The Big Island

Posted on March 21, 2015

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People have often described Hawaii as the closest thing to paradise. I must admit i was sceptical before I arrived, after one week I couldn’t agree more.

   

 

I’m on the Big Island which has many faces: black sand, white sand, lush green vegetation, waterfalls, volcanic rock and a powerful ocean with incredible waves and current. I’m in awe at the fauna and flora  – so many stunning birds – although not a non human primate in sight!!

   

       

It’s been a dream to come and where I am staying is beautiful. The retreat has a casual elegance about the place without it being too polished. Surrounded by nature it really does feel like a slice of my very own paradise to stay in.

   

         

My fellow guests are 10 Americans, two Bulgarians and myself. Our ages range from 25 to 50 something. I am delighted and relieved to say that we have all bonded extremely well and everyone is excited to be here and gets on immensely well. I shall miss some of the youngsters who Ive become very good mates with.  This is Anthony Anderson, our host for the week, who is big into permaculture and the concept of growing your own paradise in your backyard and keeping life simple. He is holding jackfruit cut straight off the tree.

   

    

All I have done since getting here is eat. Every exotic fruit I’ve clapped eyes on has been dissected, savoured and devoured. Longan, rambutan, Brazilian grapes, apple bananas, strawberry papaya, jackfruit, a custard apple variety, the list goes on.

The land here has so much to offer. Anyone can pick and eat anything providing it is not on private property. No one would starve here. The roads are some of the best I’ve seen. Not an articulated lorry in sight (in my area anyway), no pot holes, perfectly laid tarmac.

   

In the last week I’ve swam with wild spinner dolphins, that was the most surreal and magical experience I have had in the ocean. I jumped off the boat into the cool water wearing my bikini and fins and kicked hard to keep pace with a pod of eight. Mask firmly in place I watched them under the surface rise and dip through the water as I snorkelled at speed to stay alongside them. The whole experience must have lasted about three minutes before they left me behind flabbergasted and totally blown away. From a distance we spotted a hump back whale on the boat but sadly no close encounters.

We went to a hippie beach hangout where people rolled around naked in the surf while smoking pot and dancing to trippy music. Quite an experience, and no I didn’t join in!

   

 

Bought trinkets and tasted local food at a farmers’ market in Hilo. I abstained from tasting the spam sushi rolls which are very popular! Who would have thought tinned meat is making a come back?!

  

   

       

 I’ve smashed macadamia nuts with rocks which straight from trees on a plantation we visited and tasted the creamy seed straight from its shell. Bought coffee harvested from a farm. 

   

 Tried the root drink Kava, which is a relaxant (looks and tastes like dirty water). The Kava bars are big here – some people get a really chilled effect from it if drunk in large quantities. Eaten some of the best Poke (po-kay) which is sashimi in my life and drank coconut water like its water everyday.

  

           

It’s been a pretty mind blowing week, visiting three waterfalls, plunging into two of them, seeing the volcano at night and watching the lava bubble and spit under a sky filled with stars. Did a tough trek up and down a hill in Waipi’o and watched with fear and awe as one of the lads in  I’ve still got another nine days to enjoy the laid back and spiritual pace of life here on the island.

  

   

       

Next week I’m back on the West side in Kona and back in the water. I’m flying solo and will be doing my rescue PADI cert and if I survive that I’ll book a night dive to swim with giant Mantas. I’ve been told it’s buck-list material!! 

   

 

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