I signed up for a Yoga in Daily Life retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed at a remote lodge festooned with flowers and geckos, overlooking the sea. What could be more paradisaical than that? (Detroiters: note the make of our rented wheels!)
At the conclusion of the retreat, I felt...cheerful! Relaxed! Even blissful! (Those who know me well know how rare that is.) With a few vacation days left, however, I felt compelled to recapture my true nature by attempting some amazing feats, starting with...beach-going and sightseeing. Not terribly adventurous, but worthy of a few qualms in the pit of the stomach, given the local cautions.
Being a responsible senior citizen now that I have topped 60+, however, I opted for easier stuff--way at the bottom of the adventure scale, despite the signs. Swimming and sunbathing with my friend and fellow yoga practitioner Sally S. at stunning beaches. Attending a luau with Sally and her husband.
Next we drove over to the local seahorse factory and--at great risk of wrinkled fingers!--stuck our hands into a salt-water tank to hold the nimble creatures. This commercial farm aims to reduce and replace ocean harvesting of seahorses for the pet trade, by producing them on shore instead.
Moving a bit further to the right, the three of us boarded an inflatable boat to go snorkeling at Honaunau (also known as Place of Refuge and Two-Step). I snorkeled there 18 years ago in the company of locals, before the Age of Internet allowed its charms to be broadcast to the world. At that time, it was deserted. I saw walls of colorful coral intertwined with fish and came face-to-face with a giant sea turtle. Best of all, I swam with a pod of wild dolphins. Talk about adventure! As the dolphins glided past me, their fins inches from my midriff, I was sure I was going to become sliced meat. Shark bait.
This time, the excitement was way down the scale. Our boat captain sped us a mile or so out to sea to cavort with a pod of pilot whales. We had to stay in the boat.
poke holes in boats and eyes!), a baby sea turtle, and a small reef shark. Best of all were the schools of vibrantly colored yellow, blue, turquoise and orange reef fish, with names like threadfin butterflyfish, Picasso triggerfish, and yellow tang.
(Fish photos from Internet sources)
Not one to settle for too much cheerful tranquility for too long, however, I vowed to Sally that I would present to my blog readers both the pros and cons of a Big Island vacation--the opportunities for blissful, calm, normal vacation activities (as noted above) and the opportunities for wild and crazy adventures that are sure to ruin your day. For more on the latter subject, see the following blog post.