Love Hawaii? A Lovely Love Story…

Ocean Girl shrubs

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl living close to the ocean. One day she met a handsome but somewhat rugged looking boy who had kept his eyes on her a bit longer than was considered appropriate. A hot shock went through her body and she just knows:

“He is the one I have been waiting for. How do I get to know him?” She shouldn’t have worried because, well, he felt the same way. Encouraged by her unwavering eyes, he approached her, took both of her hands into his rather rough ones, looked at her and told her:

“I’ll be back. Wait for me. After seeing you, my beautiful Moana (ocean) girl, I know I cannot live without seeing you.”

But, there was a problem. She belonged to the Ali’i, the ruling class, while he was just a simple Kama’aina, a local resident. She sat at the ocean day after day, thinking about him. She picked fragrant flowers and fashioned a beautiful Lei which she kept around her neck. On the third day, he appeared like a mirage. He extended his hand to pull her up. They looked deep into each other’s eyes when she lifted her arms, took the Lei off herself and slowly put it over his head to sit on his shoulders. He knew it was her declaration of love. Both started laughing, then, after dancing a few hula steps they were running along the beach, in and out of the oncoming waves. It was a very happy day for both of them. They had many of those happy days – and the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Their love grew deeper every day.

On a stormy afternoon, one of her brothers came looking for her and saw what they had been hiding for a long time. He demanded they both come with him to see the Ali’i, the Chief, who happened to be her father. The young couple declared their love and begged to be allowed to get married. The father called for his wife, her mother, and both denied the request.

“You are a princess, you are promised to another Alli’i and you cannot marry a fisherman.”

The young girl, with a breaking heart, told her parents she would never, ever marry anyone else. The Kupuna, her grandmother, put a spell on both, the young girl and the unhappy young man.

“You, Keikimahine, be the ocean shrub, growing deep roots and never be able to leave the sands on the beaches. You will bring forth a simple small white flower, one hardly visible. And you, young man, you will become the same type of shrub but you can only grow in the mountains, far away from the beaches. You may develop the same flower and it will remind you of your forbidden love. You cannot ever again get close to the ocean girl. You will be forever the mountain boy. You may say Aloha to each other with a parting word.”

Ocean girl's half flower***************Two hearts were breaking as the young couple was released to go. They promised undying love to each other and forever display it in their flowers. The ocean girl’s flower shows only the lower half of the petals while the mountain boy’s flower only grows the upper petals. Both halves will make a perfect flower with petals all around as it was meant to be.

There was no release from the spell. There was no frog to kiss or a prince who could kiss the sleeping beauty. The way I see it, the half flowers are a reminder to all lovers to appreciate finding their “second half”.

Ocean girl shrubs at beach

Ocean girl shrubs at beach

Sorry, dear readers, I have never been able to go into the mountains to find “the second half” of the flower with the upper petals, the half of the mountain boy. But, I have been told by Malihini, my Hawaiian friend, that it does exist. Someone said to me “just turn two of the same halves around, wouldn’t it make a whole one?” It’s not that simple. It wouldn’t fit because of the way it grows. Let’s enjoy a romantic fairy tale that can be told in different ways. This one, I told ‘my way’, the way I remember hearing it told during a “plant walk along the beach”. That tiny little half flower pulls at my heart strings.

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Our latest ‘Travel Story.’

Green Turtle

It’s almost funny. Maybe it is funny! Depending on how you look at it. Happy to be able to fly to Maui, our favorite Hawaiian island on short notice, we had a few hours to wait in Vancouver. We were at the right departure gate – but suddenly we heard an announcement the gate had been changed. The departure time was close, we had to hurry. When arriving at the new gate, quite a distance away from where we had waited, we noticed that it was the departure gate for a different airline going to the same place: Kahului Airport. Can you believe that we just made it back for boarding to our original gate? It really tickled my funny bone and I was in a good mood throughout the flight.

Lisa, one of our flight attendants, had a profile like an actress playing “Sarah” in the TV series “A Place called Home”, the Australian equivalent of “Downton Abby”. I couldn’t wait to talk to her. My chance came after I used the loo and stayed in the service area. I was surprised nobody else had ever mentioned this to her. She didn’t even know of the show. We chatted; I told her about being an author, naturally mentioned my books and when she heard of my genre she told me that her grandfather had written a similar book to my memoir “We Don’t Talk About That” – his about the history of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. I had seen the title online, “Prague Winter” by Nikolaus Martin. I found it on Amazon.com and read it. There is another book with the same title by Madeleine Albright. I’ll read that another time.

KBH groundsThe three weeks at our ‘home away from home’, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, were sunny and, like always, wonderful. I learned more of the Hawaiian mysterious stories of sudden winds lasting only seconds and wrote about it on my Author Facebook ‘We Don’t Talk About That’. The beach was very wide, and by the time we had to depart, only one-third of it was left. The ocean gives, the ocean takes… During our time there, three weddings were celebrated on our grounds. All were glamorous. The couple in one was absolutely beautiful with the Hawaiian flower leis and their gorgeous outfits. He in a white suit, she in a gown that would take half of my closet to store. I couldn’t understand that at neither one the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” was played. To me, that song touches not only the heart but reaches the soul.

2/3 of beach gone

2/3 of beach gone

All good things come to an end. We left our hotel at 7.30 PM and arrived at the Kahului Airport about an hour later. I had trouble walking, so at check-in, they waited with a wheelchair. The nice person pushing me brought us through security and into the departure lounge. It was a very long way but we were early for our departure at 11.35 PM.

The following announcement from the staff at the departure desk shocked us shortly past 10.30 PM: “A message just popped up on our screen that AC 1828 is not leaving until 3.00 AM. We cannot believe it ourselves but we’ll keep you informed.” Lots of people went to the desk but no news other than ‘we don’t know ourselves, we’ll keep you informed. Please be patient.’

Many people had tried to avoid the charge for check-in luggage, so everybody had lots of carry-on cases. A new announcement asked: “Please check in more of your carry-on luggage since the plane is fully booked. There is not enough storage space. We will not charge you, this service is FREE.”  Now people lined up and in a short time, they had piles of suitcases standing next to the gangway door. The plane arrived early, shortly past nine PM. Not long after 10.00 PM the new crew boarded. We hoped the 3.00 AM departure would not happen since the plane was early and the crew on board!

After about half an hour another announcement came: “The departure will be delayed because of a mechanical problem.”

Several more such announcements were made but they never told us what the problem was. At one point they said the needed piece for the repair was not found on Maui but in Honolulu. A plane to bring it to Maui was on the way. Impressive! It was after midnight and the departure lounge by this time looked like a refugee camp, people sleeping on the floor everywhere. One couldn’t buy any food because all the shops had closed at 12.00 AM. I was pretty hungry having relied on food in Premier Class. One kind lady gave me a cookie. Also, we had nothing to drink. When I was ready to faint I was guided to a water fountain, it helped, and at least I could take a painkiller pill for my troubled legs.

Around 2.00 AM they started bringing the collected suitcases down the gangway. It was like a shot in the arm. People woke up, they stirred and new hope was flooding our veins. The next announcement was “The mechanics were able to fix the problem. We’ll start boarding as soon as the tests are completed.”

We were among the first to be called for boarding. We asked the person checking our boarding cards and passports what the problem was. “Oh”, she said, “It was a split wheel. There was none on Maui but luckily in Honolulu. The AC flight from Honolulu to Toronto diverted their flight to bring us the wheel.”

Wow! How happy the people in THAT plane must have been! We got some water and/or orange juice once seated, and roasted almonds. Once airborne, they offered chips, more roasted almonds, and chocolate. That was all the food till breakfast 1 1/2 hour before landing in Vancouver about 10.00 AM. My stomach was in knots and I could not even eat, not the breakfast in the plane or the food in the Vancouver lounge.

Naturally, arriving three hours late in Vancouver, our plane to Nanaimo at 10.20 AM was gone. We were listed for one at 3.25 PM. Our neighbour, who was at the Nanaimo Airport at 11 AM to pick us up, had driven home again after being told we had arrived late in YVR. We had no way to contacting her until noon from the lounge. She was kind enough to drive all the way out again to pick us up around 4.30 PM. This trip lasted almost 24 hours from leaving the Maui hotel and arriving home.

my birthday flowers 2017

Glad to be home again, even sick with the flu that had been with me in Maui for 10 days already. The first thing I did, I phoned for a doctor appointment next morning, which was my 83. birthday.

My Friend – The Green Turtle #Hawaii #Snorkelling #Swimming

Aerial view of Anaeho'omalu Bay Beach [Source: Wikipedia]

Aerial view of Anaeho’omalu Bay Beach [Source: Wikipedia]

One should never snorkel alone – but what do you do if you don’t have anybody with whom to snorkel? Give up? That is not in my make-up! So I did it on my own. Usually I didn’t swim too far from the beach but this time I swam straight out towards the horizon. I knew there was a reef across the bay and the sharks were on the other side of it. Looking around I did not see a single colorful fish. I was always looking for the Humu humu nuku nuku apua’a, the Hawaiian Statefish. I loved the coloring, the design as if a young child had painted it. Lots of corals and seaweed were under me here in the Anaeho’omalu Bay and it looked rather dark. I just kept my face down, hoping to see something and kept on swimming.

You know the sixth sense you have when someone watches you? I definitely had that sensation and looked to my left. I remembered that once on Cuba people were waving and screaming from the beach at me and when I looked around a Barracuda, about two thirds of my body length was swimming next to me. The waters on Cuba are very clear and I was not too far from the beach. I kept my cool and did not make any hasty movements and after a few more meters the huge creature turned away. But now, on

[Source: The Encyclopedia of Animals]

[Source: The Encyclopedia of Animals]

the Big Island of Hawaii, with all the darkness beneath me, it was different. When I looked to the right I was so shocked that I let go of my mouth piece and swallowed water. A small head on a long neck sticking out from a plated body was turned directly towards me, observing me with large slanted bulging eyes. It was a rather large “Green Turtle”. The Hawaiians call it ‘hona’. I was treading water and tried to get my breathing under control again while the turtle waited next to me. It then started to swim a few strokes, waited, looked back at me as if to say “come on…” and when I tried to turn around it kind of coaxed me to keep swimming next to it. I knew they were not dangerous, so I did what it seemed to suggest to me. After maybe another fifty meters it veered to the left. There was a great big light spot in the sea, lit up by the sun. Coming closer I was surprised to see a huge circular pit with light sand probably about thirty meters wide and quite deep. With the seaweed earlier I had no idea how deep the ocean under me was, – but this was an incredible sight. The sunlight was filtering down and the movement of the sea caused changing shapes and shadows just like an enormous kaleidoscope.

My turtle stopped a moment beside me as if enjoying my surprise, looked me in the eye and then swiftly descended for just a few seconds, came back up clearly inviting me to come down visiting with its family. I counted thirteen turtles, – five of them very large and the others all of different sizes, even some small ones. Growing children, I thought. They seemed to congregate in groups of three or four. I couldn’t help staring down at all this beauty for a couple of minutes before I felt a shiver and realized I had to get back. But now I knew what my friend had been up to. It had a purpose for accompanying me; it wanted me to see this little wonder in the middle of the dark ocean. I watched it while it joined a group of three its own size and one smaller one. Another shiver went through me and I turned and started to swim back towards the beach.

I hoped to get a bit warmer by swimming with strong strokes but I soon realized I was in trouble. I half expected my turtle friend to come back and help me on my return but that did not happen. A few times I was ready to give up. I was awfully cold and tired. Hypothermia, my brain registered. I knew my friend Elsa was at the beach waiting for me and was probably already worried. The beach was much farther away than I had realized swimming out. I had been too curious about what the turtle next to me wanted from me. I had seen a small paradise but it could have cost me my life. The last few meters walking to the beach with my flippers in my hands were almost too much. I fell onto the sand, Elsa was there with a big towel, she covered me and I immediately went to sleep. She and six other people stood around me when they woke me after two hours. I was lucky the sand and sun had been warm.

It was an incredible experience but I should warn you: Do not, under any circumstances, swim or snorkel too far from shore. Remember you need more strength for the return since your body temperature has gone down. It just makes you so very tired and it would be too easy to just give up. I have a very strong will to live. This was not the first time I just made it.