Everyone at Hawaii Life loves living the lifestyle, and I’m no exception. Here are five experiences I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past few months and highly recommend to anyone living or visiting our island home.
1. Volcanoes National Park
Over 1 million visitors a year travel to Volcanoes National Park – and for good reason. It’s the only place in the U.S. where you can see a live volcano, up close and in person!
Erupting for 20+ years, some years Kilauea offers the opportunity to walk right up to the flowing lava and singe off your eyebrows, and other years it’s a gnarly hike 10+ miles one way to see red lava.
Right now, you can either drive to the “end of the road” near Kalapana and walk 1/4 mile on a trail to see lava flowing down the mountain, or you can drive to the National Park and see the glow from the Pu’u ‘O crater. I recommend going at night to see the red glow from the crater, but bring sweaters and blankets, because it’s cold up there!
2. Riding with Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures – WHOA!
Big mahalos to our friend, Darlene Azur, for inviting us for a ride with her ‘ohana on what’s arguably the very best tourist attraction on the Kona-Kohala Coast – Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures.
If you aren’t a Navy S.E.A.L., it’s unlikely that you’ve ever been on a boat quite like this one! With the ability to turn 180-degrees on a dime, you’d better hang on or be tossed off by G-forces!! This boat travels so fast we were able to leave Honokohau Harbor in Kona around 10am, have lunch at Cafe Pesto at Kawaihae, and return to Kona by 3pm.
The owners and captains are world-class free divers and photographers with an uncanny ability to find sea life everywhere they go – the highlight of our trip was swimming with several pods of Pilot Whales, an unusual and incredible adventure!
3. Riding Horses in North Kohala
Okay, so we didn’t actually ride the horses (this time), but when Beth invited us to be part of a fundraiser for the North Kohala Equine Educational Center by participating in an Equine Guided Education workshop, my Masters of Psychology self couldn’t resist finding out how I “show up” these days in group exercises.
Beth and Sue Moore from Oregon are highly trained co-facilitators for this workshop held at the Paso Fino Ranch in North Kohala that uses these sensitive horses as part of group exercises to give (very honest) feedback about your behavior in a group.
I’m hoping to set up an EGE workshop for the Big Island Hawaii Life Team later this year, and believe I’ve found a new goal: Learn to ride a horse!
4. A Sunset Boat Trip on the Napali Coast, Kauai
Everyone who visits Kauai has the opportunity to book a boat ride down the Napali coast, but very few have the chance to take a sunset boat ride from Hanalei on a privately owned Zodiac Pro Open with perhaps the most experienced and accomplished waterman on the North Shore, Winston Welborn.
As we flew along the coast looking at all the amazing estate homes on the water, Winston gave us a personal and historic tour of the area. We jammed into a lava cave to see one of the most amazing natural wonders I’ve ever seen – a waterfall flowing through a hole in the roof of a lava tube cave!
It didn’t hurt that we stopped for a swim and made it back to Hanalei just in time to see another glorious sunset. Mahalo nui loa for your kokua, Winston!
5. Flying to New York on the New Hawaiian Airlines Direct Flight From Honolulu to JFK
True, this is not technically something to do in our island home, but it was an incredible adventure nonetheless – taking one of the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines non-stop flights from Honolulu straight to JFK.
Not only did I run into a colleague taking the same flight, it seemed that most of my fellow travelers had never been to the Big Apple before! In true Hawaii-style, the entire cabin spent the first 30 minutes of the flight talking about all the places they were going to eat in NYC and discussing food and restaurant choices!
What an absolute joy to be “in Hawaii” all the way across the continental U.S., and wake up in the morning to the NYC skyline glittering in the morning sun. Ahhhh…so much better than stopping somewhere on the mainland. Thank you, Hawaiian Airlines!! Now, when are you flying non-stop to Europe?