How I Spent My Summer Vacation My Trip to Hawaii

Self Portrait

All in all it was a great vacation exceeding my expectations. I was a bit reticence about going to the Big Island I thought it might be too American, not wild enough, not different enough maybe even boring after a few weeks. It turned out I was very wrong, after my month stay I wished I had another month. Usually when I take a non-business holiday of any length I like to go over to Europe for culture or Asia for different way of life. This time since they had fired my business partner and I resigned I wanted to get away to clear my mind so I could come back and start something new. Sadly my business partner Gorden passed away from surgery complications one week before I returned from my trip. He was a kind and giving person (I think as the Jewish say) a real mench!

On with the trip:

The flight on Air Canada from Toronto to Honolulu with stop over at Vancouver was long and uneventful. Which is more then I can say for the trip back. U.S. airport customs was a surprising treat quick and painless. Because most international flights arrive after the last flight to the other islands you are forced to spend at least one night in Honolulu. The wait for the airport hotel mini bus was a bit long and the Honolulu Airport Hotel was drab and cheap looking considering the price. Next time I will go into town even if it is a bit further the first night is important. So of course I planned to sleep in pretty stupid considering the 6-hour time zone difference! Up at the crack of dawn, went to airport to see if I could catch an early flight to the Big Island. Aloha Airlines was all booked so they put me on standby. When they had given last boarding call I asked "what about standby?" The person at the desk smiled and said that they had forgotten to make an announcement but there was lots of room on the flight and they would get me on board. To my great amazement because of years of indifferent service by the major airlines, they held the plane and reopened the aircraft door and put me into first class seating! A short comfortable well fed flight later I landed at Hilo on the Big Island. Inter Island flights are inexpensive about $50 if you buy vouchers. Flights are so inexpensive and housing on some of the other Islands is so expensive compared to Hilo which has some of the least expensive housing in the whole of N. America, that people live in Hilo and commute back and forth between Hilo and the other islands.

The Big Island of Hawaii

First Impressions:

Lush green, sunny skies, not too humid or too hot, flowers everywhere but not quite tropical, similar to but different to Toronto on an early summer's day. Onto Avis to pick up my cheapest smallest sub sub compact which I had booked through Air Canada. The woman at the counter with a smile says that Avis in Hawaii does not rent out sub compacts so she will upgrade me but I would have to wait until one comes available (I am only 3 hours earlier then my pickup time). An hour later the car is ready but it is not a car but a 4-wheel drive small jeep type vehicle called a Tracker sold by Chevy built by Susuki. Along with the Tracker which I forthwith dub as Pepi the Mule from the movie "Romancing the Stone" comes a list of places I should not take Pepi. Pepi turned out to be the ideal mode of transport for the island and the list was the ideal list of places to visit with Pepi. Canvas sunroof, removable side and rear window, convertible top if you have the patience to raise and lower, good fuel consumption. High-low range 4 wheel drive on the fly transfer case. It was a bit tipsy at high speeds and I would have liked to have better tires and a manual transmission but these are small complaints. Pepi was faithful and only once got stuck a bit in deeply rutted sand (one of the places on the list) so all in all an excellent trade for the subcompact. I kept Pepi in good shape and the cup holder always filled with rainwater. Judging by the number of dents on the roof of other vehicals an important warning would be: Do not park under a coconut tree!

The Beginning and the End:

My first evening just past dusk driving back to my ocean side cottage after a delicious Thai meal in Pahoa, through woods of chirping tree frogs, past fields with exotic fragrances rising on the night airs, when almost at my new home, an owl flies across the the front of me, circles once as to have a look and say aloha, then she glided silently away into the dark.

Pueo, The Protector - The Hawaiian Owl

Pueo, The Protector - The Hawaiian Owl

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

I would like to think it was the Hawaiian Owl that visited me, not the common barn owl. At the end of my vacation, my last two minutes in Hilo, while my plane was taxing on the runway, an owl came out and circled several times around and over the wing of the plane close by to my window! It was a good bye, good luck and you will be back, a parting Aloha.


            Snorkeling in crystal clear
            waters off my favorite black
          sand beach on the Big Island in
           Hawaii I spot deep below me a
           school of fish maybe 30 large
          tuna. Two break away from the
          group and swim up towards me.
           When they get closer I could
           see that they weren't tuna but
            from a large pod of spinner
             dolphins. Once they had
           inspected me they swim back
           down into the depth, rejoining
          the pod and swimmming out of
           sight. The strangeness of this
            encounter was the silence,
           every other time I have swam
           around dolphins I have heard
           them long before I saw them.
           Their constant communication
           language of chattering clicks
            and whistles but this time a
            silent purposeful journey.

To be continued:

In the mean time here are the rest of the pictures.