They say „it’s not the place, it’s the people“.
This is only partly true for Hawaii. Hawaii can stand for itself. No people needed. Still paradise. On Bali for example I felt that while the island is pretty, it is really the locals that make the place so wonderful. (if the rest of the world believed in karma the way Balinese people do, everything would be a little more peachy creamy)
Anyway, as the Hawaii trip is about to come to an end I wanted to use the remaining free time to post a few thoughts on diving as well as impressions from Big Island (Hawaii proper) and Maui.
The great upside to traveling solo is meeting new people – particularly if you travel in hostels. Which are also the one and only affordable solo-travel lodging option here. It comes at a price though – I slept exactly 1 night in an 8-people room on Hawaii and then rebooked to an AirBnB for the remaining two nights, canceling the hostel nights. I was kept up all night by someone rocking in their bed below me every 5mins. I am too old and too light of a sleeper for such disturbances.
On the other hand, I got to meet fun people from all over the world and got to get a glimpse of their lives and create a few joint memories.
On Hawaii, I went to visit the Volcanoes National Park with a bunch of Canadian girls who taught me everything there is to know about macademia nuts. They grow those on Hawaii. Thank you Jade and Olivia.
We also saw where last year Kinauea erupted and where some of the lava made it into the ocean. Amazing scenery, yet again:
The big one was the diving trip with Jack’s Diving Locker in Kalua-Kona, however.
I came to diving in 2014 through my ex-girlfriend. One of the many things I will always be grateful to her for. You meet someone and they open up new worlds to you. What a great gift to give to someone. Anyway, back then I was certified as a PADI Open Water Diver and then got the Deep-Dive specialty, which allows you to go 30m deep.
I immediately liked it. Despite still having the greatest respect for all the things that can go wrong when diving, I just love the weightlessness. You are literally forced to breathe evenly and calmly. It’s almost meditative. I am constantly amazed by the incredible life forms that inhabit the ocean, and particularly those that inhabit reefs.
The forms and colors of fish, snails, coral etc. are fascinating every time I go diving. And then, when you are really lucky, you see a particularly rare or impressive specimen. On our first on dive on Hawaii, we saw white-tip reef sharks and an octopus among many others (foto credit to Jim):
Then, between dive 1 and dive 2, our captain heard of a whale shark sighting. He blasted the ship to the alleged spot, we put on masks and snorkels and jumped in. What followed was the experience of a lifetime.
The pictures I received of course cannot do it justice, but below you can see the shark we encountered. This is the exact same perspective I had, next to the dive master Keller, who also took the pictures (thank you for sharing!):
Mind officially blown. Still actually. We had about a minute or two with it. The crazy thing is, while it is tough to keep pace with the shark, the animal itself seems to barely move at all. Imagine how fast these things become when they want to be.
After those few minutes it started to decent into the depths of the ocean – another magical sight to behold as it slowly disappeared into the ocean’s abyss.
I only spent 3 days on Hawaii – and then made my way to Maui.
There, I did 2 dives. The first one of which was a nice little wreck dive, the second at an artificial reef, close to shore, where we saw half a dozen turtles. In between, we found a group of spinner dolphins on the hunt who accompanied the boat for a few minutes.
Maui is a lot more touristy than Big Island and Kauai, including some horrible resort concrete areas on the west coast. Nonetheless it is breathtakingly beautiful as well. The best way to experience said beauty was the classic Road to Hana drive, which took me and two fellow hostel dwellers (shout out to Chris and Darius) around the entire eastern half of Maui. Particularly the south side of the drive had us whooping quite a few times after doing a right turn on the road and being awestruck by yet another epic view while driving into the sunset.
Finally, after a day attending a hippie beach festival with a bunch of naked people and drums at Little Beach (no, I will not post any pictures…) I got to end the trip with a sunset on Mount Haleakala (The House of the Sun). Many people go for the sunrise – which I will someday – but the logistics didn’t work out so we had to do with the sunset – turns out that’s really not a bad alternative at all:
Hawaii has been epic. There are no words to describe the incredible beauty of these islands.
Believe the hype.
I will be back.
Aloha and Mahalo!