A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

The Keiki Pools

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Our new favorite spot is a place called the "Keiki Pools". "Keiki" is the Hawaiian word for child or baby. It is a small beach with white sand and lava rocks, like most beaches on the Big Island of Hawai'i, but it doesn't have the things all other beaches here have: waves. We were told about it two weeks after we arrived in Kona.

It is a series of small pools, about knee deep, that make natural baby pools or child swimming zones. Every day we have been here to this beach, we have met a group of children all swimming and playing. The water is warmer than the ocean and super salty, so you can easily float. Best of all, our son is not afraid to run splashing & laughing into the shallow water. Usually, when we bring him to the beach and get close to the water, he begins shaking his head, No, No. Like, 'No, I am not going in there, you guys are crazy if you think I am going in there.'

Here I can actually relax on a beach chair and watch him run through the sand, play on the shore with his shovel, and not feel I have to be one step away. It's exceptional, and we have made it a point to go at least once a week. Bodhi is becoming a real water baby, between the pool, the bath, and the keiki beach, he goes into the water every day. And he loves being in water.

This week we went with my mom (grandma) to the pools, and Chris and I both tried on our new Vibram water shoes. You know, the crazy shoes with five toes? They are awesome... when I wear them, I feel like an avatar. It is like being barefoot, but with better feet. I wish they had child shoes, because B has become a real Hawaiian baby already with callused little feet and tanned legs. He also wants to climb every palm tree we pass, and he can't do that unless he has Spidey-shoes like Momma and Daddy.

Posted by globalmomma 12:54 Archived in USA Tagged ocean bath pools hawaii kailua-kona vibram Comments (0)

Surf's Up!

Lesson One at Kahalu'u Beach

sunny 86 °F

My husband Chris's birthday was Saturday. For his birthday, I decided to surprise him with a surf lesson. Luckily, my mom was here, so we could go take a lesson together. We woke early and I drove him down to the beach. At this point, he was pretty sure what was going to happen. We put our rashguards on. We got a quick lesson on land on how to hop up onto the surfboard. Slide one foot forward and keep the other foot back, both facing sideways, arm pointing forward toward the shore. Luckily for Chris, the stance is similar to snowboarding. Luckily for me, the stance is similar to the yoga pose Warrior 1. He and his regular foot, and me and my goofy foot, carry our foamy surfboards across the street and into the ocean. We climb awkwardly on, and begin paddling out toward the waves. I won't exaggerate about the size of the waves... they were baby waves, about 2-4 feet. Our instructor paddles out effortlessly. He is a tanned local Big Island Hawaiian, and he looks like he has been on the ocean every day of his young life. I would have estimated that Dom (the instructor) was 20 years old, until he informed us that he also has a 2 year old son, and that he is one of his several children. Dom is sitting on his surfboard, legs slung over each side, watching the waves come from the horizon. He tells us to point our boards out toward the waves and watch. We aren't really sure what he is seeing. But before we know it, he says, "Turn around guys, and start paddling". We spin around and I begin paddling frantically with both arms. "Faster now" he says, and then he gives us a quick nudge and the wave is under us. "Stand up now!" he yells, and we both leap forward like we were taught, bending our knees and trying to stay upright. I am amazed that the wave is still moving under me, and that I am managing to stay upright. About ten seconds later, the wave is gone, and I fall off the surfboard, grinning widely. I start paddling back to where Dom is sitting, and when I arrive, I try to climb down and sit the way he is sitting on the board. But before I can balance, he says, "here comes another one, Get ready." I see nothing. But I climb back onto my stomach and turn the board around. I am again paddling as hard as I can and he shoves the board under the wave. Again, I leap up and ride the wave to the break. It is amazing what a rush of adrenaline I am getting as I yell to Chris, "I'm really doing it!!"

The last time we tried surfing was at Bondi Beach outside Sydney, Australia in 2003. It was a fun experience, but I was never really ready to move from my torso or my knees up to my feet. I spent the whole two hours boogie boarding, and cheering for Chris. This time, however, I was really surfing, and loving it. I can see why this sport is incredibly addictive. For one, it is unbelievably rewarding when you catch a wave. Secondly, you are out on the ocean, sun on your back, feet dipped into the cool water, a perfect morning activity. Thirdly, each ride produces a rush of adrenaline and giddiness that honestly took me by surprise. Fourth, like fishing, it can be anything you want it to be. You can put in a lot of effort or a little. You can continuously ride waves or you can basically sit on your board and watch the waves float by.

This time, we were riding each wave that Dom told us was a good one to take. For the next half hour, it felt like each time I got back out to where he was, he was telling me to go again. By forty minutes in, my arms were really tired. I was having to paddle using my entire body. I was trying to paddle simultaneously with both hands. It felt like it was taking longer and longer to get back out to where Dom was, and that he was moving further and further out. Turns out, he was moving further out. As we got 'better', he moved us out to the next rung of surfers that were another hundred yards out to sea. With these waves, we were able to jump up and ride the wave until it crested, then it would pick up again and we would get to go another ten seconds almost back to shore; Making each ride twice as long, and each paddle back out twice as hard. By the end I was lying face down on my surfboard telling Dom, "I will wait for the next one", because I literally didn't think I could paddle back out again without a few minutes recovery. Talk about arm and shoulder strength! Now I know why all surfers are incredibly lean with amazing back musculature. I definitely will need to improve my back and shoulder muscles before I come back out again.

As the two hour lesson was ending, we each got in our final wave and climbed out of the water carrying the 12 foot surfboards on our heads. I had a permanent grin on my face. I knew Chris would be a natural at it, but I never expected to do so well myself after my last experience. I never expected to get a love for it on the first lesson. Now, I am shopping for a surfboard, and we are talking about going to the beach and tag team surfing. I stay on the shore with Bodhi while Daddy surfs, then we switch. A perfect Hawaiian morning and a perfect way to jump right in to life.

Posted by globalmomma 13:06 Archived in USA Tagged ocean beach surf waves surfing hawaii lesson exercise kona instructor kahaluu Comments (0)

Easy Remote

Life in Hawai'i

I am starting to realize why people come to the islands for vacation. Yes, the beach, the sunshine, the warm 80 degree temperatures year-round, the relaxed pace, the ability to wear sandals and sundresses and tanktops in the middle of January, all are HUGE reasons to come to the islands on vacation.

But a larger draw, in my opinion, is the idea of 'getting away from it all'. At first glance, this technically means just leaving your workplace and the piles of papers, the ringing phone and the to-do list that never gets shorter, the bills, the errands, the monotony. But it feels that much more powerful when you literally place MILES and MILES between yourself and those day to day chores. The stress tends to add up little by little over time, compiling like someone else's money in a 401K. It grows and grows until you drain it somehow, and then it creeps in and rebuilds. So in order to release the stress, many of us run as far away from the stressors as we can possibly get.

Hawai'i is literally thousands of miles of ocean away from any other large land mass. So when you come here on vacation, it truly is getting away from it all. And you can feel that stress being lifted as you fly the miles and hours to arrive here. But when you start to live here, you begin to realize just how far away from everything you really are.

Everything is double the price, because it often has to fly halfway across the world to get here. So everyday items like shoes, toys, shampoo, milk, cost 2-3 times what they would cost on the mainland (this is Hawaiian for 'rest of the USA other than Hawai'i'). Gas, cars, everything has a surcharge here, kind of like a luxury tax for being able to reside in such a beautiful, remote, healing place.

Then you begin to realize just how long it takes to visit the ones that you love. And how far away you are when you are missing them... Today my mom flies here from California, and I cannot wait to see her. We are arriving early and waiting for her to come through the gate. I cannot remember the last time I actually parked the car at the airport and went inside to wait for a flight, rather than circling. It is such an event to have a visitor already. We have been 'living' in Kona for almost three weeks, and the time is passing by so rapidly. It feels like we have just arrived, and we are still in that phase where we are exploring, getting lost, finding new spots.

There are a few things that make us still visitors: (1) the rental car, that we are hoping to trade in for a purchased used car at some point in the next ten days before our rental contract runs out (2) the un-tanned skin: although we are working on remedying this situation, we still do not look dark enough to be islanders who have a steady base of sunshine on their skin (3) no permanent dwelling, no plans past next week

The things that are localizing us:
The fact that we carry in our car at all times: a boogie board, two towels, several wet bathing suits, a football, a cooler, sunglasses, and a beach chair. Just in case. You never know when you may need it. When you may just decide it is such a beautiful afternoon that we might as well stop at the beach and have a quick swim, which we have done at least every other day since we arrived. You would think that there is only so much time one wants to spend at the beach, but I will tell you that we have not yet reached that point. Basically, any spare moment throughout the day after work is finished, we either say, "hey, let's go to the beach", or take a dip in the pool.

We have island time down. In fact, I have always lived on island time. It was the rest of the world that had it wrong :) The islands are always moving slow, so being five, ten minutes late is recommended...and customary. I love this. Absolutely love it. And the fact that everyone wears easy shoes, and slips them off the moment they enter into anyone's home, so at least half of your life is spent in bare feet. Bodhi loves this. It is an easy life. But also a remote life.

Posted by globalmomma 18:48 Archived in USA Tagged beach surf in island life swim pool time hawaii barefoot aloha Comments (1)

New Blog

semi-overcast

Hi All,

Thank you to all of you who have been faithfully following globalmomma and my blog throughout Italy. I have decided to start a new blog for our adventures here in Hawai'i, since it looks like we will be here for more than a few weeks.

This blog will be filled with the same types of stories - daily adventures, life with a blossoming toddler, and life 'on the road'...that is to say living from day to day with a suitcase and minimal belongings.

I also hope to fill this blog with ideas about travel on the Big Island, great local finds, and living large here in Hawai'i.

Please considering subscribing to this blog, and thank you so much for the support and comments :) keep 'em coming! and feel free to forward it on to any fellow travelers, parents, or anyone interested in life on the Big Island!

ALOHA,

"Hula Momma"
aka globalmomma
aka Kemby

Posted by globalmomma 18:36 Tagged new island life big hawaii sunshine blog kona Comments (0)

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