Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kauai, Day #4: More snorkeling and a flight above the island (with a surprise)

Tom forewarned me today, halfway through our trip, that on the day he’s “dragged outta here,” he’ll leave “claw marks all the way to the airport.”  Poor Tom!

The day began with a breakfast buffet at Scotties…


…after which, we headed back to Anini Beach under a canopy of Jurassic Park Trees…


…for some snorkeling.  The beach was deserted, but under water we saw two of these:


and a whole bunch of these:


(Disclaimer: images stolen from Google Images… which is so much easier than buying an underwater camera!)

Then we relaxed a bit on the beach:


After a quick lunch back at our cottage, we headed to the airport for a part two of the “sea and air” deal I mentioned yesterday.

DSC_0998 After take-off, we flew over Poipu Beach…


Yes, the water really is THIS blue:

DSC_1031  Then we headed toward Wiamea Canyon, which was breathtaking.  Unfortunately, there was too much glare on the plane window to really catch the amazing colors and depths.


(We’ll visit Wiamea by car tomorrow, so I should be able to get some more shots – though probably not from such a spectacular vantage point!)

After Wiamea, we headed into the clouds toward…


…the Napali Coast!


You really need to just enjoy this part without me blabbing.  Behold…



(When we return and I have fast internet again, I’ll post the movie Tom took as we flew over the Napali Coast.  I have a feeling it’ll take your breath away and you’ll immediately add a trip to Kauai to your bucket list!)

After we caught our breath, we headed back to Ke’e Beach, where the Napali coast “begins” and from where you can hike up and down cliffs for 11 miles to this little beach – which is about a mile from Ke’e along the coast… which, of course, is impassable.


Once the Napali Coast was behind us, Halaei Bay was ahead of us… or, rather, beside us (or, rather, below-us-beside-us).


From Hanalei, we flew inland. At this point, I need to tell you a story about Mom’s death.  I’ve told this story before, but you might not remember it.

During Mom’s last few days of life, as ovarian cancer claimed every last bit of her, she had a few lucid moments, in which she would share with us, in whispered, halting speech, what she was experiencing.  Once of the things she said was “flying over Hawaii” referring, I assume, to a flight she and Dad took in a plane over Kauai sometime back in the 70’s.  It obviously had a profound effect on her and I went into today’s flight remembering and revering that memory – and Mom.

Do you also remember the effect that Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s version of Somewhere over the Rainbow has on me? I described it in this post, in which I describe a morning during Mom’s final week when my brother Chris played that song for Mom, accompanied by a slideshow of his daughters…

“For just just under five minutes that morning, the voice of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole filled the room as Mom silently watched a slideshow that Chris had made of his three gleeful and adorable daughters. As the song so sweetly depicted life, energy and youth, and the photos depicted Mom's grandchildren laughing and smiling, Mom was slipping undeniably away from us. At first, for just a fleeting moment, I silently wondered whether it was cruel to play such a beautiful song about the magnificence of life at a time when death was undeniably and persistently present, but then I saw just a hint of a smile come to Mom's face and, even as the single tear streamed silently down her cheek, she never took her eyes of the screen until the song was over, and then, exhausted, she slipped into a deep sleep.
Neither Chris nor I moved nor said a word for a long time after the song ended. Tears streamed silently down our faces, too, that morning and we were at once immeasurably bonded and newly alone. Eventually, we tucked Mom in and left the room, both of us somehow changed by the experience.”


Music was playing in our headsets as we flew around Kaiai today.  Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me, some Beach Boys tunes and, just as we flew into this…


…Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s version of Somewhere over the Rainbow began to play.  Yes, I lost it. Now, I’m not a very religious person, but I am choosing to believe that that moment was Mom’s way of saying, “Hey you…”  

Pure and simple – “Hey you… I love you.”  I am choosing to believe that.

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Goofball said...

I'm awestruck by the beauty of the landscapes you post. absolutely stunning

and now I have goosebumps about your mom's story and your flight. That gave me chills. I'm so glad for you that you got to share this moment somehow with your mom!

Lynn said...

Just beautiful. The scenery and the memories...

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