Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Travel Journal: My First Day Off

Okay, I'm settling into my life here. I'm beginning to understand the lay of the land. I know I rise with the sun and pretty much fall asleep before 10PM. I know where to get a $3.99 lunch and the fruit stand with the most free samples (even though a walk down our jungle road yields me at least one massive avocado and some lilikoi along the way). I know my routine: work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; off Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Mostly work involves playing with the boys on the beach but sometimes it's weed whacking, painting, gardening, cooking, and cleaning. Days off I'm free to explore and boy, do I!

The first day was smooth sailing. I woke up early, brewed some delicious Kona coffee - which is so good, by the way, I broke my sugar habbit and sometimes even forgo cream - and then I went for a yoga sesh at the local gym. After that, I headed to the little white sand beach by the surf shack where I get free unlimited use of all the toys and gear, thanks to my host being the owner.

After 12 full hours the previous day spent watching the boys, I was ready to hop in a kayak and paddle off into the horizon for some peace and solitude. But with surf shacks come surfer dudes and their remarkable sense of hospitality and graciousness means the owner's fresh new nanny never travels without an escort or applies her own sunscreen. Haha, thanks boys! So yeah, I had company.

Which was actually great! Because that meant I could hop off and snorkel without needing to worry about the kayak floating away or using a leash. I could dive deep and swim around carefree, except for my lingering fear of jaws.

Before I got in though, we noticed a pod of about 30 spinner dolphins ahead. We paddled closer trying to intersect with their path but they were more interested in the larger boats further out to sea. We got pretty close though. One day, I can't wait to hop in the water with them.

Back at the reef, I scooted off the kayak with my snorkel and mask and was rewarded with a crystal clear view of dozens of different kinds of tropical fish: tang, angel, trigger, trumpet, butterfly and one of my favorites: the psychedelic colored parrot fish. I followed a huge one around watching him take giant chomps of coral until I swam up on a honu!

Honu is the Hawaiian word for the green sea turtle. These creatures are magnificent! Only 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles survives into adulthood but once they do they seem to achieve nirvana. Seriously these guys emit maximum chill vibes just flying through the sea, slow but steady. I dove down and glided just over top of him, my tummy about a foot from his shell. It was a magical experience for me, though he seemed unfazed.

After a little while of cruising around the reef and practicing my free dives, we went back to shore. The beach cozies up to a pretty fancy hotel. So of course I rinse off, order a pina colada, and get in the hot tub! I spend a few hours at the hotel until the guy with the clipboard starts coming around asking for room numbers. That's my cue to go!

They might rule the pool, but the beach belongs to everybody! Really. Fun fact, none of the coastline in Hawaii can be privately owned. So I head back out to the beach for an hour or two of dedicated tanning time (as exposed to all other time, where I'm likely just burning).

Now I've got no transportation out here. I have a nanny car for taking the boys to and from school but I'm not really suppose to use it for myself and if I do I have to fill up the tank which is not exactly in my budget. So I wing it! Hitch hiking is popular here and so are friends with cars!

The same guy who took me out on the kayak let me hitch a ride with him once he got off work. Thank you! Actually we went out for Indian food (my favorite) and then hung out at this amazing hotel pool. It was all cliff side, sprawling lagoon pool, hot tub, tiki torches, and cabana beds. To blend in, we pretended it was our honeymoon! :p

After our swim, we laid out under the stars and he told me stories about the Night Marchers, spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors who still haunt the trails at night. We dozed off and when we woke it was almost midnight, way past my bedtime. So we hopped in his little yellow beater car named Sunshine and rode with the top down all the way back home.

Good times!

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