Hawaii pops up in more than one of my books, because it’s a place I hold close in my heart. Many tales were told of this magical place when I was growing up. My family had done business there and my mother had been there many times as a young girl. Although, the family business had ended before I was born, I finally got to see this place when I was in the fourth grade. Oahu was magical through a nine-year-old girl’s eyes. I spent hours swimming, and exploring the island with my great grandparents. I recall touring the pineapple groves and sitting next to a fourth-grade teacher. But, the highlight of this trip was the fact that the Brady Bunch (one of my favorite shows growing up) went to Hawaii on the show just a few months before! I stayed in the same hotel as the Brady family had, the Sheraton. Although, I didn’t get cursed or learn how to surf like they did…I did take a hula lesson at the Kodak show!
Then, when I was twelve years old I went back again with my great grandparents. We stayed in a hut (that was torn down soon after to make way for more hotels) with a path that led to the beach. Along that walkway, I found a Hawaiian woman who was making leis with plumeria flowers. She took the time to show me how to make them, and then I got to keep my work! I spent a lot of time swimming and ended up with the worst sunburns I’d ever had! The nights I sprayed myself with water to cool down and later found my shoulders now bore freckles of my Hawaiian journey. We picked up some souvenirs at the International Market (now gone) and went to the Polynesian Show where you walk through villages to interact and learn, plus a show floated by you on the river.
The airline strike canceled my trip with my great grandparents, when I was sixteen years old, but I made it back there for my honeymoon. We explored Oahu: Pearl Harbor, The Polynesian show, a Luau, and mainly hung out on the Waikiki Beach swimming and eating lots of crab Louie and pineapple. Then, we headed to Maui where the famous Hana Drive took us through all the water falls and an amazing black beach that we had to ourselves for a bit! Every night we sat and watched the sun set.
It was almost 30 years before we got back to Hawaii! It was our Second Honeymoon and we went to Maui and Kauai! We explored and did things we’d never done before. We took a helicopter tour over Kauai, and got some amazing views and photographs doing it- along with a queasy stomach on the way back! Next, there was a boat tour of the beautiful Na Pali coast. Which gave me more photo opts with the amazing scenery, including some dolphin shots (which I use on my website) and a turtle. We rented a Harley motorcycle and cruised the south shore of the island, including the little Grand Canyon. Kauai is a truly amazing garden island with chickens residing where ever they choose.
We spent the second week on Maui. Taking the Hana drive again, I was less brave than I’d been on our honeymoon– with the narrow road conditions. But, it was still as beautiful as I remembered. We had a convertible and drove around the island exploring with music filling the background! The thing I liked the most was staying at the hotel, lounging around the pool– and snorkeling! We’d get up each morning and suit up. There was usually a turtle greeting us at the shore, where we were warned not to touch the turtles- it could harm them. Although, this turtle seemed determined to touch me for some reason.
Now, my husband and I are trying to make a trek to Kauai more often than every thirty years! It’s a place where we have learned to relax, watch the sunsets and parrots- and of course, snorkel! It’s truly a paradise full of wonderful people, scenery and memories. It’s become my home away from home and is why it has found its way into An Unusual Island, This Second Chance, and Dolphin’s Cave. The Aloha Spirit has found residence in me and my work! Aloha!
Next week continues the blog series for Dolphin’s Cave part three: Research and Reality.
Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn