A Hawaiian vacation
2012 has already been a year to remember. The first major event was the birth of my first granddaughter: Nevaeh Anlynn Mikulinski. Nevaeh’s mother is my daughter, Nicolette. Nevaeh’s proud daddy is Joe Mikulinski, son of renowned steelhead fisherman, Tom Mikulinski. I think it’s safe to say that Nevaeh will have the fishing gene. If she doesn’t, she’ll have lots of time to look at rocks along stream banks until she is old enough to do her own thing.
A few days after Nevaeh’s birth, my wife and I headed to Hawaii for a two week holiday. This was a tough decision to make with Nevaeh coming into the world three weeks ahead of schedule, but as she was in good hands, we decided to continue with our plans.
As I begin writing this, I am sitting in a little airport terminal in Kona awaiting a connector flight to Maui where we will spend the second week of our Hawaiian vacation.
Our first week in Kona, “The Big Island” has been spectacular. We have seen hump-back whales, green sea turtles, and hundreds of colourful fish and birds. We completed a helicopter tour of Kona yesterday, observed flowing lava, ash and steam vents, and landed in a canyon in the rainforest surrounded by 1500-foot cliffs. Kona has 11 of the 13 microclimates in the world; from desert to rainforest. Missing is the tundra and Arctic - which I have experienced on other trips.
At the right time of year in Kona you can surf in the ocean and snowboard on the mountains all in the same day. I have snorkeled in the Pacific daily while in Hawaii. The ocean is warm and inviting, and fish are easy to spot. I tried fly fishing one day but it would seem that most of the fish near shore were interested in algae or other microorganisms - and not a streamer fly. I also tried spear fishing for the first time after finding a spear gun on a coral reef. The gun was locked and loaded so it made me ponder what happened to its owner; there are tiger sharks here but apparently attacks are few and far between. I wasn’t able to harvest any fish with the spear gun but the experience just added to my list of adventures.
I also swam with a couple of sea turtles that most definitely were heavier than I am. (Which is substantial after two weeks of Hawaiian food!) One had a shell 4-feet long and 3-feet across. These turtles graze on grasses that grow on the bottom. They are gentle and docile and don't seem to mind human presence. They remind me of the “cows of the sea”.
The temperature in Hawaii stays in the low 80’s this time of year - and although it is the most southern state in the US it is one of two that never reaches 100-degrees (the other being Alaska). I could get used to wintering here.
Today marks the final day of our Hawaiian holiday. To celebrate, my wife and I will be taking my son, Timothy and his wife Carlie on a whale-watching excursion. It seems the sea along the coast of Maui is a romantic getaway for hump-backs as they migrate here every year to mate and have their babies.
As I sit on the deck of our resort at 6:30 a.m. awaiting the rising of the sun, I am reflecting on where 2012 will take me. I do this every New Year as a matter of course. This holiday has been a reminder that the outdoors is truly a large part of who I am. No matter where I go, somehow I seek out outdoor adventure. Writing about it has been a rewarding pastime. If you saw my paychecks you’d know I don’t do it for the money. But doing things solely for money or power is a huge mistake. Motivation matters. It’s not what you do with your time that counts, it’s why you do it.