The sweet sounds of the ukulele dance on my ears as musical notes bounce off the sheet and whisk me away to a place of peace and calm. Strolling down the beach, sand swishing between my toes, the sun’s rays wrap me up in a warm hug. As the palm trees sway, the frothy sea washes up, tickling my toes, bringing me back to the present moment.
Ah, Hawaii, it’s good to be back on island time. The islands are a magical vortex that suck you in, pouring love all over you like a spiket that cannot be turned off.
Each island holds a unique vibe and exploring each is a must to find which gem shines most brightly for you. Unless you hate stunning beauty and frolicking on the beach, you will fall in love with this place and want to call one of the islands home. Here are the islands you can choose from and their nicknames:
Hawai’i – The Big Island
Maui – The Valley Island
O’ahu – The Gathering Place
Kaua’i – The Garden Isle
Moloka’i – The Friendly Isle
Lana’i – The Pineapple Isle
Ni’ihau – The Forbidden Isle (inhibited by native Hawaiians)
Kaho’olawe – The Target Isle
The lush green landscape of the islands are spattered with rhythmic waterfalls. The healing waters careen off the side of cliffs, crashing into scared pools below. The ecosystems of Hawai’i are distinctive, creating biodiversity with tropical rain forrest, subalpine grasslands, coastal dunes to snowy alpine deserts. 8 of the 13 ecosystems on earth are found on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
As I walk through volcano national park, I reflect that if I were ever to walk on the moon, this is what it must be like. A barren landscape of metallic lava rock glimmers as the rays from the sun expose secrets from the belly of the Earth. The history of Hawai’i is deeply rooted by the Hawaiian volcano goddess, Pele who is responsible for the flow of the molten lava that is ever increasing the land mass of the largest of the islands, the “Big Island”. The volcanic activity from Kilauea reminds us that the island is alive.
A word you will hear often is “Aloha.” It is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. It could mean hello, good bye or be an expression of love. Aloha can be broken down into two parts “Alo” which means presence and “ha” which infers breath. Aloha is the presence of breath, our life force.
When settlers came to the islands, they were called “haloes” which is a term used to describe a foreigner, the white man who invaded the islands. Traditionally, Hawaiians would greet one another by touching noses and sharing their breath. Since the white man did not greet in this way, they were deemed haloes or ones without breath.
Saying “Aloha” is like sharing the breath of life with another.
These are some Hawaiian words you’ll want to know.
‘Āina – The land, especially Hawaiian ancestral lands.
Auntie/Uncle – Term of endearment for an elder.
Brah – A brother or friend.
Honu – Turtle.
Hula – A native Hawaiian dance.
Kane – Boy or man.
Keiki – Child.
Lanai – A porch, patio or balcony.
Lei – A necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, feathers, given as a symbol of affection.
Lū‘au – Literally means taro leaves, but used for a Hawaiian feast.
Mahalo – Thank you.
‘Ohana – Family.
Poi – A paste made from pounded taro root.
Pūpū – Snacks or appetizers.
Shaka – Symbolic hand gesture that conveys the Aloha spirit, a greeting or thanks.
Often, sentences are ended with “yea” as a means of agreement or “you heard what I said, right?” For example: A local may stop you on the beach saying, “Aloha brah, come have a beer and talk story, yea.” To which you should respond, “Yea brah, mahalo.”
Hawaii is a place of healing; many shamans practice here, the ‘Āina (the land) has rights and is protected by those who inhibit it, as they know how scared it is. The Hawai’i Non-GMO project is one way locals are working to preserve that which they have been trusted with.
Some of my favorite foods that I suggest you try while on island are:
Liliokoi, lychee, rambutan, dragon fruit, coconut water from a fresh young coconut, Mahi Mahi or Ono fish tacos, Poke and some Hawaiian shaved ice.
Stop by Kona Coffee & Tea Company, they make the best iced coffee. With mellow, earthy tones this java will roll over your tongue allowing you to taste what the Big Island is all about.
Here are my 4 Big Island adventures that should not be missed:
Volcano National Park – Take a helicopter ride over the vent of the volcano for the best view of the action. (We loved our tour with Paradise Helicopters ). Hike along one of the many trails in the park and take time to tour the visitors center.
Kēōkea Beach – The perfect place to search for sea shells and watch from a distance the honu that come to rest on the shores of this beach.
Waipi’o Valley – Pack a picnic lunch and spend a day in this scared valley. Lush green cliffs hug the expansive curved shaped black sand beach. Chill out on the beach or hike one of the many trails that spiral through the hillside.
Water Adventures – During the day you can snorkel, scuba dive or swim with wild spinner dolphins. Night diving with the Manta Rays is enchanting. These playful creatures will leave you tickled as they do barrel rolls in the water beneath you. Fair-Wind Big Island Ocean Guides give you a fun and memorable trip, be sure to book your excursion with them.
Hawai’i is a spectacular convergence of beauty which cannot be fully described, it must be experienced. An island of spectacular beauty immersed in culture and community the Hawaiian islands are a truly magical place.