state of Hawaii… approximately 42 acres a year. This is a result of the fact that islands are part of an active volcanic mountain range and the lava flow hardens increasing the surface.
We’ve seen species of birds that aren’t in our birding books like the albatross and the white-tailed tropicbird in Kauai. Some of our gang took to the road to view Waimea Canyon known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The 3000 foot deep craggy gorge is a lovely backdrop for waterfalls along its ten-mile stretch. The canyon is more often socked in with clouds that blow in from the coast. It may be nicked named Grand Canyon, but it could be the Denali since, like the Mountain in Alaska, it is so difficult to see.
It’s fun to drive down roadways bursting with colorful flowers. I’m trying to learn the difference between a papaya and a mango tree. The Rainbow Eucalyptus tree added to the beautiful view of the landscape. This tall, straight, fast-growing member of the gum tree family can add six feet a year. Its thin bark peels and shreds off revealing all shades of color. Our timing was perfect and the light shower that came down made the trees more even more vibrant. They looked like they had been hand-painted.
Kauai is known as the “Garden Island”, but I always remember it as the chicken island. They are everywhere. They are beauties with bright red combs, and glossy feathers. It seems that the hurricanes in 80’s and 90’s destroyed chicken coops and the birds were freed. There is no natural predator for the feral fowl and they have done more than cross the road. I couldn’t help but think they would do well at an Oklahoma poultry swap. Fortunately, they serve a helpful purpose in keeping down the level of Hawaiian centipedes that can give you a painful bite similar to a hornet or wasp sting… only worse.
We were lucky and watched pods of humpback whales splash and blow in the water around our ship in Maui. From our higher perspective onboard, we could spot a mother and her young. We could also watch as sight-seeing boats rushed to catch a glimpse and we were able to see these massive mammals come up for air right as the boat headed a different direction. This was even more fun since we were still in our PJs watching the whole scene.
In Kona, our afternoon nap was interrupted when about 20 dolphins were spotted around the ship. Our personal “Sea World” show gave us the chance to see these graceful beauties slip in and out of the water. We even laughed as some jumped clear of the water and there wasn’t even a treat fish dangling as incentive.
Hawaii is rapidly changing; it is becoming more mainland and less exotic. It’s nice to learn about other living things that are different and interesting. A deeper meaning of the word “aloha” goes beyond a greeting, to a sentiment offering love and peace and compassion. Sometimes we need to slow down and share some aloha.