One Month Down

The fourth week of my adventure saw me complete a half-marathon, swim with a sea turtle, and swim in the rain before heading back to Oahu for more fun adventures.

After the Big Island Half-Marathon I drove to Pāhoa, which is about 30 minutes south of Hilo. There was a brief moment of sunny weather which quickly disappeared as the light rain started. I drove through the town and 10 minutes later I was at the Kapoho Tide Pools. The parking for visitors is a short walk from the pools meaning people have to walk past residential houses to get there. The houses and the streets reminded me a lot of Port Douglas or Broome. They all featured amazing architecture, huge patios and an abundance of trees. One house even had its own fish pond and moat that surrounded the house.

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One side of the tide pool was lined with beautiful cottages and I could only imagine how beautiful the sunrise must be from there. I waded through the water and swam with some brightly coloured fish as the light rain continued. The lack of snorkel and mask meant I couldn’t fully appreciate the underwater scenery but the water was so clear that I could see easily enough without one.

After the tide pools I headed to Ahalanui Park which is known as one of the best geothermal hot spots. I swam around and enjoyed the warm water before finding a small hole in the wall that had hot water streaming out of it.

I sat for an hour just people watching before the heavy rain started. Some people got out of the water but I stayed and enjoyed the feeling of the cold water on my head while still being submerged in warm water. As the rain got heavier, I saw a woman walking towards the pool wearing her bathers, but carrying an open umbrella. Once she got in the water, she placed the still open umbrella on the bank before diving underwater. I’m not sure what she was trying to achieve with the umbrella, but surely using an umbrella right before going under water defeats the purpose of having an umbrella?

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As the air got cooler I decided to head back to Hilo, briefly stopping at the Lava Tree State Park on my way and marveling at the wonders of mother nature.

I spent my evening talking to a lady who was sharing my room, Shelby, about life’s adventures and spirituality. Whilst I won’t go into the detail, it’s safe to say that sometimes there is no such thing as a coincidence and we need to embrace that things happen for a reason.

Monday started with a visit to Crossfit Hilo Iron for some ring planks, power cleans, and my first ever RX+ wod. It was pretty simple but the humidity started to get to me as there was no air flow in the box. It’s the first time that the humidity has affected me since I have been in Hawaii.

That afternoon I headed out with Rachel from Seattle and we went to Rainbow Falls for a quick stop before heading to Carlsmith Beach Park. It was warm and sunny day, and the clouds hovered in the distance north of Hilo. The water felt colder than it did the first time I went but that didn’t stop us from jumping in and swimming around whilst discussing the awesomeness of Disney movies. Eventually we saw a turtle bobbing around in the water close to the rocks so we headed over for a closer look. After commenting that the turtle looked big someone pointed out that a bigger turtle was swimming around people only a few metres away.

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I was blown away by the size of the bigger turtle. If I had to guess the size I would say that it was at least 60-70cm long which would make it very old. I took a few photos and every time I tried to get away from the turtle it would follow me and I joked that I was being stalked by a turtle for about 5 minutes.

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Later we headed to Onekahakaha beach park for a quick dip. The amount of small kids screaming was enough to irritate both of us so we left and after dropping Rachel off at the airport I headed back to the Hostel.

That evening I met two Sydney girls, Jordan and Kate, and drove them to the Mauna Kea visitor centre to watch the sunset over the clouds. We drove up through a cloud which was pretty incredible, but my ears were of a different opinion as the kept popping due to the altitude. As soon as I arrived I wished I had a beanie as it was only 7 degrees outside and my head was freezing. That’s one downside to not having long hair as I can’t use my hair for warmth. We made the short hike to the top of one of the peaks on the side of Mauna Kea, and were amazed by the beautiful sunset from up there.

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The clouds were hanging around which meant the sun set for us before it reached the horizon. After the sunset the clouds disappeared meaning we got an awesome view of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa from out vantage point. The moon was two days out from being full and so it was visible in the sky from before the sunset. We headed down before it got dark and hung around the visitor centre to wait and see the stars and learn about the constellations. We each bought a cup of tea and continued to re-fill our cups throughout the night in an attempt to stay warm.

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As the sky got darker I got a chance to look at the moon and Jupiter through the telescopes. I also got to see the Pleiades, which I learnt is the constellation hat makes up the starts on the Subaru symbol. Only seven stars are visible from the naked eye, which is why they are called the seven sisters, however the constellation is made up of many more stars. We were then told about how the Taurus constellation is between the Pleiades and Orion as Taurus was put there by Zeus to protect the seven sisters. As the night got colder we bailed and stopped by Maccas for a late dinner before heading back to the Hostel.

I often joke that some people in Hawaii seem to think the speed limit is actually speed minimum and I realised how true it was on the drive from Hilo to Kona the next day. At one point I realised I was accidentally going 60 in a 55 zone (miles, not km), and people were overtaking me and zooming off into the distance. But the joke was on them as the police were waiting towards the end of the highway with radar guns.

I got back to Kona airport, dropped off the car, and proceeded to wait 30 minutes in the security line. The sweat on my back from my backpack was enough to set off the sensors (it happened to me in Sydney once before) but I was cleared and ready to fly. As I’d arrived really early, I sat in the airport and caught up on blogging for an hour while I waited for my flight back to Honolulu.

Once I was back on Oahu it was time for more adventures with friends. Keahi and I headed out one morning for a drive before ending up at the Bishop Museum. Keahi knows the museum like the back of her hand and being a Hawaiian studies major meant she was a very knowledgeable tour guide. She told me a lot of stories about the ancient Hawaiians which were fascinating to say the least. Later we headed to Costco for a cheap lunch before finishing the afternoon with a Vegemite taste test. I believe I may have converted another person to like Vegemite.

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On the Friday evening I headed out for the Friday Night Lights photo tour with Oahu Photography Tours. It was my fourth tour and it was fantastic as always. We took photos of fireworks, cars on the freeway, burning balls of steel wool and even the moon. Alex (the owner) has to drop off some steel wool for us and he remembered me from previous visits and gave me a massive hug hello. I even managed to score a free shirt as I’ve done so many tours.

(Click on the photos to see more)

Saturday was CrossFit Open 16.5 day. This is the only WOD that I have never finished, and that day I was not in the mood to do thrusters. Lucky for me the alternative was ground to overhead so I went with 65 pound snatches. After the first round of 21 my hands were so sweaty that I couldn’t hold on to the bar for more than 3 reps, so after 30 minutes I was timed out by the coaches. Two hours of lying around doing mobility work followed the WOD and later that afternoon I ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings with some of the Kuleana girls.

Easter Sunday was a quiet one as it was the first rest day I’d had in seven days. I ended up at Coralee’s house (a girl from Crossfit) and together we made Martha Stewart’s Hot Cross Buns to celebrate Easter. They ended up tasting amazing! It may have taken us four hours in total but it was worth the time and effort that went into making them. Later that evening I walked to the cinema and met Coralee and together we laughed whilst watching Deadpool.

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Easter Saturday marked one month since I left home for this journey. I’ve noticed that I’ve become more confident and a lot more willing to just go with the flow. Normally on my holidays I have everything meticulously planned, but this time I am just enjoying the journey. Each day is filled with big and small adventures and there’s never a moment of boredom.

It’s almost time to say farewell to Hawaii (again). Next stop: Texas.

Week 4: 20-27 Mar

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